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The review for this is a lot like my review for ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES (1905)--from the same production company. Both films are beautiful and technically wonderful films--with hand-painted color film, decent sets for the day and some cute tricks to spice things up a bit. But, both films are pretty confusing and disjoint when seen today--due to a non-existent script (or so it seemed) and the odd problem with the Kino DVD. Kino released both films on the DVD "The Movies Begin Volume Three" and BOTH featured French language inter-title cards and NO English subtitles! So it's very pretty and amazing to see, but also kind of a mess as well.
For its time, this is a lavish and rather impressive production of the
legend of Aladdin and his magic lamp. It is filled with color, which
was produced with the old hand-tinting method. Some of the tinting is
quite detailed, and it must have taken a lot of work.
The movie is also loaded with special effects, to illustrate the lamp's "magic" and other fantastical developments. Most of the effects look pretty good even now, and only at a handful of times do you see through the illusion. The emphasis is squarely on the color and effects, because the story is familiar and the characters are one-dimensional.
It creates the atmosphere of the fantasy story rather well, and most of the time the visuals by themselves are eye-catching enough to keep things moving and to hold your attention.
this work from pathe is very nice to see with full of special effects familiar with works from george melies,the hand colored film looks very colorful and the magic from the lamp is really well done for its time and a good arabian nights atmosphere as well.
Having produced a colour version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves the previous year, Pathe created an even more opulent production in 1906 with this version of Aladdin and the Lamp. The brightly coloured film is almost as saturated as a 40s technicolor musical, and it adds to the fairy tale element of the plot. The film is also filled with impressive special effects almost on a par with those created by Melies. Some of the fantastical creations also stand out - especially the genie from the lamp who either stands nearly seven feet tall or is cleverly positioned in such a way that the camera's perspective makes him appear so. It might look a little primitive today but this was cutting edge stuff back in 1906.
Aladdin is only a poor boy until he finds a magical lamp where a
demonic sort of genie lives inside. The genie gives him his heart's
desire which sees Aladdin becoming wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.
However with the genie willing to grain wishes to whoever holds the
magic lamp, surely it is only a matter of time before something or
someone comes to take away all he has.
The first thing you notice about this hundred year old silent film from Pathé is the bright vibrant colours across every frame. I had seen hand colouring used in other silent films of the period but never to this extent at times it looks like there is very little not coloured on the screen. It really adds visually to the film and works especially well when Aladdin get richer as the colours used also get richer and fuller at the same time. The span of the story is also impressive, with multiple scenes and sets at a time when films were still on average very short and quite basic in terms of what they tried to do.
Well worth a look then as another example of the important role that French studio Pathé had in early cinema.
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