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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Two travelers are tormented by Satan from inn to inn and eventually experience a buggy ride through the heavens courtesy of the Devil before he takes one of them down to Hell and roasts him on a spit.Written by
This fantasy/horror feature has plenty of good visual effects, as you would expect from a Georges Méliès movie. It features quite a variety of backgrounds, camera tricks, and other devices from the French movie pioneer's seemingly endless bag of tricks. There isn't really much to the story itself, so it seems clear that the plot was mainly a vehicle to set up the special effects.
The story has the devil choosing to torment a couple of travelers, in a variety of imaginative ways and places. There is quite a bit of action, although most of it simply displays Méliès's camera skill, rather than advancing the story. This may well have been one of the features for which he wrote a narrative designed to be read when the feature was screened, since it isn't always immediately clear what the purpose is for some of the scenes. But in any case, the story logic is not supposed to occupy as much of the viewer's attention as are the interesting visuals.
The themes are similar to those in many earlier Méliès features, and he seemed to enjoy coming up with diabolical sights and bizarre antics. Since there isn't a lot of brand new material here, it probably doesn't rank among his best features, but it's another good demonstration of his creativity and skill.
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