7.6/10
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16 user 4 critic

Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)

Un homme de têtes (original title)
Much to our amazement, an elegant and masterful illusionist detaches his own head effortlessly from his shoulders for a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

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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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Short | Comedy

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28 November 2009 (Portugal)  »

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Four Heads Are Better Than One  »

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Featured in Une séance Méliès (1997) See more »

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Outstanding For Its Time, & Still Fun to Watch
12 September 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

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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