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 »
As I have said in a few other reviews, films back before the beginning of the 20th century were pretty lame. The film makers simply didn't understand that so much more was possible and films were amazingly mundane. Folks sitting about playing cards, workers leaving the factory and children eating were the norm and films were seldom longer than about 30 seconds. So, when Georges Méliès created products like "The Hallucinated Alchemist", it stands head and shoulders above the rest.
The film is gorgeous and is among the first to be hand-colored (a process that became a bit more common in the following decade). It gives it a luminous quality that will no doubt shock some viewers who never expected colors. The film consists of an alchemist sitting in front of a giant glass container as he dreams...and lots of crazy stuff appears inside the container. The only problems with the film is that there isn't a lot of plot otherwise and it ends abruptly--like it's missing the last few seconds of the film. But it looks amazing.
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