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A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Le voyage dans la lune (original title)
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A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director:

Georges Méliès (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Victor André ... Astronomer (uncredited)
Bleuette Bernon Bleuette Bernon ... Lady in the Moon (uncredited)
Brunnet ... Astronomer (uncredited)
Jehanne d'Alcy Jehanne d'Alcy ... Secretary / Star / Rocket Attendant (uncredited)
Henri Delannoy Henri Delannoy ... Captain of the Rocket (uncredited)
Delpierre Delpierre ... Astronomer (uncredited)
Farjaux ... Astronomer (uncredited)
Kelm Kelm ... Astronomer (uncredited)
François Lallement François Lallement ... Officer of the Marines (uncredited)
Jules-Eugène Legris Jules-Eugène Legris ... Parade Leader (uncredited)
Georges Méliès ... Prof. Barbenfouillis / The Moon (uncredited)
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Storyline

A group of men travel to the moon by being shot in a capsule from a giant cannon. They are captured by moon-men, escape, and return to the earth. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

4 October 1902 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Trip to Mars See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 30,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | | (restored color)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (hand-colored)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the earliest known science fiction films. A segment near the end was animated, making this one of the first animated films, too. See more »

Goofs

The President knocks his own hat off when he walks behind the desk. See more »

Alternate Versions

One print has "Echoes" by Pink Floyd on the soundtrack. See more »

Connections

Featured in Independent Lens: Birth of a Movement (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon Fever
(2011 Version)
Written by Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin
Performed by Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin (as Air)
See more »

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User Reviews

Narrative Development: Magic
2 August 2004 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

"A Trip to the Moon" is justly the most popular early film. I've seen thousands of early short movies and have commented on the most interesting cases, but this one is more amusing and imaginative than the rest. It's better than Georges Méliès's other surviving pictures because it has a more developed story--without the tableau vivant style becoming as boring as it usually does. Wacky humor and trick shots help, but that's in the rest of his oeuvre, too. Influenced by the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, as well as Adolphe Dennery's adaptation of those pieces, the story is about a gang of astronomers, who, launched from a cannon onto the Moon, encounter explosive aliens (or "Selenites", as Méliès called them).

Méliès used the stop-motion (or substitution-splice) effect and arising smoke for explosive characters in many of his films--same with superimpositions, animated miniatures and placing a fish tank in front of the camera. Additionally, his set designs were the best of the day. I easily forget it's all done within a cramped studio. He often used moving props, too, but this is one of the few that I've seen where the prop is pulled towards the camera--creating the famous rocket kissing the moon's eye gag. The following shot is a temporal replay of that action from a different perspective. It works here, but Edwin S. Porter would make the mistake of adopting the technique for "Life of an American Fireman", which was reedited later, leading many to believe it was a landmark in narrative editing. The "30 tableaux", as Méliès called it, is linked by dissolves--a common transition at the time, which Méliès introduced.

Méliès made it known that his goal was to push cinema towards resembling theatre. The benefit was longer films with more developed stories. Given this, it's ironic that Méliès was one of the first filmmakers to achieve effects specific to motion pictures (i.e. incapable of being produced in theatre or other artistic media)... i.e. the trick shots.

Numerous early shorts are blatant imitations of Méliès's work, but they usually weren't as funny or creative. Many studios even duped his films and sold them as their own, which led to Méliès patenting his work in the U.S. and joining the Motion Pictures Patents Company (MPPC). "A Trip to the Moon" represents the height of his career. His work would soon diminish under the hectic schedule of the Nickelodeon age and the monopolization by the MPCC and Pathé, and he would end up burning his own negatives. Watch Jacques Meny's documentary "La Magie Méliès" (1997) for a good telling of his life and films.

(Note: This is one of four films that I've commented on because they're landmarks of early narrative development in film history. The others are "As Seen Through a Telescope", "The Great Train Robbery" and "Rescued by Rover".)


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