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The Mystical Flame (1903)

La flamme merveilleuse (original title)
A juggler enters upon the scene, picks up a skull, throws it into the air, catches it in his hands, where it is transformed into a handkerchief. The handkerchief, after being twirled about ... See full summary »

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A juggler enters upon the scene, picks up a skull, throws it into the air, catches it in his hands, where it is transformed into a handkerchief. The handkerchief, after being twirled about a wand, is changed to a napkin, and afterward to a tablecloth. Out of the table cloth comes a servant. The servant brings a low table upon which the juggler throws some magic powder. The powder takes fire and blazes up into a large flame, in the midst of which appears a beautiful female. The flame dies away, the lady descends to show that she is alive. She mounts the table again. The juggler leaves the room. The servant falls in love with the lady and proposes marriage, but she fades from view. The juggler reenters and head over heals disappears from the top of the chair. The servant rushes toward the chair, juggler reappears coming out from under the table, seizes the servant and, throwing him to the floor, reduces him to smoke. He disposes of the chair in like manner and dances off. Written by Lubin Catalog

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Short | Fantasy

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25 July 1903 (USA)  »

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The Mystical Flame  »

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Georges Méliès revisits a familiar theme.
21 July 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

If you see this film and think maybe you've seen it before, it might be because director Georges Méliès made many films like this. After all, before he became a film maker, he was a stage magician. And so, in many of his film, he himself (sporting a wig) does a stage magician act that is able to do tricks you could never really do on stage. Using stop-motion, things appear and disappear and change before the audience's eyes. While it's very obvious he's using stop-motion film work, back in the day this was hot stuff--and audiences were amazed and had no idea how he achieved these feats.

The best thing about this very familiar film is the nice background that looks reminiscent of a Renaissance painting that is designed to fool the eye into thinking it's 3-D. Aside from that, the usual magic tricks are done by the director and it's not particularly new or grand but it is quite watchable. Also, the print is a bit fuzzy and could possibly be in need of further conservation.


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