The Flicker Alley DVD "Georges Méliès: Encore New Discoveries (1896-1911)" misidentified a partial hand-colored print of the 1906 film "Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La cornue infernale" (The Mysterious Retort) as this film, "L'hallucination de l'alchimiste" (An Hallucinated Alchemist) from 1897, which continues to be considered a lost film. A comparison with the black and white print of "The Mysterios Retort" on Flicker Alley's prior DVD set "Georges Méliès First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913)" demonstrates this. See more »
Wonderfully entertaining film from French master Georges Melies has a alchemist sitting in front of a glass container, which soon begins to capture the dreams of the man. Inside this dream includes images of a spider in its web, a demon-like creature and eventually fire begins to come from the glass. Melies will always be remembered for his trick films and this one here is a pretty effective one. The tricks are all obvious today but that doesn't take away from any of their charm and even when viewed today one can't help but be impressed with what Melies was able to do so I can't imagine what it would have been like seeing this back in 1897. Another major bonus here is that this was hand-tinted and the colors look absolutely breathtaking. I was really, really shocked with how wonderful the tinting looked because usually this early stuff is a mess that never looks right. I used to defend films made a decade later for their rough shape but after viewing this film I'm going to have to reconsider. A perfect place for a Melies newbie to begin.
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