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This early Georges Melies film in a reenactment of events during naval
combat in Greece: sailors come out of the hold and work the guns
against enemy forces. By no means a particularly excellent piece, it
can best be appreciated in the context of its own period: Melies sets
the ship rocking back and forth against the background -- it seems to
have been placed on rockers -- in what was, for the time, an
unprecedented technique -- which is fairly typical for Melies, who
worked as hard at his film illusions as he had on his stage illusions
when he was a practicing magician.
For those who wish to see this piece with their own eyes, it can be found on the European Archives site.
This is a very quaint film from Georges Méliès. Seen today, you'll
probably laugh at how antiquated it looks. However, keep in mind that
this film is still way ahead of the norm for the era, as back in the
late 1890s, most films were amazingly mundane--such as showing trains
arriving at stations and people playing cards.
The film is a recreation of a scene from a naval battle off the Greek coast. The boats and backgrounds are clearly painted but what struck me was how the boat rocked. Heck, if it was in a hurricane it never would have rocked THIS fast! Obviously folks were off camera rocking the set up and down--but they did it so quickly you can't help but laugh. But, with a decent set, nice explosions and a decent style, it's still an intriguing look into the early work of this brilliant director.
Combat naval en Grèce (1897)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
aka Naval Combat in Greece
The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this Melies film. A captain (played by Melies) and his men are on a ship when they come under attack. The entire "special effect" here is that the ship is swirling back and forth as it comes under attack. Since that's all that happens for the entire minute, it's easy to say that this wouldn't be a good play for someone new to the director to start. Even die-hard fans might not be overly entertained by this thing simply because the film is missing that magical Melies touch. Looking at the movie it's well-made but at the same time it really doesn't jump off the screen and it certainly feels as if anyone could have directed. It might be unfair to the director but I think fans back then as well as of today have come to expect a certain level and this movie doesn't quite reach it.
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