La police en l’an 2000
D: Eugène Bréon, Clément Mégé, Marcel Perez. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1910
Print: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin
“Huge advances had been made in trick film techniques such as double exposures, mattes, split-screen, stop tricks, stop-motion and black screen photography. However, none of these special effects are on display in Police in the Year 2000, instead the film uses only practical effects, and these are also limited to sets and props. The only exception is the binocular vignette laid atop the image when the police officers are scouting for wrong-doers. Interestingly enough, it is a binocular vignette, even though the police uses monocular telescopes.
On the other hand: the movie is aptly filmed, uses rather modern continuity editing and is professionally designed. It feels roomy although it is almost completely studio-bound. The grapplers are cool, and it isn’t perfectly obvious how the criminals are actually lifted off the ground, even if one suspects some kind of wirework is involved. Most of the lifting is, however, done partially off-screen and we seldom (ever?) see entire people flying in the air, supported only by the grapplers. In fact in one scene it is clear that the two purse-snatchers climb up some sort of ladder or construction just out of frame. But the effect is neat, nonetheless. The airships (that we never see in full) are also fairly well designed. They certainly look a lot sturdier than the flimsy little things that did such a good job of invading England in Walter R. Booth’s 1909 movie The Airship Destroyer. They also move past the frame even when there are visible actors in them, as opposed to Booth’s ditto. And at no point is the dirigible replaced by a cardboard cutout (hello again, Booth).”