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The Cook in Trouble (1904)

Sorcellerie culinaire (original title)
| Short, Comedy, Fantasy
A cook has his hands full with three mischievous devils, who pop in and out of his kitchen.

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Nothing seems to be going right for the busy cook. He has several helpers, but they are mostly talking and laughing and doing little, so, when an old beggar asks for a hand out, the harried cook boots him out. The beggar returns in his true aspect, he's a wizard, and all Hell breaks loose. An imp ruins the soup with too much spice, and the cook blames his helpers. The wizard conjures more imps, and various chases and tricks ensue as the imps pop in and out of the cook's large oven. Havoc reigns. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Comedy | Fantasy

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The Cook in Trouble  »

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Enjoyable chaos
11 April 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Georges Méliès' 'The Cook in Trouble' is a hectic, frenetic, energetic four minute jumble of sorcerous mischief and culinary chaos. When a meticulous chef unknowingly insults a sorcerer, he incurs the old man's wrath, and an assortment of black and white, ill-behaved imps are set loose to wreak havoc on the kitchen. Employing the use of Méliès' typical clever camera tricks, the mischievous devils leap in and out of magically-enlarging boxes, dive through windows, hide in cupboards, lunge up stairs and culminate their tomfoolery by lifting up the bewildered chef and dumping him into a pot of his own cooking.

The short is undoubtedly a lot of fun, even if we spend most of the time darting our eyes all over the place to work out what's going on where. People and things disappear on one side of the room and suddenly reappear on the other – it most certainly would not have been an easy thing to coordinate. The entire film, like most of the filmmaker's "stagey" acts, is shown from one camera angle, purportedly all in the one take (though we know that, for the purpose of the special effects, this is not actually the case).

'The Cook in Trouble' is not the brilliant Méliès that we have all come to know and love, but it does cast back to a time when films were simply... fun.


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