La colonne de feu (1899)
Director: Georges Méliès
Cast: Jeane d’Alcy
Synopsis: A devil conjures up a dancing woman from a mystical flame.
La colonne de feu has to count as a minor effort from French technical wizard Georges Méliès, although it benefits a little from the fact that it’s in stencilled colour. Méliès plays a trident-carrying devil (who, for some reason is painted green) who appears in front of a large cauldron in which he struggles to start a fire with a large bellows. As he works the bellows, a woman in white rises from the cauldron. Presumably she’s been summoned by the devil, but why she’s dressed in white like an angel is a mystery. Either way, she performs an energetic Serpentine dance in order to fan the flames into life. The woman does such a good job that she eventually becomes consumed by the flames. It’s an entertaining enough short, but you get the impression Méliès knocked it out between tea breaks.
Reviewed 25th August 2014)