Movie 8min

The Golden Lily (1909)

Original title: Le Lys d’or

+ 2 images
Directors Léonce Perret , Louis Feuillade
Country France
Language French
(Original) Le Lys d’or
(Alternative) The Gilded Lily
13. Century Apparition of Mary Black and White Cathedral Church Drama Judgement Miracles Musician Rose Short Silent Film St. Mary Statue The Spanish Inquisition Vision

An old scruffy musician plays his violin outside a church to the people exiting and then decides to enter and play in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin comes alive as she is listening, and gifts the old man a golden rose. Not knowing better, he tries to sell it, but the goldsmith raises his suspicion. The old man is arrested and brought in front of the bishop, that does not believe the man but gives him a chance to play in front of the statue again. The miracle repeats as everyone is watching and the old man is now turned into a hero as they walk out of the church.

This sublime feature film is one of the finest sacred and miraculous motion pictures ever produced. It represents events occuring in the XIIIth century.

An old fiddler, whose musical efforts are not appreciated by people passing him by the wayside, and who is at the point of starvation, takes refuge in the cathedral. Casting himself down before the shrine of the Blessed Virgin, he implores her succor. He plays his violin before her image that she may judge whether his talents are worthy of appreciation.

Miraculously she appears before him and gives him her benign benediction. The poor old man is completely overcome with awe and emotion, but Mary bids him to be of good cheer and to prove her recognition of her sincerity and devotion she presents him with a golden lily. Then she disappears from sight.

The old fiddler, in dire distress, takes the golden lily to a goldsmith's to sell it and thus obtain money to buy bread. The goldsmith and his wife become very suspicious as to how the old man came into possession of so valuable an article. They summon the guards who seize the old fiddler and take him and the goldsmith and his wife before the Cardinal. The case is presented to his Lordship who decides that the old man had stolen the lily, which is confiscated to the Church. However, in order to give him a chance to prove his innocence, he is conducted before the Virgin’s shrine, where he is instructed to play his violin again, so that the miracle may be repeated should the Divine Mary so elect. Then, before the Cardinal, monks, friars, ladies and soldiers, the Blessed Virgin once more appears, blesses the assembled throng and once more presents the golden lily to the old fiddler with her divine benediction. There is now great rejoicing and the old fiddler is carried on the shoulders of the cheering crowds, as the hero of the miracle of the Golden Lily.

Source: The Film Index - 1910

A poor, elderly violinist takes refuge in a cathedral. When he plays his violin there, the Madonna appears before him and gives him a golden lily. He tries to sell the lily to a goldsmith, but the goldsmith and his wife doubt the violinist's story. They summon guards who bring him before the Holy Office. He is found guilty and is about to be taken away, but the inquisitor gives him a chance to prove his story by returning to the cathedral and playing his violin in the presence of all those assembled. The Madonna appears again and gives him another golden lily. The old man is saved and is carried through the streets as a hero.

Source: Library of Congress

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Well made but straightforward

This is a pretty well-polished religious film that has a pretty common storyline. The description gives us the time, and it shows some of the works of the Inquisition, but here the old man is proven right. It is a bit strange to give him a hero parade in the end, but that is how they here give him the status of someone that had contact with the Holy. Also, this is a pretty catholic take as it is about the Virgin coming to life.