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Sleeping Beauty (1908)
"La belle au bois dormant" (original title)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 23 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

A beautiful daughter having been born to the king and queen, the nine most important fairies of the country are called upon to be godmother of the child, and as the ceremony takes place ... See full summary »

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Title: Sleeping Beauty (1908)

Sleeping Beauty (1908) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

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Julienne Mathieu
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Storyline

A beautiful daughter having been born to the king and queen, the nine most important fairies of the country are called upon to be godmother of the child, and as the ceremony takes place each blesses the child with a special virtue or talent. The welfare of the child seems assured, when all at once the oldest, ugliest and therefore forgotten fairy, appears on the scene and, furious at the slight, puts upon her, curses the baby princess and predicts that she will die poisoned by the prick of the spool of a spinning wheel. The godmother fairies, however, sooth the grief-stricken mother by telling her that her daughter will not die but only fall asleep, as well as everything living which surrounds her for one hundred years. To avoid this calamity, the king orders that every spinning wheel be destroyed under penalty of death, and the king's messenger is seen reading the command. The next scene shows the grown-up princess closely watched by a stately matron. This trusted servant, however, ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Short | Fantasy

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Release Date:

5 April 1908 (USA)  »

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Sleeping Beauty  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A Hundred Year Nap for the Princess -- Ten Minutes for the Audience
17 September 2010 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

First let's go over the good points of this one-reel movie from 1908 -- a long movie for that year. The production values are enormous, elaborate sets, large cast, no expense spared in special effects -- the DP, Segundo de Chomon was Melies' only real rival in that area and the print I saw was a a beautifully stencil-colored example of the form.

Next, a cultural issue: this is a now-antique cinematic form, basically an illustrated text, as each title serves to tell the familiar story and then the movie illustrates it. This was standard for this period, although it would disappear within half a decade as cinema became its own art form.

However, the real issue is that this is enormously padded. We get a good minute of the princess wandering through the castle, which could have been severely cut -- even if there is one nice, slow pan to show the scale of castle and illustrate its reality. The acting is hopelessly antique and people stroll and hold real-time conversations which we cannot hear.

Even though the audience of 1908 might have been spellbound by the lavishness of production and the pageantry of the images, the padding and inappropriate acting still make this a bore. Too bad.


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