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The One-Man Band (1900)

L'homme orchestre (original title)
| Short, Comedy
A band-leader assembles an orchestra by mystifying means.

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A band-leader has arranged seven chairs for the members of his band. When he sits down in the first chair, a cymbal player appears in the same chair, then rises and sits in the next chair. As the cymbal player sits down, a drummer appears in the second chair, and then likewise moves on to the third chair. In this way, an entire band is soon formed, and is then ready to perform. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | Comedy

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Tricky
16 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

"The One-Man Band" is one of early cinema pioneer Georges Méliès's more amusing and ingenious trick film attractions. It exploits multiple-exposure photography (a.k.a. superimpositions), which he had already employed in some of his earlier trick films, including "The Four Troublesome Heads" (1898) and "The Mysterious Portrait" (1899). There is also some substitution splicing (a.k.a. stop substitutions), which was Méliès's most common trick. In this film, he uses multiple-exposure photography to reproduce his own image sevenfold—to create a band, who then play their various instruments in an amusingly hammy manner. To accomplish this feat took precise acting and direction from Méliès, as well as from his cameraman; camera masks were used and exact timing was required for the seven different exposures of the negative. It was all done in-camera. As indication of the sophistication of Méliès's trick here, Buster Keaton has received praise for technical and creative brilliance by doing the same thing 21 years later in "The Playhouse".


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