The Magic Glass (1914)

THE MAGIC GLASS (1914)
Article 4676 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-9-2014
Directed by Hay Plumb
Featuring Reginald Sheffield
Country: UK
What it is: Comic short

A tyrannical father creates a substance that can make glasses capable of seeing through doors and walls. He uses it to keep his family in line.

This is the type of concept that seemed fairly straightforward to me, and I anticipated that this movie would consist of nothing more than scenes where the user of the glass surprises his subjects by revealing his knowledge of secrets that he isn’t expected to know. What did surprise me with this one was that it actually has a bit of emotional impact as well. The father is a tyrant who uses his knowledge to humiliate and browbeat his family, and though the family members are hardly saints themselves, you find yourself siding with them and hoping for the father’s comeuppance. Fortunately for them, the boy discovers the father’s secret for preparing glasses and uses them on both his magnifying glass and his mother’s as well. It then becomes apparent that the father is a bit of a hypocrite as well. My copy of the short ended a bit abruptly, so I don’t know if that’s just the way the short is or whether there might be a little footage missing, but I definitely found it interesting that the short added a little more than just some special effects trickery to the mix.

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