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Stickelback Eggs (1929)

Oeufs d'épinoche (original title)
An educational film, a movie through a microscope, in two parts. Within minutes after the egg drops in the water, fertilization occurs and contractions start. Soon, in a fertilized egg, we ... See full summary »

Director:

Jean Painlevé
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An educational film, a movie through a microscope, in two parts. Within minutes after the egg drops in the water, fertilization occurs and contractions start. Soon, in a fertilized egg, we see the germinal disc divide into two blastomeres. Divisions continue; contractions re-occur at the cap as it covers the egg. Title cards in French tell us what to watch for. Muscular movements and circulation appear; the heart beats. In part two, we see blood circulation begin as red cells develop on the surface of the yoke. They mass toward the heart. Arteries form, blood flows. The egg hatches and blood flows to new areas. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Short

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The University Lecture
28 August 2018 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

I had never heard of Jean Painlevé before poking around the France section of Filmstruck. Born in 1902, he was the son of the mathematician and French Prime Minister Paul Painlevé. He entered film with Michel Simon and made the first of his films, mostly about undersea life, in the 1920s. Wikipedia claims he directed over 200 films; the IMDb just over 40. Twenty-three were released in dvd by Criterion in 2009 as SCIENCE IS FICTION.

The Criterion collection dates this film from 1925; the Internet Movie Database from 1929; the difference probably arises from issues of production or modes of release.

This movie is an illustrated and animated university lecture, showing the progress of the fish' egg from before it is fertilized to far along in its progress. It makes some clever and, for the 1920s, masterful use of microphotography and time-lapse photography, and the title cards use precise and scientific terminology. The audience can see the contractions in the blastomer, and the circulation of blood in the embryo. Although nowadays, quite obviously, much cleaner and more elaborate educational films could be made, the effect is amazing for the era and still clear and, for those interested in the subject, quite educational 90 years later.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

None

Release Date:

21 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stickelback Eggs See more »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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