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Magical Sword (1901)
"The Magic Sword" (original title)

 -  Short | Fantasy | Romance  -  May 1902 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 44 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

On the roof of an ancient palace appear a young Knight and his lady. While they are making love an ugly old witch appears and is rather troublesome. The Knight commands her to leave, and ... See full summary »



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On the roof of an ancient palace appear a young Knight and his lady. While they are making love an ugly old witch appears and is rather troublesome. The Knight commands her to leave, and when he is about to force her away she sits on her broom and rises to the moon. After disappearing she causes various hob-goblins to haunt the pair, the last of them stealing away the lady while the Knight's back is turned. The Knight, frantic with grief, is suddenly confronted by a Fairy, who presents him with a magical sword, and tells him that he can use it to regain the young woman. Written by Edison Catalog

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Plot Keywords:

knight | witch | sword | rescue


Short | Fantasy | Romance




Release Date:

May 1902 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Magical Sword  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Streets ahead of Pepper's Ghost.
4 July 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I viewed the British Film Institute print of this early movie by Robert W Paul. Like his better-known contemporary Georges Melies in France, Britain's Paul was an early film-maker who experimented with the camera's possibilities to produce 'trick' films. While these very early movies must have baffled and delighted their audiences, I tend to dislike 'trick' films because what we're seeing is not any sort of stagecraft nor prestidigitation by a skilled conjuror: it's basically just jump cuts, the same device still being used sixty years onward to enable Samantha off 'Bewitched' to appear and disappear. While Paul and Melies deserve credit for innovation, from our modern jaded viewpoint the device has long since palled. (No pun intended on 'Paul'.)

'The Magic Sword', unlike so many Paul films but like quite a few of Melies's more ambitious productions, is lifted out of the genre of 'trick' films -- and is much more entertaining -- because it uses its camera effects in the service of telling an actual story, rather than merely showing objects appearing and vanishing. The IMDb synopsis of this film is accurate enough. Basically, this movie tells us the story of a 'mediaeval' knight and his fair lady. When the damsel is nobbled by hobgoblins, the knight must use a magical sword to help him rescue her. All of the supernatural events which we witness in this film are in the service of the story, rather than merely for the sake of "Hey presto!".

I'm impressed that these very early film-makers realised that the story is more important than the special effects. I can think of a few modern film-makers who need to learn that lesson.

The 'mediaeval' settings and costumes in 'The Magic Sword' are not remotely convincing, and not for one instant do we forget that these are actors performing on a proscenium stage. However, the story's a fantasy, so it doesn't need to be convincing. 'The Magic Sword' is a very charming film, which even modern audiences (jaded by CGI F/X) can appreciate. My rating: a full 10 out of 10.

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