Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Melies's Trip to the Moon (Suny Series, Horizons of Cinema)
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An authoritative and comprehensive guide to cinema's first true blockbuster.
From the Back Cover:
"Best moving pictures I ever saw." Thus did one Vaudeville theater manager describe Georges Méliès's A Trip to the Moon [Le Voyage dans la lune], after it was screened for enthusiastic audiences in October 1902. Cinema's first true blockbuster, A Trip to the Moon still inspires such superlatives and continues to be widely viewed on DVD, on the Internet, and in countless film courses. In Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination, leading film scholars examine Méliès's landmark film in detail, demonstrating its many crucial connections to literature, popular culture, and visual culture of the time, as well as its long "afterlife" in more recent films, television, and music videos. Together, these essays make clear that Méliès was not only a major filmmaker but also a key figure in the emergence of modern spectacle and the birth of the modern cinematic imagination, and by bringing interdisciplinary methodologies of early cinema studies to bear on A Trip to the Moon, the contributors also open up much larger questions about aesthetics, media, and modernity. In his introduction, Matthew Solomon traces the convoluted provenance of the film's multiple versions and its key place in the historiography of cinema, and an appendix contains a useful dossier of primary-source documents that contextualize the film's production, along with translations of two major articles written by George Méliès himself.
Lisa Nesselson (New York: Twayne, 1995), 39. 37. Laurent Mannoni, Histoire de la Cinémathèque française (Paris: Gallimard, 2006), 43. 38. Letter from Méliès to Barry, Mar. 12, 1937, Georges Méliès correspondence, Special Collections, Film Department, Museum of Modern Art. 22 Matthew Solomon 39. Haidee Wasson, Museum Movies: The Museum of Modern Art and the Birth of Art Cinema (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). 40. Quoted in Ezra Goodman, “Turn Back the Clock: Reminiscences of
up many useful articles and letters. Others who helped in various ways were Janet Bergstrom, Nico de Klerk, Paul Falzone, Emma Furderer, Jane Gaines, Doreen Gambichler, Magali Gaudin, Oliver Gaycken, Jaclyn Genega, Charlie Johnston, Giancarlo Lombardi, Jeffrey Man, Laurent Mannoni, Martin Marks, David Mayer, Charles Musser, James Naremore, Adrian RamosRocchio, Régis Robert, Donald Sosin, Paul Spehr, Alexa Davidson Suskin, Christoph Wahl, Watie White, and Eve Wolf. The process of reprinting
characteristics of the work of each of these ﬁlmmakers (and others) whose aesthetic projects often differed from one another. Indeed, the central error of those who simply see the early cinema as the primitive precursor of the post-Grifﬁth cinema lies in the fact that they deny this period its own speciﬁcity. This error has led to the fact that the ﬁlmmakers of this early cinema have been insufﬁciently studied, and distinctions among them have been too readily ignored. This teleological view of
to offer a tour d’horizon of national attitudes toward scientiﬁc research. The list of contributors is headed by Russia, testifying to “the scientiﬁc taste of the Russians” and their special interest in astronomy; most European countries contribute—apart from England, which treated the appeal with “contemptuous antipathy” and “did not subscribe a single farthing” to the total of $5,446,675 raised.23 From the Earth to the Moon reﬂects Verne’s frank enthusiasm for America, a land that he would only
toward what Gaudreault and Gunning characterize as “attractions.” In chapter 8, “A Trip to the Moon as an American Phenomenon,” Richard Abel examines Introduction 17 the reception of A Trip to the Moon in the United States, where many Americans had already taken ﬁctive trips to the moon (or were at least familiar with such imaginary journeys) through novels, theaters, amusement parks, and/or traveling carnival shows. The ﬁlm was thus received in the United States within a context that