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Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy 1909
Description: A smoker falls asleep, and two mischievious fairies enjoy with his pipe. He discovers this, and imprisons them in a cigar box. He removes a flower from the box, which includes a fairy smoking a cigarette. Next, he leaves briefly while his smoking paraphenalia clears itself from the table and the flower reassembles itself into a cigar. He lights the cigar, then breaks a bottle containing the fairy, who interacts with him in different methods reeling from his cigar smoke, building a bonfire that he extinguishes, etc.
Released: 10 Aug 1909 Director: J. Stuart Blackton Writers: N/A Actors: Paul Panzer, Gladys Hulette Genres: Comedy, Short, Fantasy
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Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy Reviews:

As a longtime fanatic of the early "trick films" I can heartily suggest this bizarre and ingenious exercise in nickelodeon surrealism. Although it doesn't display the boisterous showmanship of Georges Méliès' mini-epics, or rival the sheer beauty of Ferdinand Zecca's The Red Spectre (the trick movie nonpareil), Princess Nicotine; or The Smoke Fairy can nonetheless keep its own as a clever, funny, and downright eerie exploration of the cinema's potential to capture fantasy on celluloid.Produced at Vitagraph's Brooklyn studio, the movie details a mustachioed actor called Paul Panzer who would become greatest known testing the villain in the popular serial The Perils of Pauline. Here we see Mr. Panzer as a proper Edwardian gentleman seated, presumably in his home, at a table as well stocked as any tobacconist's store with cigars, cigarettes, pipe, loose tobacco, and wooden matches. As the movie begins, the gentleman puts aside his newspaper and yawns and stretches in a histrionic fashion, suggesting he's already half asleep and that what follows may be a dream. Certainly what follows is dreamlike, for almost instantly the lid of a cigar box swings launch and two fairies about the size of hamsters emerge. One fairy is a young woman while the another looks more mature and Glinda-like. The older fairy seems to be encouraging the woman to cause mischief, which she is only too satisfied to do. The gentleman realizes he is not alone when he attempts to light his pipe and finds a giggling fairy in the bowl, underneath the tobacco. The rest of the movie involves a war of wills between the gentleman and the fairy, as every one strives to hassle, harass, and torment the other. In the end, the war is essentially a draw.The filmmakers utilized each camera trick accessible at the time to achieve their desired effects, and may well have concocted fresh ones. Double exposure, reverse image, and stop-motion photography were all employed, as well as two old-time scene tricks: enlarged props and photos reflected in mirrors. A ebook about motion pictures by Frederick Talbot published in 1912 devoted an whole chapter to this eight- minute film, and it's simple to see why: this film represented state-of-the- art unique results for its day. Almost a century later, Princess Nicotine is still a delicious treat.


The unique visual results and camera tricks in this short comedy are easy among the greatest and most resourceful of its era. Both the tons and the quality are impressive, and most of them are also amusing to watch, in addition to their technical skill. There's no saying how much problem they had to go to in order to create them look this good, but it was worth it.The storyline is very slight, serving only to set up the camera tricks. It details a pipe smoker who comes face to face with a couple of high-spirited miniature female fairies and their antics. The small fairy characters are fully realistic, with the double exposures being done with care. There are also another unique results using stop-action and another such techniques.It's very short, only a several mins long, but none of it is wasted. It's funny, and it's quite a display of technical skill given the limited resources of its era.


This is over a hundred years old. Its before people had any concept of what movie should really do. The imagine needed is orders of magnitude what it would take today.We loose sight, but nicotine was considered a hallucinogenic for constructive science in the 16th century, something worth fighting and dying for. Some did in the quest, which transferred to Indian Thuja before it was all over.This tiny movie has a clueless boy who discovers a tiny fairy in his tobacco. She's a vision and the source of a vision. She's impish and sexy. She's coy and controlling. She's small.Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.



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