Something Magical is Going on

Le cheveu délateur
R: Émile Cohl. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1911

“When we think of animated cartoons, we think of images that move. Cohl had begun making movies in the era of Georges Mélies and Segundo de Chomón, whose movies were frequently magical acts on screen: transformations. Although Cohl did make his figures move, he is best remembered for his transformation animations, like Fantasmagorie. While both sorts of animations continued – who can forget Felix the Cat changing his tail into any number of objects? – by the late 1930s, motion had won the day and transformation became a less important case in the grammar of animation, most often used to indicate that something magical was going on. Here, though, it’s at the heart of this movie, and it’s a typical Cohl delight.”

>>> Émile Cohl, Master of Animation

L’épée du spirite
R: Segundo de Chomón. B: Segundo de Chomón. P: Chomón y Fuster / Pathé Frères. Sp / Fr 1910

“‘The Spirit Sword’ (L’épée du spirite, 1910) by pioneer filmmaker Segundo de Chomon is a fantasy swashbuckler that opens with the arrival at an inn of a musketeer who possesses a magic sword. (…) Two kitchen workers, Nicholas & Tonto, carry on with exaggerated comedy responses when the musketeer turns out also to be a sorcerer. The table is soon cleared & the magician-musketeer waves what is obviously a magic sword over the table to produce a fancy linen tablecloth. Candelabrum & a basketed floral arrangement float into place. But table & settings vanish & everyone scuttles about in a dither & seem to be crabbing at the magician-guest for getting their hopes up or for the imperfection of the manifestation.”
Paghat the Ratgirl

>>> Segundo de Chomón

Photographie d’une étoile
Dir. and stars unknown. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906
Print: Filmarchiv Austria