6.7/10
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7 user 3 critic

The Golden Beetle (1907)

Le scarabée d'or (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Fantasy | 20 April 1907 (Denmark)
A sorcerer tosses an iridescent little beetle into a flaming ceremonial cauldron, and much to his amazement, a six-winged fairy in the body of a beautiful young woman emerges. Is his sorcery potent enough to tame her?

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Storyline

Before an exquisitely ornate facade, an Egyptian sorcerer notices an iridescent little beetle creeping up the wall. Without delay, he plucks it off, and as a flaming ceremonial cauldron appears at his command, he tosses the insect into it which immediately bursts into flames. As a result, much to the wizard's amazement, this ritual transforms the beetle into a six-winged fairy in the body of a beautiful young woman, who now hovers effortlessly in mid-air. Delighted by the wondrous creature's fascinating and haunting repertoire, the awed conjurer will attempt to tame the magnificent being, but is his sorcery potent enough? Written by Nick Riganas

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Genres:

Short | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

20 April 1907 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Golden Beetle  »

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(hand-colored)

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1.33 : 1
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A well-preserved copy of this early silent colorful classic is included in the "Landmarks of Early Film" DVD by Image Entertainment. See more »

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Like a Georges Méliès film combined with LSD!
7 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Georges Méliès made a great name for himself with his many wonderful films. Méliès had been a stage magician and decided to go into film making. At first, many of his films consisted of him standing on stage performing tricks that were mostly done by stopping the camera and then restarting it--making things seem like they are appearing and disappearing. By today's standards, it's pretty obvious what is happening, but in his day, this was great stuff. So great, in fact, that many (including Edison and some other French film makers) blatantly copied the Méliès films. While I can't recall another Méliès film exactly like this one, many were copied practically scene for scene and "creative borrowing" was rampant in this day and age.

As I stated above, this does not appear to be a direct copy but is instead strongly inspired by the films of Georges Méliès. Like this master s work, this film shows a many on stage doing some conjuring--though this time he's dressed like an Arab. Méliès occasionally dressed this way, too, though in most of his films in this style he's wearing a tux like a stage magician. And, like Méliès, things begin to appear and disappear by using the same techniques. However, there's more to this one than most copies of the Méliès style, as the magician crawls around stage in a very peculiar way (I'm still at a loss as to why he does this). Additionally, the film uses wonderfully hand-painted cells to make it look like a color film. Georges Méliès also occasionally did this, but with THE GOLDEN BEETLE, the paint job was terrific--even better than the Méliès hand-painted films. Seeing the weird looking lady dressed as a beetle was impressive as she appeared silver and gold.

Now as for exactly what happens in the film, I am at a bit of a loss. It looks almost as if the film makers were on LSD, as it gets pretty weird and confusing. Still, I liked the colorful beetle-lady and it was fun to watch so I'm giving it a 7. Had it been more original, the score would have no doubt been much higher.


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