Atop a wonderful central pedestal, a happy clown puts the finishing touches on a William Tell's incomplete model, assembling the mannequin limb by limb with the intention of shooting a target off of its head with a potent crossbow.
Released under different titles in France--and not surprisingly, often confused with its analogous 1896 movie, "Le Manoir du Diable (1896)"--Georges Méliès' Haunted Castle is considered, by all means, a remake.
Opens with a magician compressing something white in his hands. It transforms into a living dove. which is quickly deposited into a box sitting on a table behind the magician. In short order several other articles are tossed into the box out of which springs a young boy in clown makeup. The magician helps the boy down then places him atop another small box. He then picks up an executioners ax and appears to be going to slice the boy lengthwise. Instead, as the ax touches him the boy turns into twins! The magician then uses his mystical powers to make first one and then the other disappear. To prove they haven't gone into the box, he destroys it then causes the boy to reappear on top of one of the pieces. .Hoisting the child one more time he makes him transform into a French and an American flag which the magician waves triumphantly. But for the big finish he hops onto the table, bows his head and disappears only to reappear through a stage door for one final bowWritten by
In this film Melies plays a magician and we are entertained with various tricks related to a wooden box. As to be expected, the special effects are very good here and they remains very believable even after a hundred years. One of the tricks deals with Melies putting a boy in the box and making him disappear and there's another good gag of splitting the boy in two and making him two different kids. The film runs just over a minute and manages to be very entertaining for that time, although this isn't the greatest magic show the director did.
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