A chemist in his laboratory places upon a table his own head, alive; then fixing upon his head a rubber tube with a pair of bellows, he begins to blow with all his might. Immediately the ... See full summary »
A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... See full summary »
Scientists from all over the world are meeting to discuss the best way to reach the North Pole. Professor Maboul demonstrates for them the innovative equipment that he has designed for the ... See full summary »
A bat flies into an ancient castle and transforms itself into Mephistopheles himself. Producing a cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a young girl and various supernatural creatures, one ... See full summary »
Three friends are playing cards in a beer garden. One of them orders drinks. The waitress comes back with a bottle of wine and three glasses on a tray. The man serves his friends. They ... See full summary »
The conjurer appears at a blackboard and shows the head of a knight on it. He seizes the picture of the head, removes it from the blackboard, and it turns into life and bows and smiles ... See full summary »
A man dressed in red is ushered into an antechamber in a Castle and offered a seat. When he tried to sit down the chair moves to the other side of the room causing the man to fall on the ... See full summary »
At the royal court, a prince is presenting the princess whom he is pledged to marry, when a witch suddenly appears. Though driven off, the witch soon returns, summons some of her servants, ... See full summary »
"In the opening of this film is seen the astronomer intently poring over his books. Suddenly, in a cloud of smoke, Satan appears and surprises the astronomer. At the command of the Fairy ... See full summary »
My score of 10 is relative to other productions during this very early era in film as well as director Georges Méliès' other films. If you were to compare it to later silent films, then CENDRILLON will come up very, very short due to its very archaic style. And this type of comparison just wouldn't be fair, as non-stationary cameras, composition and detailed scripts were well in the future. But, for 1899, this is amazing because it introduces dissolves to go from one scene to another, a plot telling an actual story, as well as actual sets--things not used much around 1900. Most of the films circa 1900 were dull and short--only a minute or two long and featured people doing horribly mundane things--like feeding a baby or watering the lawn (seriously).
Now this story, while amazing for 1899, is not without many problems. The first portion that set the context for the story seems to either be missing or Méliès just assumed the audience understood it and skipped it. Also, while the first moments of the film are hand-colored, this disappears very quickly--perhaps it comes from piecing two or more copies together to make this film. And additionally, at times the people had no idea what to do, so they did some weird things--like have lots and lots of clocks and elves (why?!?!) as well as a somewhat impromptu dance number at the end. Rough? Yes, but still compared to what else was out there, this was the best sort of film available...period. For film historians, this and the rest of Méliès' films are a must.
By the way, to see just how far films had progressed, try also watching the 1914 version starring Mary Pickford. It stands up much better today and is a truly magnificent film even almost a hundred years later.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?