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utterly charming and strange---and a GIANT step forward for cinema.
MartinHafer2 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a VERY early film and unlike other "films" of the day, this one is very advanced in that it tells a whole story and has incredibly complex sets and special effects for its day. Most movies of the day lasted a minute or two and were really just snippets of film. At fourteen minutes, this is, for its time, a full-length picture! And, even though by today's standards the film is VERY dated and clumsy, it still retains much of its original watchability because of its light spirit and silly script.

The story begins in what appears to be a classroom at a university--however, this isn't certain, as the film lacks title cards to tell you what is occurring (something few movies of the day had). However, when the group of scientists are led out to what appears to be a giant bullet, the action heats up and the story gets interesting. The "bullet" is opened and it seems it's a space capsule. The capsule is shoved into an enormous gun and is shot to the moon.

At this point, the film is really cute--having an actual man's face in the moon. The face is quite upset, mind you, when the capsule becomes lodged in the eye! Surprisingly, the air on the moon is fine and the men walk about the weird moonscape (full of cool stars and planets you just have to see to appreciate). Later, they discover an underground cave...and moon men! The moon men are hostile, but considering that they explode when you hit them, they aren't too much trouble for our intrepid travelers. They make a hasty escape and fall from the moon back home.

The film is so full of wacky special effects and cute over-the-top gimmicks that it is just a lot of fun to watch. Give it a try yourself by going to a film archive at http://www.archive.org/details/Levoyagedanslalune

Also, if you want to see it on DVD, it's included in a great compilation for avid cinephiles and historians ("The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works"). It features early films by Edison, Lumière and others. While the average viewer will probably NOT be very impressed by these early films, I found them fascinating--particularly this film and THE SERPENTINE DANCES.
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Trip to the Moon, A
Michael_Elliott1 April 2008
Trip to the Moon, A (1902)

**** (out of 4)

aka Le Voyage dans la Lune

George Melies' landmark film tells the story of a group of men who want to explore the moon so they build a rocket and fly there only to discover some moon monsters. There's no question that this is one of the greatest landmarks in the history of cinema and the amusing story just shows the wonderful mind of the director. This really is a fairy tale about what the moon would be like and this moon creation is something we've seen in the director's previous films but this time out we get to explore the fairy tale. I think the greatest thing about this movie is its visual look, which really blows ones mind when you consider how well it holds up today. The look of the moon is brilliantly done as is the underground creatures that attack towards the end. There's also the landmark scene of the ship flying into the face of the moon and there's no question this is one of the greatest scenes in film history even if it was made over a hundred years ago.
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Not to be missed
Leofwine_draca22 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This twelve minute short from famed magician/film-maker George Melies is, quite simply, a spellbinding experience. Due to the lack of dialogue, the film tells its story via a series of pictures. What the film concentrates on most are the special effects, and this film wowed audiences through the apparently magical occurrences appearing on screen. Indeed, these effects are still impressive today, even if its easy to see how they're done. The most memorable image comes when the space ship crashes into the moon's eye - causing it to wince and frown in anger. There are also some excellent moments where our explorers are attacked by jumping goblin creatures which disappear in a puff of smoke when struck.

It's all very surreal, especially when we see goddesses sitting on planets and grinning faces appearing in the stars. The plot follows a logical progression from beginning to end, and the sets used are expensively staged and have real depth. Okay, so the film is a bit creaky and jumpy but face it, its nearly a century old and being able to watch it today is simply fantastic. My great-grandparents would have been alive while they were making this. For any fan of the history of cinema, fantastical or not, A TRIP TO THE MOON is a landmark piece not to be missed.
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SnoopyStyle3 July 2019
A group of astronomers travel to the moon by getting shot out of a large cannon. They head into the interiors and encounter strange moon-men among giant mushrooms. The version I saw is black and white with a modern narration. The narration is off-putting and out-of-place. I would have loved to see the hand painted colors. Nevertheless, this is a classic. It is imaginative. It is beautiful. It has a nice narrative flow like watching a children's book come to life. The effects are fun. This is a cinematic icon.
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Sheer Luna-cy
Hitchcoc23 May 2015
With the whole process of creative filmmaking in its infancy, what a wonderful, surreal effort by Melies. A group of astronomers in their pointy hats, containing astronomical symbols, and long gowns, discuss how to travel to the moon. With little regard for any scientific reality, a huge gun is created and the old guys, wearing top hats and long beards hop in the bullet projectile. With a little 1902 cheesecake (girls in tight pants and shorts) they are heralded off to the moon. In a famous scene, the moon is seen as the face of a man and the projectiles sticks in his eye. What follows is a silly confrontation with the Selenites, moon-men, who, when struck, explode. The old guys are captured and taken to the leader who is attacked and explodes. The scenery is so much fun. Obviously, the special effects are created on a stage with moving sets. This is just a wonderful beginning to a fun time in cinema.
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Kirpianuscus7 April 2018
Its basic virtue - the profound, surprising freshness. and the magic as tool for the return to the childhood spirit. its humor, the ancient stop-motion, the smoke, the lovely script and the naivety are the reasons for see it often. because it is a meet more than a show. because it is between old sensation popular theaters and cinema. because it represents a sort of birth certificate . as slice from our memory. and identity. the magic of it escapes to definitions. but it works in admirable manner.
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Fly me to the Moon
Horst_In_Translation4 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let me play among the stars. Or maybe not. They didn't look too happy about the intruders.

