Short Film of the Day: ‘A Trip to the Moon’

April 5, 2020

Le Voyage dans la Lune, or A Trip to the Moon, is the oldest of all my 5-star films. Released in 1902, a year before the Wright Brothers invented heavier-than-air flight and 67 years before men really did travel to the Moon, the film is considered the masterpiece of pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès.

Inspired principally by Jules Verne, the film is notable for its dissolve shots, art design and innovative special effects, the latter being a trademark of Méliès, who is considered the father of the art form. Also note the total lack of camera movement, closeups, credits and intertitles.

Though color photography had been invented in the 1860s, color cinematography proved much more difficult and wasn’t mastered until the early 1930s, though two-strip Technicolor was used in the 1920s. So to achieve his color, Méliès and his assistants (who included Jehanne D’Alcy, whom he would later marry) hand-painted individual frames of several prints.

For more on the film, visit Wikipedia. And for an index of all my Short Film of the Day selections, go here.