George Méliès

film 12 of 70

Excelsior!—Prince of Magicians

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

More on that Barnouw 1981 thing, which is that film, and film montage particularly, went far toward rendering a certain kind of stage magicianship obsolete. And then that a certain kind of cinematic magic, most clearly exemplified by Méliès, became its own dead end. There’s only so much you can do, he says, with that trickily transformative match cut.

Well in this film Méliès is obviously doing that, and mostly just that. But this Flicker Alley compilation of  Méliès films really jeopardizes (the excellent!) Barnouw’s basic thesis. Sometimes, so often, the transformations that follow the tricky match cut are so imaginative and pleasing that they no longer register as being merely limited or primitive. Rather, they are simple means, leading abundantly to a number of delightful ends.