1905 in Movies

Movie reviews for movies (short films) made in 1905. Dates from IMDB.

 

1. “An Adventurous Automobile Trip,” directed by Georges Melies (9/10)

This falls somewhere between Melies’s regular shorts (1-4 minutes) and his epics (15+ minutes) and so represents a kind of departure. It’s a humourous little comedy of errors (a man is inflated rather than respirated, for example) that also has some foreshadowing for buddy comedies.

Good stuff.

 

1. “The Palace of Arabian Nights,” directed by Georges Melies (9/10)

I can’t tell whether or not the whole film is here, but if the switch from B&W to colour is intentional (and I can’t say that it is), this is something Melies invented decades before anyone else (like so many other things he invented). But I can’t be sure. (Final scenes are in B&W too – well, B&Y – so it’s likely it’s just something to do with the restoration.)

Aside from that rather crazy moment, this “epic” is not quite up to the standard of Melies’ best work. It’s still well worth watching and it is still remarkable for its time, but it’s no “Impossible Voyage.”

 

3. “Rip’s Dream,” directed by Georges Melies (8/10)

This might be the earliest film version of Rip van Winkle. It’s creative, it’s extremely bright and it is the first one of Melies films I have seen with title cards. Not quite the masterpiece that is the other epics, but it’s still pretty great.

 

4. “The Scheming Gambler’s Paradise,” directed by Georges Melies (8/10)

A really ingenious use of sets with a good final joke.

 

5. “Coney Island at Night,” directed by Edwin S. Porter (8/10*)

Seen before I had ever seen any of Melies’ films, so I have no idea what I would think of it now, knowing the standards of the era.

 

6. “A Crazy Composer,” directed by Georges Melies (7/10)

This is the second Melies movie I’ve seen where the music attempted to match the action on screen (of performers). Of course, there’s no way of really knowing whether that’s true or not, but anyway.

This guy is out there, which is cool. But the dream sequence thing we have seen before.

 

7. “The Black Imp,” directed by Georges Melies (6/10)

Yet another haunted room short. This one is noticeable for a clear upgrade in film stock quality (or, perhaps it was preserved better). Everything looks better as if Melies has more money. But we’ve seen this before.

 

8. “New York Subway,” directed by G.W. Bitzer (6/10*)

Don’t remember it.

 

9. “The Lilliputian Minuet,” directed by Georges Melies (5/10)

This is another fragment of a longer short. It features more of his tricks on shrinking people, but this one is rather obvious.

 

10. “Panorama from the the Times Building, New York,” (5/10)

Exactly what it says it is.

 

11. “The Enchanted Sedan Chair,” directed by Georges Melies (4/10)

Yet another magic show. The background is different but nothing else is.

 

12. “Unexpected Fireworks,” directed by Georges Melies (4/10)

Unlike most of Melies’ movies, there’s not much here to separate it from anything else from its era.

 

13. “The Magic Dice,” directed by Georges Melies (4/10)

This is just a fragment, all that is left, but it’s just another magic performance.