The Clock-Maker’s Secret (1907)

aka Le secret de l’horloger
Article 4393 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-16-2013
Directed by Gaston Velle
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Deal with the devil

A clock-maker wins a contract to build a clock in the town square with a plan given to him by the devil. When the clock proves impossible for him to build, he is tempted by the devil to sell his soul for the help to build the clock.

Here’s another silent short saved from my “ones that got away” list, as was yesterday’s short. On the surface, this is similar to the one from yesterday as well; both involve people tempted to make deals with the devil to advance their careers. This one is a much more ordinary film than yesterday’s was, though; instead of hitting any dramatic marks, it’s a standard example of the effects-laden trick films of the era. So we get bizarre nightmare visions involving clocks, not to mention the ubiquitous dancing girls that were all too common to the era; in this short, the latter seem especially gratuitous, as they bring what story there is to a grinding halt whenever they appear. It’s passably entertaining, but hardly one of the better films of the era.


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