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The Magician (1898)
"Le magicien" (original title)

 -  Short | Fantasy  -  1903 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 269 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

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 »

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Storyline

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 ground, but instead of containing the magician a lively clown steps forth who further mystifies the audience by causing the box to disappear, and in its place is seen a fully laid table with a smoking dinner, to which the clown applies himself. The table, however, suddenly disappears much to the astonishment of the clown, who is confronted by the magician in the garb of Mephistopheles. This he suddenly changes to that of a sculptor, and in the background is seen a pedestal with the bust of a young lady, which comes to life as the sculptor applies the mallet and chisel. Written by Selig Catalog

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Genres:

Short | Fantasy

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1903 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Magic  »

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User Reviews

Excellent, Even Remarkable, For Its Time
31 October 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This early Georges Méliès feature is excellent, and even remarkable, for a movie made in 1898. Its level of creativity and technical skill are rarely found even in movies made several years later. The story itself is short and not very elaborate, but for a minute or so it keeps you enthralled by the interesting visual effects and illusions, and by how well they work for something made so early in the history of the movies.

Méliès likely modeled this feature after portions of his earlier stage routines, but it's clear that he quickly realized the added potential of film in creating illusions that would impress the viewer. Méliès and a female assistant perform a series of tricks that are similar in style to those familiar from stage magicians of all eras, but some of these could not have been done without the use of film. Disappearances and transformations form most of the illusions, and they are both fun to watch and impressive to see.

What's even more impressive is that this is not the only early Méliès feature to show such skill. Like a number of his other movies, this is worth seeing in itself and as a sign of things to come.


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