List of actuality films by Georges Méliès

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Georges Méliès

Georges Méliès (1861–1938), a French filmmaker and magician, made a variety of short actuality films between 1896 and 1900. Méliès was established as a magician with his own theater-of-illusions, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin in Paris, when he attended the celebrated first public demonstration of the Lumière Brothers' Kinetoscope in December 1895. Unable to purchase a camera from the Lumières, who insisted that the venture had no future, he bought a film projector and some films from the British film experimenter Robert W. Paul and began projecting them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin.[1] Meanwhile, Méliès studied the principles on which Paul's projector ran, and in 1896 was able to modify the machine so that it could be used as a makeshift camera.[2] At first, Méliès followed the custom of the time, and the example memorably set by the pioneering Lumières, by producing actuality films—brief "slice of life" incidents made by preparing naturalistic scenes for the camera or by filming events of the day.[3] These "cityscapes, scenic views, and domestic vignettes" closely followed the model already set by the Lumières and their salaried operators, who had already been sent to various points abroad to publicize the Lumière camera and bring home actualites filmed in foreign climes.[4] All told, Méliès filmed 93 films, or 18% of his entire output, outdoors as actuality footage.[5]

However, Méliès was also interested in expanding his line of films to include less common genres. His second film, Conjuring, captured a theatrical magic act on film;[6] his sixth, Watering the Flowers, moved into comedy, remaking the Lumière's influential L'Arroseur Arrosé.[4] Following his discovery of the substitution splice in 1896, Méliès moved further into fiction and trick films, building his own studio on his property in Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis[6] to allow for the filming of his theatrically inspired, storytelling-based scènes composées—"artificially arranged scenes."[3] His last nonfiction work was the seventeen-part Paris Exposition, 1900 film series.[7] Because of his move away from actualities into fiction, he is generally regarded as the first person to recognize the potential of narrative film.[8] In an advertisement, Méliès proudly described the difference between his innovative theatrical films and the actualities still being made by his contemporaries: "these fantastic and artistic films reproduce stage scenes and create a new genre entirely different from the ordinary cinematographic views of real people and real streets."[9]

Films[edit]

The following guide to Méliès's actuality films lists the numbers assigned in the catalogues of Méliès's studio, the Star Film Company; the original French and English titles; the presumed filming date; and whether the film survives or is presumed lost. Unless otherwise referenced, this data comes from Jacques Malthête's 2008 filmography of the films of Georges Méliès.[10] Wherever possible, brief summaries of the films are given; unless otherwise cited, these are extrapolated from the available French and English titles.

