Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine"

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Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine"
Méliès, Visite sus-marine du Maine (Star Film 147, 1898).jpg
A frame from the film
Directed by Georges Méliès
Release date
Running time
Country France
Language Silent film

Visite sous-marine du Maine, released in the United States as Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine" and in Britain as Divers at Work on a Wreck Under Sea,[1] is an 1898 French short silent film directed by Georges Méliès.


The sunken USS Maine lies at the bottom of Havana Harbor. Divers approach the wreck and retrieve a corpse from it.


The film was shot with an aquarium between the camera and the action, allowing real water and fish to be included in the shot.[2] The corpse is a mannequin.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Divers at Work on the Wreck of the Maine was one of a series of four reconstructed newsreels (actualités reconstituées) filmed by Méliès as illustrations of recent incidents in the Spanish–American War. The series was screened at Méliès's theatre of illusions, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin in Paris.[3] The film was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 147 in its catalogues, where it was advertised with the parenthetical subtitle plongeurs et poissons vivants.[1]

The film was the most successful entry in Méliès's Spanish–American War series; a French review on 1 May 1898 reported that the film was "of the greatest interest" (du plus vif intérêt).[4] Méliès himself recalled in 1932 that the film was a crowdpleaser.[4] The film was less successful in countries with no strong political interest in the Spanish–American War; when the film was shown in Sherbrooke in French Canada in June 1898, audiences responded negatively and asked for films they had seen about the Passion of Jesus to be shown again instead.[5]


  1. ^ a b Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, p. 338, ISBN 9782732437323 
  2. ^ a b Essai de reconstitution du catalogue français de la Star-Film; suivi d'une analyse catalographique des films de Georges Méliès recensés en France, Bois d'Arcy: Service des archives du film du Centre national de la cinématographie, 1981, p. 56, ISBN 2903053073, OCLC 10506429 
  3. ^ Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 93
  4. ^ a b Bottomore, Stephen (2007), Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897–1902 (PDF) (thesis), Utrecht University, p. VI.5, retrieved 18 February 2015 
  5. ^ Bottomore 2007, p. VII.11

External links[edit]