Georges Melies and the Birth of Fantasy Films

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Marie-Georges Méliès (birth name) a pioneer of the early cinema was born on December 8, 1861 in Paris, France. He was born to wealthy industrialist parents who manufactured shoes. At an early age Georges Méliès showed interest in the arts, and stage design. He studied stage design and puppetry in Paris at various theatres. "In 1884, Méliès continued his studies abroad, in London at the request of his parents - they insisted he learn English after which they intended him to work at his father's footwear business. While in London, he developed a keen interest in stage conjury after witnessing the work of Maskelyne and Cooke. On his return to Paris he worked at his father's factory and took over as manager when his father retired. His position meant that he was able to raise enough money to buy the famous Theatre Robert Houdin when it was put up for sale in 1888." (Early Cinema, 1) He sold his share of the family footwear business at the age of 26 when he bought the Theatre Robert Houdin. It was here that Georges Méliès became a very famous stage magician in France; he used illusions that he learned in London as well as tricks that he worked on his own. Georges Méliès attended the first screening of the Lumiere Cinematographe on December 1895. This is where he became interested in film and became intrigued, he offered to buy the projector from the Lumiere Bros, but they refused, looking to make money off the invention. Georges Méliès thought that this could be a great addition to his stage act. In February of the following year, Georges Méliès purchased a motion picture camera, and he began making his own films three months later. Cinema technology was just being developed, and Méliès studied the various new mechanisms, and then had projectors, printers, and processing equipment custom-made, based on other the inventions of other people or on improvements of his own design. Georges Méliès wanted after Robert W. Paul, a man who bought and sold counterfeit...
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