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Georges Melies- How he changed the movies

Georges Melies was a pioneer in fiction films and created some of the very first special effects which led to the movies we see today.
by

Katrin Renyer

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of Georges Melies- How he changed the movies

Georges Melies How he changed the movies Thesis Georges Melies was a pioneer in fiction films and created some of the very first special effects which led to the movies we see today. Georges Melies was born on December 8, 1861 in Paris France. He was the youngest of a middle class family, whose father was a very sucessful shoemaker. He attended Imperial College boarding school, then later Lycee Louis le Grand, where he took a liking to drawing, inventing, and writing poems and stories. Birth Education Magician Period Georges wanted to get his baccalaureate in the arts, but his father disagreed. He planned for Georges to take over the shoe business. Melies traveled to London, where he learned English and discovered magic tricks. In 1888, at 26 years old, Melies bought the Theater Robert Houdin with money from his inheritance of his father. Melies then became a student of Gustave Moreau through his father. Moreau was a French symbolist painter. He then founded the Academy of Prestidigitation, as a magician, Director of Theatre, creator of costumes, creator of sets, director, and casting director. Melies Discovers Movies In December of 1895, Melies attended Antoine Lumiere’s first projection of cinema. Melies was inspired by film, and saw its great potential. He offered to buy the camera, but Lumiere refused. Lumiere believed the movies had no future. Melies finally acquired an early Robert William Paul projector, and with Lucien Revlos, an engineer, he modified it into his own camera. Early Movie Making By 1896, Melies was showing Paul and Edison films at his theater as part of his magic shows. He began filming his very own short films in 1896, and that year he shot over 80 short films and explored some special effects including 'crossfade, overprinting, close-up, slow motion, time-lapse,
caches and models, and still picture.' Star Film In 1897, in Montreuil, Melies opened the very first movie studio. He then copyrighted 'Star Film' as the name of his company. Melies widened his range of movie genres to books and historical events. Movie Making Georges Melies made a total of 550 movies. They each varied in length from half a minute to 20 minutes long, and were known as ‘poetic, fantastic, naive, and humorous.' Many jobs were essential in film making, including director, writer, designer, actor, operator, and director of actors Significant Films Many of Melies's films were milestones in early film-making, including... 'Card Party' was the first short Melies filmed with his new camera. A minute-long, the film features Melies and a few of his colleagues playing cards at an outdoor table. It was a copy of a Lumiere film shown at their inaugural screening. 'The Vanishing Lady' was a milestone in filming for it was the first short which Melies used some of his illusion techniques, where he replaced the original magic trick with a mechanical process that interrupted the recording of time. The 20-minute short 'Kindom of the Fairies' was Melies’ first radiantly colored film, its pastel hues painstakingly applied by hand individually. Melies’s legendary film A 'Trip to the Moon', done in 1898, is famous for its color, special effects, compelling storyline, and sci-fi theme, which was new to the movies 'Conquest to the Pole', a 10 minute long, 1912 film, was famous for its narrative storyline. Later Life and Hard Times His wife Eugenie Genin died in 1914. Melies was left alone with 2 children, Georgette and Andrew. His brother Gaston, who ran the American branch of Star Film, died in 1915. After WWI begins, the Theater Robert Houdin closed. All his films are either sold or destroyed. Melies remarried Fanny Manieux Jehanne d'Alcy, who starred in many of Melies's films. By 1925 Melies was living with his son and daughter and he worked in the Montparnasse station as a toy salesman. Legacy Leon Druhot rediscovered Melies in 1926, and fought for his recognition. Some of his films were recovered and were screened at a gala in his honor on December 16, 1929. Melies received the Legion of Honor, a very prestigious French award, on October 22, 1931 at a banquet with 800 guests. His daughter Georgette died in August 1930. He took in her daughter, Madeline, whose father was Amand Fontaine, a traveling operetta singer. Death Georges Melies died on January 21, 1938 in Paris France. He is buried at Cimetieredu Pere Lachaise in Rue de Repose, Paris, France. Melies moved into the Chateau d'Orly for cinema retirees after he recived the Legion of Honor. He lived there with his wife and granddaughter for the last 6 years of his life. "(He was) sporty, dynamic, young-looking, thoroughly honest, very straight, always in a good mood, he remained in the same adversity wise and philosophical...He was so gentle, always cheerful, always full of ideas to amuse and entertain the world."
-Madeleine, granddaughter By:
Rebecca Woods
and
Katrin Renyer The image of the moon with a rocket ship in it's eye is possibly one of the most famous images in the history of movies. When you think silent films, you think of 'A Trip to the Moon' and its fantastical elements and effects. Even though Georges Melies was not the first to make movies, his films were radical departures from the films that Edison and Paul had made. He delved into fantasy and fiction, exploring the many possibilities that movies had. Melies' Life Madeleine Malthête-Méliès with Costa Gavras and Serge Toubiana In 2008, Brian Selznick wrote "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". The book was about a young orphan boy who rediscovers Melies in his days working at the Montparnassne station. The book is beautifully illustrated, depicting the life of Hugo. Selznick's book reignited intrest in Melies for a whole new generation. In 2011, Martin Scorsese directed a movie adaption of the book titled "Hugo" in 3D. Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace-Moretz star with Sir Ben Kingsley playing the role of Georges Melies. The movie brought new and old fans of Melies to the theater. We decided to take Melies's special effects techniques, and use them to make our own movies!! It didn't work out as well for us as it did for him, but...we tried. Bibliography "George Melies." Georges Melies. IMDb, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0617588/>. "Georges Melies." Georges Melies (1861-1938). Find A Grave, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2348>. "The Films of Georges Melies." TCM, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. <http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/345144%7C0/The-Films-of-Georges-Melies.html>. Georges Melies: Insperiation and Illusions. Lawrence Steigard Fine Arts Gallary,n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.classichorror.free-online.co.uk/TML/melies.htm>. Gerorges Melies. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.melies.eu>. Pioneers- Georges Melies. Early Cinema, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.earlycinema.com/pioneers/melies_bio.html>. Who's Who of Victoria Cinema. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.victorian-cinema.net/melies>.
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