Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak [Surprise d’une maison au petit jour] (1898)

The appropriately titled Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak (aka House Ambushed at Dawn) by Alice Guy-Blaché begins rather shockingly, and then the action continues all the way through the final frames.


Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Disappearing Act [Scène d’escamotage] (1898)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Alice Guy-Blaché’s Disappearing Act (aka Scène d’escamotage) is an obvious imitation of the early films of Georges Méliès, such as The Vanishing Lady. Also note that we see the same backdrop used in At the Hypnotist’s.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – The Turn-of-the-Century Blind Man [L’aveugle fin de siècle] (1898)

After being admonished by a cop, a “blind” beggar takes advantage of a sleeping mark to……get the mark arrested?

March Melies Madness! – The Temptation of St. Anthony [La tentation de Saint-Antoine] (1898)

This is the 1st movie with a religious narrative. In front of an effigy of the crucified Christ, St. Anthony (Georges Méliès) is tempted by beautiful women.

March Melies Madness! – The Four Troublesome Heads [Un homme de tête] (1898)

Georges Méliès takes off his head, places it onto a table, and then re-grows a new head. This is repeated 2 more times with the still-animated heads interacting with each other.

March Melies Madness! – The Astronomer’s Dream [La lune à un mètre] (1898)

In The Astronomer’s Dream (aka La lune à un mètre aka The Moon at One Meter), Georges Méliès explores the imagination and fantasies of a scientist viewing the moon. This is a pre-cursor to the more accomplished A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune).

March Melies Madness! – Adventures of William Tell [Guillaume Tell et le clown] (1898)

A humorous re-telling of the William Tell legend, in which a dummy is built for the purpose of enacting the William Tell arrow shot, but the dummy comes to life via the use of a stop-cut replacement trick often used by Méliès.

March Melies Madness! – The Famous Box Trick [Illusions fantasmagoriques] (1898)

Georges Méliès performs multiple tricks based around his magic box via the use of stop-cut replacement editing.

March Melies Madness! – The Magician [Le Magicien] (1898)

A wizard (Georges Méliès) conjures a table and box out of thin air, then vanishes as he jumps toward the box. Pierrot emerges from the box, takes a seat, and suddenly a banquet appears on the table, but it vanishes along with the table and chair before he can eat. A man in an Elizabethan doublet taps him on the shoulder and he is transformed into a Renaissance sculptor. Lifting a half-finished bust onto a pedestal, he prepares to set to work on it with a hammer and chisel only for it to come to life and snatch his tools from him. He attempts to embrace the sculpture, but it disappears and reappears in a variety of poses. Finally, the Elizabethan man reappears to kick him in the rump.

March Melies Madness! – Panorama From Top of a Moving Train [ Panorama pris d’un train en marche] (1898)

From the top of a moving train carriage, looking straight ahead over the roofs of the other carriages and over the steam engine pulling them, Méliès takes the viewer along a suburban Paris line, under bridges, past assorted buildings, and through a station. This is an example of a phantom ride, one of the earliest genres in film and popular at the end of the 19th century.

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