Méliès (third from left) and friends in film 1
Page from the flipbook hypothesized to be film 8 or 35
Edison panoramic film of the Place de l'Opéra in 1900, shortly after it was featured in films 10, 17, and 139
Postcard of the Boulevard des Italiens, the location for films 18 and 85
A Van Gogh view of the Bois de Boulogne, where films 20, 21, and 50 were made
The beach at Trouville-sur-Mer, around the time of films 30 through 33
Alexandra Feodorovna and Nicholas II of Russia, shortly before their visit to France documented in films 48 and 50
A steam-powered threshing machine; Méliès showed one in film 65
Drawings of the 1897 Mid-Lent parade shown in film 97–98
Students at the École de Joinville, around the time Méliès made films 136 and 148 there
Frame from film 151
Grave of Félix Faure: Méliès showed the funeral procession in film 173–174
The Exposition Universelle, featured in films 232–233 and 245–261
No. French title English title Date Status
1Une partie de cartesPlaying CardsMay 1896 (1896-05)[11]Survives
Méliès's first film, filmed in his garden in Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis. See the main article for more information.
3Plus fort que le maître (leçon de bicyclette)Smarter Than the Teacher (1st bicycle lesson)1896 (1896)Lost
No further information available.
4Jardinier brûlant des herbesGardener Burning Weeds1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows a gardener.
5Les Chevaux de boisA Merry-go-Round1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows a merry-go-round.
7Les BlanchisseusesThe Washerwomen1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows women cleaning clothes.
8Arrivée d'un train (gare de Vincennes)Arrival of a Train at Vincennes Station1896 (1896)Unknown
Probably inspired by the Lumière Brothers' film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat.[4] This film may survive in the form of a flipbook published by Léon Beaulieu;[12] see the main article for more information. See also film 35.
10Place de l'Opéra (1er aspect)Place de l'Opéra, 1st view (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place de l'Opéra in Paris. See also films 17 and 139.
11Place du Théâtre-FrançaisPlace du Théâtre-Français (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place du Théâtre-Français (present-day Place André-Malraux, home of the Comédie-Française) in Paris.
13Couronnement de la rosièreCoronation of a Village Maiden (French customs)1896 (1896)Lost
No further information available.
14Bébé et FillettesBaby and Young Girls1896 (1896)Lost
Méliès closed his Théâtre Robert-Houdin once a year for summer vacation; in 1896, the closing was from 14 July to 31 July, and the Méliès family took their vacation on the coast of Normandy.[11] This film, one of those made on the Normandy coast, featured Méliès's daughter Georgette.[13] Méliès made at least fifteen other films on the trip: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 43, 47, 49, 59, and 63.[14]
16Bateaux-Mouches sur la SeineSteamboats on River Seine1896 (1896)Lost
Filmed in Paris.[15] Presumably shows the River Seine.
17Place de l'Opéra (2e aspect)Place de l'Opéra, 2d view (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place de l'Opéra in Paris. See also films 10 and 139.
18Boulevard des ItaliensBoulevard des Italiens (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris.
19Un lycée de jeunes fillesAcademy for Young Ladies1896 (1896)Lost
Probably filmed in Paris.[15]
20Bois de Boulogne (Touring Club)Bois de Boulogne (Touring Club, Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably filmed in the Bois de Boulogne.
21Bois de Boulogne (Porte de Madrid)Bois de Boulogne (Porte de Madrid, Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably filmed in the Bois de Boulogne.
24Le RégimentFrench Regiment Going to the Parade1896 (1896)Lost
No further information available.
25Campement de bohémiensGipsies at Home1896 (1896)Lost
No further information available.
27Déchargement de bateaux (Le Havre)Unloading the Boat (Havre)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Le Havre during Méliès's summer vacation. For more information, see film 14.
28Plage de Villers par gros tempsThe Beach at Villers in a Gale (France)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Villers. For more information, see film 14.
29Les Quais à MarseilleThe Docks at Marseilles (France)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Advertised as if filmed in Marseilles, but almost certainly filmed on the coast of Normandy.[11] For more information, see film 14.
30Jetée et plage de Trouville (1re partie)Beach and Pier at Trouville (France)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Probably inspired by an 1895 Lumière Brothers film featuring a boat in the harbor of La Ciotat.[4] Presumably filmed in Trouville-sur-Mer. For more information, see film 14.
31Barque sortant du port de TrouvilleBoat Leaving the Harbor of TrouvilleJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Trouville-sur-Mer. For more information, see film 14.
32Jetée et plage de Trouville (2e partie)Beach and Pier at Trouville (2d part)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Trouville-sur-Mer. For more information, see film 14.
33Jour de marché à TrouvilleMarket Day (Trouville)July 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Trouville-sur-Mer. For more information, see film 14.
34Panorama du Havre (pris d'un bateau)Panorama of Havre Taken From a BoatJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably shows Le Havre. For more information, see film 14.
35Arrivée d'un train (gare de Joinville)Arrival of a Train (Joinville Station)1896 (1896)Lost
The Méliès family suggested in 2013 that the flipbook previously identified as film 8 may be this film instead;[16] see the main article Arrival of a Train at Vincennes Station. Presumably filmed in Joinville-le-Pont. For more information, see film 14.
38Les Forgerons (vue d'atelier)Blacksmith in His Workshop1896 (1896)Lost
Probably inspired by a Lumière Brothers film with the same title and subject.[4] No further information available.
