The film was shot in a stunning silhouette style that makes me think of Balinese shadow puppets, in black and white (of course) that was then hand tinted. The original German print ran at 81 minutes as the film was run at 18 frames per second, but ran at 65 to 66 minutes everywhere else when shown at the more standard 24 frames per second.
According to imdb:
Lotte Reiniger cut figures out of black cardboard with a pair of scissors, and joined movable parts with thread in order to animate them. In the years 1923-1926, about 250,000 frame-by-frame stills were made and 96,000 were used in the film. Her husband, Carl Koch, was responsible for the photography in all her films until his death in 1963.
OMG, can you imagine? 250,000 set-ups. Cutting all those stunning silhouettes? My mind, it boggles. The stylish end result is a bit like an Erte drawing come to life.
There's a DVD available through Milestone Films, which I think is going to have to make its way onto my wish list once the AUS/US comparison stops tanking. There was a 4 minute sample on youtube, but it has been taken down due to a copyright claim by Milestone Films. However, in the meantime there are some 1 or 2 minute snippets still available when you search The Adventures of Prince Achmed in Google video. There is also a comprehensive site with lots of background links at Le Palais des dessins animés [in English].
I love finding out that there are people in this world mad or inspired (or both) enough to spend their labours making something wonderful. Then, now, and I see no reason why not, in the future. Fantastic. Now all I have to do is see a full copy of the film!
[Found originally via a blog entry at 2 or 3 things I know.]