The Temptation of Saint Anthony is a 1898 French short black-and-white silent drama film, directed by Georges Méliès, featuring Anthony the Great being visited seductive women to test his faith and piety.
Anthony the Great’s devotions in a cave are disrupted by the sudden appearance of a young maiden who he banishes and returns to his prayer book. Two maidens then appear either side of him only to be quickly banished. The saint kisses a skull relic only for it to transform into a third woman, who is rejoined by the others to form encircle him before vanishing. The saint kneels before an image of Christ on the cross only for this to transform into one of the maidens. He is finally saved by the appearance of an angel who returns all to normal.
The film, “contains a familiar collection of Georges Méliès’ trademark jump-cut-triggered appearing and disappearing acts,” but, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “the overtly religious elements are entirely new.” —Wikipedia
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