The King and the Jester (1907)

aka Francois Ier et Triboulet
Article 4171 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-4-2013
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
Country: France
What it is: Trick short

A jester tries to cheer up a depressed king.

There’s something a bit metaphorical about this short in terms of the decline of the popularity of Melies’s work. Melies plays the jester here, and he uses all of his old tricks to try and cheer up the depressed king, but to no avail. And given that Melies declined in popularity at least partially because his own cinematic tricks were becoming old hat and failing to amuse the viewers, there’s a sense of melancholy underlying this one. Eventually, the jester turns to magic (thus providing the fantastic content) and wins the king over, but that wouldn’t happen for Melies in real life, at least not until many years later when Melies was rediscovered. Sadly, the movie itself also fails to satisfy (though some of the blame may be the deterioration of the print), as the special effects are pretty ordinary in this one as well, and it ends up not being particularly fun.

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