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The Witch (1906)

La fée Carabosse ou le poignard fatal (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Fantasy | 20 December 1906 (USA)
A penniless troubadour consults the Fairy Carabosse about his future but offends her by paying with a bag of sand.

Director:

Georges Méliès
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Cast

Cast overview:
Georges Méliès ... The Fairy Carabosse
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Storyline

In the characteristic narrative structure of a spectacular féerie or fairy play, the great fantasy filmmaker, Georges Méliès, artfully amalgamates elements of religion, supernatural beings, and mighty guardians of man with the ever-present dark forces, depicting the archetypal conflict between good and evil. Portrayed by Méliès himself, the withered and notoriously fiendish Fairy Carabosse, capable of doing both good or evil on a whim, concocts a mystical witches' brew in her decrepit castle's lab--when suddenly--a graceful but penniless wandering troubadour appears, desirous of learning his fate and finding his soulmate. As the crooked-nosed hag obeys, the spectral vision of an innocent damsel in distress is revealed--a clear sign of the love-smitten youth's immediate quest--however, only gold or a devious trick can provide the powerful talisman needed for the perilous venture into the grim Tower of Doom. But, is it wise to deceive evil personified? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1900s | 900s | fairy | theatre play | sword | See All (55) »

Genres:

Short | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 December 1906 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Witch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (segment) (hand-colored)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Commissioned by the furnishing store Dufayel, who used the film to entertain children while their parents were shopping. See more »

Connections

Featured in Karl May (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

Fantasy Chase
17 August 2013 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

The film's exposition is given in an opening five-minutes-long static long-shot scene where a prince finds the location of a damsel-in-distress being held prisoner by tricking a witch into accepting as payment a bag of sand disguised as a bag of gold. After this, however, the pacing of "The Witch" moves briskly enough and follows the formula of a chase, as the witch tries to catch up with the prince, who is on a mission to save the damsel. According to John Frazer ("Artificially Arranged Scenes"), Georges Méliès himself, the maker of this film, delights in the role of the witch.

Of course, this being a Méliès production, the chase is theatrical, with characters entering and exiting from the sides of the frame, and dissolves, rather than direct cuts, are used as transitions between scenes. Additionally, the witch spends part of the chase running with a broomstick in between her (his) legs, which looks silly. Near the end, however, Méliès does take the witch on the broomstick to the skies in one of his trademark moving backdrop tableaux.

The print made available from Flicker Alley is wonderfully hand colored. As a result, the scene where the prince encounters a giant frog, an owl, a dragon and other creatures, really comes to life. Despite the film's age, the reds, blues and yellows remain vibrant. Had I seen this scene in simply black and white, I'm sure it would've seemed quite dull and childish. Also of interest is Méliès's adoption of the technique of medium shots with titles atop the characters in two scenes at the bookends of "The Witch".


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