Category Archives: 1900s

Princess Nicotine (1909)

This is also known as “The Smoke Fairy,” and is one of the first monumental silent films to really experiment with film structure. We watched this in my film class the other day and it was really delightful. It was one of the starters to play with story line and fantasy. The inner cutting within the film was incredibly impressive for the time, and audiences probably were blown away by this type of spectacle.

I absolutely love seeing things like this. A short and sweet silent film that this is just something that is so thoroughly enjoyable. No I’m not kidding.

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Dreams of Toyland (1908)

This is a short and sweet film about a little boy dreaming of all his toys coming to life. It’s one of the first notable attempts at stop motion within the 6 minute sequence. This is the beginning of a long standing legacy within the film industry.

There’s a fantastic level of creativity and imagination in this early age. After being such a huge fan of March of the Wooden Soldiers, a Thanksgiving favorite, the images and characters in Toyland have a special place in my childhood memory.

That’s really all there is to say about it, very cutesy. Watch it here.

Premier Prix de Violoncelle (1907)

This was spectacular. It shows a cellist who just wants to play his music in peace in the street, but the nearby listeners hate it so much, they gather all their belongings and throw things at him from the windows above. Though he is persistent with his playing, the items thrown at him get more and more ridiculous. There’s even a shot with a bookcase being pushed up the stairs!

It all ends two minutes later when a little girl comes and hands him flowers, so he has finally reached victory. Please watch it, HERE. 

Also, I haven’t seen many of Pathe’s films before, so this was an absolute delight. Sending it to my cellist sister this very moment.

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Rescued by Rover (1905)

Now for something completely different… This is the six minute long tale of a woman who is stupider than her dog. She turns her back, her baby gets stolen, the dog can somehow “smell” the baby from miles away, and leads the father to the place where the drunken gypsy woman stole the child. All was well in the end, need I go on?

Oddly enough, after Hunchback, it was exactly what I needed.

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Voyage a Travers L’Impossible (1904)

This was basically an expansion upon Le Voyage Dans la Lune, the more famous of the Melies fantasy films. I’m not sure why, but I’m not crazy about silent films that are in color. Especially considering the vibrant and expression props Melies used in his production, similar to the look of stage plays, you add the color and it looks sort of tacky. There’s just something about a good old black and white silent film, something rather organic about it I guess.

This story is exactly as you’d expect. Quite a classic and definitely an innovation for its time.