Released under different titles in France--and not surprisingly, often confused with its analogous 1896 movie, "Le Manoir du Diable (1896)"--Georges Méliès' Haunted Castle is considered, by all means, a remake.
An elegantly dressed man enters through a stage door onto a set with decorated back screen, a chair and small table. He brings a well-dressed women through the door, spreads a newspaper on the floor, and places the chair on it. She sits and fans herself; he covers her with a diaphanous cloth. She disappears; he tries to conjure her back with incomplete results. Can he go beyond the bare bones of a conjuring trick and succeed in the complete reconstitution of a the lady?Written by
The Vanishing Lady showcases a primitive form of the substitution splice.
Méliès was first and foremost a magician. An illusionist who pushed the limits of film during the early 20th century to create spectacles. This silent short trick film experiments with an editing technique that seemingly makes a female individual disappear and then reappear, as if it was one take. The technical astuteness and methodical editing is what makes this one minute film intriguing. Méliès attempts to recapture a stage production through the medium of film, and does so with confidence. This simply exists to prove an editing concept. There is no story, limited acting and nothing memorable to elevate this trick film. So to call it a "movie" would be slightly obscure and tenuous. The inclusion of the skeletal remains does somewhat inject a fantastical element to the technique, but it's not enough to transpire the concept as it lacks creativity that he is infamous for. Raw, basic and unmemorable. The Vanishing Lady vanishes amongst Méliès' densely populated filmography, but remains an intriguing short to experiment with a simple editing technique. Paving the way for his future lengthier films that have made a mark in cinematic history.
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