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The One-Man Band (1900)
"L'homme orchestre" (original title)

 -  Short | Comedy
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,109 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 2 critic

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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The Méliès symphony
13 June 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

One of the visual effects that French "Cinemagician" Georges Méliès pioneered and mastered was the double exposure, in which a piece of film is exposed twice, to two different images. The resulting photographic image shows the second image superimposed over the first. 'L' Homme orchestre' is, for its time, a rather advanced experiment into his effect, and, rather than just two images captured together, Méliès has created seven clones of himself, each posing as the various members of an orchestra. As the first magician/musician eases himself onto the first chair, another semi-transparent double rises from his body to occupy the second chair, and so forth.

After the enthusiastic "one-man band" has performed a musical piece, they sequentially dissolve into one another, leaving only the conductor of the orchestra, who hangs around for one final display of magic. As a large fan emerges behind him (apparently to his complete surprise, as Méliès demonstrates one of those classic silent comedy double-takes), the conductor takes a seat on the single remaining chair, which sinks into the floor. Quick as a flash, a semi-transparent Méliès comes hurtling from behind the fan, disappearing on impact with the floor with one of those whiz-bang puffs of smoke that the director so adored. The huge fan lowers again to reveal a smugly-grinning Méliès standing there, safe and well.

More than a century after it was produced, 'L' Homme orchestre,' though not popularly known among most people, is notable in its innovative use of a newly-discovered visual effect, and as a brief demonstration of Georges Méliès' boundless creativity and enthusiasm. If you've got a couple of minutes of spare time, why not occupy yourself by watching this enjoyable little film?


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