THE INVISIBLE FLUID (1908)
Article 3254 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-17-2010
Posting Date: 7-12-2010
Directed by Wallace McCutcheon
Featuring Edward Dillon,D.W. Griffith, Anthony O’Sullivan
What it is: A comic trick film
A messenger boy delivers a fluid that causes people and things to vanish. He decides to use it for his own amusement, eventually turning to crime.
This movie has been described as one of the first to use the concept of invisibility. I may be splitting hairs here, but it’s not, because it’s not about invisibility at all. Those doused with the fluid vanish, which isn’t the same thing as becoming invisible; if something is rendered invisible, it’s still there but not visible, and in this movie, the doused people and items vanish completely; i.e., they’re not there. It’s played for laughs; its best moment is towards the end when the messenger boy finds himself being chased by a mob of angry people, and, tired of running, he makes the only defense he can. It’s mildly amusing, but let’s face it; the tricks here are pretty simple in comparison to some of the things Melies was doing at the time.