George Méliès

film 3 of 70

Fat and Lean Wrestling Match

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

The very root of what you might call mud pie cinema. Making a mess, with only the dimmest intimation of later constructiveness, or edification. As for the here and now, though, no moral purpose or value, whatsoever. Dangerous, perhaps. And, I would say, a developmental, probably moral necessity. You can’t always be behaving yourself!

That’s the impulse. The film, itself? Well, it’s mayhem all around, but it’s also mayhem of the most disciplined, delightful, perfectly paced variety. So resourceful, so fun, so naughty and sweet, so perfectly intermingled. This is going to be a theme here. We too often think of Méliès as historically important, but fundamentally primitive. We think of him, essentially, as a completely proscenium, which is almost or basically to say, a pre-cinematic director.

Not true! Pacing, blocking, narrative (broadly speaking) momentum: sounds like film directing to me. And take a close look at these films. Better, maybe, take a recreational look, maybe with your favourite little children nearby. Utterly, utterly superb stuff!