Cyrano de Bergerac

  • Director: Clément Maurice
  • Year: 1900
  • Runtime: 2m
  • Available on Wikimedia

This short is a scene taken from Rostand’s play and featuring the celebrated lead actor, Benoit Constant Coquelin, from the Paris production.

It’s remarkable as the first film to use colour and sound. The colour was hand painted on every frame for every reel produced by an army of workers.

The sound was Coquelin’s voice recorded on to a wax cylinder. The projectionist would then be required to manually start the sound playback at the same time as the film reel.

I found it charming mostly for these technical reasons and it is a magnificent achievement but as a film I didn’t find it as compelling as Méliès’ efforts.

See more from my study of The History of Cinema.