In this spectacular free adaptation of the popular theatre play "La Biche au Bois", the valiant Prince Bel-Azor pursues a baleful old witch to her impregnable castle, to save the beautiful young Princess Azurine.
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In this spectacular, meticulously hand-coloured movie which incorporates a plethora of never-seen-before special effects, interchanging panoramas and soft dissolves, the indefatigable director Georges Méliès presents a free adaptation of the popular theatre play "La Biche au Bois" by the brothers Cogniard. Following the announcement of the espousal of the beautiful young Princess Azurine and the noble Prince Bel-Azor, a baleful old witch casts a fiery and sulphurous curse on the innocent woman, and then aided by her evil minions, captures her and takes off on a blazing gilded chariot. But the valiant Prince along with the Fairy Godmother, Aurora, pursue the sorceress, from the unfathomable chasms of the eternal sea to great Neptune's realm, and finally, the abominable witch's impregnable castle. Who shall stand in the way of love?Written by
Following on the heels of his hugely important A Trip to the Moon, Georges Méliès directed this feature. Like its predecessor it was another narrative film. It was one of several that the director made that fell into the fairy tale category. A princess is abducted by a witch and a gallant prince embarks on quest to save her. His adventure takes him to the ocean floor where he encounters fairies from the court of Neptune and is subsequently taken on a journey inside a giant whale. He then battles the witch and her minions in the final conflict.
There is a lot of great imagery here and it exists in a great colour tinted print. The fantastical underwater world is particularly nice. There are a lot of different sets for a film of this age. Many of them are quite elaborate and detailed. Like other films of the time it has no inter-titles, so it wouldn't be very easy knowing exactly what is going on without a narrator. Fortunately there are versions of this with a voice-over, which was how the feature was meant to be presented in any case. But even without this it is consistently very interesting visually and is a great little fantasy adventure. Méliès was easily the most important director of the earliest years of cinema and this feature quite clearly indicates why.
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