7.3/10
1,232
11 user 11 critic

At 3:25 (1924)

Paris qui dort (original title)
Unrated | | Short, Sci-Fi | 1927 (USA)
A scientist's invisible ray freezes Paris into immobility.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Henri Rollan ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Martinelli ...
The scientist (as Martinelli)
Louis Pré Fils ...
Detective
...
The pilot
Madeleine Rodrigue ...
Hesta, the airline passenger
...
The niece / daughter of the scientist
Antoine Stacquet ...
The rich man (as Stacquet)
Marcel Vallée ...
International thief
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Storyline

Early roots of sci-fi magic are given to us in the form of a scientist who invents a ray that makes people caught in its beam fall asleep where they stand. With magical and wonderful shots of a Paris long gone, it is the adventure of a group of unaffected who with their sudden freedoms play the game of mice while the cat is away. With a narrative that sways toward a moralistic stance on the principles of fair play and responsibility, this little science fiction fable can still be poignant today as when the magnificent views were first shot from the dizzy heights of the Eiffel Tower. Written by Cinema_Fan

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Genres:

Short | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

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Release Date:

1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

At 3:25  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This film is featured on the Criterion Collection DVD for Sous les toits de Paris (1930). See more »

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User Reviews

The Day Paris Stood Still
18 April 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

The watchman on the top level of the Eiffel Tower comes out to find the whole of Paris asleep and frozen into position, drivers in their cars, passers-by, policemen just seconds before an arrest. He joins up with a group of people who were flying over Paris when it happened, to enjoy newfound freedom without limits.

One way to view this is as conceived; a comedy by way of surrealism and the absurd so far as the premise is concerned, and mostly harmless execution. A scientist is responsible we discover, who has devised a contraption that controls the flows of reality.

Or you can read between the images. I study what it means to meditate and effective conveyance of this through cinema, so this rings loud and clear to my eyes.

So we have the narratives that make up the bulk of day-to-day life arrested, doesn't matter how, and only those who were above ground spared from the effect. They walk through a still world full of possibilities for reflection, the only ones 'awake' among sleepers dreaming their routines. Of course being ordinary human beings, what do they do? They drink and dance, they indulge themselves, and when boredom sinks in, they fight for the one woman in their company. Narratives are resumed and stopped again, as the scientific mastermind, someone who is trying to master mind, tinkers with the equations.

The quest is for a still center, discovered in the arms of the woman.

It was perhaps too early in the medium to add further layers, for instance to link control of reality with the mind desiring images or desiring escape from them. Maybe, if this was Epstein's film who had by then stumbled on a theory about the eye in motion. It is fine to have just this at any rate, concerned more with visual invention than introspection. There are guerilla shots from inside moving cars, frozen and resumed, that do Nouvelle Vague thirty years early.

If you are an imaginative viewer, you will want to see the first half with its eerily empty boulevards and plazas, and imagine a silent horror film about some unspecified apocalypse.


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