The Good, The Bad and The Critic

Established on March 19th, 2012 and pioneered by film fanatic Michael J. Carlisle. The Good, The Bad and The Critic will analyze classic and contemporary films from all corners of the globe. This title references Sergei Leone's influential spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Review #885: The Vanishing Lady (1896)

Title: The Vanishing Lady
Year: 1896
Director: Georges Melies
Country: France
Language: N/A

With his Star Film Company Georges' Melies desired to separate himself from the Lumiere Brothers. While they had sought realism in capturing the world on camera (ethnographic documentaries), Melies sought to give his audience pure fantasy and escapism. His specific brand of magic and illusion divulged in experimentation with special effects that were fairly unique to cinema at that time. Melies would build his studio to physically accompany such tricks. 

An elegantly dressed man enters through a stage door onto a set with decorated back screen, a chair and small table. He brings a well-dressed women through the door, spreads a newspaper on the floor, and places the chair on it. She sits and fans herself; he covers her with a diaphanous cloth. She disappears.

The Vanishing Lady is commonly identified as Melies first "Trick film". In this he used the “stop trick” (seen previously in Edison’s “Mary Queen of Scots”) to perform magic on screen. This was one of his most important camera techniques, and to some degree defines the rest of his career as a filmmaker. It's not an exciting film to current audiences, but I can imagine that audiences in 1896 were left bewildered. Melies certainly demonstrated that film was a suitable replacement for live stage. 

There is not much more I can say about the film as there isn't really a plot, and on most home video releases there is no music. It's an important picture in the history of Cinema, one that shouldn't be looked over in College classes. An amusing short picture that has traces of charm in each second of film. 

No Rating

1 comment:

  1. It was pointed out to me that this post appears to "borrow" some of my words from a previously-written article. I don't really mind "sharing" with other writers, but the nice thing to do would be to include a link so people also get to see the original post: