THE DIABOLICAL CHURCH WINDOW (1911)
aka Le vitrail diabolique
Article 4740 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
What it is: A devil’s prank
A demon decides to torment an alchemist by having a woman magically form itself on a stained-glass window and having it come to life.
Most of the Melies shorts I’ve been seeing lately have been “magic trick” shorts, in which a magician performs a series of tricks. At least this one is a break from those, though it does illustrate another of Melies’s common themes; it’s one where a demon torments someone. At least once during these shorts, we have a scene where the torment involves the appearance of a beautiful woman who entices the victim, only to disappear or to turn into a monster. The special effects are quite good here, especially during the sequences where the woman appears piece by piece in the window, but I couldn’t quite escape the feeling that Melies is just repeating himself here; it’s really just a pale shadow of THE MERRY FROLICS OF SATAN, which was his epic take on the theme.
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