Short Subjects

Video: Le Monstre (The Monster, 1903)

Silent movie magician George Melies uses an Egyptian setting for this short subject in which a skeleton, covered with a sheet, comes to life and dances, then transforms into a living woman and back into a skeleton. Typical of Melies, the presentation is stagy (befitting a former stage magician), and the profusion of special effects [...]

The Haunted Castle (1896): Video

This 1896 black-and-white silent horror film from George Melies (the special effects pioneer behind 1902’s A TRIP TO THE MOON) probably yields little gooseflesh for today’s viewers. However, it plays like an overture for the next forty years of horror movie imagery; its brief running time encapsulates such soon-to-be-familiar cinema imagery as old dark castles; [...]

The Man with the Rubber Head: Video

This is one of many amusing silent short subjects from George Melies, the early cinema magician who pioneered the use of special effects to create imaginative and whimsical fantasy on screen. Typical of Melies, there is little story; THE MAN WITH THE RUBBER HEAD is more of an extended sight gag, in which the special [...]

Le Diable Noir (a.k.a., The Black Imp, 1905): Video

This 1905 effort from George Melies may not be as famous as A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902), but LA DIABLE NOIR (or THE BLACK IMP) is a perfect distillation of the the silent movie magicians craft and art. The movie tells the simple story of a customer in a hotel room bedeviled by the [...]

A Trip to the Moon (1902): Video

George Melies’s 1902 A TRIP TO THE MOON is a pioneering work in the history of horror, fantasy, and science fiction cinema. Although Melies directing technique is dated (proscenium arch compositions, with no intercutting of different angles within scenes), his whimsical sense of magic and fantasy continue to amuse decades later. Story elements are borrowed [...]