This little short is often considered one of the milestones of the early years of cinema. Georges Méliès takes us on a trip to the moon and back and shows us how much ahead of his time he was, namely 67 years. With lots of people doubting Armstrong actually happening, I wonder how many people back in 1902 truly believed people set foot on the moon. After all, film was a completely new dimension to people's minds and as we, even these days, often doubt how much is real and how much is contrived, people back then may have had their very own way of perceiving Méliès works.

This film's plot is as simple as it's fantastic. Astronomers plan and conduct a trip into space, meet the most fantastic creatures, but communication fails and they quickly return to Earth where they get celebrated as heroes. But the plot is not really what matters here. Neither are the people acting pretty much the same in every scene running around wildly, waving and arguing. The most wonderful aspect is how much creativity and detail Mélies put into each scene in terms of animation and scenery, most of all of course the face of the moon.

Surely worth a watch, not only for those interested in the history of the movies.
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Tonight Tonight Tonight
Prismark102 May 2014
A Trip to the Moon is widely regarded as a landmark film in the origins of cinema and showcased the fantasy elements of storytelling and special effects.

The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. It is a short film and has been restored. The film has elaborate production designs, animation and truly innovative special effects especially the iconic scene of the rocket landing in the moon's eye.

It was a very popular short at the time and has been imitated countless times or paid home to especially in a popular music video by the band Smashing Pumpkins in the 1990s.
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Sixty-Four Years before Star Trek…
claudio_carvalho24 December 2010
A group of astronomers studies the way to travel to the moon. When they conclude their project, the president selects five other astronomers to travel with him. They embark in a shell and they are shot from a giant cannon to the moon. When they land, they seek shelter in a cave to protect from the snow. They meet the Selenites, the alien inhabitants of the moon, and they are destroyed by the astronomers that find that a strong hit make them explode. However, they arrive in large number and the astronomers are captured by the Selenites. But one astronomer hits their king that explodes and they run to the capsule pursued by the alien. They drop the capsule that falls through the space and reach the ocean. Then they are rescued by a steamer that brings the team safe and sound ashore.

"Le Voyage Dans la Lune" is the first sci-fi and considered among the greatest films of the cinema history. The story uses impressive animation and special effects for a 1902 silent movie. The plot is a non-sense surrealistic comedy in the present days, but this French film is mandatory to any movie lover or student. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Viagem à Lua" ("Travel to the Moon")
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I can now say that I've seen a movie that's over 100 years old
lee_eisenberg2 June 2014
Georges Méliès's 1902 masterpiece is not just a science fiction movie. It's also a satire on nineteenth-century science. It attempts to show the illogicality of logical thinking, as a great voyage gets achieved by incompetent doofuses, with the movie's most famous scene as the ultimate example.

"Le Voyage dans la Lune" ("A Trip to the Moon") is also an indictment of colonialism. The astronauts attack the Moon Men - called Selenites - and then bring one back to Earth, where they parade him around. This clearly reflects France's occupation of large swaths of Africa and Asia. Indeed, the statue at the end is similar to an anti-Boulangist cartoon that Méliès earlier drew.

The movie recently played a role in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", and the DVD that I watched included Scorsese in the Special Thanks section. It's a fine look at what humans once imagined the rest of the universe to be. This is truly one of the movies that you have to see before you die.
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Ground Breaking
gavin694215 April 2014
A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the moon.

This film is a must-see for anyone who loves film. Decent special effects, hand coloring, and a fun story. And this was 1902, before film really took off. Was this the first great movie? Probably yes.

