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George Melies

Filmmaker George Méliès.

Le voyage dans la lune (A trip to the Moon) - 1902

Le voyage dans la lune (A trip to the Moon) - 1902

The long-thought-lost color version of Melies' A Trip to the Moon.

NOTE: Because of this man's absolutely massive filmography, any information on his missing films should be put here. Nearly half of his 500+ films are still missing, many with very minimal information. This is to prevent hundreds of articles on his films, many of which would be very short and lacking information.
Georges Méliès' missing movies describe a collection of over 200 missing short films by Georges Méliès.



History

Georges Méliès is often cited the "First Magician of Cinema". Starting out his career as a stage magician, he was introduced to film in 1895 by The Lumiere Brothers during a showcase tour. He invested his time and money into constructing a film studio (possibly the first of its kind). Though he struggled financially at first, he went on to become one of the most successful and influential filmmakers of his time.

Méliès was a special effects wizard. If he didn't invent a lot of camera and film techniques, you can bet he perfected or mastered them. He was also one of the first film makers to realize the potential of Motion Pictures to create fantasy worlds and tell fantastic stories. His films have a very surreal, almost dream-like feel to them. Where other filmmakers of his time used special effects that look dated by today's standards, Méliès' films continue to wow audiences even with today's increasingly realistic looking CGI graphics.

Unfortunately, come the 1910s, Méliès began to fall out of popularity. After witnessing the horrors of The First World War, most audiences simply found his fanciful dream-like visions irrelevant and didn't bother paying money to see them. George went bankrupt. He had to shut down his studio and destroy most of his master negatives in order to sell the silver contained in the film to pay off his debts, thus creating a load of missing movies. It wouldn't be until close to Melies' death that his films would be recognized for their historical importance.

Discovered Films

Of the over 500 Méliès films, a grand total of 231 exist today. His films are some of the most commonly sought-after films of his era. To make matters worse, some films exist only in their black-and-white versions. Many of his color versions (which were hand-tinted frame by frame and sold for higher prices then the black and white versions) are still gone. Every now and then, a film surfaces and gets remastered and cleaned up. One of the most recent discoveries from him is a color copy of his most treasured film A Trip to the Moon (1902). It was found in an abandoned barn in the intense French heat, amazing many historians that it didn't ever catch on fire (as silver nitrate almost always does). New interest in his films has risen thanks to the 2007 novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and it's 2011 film adaptaion, which offered a (highly fictionalized) view of his life.

UPDATE 4/18/15: A backup link to the colorized A Trip to the Moon is now available!

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