GEORGES MÉLIÈS: FIRST WIZARD OF CINEMA (1896-1913) &
GEORGES MÉLIÈS: ENCORE - NEW DISCOVERIES (1896-1911)
Georges Méliès built the world's first movie studio in 1896 near Paris; from it cascaded fantastic magic films, dream films, historical reconstructions, imaginary journeys, melodramas, slapstick comedies—even erotic films. Examples of all are here, with many still retaining power to astonish and charm. This monumental thirteen hour collection on five DVDs gathers for the first time nearly all the surviving films of Georges Méliès from his first, UNE PARTIE DE CARTES (1896) to his last, LE VOYAGE DE LA FAMILLE BOURRICHON (1913), bracketing more than 170 others.
A genuine virtuoso, Méliès produced and directed his films while also devising the narratives; designing the sets, costumes and props; and frequently performing the leading parts. Arranged in chronological order, this comprehensive collection makes widely available for the first time both the breadth and the depth of his work, disclosing a highly imaginative artist's discovery of the possibilities of cinema.
Georges Méliès was also as a master of invention and enchantment. Included are the celebrated and famous journey films, among them LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE, VOYAGE À TRAVERS L'IMPOSSIBLE, LE ROYAUME DES FÉES, LES QUATRE CENTS FARCES DU DIABLE, LE PALAIS DES MILLE ET UNE NUITS, and A LA CONQUÊTE DU PÔLE. Fifteen films are reproduced from partial or complete hand-colored original prints, thirteen are presented with the original English narrations written by Méliès. A half-hour introductory film, LE GRAND MÉLIÈS (Georges Franju, 1953), features Méliès' widow (who performed in many Méliès films) and André Méliès portraying his father. The enclosed booklet includes a foreword by Norman McLaren, an essay by John Frazer, and an annotated index to the films by genre.
This unprecedented 5-disc, set produced by Eric Lange and David Shepard, has been assembled from archival and private holdings in eight countries. The quality of these film elements is variable, of course. Many look stunning; a few are fragmentary, others are longer than earlier-known versions. Ten leading practitioners of silent film accompaniment have prepared new music scores for this presentation. Several films are accompanied by narration originally written by Méliès and designed to be read aloud during the films’ presentation. These narrations have been adapted into English by David Shepard for this edition and are spoken by Serge Bromberg and Fabrice Zagury. Georges Méliès can now be seen not only as a great pioneer but also as one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the world during the first years of cinema.
Since the publication of GEORGES MÉLIÈS: FIRST WIZARD OF CINEMA, an additional 26 films produced by Méliès between 1896 and 1911 have been found and made available for a single-disc, supplemental collection. These films further support a view of Méliès as the most accomplished filmmaker in the world during the first years of cinema.
The 26 films collected in GEORGES MÉLIÈS: ENCORE – NEW DISCOVERIES (1896-1911) are presented, as in the earlier set, in chronological order with newly recorded music. The print quality is sometimes variable, though most look very nice; five boast beautiful, original hand-coloring, while another five have original English narrations written by Méliès. Two films exist only as fragments, because the complete films are lost. As a bonus, this collection also includes two films in the Méliès style by Segundo de Chomon, which for many years were misidentified as Georges Méliès’ own work.
Taken on its own, this collection is also a fine survey of Méliès’ achievements. LE MANOIR DU DIABLE from 1896 relies on shot-substitution, the filmmaker’s first trick discovery; it is a work in 21 shots, at a time when everyone else in the world was making only single-shot films! L’HALLUCINATION DE L’ALCHEMISTE is a beautifully-colored trick film from 1897, which survives in perfect condition. Among other surprises, the set includes military re-enactments (BOMBARDEMENT D’UNE MAISON, COMBAT NAVAL EN GRÈCE), dream films (LE DIRIGEABLE FANTASTIQUE, 20,000 LIEUES SOUS LES MER), dramatic narratives (LE JUIF ERRANT and DÉTRESSE ET CHARITÉ, both with original narrations), slapstick comedies (LE MARIAGE DE VICTOIRE, FRANCOIS 1er ET TRIBOULET, HYDROTHÉRAPIE FANTASTIQUE), and, of course, a substantial group of the lovely trick films that Méliès is best known for today.
“It’ll sound like hyperbole. But this jewel-box of a five-disc set, containing 173 movies by the astonishing French cinematic pioneer/master Georges Méliès, as well as Georges Franju's brilliant 1953 documentary LE GRAND MÉLIÈS, is definitely one of the most important DVD releases ever, as well as an unfailing source of cinematic joy and pleasure.”
—Mike Wilmington, The Daily Page
Format: DVD-NTSC / Region 0
(No Regional Code)
GEORGES MÉLIÈS: FIRST WIZARD OF CINEMA (1896-1913)
DVD Producers: Eric Lange & David Shepard
• 173 Films
• 5 Discs
• 751 minutes
• B&W, Tinted, Color
• Silent, Sound
LE GRAND MÉLIÈS
• 31 minutes
• Documentary on Georges Méliès, directed by Georges Franju
For a complete listing of all titles on discs 1-5
GEORGES MÉLIÈS: ENCORE - NEW DISCOVERIES (1896-1911)
DVD Producers: Eric Lange, David Shepard & Serge Bromberg
• 26 Films
• 114 minutes
For a complete listing of all titles on this disc
Total Running Time: 14:54:00 (6 Discs)
• GEORGES MÉLIÈS: FIRST WIZARD OF CINEMA (1896-1913) » Silent with French intertitles & English subtitles
• GEORGE MÉLIÈS: ENCORE - NEW DISCOVERIES (1896-1911) » Silent with English intertiles
Booklet Text: Norman McLaren, John Frazer & David Shepard
Musical Scores: Eric Beheim, Brian Benison, Antonio Coppola, Frederick Hodges, Robert Israel, Neal Kurz, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Alexander Rannie, Joseph Rinaudo at the Photoplayer, Rodney Sauer, Donald Sosin & Aidje Tafial
Published By: Flicker Alley
Institutional Price: $700 (plus shipping)
To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.