Une Nuit Terrible
A man in bed, besieged by bugs.
Combat Naval en Grèce
Officer and gun crew on the rolling deck of a modern warship, firing and fired upon, toward and by the audience (cf. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery).
Un Homme de Tête
Méliès removes his head and places it on a table, another appears, thereby he arranges to sing a quartet with three heads on two tables to right and left of him, sitting between them playing a banjo.
The two on his right sing unpleasantly, struck with the banjo they vanish in a puff of smoke, he tosses his head away and nimbly places the head on his left on his shoulders, exit with a flourish.
Oh the vicissitudes.
The magician leaps into his magic box and appears an auguste, forlorn.
There is a feast prepared for him, it vanishes with the stool he sat on.
A courtier knocks him into an artist, his sculptures are alive but unembraceable. The benefactor knocks him once again in The End.
La Lune à une Mètre
“She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,” Selene and the devil contend for the mind of Méliès’ astronomer.
The magician and his magic box, dove and duds in, boy out, axe splits him in two, two boys, two flags waved by the magician, who disappears.
Le Voyage dans la Lune
The celebrated expedition mounted by the Institute of Incoherent Astronomy, in a large cannon-shell.
The Septentrion observes, stars and planets, snow falls on the explorers.
Within the Moon, they are captured by Selenites, who explode when struck.
They return to Earth, one Selenite in tow, and are feted in the name of Science.
La Lanterne Magique
Commedia dell’Arte figures assemble it and project one of their plays, dancing girls emerge from it, there is a fight among the players, policemen are rebuffed by the elongating carnival figure revealed inside, the dance continues.
Le Cake-Walk Infernal
Darktown strutters in hell, where Satan has the physiognomy of a man so crooked that when he dies he has to be screwed into his grave, according to the proverb.
La Flamme Merveilleuse
Inventor of the footman and the flame, out of a skull magically converted into an extendable handkerchief.
One of Méliès’ scenic masterpieces. At the feet of the Great Sphinx a fakir laboriously brings a skeleton to life, it is a nautch girl who, tossed to an onlooker, is only a skeleton.
Cinderella, by Méliès.
The critical point is the hands of midnight, her rags, the slipper.
Wedding dance, apotheosis.
A very beautiful, majestically analyzed understanding of the tale.
Scenes of the participants, arranged with positive inspiration throughout, a great and noble film.
Le Sorcier, le Prince et le Bon Génie
A chef-d’œuvre in no time at all, an intensely concentrated work.
You can’t fight a wizard, the good fairy chastises the prince as well, bestowing the princess.
Infortunes d’un Explorateur
Only a matter of seconds remaining in this piece of film set in Egypt, he finds a sarcophagus and unwarily steps inside...
The man in the Dalian bedchamber, the more he takes off, the more he has on.
The whole story in ten minutes.
Hand-colored, lap dissolves, pageants and processions.
DeMille has the superimpositions in Joan the Woman. Until he and Fleming and Preminger are recognized, it means nothing to say that Méliès has the pre-eminence.
L’Homme à la Tête en Caoutchouc
The rubber head, a living likeness of his own, is easily inflated and deflated by Méliès, a neighbor brought in to marvel can’t get enough of the sight and overinflates it until it bursts, he is then ejected.
Rêve de Noël
The happiest of Christmases, simply arranged as the ideal form of the French holiday, following on a bedtime story.
La Douche du Colonel
A case of carelessly applied whitewash.
L’Omnibus des Toqués ou Blancs et Noirs
The farting horse-drawn carriage unloads interchangeable augustes and golliwogs rolled into one, finally, who is exploded.
Le Diable Géant, ou Le Miracle de la Madone
An Italian palazzo.
The lover departs, she is imprisoned there by the devil, leering and mocking and growing in size, a giant.
The statue of the Madonna extends its palm branch to diminish and disperse him, the figure descends into the room and in the same way causes the iron bars to disappear from the window, admitting the lover.
Méliès’ greatest trick, casting aside his clown makeup he flings his head up six times to make musical notes on telegraph wires, girls with cards bearing the solfège spell out the tune as well, “God Save the King (or Queen)” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.
The Man, in other words, Who Loses His Head Over Music.
Les Cartes Vivantes
A magician (Méliès) appears on stage holding up a card to the audience. Can’t you see it? He enlarges it for you, then throws it upon a portable screen—the eleven of spades. He does the same thing with the queen of hearts, she takes his hand and descends from the screen. Finally it’s the king of clubs, who descends, throws off his beard and robe to reveal the magician Méliès.
Le Juif Errant
A vivid, edifying and impressive dramatic spectacle with its beautiful painted backdrops and superimpositions and scenic effects.
He who hastened Christ on his way to Golgotha likewise has no rest from devil nor angel nor heaven itself, by thunder.
To go fishing in your hat for an aquarium full is one thing, Méliès pulls rabbits out to prove the point, the old man’s hammock disappears, he creates a grotto and the mermaid, royally ensconced in a seashell divan with Nereids and King Neptune.
Les Apparitions Fugitives
Méliès the magician causes a boy to appear and disappear, changes places with him, leaps into the air and vanishes, entering from the side of the frame to take a bow.
The Untamable Whiskers
Le Roi du Maquillage, that is to say, The Makeup King.
He draws a thing and becomes it.
Hirsute characters, young, old, monocled.
He writes in English
and becomes a circus clown then an old stock figure in a farce.
Lastly he’s a devil and disappears.