Although I had seen the before, I had the pleasure of seeing it at the Patio Theater in Chicago with a live organ playing the soundtrack in both April 2014 and April 2015, thanks to organist jay Warren. With silent films, there is nothing better than a live organ -- it beats anything your stereo can pump out while watching a DVD.

No hand-colored prints of A Trip to the Moon were known to survive until 1993, when one was given to the Filmoteca de Catalunya by an anonymous donor as part of a collection of two hundred silent films. This was an unbelievable discovery, allowing long-time admirers to witness the film again for the first time.

In 2002 it became the first work designated as a UNESCO World Heritage film, and rightly so. This is a world treasure, not simply a French treasure (though they have every right to pay tribute to Georges Méliès).

The influence this film had on future films cannot be overstated. And the science (or lack thereof) involved is interesting. While the cannon / bullet concept received an upgrade during the space age, the capsule landing in the ocean was more or less spot on.
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A Trip to the Moon
jboothmillard19 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is called the most important film in cinema history, in fact, it is the first in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. The story sees a group of astronomers/explorers plan a trip to the moon, getting into a bullet shaped rocket, and being fired from a large cannon. The iconic image of the film is the rocket in the eye of the moon, and when they get out of the rocket they face moon creatures called Celenites who capture them, but they quickly escape, get back in the rocket, and it drops into the ocean (on Earth I presume) and get dragged by a boat to face glory (or whatever). This film may be shaky, black and white, have cheap looking effects, and be only 14 minutes long, but it is important for many reasons. It invented the Genre (in this case, science fiction), it invented cutaways and fades, and it was the first film to have a real story, all before were just single moments, e.g. a train pulling into a station (which of course terrified people back in 1896), so if you can find it you should definitely watch it. Good!
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Still Engaging.
rmax30482313 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As of this writing, the film is one hundred and twelve years old, almost as old as I feel some mornings. The camera remains as steady as a rock while capturing the moving panorama. The musical score is some kind of electronic rendition of "Pictures at an Exhibition." And it's all in fuzzy black and white.

Yet, the thing still clicks. A hoary astronomer dressed like a wizard proposes a trip to the moon, drawing a diagram on a blackboard, and the audience of scientists and clowns move as in a kaleidoscope, laughing at him, throwing spitballs, until the astronomer angrily begins to throw pages back at them.

The astronomer and half a dozen of his colleagues actually take the trip, shot to the moon in a giant artillery shell that lodges in the moon's eye and produces tears. The moon itself, from a distance, looks like a rude, raw pizza pie. After spending the night sleeping on the moonscape under a pageant of special effects, they go underground. The underground is full of mushrooms. Well, you know the French and their fondness for les champignons. The astronomer sticks his umbrella in the ground and, pop, it too turns into a mushroom and grows to the height of a tree, a champignon de couche.

They are captured by the Selenites, who are dressed like devils, jump around like acrobats, and disappear in puffs of smoke. The earthlings manage to escape and return home.

There's a lot of motion in the movie. After all, it's a MOTION PICTURE. Nobody sits around quietly for very long. Tomita's musical score helps a lot, ranging around in the electronic atmosphere, from Mussorgsky to Stravinsky. And the score is comic rather than dignified. It's full of burps and gulps.

The special effects are amazing for the period and the film itself is still amusing after all these years, though I wouldn't want to sit through it too often.
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I'm glad to have seen it, but...
BA_Harrison13 April 2012
For my 1902nd review, cinematic pioneer Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon (1902), the silent classic featuring that iconic image of an unhappy moon with a shell lodged in its eye. Based on Jules Verne's De la Terre à la Lune, the film sees a group of astronomers travel to the moon inside a large bullet fired from a huge cannon; once safely on the moon's surface, the scientists explore the terrain and discover a strange race of creatures called the Selenites (portrayed by acrobats from the Folies-Bergere).

I feel like something of a philistine for not absolutely adoring Méliès' A Trip To The Moon: it's an undeniably important work in terms of furthering the art of movie-making, introducing such techniques as cuts and fades, but this classic of fantastical cinema made far less of an impact on me than I expected it to. While the stylised, surreal look of the film is certainly unique, its two dimensional stage scenery and painted backdrops making it feel like an intricate pop-up fairy-tale book featuring live actors, the structure of the narrative, the performances and certain technical aspects left me wanting.

I found much of the action fairly dull and repetitive, particularly the first of several protracted, frustratingly static shots—a bunch of wizard-like astronomers waving their arms around—a scene which I imagine would have been even more dreary if it hadn't been for the English narration pointing out details I would have otherwise missed. I understand that Méliès' static camera technique was probably due to technical limitations of the day, but it does reduce A Trip To The Moon to little more than an elaborate stage production captured on film. The exaggerated performances add to this stagy feel, and the crude special effects do little to help.

