The Enchanted Drawing (1900)    2 Stars


Director: J. Stuart Blackton

Cast: J. Stuart Blackton

Synopsis: A cartoonist defies reality when he draws objects that become three-dimensional after he lifts them off his sketch pad.


J. Stuart Blackton, the artist in this charming early trick photography film, was a showman who, with his partner Albert E. Smith, would become a movie pioneer – and arch-rival of Thomas Edison for whom he made this film – when he formed Vitagraph, which would become one of the major players in early American cinema. The film itself is entertaining enough when viewed today, but it must have wowed them back in 1900 with the type of trick photography that was still being used in the 50s. The shot in which Blackton ‘lifts’ the wine glass and bottle from the page is extremely well done, with the stop-motion being almost seamless, although later repeats of the trick are not so impressive. It all looks a bit clunky now, and Blackton mugs outrageously for the camera, but it has a certain charm that is endearing nevertheless.

(Reviewed 19th May 2005)