Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy

Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy is a 1909 five-minute silent film directed by J. Stuart Blackton.

Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy
Directed byJ. Stuart Blackton
Produced byJ. Stuart Blackton
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Distributed byVitagraph Company of America
Release date
  • August 10, 1909 (1909-08-10)
Running time
5 mins.
CountryUnited States

In the film, a smoker (Paul Panzer) falls asleep and is visited by two fairies (one of which is played by Gladys Hulette). Audiences marveled at the special effects featuring the fairies interacting with objects much larger than themselves.

Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy was the first instance of tobacco product placement (for Sweet Corporal cigarettes and cigars) in the movies.

In 2003, the Library of Congress deemed it "significant" and preserved it in the National Film Registry.


The film was produce and most likely directed by J. Stuart Blackton, an illustrator and one of the most important figures in early film history. Blackton specialized in "trick films" and sharpened his skill with early special effects making fake footage of the Spanish-American War and animated films. Princess Nicotine was shot by Tony Gaudio, who used mirrors to achieve a deep depth of field. The film was probably inspired by Émile Cohl's The Animated Matches (1908), which had previously featured stop-motion matches that appeared to move by themselves. Blackton and Guido also employed hidden wires, double exposures, giant props, and smoke to make the film appear magical and dreamlike. The film's special effects astonished audiences, and Scientific American dedicated an article to explaining how the film was made.[1]


  1. Eagan, Daniel. (2010). America's film legacy : the authoritative guide to the landmark movies in the National Film Registry. National Film Preservation Board (U.S.). New York: Continuum. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9781441116475. OCLC 676697377.

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