La belle au bois dormant (1908)

aka Beauty of the Sleeping Woods
Article 3161 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-18-2010
Posting Date: 4-10-2010
Directed by Albert Capellani and Lucien Nonguet
Featuring Julienne Mathieu
Country: France
What it is: Fairy tale

A princess falls victim to a witch’s curse and pricks her finger on a spindle, causing her and the other residents of her castle to fall asleep for a hundred years. Can a handsome prince save her?

At eleven minutes, there’s only so much you can do with a story. One little problem with this version of the Sleeping Beauty story is that the Prince’s rescue is peculiarly eventless; he never seems to be in any peril, and just kind of walks in and wakes her up. Maybe that’s why the first half of the movie concentrates on the curse coming true. It’s done in a very Meliesian style, though it’s not quite as heavy on the special effects; the most prominent of these include some bushes that enter and then depart the landscape, once when they are becoming barriers, and once when the prince gets through them. Still, it’s pretty to look at, especially with some of the hand coloring. All in all, a minor silent short.


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