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Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)
"Un homme de têtes" (original title)

7.7
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One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on ... See full summary »

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Title: Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)

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One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on the table opposite another head, and both detached heads sing in unison. The conjurer then removes it a third time. You then see all three of his heads, which are exact duplicates, upon the table at one time, while the conjurer again stands before the audience with his head perfectly intact, singing in unison with the three heads upon the table. He closes the picture by bowing himself from the stage. Written by Edison Catalog

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28 November 2009 (Portugal)  »

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Four Heads Are Better Than One  »

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Early tricks from the cine-magician
20 April 2012 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

This film is a very early example of special effects wizardry. Considering that it was made in the 19th century, its only fair to say that it holds up very well. Most people can work out now how the effects were achieved but that's irrelevant, as they are done so well. George Melies took a diametrically opposite approach to cinema to the Lumiere brothers. Both were pioneers but the latter saw the new medium as a way of capturing reality, while Melies realised early on that it was perfect for creating the impossible. As a result, Melies movies remain imaginative and entertaining to this day, while the Lumiere films retain historical significance but aren't too interesting otherwise. In this sense Melies is the true forefather of the movies, while the Lumieres are essentially the first documentarians.

In The Four Troublesome Heads we have another magic show. Melies plays a character who removes his head several times. The squabbling heads then sing a song. It's basic but cleverly done. And, taking into account the year it was made, it's pretty out there.


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