Early roots of sci-fi magic are given to us in the form of a scientist who invents a ray that makes people caught in its beam fall asleep where they stand. With magical and wonderful shots of a Paris long gone, it is the adventure of a group of unaffected who with their sudden freedoms play the game of mice while the cat is away. With a narrative that sways toward a moralistic stance on the principles of fair play and responsibility, this little science fiction fable can still be poignant today as when the magnificent views were first shot from the dizzy heights of the Eiffel Tower.Written by
When a man awakens from his nightly sleep and leaves his quarters atop the Eiffel Tower, he discovers all of Paris is empty. After wandering for a bit, he finds that the people haven't vanished, they are all frozen in place like statues. He joins up with a merry band of people that land in an airplane, and they have fun in the empty city. Eventually, though, things start to turn ugly, and they need to get to the bottom of what happened to the city.
This is an early version of films like I Am Legend, in the sense that one of the chief joys is seeing a normally bustling city like Paris devoid of movement. Clair managed several impressive shots of empty streets and parks, although the effect is broken occasionally by a moving boat or train in the distance. At only 35 minutes, there isn't a lot of time for things like plot development or deep characterization. The main point here is silly fun. The version I watched had the title cards in French only, but the story is clear enough from the on screen action that this doesn't prove much of a problem. This was listed in 101 Best Sci-Fi Films book.
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