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Topic: Melies
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Nov 15, 2007 11:22PM)
George Melies was a magician and pioneer of the cinema. He discovered the idea of stop motion photographic effects. There is something very magical about his films. Here is a list of his movies that are available online. There is a great deal of charm in these short films.


Todd Robbins
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Nov 16, 2007 01:00AM)
Many of these were shown on a program I think was called "Magic Years of Cinema". I think it was maybe an A&E program. That was years ago.

I also recalled seeing these [url=http://entertainment.circuitcity.com/Movies/SearchResults.aspx?SEARCH=MELIES&sec=All%20Movies&si=ccity-prod&channel=b2c&partner=cc&catOid=-13219]movies[/url] available from Circuit City's website. Good to see they are still available.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 16, 2007 08:02PM)
Several years ago at a Yankee Collector's gathering, a talk was given on Melies. It was very entertaining. He certainly was way ahead of his time. Most of the special effects he developed are still being used in films today.

Message: Posted by: crisgal (Nov 24, 2007 05:16AM)
I remember hearing that Meliès got depressed after his business failed and threw most of his films in the Seine, but I don't know if there is any truth to that.

This is what Wikipedia says:
"Méliès did not grasp the value of his films, and with some 500 films recorded on cellulose, the French Army seized most of this stock to be melted down into boot heels during World War I. Many of the other films were sold to be recycled into new film."

It's a shame either way.
Message: Posted by: Xargos (Jan 5, 2008 07:52AM)
He didn't throw the films in the seine, In fact he burned most of them (those old films burned really really well) before they could be taken away from him...
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Jan 5, 2008 01:18PM)
I read years ago (I believe it was in Forrest J. Ackerman's original "Famous Monsters of Filmland") that Georges Melies invented the dissolve shot as a special effect as a result of a bizarre accident. He was shooting some street scenes, including one of a street car going by. Evidently he accidentally rewound a few feet of film by mistake before he shot the next scen, and when the film was projected he was startled to see the street car dissolve into a hearse.
Message: Posted by: Xargos (Apr 15, 2008 11:59AM)
Not exactly the real anecdote. It wasn't the disolving shot but a simple transformation, he was filming, his camera jamed, he fixed the camera and continued filming, and the street car transformed (instantly) into a hearse.

The disolving shot was invented later.

But Melies was a real "story teller", he made up a lot of things (he said he made his own camera but in fact he just modified a projector) so this anecdote might be another story...
Message: Posted by: sethb (Apr 15, 2008 01:20PM)
There is a new 5-disc DVD set that was just released a month ago, with over 175 of Melies' films, collected from various film archives around the world, click [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013K8J90/ref=nosim/silenerafilmsond]HERE[/url] for more info.

It's a little pricey, but it has over five hours of film and is being released by Lobster Films, a French firm with stellar credentials in film restoration and preservation. SETH
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Apr 15, 2008 05:36PM)
Great stuff. He was ahead of his time. Wish I can do that on stage.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Apr 16, 2008 07:14AM)
No question he was ahead of his time; sometimes that's a blessing, but mostly it seems to be a curse!

The other interesting thing is that many of his films were pirated and copied by other companies, depriving him of the profits of his labors. We always complain about other magicians stealing our tricks, but this was a theft several degrees above that!

Anyway, I'm glad to see that so many of his films have been saved, preserved and are once again available to view, so that his accomplishments are saved for posterity. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Apr 16, 2008 01:42PM)
Just happened to run across more information on that Melies DVD set, click [url=http://www.silentera.com/DVD/meliesFirstWizardDVD.html]HERE[/url] to view.

Apparently the DVD set also includes a documentary with Melies' son and widow, as well as a booklet with essays by Melies' biographer. The review also says that David Shepard was involved in the project, which is a good sign -- he has worked on restoring the Chaplin shorts, many of the Buster Keaton films, and is presently the owner and conservator of the old Blackhawk Films library, among many other accomplishments in this field. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Apr 17, 2008 12:10PM)
And yet another good article on the new Melies DVD set, look [url=http://www.tcm.com/movienews/index/?cid=192777]HERE[/url]. SETH
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 28, 2008 03:11AM)
S.S. Henry was also a rather creative movie photographer. Although most of his material was for personal use, he did some films of an early IBM convention, I think it was the 1926 convention. He filmed Downs doing the coin star.

He also had a series of film tricks with doll houses. He had three of them that he used to produce various sizes of people, and even a goat.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 28, 2008 12:47PM)
I believe some of those films are in the SAM film library.