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 A Trip to the Moon  1902  Georges Méliès

 

 The first science fiction film. Hand colored version. In this restoration the music is performed by the French duo Air, from their studio album Le Voyage dans la Lune.Written, produced and directed by Georges Méliès.Based on From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the Moonby Jules Verne.

 

"A Trip to the Moon" (French: Le Voyage dans la lune), alternately "Voyage to the Moon", is a 1902 French black-and-white silent science fiction (SF) film. The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. It is based loosely on two popular novels of the time: Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon. It was extremely popular at the time of its release, and is the best-known of the hundreds of fantasy films made by Méliès. A Trip to the Moon is the first known science fiction film, and uses innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the Moon's eye. It was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranking at #84 .

 

 

 Georges Méliès documentary

 

At a meeting of astronomers, their president proposes a trip to the Moon. After addressing some dissent, six brave astronomers agree to the plan. They build a space capsule in the shape of a bullet, and a huge cannon to shoot it into space. The astronomers embark and their capsule is fired from the cannon with the help of "marines", most of whom are portrayed as a bevy of beautiful women in sailors' outfits, while the rest are men. The Man in the Moon watches the capsule as it approaches, and it hits him in the eye. Landing safely on the Moon, the astronomers get out of the capsule and watch the Earth rise in the distance. Exhausted by their journey, the astronomers unroll their blankets and sleep. As they sleep, a comet passes, the Big Dipper appears with human faces peering out of each star, old Saturn leans out of a window in his ringed planet, and Phoebe, goddess of the Moon, appears seated in a crescent-moon swing. Phoebe calls down a snowfall that awakens the astronomers. They seek shelter in a cavern and discover giant mushrooms. One astronomer opens his umbrella; it promptly takes root and turns into a giant mushroom itself. At this point, a Selenite (an insectoid alien inhabitant of the Moon, named after one of the Greek moon goddesses, Selene) appears, but it is killed easily by an astronomer, as the creatures explode if they are hit with a hard force. More Selenites appear and it becomes increasingly difficult for the astronomers to destroy them as they are surrounded. The Selenites arrest the astronomers and bring them to their commander at the Selenite palace. An astronomer lifts the Chief Selenite off his throne and dashes him to the ground, exploding him. The astronomers run back to their capsule while continuing to hit the pursuing Selenites, and five get inside. The sixth uses a rope to tip the capsule over a ledge on the Moon and into space. A Selenite tries to seize the capsule at the last minute. Astronomer, capsule, and Selenite fall through space and land in an ocean on Earth.

 

Méliès had intended to release the film in the United States to profit from it. Thomas Edison's film technicians, however, secretly made copies of it and distributed it throughout the country. While the film was still hugely successful, Méliès eventually went bankrupt. This was due in part to the eventual view which was held towards his films that the special effects were overshadowing the plot. In an interview of Martin Scorsese by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Scorsese said, "He [Georges Méliès] lost basically most of his financing when the bigger companies came in. What happened here. . . at that time there was a lot going on with copyright and not copyright and that sort of thing." Stewart said, "There is a story that Edison had taken one of his [Georges Méliès] films, brought it to America and showed it and it became enormously popular in America. But Edison decided not to pay I guess what we would call royalties." Scorsese replied: "That's right. So what happened, the film was I think the famous one, 'A Trip to the Moon.' They [Thomas Edison and his associates] were just taking the films and making dupes of them. So that was one of the reasons why he [Georges Méliès] was finished financially, ultimately."

 

A Trip to the Moon 1902

Georges Méliès

 

 

 The Magic of Méliès

 Decades before the term special effects was coined, audiences of the newborn cinema were witnessing spectacular screen illusions, courtesy of the medium s first master magician: Georges Méliès. Such films as THE ECLIPSE (1907) and LONG DISTANCE WIRELESS PHOTOGRAPHY (1908) not only demonstrate Méliès s astounding employment of double exposure, makeup, editing and theatrical trickery but provide mesmerizing insight into the social context of his work, which blended Victorian approaches to astronomy, superstition and feminine beauty with the unnatural wonders of 20th-century technology and heavy doses of slapstick. The centerpiece of the collection is THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE (1904), presented with the authentic frame-by-frame hand-coloring and narration penned by Méliès himself. GEORGES MÉLIÈS: CINEMA MAGICIAN is a documentary on the filmmaker s life, integrating rare photographs, early drawings and numerous clips. It charts Méliès rise from shoe factory worker to proprietor of Paris s mystical Théatre Robert-Houdin, where he learned the skills to become a cinematic illusionist and developed an interest in the supernatural, exquisitely represented in The Mysterious Retort (1906) and The Black Imp (1905).