Wednesday 20 September 2017

Fitz James O'Brien's The Diamond Lens

H.P. Lovecraft touted it as one of his favourite stories... An early example of murder, occultism, madness, and the vertigo of the infinite in a scant few pages that has remained the best-known tale by one of America's early pioneers in Scientific Romance. Fitz James O'Brien's 1858 short story The Diamond Lens would, in many ways, act as a precursor to Lovecraft's own terrifying tales of cosmic nihilism. 

Saturday 9 September 2017

Georges Méliès' A la Conquête du Pôle

Today's special post is part of the Movie Scientist Blogathon hosted by Christina Wehner and Silent Screenings. Click on the link to visit many fantastic blogs celebrating the Good, the Mad, and the Lonely in cinematic science!

The world has not been in an uproar like this since Phileas Fogg took his abbreviated trip around the globe! The redoubtable Professor Maboul has created a frenzy with his plan to visit the North Pole in one of Georges Méliès final films.

As a result of the American movie factory and new innovations in filmmaking by directors from Hollywood and the German schools, Méliès began winding down production in the early 1910's, just as his art was to reach its peak. Méliès took the staged, tableau style - where entire scenes unfold in static set pieces before the viewer sitting back in the objective view of a live theatre patron - about as far is it could go artistically. This easily shows in the ambitious A la Conquête du Pôle (English: Conquest of the Pole), one of only three films Méliès produced in 1912.

Like Méliès' last major Scientific Romance, Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible (English: The Impossible Voyage), the scope and scale of Conquest of the Pole is tremendous. However, unlike that 1904 film, the pace is quickened up. Conquest of the Pole runs for approximately the same duration, but moves along much more rapidly, recalling mastery and magic of his greatest film from a decade prior, Le Voyage dans la Lune (English: A Trip to the Moon).

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Georges Méliès' Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible

George  Méliès' Journey Through the Impossible  
(Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible)  with original soundtrack by La Pêche.

Georges Méliès' Le Voyage dans la Lune (English: A Trip to the Moon) was the smash hit of 1902. In fact, it was so popular that it was causing no end of trouble for Méliès, who became one of the first victims of media bootlegging when illegal copies of the film were made and distributed all over the United States. The popularity of the film cried out for a return to Scientific Romances, to which Méliès responded by pulling out all of the stops in Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible (English: The Impossible Voyage or Journey Through the Impossible) in 1904.