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The Knight of the Snows (1912)

Le chevalier des neiges (original title)
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Devil (uncredited)
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1912 (France)  »

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The Knight of the Snows  »

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Méliès Once More Plays the Devil
20 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

"The Knight of the Snow" is one of the last films Georges Méliès made. By now, he was under contract for his former rival Pathé, where he made a few of his most lavish productions, including this one. Here, Méliès performed in front of the camera as the Devil, for what I assume was the last time—a role he played numerous times throughout his oeuvre, including in "The Devil in the Convent" (1899), "The Infernal Cake-Walk", "The Infernal Cauldron", "The Damnation of Faust" (all three from 1903), "Faust and Marguerite" (1904), "The Merry Frolics of Satan" (1906) and "Satan in Prison" (1907). His incarnation of Satan this time is a sprightly antagonist who kidnaps a princess by locking her in a cage and taking off through the sky in a dragon-pulled carriage. Even after the princess has been rescued by the hero, the prince of darkness gets the last laugh by "rescuing" his villainous pawn from being hung by men dressed like monks with Klansmen hoods and taking him down the trap door, to what one assumes is Hell.

An interesting aspect of these later Méliès films is his adoption of some cinematic techniques that he had shunned earlier in his career. One sequence seems to have some scene dissection with a POV shot as the Knight peers through a telescope at the dragon carriage. And there's a panning tracking shot of the knight as he crawls through a cave to rescue the princess from a dungeon. Otherwise, there are plenty of the usual Méliès tropes: theatricality with the cinematically edited special effects, the fairy guiding the hero, the journey structure and dancing girls.


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