The Kingdom of the Fairies (1903)

Article #370 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-20-2002
Posting date: 8-6-2002

A prince must go on a quest to save his betrothed from the clutches of an evil witch and her hellish minions.

Only a year after pioneering the science fiction epic, Melies takes on epic fantasy. Those who think of older movies as slow-moving should really check these very early films, which fit almost two hours of storyline into ten minutes. Granted, this one took some real concentration; unlike the other Melies films I’ve discussed, I had no handy narration to explain the action to me this time, but I managed all right. It even takes itself somewhat seriously, with the possible exception of the comic whale which pops up about halfway through the story. I can’t watch these early Melies films without feeling a bit of awe at the vast amount of special effects they contain: I can only imagine the amount of precision work that must have gone into this ten-minute picture.

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