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1890s French Movies

Public list by WPS with 62 movies or TV shows/series

The 1890s were a groundbreaking decade for cinema, with the emergence of the motion picture as a new art form. One of the earliest and most important centers of film production during this period was France, where some of the earliest films in history were made.

During the 1890s, the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, developed and patented the Cinématographe, an early film camera that was capable of capturing and projecting moving images. The Lumière brothers used their invention to produce and distribute short films, many of which were shot in France.

Some of the earliest films shot in France during this period include "Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory", "The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat", and "The Gardener". These films were groundbreaking in their use of new film techniques, such as panning shots and the use of multiple camera angles, which were later to become standard in filmmaking.

In addition to the Lumière brothers, other French filmmakers also began to experiment with the new medium, including Georges Méliès, who is often considered one of the pioneers of narrative filmmaking. Méliès made a number of short films during the 1890s, including "The Vanishing Lady" and "A Terrible Night", which incorporated elements of magic and illusion into their plots.

The films shot in France during the 1890s laid the groundwork for the future of cinema, and continue to be celebrated for their historical and artistic significance. While these films were relatively short and simple by modern standards, they were instrumental in establishing the basic techniques and principles of filmmaking that would be refined and expanded upon in the decades to come.

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62 movies found (page 1/3):

The Haunted Castle(1896)

3min | Fantasy, Horror
3.2/5 (with 74 votes)

Le Manoir du diable or The House of the Devil, released in the United States as The Haunted Castle and in Britain as The Devil's Castle, is an 1896 French short silent film directed by Georges Méliès. The film tells the story of an encounter with the Devil and various attendant phantoms. It is intended to evoke amusement and wonder from its audiences, rather than fear. However, because of its themes and characters, it has been considered to technically be the first horror film, as well as potentially the first vampire film. The film opens with a large bat flying into a medieval castle, circling a room, and then suddenly changing into the Devil. Producing a cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a young girl and various supernatural creatures in an effort to scare two cavaliers, eventually succeeding in causing one to flee. Ultimately the remaining cavalier is confronted face-to-face by the Devil before reaching for and brandishing a large crucifix, which causes the Devil to vanish.

The Four Troublesome Heads(1898)

1min | Comedy, Fantasy
3.6/5 (with 67 votes)

One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on the table opposite another head, and both detached heads sing in unison. The conjurer then removes it a third time. You then see all three of his heads, which are exact duplicates, upon the table at one time, while the conjurer again stands before the audience with his head perfectly intact, singing in unison with the three heads upon the table. He closes the picture by bowing himself from the stage.

Cinderella(1899)

3.1/5 (with 44 votes)

A fairy godmother magically turns Cinderella's rags to a beautiful dress, and a pumpkin into a coach. Cinderella goes to the ball, where she meets the Prince - but will she remember to leave before the magic runs out? Méliès based the art direction on engravings by Gustave Doré. First known example of a fairy-tale adapted to film, and the first film to use dissolves to go from one scene to another.

The Conjurer(1899)

1min | Comedy
3.1/5 (with 24 votes)

A film from Méliès has him playing a magician who does a few tricks including making a woman disappear.

The Vanishing Lady(1896)

1min | Mystery
3.1/5 (with 49 votes)

Georges Méliès makes a woman disappear, then reappear.

Demolition of a Wall(1896)

3.2/5 (with 49 votes)

Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a pick. When the wall hits the ground, a cloud of white dust whirls up. Three workers continue the demolition of the wall with picks.

Directed by Louis Lumière - With Auguste Lumière

Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine"(1898)

1min
2.8/5 (with 17 votes)

Divers go to work on a wrecked ship (the battleship Maine that was blown up in Havana harbour during the Spanish-American War), surrounded by curiously disproportionate fish.

Directed by Georges Méliès

The Devil in a Convent(1899)

3.1/5 (with 28 votes)

A priest is officiating at a convent, when suddenly he is transformed into the devil, who frightens away the nuns and turns the place into a outlet of Pandemonium.

The Cabbage-Patch Fairy(1896)

2.6/5 (with 39 votes)

A brief fantasy tale involving a strange fairy who can produce and deliver babies coming out of cabbages. This film is lost or never existed. Copies of it online are actually the 1900 remake.

Directed by Alice Guy-Blaché

The Surrender of Tournavos(1897)

2.5/5 (with 15 votes)

Three military men, seen inside a fortification, are firing on an unseen enemy force. The call for reinforcements but ladders appear signalling the enemy is about to overrun this position.

Directed by Georges Méliès

Poor Pierrot(1892)

3.0/5 (with 40 votes)

One night, Arlequin comes to see his lover Colombine. But then Pierrot knocks at the door and Colombine and Arlequin hide. Pierrot starts singing but Arlequin scares him and the poor man goes away.

The Sea(1895)

2.7/5 (with 37 votes)

Several little boys run along a pier, then jump into the ocean.

