A Trip to the Moon - Georges Méliès, cinemas first special effects wizard

In 1902, French stage magician and filmmaker Georges Méliès, made his most popular work; Le Voyage dans la Lune or 'A Trip to the Moon'.  Taking some H G Wells and Jules Verne novels and thankfully, not worrying much about copyright laws, Méliès gave us the worlds first 'high-concept' special effects extravaganza!  Though the film is weak on narrative, that's not what he was really trying to achieve.  Why bore you with story when there is all this great stuff to show you?

Most of Méliès films were explorations of magician stage effects and film effects.  The wonder of film was his playground.  Unfortunately, Thomas Edison took some of Méliès films in the states, with out the filmmakers knowledge, and redistributed them.  Méliès never received a dime. (Edison was a swell guy, just ask Nickola Tesla). 

In the movie, a group of astronomers set out to study earths moon by flying there in a ship that is shot from a kind of cannon. When they arrive, they are assaulted by evil moon men. The film is very short, as were most films of the very early 1900's.  It wasn't until 1903's Great Train Robbery from the Edison company, that a full feature film was presented in theaters.

Sadly, many of Georges Méliès some 500 films are now gone forever.  It is said that he did not see the value of his work.  The French Army seized them and many were melted down for boot-heels in the First World War.  His film company went bankrupt and he became a toy salesman.  He died in 1936 at the age of 78.  

Long live Georges Méliès - cinemas first special effects wizard!

- Mark

The movie really starts to get going at about 5:15, when the rocket is loaded into the big gun.  

Another silent Scifi must see  . . .

Metropolis - the first cinematic science fiction masterpiece!

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