George Melies and His Contributions to Cinema History

Topics: Film, Georges Méliès, Cinematography Pages: 5 (1783 words) Published: November 8, 2012
George Melies and his contributions to cinema history
The film industry encompasses technological and commercial organizations of filmmaking. The story of the Kelly Gang was the first feature film to be produced and its production was done in Australia. This film was produced and directed by Charles Tait and Dan Barry in 1906. By 1911, other countries were also beginning to show some interest in feature films. The modern film industry has evolved over the years and it is still evolving. Famous filmmakers such as George Melies made important contributions to the development of early cinema. He is recognized as the pioneer of early cinema, special effects, and the invention of bizarre ideas about the big screen. Jim Glichrist of the Scotman describes him as “one of the greatest pioneers of the cinema” (Pantazi, 2005). There are special effects as well as the magic encompassed in the production thanks to his innovation. Pantazi (2005) notes that the foundation laid determines the developments of the phenomena in question, thus, Melies laid a good foundation for the cinema industry since his innovation provided room for more developments. Mini biography

George Melies a renowned filmmaker was born on the eighth day of December 1861. He was born in a family of shoemakers but he was not interested in doing this kind of work. He schooled at the Lycee Imperial where he is alleged to get into trouble with his teachers since he used to fill his books with comic strips. He showed great interest in film work while still at school, at age 10 he built his sets for small marionette shows. His love for stage career was further heightened when he went to the theatre for the first time; he was perplexed by a performance made by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin who was one of the most renowned magicians at that time. After retiring from the family business, his father left the business under Melies and his two brothers, since Melies was not interested in the family business, he sold all his shares to his brothers. With the money that he acquired after selling the shares, he acquired Theatre Robert-Houdin, here; he performed severally and also invented illusory jokes. His was greatly inspired by the then Penn and Teller, and illusionists Maskelyne and Cooke. Later, he received an invitation of the cinematography display of Lumiero brothers. This gave him some exposure and from that day on, he become more and more interested with film. He became interested in films in 1895 after attending the Lumiero brothers demonstrating their camera (Ezra, 2000). After this, he established a studio in Montreuil where actors performed with the aid of a painted set. Between 1896 and 1914, Melies directed a total of 531 films which ranged from 1-40 minutes. These films were in some way similar to the magic theaters shows that he has been doing. The special effects were used in plays that did not have a plot; they were used to emphasize on what was possible but not to improve the overall outlook of the film. Two of his most famous films are ‘the impossible voyage’ and ‘a trip to the moon’ the plot of these films focus on strange voyages. His interest in films made him want to explore ways in which film can be made more interesting. He started off with simple raw materials where he recorded scenes focusing on everyday life. He began to present narratives and soon afterwards singing to enchant the audience. Somehow, he started to show interest in the study of stop-action photography, the need to know more made him to explore this aspect. He is remembered for having made the first science fiction film, was the pioneer of split-screen technique, he is also recognized for trying out slow motions, fadeouts, and double exposure. In 1913, the French and American studios declared Melies’ film company bankrupt. His company was brought by Pathe Freres out of receivership. He did not therefore benefit much from his film company. Most of his stock...
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