Le Thaumaturge Chinois
Out of his parasol come paper lanterns transformed into dog and then lady, magically transported and converted into chickens and a Chinaman, she reappears to tie his pigtail to the thaumaturge’s.
Le Voyage à travers l’Impossible
A film of marvels, utter marvels, the exact counterpart of Le Voyage dans la Lune.
A leap from the Jungfrau into outer space and the maw of the Sun, landing God knows where in three thousand degrees of heat, ice box unavailing, return by submarine, a heroic return.
And thus the Institute of Incoherent Geography’s trip around the world.
Hand-colored, with a bonimenteur.
Le Baquet de Mesmer
The statuary fountain group comes to life with the aid of dresses pulled from Mesmer’s Tub, dancing girls and a prima ballerina appear, the dresses go back in the tub and are spilled out as chickens and ducks.
The Tub is prepared at the outset with water and fire, like one of Elijah’s feats.
A hand-colored prestidigitation.
Détresse et Charité
Détresse means poverty, misery and ineffectual begging to the point of death in the Christmas season, Charité is the good angel who puts all to rights (cf. Russell’s Amelia and the Angel).
La Chaise à Porteurs Enchantée
A fantastic magic show, clothes make the man and his lady, the proper reverence is due a woman, this is all explained by prestidigitation.
Le Palais des Mille et une Nuits
The grand masterwork of Méliès is an exploit of Prince Sourire, whose suit for the hand of Princess Indigo is refused by the Rajah, her father. Indigo is promised to a usurer, Sourire is very poor.
Kalafar appears from a bottle and leads the Prince through many ordeals to the Palace, first obtaining the consent of the goddess by epiphany in a “cérémonie bouddhique”. The boatmen of the sacred river and the Blue Dwarf conduct them to the magic forest, it opens to reveal the Golden Fairy standing before the Marvelous Caverns. Genies of fire in the Crystal Grotto, will o’ the wisps and specters guard the treasure. In the wonderful caves a dragon and magic frogs turn into stone gargoyles that become the leaves of beautiful lotus flowers, the goddesses of the subterranean world, a fountain of fire, the Golden Temple, finally the Palace of a Thousand and One Nights is made manifest. The Golden Fairy dispenses its treasure, Prince Sourire returns to the Rajah’s palace and weds Princess Indigo.
Two reels, hand-colored. Bergman remembers the guardians of the forest and much else in The Magic Flute.
Les Affiches en Goguette
The sort of stacked posters you see in tiers come to life within their individual panels, creating a great disturbance among the passersby. The police are called, so Méliès drops the screen to show the advertised personages separated from the real world not by the two-dimensional plane but by iron bars. It’s a magic trick, like Magritte’s pipe.
Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La Cornue Infernale
The sleeping alchemist is possessed of a wonderful dream familiar to those who keep long vigil, a snake from his stove, a weaving spider in the retort and then (it has enlarged) a beautiful woman, a shower of sparks and “the expense of spirit”, the infernal retort explodes, knocking down Parafaragaramus in a beautiful hand-colored film.
Robert Macaire et Bertrand, les Rois des Cambrioleurs
They bum at an outdoor café, burgle the International Bank, steal disguises and make off by train, survive an earthquake, are flung through the air pursued by gendarmes, who kill them and shed tears, after which the two kings among thieves make their getaway in a balloon.
A goddamn funny extravaganza in pure Méliès style.
20 000 Lieues sous les Mers
The catastrophic futility of life under the seas, with mermaids even, not Jules Verne but a tale of a tub.
Photographie Électrique à Distance
The inventor gives four demonstrations to a couple of visitors in the workshop.
The Three Graces languidly pose from a still photograph.
A motionless model flirts with the man.
The wife, a disembodied head, giggles and grimaces.
The man is a mechanical monkey-face in clown makeup, winking and chattering.
He knocks down the apparatus and receives a hair-flying shock from a dynamo while the inventor and his assistants laugh helplessly.
Le Papillon Fantastique
The butterfly and the spider, by the magician’s art one and the same, victim and target.
The Before and After of very fast weight loss have a middle term of steam heat that brings to mind Hitchcock’s joke, “two men are walking along the street when they spy an arm lying in the gutter. ‘It’s Muriel,’ says the first. The other one shrugs his shoulders, ‘how can you tell?’ Farther on, there’s a leg, again the first man recognizes Muriel, again the other one is skeptical. A second leg does not convince him. Round the corner there’s a head lying in the gutter. ‘You see,’ cries the first man, ‘I told you it was Muriel!’ The other one, taking it all in, picks up the head, embraces it tenderly and cries in turn, ‘Muriel, what’s the matter?’”
Méliès’ hydrotherapist glues the client back together.
Die Endeckung des “Nordpols”
Eine aviatische fantasie Reise über das nördliche Eismeer zum Nordpol.
Colorirtes Fantasie Filmwerk in 2 Teilen.
By land, or sea, or air? Balloon, no, aeroplane.
Maboul of France, Run-Ever of England, Bluff-Allo-Bill of America, Choukroutman of Germany, Cerveza of Spain, Tching-Tchun of China, Ko-Ka-Ku of Japan, sont nommés délégués.
The suffragettes (“Aux Femmes le Pôle”) go into Blake Edwards’ The Great Race.
At “die elektrische Fabrik”, Méliès’ characteristic power to build a scene with a static camera, here gradually conveying furious preparations.
À la Conquête du Pôle. Méliès, father of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
Beyond the Zodiac, Saturn, comets and the Pleiades, through electrical storms to the polar regions. The devouring Snow Giant. Magnetic North, truly. Providential rescue.
Heroic return to the Aero Club.