On exiting a strange cone a young girl deploys her butterfly wings. Mr Méliès is preparing for the show. In a puff of smoke, a star in the centre of which a second young girl appears, occupies the centre of the stage. As quick as lightning and the young girl from the star is transformed into a threatening spider-woman. But Méliès is there! With a magical gunshot the sprawling creature disappears in an enormous cloud of smoke.
His mastery of special effects through spectacular staging allowed Méliès to transfer this magic filmed in 1909 onto the big screen. —Europa Film Treasures
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