One possible theory about this work which makes it more than just a well-executed trick film: the 10 ladies under a single umbrella could be symbolic of the potential for peace within a unified Europe, led by their 10 most prominent nations at the time. Notice the variations in the original set of “maiden” costumes. Perhaps before the film print deteriorated over time, we could have more easily differentiated between the specific countries represented. Color would have also been beneficial.
Regardless, did Méliès foreshadow the European Union? Or are things simply as they appear on the surface – a fun movie with an arbitrary number of beautiful ladies. Note that the women’s dresses each become modernized and conformed between each other near the end, but before that happens, their garb is briefly changed to that of antiquity, eliciting a bow of praise from Melies. Then, before making his own dramatic exit, Melies conjures a sign that reads, “Galathea Theatre”. This is a reference to the Greek myth of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with his statue of Galatea, and was eventually granted a wish (thanks to the goddess, Venus): the ivory sculpture was brought to life as a woman of flesh and blood.
May 28, 2012 — chrisgiddens
Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Courtesy of Méliès as the God of Thunder, Zeus (aka Jupiter).
May 27, 2012 — chrisgiddens
Comical “ghost tale” by Méliès that uses the blurred, out-of-focus superimposition trick to creepy effect. Also of interest is the subtle symbolism invoked from the lodger’s rebuffed advancements towards the maid, followed by the candlestick that won’t sit still, grows much larger, and distracts until its flame finally seizes the man’s full attention.
May 25, 2012 — chrisgiddens
So much to enjoy and appreciate in this one: the striking colors (especially the flames and demon green), the devilishly macabre subject matter, and the Méliès special effects. The coolest tricks involve fireball spirits that become ash and the use of out-of-focus superimposition to create the most visually-impressive ghosts in film up to this point.
May 24, 2012 — chrisgiddens
As equally impressive as the tricks and charismatic showmanship of Méliès are his sets and costume design. The backdrop on display here has a magical scope, depth, and detail.
May 23, 2012 — chrisgiddens
Méliès takes his detachable head game, as previously seen in The Four Troublesome Heads and The Man with the India Rubber Head, to the next level as Le mélomane (aka The Music Lover). Curiously, the notes selected can be considered the opening to the United Kingdom anthem, God Save the King/Queen (and in the United States, My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, aka, America). One can wonder if this was intentional by the Frenchman, and whether it was perhaps a nod to the other two pioneering nations in cinema at the time along with France: the USA and England.