Fairy of the Surf (1909)
Alternate Title: La Fée des Grèves
This gentle piece from Louis Feuillade bears a resemblance to “The Little Mermaid” and other fairy tales. Here, instead of a mermaid, a young prince fishes a fairy from the sea while she dances atop the water, then persuades her to marry him. Alas, she finds she must return to the sea, but the prince follows. Instead of drowning, he becomes “Prince of the Sea” and lives with her in a Méliès-inspired seashell castle. The extensive location shooting, nicely intercut with extravagant interiors, differs the look and feel of the piece from Méliès, however, and the tone and pacing of the piece feels a bit more deliberate than his usual gay abandon. Most of the setups are long shots, however, and we get only limited opportunities to see the actors’ faces, making this a visually typical film for the time. The version I saw had limited hand-painting of frames, especially of the costumes of the human characters, although the movie is not properly in color.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Run Time: 7 Min, 30 secs
You can watch it for free: here.