CHING LING FOO OUTDONE (1900)
Article 4056 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Edwin S. Porter
What it is: Wishful thinking
A magician makes a tub of water appear, and then makes ducks and a young boy appear in the tub.
A read up a little on Ching Ling Foo before I wrote this. This is apparently a reenactment of his most famous magic trick where he would make a boy appear out of a tub of water; the movie throws in some ducks as well. Still, a film of a magician using jump cuts for his illusions simply isn’t in the same league as watching a live magician perform the stunt, so I’d hardly say Ching Ling Foo was seriously outdone here. In fact, the film doesn’t even beat it’s most appropriate competition, which is the similar works from Melies, who, for what it’s worth, is a more energetic and fun actor than the anonymous magician who appears here. Ultimately, this movie is just another Melies imitation.