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The Doctor's Secret (1910)

Hydrothérapie fantastique (original title)
| Short
Doctors blow to pieces a patient in a hydrotherapy machine and re-assemble him.

Director:

Georges Méliès
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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Méliès
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Storyline

Doctors blow to pieces a patient in a hydrotherapy machine and re-assemble him.

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Genres:

Short

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Details

Country:

France

Also Known As:

The Doctor's Secret See more »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Edited into Méliès, los Orígenes (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Bizarre, even by Méliès's standards
10 August 2018 | by Tornado_SamSee all my reviews

The IMDb date for this short could be debated--Wikipedia claims Méliès never actually made any films at all in 1910, and in fact ceased production by 1909, hence this movie was made that year--while film historian John Frazer argues he made movies both years. It remains unclear to me which is right--the excuse for not making any movies in 1910, that he went to travel Europe with a stage magic spectacle, seems accurate enough, but a historian's claims would tend to be more correct than online sources.

This 10-minute Méliès film, outside his head movies, is one of the most bizarre works he made in his entire career in concept and execution. One might even go as far as to call it a science-fiction movie. The film begins with a doctor (Méliès himself, wearing a wig) in his office when his assistants bring in a fat man who can barely get around due to his bulk. They start with running a few experiments to see what's causing his weight, before taking action and running him through various machines which are more like pure terror than help. Finally, the man's problems are solved in a completely Méliès-esque twist, not to be spoiled for those who haven't seen it.

If there are any flaws to be acknowledged in this film, one such thing is, evidently, the pacing. Even at only 10 minutes long it feels padded and drags along rather slowly, containing an overly lengthy opening sequence. That said, the special effects are excellent and better done than many other ones from the same era, even from Méliès himself. The dismembered body multiple exposures looks better than all the CGI seen nowadays and the bizarre, humorous atmosphere that is the director's trademark is certainly there. In addition, the medium closeups for the 'before' and 'after' were also rather unusual for Méliès and look good here, although many other filmmakers, such as Griffith, were starting to use such techniques more and more. Unique, especially when compared to the other works the director was making at this point.


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