This shows a prince entering upon the stage of the King's private theatre. He is about to do a few mystifying tricks for the amusement of the court. Taking a large sheet of cardboard, he ... See full summary »
A bearded magician holds up a large playing card and makes it larger. He tears up a card of a queen, burns the torn bits, and a life-size Queen of Hearts card appears; then, it becomes ... See full summary »
A weary clock-maker dozes off in a chair. While he is asleep, three women suddenly appear in the midst of his shop. They proceed to show the sleeping clock-maker some new kinds of clocks that they know how to make.
Scenes. 1. The Route to the Depths of Perdition (a Dazzingly Sensational New Effect.) 2. The Fantastical Ride. 3. The Gloomy Pass. 4. The Stream. 5. The Entrance to the Lower Regions. 6. ... See full summary »
It's hard to really understand this film unless you turn on the optional commentary track. It begins with an old Jewish man struggling as he walks. You learn, through the use of a double-exposure, that the man witnessed Christ being led to the crucifixion and refused him water. Now, he's cursed to wander through eternity--and there is no let up to his misery. He sees what he's done repeatedly, is attacked by Satan and the elements conspire against him--all in repayment for his sin.
While the set appears very crudely done (almost quaint), this is the norm for 1904--and that is why it all appears very stagy. But, it makes nice use of the double-exposure and is decent for its time.
I wondered, however, if this was film was perhaps based on some folk tale (I've never heard of it). So I checked and found the story began sometime around the 13th century and the man was cursed to do this until Christ's second coming. Perhaps this story was created to explain the displaced Jewish people (who had no homeland for almost 1900 years) or was in some way antisemitic--I have no idea. But here in the States, it's a story I would assume very, very few would recognize.
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