May Days of Melies – The Infernal Caldron [Le chaudron infernal] (1903)

So much to enjoy and appreciate in this one: the striking colors (especially the flames and demon green), the devilishly macabre subject matter, and the Méliès special effects. The coolest tricks involve fireball spirits that become ash and the use of out-of-focus superimposition to create the most visually-impressive ghosts in film up to this point.


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.

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.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – 3 Tinted Dances

Guy continues her Spanish exploration with three hand-tinted films showing the tango, flamenco, and bolero dancing styles:

The Tango [Le Tango]

The Malaguena and the Bullfighter [La malagueña et le torero]

Saharet Performs the Bolero [Madame Saharet, boléro]

March Melies Madness! – The Pillar of Fire [La colonne de feu] (1899)

The Pillar of Fire (aka La colonne de feu) is loosely based upon H. Rider Haggard’s 1887 novel, She. In beautiful, hand-colored tint, the devil (Georges Méliès) appears and summons a dancing lady.

March Melies Madness! – The Haunted Castle [Le château hanté] (1897)

Via the use of stop-cut replacement trick photography, a king experiences the many haunts of his castle, culminating with an appearance by the Devil. The Haunted Castle (aka Le château hanté), by Georges Méliès, features wonderful hand-painting of individual frames, the result adding to the supernatural air of the film. Also of note: The logo of Melies’ Star Film production company is visible at the bottom of the right column in the background archway. Including a logo within the film was an early technique for claiming ownership, similar to a photographer’s watermark.