A drama enacted by human marionettes who display emotions in a story with strong similarities to the narrative of the Russian ballet `Petrushka'.

The Charlatan, or manipulator, enters a theatre staging a marionette show. He assists in the manipulation of the life-size marionettes - a dancer and a clown. A man meantime adjusts the lighting bulbs that spells out `Marionettes' which will light up outside the theatre. The Charlatan takes the dancer and clown below stage. He kisses the dancer observed by the clown who also sees a gun on a table. The Charlatan takes the puppets below stage; he brings a necklace and puts it on the dancer. He watches a manipulator work with `regular' size puppets which display grotesque and sinister expressions. The Charlatan returns and notices the necklace now on the floor. He strings the clown up and carries the dancer upstairs. He sits her in a corner while he eats bread and drinks wine and watches the clown from a window. The man adjusting the lights finishes his task, lights a cigarette and admires the flashing lights outside the theatre. The audience begins to arrive. The clown and dancer come to the stage to perform; they kiss, take their bow and the curtain falls. The clown and dancer take more bows to audience applause. The clown takes out a gun and shoots the Charlatan. The curtain falls and rises again to show the dancer and clown prostrate on the floor. A notice on the theatre door (in French) says the show is ended as a consequence of the death of M. Poccata. A policemen questions the other manipulators. The gendarme pulls back the sheet to ensure the Charlatan is dead. He then moves to the clown puppet and cuts open his stomach - only sawdust spills out.


Marionettes; Puppets

Background Information

Some critical observations on the film have noted the influence on Ace Movies of Robert Wiene's German Expressionist silent horror film DAS KABINET DES DR CALIGARI (1920) in it's mis-en-scene and homage to art cinema.

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