THE MELOMANIAC (1903)
aka Le melomane
Article 4203 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
What it is: Musical trick short
A bandleader uses his head in creating music for his band to play.
This is one of the easier Melies shorts to find, as well as being one of his better and more creative ones. In it, Melies (initially disguised as a clown bandleader, but he ditches the disguise to reveal himself) writes the melody of “God Save the Queen” on a musical staff over his head; he throws a musical instrument up there to create a treble clef, tosses batons up to separate the measures, and then uses his own head (which he pulls off several times and pops into the staff) to create the notes. It’s quite fun, especially if the accompanying music chooses to follow the lead and play the appropriate melody. I do notice the French must have some different notes in their “do-re-mi” scale than we do; the musicians display the notes in cards, and one is called “ut”.