Silent Screams – Puppet Masters | The Merry Skeleton (1897)

While Le squelette joyeux (The Merry Skeleton) is more lighthearted fun with little-to-no scares [to us modern viewers], with it the Lumiere brothers lay the groundwork for using special effects to create monster movie magic, which has advanced a tad in the 100+ years since.

In fact, only 3 years later, Frederick Armitage successfully transported the skeleton away from the static black background and onto a pirate ship at sea for Davey Jones’ Locker. The next thing you know, Davy Jones is raising hell in a Disney movie setting sail towards $1 billion dollars, literally. Thanks, Lumiere brothers!


Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – At the Hypnotist’s [Chez le magnétiseur] (1897)

This is one of the earliest Guy-Blaché films in which we see the influence of Georges Méliès. One striking difference is the longer distance that exists between the onscreen action and the camera.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – The Fisherman at the Stream [Le pêcheur dans le torrent] (1897)

The Fisherman at the Stream (aka Le pêcheur dans le torrent), is a comedic prank film of a type which began with Louis Lumière’s L’arroseur arrosé (The Sprinkler Sprinkled). In fact, Alice Guy-Blaché also filmed a remake of Lumiere’s short, but that movie is now presumed lost.

March Melies Madness! – After the Ball [Après le bal] (1897)

Considered the 1st “Adult” movie due to containing semi-nudity, After the Ball (aka Après le bal) features a maid assisting a woman (Jeanne d’Alcy, who would later become the wife of Georges Méliès).

March Melies Madness! – The Bewitched Inn [L’auberge ensorcelée] (1897)

An inn’s patron (Georges Méliès) readies himself to rest in his room, only to be foiled by various haunted tricks. The Bewitched Inn (aka L’auberge ensorcelée) can be considered a culmination of three previous surviving films by Melies: A Terrible Night, A Nightmare, and The Haunted Castle.

March Melies Madness! – The Surrender of Tournavos [La prise de Tournavos] (1897)

A unique Méliès due to being a war scene re-enactment and containing no elements of fantasy or camera tricks. The Surrender of Tournavos (aka La prise de Tournavos).

March Melies Madness! – The Haunted Castle [Le château hanté] (1897)

Via the use of stop-cut replacement trick photography, a king experiences the many haunts of his castle, culminating with an appearance by the Devil. The Haunted Castle (aka Le château hanté), by Georges Méliès, features wonderful hand-painting of individual frames, the result adding to the supernatural air of the film. Also of note: The logo of Melies’ Star Film production company is visible at the bottom of the right column in the background archway. Including a logo within the film was an early technique for claiming ownership, similar to a photographer’s watermark.

1st Multi-Shot Scene

Return of Lifeboat (1897) – James H. White

Return of Lifeboat contains the oldest example of a scene being filmed from multiple angles and then edited together to give the viewer more than one perspective. It is unknown whether this scene (which is the entirety of the movie) was filmed with more than one camera recording simultaneously, or whether a single camera was quickly moved and set-up in various positions.

1st “Adult” Film Containing Semi-Nudity

After the Ball (1897) – Georges Melies

After the Ball (aka Après le bal) features a maid assisting a woman (Jeanne d’Alcy, who would later become the wife of Georges Melies).