George Méliès

film 51 of 70

The Bewitched Trunk

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 19, 2015

At first all the tricks are obviously accomplished through cutting, so that they’re not all that magical. But then come the permutations, and the recollection that though sleight-of-hand may pale, or even pall, this kind of graceful terpsichore never does. This is Méliès’ great trajectory, isn’t it? Magic turns to dance, so that his devices can sometimes be anticipated, but then they’re done with such pleasing symmetry and musicality, and with some pleasing little surprises to boot.

The conclusion is very nice, as Méliès himself carries the now people-packed trunk away. Then he collapses under the weight, and then they pull him magically out of the wreckage, and then the entire company gives us a generous and joyful bow. Great costumes, as if I even need mention it. This time the backdrop is at an oblique angle, instead of being perpendicular. Kind of interesting! But perpendicular works better.