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Saw a Reddit post talking about this scene from 1937's Sh! The Octopus:

It is 82 years old and a great practical effect. How was it shot, though?

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    Lack of research? Didn't downvote, but the answer is literally the first comment of the linked video AND in the trivia section of the linked IMDb page... – Kakturus Jun 24 at 12:51
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    @Kakturus Possibly.. When I first wrote the question, I didn't have a movie name or a youtube video, only a reddit GIF. After posting, I searched for what movie it was, linked it, and also added the YouTube video as well. I didn't have time to look it up further at the time – BlueMoon93 Jun 24 at 13:58
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    @BlueMoon93 we can see edit history, you know... this question hasn't been edited – Theoriok Jun 25 at 11:55
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    @Theoriok It could have been that it was edited in under 2 minutes from being posted IIRC. But I would love to see the original reddit post/gif. Unless it's reddit.com/r/movies/comments/78y2gd/… :) – Sebi Jun 25 at 12:10
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    @Theoriok There's a 5-minute window in which a post can be edited without anything showing up in the revision history. – Rand al'Thor Jun 25 at 13:44
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I thought this was going to be a long and difficult investigation...

However, the answer was right there on IMDB, in the Trivia section

The transformation scene was done in much the same way the beginning part of the transformation was done on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). The actress was made up in exaggerated highlights and shadows (including her teeth) using a single color shade of makeup. When filmed through a filter the same shade as the makeup, it's invisible to the camera. Take the filter away and the makeup suddenly becomes visible. Besides a filter, the makeup can also be hidden by similar-colored light. This type of trick was only possible on black-and-white film.

Very clever indeed.

The seemingly 'slow' transformation is then probably achieved using a graduated filter [filter at one end, clear at the other], larger than the lens, which can be pulled relatively slowly in front, to achieve the apparent change.

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