Top 250 Tuesday: #178 – A Trip To The Moon (1902)

Continuing to wend my way through the Sight and Sound Top 250 Greatest Movies of All Time. This week, it’s #178 on the list, Georges Melies‘s A Trip To The Moon. For a longer introduction to this series and a look at the full list, just click here. And if you want a heads-up on what I’ll be watching for next week in case you want to watch along, just head on over to the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are in the sidebar) where I’ll generally be posting that info later in the day.

936full-a-trip-to-the-moon-posterIs it possible that George Melies’s A Trip To The Moon (or to use it’s French title, Le Voyage dans la lune) is the most well known of all the silent-era films? It certainly contains one of the most well known and iconic screen shots of all time, but it also goes far beyond just that rocket in the eyeball image. As a matter of fact, that may not even be the oddest sequence in the film.

Those who saw Martin Scorcese’s absolutely delightful film Hugo from a few years back will be familiar with Melies and some of his history, and it is a truly fascinating story (and I do highly recommend Scorcese’s film on it’s own merits, but consider it essential viewing for film buffs). The short version basically is that Melies was a stage magician who saw the potential of film as a new outlet for his particular brand of trickery, and spent most of the rest of his life experimenting with various ways to use the new medium as a tool for experimentation and working out new “tricks” to amaze and amuse his audiences.
image-from-a-trip-to-the-moon-remasteredThus, A Trip To The Moon contains many other “special effects” such as characters appearing and disappearing, objects changing form, and stars with faces imposed upon them shining down upon the sleeping explorers. Of course, these types of effects would eventually become much smoother and seamless, but when one considers just how much experimentation Melies was doing, and the limits of what he had to work with, the fact that he was able to develop and achieve so much becomes truly remarkable.

What is also amazing is that this 112-year-old film is still available to us in so many different formats and places. Rather than a simple preview today, I’ve chosen to go ahead and embed just one of those versions below. If you’ve never actually watched the entire film (it’s only around 13 minutes long) I highly encourage you to take the time to do so.

After all, you don’t want to make the man in the moon cry again, now do you?

So what are your thoughts on A Trip To The Moon? Is it a movie that you’ve seen or would like to? If you have seen it, is it one that would make your own Top 10 list? Or would it not even crack your Top 250? Let me know below.

One thought on “Top 250 Tuesday: #178 – A Trip To The Moon (1902)

  1. I’m utterly fascinated by “A Trip to the Moon”. It really is unlike any other film, isn’t it? I was so happy to see Martin Scorsese pay tribute in “Hugo” – which I watched twice in a row!

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