A Lively Quarter-Day (1906)
Article 5914 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by J.H. Martin
What it is: Half comedy, half special-effects
An attempt to clean and furnish a room leaves the place in a shambles.
The first half of this silent short has no fantastic content; it’s just a slapstick series of destructive accidents. It’s only in the second half where the fantastic content manifests itself; the man moving into the room is a magician, and he uses his arts to magically fix everything in the room through the magic of running the film backwards. It’s a bit like some of Melies’s shorts where a magician/devil furnishes a room, but it has a bit more in the way of story. The most striking detail to me is that when we reach the point where they start using the backwards footage, it isn’t just a reverse of the sequences where the destruction first occurred, so they must have shot two destruction sequences that resulted into roughly the same mess.