Learn which forgotten play invented the scary saw scene

You know the scene: the hero, drugged or tied down, is pushed toward an operating buzzsaw. It’s a melodramatic staple, but as standard as it is, there was one play that invented it: Blue Jeans.

No, the saw scene wasn’t invented in a James Bond movie or early silent thriller (though it did eventually hit the silver screen in 1917). The scene first appeared in Blue Jeans by Joseph Arthur in 1890. The political thriller was the action movie of the day, and the sawmill scene became such a huge hit that it was used to advertise the play.

Needless to say, it remains a part of our theatrical vocabulary today. Don’t worry though—the hero was saved at the last minute from being sawed in half (as heroes usually are).

Start a Conversation

Are you surprised the scene is that old?