I recently watched the new Martin Scorsese film Hugo, and highly enjoyed it (review forthcoming). The film Hugo features Ben Kingsley as George Melies, a real-life filmmaker from the turn of the century. This is a filmmaker whose work predated the films of Fritz Lang and The Cabinet of Caligari. In some ways, he built from what the Lumiere brothers established, but added his own personal flair, which happened to be an aptitude for magic. As he was a magician before being in cinema, he brought much of his experience to his films, and essentially compressed a theater stage into a very small set. His most famous film is The Voyage to the Moon (you’ll recognize the iconic image of a rocket jabbing the moon’s face in the eye). After seeing Hugo, I found a DVD containing about twenty Melies short films. Of the handful I’ve watched so far, here’s my favorite, titled The Hilarious Posters.
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If you enjoyed this George Melies short film, you should look up The Voyage to the Moon on youtube, and of course watch Hugo.