February 21, 1908 [Cupid's Pranks]

Méliès continues to be American-ized. Here, we peer at Valentine antics through a kind of telescopic view, illicitly spying on love's labors. At first, Cupid seems his typical self: determined, self-assured, mischievous, a Valentine's Day card come to life, he orchestrates romance—but now with a sure grasp of the modern world, as he turns back the hands of a clock and dismantles the inner workings of an automobile. No pastoral sprite flitting from heart to heart, Cupid becomes instead a dedicated tinkerer, like Edison himself.

I don't believe I'll follow that particular thread. The image of Edison, winged and suspended—and with the requisite costume (I shudder at the thought of that amorous Union Suit!)—is a bit too bizarre, perhaps even more than Méliès would have dared. But maybe we should put the Wizard of Menlo Park through these paces; after all, he's smitten us enough with celluloid missiles—as willing to indulge in the ridiculous as the sublime, for the sake of silliness as much as true love.


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