Directed by Louis Lumière
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Playing Cards(1896)

2.4/5 (with 25 votes)

Three friends are playing cards in a beer garden. One of them orders drinks. The waitress comes back with a bottle of wine and three glasses on a tray. The man serves his friends. They clink glasses and drink. Then the man asks for a newspaper. He reads a funny story in it and the three friends burst out laughing while the waitress merely smiles.

A Terrible Night(1896)

1min | Comedy, Horror
2.6/5 (with 36 votes)

A man tries to get a good night's sleep, but is disturbed by a giant spider that leaps onto his bed, and a battle ensues in hilarious comic fashion.

The Pillar of Fire(1899)

1min | Fantasy
2.8/5 (with 20 votes)

A devil wearing bat-like wings and brandishing a trident dances around a giant pot, conjuring forth flame from his trident to lit a fire beneath the pot. After the devil works the fire with bellows, an angelic woman emerges from the pot. The devil and the pot vanish as the woman performs a dance, waving about her diaphanous sleeves until she conjures forth another fire, then she rises amongst the smoke into the air.

A Nightmare(1896)

1min | Horror
3.0/5 (with 43 votes)

A man has a fantastical nightmare involving, among other things, a grinning malevolent moon.

Autour d’une cabine(1894)

2min | Animation
2.9/5 (with 21 votes)

The film consists of a series of animations on a beach containing two beach huts and a diving board. Two characters play at diving into the water from the diving board and then appear on the beach. The woman begins to play with a small dog and is then joined by a gentleman. The two play around on the beach before getting changed into bathing costumes and going into the water. They bob up and down in the water before swimming out of the scene. Once the couple have gone a man sails out in a boat.

Between Calais and Dover(1897)

1min | Comedy
2.6/5 (with 16 votes)

A rocky sea voyage as reenacted by Georges Méliès.

Directed by Georges Méliès

Snowball Fight(1897)

3.3/5 (with 30 votes)

Wintertime in Lyon. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of opportunity. He falls off his bicycle. He's not hurt, but he rides back the way he came, as the fight continues.

Directed by Louis Lumière

The Famous Box Trick(2019)

1min | Fantasy
3.4/5 (with 2 votes)

A magician performs a series of magic tricks involving a boy and a box.

The Famous Box Trick(1898)

1min | Fantasy
2.9/5 (with 12 votes)

A magician performs a series of magic tricks involving a boy and a box.

Fishing for Goldfish(1895)

2.5/5 (with 29 votes)

A man, holding a baby up in his hands, is standing next to a fishbowl. The baby is trying, in vain, to catch a goldfish with his bare hands.

Directed by Louis Lumière - With Auguste Lumière

Post No Bills(1896)

2.7/5 (with 17 votes)

- No description / details available yet. -

Directed by Georges Méliès

The Haunted Castle(1897)

3min | Horror
2.9/5 (with 26 votes)

A man has an encounter with several spooky apparitions in a castle that is evidently owned by the Devil.

Adventures of William Tell(1898)

1min | Comedy, Fantasy
2.8/5 (with 16 votes)

The scene opens in an artist's studio where the unfinished statue of William Tell stands upon a pedestal. A clown appears and sticks a clay arm and clay head on the statue, thus completing it. He places a large brick on top of the head to make it stick. When he turns his back the statue turns into a living representation of William Tell. (Edison Catalog)

Directed by Georges Méliès

The Temptation of St. Anthony(1898)

1min | Fantasy
2.9/5 (with 22 votes)

St. Anthony is tempted by visions of women, including one that is transformed from the image of Jesus Christ Himself!

Boat Leaving the Port(1895)

2.7/5 (with 35 votes)

In very bad weather and a stormy sea, a small boat manned by two men is trying to leave the harbor of La Ciotat, while several people are watching them from the nearby pier.

Directed by Louis Lumière

Cordeliers' Square in Lyon(1895)

2.7/5 (with 29 votes)

Pedestrian and horse-drawn vehicles traffic, across the Place des Cordeliers, in Lyon.

Directed by Louis Lumière

Bedtime for the Bride(1896)

7min | Drama
2.4/5 (with 8 votes)

A newlywed couple in front of their wedding-bed after their wedding. The woman undresses in front of her husband. A French erotic short film considered to be one of the first erotic films made.

Directed by Albert Kirchner - With Louise Willy

The Hallucinated Alchemist(1897)

2min | Horror, Fantasy
3.0/5 (with 10 votes)

The Flicker Alley DVD "Georges Méliès: Encore New Discoveries (1896-1911)" misidentified a partial hand-colored print of the 1906 film "Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La cornue infernale" (The Mysterious Retort) as this film, "L'hallucination de l'alchimiste" (An Hallucinated Alchemist) from 1897, which continues to be considered a lost film.

Directed by Georges Méliès
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