Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Méliès's Trip to the Moon
SUNY Press, 2011 - Performing Arts - 271 pages
“Best moving pictures I ever saw.” Thus did one Vaudeville theater manager describe Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon [Le Voyage dans la lune], after it was screened for enthusiastic audiences in October 1902. Cinema’s first true blockbuster, A Trip to the Moon still inspires such superlatives and continues to be widely viewed on DVD, on the Internet, and in countless film courses. In Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination, leading film scholars examine Méliès’s landmark film in detail, demonstrating its many crucial connecions to literature, popular culture, and visual culture of the time, as well as its long “afterlife” in more recent films, television, and music videos. Together, these essays make clear that Méliès was not only a major filmmaker but also a key figure in the emergence of modern spectacle and the birth of the modern cinematic imagination, and by bringing interdisciplinary methodologies of early cinema studies to bear on A Trip to the Moon, the contributors also open up much larger questions about aesthetics, media, and modernity.
In his introduction, Matthew Solomon traces the convoluted provenance of the film’s multiple versions and its key place in the historiography of cinema, and an appendix contains a useful dossier of primary-source documents that contextualize the film’s production, along with translations of two major articles written by Méliès himself. Included with the book is a critical edition DVD containing two versions of the film: a reconstructed version (finally presented at the speed specified in Méliès’s catalogs) accompanied by an original 1903 score and a recently rediscovered color-tinted version; both have optional audio commentaries by the editor.
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American amusement André Gaudreault appear artistic astronomers audience Avant-Garde Barbenfouillis Bergerac Berkeley British Film Institute California Press camera catalog century Cinema of Attractions Cinémathèque Cinémathèque française cinematographic comedy comic early cinema early film earth Edison editing effects Ernie Gehr explorers fairground fairy fantastic féerie Figure film history film’s filmmakers frame French genre Georges Méliès Georges Sadoul Ginisty Gunning Histoire illusions images Impossible Voyage Jacques Malthête Journey Jules Verne Les Farces Leterrier Lumière lunar lune magic magician Méliès’s film Moon moon-face moon’s moving narrative Offenbach operetta Pan-American Exposition Paris Pathé Pathé-Frères picture play popular produced projectile Richard Abel Robida rocket satirical Saturnin Farandoul screen script Selenites shell shot space spectacle spectacular spectator stage Star-Film stars story tableau telescope theater Théâtre Théâtre Robert-Houdin theatrical trans transformation trick films Trip Universal Exposition University Press Vanloo visual Wells’s women World’s Fairs York York Clipper Ziegfeld