George Méliès

film 70 of 70

The Enchanted Sedan Chair

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 19, 2015

There are so many more of these beautiful films. We’re going to leave them here, though. Shall we summarize? We have more transparent match cuts, of course, and more going on than just that. At first there’s a kind of uninteresting mannequin situation—let me see—it’s going to come alive, right? The masqued variations and multiplications that follow on that familiar first gambit are definitely of interest.

Erik Barnouw, 1981: film is magical already, or the film cut. That is why and how the movies killed stage magic. Unless, as here, they’re going for a deeper kind of enchantment. The trick cut has paled by now, but surprise can be replaced by beauty, and wonder. In some ways there’s nothing at all going on here. Méliès simply leads these prettily costumed women from here to there and back. But I look closely and see that there are walking like sacred vessels, or at least as delicate dancers, even though they’re not actually dancing. Chivalry and Romance. Religion!

Here’s a familiar device, a fun cut, for all of its now-transparency, that brings the men back in, to be followed by a rousing curtain call. Gratitude!