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The Untamable Whiskers (1904)

Le roi du maquillage (original title)
The background of this picture represents a scene along the beautiful river Seine in Paris. A gentleman enters, and taking a blackboard from the side of the picture, he draws on it a sketch... See full summary »

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Storyline

The background of this picture represents a scene along the beautiful river Seine in Paris. A gentleman enters, and taking a blackboard from the side of the picture, he draws on it a sketch of a novelist. Then, standing in the centre, he causes the living features of his sketch to appear in the place of his own, which is utterly devoid of whiskers. The change is made so mysteriously that the eye cannot notice it until one sees quite another person in the place of the first. Again another sketch is shown on the board, this one being that of a miser; then an English cockney; a comic character; a French policeman, and last of all, the grinning visage of Mephistopheles. It is almost impossible to give this film a more definite description; suffice it to say that it is something entirely new in motion pictures and is sure to please. Written by Méliès Catalog

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Short | Fantasy

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5 March 1904 (USA)  »

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The Untamable Whiskers  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Clever, Fairly Amusing Méliès Feature
28 October 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This simple but clever Georges Méliès short feature is fairly amusing, and the technique is, as always with Méliès, as good as you could have found at the time. The visual effects are generally pretty smooth, and on some occasions they are nearly seamless as one image dissolves into another.

There isn't really a story, just a simple series of visual effects, with Méliès himself using a chalkboard and a handful of other props to present a series of gags involving the "Untamable Whiskers". While most of the gags are not all that much in themselves, one or two are relatively creative. Most of the creativity in this feature, though, is found in just making the camera tricks work.

Even the less smooth among Méliès's camera effects are usually at least as good as the dreary, often clumsy, computer-generated imagery that mars so many present-day pictures. The simplest of the early Méliès features, such as this one, look at least as good, and they could very well still have an audience long after all but the best of the computerized features of today have been forgotten.


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