The Mysterious Portrait (1899)

aka Le portrait mysterieux
Article 5277 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-20-2016
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
Country: France
What it is: Early trick short

A magician sets up a portrait and then magically makes himself appear in it. He then has a conversation with his portrait of himself.

Here’s another early short from Melies’s formative years; according to some user comments on IMDB, this short involved his first use of a matte shot, so it can be grouped with those in which he was trying out and using new techniques. It’s a simple trick short with some odd touches, such as the fact that he changes the background of his setting during the length of the short. It’s only a minute long, but it’s charming and fun during its length.


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