Marie-Georges-Jean Mèlies

(Paris 8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938)


His family had a small shoe manufacturing company.

As a magician and illusionist, he directed the Robert Houdin Theatre in Paris, where magic shows were staged, sometimes interspersed with projections of magic lantern and even Thomas Edison's kinetoscope. Present at the first film performance on December 28, 1895, he was impressed by the invention of the Lumière Brothers. Sensing the potential of the new medium in entertainment and the realization of prestigious games, he tried to get himself to sell a device, but to the refusal of the inventors he had a copy built by his engineer. His first films imitated those of the Lumière, but soon found his own style, transferring in the cinema the tricks of his trade, filming performances of entertainment. In the film escamotage d'une Dame chez Robert – Houdini, we see for the first time a trick possible only with the camera, that is, a woman who hides under a cloth is made disappear interrupting the shooting, making it go and resume to Filming as if there had been no interval: This is the oldest example of montage in cinema. In 1897 he equipped a studio in Montreuil, one of the first film theaters

(The Movie Star). It was a huge surface (17 meters x 66) that joined the merits of a photographic studio (lighting of natural light thanks to the greenhouse roof) to those as large as a theatrical stage. The actors (often the same Mèlies played in front of specially painted scenographies, according to the tradition of the performances of Magic and the musical theatre. He Directed more than 500 films between 1896 and 1914, of varying duration between one and forty minutes, and of which there were just over two hundred, some fragmentary. As For the subject, his films were often similar to the magic shows that Mèliès uses to keep, with impossible tricks and events, like objects that disappear or change dimension. His best-known film is voyage to The Moon (Le Voyage dans La Lune), 1902.This and other sounds film directly or indirectly recall the work of Jules Verne and are considered the first sci-fi films. The film was the first World film success and also one of the first cases of piracy: agents of Thomas Edison corrupted the owner of a theatre in London to obtain a copy of Travel in the Moon, from which Edison printed hundreds of copies for projecting them in New York City, without paying anything to Mèlies. In his film Le manoir du diable you can trace the origins of horror movies.Between 1900 and 1912 Méliès's success was overwhelming, profoundly influencing the operators already active (Thomas Edison and Lumière) and giving a fundamental contribution to the genesis of cinematographic language essential to the genesis of language future film for authors. Already after the 1909 production underwent a decline, because the public has become more demanding in terms of narrative and coherence. In 1913 the company cinematography Movies by Méliès, went bankrupt because of trade policies: Méliès was selling copies of his film, but he felt no copyright for individual projections; so, paradoxically, while his film spopolavano in Europe and America, was forced to commit itself financially to continuously create new films, but began to be repetitive, staid, ridiculous, losing the interest of the market. He made several films for the Pathé, but with the coming of the great war, was finally ousted from filmmaking. Méliès later tornp to devote himself only to magic shows with reruns of his films at the Robert-Houdin, until the theatre was demolished to open the Boulervard Haussmann. In 1925 was one of the main actresses, Jeanne d'alcy, who had a kiosk of sweets and toys at the station in Paris – Montparnasse. The two married and were together of the kiosk. It was here that the journalist Lèon Druhot, Director of Cinè – Journal, met him, releasing it to oblivion. His work was rediscovered by the surrealists who organized a retrospective, the first film retrospective of history. In 1931 he received the Légion d'honneur from the hands of Louis Lumière. In 1932, through the good offices of a Union film, received a pension and retired to a case of rest for artists in the Castle Park of Orly. It is said that he discovered accidentally, Méliès, mounting while filming outdoors, at Place de l ' Opéra in Paris: at one point the camera would accidentally jammed and shortly thereafter divided: in the development stage then Méliès you noticed with astonishment that, got to the point where was filming a carriage, this suddenly disappeared to make way for a hearse. As far as true or false, the anecdote sums up well what would have been there by little sense of editing. In those years, numerous other film tricks were typically tested, who went to support the theatrical tricks. The whole thing was mixed with numbers of varieties, jokes and theatrical attractions (sliding stage machinery, models, pyrotechnics, etc.). Méliès made extensive use of these techniques to create what he called "fantasmagorie". For him the montage was synonymous with metamorphosis, an apotheosis of art of wonder. The realism of photography in motion gave great credibility to tricks shown, so the success was immediate and enormous. In the films of Méliès laws of nature seem to cancel each other out, into a fantasy world unreal, where freedom was total and endless possibilities. You can tell it was born one of those "virtual worlds" where it was possible, the first from those now common today. Méliès films not recounted stories in the sense in which are designed in modern cinema: sure there was almost always a plot, but the main purpose in these films was to attract attention by showing magic tricks perhaps assembling more episodes. When Méliès had acquired full expressive capacity in the use of special effects in numerous short films, began planning stories composed of multiple shots. They were still fixed and included an inside episode, detached and independently from the others. This way of telling a story has been told in narrative paintings or stations. The shots are called autarkic, because you run out of itself and each painting animated, was strung together to the next, each new shot gave then a different episode, with thunderstorms possible disconnect between the one and the other. There was still a fitting as we know it today, but the viewer's point of view was always the same, as in theater and out points was only used to create special effects. Studies of Montreuil were equipped to provide hand-colored films.It was a difficult and painstaking process, often created by women, with a large magnifying glass, coloured frames one by one with some colors that maintain the effect of transparency. Inevitable are some burrs and approximation a bit forced chosen colors which created the effect of stain color, rather than d colourful images. A fantastic cinema Méliès is linked, so that realistic but the two Lumière features are not so clear-cut. Méliès was the first to show with the images the fantastic worlds already told in literature, leveraging the credibility of photography in motion to give credibility to the representation.




