A Trip to the Moon

Le Voyage dans la lune is a 1902 French science fiction black and white silent film known in its English language release as A Trip to the Moon. It is loosely based on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells. It was written and directed by Georges Méliès, with help from his brother Gaston. Running time is 14 minutes at 16 frames per second.

It is recognized as one of the first films of the science fiction genre, and for its innovative animation.

At a meeting of astronomers, one proposes to the rest a trip to the Moon. After addressing some dissent (the speaker pitches some paper at him), six brave astronomers agree to the plan. They build a space capsule in the shape of a bullet and a huge cannon to shoot it into space. The astronomers embark and their capsule is fired from the cannon with the help of a bevy of beautiful women (played by chorus girls of the Folies Bergères). The Man in the Moon watches the capsule as it approaches, and it hits him in the eye.

Safely on the Moon, the explorers get out of the capsule and watch the Earth rise in the distance. Something then explodes near them. They then unroll their blankets, and take a nap. They dream of celestial Folies-Bergères girls as the stars of the Big Dipper, Saturn, and another Moon, who call down a snowfall that wakens the explorers. The explorers seek shelter in a cavern and discover giant mushrooms. One astronomer opens his umbrella; it promptly takes root and turns into a giant mushroom itself. At this point, a Selenite (an alien inhabiting the Moon, apparently part man and part insect) appears, but it is easily killed by an astronomer (the creatures explode if whacked with a stick or umbrella). More Selenites appear and it becomes increasingly difficult for the explorers to destroy them as the creatures surround them. The Selenites arrest the astronomers and bring them to their leader. An astronomer picks the Chief Selenite up off its throne and dashes it to the ground, exploding it.

The astronomers run back to their capsule (popping pursuing Selenites on the way). Five get inside. The sixth uses a rope to tip the capsule over a ledge on the Moon and into space. A Selenite tries to seize the capsule at the last minute. Astronomer, capsule, and Selenite fall through space and land in an ocean on Earth, where all are rescued by a ship and towed ashore.

There is in fact a final scene of the film in which there is a celebratory parade in honor of the travellers' safe return. Parts of the final scene have been recovered but the entire scene has either been lost or withheld pending expiration of the movie's copyright.

* Méliès had intended on releasing the film in the United States to profit from it; however, Thomas A. Edison's film technicians had secretly made copies of it and distributed it throughout the country, thus putting money into Edison's pocket. Méliès never profited from it and eventually went broke.

* The scene in which the space capsule hits the Man in the Moon in the eye is the earliest known example of stop-motion animation.

* Two music videos are based entirely on and filmed simlarily to Le Voyage dans la Lune; Queen's 1995 music video for Heaven for Everyone, and the award-winning video for the Smashing Pumpkins 1996 hit Tonight, Tonight.

* A complete cut of the film was discovered in a French barn in 2002. It was an amazing discovery as it not only is the most complete cut of the movie, but was also entirely hand-colored. It was restored and premiered in 2003 at the Pordonone Silent Film Festival.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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