AU PAYS DE L’OR (1908)
aka In the Land of the Gold Mines
Article 5240 by Dave Sindelar
What it is: Special effects short
A woman spies a gang of dwarfs disappearing underground in a forest, and a fairy takes her into their abode where they forge gold.
There’s no director listed for this on IMDB, but it looks somewhat like the work of Gaston Velle or Segundo de Chomon to me. There’s no plot; it’s more like a series of fantastically derived set pieces with the theme of gold tying them together, and it feels something like a factory tour; the woman even gets free samples at the end. The neatest effect is watching the gold being forged to coins, which is basically achieved by creating filming several fake pieces of gold being melted in a pan, and then running that footage backwards. There’s a giant face that spits out gold coins as well as a series of woman being offered the gold of their respective nations. The whole thing is nicely hand-tinted as well.