The Golden Beetle (1907)

Article 2061 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-5-2006
Posting Date: 4-4-2007
Directed by Segundo de Chomon
Cast Unknown

A magician finds a golden beetle and casts it into a cauldron. It turns into a winged woman who creates a spectacular fountain, and then has the magician cast into a cauldron.

If you get a chance to see this silent short, try to find the hand-tinted version; it is colored exquisitely, especially during the fountain sequence. Plotwise it’s pretty much the same sort of thing that Melies does, but if it lacks the wit of Melies, it does have a nice sense of poetry that Melies never attained. I suspect that this was one of the reasons that Melies eventually fell into disfavor; he was a cinema trickster rather than a full-blown movie director, and he failed to grow as new techniques for story-telling developed. This short gives just a hint of some of the directions he could have gone with his work.


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