George Méliès

film 10 of 70

The Magician’s Cavern

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

Erik Barnouw (1981) is right on this one, at least with regard to the lady on the sawhorses. This is plain, transparent fakery. But then there’s so much energy (performance) and generosity (spectacle as an emblem of invention, and an offering of love to the audience!) that you still have to be disarmed, and charmed.

That is a great skeleton dance, and from the man who brought us more of great skeleton dances than anyone else ever did. (Special commendation, though, to Walt Disney et al., 1929.) We have lots of lovely ladies, moving very beautifully. Finally Méliès himself emerges out of that disguise, almost like Prospero at the end of The Tempest. It seemed that way to me, anyway. So agile and attractive, so kindly, and all for our benefit.