Bookstalls is interesting in that its footage looks old and is thus clothed with a feeling of nostalgia. It is also interesting as an exercise in putting pieces of film together. A boy leafs through volumes at a Paris bookstall and he imagines faraway places.
The whole film has a homely quality which is endearing. But I don't think it really comes off. The transition from when the boy is seen holding the volume to the still pictures which represent illustrations in the volume is abrupt. You don't quite know what is happening. In fact, there is an abruptness to the editing which I assume was deliberate, but I don't know why. To really work, I think that the boy would have to imagine himself in the place described, which wasn't possible in a collage film.
The speeded-up image of the boat was interesting because that is how people describe their trips--saying that the boat sped through the water at a breakneck pace, etc.
I think there was a little bit too much footage establishing the locale as Paris, but that is just my own taste.
I should note that Bookstalls (the title was supplied by someone other than Cornell) is a reel which was found among Cornell's film collection. He never made any attempt to present it and we don't know if he considered it finished.