THE DIABOLIC TENANT (1909)
aka Le locataire diabolique
Article 4185 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Andre Melies, George Melies
What it is: Elaborate trick short
A tenant rents an empty apartment, and decorates, furnishes and populates it with the contents of his small suitcase. However, he doesn’t have enough money to pay the rent, so…
This is one of Melies’s best and most entertaining of his later shorts… but it has one drawback, and it’s that it’s a retread of sorts. It’s basically a remake of SATAN IN PRISON from a couple of years earlier; it’s almost entirely the same premise, but with a slightly different storyline. Still, the premise itself was pretty sturdy to begin with, and I don’t think I enjoyed this one any less than I did its model; in fact, I think this one is a bit funnier. And the sheer volume of trickery almost requires that the whole thing move at a rapid clip.