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The Artist's Dilemma (1901)

The scene opens in an artist's studio, the artist asleep in his chair. A large old fashioned clock opens and a young lady comes out and awaking the artist, requests him to paint her picture... See full summary »

Director:

Edwin S. Porter
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Storyline

The scene opens in an artist's studio, the artist asleep in his chair. A large old fashioned clock opens and a young lady comes out and awaking the artist, requests him to paint her picture. While the artist is executing the work a clown comes from the clock, takes in the situation and begins to make love to the lady. The artist detects him and compels him to desist his love making. He continues to paint. The clown becomes interested and asks the artist to allow him to paint the picture, and begins smearing a whitewash brush over the canvas, when lo, a most perfect image of the young lady appears. The image then steps down from the frame, joins the young lady in the studio, and the figures, each a perfect counterpart of the other begin to dance to the great astonishment of the artist. The clown the by waving his hand causes the figures of the two girls to merge into one. The artist then assumes his seat and awakens from his dream with a great shock. Written by Edison Catalog

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Genres:

Short | Fantasy

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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

14 December 1901 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Artist's Dilemma; or, What He Saw in a Nightmare See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Funny and worth seeing after more than 100 years
21 November 2006 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This short film from Edison Films is very much a product of its time. The film is relatively short, as most films were in 1901 and the subject matter is very derivative of the work being done in France by Georges Méliès. Méliès was a magician who began making many cute little fantasy films--often involving the use of camera tricks such as stopping the camera and carefully restarting it to make it look like things or someone has disappeared. This film in so many ways looks exactly like one of the Méliès films except that the great French director isn't in this film (he played the lead in most of his films).

The film begins with a sleeping painter. A woman steps out of the grandmother clock and asks to be painted. A moment later, a clown also steps out of the clock, but instead of being painted, the clown takes the brush and magically paints the woman and the painting comes to life and the lady and her painted double do a little dance. It was marvelous entertainment for 1901, though today it is obvious how they did this. However, the film STILL provides a few laughs--especially when the artist tries to kiss the lady and she disappears and the clown appears in her place. It's all very cute and entertaining, but we have seen it before.


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