THE SORCERER’S SCISSORS (1907)
Article 4647 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Walter R. Booth
What it is: Trick film
The hands of a sorcerer use scissors to cut out of paper the figure of a woman, which takes form as a real woman and performs a dance. Other similar tricks follow.
There’s no real plot here; it’s more of an illustration of a trick technique where hand-manipulated inanimate objects transform themselves into real people and back again. In some ways, it’s similar to the Melies technique of statues coming to life, but the rapid-fire linking segments give a very distinct look to this one that owes nothing to Melies. I do rather wish the woman who is constantly recreated would do something more than perform dances, but that’s par for the course of early silent cinema. Though I can’t list any examples of the top of my head, I get the impression that the techniques in question were mostly used in later years during TV and Movie opening credits sequences. It’s an interesting work in pioneer cinema.