An astronomer of age, wealth, and erudition conducts classes in his home. His students are not always respectful, and he suffers their pranks and high jinks. Then, at noon, everything ...
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A bearded magician holds up a large playing card and makes it larger. He tears up a card of a queen, burns the torn bits, and a life-size Queen of Hearts card appears; then, it becomes ... See full summary »
The background of this picture represents a scene along the beautiful river Seine in Paris. A gentleman enters, and taking a blackboard from the side of the picture, he draws on it a sketch... See full summary »
A conjurer with white beard and turban moves about in front of a building with an elaborate facade. He spies a golden beetle, about the size of a human infant, leaning against the wall. He ... See full summary »
An Egyptian prince has lost his beloved wife and he has sought a dervish who dwells at the base of the sphinx. The prince promises him a vast fortune if the dervish will only give him the ... See full summary »
Two travellers are tormented by Satan from inn to inn and eventuly experience a buggy ride through the heavens courtesy of the Devil before he takes one of them down to hell and roasts him ... See full summary »
A combination gambling den and bawdy house is set up so that croupiers, patrons, prostitutes, and the owner can quickly change it all into a mercantile establishment when the cops stage a ... See full summary »
An astronomer of age, wealth, and erudition conducts classes in his home. His students are not always respectful, and he suffers their pranks and high jinks. Then, at noon, everything darkens and the astronomer hurries upstairs to his telescope. It is an eclipse of the sun, and through his glass, he sees a female moon coming toward a masculine sun, flirting as they move closer to what becomes a consummation. The heavens erupt with showers of stars that become women. In his excitement, the astronomer loses what little dignity he has left. Written by
One of a number of oddities in the filmography of Georges Méliès, this feature combines an offbeat story with an array of visual effects to create an interesting, if strange, one-reel film. Most of the visual effects are close to Méliès's usual standard, and on the few occasions when they are not, it is usually the idea that is uninteresting, as opposed to the execution being faulty. Only on a couple of occasions do some of the seams show; the rest of the time Méliès's craftsmanship makes the best use of his resources.
The narrative intertwines two subplots, both of which are unusual in different ways. The main story shows a distinguished professor who is trying to teach astronomy to a group of eager but restless students. This is sandwiched around some sequences that depict the activities of various celestial bodies, which are given quasi-human personalities.
The scenes of the professor and his students consist mostly of slapstick, which is of uneven quality but has some good moments. The middle sequence has a weird courtship scene between a female moon and a male sun (both of whom are remarkably unattractive, for whatever reason), followed by a weird and suggestive succession of images of the activities of some other anthropomorphic astronomical objects.
The individual visual effects are not always particularly impressive, but the sequence as a whole lends itself to all kinds of possible responses and speculations. There are probably a lot of different ways that you could take it, depending on whether you were a Freudian, a Jungian, or a devotee of some other school of psychology.
All of this makes the movie not really one of Méliès's best or most impressive efforts, but it's certainly unusual. He had quite an imagination, and when he gave free rein to it, the results were always interesting, if nothing else.
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