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The Magic Lantern (1903)

La lanterne magique (original title)
| Short, Comedy, Fantasy
In this brief "trick film" two clowns assemble an enormous magic lantern which first projects moving images, then emits dancing girls.

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Two impish clowns construct a magic lantern. They prop it up at an angle, and use it to project pictures onto a wall. When the picture show ends, they open up the lantern to reveal a group of dancing girls inside - and this is only the first of the indications that this lantern really is magical. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | Comedy | Fantasy

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Another charming little trick film from M. Méliès
8 August 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Here's another very brief (4 min.) movie from the stage conjurer Georges Méliès, not as elaborate as his famous Trip to the Moon, but sweet and funny. The Magic Lantern features Punch and Pierrot, two painted Commedia Dell'arte clowns, cavorting in a child's bedroom with over-sized props. The clowns assemble an enormous magic lantern, place a candle inside it, and project moving images onto the wall. After viewing a selection of brief film clips, including a kissing couple, the clowns collapse the sides of the lantern to reveal a surprising number of dancing girls inside. (After all, if it's a Méliès film there must be chorus girls!) A vigorous dance is performed, and one spectacularly athletic brunette dancer seizes the moment and steals the show. At that point, a fight breaks out between Punch and Pierrot over the girl's affections. The other girls flee, and gendarmes arrive. I won't spoil the ending, but it's safe to say the cops soon regret their attempt to intervene.


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