Georges Méliès was a genius. When other film makers (like Edison and the Lumiere Brothers) were filming the most mundane situations (babies being fed, trains arriving, employees leaving work, etc.), he was telling stories and creating the first special effects in the history of cinema. So, if you decide to watch a few of his films, try some of the competition first--and you'll be amazed at the difference.
This one recreates a scene from the Franco-Prussian War. I was actually surprised he chose this, as the French were totally embarrassed in their very quick loss to what amounted to only a portion of what later became Germany. Regardless, the film is set in a set painted like a building in ruins and men are huddled up trying to hold off the Hun. It looks a bit lame by today's standards but is actually very nice for 1897.
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