Prior to 1910 - my favorites

by guisreis | created - 08 Nov 2016 | updated - 28 Aug 2017 | Public
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1. The Black Imp (1905)

Not Rated | 4 min | Short, Comedy, Fantasy

A traveler at an inn is harassed by a mischievous devil in his room.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 1,777

2. Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

Much to our amazement, an elegant and masterful illusionist detaches his own head effortlessly from his shoulders for a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,679

3. Jack and the Beanstalk (1902)

Not Rated | 10 min | Short, Fantasy

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of the famous fairy tale story of Jack and his magic beanstalk. Borrowing on cinematographic methods ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter | Stars: James H. White, Thomas White

Votes: 606

4. Le frotteur (1907)

3 min | Short, Comedy

An extremely clumsy man tries to clean a woman's house with disastrous results.

Directors: Louis Feuillade, Alice Guy

Votes: 102

5. Adventures of William Tell (1898)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Comedy

Atop a wonderful central pedestal, a happy clown puts the finishing touches on a William Tell's incomplete model, assembling the mannequin limb by limb with the intention of shooting a target off of its head with a potent crossbow.

Director: Georges Méliès

Votes: 433

6. The Devilish Tenant (1909)

6 min | Short, Comedy

A man rents an apartment and furnishes it in remarkable fashion.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Charles Claudel, Octavie Huvier, François Lallement, André Méliès

Votes: 1,475

7. Chapellerie et charcuterie mécanique (1900)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short

Filmmaker Alice Guy creates something of an oddity with this one-minute comedy. An inventor and his assistant create a machine that, true to its title, makes hats and grinds sausages! The ... See full summary »

Director: Alice Guy | Star: Henri Vallouy

Votes: 158

8. Poor Pierrot (1892)

4 min | Animation, Comedy, Short

One night, Arlequin come to see his lover Colombine. But then Pierrot knocks at the door and Colombine and Arlequin hide. Pierrot starts singing but Arlequin scares him and the poor man goes away.

Director: Émile Reynaud

Votes: 1,214

9. The House of the Devil (1896)

Not Rated | 3 min | Short, Horror

With the help of a magic cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a variety of supernatural characters.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Jules-Eugène Legris, Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,520

The first horror film ever!

10. The Great Train Robbery (I) (1903)

TV-G | 11 min | Short, Action, Crime

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes

Votes: 15,703

11. The Man with the Rubber Head (1901)

3 min | Short, Comedy, Fantasy

A chemist carries out a bizarre experiment with his own head.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,276

12. Conquering the Skies (1906)

1 min | Short, Fantasy

Fend l'air, a flying machine, flies over the heights of Paris.

Director: Ferdinand Zecca | Star: Ferdinand Zecca

Votes: 66

Half of the short film:

13. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Action, Adventure

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 40,200

14. The X-Ray Fiend (1897)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

A man and woman are flirting when a professor turns on an X-ray machine, revealing their insides. After turning it off again the two have a dispute and break up.

Director: George Albert Smith | Stars: Laura Bayley, Tom Green

Votes: 570

15. The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, History

This short film, one of the first to use camera tricks, depicts the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Director: Alfred Clark | Star: Mrs. Robert L. Thomas

Votes: 1,766

16. The Enchanted Well (1903)

Not Rated | 4 min | Fantasy, Drama, Short

Denied a handout, a witch exacts vengeance by cursing the village well.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 341

17. A Terrible Night (1896)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

A man tries to get a good night's sleep, but is disturbed by a giant spider that leaps onto his bed, and a battle ensues in hilarious comic fashion.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 982

18. Santa Claus (1898)

1 min | Short, Family, Fantasy

"In this picture you see Santa Claus enter the room from the fireplace and proceed to trim the tree. He then fills the stockings that were previously hung on the mantle by the children. ... See full summary »

Director: George Albert Smith | Stars: Laura Bayley, Dorothy Smith, Harold Smith

Votes: 668

19. The Devil's Castle (1897)

3 min | Short, Horror

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.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 856

20. The Boxing Cats (Prof. Welton's) (1894)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Action, Comedy

"A glove contest between trained cats. A very comical and amusing subject, and is sure to create a great laugh." (by Edison Films)

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise | Star: Henry Welton

Votes: 937

21. The Dancing Pig (1907)

Not Rated | 4 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

A humongous and obese anthropomorphic swine dressed like a fine gentleman in a fancy dinner attire tries to make a pass at a solitary lady having a picnic.

Votes: 751

22. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1902)

9 min | Adventure, Short

An early adaptation of the Ali Baba tale.

Director: Ferdinand Zecca

Votes: 270

23. A Fantasy (1908)

2 min | Animation, Short, Fantasy

The first all-animated film in history, a series of scenes without much narrative structure, but morphing into each other.

Director: Émile Cohl

Votes: 1,980

The first animated film ever!

24. Up-to-Date Clothes Cleaning (1908)

Not Rated | 8 min | Short

At a carnival several comic wrestling matches are displayed, ending with one match where an inexperienced man surprisingly beats a stronger wrestler.

Director: Georges Méliès

Votes: 100

a.k.a. Side Show Wrestlers

25. The Miser (1908)

Not Rated | 5 min | Short

Georges Méliès presents his version of Molière's classic play "L'avare" (The Miser). The brief fragments presents a greedy old man who keep turning down several people who come to him in ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 111

26. Alice in Wonderland (1903)

8 min | Fantasy, Short

Alice dozes in a garden, awakened by a dithering white rabbit in waistcoat with pocket watch. She follows him down a hole and finds herself in a hall of many doors. A key opens a small door... See full summary »

Directors: Cecil M. Hepworth, Percy Stow | Stars: May Clark, Cecil M. Hepworth, Blair, Geoffrey Faithfull

Votes: 2,176

The first filmed "Alice in Wonderland" ever!

27. Cinderella (1899)

Not Rated | 6 min | Short, Drama, Family

A fairy godmother magically turns Cinderella's rags to a beautiful dress, and a pumpkin into a coach. Cinderella goes to the ball, where she meets the Prince - but will she remember to leave before the magic runs out?

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Mlle Barral, Bleuette Bernon, Carmelli, Jehanne d'Alcy

Votes: 1,230

28. A Corner in Wheat (1909)

G | 14 min | Short, Crime, Drama

An unscrupulous and greedy capitalist speculator decides to corner the wheat market for his own profit, establishing complete control over the markets.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Frank Powell, Grace Henderson, James Kirkwood, Linda Arvidson

Votes: 1,984

A progressive movie made by a great master of cinema more famous for far right wing The birth of a nation.

29. Faust et Méphistophélès (1903)

Not Rated | 2 min | Short, Drama, Horror

A re-telling of the classic tale of Faust in all of two minutes by French filmmaker Alice Guy (later known as Alice Guy-Blaché).

Director: Alice Guy

Votes: 162

30. Haggard's She: The Pillar of Fire (1899)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

A devil conjures up a dancing woman from a mystical flame.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Georges Méliès

Votes: 504

Famous James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett in bizarre butt-showing short shorts fights Peter Courtney on the ring.

32. Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Music

The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.

Director: William K.L. Dickson | Star: William K.L. Dickson

Votes: 1,872

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