5.9/10
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7 user 1 critic

The Mysterious Retort (1906)

Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La cornue infernale (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Fantasy, Mystery
Sound asleep in his comfortable armchair next to a high-pressure retort, a mystic silver-haired alchemist can't even notice the strange manifestations emerging from the vessel's bottom. Is this a dream, or a cornucopia of secreted desires?

Director:

Georges Méliès
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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Méliès
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Storyline

In his well-equipped private laboratory, a mystic silver-haired alchemist exhausted from the endless attempts to create his magnum opus falls asleep in a deep and comfortable armchair next to a high-pressure retort. Sound asleep, the weary sorcerer won't even notice the strange manifestations emerging from the vessel's bottom, when all of a sudden, things start spiralling out of control. Is this a vivid dream, or a cornucopia of secreted desires? Written by Nick Riganas

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Plot Keywords:

fire | boil | boiling | conjurer | lab | See All (53) »

Genres:

Short | Fantasy | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Also Known As:

The Mysterious Retort See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Symbols
12 November 2002 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Even when we look at one of Melies' films and don't know what he is going on about, still, we are carried along by his speed, his good humor and his inventiveness -- after all, his films at this stage rarely last more than a minute.

Here, we have a piece that might be called "The Alchemist's Dream." The old alchemist falls asleep and dreams of finding the philosopher's stone: he dreams of snakes shedding their skins, of young women tossing gold, all the hermetical symbols of the Philosopher's Stone which not only granted the ability to transmute any item into gold, but gave one eternal youth.

So this is a sad movie, in a way: an old man dreams of being young. Yet Melies hides behind these symbols, which we don't know about nowadays, and produces a fun little piece.


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