George Méliès

film 25 of 70

The Marvelous Wreath

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 19, 2015

As mentioned, Erik Barnouw (1981) makes a good point about Méliès. At some point it’s all comes down to this one particular cut. He wonders. Really, how much can you really do with that one trick?

Well, as we’ve seen, quite a lot! And yet, as mentioned twice now, Barnouw makes a good point. But isn’t it wonderful how this trick, animated as it is by this bright sensibility, so multiplies itself? He whacks the hoop on that sheet, and the contortionist jumps through, and he contorts beautifully. As he does so Méliès (in a really cool wig) accompanies him so happily with these gestures and facial expressions. The climax of the film is the forming of the wreath. It’s very pretty: cinema as pure decoration. That is a really rich concept, actually, and full of incalculable possibilities. And as always, Méliès’ compositions are very careful, the movement of his personages most purposeful. If the film is not exactly cinematic, then it’s not exactly not, either. Even in his limitations…