For the opportunity to witness several examples of iconic movie imagery in context, and for its naive turn-of-the-century charm, the film is definitely worth watching (it is, after all, not that long), but I cannot for the life of me understand all of the rave reviews.
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From 1902, puts into perspective how far movie-making has come.
TxMike23 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
There is a fine movie made in 2011 called 'HUGO'. It is about a boy who lives inside the walls of a London train station, keeping the clocks after his father died. In that movie is a character Georges Méliès, magician, played by Ben Kingsley. While that movie is fiction, Georges Méliès was a real person, a magician who became a filmmaker over 100 years ago.

This very short (15 minutes) movie "A Trip to the Moon" is the one he is most remembered for. It is silent, of course, but has music accompanying it. I watched the colorized version, it was one of the two versions he made. Netflix streaming movies has the recently restored film.

Of course in 1902 very little was known about actual space travel so what is depicted here is very crude and implausible. For example it was known that the Moon was over 200,000 miles away and orbiting the Earth, yet this small movie depicts a ship shot by a long canon directly at the Moon, and perhaps getting there rather quickly. Plus when it finally does return to Earth all it had to do was be pointed down and allowed to fall back to Earth.

But all that is nitpicking because I doubt this was intended to be a scientifically plausible story, simply an amusing story of several men landing on the Moon and encountering some Moon aliens.

A treasure for its historical place in film history.
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BandSAboutMovies4 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The best remembered film of Georges Méliès, this film was such a success upon its early release that it was one of the first films to be bootlegged*. Based loosely on Jules Vernes' From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon.

Professor Barbenfouillis and five brave astronomers - Nostradamus, Alcofrisbas, Omega, Micromegas and Parafaragaramus - have decided to go to the moon, gifting us with that iconic image of the rocket hitting the face of the lunar surface directly in the eye.

The learned men that do make it to the moon have no issue crushing its natives, the insect Selenites, literally exploding them with just a casual push. After running wild through many of their number, the astronauts - who had been awakened by the gentle swinging of Phoebe goddess of the moon just hours earlier - escape back to Earth, enjoying a parade where they lead a captured alien through the streets as a banner unfurls with the legend labor omnia vincit (work conquers all).

Film scholar Matthew Solomon has written that Méliès, who was previously an anti-Boulangist political cartoonist, used this adventure and science fiction film as a parable within which to decry imperialistic domination. His conquering heroes aren't really scientists and smart men, but dolts who hurt everyone they meet and still return to a hero's welcome.

While there are black and white versions of this film, the one that played Fantastic Fest had the hand tinted colors that were created by Elisabeth Thuillier's lab, which would make up to sixty prints of certain films, giving them an otherworldly quality which is perfect for this essential piece of cinema.

The version that played Fantastic Fest has the score interpreted by House of Waters, which features "Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer" Max ZT, Moto Fukushim and Ignacio Rivas Bixio.

*By Thomas Edison!
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A Trip to the Moon may be Georges Melies' most memorable film
tavm28 August 2006
Long considered Melies' masterpiece, A Trip to the Moon is certainly his most memorable. Take that iconic rocket-in-the-moon's-eye image. That picture survives to this day because of its appearance in books about movies and sci-fi literature. There's also the fact that this was the first time that anyone had filmed an adventure that took place in outer space. And the way they defeated the moon "selenites" by simply hitting them! Must of been wishful thinking to some enemies on Georges part. There's also some fascinating sequences of animated stars with faces on them followed by snow falling while the rocket passengers were sleeping. Obviously, we've come a long way in movie fantasy from Melies' day. But because this film came WAY before moon landing existed, it's still incredibly intriguing seeing how people thought space travel might be like then. MOST definitely worth seeing for Melies enthusiasts and silent film lovers!
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Melies Puts Men on the Moon
wes-connors20 July 2012
A group of astronomers dressed like wizards assemble in a great hall. Using a chalkboard, the leader explains his plan for "A Trip to the Moon". At first, there seems to be some disbelief in the trip's possibility, but the lead astronomer insists. Finally, all agree on the trip. Women with hourglass figures provide the men with refreshment. Next, a bullet-shaped rocket-ship is built. The completed ship is fired at the moon, with a crew of six astronomers inside. The ship pierces an eye of "the man in the moon" (a humorous landmark image and illustrative of the film's enduring success). The men emerge on the lunar landscape. They watch the Earth-rise and are startled by their surroundings. You may be, too... This imaginative work is the most famous of all made by pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies. Compared to 100 years of films released subsequently, it still rates high.

