The Magician (1898)

aka Le magicien
Article 4196 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-5-2013
Directed by Georges Melies
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Magic short

A magician sets off a series of magic occurrences.

Given the great number of shorts that Melies made involving magicians doing magic tricks, I’m not surprised one of his earliest films would have the title that this one does. And one odd thing about this one is that it doesn’t quite fit the pattern of his other magic trick films; the magician only appears for the opening couple of tricks and then vanishes from the film permanently, leaving the action in the hands of a succession of clowns, old men, and living statues. It even pursues some very minor story threads, such as the clown looking for something to eat and the old man trying to catch a disappearing woman. It lapses into incoherence at moments, but what makes it work is the sheer volume of special effects packed into a movie that runs just over one minute. It makes some of his later magic trick films seem slow.

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