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The Monster (1903)

Le monstre (original title)
An Egyptian prince has lost his beloved wife and he has sought a dervish who dwells at the base of the sphinx. The prince promises him a vast fortune if the dervish will only give him the ... See full summary »

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An Egyptian prince has lost his beloved wife and he has sought a dervish who dwells at the base of the sphinx. The prince promises him a vast fortune if the dervish will only give him the opportunity of gazing once more upon the features of his wife. The dervish accepts the offer. He brings in from a neighboring tomb the receptacle containing the remains of the princess. He opens it and removes the skeleton, which he places upon the ground close beside him. Then, turning to the moon and raising his arms outstretched toward it, he invokes the moon to give back life to her who is no more. The skeleton begins to move about, becomes animated, and arises. The dervish puts it upon a bench and covers it with a white linen; a masque conceals its ghostly face. At a second invocation the skeleton begins again to move, arises, and performs a weird dance. In performing its contortions it partly disappears in the ground. While performing its feats it increases gradually in size, its neck assuming ... Written by Lubin Catalog

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Short | Fantasy

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15 August 1903 (USA)  »

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The Monster  »

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1.33 : 1
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A fine illusionist piece from Georges Méliès
9 November 2010 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

This little atmospheric short is about a couple of people in Egypt who are visited by a ghostly skeletal creature who rises out of a coffin that they have been transporting. Georges Méliès shows here once again that he was not only adept at visual trickery but was able to present it in an interesting way. The Egyptian setting is a nice touch and adds some exotic ambiance. The skeletal creature is manipulated in ways that are visually interesting. It dances around and is covered in sheets making it appear like a ghostly apparition. It rises high into the air and disappears into the ground. It even latterly turns into a woman. Of course, it's all very gimmicky but early films did not really tell stories at this point in history and Méliès did imbue his trick films with a definite charm. Le Monstre does sort of come off as a magician's show in many ways, but like a lot of his films it has been given a personality and the exotic flavour doesn't do it any harm at all.


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