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The Spectacle Maker (1934)

A parable about magic glasses involving on the nature of beauty, truth, good, and evil set in 17th Century Germany with music and Glorious Technicolor.


(as John Villiers Farrow)


(story "The Magic Glasses"), (as John Villiers Farrow)

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Uncredited cast:
Duchess (uncredited)
Harvey Clark ...
The Grand Duke (uncredited)
The Little Princess (uncredited)
The Man in Black (uncredited)
Lens Buyer (uncredited)
Angelo Rossitto ...
Court Jester (uncredited)
Hans Schmidt (uncredited)
Douglas Scott ...
Peter (uncredited)
William Tannen ...
The Grand Duke as Seen thru the Magic Spectacle (uncredited)
The Duchess's Paramour (uncredited)


A stranger dressed in black visits the shop of eyeglass maker Hans Schmidt. He asks Schmidt to make a lens that shows only beauty to anyone who uses it. Before he can make the lens, he must search for the answer his grandson's question, "What is beauty?" A priest at a monastery gives him a holy book and suggests that if he reads the book, he will find the answer. After reading the book, he makes the lens. The country's grand duke visits Schmidt's shop with his wife. They try the lens and are so pleased, they take it back to their castle. The stranger visits Schmidt again and requests that he now make a lens that shows the truth, because not everything is beautiful. The priest at the monastery says Schmidt will find truth in the same holy book. After he makes the lens, the grand duke and his wife return to try it out. Written by David Glagovsky <dglagovsky@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Short






Release Date:

20 September 1934 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Christian Rub's make-up and playing of Hans Schmidt in this film may have served as a model for Disney's depiction of Geppetto in PINOCCHIO. Rub also dubbed the character's voice in the 1940 animated feature. See more »

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User Reviews

schmaltzy and poorly acted but also pretty amazing for its Technicolor.
7 December 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is one of several shorts from 1934 and produced by MGM that accompany the DVD for "Treasure Island". Turner Entertainment has been packaging their classic Warner Brothers and MGM films this way--making them nice values for the home viewers.

This is a film you watch less for the content and acting than for the amazing advancement it demonstrates--true full-color. Unlike the earlier Two-Color Technicolor and the competing Cinecolor, this early Technicolor film has a fuller spectrum of colors--making it REALISTIC compared to previous color films (which tended to look very green and orange). In fact, this DVD has a Cinecolor short as well--and the difference is staggering. The Technicolor is a bazillion times nicer! As for the story, it's a schmaltzy tale about a spectacle maker who is given assignments to make magical lenses that show only beauty and later one that shows only truth. The acting is at times god-awful and the story comes off almost like a nicely produced high school pageant! the only thing I will add is that the summary on IMDb is not quite correct (the initial person to come to the spectacle maker was NOT the man in black but one dressed in gold). But, considering it's all pretty dull, who really cares?! This film is best seen by cinephiles and serious film historians. Others will no doubt find it all pretty tedious.

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