******* A Trip to the Moon (9/1/02) Georges Melies ~ Georges Melies, Bleuette Bernon, Henri Delannoy, Jeanne d'Alcy
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Influences Credited And Uncredited
Theo Robertson1 August 2010
Georges Melies was a magician by trade and brought his trade to cinema . He is effectively the founder of special effects in cinema and throughout the infancy of early cinema other film makers sought to emulate his style - one of having audiences gasp and sit back in awe at the on screen events . A TRIP TO THE MOON is rightly Melies most famous film . It is simply landmark cinema at its most radical

You have to be somewhat forgiving watching it in the 21st century however . If you're used to seeing dinosaurs chasing Sam Neill in a jeep and Elijah Wood battling a giant spider then the effects seen here may seem lacking . Likewise the story which has a run time of 13 minutes but again you need to remember the historical context . Everything in cinema at that time was geared to visuals . If you were interested in stories you'd be better off reading a book

Talking of books leads to either a bitter irony or poetic justice where Melies is concerned . Thomas Edison's film technician's had secretly made copies of the film meaning Melies lost out on financial profit in America , so much so he eventually ended up bankrupt . Sad maybe but considering the film rips off both Jules Verne and HG Wells , neither of whom are on record as receiving a penny for their obvious inspiration for the movie perhaps we shouldn't be too liberal with our sympathies
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bevo-1367811 June 2020
I like the bit where they hit the aliens with umbrellas
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Historically important but boring
preppy-330 September 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the color version of this on TCM. A bunch of people go to the moon in a rocket and fight creatures living there. That's it for plot. There are no title cards, everyone wildly overacts and I was bored silly. I'm glad this is available and I realize its historical importance but it's still a dull film.
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... On Gossamer Wings
writers_reign29 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Georges Melies and Cole Porter, a rare combination but how possible it remains that without Melies Porter would not have a third line for the second chorus of 'Just One Of Those Things' (a trip to the moon, on gossamer wings, just one of those things). We cannot, of course, judge this great pioneering work by the standards of today and it is, by definition, impossible to judge it by the standards of its own day. In 1902 the Wright Brothers had yet to make their inaugural manned flight from Kittihawk so who was to say that men would NOT be able to fly to the moon in ordinary clothes nor how long such a trip would take and by extension how much food and drink they would need and how they would evacuate it once digested. If we start worrying about things like this we are in danger of overlooking the imagination at work and the magic it brought forth. A cinematic wonder.
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My great-grandparents weren't even born when this was made!
utgard1416 September 2015
A science fiction classic from the early days of cinema. From pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès and inspired by Jules Verne, it's the story of a group of astronomers who launch themselves to the moon on a rocket. Once there, they encounter hostile alien creatures. The special effects and sets are pretty great when you consider that this was made over a century ago. It's all very quaint and charming today but I'm sure at the time it blew people's minds. Historically it's very significant but I think there's still some entertainment value to be had for today's viewer. It has a short runtime and enough interesting things going on plus a high 'cute' factor that I think most viewers will have fun with it.
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1001 Films to see before you die.
lastliberal25 March 2009
It was amazing that, in 1902, the filmmaker Georges Méliès had the foresight to add showgirls to his little film. Whether from the Folies Bergères or Vegas, the showgirl will always be a part of cinema.

This is presumable the first SciFi flick, and the animation was a real joy to watch, as was the lack of scientific knowledge.

Imagine going to the moon shot out of a cannon; imagine astronauts in tops hats and tails; imagine that to return all you need is to drop the capsule off the moon and it will return to Earth. These are not errors, but part of what makes this film so enjoyable, like the fact that the capsule hits the moon right in the eye like a big pizza pie. That's Amore.
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Wonderfully imaginative and innovative
grantss22 July 2018
A group of scientists build a rocket and fly to the Moon.

Wonderfully imaginative and innovative. Directed by Georges Melies, a pioneer in the art and technology of film-making. Shot in 1902, when cinema was in its infancy, the movie shows cinema's theatrical roots, as well as the resourcefulness and ingenuity a pioneer like Melies possessed, and needed to possess.

Clever set design, "special effects" and editing. Good plot with a great innocence and imagination to it all.

It also gave us the iconic moon-with-a-rocket-in-its-face image.

Such a landmark film in cinema history that it features heavily in Martin Scorsese's homage to cinema - 'Hugo' (2011).
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