A man needs to get to Monte Carlo from Paris, but finds out that a train will take 17 hours to get there. He decides to go with a man with a special car, who claims that he can get there in just two hours. Complications ensue.
A poor but honest young man wins the hand of a beautiful Princess after facing a series of exciting adventures involving apparitions, cartwheeling skeletons, a dragon, and plump dancing girls from the Folies Bergere.
An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. ... See full summary »
A scientist pours water into a tub. Flames rise up, then the scientist takes out some dresses, which are draped upon statues. The statues change into a bevy of dancing girls who perform a dance routine.
In this spectacular free adaptation of the popular theatre play "La Biche au Bois", the valiant Prince Bel-Azor pursues a baleful old witch to her impregnable castle, to save the beautiful young Princess Azurine.
I think the US release title for this Méliès film is very misleading. The angel of the title actually only makes an appearance towards the end for only about ten seconds and has very little to do with the plot of the whole film. In the UK, it was released under the title of "The Beggar Maiden", which is much more fitting.
While there are hardly any special effects in this ten-minute movie, the message and visual look makes up for it. The film begins in the cottage of a poor family who is threatened by the landlord when they discover they can't pay the rent. What's worse, the mother is lying sick in bed. So the father (who almost looks like Méliès himself) sends out their daughter Marie (played by Rachel Gillet, an actress who starred in Méliès's 1901 film "Little Red Riding Hood") to beg for alms. However, no one really seems to care about the little girl's welfare except a poor rag-and-bone man, and she falls unconscious in the snow...
While the plot is extremely simple and the whole film is told in just seven scenes, the message of the film is loud and clear, managing to say more in ten minutes than most movies today could do today in several hours. It's somewhat touching and the message even now still has relevance. Not only that, the sets in the film are absolutely beautiful, even if they aren't exactly convincing now. Even the one brief special effect we see, the superimposing of the angel, looks very well done especially compared to other Méliès films of the time. A beautiful movie and very much worth seeing even today.
(Note: I'd like to point out that a stencil-colored copy of this film survives but is not currently available online. What's more, two different endings to it were made, one for British audiences and one for American audiences (I won't spoil any of them). It would be interesting to see the other ending, but as far as I know it doesn't survive).
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