Un homme de têtes (1898)    2 Stars


Un homme de tetes (1898)
Un homme de têtes (1898)

Director: Georges Méliès

Cast: Georges Méliès

Synopsis: The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on the table opposite another head, and both detached heads sing in unison.






Un homme de têtes marks a big leap forward in the technical proficiency of George Méliès. Prior to 1898, much of his screen trickery was confined to clunky jump cuts and he would in fact repeatedly return to the same effects for years to come. Every now and then, however, he would come up with a film that really stood out. Un homme de têtes was one such film. Méliès appears on a dark stage between two tables and almost immediately detaches his head from his shoulders and places it on one of the tables. Another head then appears on his shoulders and the newly complete Méliès crawls under the table to prove that the first head truly is detached from any body. He then places his second head on the table beside the first, and then a third head on the other table. Producing a guitar, Méliès sings a tune but the caterwauling of the other heads proves so awful that Méliès hurls them off the stage.

The movie possesses Méliès’ usual manic energy – when watching his movies there’s always this impression that he’s racing against the clock which, considering movies were still only one minute long in 1898, he probably was – and the trickery still looks impressive today. It must have really freaked out contemporary audiences when first released, and is definitely one of his best.

(Reviewed 17th August 2014)