Almost immediately after the eleven-film The Dreyfus Affair cycle (L’Affaire Dreyfus, 1899), which presented the story of late nineteenth-century France’s most notorious scandal as eleven separate tableaux (of which nine survive), Georges Méliès made an even more ambitious film that adapted Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairytale into a series of sequences that, unlike the Dreyfus films, were clearly designed to be presented together – since Méliès devised various elaborate transitions between shots.
It was amazingly sophisticated for 1899, especially in its scene transitions. Three of them – between 4/5, 6/7 and 11/12 – are linked by dissolves, achieved by closing the lens aperture, rewinding the film, and opening the aperture again, and it is generally believed that these are the first dissolves in film history. —Filmjournal.net
Georges Méliès (December 8, 1861 – January 21, 1938), full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the “Cinemagician.”
Méliès was born in Paris, where his family manufactured shoes. He had two older brothers, Henri and Gaston. Before making films, he was a stage magician at the Theatre Robert-Houdin. In 1895, he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers’ camera. In 1897, he established a studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil. Actors performed in front of a painted… read more