The Vanishing Lady
|The Vanishing Lady|
|Directed by||Georges Méliès|
|Produced by||Georges Méliès|
A magician walks onto a stage and brings out his assistant. He spreads a newspaper on the floor (thus demonstrating that no trap door is hidden there) and places a chair on top of it. He has his assistant sit in the chair, and spreads a blanket over her. When he removes the blanket, she has disappeared. He then waves his arms in the air and conjures up a skeleton. He places the blanket over the skeleton and removes it to reveal his assistant, alive and well.
The film is based on a magic act developed by the French magician Buatier de Kolta. When the illusion was produced onstage, a trapdoor was used to create the appearances and disappearances; for the film, however, Méliès needed no trapdoor, using instead an editing technique called the substitution splice. The Vanishing Lady marks Méliès's first known use of the effect.
The Vanishing Lady was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 70 in its catalogues. Though the surviving print of the film is in black-and-white, hand-colored prints of Méliès's films were also sold; the Méliès expert Jacques Malthête reconstructed a hand-colored version of the film in 1979, using authentic materials.
- Essai de reconstitution du catalogue français de la Star-Film; suivi d'une analyse catalographique des films de Georges Méliès recensés en France, Bois d'Arcy: Service des archives du film du Centre national de la cinématographie, 1981, p. 51, ISBN 2903053073, OCLC 10506429
- Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, p. 337, ISBN 9782732437323
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