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 »
Pluto, having seen the earth, comes back home amazed at the success of that well-known dance, the "cake-walk." He has brought back with him two noted well-known dancers, who start their ... See full summary »
A combination gambling den and bawdy house is set up so that croupiers, patrons, prostitutes, and the owner can quickly change it all into a mercantile establishment when the cops stage a ... See full summary »
A Chinese conjurer stands next to a table, it becomes two tables. A fan becomes a parasol, lanterns appear and disappear. The conjurer spins the open parasol in front of himself, and a dog ... See full summary »
Scientists from all over the world are meeting to discuss the best way to reach the North Pole. Professor Maboul demonstrates for them the innovative equipment that he has designed for the ... See full summary »
Wintertime in Lyons. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of ... See full summary »
In this scene is shown a magician behind an ordinary table, upon which he suddenly and mysteriously causes to appear a large box, into which he leaps. The sides of the box fall to the ... See full summary »
A bat flies into an ancient castle and transforms itself into Mephistopheles himself. Producing a cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a young girl and various supernatural creatures, one ... See full summary »
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
This early Georges Méliès fantasy feature is outstanding for 1898, both in its convincing special visual effects and in its witty good humor, and it's still lots of fun to watch today. There are quite a few lesser-known gems among Méliès's many fantasy features, and this is one of the best ones.
The setup is simple, but Méliès uses it with great skill and imagination. Méliès himself appears on screen, and does tricks with his own head. As elementary as the camera tricks are, Méliès was already expert at using them, and as a result most of the illusions are seamless and very enjoyable. There is also a good deal of humor in the ways that Méliès interacts with all of the "Troublesome Heads".
Any film that still survives from the 1890s is usually worth seeing for its historical value, and most of them also provide some kind of interesting information on the techniques or subject matter of the earliest movies. But this is one feature whose value goes well beyond the historical. It's enjoyable in itself, and it is also one of the earliest examples of the genius of one of cinema's most extraordinary pioneers.
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