THE WONDERFUL LIVING FAN (1904)
aka Le merveilleux eventail vivant
Article 4859 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
What it is: Decorative trick short
The King of France receives a marvelous giant fan whose leaves turn into beautiful women.
Though in some ways, this is one of Melies’s “magic trick” shorts, it plays out like one of those “decorative” shorts that occasionally popped up during the early silent era. These are shorts where the primary purpose seems to be to magically produce a pretty tableaux, in this case that of a series of beautiful women appearing as the leaves of fan. The women magically change clothes as well. It’s well done, though it does take a little too long for the short to get around to the magical section. Ultimately, though, the entertainment value of these types of shorts is pretty slim, and this one is no exception.