Friday, 22 June 2012

Le voyage dans la lune

Rejsen til månen

"A trip to the moon" is the first movie on the list and also the first on I searched out to see. It turned out to be a detour that took me around much of early cinema.

I found an excellent compilation called "Primitives and Pioneers" from BFI (The British Film Institute) that hosted almost anything worth seeing from the first 10 years of cinema. Highly recommended! It includes such landmark films as "Arrival of a train", Exit from the factory and "The great train robbery" plus tons of other small gems including some Melies. However not "A trip to the moon". I did not really mind though. One of my friend have little home cinema under his roof with a projector. Sitting there watching these old pieces was like being back in a cinema around the turn of the century.

Eventually I found a Melies anthology with lots of his work and plenty of background material. It turns out that the magician George Melies used the early moving pictures as part of his magic shows and this gradually developed into little magic movies. "A trip to the moon" is just the most well known of them.

Even people who claim to know nothing of early cinema will recognize the image of the moon with a rocket in the eye. It is iconic. Of course with the recent "Hugo" film by Scorsese Melies is now known to a broader audience, but for me much of this was new stuff.

As a movie "A trip to the moon" is a simple, fast paced and two dimensional movie, but that is because we are watching it with a modern eye. To the contemporary audience this was pure magic.

The reason why we find it interesting is as a historic piece. It is with a reverent feeling I watch this. This is where it began. "Arrival of a train" gave the technique". "A voyage to the moon" gave us the concept.

If I go to Jelling I see a stone with some odd carvings on it. There are other and prettier worked stones around but that is not the point. The point is that this is where Denmark started a thousand years ago. That gives this boulder a meaning way beyond what it appears and that is what "A voyage to the moon" is. A monument to cinema.



  1. Welcome to blogging! I'll be interested to see where this takes you--it's a long, crazy ride getting through them all!

    1. Watching all these movies is just one aspect. I realize blogging on them adds a whole new dimension.
      Anyway I am doing it for fun and will probably only do it to the extend that it is fun. So far I am having a blast.

  2. This was really the first big budget, special effects, sci-fi blockbuster. I was really glad that I got to see the additional scene with the crowd celebrating at the end because they had it in Hugo. I had only seen the version of A Trip to the Moon without it. The version with the extra town scene was found in a barn in the 2000s.

  3. This was the first film I watched in my introductory film class in college. I was amazed at what Melies was able to accomplish in 1902. I am extremely pleased that an entire audience who would have otherwise never known anything about his work got to know about him in Hugo.

    1. It seems you are taking a tour through my back catalogue, which pleases me no end. You know I like doing that stuff myself. Just bear with me. These old reviews were... early.

      I like Hugo mostly because of the attention it throws on these old movies and especially on Melies. His story is so worth a movie. Even my 4 year old son loves this little movie.

    2. We all have early blog writing styles--progression and transformation are inherent in every blog. I'm more interested in reading what you thought about certain films than how the review itself is written.