partie de cartes Star film, 1896, remake of the card game, of the Lumière, is a realistic revival, without tricks.


nuit terrible (Star film 26.1896) Meliès plays a character in a bedroom that can not sleep because it hauntes by a giant spider; The film features theatrical tricks, not yet cinematic.


Escamotage d'une Dame chez Robert – houdin ,1896


the Cauchemar (Star Film 82, 1896)


Le manoir du diable (1896)


Le Chàteau hantè, (1897)


The Prise de Torunavos


Entre Calais et Douvres


The Auberge Ensorcelèe


Apres Le Bal


sous visits-Marine du Maine (Star Film 147-1898)


Panorama pris d'un train en marche


Le Magicien (Star film 153, 1898)


Illusions Phantasmagoriques (Star Film 155, 1898)


Guillame Tell et le clown


La Lune a Dollar


Un homme de tètes


The Tentation de Saint Antoine


The fin-de-siècle illusionnist


The Diabel au convent


The danse du feu


The Mysterieux Portrait


The Dreyfus Affaire


The dictee du Bordereau


The lle du diable


Mise au fers de Dreyfus


Suicide du Colonel Henry


Debarquement to Quiberon


Entretien de Dreyfus et de sa femme à Rennes


Bagarre entre journalistes


The Conseil de Guerre en séance à Rennes 1899


Clèopàtre (1899)


Homme Protèe


Tom Wisky on the illusionist toque (1900)


The Begeance du gate – sauce (Star film 243/1900)


casues d'un explorateur (1900)


l'homme Orchestras (Star Film 262-263 – 1900)


Jeanne d'arc (Star Movie 264-275)


The reve Du radjah Ou La forey enchatèe (Star Movie)


Le crocier, le prince et le bon Genie (Star Film 285 – 286, 1900)


Le livre magique (Star Film 289 – 291 – 1900)


spiritism abracadabrant, (Star Film 293, 1900)


the llusionniste double et la tete vivante (Star Film 294, 1900)


reve de Noel (Star Film 298/305,1900)


The New Orleans (Star Film 309 – 310)


Le Repas fantastique (Star Film 311 – 1900)


Deshanbillage Impossible (Star Movie 3112-313.1900)


The Tonneau De Danaides (Star Movie)


The savant et le chimpazè (Star Movie, 1900)


Le reveil d'un Monsieur Press (Star Film 1900)


