A Trip To The Moon (1902)

A Trip to the Moon (1902) - title card

A Trip to the Moon tells of six astronomers on an expedition to the the moon who are met by several alien beings. It is widely regarded as the first science-fiction film.

Heavily influenced by contemporary fascination with space and the accompanying rise in prominence of science-fiction novels - espeically Jules Verne's From Earth to the Moon - Georges Méliès' 1902 film was a lavish French theatrical production that was a popular success on release.

Méliès was interested in stage magic from an early part of his career, but it was a demonstration of the Lumière brothers' cinematograph in 1895 that piqued his interest in film. Despite having his offer to purchase a cinematograph declined, Méliès bought a competing projector, the Animatograph, from Robert W. Paul the following year and modified it to be able to produce his own movies.

Many of Méliès sets take inspiration from his background in theatre, and his fascination with magic led to very experimental camera trickery. In A Trip to the Moon he splices the film to give the appearance of an object appearing or disappearing. He also utilised innovative methods of zooming into objects; rather than unsteadily move the camera, he created the set so that it could be moved towards the camera.

While space travel continued to be a fascination for humanity after A Trip to the Moon, it would take another 67 years for Neil Armstrong to land on the moon. This film really was one small step for Méliès, one giant leap for mankind.

You can watch A Trip to the Moon in full below.

Comments

  1. Funny enough, I was just rewatching Hugo yesterday, and I found myself being captivated by its depiction of this movie. I'll look it up on Youtube right away.

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  2. I watched this when I was a kid. This was probably the first silent film I ever watched. It fascinated my then and it still holds up today.

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