Upside Down: or, The Human Flies (1899)

Article 4300 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-30-2013
Directed by Walter R. Booth
Cast unknown
Country: USA / UK
What it is: Trick short

A magician performs for a handful of people, and then does his most amazing trick; he causes his audience to walk on the ceiling.

The main special effect here is simple enough; it looks like we have two rooms with identical decor, except one is upside down. This one he films with the camera upside down, making it look like the people are walking around and dancing on the ceiling. One thing I thought was interesting is that this particular trick doesn’t appear to be copped from Melies; at least, I can’t remember any of his early shorts that tried this particular trick, but then, a lot of his shorts are missing. It’s a minor short, but it is interesting to see an early silent whose trick hasn’t been overused.

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