Film (1902; vt A Trip to the Moon). Star-Film. Directed and written by Georges Méliès, from novels cited below. Cast includes Henri Delannoy, François Lallement, Jules-Eugène Legris, Georges Méliès. 21 minutes. Tinted.
This is the first sf film (apart from short subjects lasting only 1-2 minutes). French Cinema pioneer Méliès based his amusing spectacle extremely loosely on Jules Verne's De la terre à la lune (1865; trans as the first half of From the Earth to the Moon 1873) and H G Wells's First Men in the Moon (1901), borrowing a spacecraft propelled by a gun from the former and hard-shelled Selenites from the latter. At a Vernian Congress of the Astronomic Club, Professor Barbenfouillis (Méliès) successfully proposes an exploratory voyage to the Moon by Spaceship. No serious attempt is made to anticipate the nature of an actual flight; the Moon projectile is loaded by a line of grinning chorus girls, and the Man in the Moon (again Méliès) is struck in the eye by the projectile. On the Moon itself, the astronauts are captured by Alien Selenites who take them Underground to meet their king, but who explode when tapped with an umbrella; and the travellers safely return home, due to the pull of Earth's Gravity, landing in the ocean, which they explore (see Under the Sea). They eventually return to Paris, where a statue is erected in their honour. The innovatory special effects may now seem primitive, but encompass many techniques still in use today. [JB/JC]
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