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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Haunted Castle (1897) - George Albert Smith

In 1897, George Albert Smith decided to remake a historic film that came out the year before it. Smith wanted to remake Méliès’ Le Manoir Du Diable. A short film from 1896 that showed a young man being tormented in an old castle.

The short that Smith produced is shorter than Méliès. Le Manoir runs at about three minuets, where Smiths british produced The Haunted Castle clocks in at only one minuet and one second. However, Smiths version kicks right off with the “Action” jumping right into action with our hero being tormented by the nocturnal naughtiness.

The general feel of this short(er) is actually more complete than its predecessor. It looks as if George Albert Smith took everything that was good about Le Manoir and shoved it into this short(er). You are closer to the action this time, getting a good look at the characters of menace that our hero battles. You can see details that Méliès’ version just didn’t have. The effects in this were still essentially the same, not much had changed since the year before it. Jump cuts & things moving around on wires were generally the only “movie magic”.

The version that I have seen on multiple occasions has been colored. Technicolor, I suspect. Perhaps I have been spoiled. I know that I would not have enjoyed this if it were in Black and White. So, I guess I confess that the color added deep, deep, deep, after post helped me keep interest. Go ahead and take a good look at a short(er) that is over 100 years old and can give you a quick chuckle.

  • George Albert Smith did everything for this short(er) including Acting.