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Film / Princess Nicotine

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Fairies in a tobacco pipe!
Princess Nicotine; or, the Smoke Fairy is a 1909 short film produced and probably directed by J. Stuart Blackton. Based on a musical play starring Lillian Russell, the five-minute film tells the story of a man who discovers two mischievous fairies hiding in his tobacco kit. Various hijinks ensue. The special effects were so impressive for 1909 audiences that none other than Scientific American magazine marvelled at the film's technical prowess. Princess Nicotine was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2003.


Tropes:

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  • Either/Or Title
  • Fairy in a Bottle: One of the fairies gets stuck in a jar temporarily.
  • Fairy Sexy: The fairies wear tiny little dresses and flip their skirts up for the man's enjoyment.
  • Forced Perspective: Used for a very clever trick. The shot of the fairies dancing on the table was not done by double exposure, as one might have guessed. Instead, the actresses in fairy costumes danced in front of a mirror, which was placed at a distance, and a camera with a large depth of field was used to make it appear that the fairies were on the table.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Well, the man is smoking tobacco, but it certainly seems like he's smoking a much more powerful drug.
  • Product Placement: Sweet Corporal tobacco. Trope Maker for motion pictures.
  • Smoking Is Cool: If a pair of sexy fairies appeared every time one lighted up, more people would smoke.
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  • Stop Trick: This go-to special effect of the early silent era is used for the delightful sequence in which all of the items in the man's tobacco kit—his cigarettes, his pipe, his looseleaf tobacco—march themselves into the box. It's also used for the trick where the tobacco flower that one of the fairies jumps out of transforms itself into a cigar.
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