THE MAGICIAN (1900)
Article 4747 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Edwin S. Porter
What it is: Magic trick short
A magician appears and performs magic tricks, most of which involve his clothes.
Sometimes the difference between a dreary magic trick film and a fun one is a matter of performance. Even in his weakest magic trick films, Melies gave energetic and deeply involved performances; he looked like he was interested in the proceedings and having fun. The magician that shows up here comes across as somewhat bored, and since the tricks aren’t particularly interesting (he mostly throws pieces of clothing up into the air and they don’t come back down), you end up a little bored as well. Thankfully, the short lasts only just over a minute, so it’s rather painless. If you imagine Melies in place of the magician you see here, you’d see how much more fun it could have been.