A Lightning Sketch (French: Dessinateur) was a series of four 1896 French short silent films directed by Georges Méliès and released by his Star Film Company. Each film showed an artist—very probably Méliès himself—drawing a caricature of a notable political figure in less than a minute. Three similar films were also made at about the same time, in August 1896, by the Anglo-American filmmaker J. Stuart Blackton, as a series called Blackton Sketches; Blackton would later make another film in the same vein, The Enchanted Drawing (1900). Méliès returned to sketching on film in his 1903 short The Untamable Whiskers, in which the process of drawing comic faces on a blackboard was undercranked so as to seem to occur with great speed. Numerous political caricatures by Méliès, presumably similar to those made in the A Lightning Sketch films, survive in the collection of the Centre national du cinéma. All four films in the A Lightning Sketch series are currently presumed lost. Summary The following table provides the number assigned to each film in the Star Film Company catalogues; the original English and French titles; and the subject of the drawing made in each film.
# English title French title Subject
37 A Lightning Sketch (Mr. Thiers) Dessinateur express (M. Thiers) Adolphe Thiers
57 A Lightning Sketch (Chamberlain) Dessinateur (Chamberlain) Joseph Chamberlain
61 A Lightning Sketch (H.M. Queen Victoria) Dessinateur (Reine Victoria) Queen Victoria
73 A Lightning Sketch (Von Bismarck) Dessinateur (Von Bismarck) Otto von Bismarck
^ a b Hammond, Paul (1974). Marvellous Méliès. London: Gordon Fraser. pp. 135–6. ISBN 0900406380. ^ a b c d Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, p. 50, ISBN 9782732437323 ^ Frazer, John (1979), Artificially Arranged Scenes: The Films of Georges Méliès, Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., p. 136, ISBN 0816183686 ^ Release data from Malthête & Mannoni 2008, pp. 336–7; subject identification from Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 50.
A Lightning Sketch (Mr. Thiers) on IMDb A Lightning Sketch (Chamberlain) on IMDb A Lightning Sketch (H.M. Queen Victoria) on IMDb A Lightning Sketch (Von Bismarck) on IMDb
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Actualities (1896–1900) Playing Cards (1896) Conjuring (1896) Watering the Flowers (1896) Arrival of a Train at Vincennes Station (1896) The Rag-Picker (1896) Post No Bills (1896) The Rescue on the River (1896) A Terrible Night (1896) A Lightning Sketch (1896) Conjurer Making Ten Hats in Sixty Seconds (1896) A Serpentine Dance (1896) Miss de Vère (English Jig) (1896) The Vanishing Lady (1896) The Haunted Castle (1896) A Nightmare (1897) Comedian Paulus Singing (1897) A Funny Mahometan (1897) An Hallucinated Alchemist (1897) The Haunted Castle (1897) On the Roofs (1897) Reconstructed newsreels (1897–1902) The Last Cartridges (1897) The Surrender of Tournavos (1897) Sea Fighting in Greece (1897) Gugusse and the Automaton (1897) Between Calais and Dover (1897) The Laboratory of Mephistopheles (1897) The Bewitched Inn (1897) After the Ball (1897) Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine" (1898) The Magician (1898) The Famous Box Trick (1898) Pygmalion and Galatea (1898) Adventures of William Tell (1898) The Astronomer's Dream (1898) The Cave of the Demons (1898) The Four Troublesome Heads (1898) The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1898) Robbing Cleopatra's Tomb (1899) The Devil in a Convent (1899) The Pillar of Fire (1899) The Clown and Automobile (1899) A Mysterious Portrait (1899) Christ Walking on the Water (1899) The Dreyfus Affair (1899) Cinderella (1899) The Mysterious Knight (1899)
Addition and Subtraction (1900) The Cook's Revenge (1900) The Misfortunes of an Explorer (1900) Paris Exposition, 1900 (1900) The One-Man Band (1900) Joan of Arc (1900) The Rajah's Dream (1900) The Two Blind Men (1900) Thanking the Audience (1900) The Christmas Dream (1900) Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (1900) A Fantastical Meal (1900) Going to Bed Under Difficulties (1900) The Doctor and the Monkey (1900) China Versus Allied Powers (1900) The Brahmin and the Butterfly (1900–01) Red Riding Hood (1900–01) The Magician's Cavern (1901) Excelsior! (1901) The Sacred Fountain (1901) Bluebeard (1901) The Man with the Rubber Head (1901) The Eruption of Mount Pelee (1902) The Catastrophe of the Balloon "Le Pax" (1902) A Trip to the Moon (1902) The Shadow-Girl (1902) The Coronation of Edward VII (1902) The Treasures of Satan (1902) Gulliver's Travels Among the Lilliputians and the Giants (1902) Robinson Crusoe (1902) The Enchanted Well (1903) The Inn Where No Man Rests (1903) The Oracle of Delphi (1903) A Spiritualistic Photographer (1903) The Melomaniac (1903) The Monster (1903) The Kingdom of the Fairies (1903) The Infernal Cauldron (1903) The Damnation of Faust (1903) A Wager Between Two Magicians, or Jealous of Myself (1904) Faust and Marguerite (1904) The Barber of Seville (1904) The Wonderful Rose-Tree (1904) The Impossible Voyage (1904) The Christmas Angel (1904) The Living Playing Cards (1905) The Palace of the Arabian Nights (1905) An Adventurous Automobile Trip (1905) Rip's Dream (1905) The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship (1905)
A Mix-up in the Gallery (1906) The Chimney Sweep (1906) A Desperate Crime (1906) The Merry Frolics of Satan (1906) The Mysterious Retort (1906) Robert Macaire and Bertrand (1906) Under the Seas (1907) How Bridget's Lover Escaped (1907) Tunnelling the English Channel (1907) The Eclipse, or the Courtship of the Sun and Moon (1907) Hamlet (1907) Shakespeare Writing "Julius Caesar" (1907) Satan in Prison (1907) Humanity Through the Ages (1908) Why That Actor Was Late (1908) Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908) A Fake Diamond Swindler (1908) The Miser (1908) A Love Tragedy in Spain (1908) Mishaps of the New York–Paris Race (1908) The Woes of Roller Skaters (1908) French Cops Learning English (1908) Fun With the Bridal Party (1908) Buncoed Stage Johnnie (1908) Honeymoon in a Balloon (1908) Fortune Favors the Brave (1908) Seein' Things (1908) The Diabolic Tenant (1909) Whimsical Illusions (1909) The Spider and the Butterfly (1909) Baron Munchausen's Dream (1911) Cinderella or the Glass Slipper (1912) The Conquest of the Pole (1912) The Knight of the Snows (1912) The Voyage of the Bourrichon Family (1912)
Filmography Bibliography Georges Méliès in culture Le Grand Méliès (1952 documentary) The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007 book) Hugo (2011 film) Jehanne d'Alcy (wife) Gaston Méliès (brother)
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