The quiet Maison (Star Film 325 – 326 – 1901)


Dislocation mysterieuse (Star Film 355 – 336)


The antre de espirits (Star Movie, 345)


Chez la sorciere (Star Film 350 – 351, 1901)


Exelsior! (Star Movie, 1907)


Barbe – Blue (Star Movie, 1901)


La chapeau à surprise (1901)


l'homme à la tete en caoutchouc (Star movie, 1901)


The diable geant Ou le Miracle De La madone (Star Movie)


nain et geant (Star Movie, 1901)


trip To the moon (Star Film 1902)


Le Mèlomane (1903)


The Chaudron Infernal (1903)


The Cake-walk (1903)


The Flamme Merveilleuse (1903)


Le Rayaume des fèes (1903)


Le monstre (1903)


the Auberge du bon repos (1903)


the Magique lanterns (1903)


the Rève du maitre de ballet (1903)


La dannation de Faust (1903)


The Thaumaturge chinois (1904)


Le Borreau turc (1904)


Le Roi Du Maquillage (1904)


Journey through the Impossible (Voyage à travers the Impossible) Star Movies, 1904


the Cascade de Feu (Star Movie, 1904)


Les cartes vivantes (Star Movie, 1905)


The diable noir (Star Movie, 1905)


Le phenix ou le coffret de cristal (Star Movie, 1905)


The Menuet lilliputien (Star Movie, 1905)


The Palais des Mille et une nutis (Star Movie, 1905)


the Toque Compoisteur (Star Movie, 1905)


The the Chaise (Star Movie, 1905)


Le Raid Paris – Montecarlo En 2 heures (Star Movie, 1905)


an improvise fe d'artifice (Star Movie, 1905)


La Legende de Rip Van Winckle (Star Movie, 1905)


Les affiches en goguette (1905)


Le Tripot Clandestin (Star Movie, 1905)


Une chute du 5eme ètage (Star movie, 1906)


The anarchie – Chez Guignol (Star Movie, 1906)


the Hotel des voyageurs de commerce (Star Movie, 1906)


The bulles de savon vivantes (Star Movie, 1906)


Les 400 fareces du diable (Star Movie, 1906)


Hamlet (1907)


The douche d'eau bouillante (Star Movie, 1907)


Les Fromages Automobiles (Star Movie, 1907)


The Tunnel Sous la Manche ou Le cahuchemar franco-anglais (Star movie, 1907)


Eclipse de soleil en pleine lune (Star Movie, 1907)


Pauvre John ou les aventures d'un beveur de whisky (Star movie, 1907)


The Universelle Hill (Star Movie, 1907)


Ali Barbouyou Et Ali bouf à l'huile (Star Movie, 1907)


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the seas, 1907


Le Tambourin fantastique, Star Movies, 1908


The Cuisine of the ogre (Star Movie, 1908)


the Torches humanines (Star Movie, 1908)


the Genie du Feu (Star Movie, 1908)


Why that actor was late (Star Movie, 1908)


Le rève d'un femeur d'opium, (Star Movie, 1908)


Salon de coiffure, (Star Movie, 1908)


Le Nouveau signerur du village (Star Film, 1908)


The avare, (Star Movie, 1908)


The Conseil Du pipelet ou a tour à la foir (Star Movie, 1908)


The Blue (Star Movie, 1908)


Les Patineurs (1908)


Amour et molasses (Star Movie, 1908)


Les Mesaventures of a photographer (Star Movie, 1908)


Le fakir De Singapour, (Star Movie, 1908)


A Tricky Painter's Fairies (Star Movie, 1908)


French interpreter policeman (Star Movie, 1908)


anaic on le balafre (Star Movie, 1908)


Pour l'etoile (Star Movie, 1908)


Count de la Grand – mere et reve de l'enfant (Star Movie, 1908)


la Bonne bergere et la mauvais princesse (Star Movie)


the Diabolique Locataire (Star Movie, 1909)


Le Secret du mèdècin, (Star Movie, 1910)