1898 – Un homme de têtes / The Four Troublesome Heads

Director: Georges Méliès

This film employs a couple of tricks. Not only does it use the substitution splice (a usual favorite of Méliès), it is one of the earliest instances of multiple exposure. The head removal is likely achieved with the use of a painted dummy head and Méliès wearing a black hood over his head (which accounts for the black background rather than his usual extravagant and detailed sets – arguably a precursor to green screen special effects). He then had to do at least four takes of the various versions of himself interacting with each other, a considerably impressive feat given the tools available at the time.

(In 1903, Siegmund Lubin released an illegal print of the film in America, retitled Four Heads Are Better Than One.)


IMDb contributors (n.d.). Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)’, IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0135696/ [Accessed: 2 January 2022].

popegrutch (2016). ‘The Four Troublesome Heads (1898)’, Century Film Project, 30 November. Available at: https://centuryfilmproject.org/2016/11/30/the-four-troublesome-heads-1898/ [Accessed: 2 January 2022].

Wikipedia contributors (2021). ‘The Four Troublesome Heads’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 June. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Troublesome_Heads [Accessed: 2 January 2022].

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