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Gulliver's Travels (1902)

Le voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et chez les géants (original title)
Gulliver washes ashore on Lilliput, the inhabitants of which are no more than six inches tall. He later travels to Brobdingnag, a country populated by giants.


Georges Méliès (uncredited)

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An ancient tower, in which is seated the magician, occupies the centre of the stage. On either side of the tower is a statue. The magician waves his hands and the tower and both statues ... See full summary »

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Uncredited cast:
Georges Méliès ... Gulliver (uncredited)


In this masterful adaptation of Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel entitled "Gulliver's Travels", the gifted French director, Georges Méliès, playfully explores the endless possibilities of scale modification, in an exercise in style where size is everything. With his typical sense of humour, Méliès places a gargantuan Gulliver with a crooked nose and an enormous beard off the coast of the fabled Lilliput, striding amid the town's minuscule buildings--no spear or bond is powerful enough to keep him down. However, when our giant meets Brobdingnag's colossal inhabitants and their king, suddenly, dread and a vague feeling of insignificance creep in. How does it feel to be small and unimportant? Written by Nick Riganas

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Short | Fantasy


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Release Date:

13 April 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gulliver's Travels See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Georges Méliès,Star-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (hand colored)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of Gulliver's Travels (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Superimposed Scale
4 April 2010 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

By "The Man with the Rubber Head" (L'homme à la tête en caoutchouc)(1901), Georges Méliès had figured out that he could use multiple exposures (superimpositions) of the negative to create an image that was smaller or larger than another image. Méliès was the most clever of early filmmakers, and he specialized in exploiting cinematic tricks, mostly for single-scene trick attractions, but also in adaptations of classic fairy tales and fantasy voyage stories, so it was only a matter of time after he discovered the aforementioned effect that he would adapt Swift's novel involving the tiny people of Lilliput and the giants of Brobdingnag.

Of course, five scenes in about four minutes can hardly render any novel very well. The film only provides visual cues, or selected moments from the book, to the spectator, who then need to have knowledge of the source or, back then, have the film explained to them by a lecturer. Similar non self-contained early film literary selections included "Scrooge; or, Marley's Ghost" (1901), "Alice in Wonderland" (1903), "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1903), and earlier story films by Méliès, such as "Cinderella" (Cendrillon)(1899). It seems Méliès wasn't even concerned with adapting the story (which he really didn't do), but in using the popular source as a container for his scaled multiple-exposure tricks.

In the film's first scene, a miniature set is used to create the scale that Gulliver has come upon a race of very small people. Throughout the rest of the film, multiple-exposure photography manipulates scale. The effect is rather shaky when the two images share a similar amount of space in the frame, as in scenes two and three. Also of interest is that a hand-colored print of this film is available today, which includes some especially good skin coloring. Additionally, scenes are transitioned by dissolves, which is a technique Méliès began using in "Cinderella" and which other filmmakers adopted as well.

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