"Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon" by George Méliès
CREATIVITY & INSPIRATION
by George Méliès via EcoworldReactor
A Trip to the Moon (French: Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, it follows a group of astronomers who travel to the Moon in a cannon-propelled spaceship, explore the Moon's surface, escape from an underground group of Selenites (lunar inhabitants), and return in a splashdown to Earth with a captive Selenite in tow. Watch full movie...
Producer: Georges Méliès
Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0
An internationally popular success at the time of its release, it is the best-known of the hundreds of films made by Méliès, and the moment in which the spaceship lands in the Moon's eye remains one of the most iconic images in the history of cinema. It was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranking at #84, and in 2002 it became the first work designated as a UNESCO World Heritage film.
When asked in 1930 what inspired him for A Trip to the Moon, Méliès credited Jules Verne's novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. Cinema historians, the mid-20th-century French writer Georges Sadoul first among them, have frequently suggested H. G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon, a French translation of which was published a few months before Méliès made the film, as another likely influence, with Sadoul arguing that the first half of the film (up to the shooting of the projectile) is derived from Verne and that the second half (the travelers' adventures on and in the moon) is derived from Wells.
In addition to these literary sources, various film scholars have suggested that Méliès was heavily influenced by other works, especially Jacques Offenbach's operetta Le voyage dans la lune (an unauthorized parody of Verne's novels) and the A Trip to the Moon attraction at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York The French film historian Thierry Lefebvre hypothesizes that Méliès drew upon both of these works, but in different ways: he appears to have taken the structure of the film—"a trip to the moon, a moon landing, an encounter with extraterrestrials with a deformity, an underground trek, an interview with the Man in the Moon, and a brutal return to reality back on earth"—directly from the 1901 attraction, but also incorporated many plot elements (including the presence of six astronomers with pseudo-scientific names, telescopes that transform into stools, a moonshot cannon mounted above ground, a scene in which the moon appears to approach the viewer, a lunar snowstorm, an earthrise scene, and umbrella-wielding travelers), not to mention the parodic tone of the film, from the Offenbach operetta.
In popular culture
The work of Georges Méliès has been referenced a number of times in film, television and fiction, including:
- Le Grand Méliès (1952) - The life of Georges Méliès is told in this biodrama, directed by Georges Franju. André Méliès plays the part of his own father.
- The 1956 film version of Around the World in Eighty Days features Le Voyage Dans La Lune at the Introduction.
- In Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film, La Chinoise, Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud) prefaces a lecture on current events with a discussion of who, in French cinema, was the true originator of the filming of current events, the Lumière brothers or Méliès. Guillaume makes the argument that Méliès, rather than the Lumières, was the true originator of current event films in French cinema.
- Queen's 1995 music video "Heaven for Everyone" features clips from Méliès' Le Voyage dans la Lune and The Impossible Voyage.
- The music video for "Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins is a tribute to Méliès and A Trip to the Moon. It has been called one of the greatest music videos of all time.
- In the last episode of the HBO miniseries From The Earth to the Moon, Méliès was played by Tchéky Karyo.
- In 2003 The New York Guitar Festival commissioned the jazz composer/guitarist Bill Frisell to compose scores for five early films by Georges Méliès, including A Trip to the Moon(1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). Bill Frisell's Trio presented the world premiere of the scores in January 2004 at two concerts taking place at the New York Guitar Festival. The performances were later broadcast on WNYC New York Public Radio.
- The contribution of Méliès to cinema history is the subject of the 2007 illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, and Martin Scorsese's 2011 film adaptation of it as Hugo with Ben Kingsley playing Méliès.
- The production of Katy Perry's performance of her song Wide Awake at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards was based upon Méliès' A Trip To The Moon.
- On August 10, 2013, as part of the on going Return of Moon Maid saga, the Dick Tracy strip introduced Méliès whose head looks like the Man in the Moon seen in A Trip to the Moon.