Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Georges Méliès (December 8, 1861 – January 21, 1938), full name Maries-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was born in Paris, where his family manufactured shoes.
He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films.
Before making films, he was a stage magician at the Theatre Robert-Houdin . In 1895, he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers' camera. In 1897, he established a studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil. Actors performed in front of a painted set as inspired by the conventions of magic and musical theater. He directed 531 films between 1896 and 1914, ranging in length from one to forty minutes. In subject matter, these films are often similar to the magic theater shows that Méliès had been doing, containing "tricks" and impossible events, such as objects disappearing or changing size.
His most famous film is A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune) made in 1902, which includes the celebrated scene in which a spaceship hits the eye of the man in the moon. Also famous is The Impossible Voyage (Le voyage a travers l'impossible) from 1904. Both of these films are about strange voyages, somewhat in the style of Jules Verne. These are considered to be some of the most important early science fiction films, although their approach is closer to fantasy. Agents of Thomas Edison bribed a theater owner in London for a copy of A Trip to the Moon. Edison then made hundreds of copies and showed them in New York City. Méliès received no compensation.
In 1913 Georges Méliès' film company was forced into bankruptcy by the large French and American studios and his company was bought out of receivership by Pathé Frères. After being driven out of business Méliès became a toy salesman at the Montparnasse station. In 1932 the Cinema Society gave Méliès a home in Chateau D'Orly. Long after burning his negatives in despair, Méliès was rediscovered and honored for his work, eventually taking up stage performance.
Georges Méliès has been awarded the Légion d'honneur (Legion of honor).
Méliès died in Paris and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.
- The Bewitched Inn (1896)
- The Vanishing Lady / Escamotage d'une dame chez Robert-Houdin (1896)
- The Four Troublesome Heads /Un homme de têtes (1898)
- An Up-to-Date Conjuror / Illusioniste fin de siècle (1899)
- Cinderella / Cendrillon (1899)
- The Dreyfus Affair / L'affaire Dreyfus (1899)
- Fat and Lean Wrestling Match / Nouvelles luttes extravagantes (1900)
- One Man Band / L'homme-orchestre (1900)
- The Doctor's Secret (1900)
- The Man With The Rubber Head / L'homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901)
- Bluebeard / Barbe bleu (1901)
- A Trip to the Moon / Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
- Extraordinary illusions (1903)
- The Enchanted Well (1903)
- The Apparation (1903)
- The Music Lover / Le mélomane (1903)
- The Infernal Boiling Pot / Le chaudron infernal (1903)
- The Infernal Cakewalk / Le cake-walk infernal (1903)
- The Mystical Flame / La flamme merveilleuse (1903)
- Kingdom of the Fairies / Le royaume des fées (1903)
- The Monster / Le monstre (1903)
- The Inn Where No Man Rests /L'Auberge du Bon Repos (1903)
- The Magic Lantern / La lanterne magicue (1903)
- The Ballet Master's Dream / La rêve du maître de ballet (1903)
- The Damnation of Faust / La damnation de Faust (1903)
- The Living Playing Cards / Les cartes vivantes (1904)
- Imperceptible Transmutations / Le thaumaturge chinois (1904)
- The Terrible Turkish Executioner / Le bourreau turc (1904)
- Untameable Whiskers / Le roi du maquillage (1904)
- The Impossible Voyage / Le Voyage à travers l'impossible (1904)
- The Scheming Gambler's Paradise / Te tripot clandestin (1905)
- Hilarious Posters / Les affiches en goguette (1905)
- Palace of the Arabian Knights / Le palais des Mille et une Nuits (1905)
- Paris to Monte Carlo / Le raid Paris-Monte Carlo en deux heures (1905)
- The Merry Frolics of Satan / Les 400 farces du diable (1906)
- The Mysterious Retort / L'alchimste Parafaragamus ou La cornue infernale (1906)
- The Eclipse / L'éclipse du soleil en pleine lune (1907)(image)
- Dream of an Opium Eater / Le rêve d'un fumeur d'opium (1907)
- The Devilish Tenant / Le locataire diabolique (1909)
- The Doctor's Secret / Le secret du médécin (1910)
- Baron Munchausen's Dream / Les hallucinations du Baron de Münchausen (1910)
- Conquest of the Pole / Á la conquète du pole (1910)
- Films Of George Méliès
- The Great Train Robbery And Other Primary Works
- Marvelous Melies
- Méliès Le Cinémagicien
- Mes Mémoires.
- Pioneers Of The French Cinema Volume One
- Le Grand Méliès (1952) The life of Georges Méliès, is told in this biodrama director Georges Franju. Andre Méliès stars as his famous father.
Georges Méliès should not be confused with his brother G. Méliès, who made The Gypsy's Warning.
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