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The Waif and the Wizard (1901) HD online

The Waif and the Wizard (1901) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Short
Original Title: The Waif and the Wizard
Director: Walter R. Booth
Released: 1901
Duration: 2min
Video type: Movie

Reviews: [2]

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    Robert Paul is a largely forgotten name today, but he was a major pioneer of British cinema, and was quick to grasp the commercial potential of cinema in ways that better known pioneers such as William Friese-Greene were not. He was more of a mechanic than a filmmaker making, with Birt Acres, his own camera on which to shoot films in 1895, and also Britain's first projector, the Animatograph, with which to screen them in 1896. Early in the 20th century he had a custom-made studio built in Muswell Hill.

    The Waif and the Wizard features the same young man who appeared in Undressing Extraordinary (and who might be early filmmaker Walter Booth). It's another early example of a two-shot film along the lines of Paul's earlier film Come Along Do!. The young man plays a magician who, after completing his act, agrees to go home with the young boy from the audience who helped him perform his tricks. At the boy's home he finds a sick sister and a worried mother being threatened with eviction by her landlord. The magician turns the landlord into a waiter laden down with food. The most noticeable and impressive moment in the film is the transition shot between scenes when the magician walks toward the camera with his opened umbrella pointed at the camera.
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    A ragged boy clambers onto a stage to ask a magician a favor. The magician transforms the boy into an umbrella and takes the boy to his home, where he prepares a magical feast for the boy's mother and sick sister.

    It's Walter Booth at his most Melies-like, with a bit of social commentary in it. If you can call spirits from the vasty deep, how about calling up a decent meal for me mum? It's quite unusual for an early British film-maker. Most of them were more concerned that gypsies would steal their babies, or poachers would shoot their grouse.

    The wizard of the title is uncredited. I like to think it's Booth, who had begun as a stage magician and hadn't lost the common touch.