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D. Devant, Conjurer

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Wikipedia article

'D. Devant, Conjurer' (, also known as 'Devant's Hat Trick') was a 1897 French short silent film by Georges Mlis, starring the magician David Devant.

Devant, a major stage illusionist based in London, was an early proponent of moving pictures, introducing them into the magic performances he did with John Nevil Maskelyne at the Egyptian Hall and taking them along to private performances and on tour. He knew Mlis in London as well as in Paris, where Devant often went to get new films. It was Devant who, in 1896, sold Mlis a film projector made by the British pioneer Robert Paul. The year appearing for Mlis's camera, Devant had also been filmed by Paul, and Devant would later go on to try filmmaking on his own.

'D. Devant, Conjurer' was sold by Mlis's Star Film Company and is numbered 101 in its catalogues. In Britain, the Philipp Wolff Company also sold it, under the title 'Devant's Hat Trick'. The complete film is currently presumed lost. However, a flipbook showing a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, published by Lon Beaulieu in the late 1890s, was rediscovered in the 2010s and has been tentatively identified as a fragment of the film. Two of Devant's films for Paul appear to survive in a very similar fragmentary format, as short sequences for flipbook-like devices.


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