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The Mysterious Retort (1906)
"Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La cornue infernale" (original title)

 -  Short | Fantasy | Mystery
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 362 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A wizard sleeps at a table in his well-appointed sitting room. From a drawer in the table, a snake appears. The snake begins a series of transformations: he becomes a jester, a spider, and ... See full summary »

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A wizard sleeps at a table in his well-appointed sitting room. From a drawer in the table, a snake appears. The snake begins a series of transformations: he becomes a jester, a spider, and a woman. Each approaches the wizard as he sleeps. Each also works its magic on a glass vial on the wizard's table. Soon the vial has grown in size and is full of a bubbling liquid. The wizard wakes, the vial explodes. Who emerges victorious from the spells and dreams? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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snake | laboratory | alchemy

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Short | Fantasy | Mystery

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The Mysterious Retort  »

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User Reviews

The Mysterious Retort
20 March 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Mysterious Retort, The (1906)

*** (out of 4)

aka L'alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou la cornue infernale

A wizard falls asleep in his lab when a serpent comes out from a cabinet and soon takes shape in a variety of forms including a spider, a joker and a mysterious woman. This here is another one of Melies most popular films and it's easy to see why as we're given all sorts of nice humor, some weird situations and just an overall surreal atmosphere that really makes this stick out among his hundreds of pictures. I'm not sure what it is but I always love when that serpent shows up as I find it to be one of the most interesting figures from this early part of film. It's certainly nothing ground breaking and the effect of it is obvious but it makes for a lot of fun. The spider here and its web is another major plus. Fans of the director will certainly enjoy the humor here and if you're new to Melies then this is a good place to start.


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