Through a rapid succession of drawings, ingenious disguises and soft dissolves, the director portrays a quick-sketch artist who transforms to various characters according to the static outlines on his chalkboard.
Despite all methods of instantaneously masking a clandestine gambling den's shady activities, the risk of getting caught is high, especially when the police thirsts for success. But, sometimes, indulging in pure fun is just too tempting.
As we are treated with a rare appearance from a true master of the miraculous Asian thaumaturgy, a fine display of multiplication commences, and a serene young geisha completes the enchantment. What does the Chinese conjurer have in mind?
The background of this picture represents a scene along the beautiful river Seine in Paris. A gentleman enters, and taking a blackboard from the side of the picture, he draws on it a sketch of a novelist. Then, standing in the centre, he causes the living features of his sketch to appear in the place of his own, which is utterly devoid of whiskers. The change is made so mysteriously that the eye cannot notice it until one sees quite another person in the place of the first. Again another sketch is shown on the board, this one being that of a miser; then an English cockney; a comic character; a French policeman, and last of all, the grinning visage of Mephistopheles. It is almost impossible to give this film a more definite description; suffice it to say that it is something entirely new in motion pictures and is sure to please.Written by
The premise is simple; the execution is not. Melies draws faces on a chalkboard. After each drawing, he stands front and center and become the picture. Eventually, our old friend the devil takes his turn after being drawn. The neat thing in this is the ability to match up these chalk drawings with the figures Melies creates. Very good.
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