Advertising campaign caused uproar months after French mother was tied to railway lines and murdered by husband. A court in France has ruled that adverts depicting a screaming woman tied to railway tracks were not illegal. The posters sparked an uproar after they were put up in southern French town of Beziers last December to promote a campaign to bring high-speed TGV trains to area. Critics demanded the far-right mayor of Beziers, Robert Menard, remove the posters, and launched legal action when he refused. The advertising campaign came months after Emilie Hallouin, 34, was tied to TGV railway tracks by her husband in a murder-suicide in northern France. Beziers town hall has already removed the posters, saying its campaign had already had the intended impact. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.
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Red Death's history lesson
Has Anyone Ever Actually Tied a Damsel in Distress to a Railway Track?
It happens in cartoons, it happens in early movie serials, and it happens in Victorian stage plays: villain ties girl to railroad tracks in hopes of seeing her squashed to bits; hero rescues girl just in time, leaving villain to curse that he was foiled yet again. But did this ever really happen? Did someone really kill someone else by tying them onto the rails and hoping the from Chicago would do the rest?
A manly hero coming to the rescue of a beautiful damsel in distress has been a common trope since literally the earliest days of theater, going all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. As the centuries passed, mythical creatures were replaced by more mundane dangers- notable to the topic at hand is the common trope of top hat clad, magnificently mustachioed villains tying buxom damsels to railway tracks while a dashing hero rushes in to save the day. So where exactly did this railway trope actually come from and are there any known cases of someone actually doing this in real life? The thing is, this was a comedy specifically created to lampoon the trope.
The music is high-tempo, the damsel is in distress , and the mustachioed villain is mugging to the camera. Yup, she's been chained to a railroad track, and the Express is running right on time. Despite popular opinion, there are hardly any silent films in which you'll see this exact scenario. And in the ones where it does happen, it's usually played for laughs, making fun of the already well-known trope from the world of theater.