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The Haunted Curiosity Shop (1901)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 143 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

An old proprietor is startled by the sudden appearance of a skull. Just as he draws back from the uncanny object, the doors of a mediaeval wardrobe fly back and a hand prods him with a ... See full summary »

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Title: The Haunted Curiosity Shop (1901)

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Storyline

An old proprietor is startled by the sudden appearance of a skull. Just as he draws back from the uncanny object, the doors of a mediaeval wardrobe fly back and a hand prods him with a sword. He turns to confront his assailant when it vanishes, and at the same instant the skull flies to the other end of the room. He clutches at the skull, when it turns into the half form of a girl from the waist up, suspended in mid-air. As he gazes in amusement, the other half of the girl, fully dressed from her waist down, walks across the room, and the two halves of the figure join, making a girl complete. In an amorous fashion the old man folds his arms around the girl's waist with the intention of stealing a kiss, but the girl immediately changes into an old woman, who grins in evident delight at the old man's discomfort. In great anger he throws her into the wardrobe and locks the door. Unseen by him, the woman has again become a girl. A great effect is here produced. Through the doors, which ... Written by Edison Catalog

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Short | Comedy | Fantasy

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May 1902 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Sophisticated early trick film
27 November 2009 | by (www.moviemoviesite.com) – See all my reviews

Robert Paul is a largely forgotten name today, but he was a major pioneer of British cinema, and was quick to grasp the commercial potential of cinema in ways that better known pioneers such as William Friese-Greene were not. He was more of a mechanic than a filmmaker making, with Birt Acres, his own camera on which to shoot films in 1895, and also Britain's first projector, the Animatograph, with which to screen them in 1896. Early in the 20th century he had a custom-made studio built in Muswell Hill.

The Haunted Curiosity Shop is a special-effects film made for Robert Paul by Walter Booth. There's no real story to speak of, and the film really just serves as a showcase for Booth's technical wizardry. Its use of stop-motion, substitution and matte photography is quite sophisticated and fast-moving for its day.


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