See the moving picture


The Fabulous Spectacle

La Poule aux œufs d’or (The Hen That Laid the Golden Eggs)

Gaston Velle, Pathé-Frères, France, 1905

This four-part adaptation of the well-known fable about a peasant who amasses and loses a fortune (thanks to a hen that lays eggs laden with gold coins) was one of Pathé’s most popular féeries. Lavish color (both tinted and stenciled) is complemented not only by cinema-of-attraction trick effects (in a closeup insert of a golden egg, a devil’s head appears to spit out a stream of gold), but also by such representational devices as panning shots, intercutting between adjacent locations, and entrances and exits matched for continuity. The centerpiece, however, is an elaborate ballet in which beautiful women clad in green and yellow feathers (newly transformed from chickens) dance around an altar of golden eggs.

Back to CHAPTER 6/Part 3