The Terrible Turkish Executioner

Le Bourreau turc, sold in the United States as The Terrible Turkish Executioner, or It Served Him Right and in Britain as What Befell the Turkish Executioner, is a 1903 French short silent film by Georges Méliès. It was sold by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 534–535 in its catalogues.[1]

The Terrible Turkish Executioner
Directed byGeorges Méliès
StarringGeorges Méliès
Release date
  • 1903 (1903)

Méliès himself plays the executioner in the film, one of several Méliès works involving disembodied heads. The special effects are created with substitution splices.[2] The execution in the film emulates an effect popular for two centuries in magic lantern shows, in which severed heads or similar phenomena could be shown in motion using overlaid glass slides.[3]

In a study of Méliès, Elizabeth Ezra notes that the film "exploits the stereotype of Oriental despotism and cruelty," with the prop heads giving "a visceral immediacy closer to Tarantino's lurid (though ironic) gore than to Méliès's standard dancing Disney-style body parts."[4]


  1. ^ Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, p. 346, ISBN 9782732437323
  2. ^ Essai de reconstitution du catalogue français de la Star-Film; suivi d'une analyse catalographique des films de Georges Méliès recensés en France, Bois d'Arcy: Service des archives du film du Centre national de la cinématographie, 1981, pp. 171–72, ISBN 2903053073
  3. ^ Rossell, Deac (1998), "Double Think: The Cinema and Magic Lantern Culture", in Fullerton, John (ed.), Celebrating 1895: The Centenary of Cinema, Sydney: John Libbey & Company, pp. 27–36 (here 30), ISBN 9781864620153
  4. ^ Ezra, Elizabeth (2000), Georges Méliès, Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 143, ISBN 0-7190-5395-1

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