Sleeping Beauty (1908)
11min · Short, Fantasy · 5 April 1908
A beautiful daughter having been born to the king and queen, the nine most important fairies of the country are called upon to be godmother of the child, and as the ceremony takes place each blesses the child with a special virtue or talent. The welfare of the child seems assured, when all at once the oldest, ugliest and therefore forgotten fairy, appears on the scene and, furious at the slight, puts upon her, curses the baby princess and predicts that she will die poisoned by the prick of the spool of a spinning wheel. The godmother fairies, however, sooth the grief-stricken mother by telling her that her daughter will not die but only fall asleep, as well as everything living which surrounds her for one hundred years. To avoid this calamity, the king orders that every spinning wheel be destroyed under penalty of death, and the king's messenger is seen reading the command. The next scene shows the grown-up princess closely watched by a stately matron. This trusted servant, however, apparently growing too old for her task, falls asleep, and in a moment the princess is out of her apartment bound on an investigation tour. She comes to a small stairway leading to a garret and there, to her astonishment, finds an old woman spinning. Having never seen a spool, she tries to imitate the old dame, but alas, pricking her finger, falls into a dead sleep. Then is shown on the screen the whole castle in peaceful slumber, the hedges growing up and hiding the castle from view, for thus it must remain undisturbed for one hundred years. The next scene represents a young and dashing prince going out with his suite for a hunt, and one can easily detect by the difference in their attire that they belong to another epoch than that in which the charming princess lived. We follow the prince through the woods and dales until dusk, coming unawares, he finds himself lost in a thick bush. He calls for help, and an old shriveled man appears who, with one movement of his stick, causes the shrubs and trees to make way, and there appears to the eyes of the astonished rider a most beautiful castle. Pushed forward by curiosity, he rushes to the entrance, the doors opening before him as he goes along. In the chambers and halls everything is stillness and sleep, but he does not stop to think, being apparently carried along by an irresistible force, until he reaches the bedchamber of the slumbering princess. At sight of this beautiful, picture of youth, he falls on his knees, kisses the hand of the sleeper, and as by magic everything in the castle awakes and comes back to life. The last scene shows the prince and princess surrounded by their attendants and rejoicing over their good fortune.
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