World’s Oldest Color Film (just newly discovered)

Here is video of recently discovered footage, considered to be the world’s earliest color film:

Additional information about these first color films can be found HERE.

May Days of Melies – Gulliver’s Travels Among the Lilliputians and the Giants [Le voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et chez les géants] (1902)

A swift (4-minute) adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels (formally, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships), the 1726 satirical novel by Jonathan Swift. The movie is less focused on developing the plot as a narrative, and more attentive towards recreating and presenting some of the fantastic elements within the story, as alluded to by the title, Le voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et chez les géants (aka Gulliver’s Travels Among the Lilliputians and the Giants). The visual accomplishments of Méliès are most impressive, especially the amazing hand-painting of frames.

Music performed by Billy Duncan for Change Before Going Productions.

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May Days of Melies – The Impossible Balancing Feat [L’équilibre impossible] (1902)

Méliès utilizes his newest trick, first seen in The Human Fly, combined with the spirit of The One-Man Band, resulting in a one-man gymnastics team. 

May Days of Melies – The Human Fly [L’homme mouche] (1902)

Méliès reveals a brand new trick in The Human Fly (aka L’homme mouche). We’re also treated to some lovely hand-tinting.

May Days of Melies – The Treasures of Satan [Les trésors de satan] (1902)

The treasures of Satan appear as bags of money which the devil (Méliès) hides inside a coffin. When a thief attempts to rob the coins, the moneybags come alive and are soon accompanied by beautiful women! Unfortunately, the fulfilled fantasy is short-lived as the bags held by the ladies become sharp spears, and then the devil reappears to claim his true treasure.

May Days of Melies – The Shadow Girl [La clownesse fantôme] (1902)

Méliès demonstrates that he possesses some magical items able to quickly and painlessly perform sex changes.

May Days of Melies – The Dancing Midget [La danseuse microscopique] (1902)

In The Dancing Midget (aka La danseuse microscopique), Méliès makes his foppish assistant regurgitate 6 whole eggs, which are then cracked into a magic hat and turned into a single, larger egg. When the new egg explodes, what springs forth? Why, a tiny ballerina of course!

May Days of Melies – The Colonel’s Shower Bath [La douche du colonel] (1902)

Méliès takes a short cinematic break from his “trick” movies to provide a bit of comic relief. Take note of the depth and detail in the set background.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Miss Dundee and Her Performing Dogs [Les chiens savants] (1902)

Adorable dog and handler performance video where the tricks become more impressive and entertaining as the show progresses. The finale is definitely worth the wait.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Midwife to the Upper Classes [Sage-femme de première classe] (1902)

Both cute and disgusting. Cute as an expansion of Guy’s earlier film, The Cabbage Fairy, involving the plucking of babies from the cabbage patch. Disgusting in the repulsive reaction of the couple towards the darker baby. Still, that is an important moment in movie history as a snapshot of society, and it’s also critical that we note the mention of “upper classes” in the title. We are left to wonder whether Guy was making a statement towards the prejudices of elitists in their rejection of the less-desirable baby.