Monday, November 24, 2008

Méliès the Magician

One of the DVDs that lives by my TV for occasional inspiration is Méliès the Magician, a compilation of very early special effects films by one of the most amazing pioneers of film. I've been pondering a bunch of new machinima projects, and I'm toying with the idea of recreating a load of his films using Moviestorm, just for the fun of playing with special effects and learning how to do them.

Many of his 500+ films are really short (under a minute) and are just there to show off a trick. Méliès was originally a stage magician, and his aim was to bring the same sense of wonder to the screen. He used multiple exposures, split screen, glass painting, stop motion, miniatures, and animation to achieve all sorts of things that had never been seen before, and became standard film techniques ever after. I quite fancy the idea of developing the same range of skills he had, and at the same time paying homage to one of the greatest film makers of all time.

Georges Méliès, 1861 - 1938

From the description on play.com:

Melies` Magic Show: These magnificently restored prints are a dream-like journey into the world of Georges Melies. The 15 films demonstrate the breadth of his command of different genres, including trick film, spectacle, burlesque and fantasy.

Titles included:

1. The Four Troublesome Heads (1898)
2. A Trip To The Moon (1902)
3. The Infernal Cakewalk (1903)
4. The Scheming Gambler's Paradise (1905)
5. The Music Lover (1903)
6. The Infernal Boiling Pot (1903)
7. The Man With The Rubber Head (1901)
8. Playing Cards (1904)
9. Hilarious Poker (1905)
10. The Devilish Tenant (1909)
11. Untameable Whiskers (1904)
12. Imperceptible Transmutations (1904)
13. Bluebeard (1901)
14. Fat And Lean Wrestling Match (1900)
15. The One-Man Band (1900)

3 comments:

Ricky Grove said...

What a marvelous idea, Matt. It's a project I've considered myself for next year. His short films are full of fun and creativity. We purchased a slightly fuller collection this year and have been entranced by it:

http://www.flickeralley.com/fa_melies_01.html

Perhaps we can collaborate? I'd love to work with you on something like this. Plus, I need to get my MS skills up to date.

Matt Kelland said...

I'd love to, Ricky!

Kate Fosk and Michael R. Joyce said...

Sounds like a great format. Had to go look this guy's films up on youtube. Sometimes it is amazing to me how little I know about film history -Kate