|Index||4 reviews in total|
Even as early as 1900, the American filmmakers were stealing from their European contemporaries. This Edison film is very much in the vein of the Georges Méliès trick films popular(?) during that era, including borrowing that sort of medieval fantastical visual style. It lacks something of the creativity and ornateness of the better Méliès films, however. But worth a free download. 6/10
Another reviewer referred to this as being a knock-off of films by the great French director, Méliès. While I would definitely agree, I must also add that this film is a very sloppily made copy--with none of Méliès' sophisticated camera trickery or finesse. Instead, many of the elements are stolen in a very haphazard way (in the turn of the century, film producers like to say they "borrowed heavily from one another"). And unfortunately, they just don't look very convincing as you can see people clumsily moving about behind the fake black wall and the black screen actually moves when these people bump into it!! While copying each other's work was common, such a sloppy attempt as this isn't. My advice is seek out the original films--they are STILL charming and interesting--this one is not.
Clown and the Alchemist, The (1900)
*** (out of 4)
Edison short has an "alchemist" trying to settle down but a strange clown keeps coming up from various items (mainly a bucket). The clown continues to torment the alchemist but he hopes to find a way to keep the strange creature under control. There's no question this is yet another attempt by the Edison Company to rip off Georges Melies but this time out it actually works fairly well. The magic tricks here aren't nearly as good or as well staged as a Melies film but the final "trick" here works quite well. I won't ruin what this trick is but it involves a simple piece of clothing. That trick makes the film worth viewing but one should also still check out the work of Melies.
This is probably one of the earliest uses of trick photography. This is very neat. Somebody said it was startling. I don't think it's very startling, but back in 1900 it probably was. Really cool. A must see for film students.
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