A Trip to the Moon (1902) Poster


In 2002, a print of the film was discovered in a barn in France. It was amazing in that not only is it the most complete cut of the film, but it was entirely hand-colored. The film was restored and premiered at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival the following year.
After finishing work on the film, Georges Méliès intended to release it in America and thereby make lots of money. Unfortunately, Thomas A. Edison's film technicians had already secretly made copies of the film, which was shown across the USA within weeks. Melies never made any money from the film's American showings, and went broke several years later (while Edison made a fortune on the film.)
One of the earliest known science fiction films. A segment near the end was animated, making this one of the first animated films, too.
It took 3 months to make the entire film.
Although no official credits are included, Georges Méliès left a record in a 1930 letter with cast and crew credits. Ballet girls from the Théâtre du Châtelet portrayed the stars and the rocket attendants, while the Selenites were portrayed by acrobats from the Folies Bergère.
Part of the movie Hugo (2011) is a largely fictionalized story of the making of this short film.
Four years earlier, in 1898, in The Astronomer's Dream; or, The Man in the Moon (1898) Georges Méliès portrays a Medieval astronomer observing the moon through a telescope.
The earliest film listed in '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Schneider.
This film had one of the largest budgets for a short film of its era. Budgetary estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 francs.
Jules Verne's novel, "From the Earth to the Moon", served as the source material for the film's plot in a very loose sense.
American rock band Smashing Pumpkins used this film as inspiration for their award winning music video "Tonight Tonight". The ship which sails in at the end of the music video is named Méliès after this films director Georges Méliès.
Director Georges Méliès worked extensively with former Folies Bergère performer Jehanne d'Alcy during production of this film. She served as the film's costume designer and acted in a small role. The two would ultimately marry one another twenty three years later.
Composed of around 30 scenes (or individual "skits") without any dialog and/or closeups. Melies listed them almost like modern DVD chapters in his Star Films catalog.
In the color version with music by Air, the garbled speech heard when the Professor is speaking is a recording of Cosmology by Peter Cole, played backward.
The film remains the best-known of the 520 films made by Méliès, and the moment in which the capsule lands in the Moon's eye remains one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema.
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The clips from the film is featured in Queen's "Heaven for Everyone" music video.
Digital tools available in 21-st century allow re-assembly of the fragments of the 13375 frames of the film and restore them, one by one.
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It is only in 2010 that a complete restoration could be launched, 109 years after its creation.
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The color version of the film, considered as lost for nearly a century, was found in 1993 by the Filmoteca de Catalunya, however in desperate condition.
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When A Trip to the Moon was made, film actors performed anonymously and no credits were given; the practice of supplying opening and closing credits in films was a later innovation. Nonetheless, the following cast details can be reconstructed from available evidence:

Georges Méliès as Professor Barbenfouillis. Méliès, a pioneering French film-maker and magician now generally regarded as the first person to recognize the potential of narrative film, had already achieved considerable success with his film versions of Cinderella (1899) and Joan of Arc (1900). His extensive involvement in all of his films as director, producer, writer, designer, technician, publicist, editor, and often actor makes him one of the first cinematic auteurs.nSpeaking about his work late in life, Méliès commented: "The greatest difficulty in realizing my own ideas forced me to sometimes play the leading role in my films ... I was a star without knowing I was one, since the term did not yet exist." All told, Méliès took an acting role in at least 300 of his 520 films.

Bleuette Bernon as Phoebe (the woman on the crescent moon). Méliès discovered Bernon in the 1890s, when she was performing as a singer at the cabaret L'Enfer. She also appeared in his 1899 adaption of Cinderella . François Lallement as the officer of the marines. Lallement was one of the salaried camera operators for the Star Film Company. Henri Delannoy as the captain of the rocket.

Jules-Eugène Legris as the parade leader. Legris was a magician who performed at Méliès's theater of stage illusions, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin in Paris.

Victor André, Delpierre, Farjaux, Kelm, and Brunnet as the astronomers. André worked at the Théâtre de Cluny; the others were singers in French music halls.

Ballet of the Théâtre du Châtelet as stars and as cannon attendants.

Acrobats of the Folies Bergère as Selenites.
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While the moon has no inhabitants, life or air, several aspects of moonshots are accurately predicted: a team of men, with enthusiastic support from the scientific community, are sealed into a bullet-shaped capsule, which is then fired to a desolate moon surface. They view an earthrise and other heavenly bodies, spend an entire day on the moon, explore the terrain, then splash-down on earth's ocean to be retrieved by boat amid much fanfare.
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