The Magic of Méliès
Director: Georges Méliès
Tribute is paid to the screen’s first special effects wizard in this special collection of marvelously restored prints. In addition to more than a dozen of his early trompes l’oeil – such as Untamable Wiskers, Tchin-Chao, the Chinese Conjurer, and The Mermaid – this volume boasts the illuminating documentary, Georges Méliès, Cinema Magician and a rare hand-tinted print of the fantastic spectacle An Impossible Voyage.
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. The films collected on this disc offer an unparalleled view of Méliès’s career, introducing the viewer to the rich body of work that lies beyond A Trip To The Moon (1902), which is featured in vol. 1 of The Movies Begin.
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), a fantastic tale of an around-the-world expedition, presented with the authentic frame-by-frame hand-coloring and narration penned by Méliès himself.
Georges Méliès: Cinema Magician (dir. Patrick Montgomery & Luciano Martinengo) is a documentary on the filmmaker’s life, integrating rare photographs, early drawings and numerous clips, charting his rise from shoe factory worker to proprietor of Paris’s mystical Théatre Robert-Houdin, where Méliès 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).
The Untamable Whiskers (1904)
The Cook In Trouble (1904)
Tchin-Chao, The Chinese Conjurer (1904)
The Wonderful Living Fan (1904)
The Mermaid (1904)
The Living Playing Cards (1905)
The Black Imp (1905)
The Enchanted Sedan Chair (1905)
The Scheming Gambler’s Paradise (1905)
The Hilarious Posters (1906)
The Mysterious Retort (1906)
The Eclipse (1907)
Good Glue Sticks (1907)
Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908)
The Impossible Voyage (1904)
Georges Méliès: Cinema Magician (1978)