LA BRUJA NEGRA (1907)
aka La sorciere noire, The Black Witch
Article 4167 by Dave Sindelar
What it is: Trick short
An Arabian couple invite a black witch up into their palace to perform tricks for them.
I’m not sure who’s responsible for this trick film (though the style looks roughly Segundo De Chomonish), but I was impressed by two things about it. One was the excellent quality of the hand-painted color, which not only brightens the scenes but also contributes to changes in mood; a magical change of location will result in a change of tint, which is a technique that I’ve seen in later silent movies, but rarely this early. The other is that the special effects are also fast moving and very smoothly done. There’s no real plot, but these other qualities hold the attention during this four minute short. I’ve seen so many of these silent shorts that they rarely impress me anymore, but this one does.