In The Dwarf and the Giant, Georges Méliès continues to explore the same superimposition-plus-dolly effect that he used in The Man with the Rubber Head and The Devil and the Statue., though this film, despite being chronologically later – at least according to Méliès’ Star Films catalogue number – has more of a feel of a special-effects exercise than a fully worked-out narrative. As in The Four Troublesome Heads and The One-Man Band, Méliès essentially plays himself, with no costume or make-up – in fact, he turns up clad in a hat and white sheet which he makes a rather over-elaborate point of discarding – an echo of the opening of The Man with the Rubber Head.
Where the film marks an advance on its two immediate predecessors (and “immediate” is the operative word, as the Star Films catalogue suggests they were indeed made one after the other, with nothing in between) is that Méliès is combining two superimposition effects – the new expanding/shrinking one, and a familiar “twinning” one that places two identical Mélièses on the screen at the same time. Typically for Méliès, he ups the ante by having the giant Méliès sprinkling confetti over the smaller one, though it’s a pity that he ends the film with a glaring technical flaw. As the Mélièses lean forward to thumb their noses at each other, their rears are cut off by the matte, and they then unrealistically disappear into the sides of the archway – thus underscoring the impression that this was primarily a technical exercise. —Filmjournal.net
Georges Méliès (December 8, 1861 – January 21, 1938), full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the “Cinemagician.”
Méliès was born in Paris, where his family manufactured shoes. He had two older brothers, Henri and Gaston. Before making films, he was a stage magician at the Theatre Robert-Houdin. In 1895, he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers’ camera. In 1897, he established a studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil. Actors performed in front of a painted… read more