40Baignade en merSea BathingJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
No further information available. For more information, see film 14.
41Enfants jouant sur la plageChildren Playing on the BeachJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
No further information available. For more information, see film 14.
43Effet de mer sur les rochersSea Breaking on the RocksJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Also known as Effets de mer sur les rochers.[17] For more information, see film 14.
46Départ des automobilesAutomobiles Starting on a Race1896 (1896)Lost
No further information available.
47Revue navale à CherbourgA Naval Review at CherbourgJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Presumably filmed in Cherbourg. For more information, see film 14.[11] Since a naval review was held in Cherbourg on 5 October 1896 to celebrate the visit of Nicholas II of Russia (see film 48), it is possible the film was made then; however, since Méliès appears to have been making actualities in Paris at that time, and only appears to have possessed one camera, it is more likely that the film dates back to his summer vacation in July.[15]
48Cortège du Tzar allant à VersaillesThe Czar and His Cortège Going to VersaillesOctober 1896 (1896-10)[15]Lost
Nicholas II of Russia and Empress Consort Alexandra Feodorovna visited France from 5 October to 9 October 1896, debarking in Cherbourg and traveling to Paris, where Méliès was making actualities. The two films he made of the visit, 48 and 50, were first shown on 12 October 1896 in the Théâtre Robert-Houdin.[15] This film presumably shows the imperial couple and their retinue on their way to Versailles.
49Les Haleurs de bateauxTowing a Boat on the RiverJuly 1896 (1896-07)[11]Lost
Probably filmed on the coast of Normandy.[11] For more information, see film 14.
50Cortège du Tzar au Bois de BoulogneThe Czar's Cortège in the Bois de BoulogneOctober 1896 (1896-10)[15]Lost
Presumably shows Nicholas II of Russia and his retinue in the Bois de Boulogne. For more information, see film 48.
51Sortie des ateliers VibertClosing Hours at Vibert's Perfume Factory (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Probably inspired by the 1895 Lumière Brothers film Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory.[4] No further information available.
52La Voiture du potierThe Potter's Cart1896 (1896)Lost
Probably filmed in Paris.[15]
54Place de la ConcordePlace de la Concorde (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place de la Concorde.
55La Gare Saint-LazareSt. Lazare Railroad Station (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Gare Saint-Lazare.
56Grandes ManœuvresManoeuvres of the French Army1896 (1896)Lost
One of a series of military scenes (films 56, 60, 62, 64, 66, 67, and 68).[18] Presumably shows members of the French Army.
58Place de la BastillePlace de la Bastille (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place de la Bastille in Paris.
59Marée montante sur brise-lamesTide Rising Over the BreakwaterJuly 1896 (1896-07)[15]Lost
No further information available. For more information, see film 14.
60Retour au cantonnementReturn to the Barracks1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). No further information available.
62Réunion d'officiersFrench Officers' Meeting1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). Presumably shows officers of the French Army.
63Tempête sur la jetée du TréportThe Pier at Tréport During a Storm (France)July 1896 (1896-07)[15]Lost
Presumably filmed in Le Tréport. For more information, see film 14.
64Le BivouacThe Bivouac1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). Presumably shows the use of a bivouac sack.
65Batteuse à vapeurThreshing-Machine Worked by Power1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows one or more steam-powered threshing machines. Also known as Threshing Machines Worked by Power.[19]
66Sac au dos!Sacks Up!1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). No further information available.
67Libération des territoriauxBreaking up of the Territorial Army (France)1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). Presumably shows members of the French Army.
68Départ des officiersOfficers of French Army Leaving Service1896 (1896)Lost
Part of the military series (see film 56). Presumably shows officers of the French Army.
69Place Saint-AugustinPlace Saint-Augustin (Paris)1896 (1896)Lost
Presumably shows the Place Saint-Augustin.
83–84Le Cortège du Bœuf gras passant place de la ConcordeThe Mardi Gras Procession (Paris, 1897)2 March 1897 (1897-03-02)[18]Lost
Presumably shows the Place de la Concorde in Paris on Mardi Gras.
85Cortège du Bœuf gras, boulevard des ItaliensThe Mardi Gras Procession (Paris, 1898) [sic]2 March 1897 (1897-03-02)[18]Lost
Presumably shows the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris on Mardi Gras. Note that the English-language catalogue entry for the film erroneously dated it to the following year, 1898.
86Une cour de fermeA Farm Yard1897 (1897)Lost
Presumably shows a farmyard.
87Les Apprentis militairesMilitary Apprentices1897 (1897)Lost
No further information available.
91Défilé des pompiersFiremen on Parade1897 (1897)Lost
Presumably shows members of a fire department.
92Danseuses au Jardin de ParisDancing Girls (Jardin de Paris)1897 (1897)Lost
No further information available.
97–98Cortège de la Mi-CarêmeMid-Lent Procession in Paris25 March 1897 (1897-03-25)[18]Lost
Filmed in Paris on Laetare Sunday (in French, Mi-Carême).[18]
99Bataille de confettisBattle With Confetti25 March 1897 (1897-03-25)[18]Lost
Filmed in Paris on Laetare Sunday (in French, Mi-Carême).[18]
115Tourneur en poterieA Potterymaker1897 (1897)Lost
Presumably shows an artisan using a potter's wheel.
136Match de boxe (professeurs de l'École de Joinville)Boxing Match1897 (1897)Lost
Presumably filmed at the military school in Joinville-le-Pont.
139Carrefour de l'OpéraPlace de l'Opéra, 3d view (Paris)1897 (1897)–1898Lost
Claimed to be the first film to use time-lapse photography.[20] Presumably shows the Place de l'Opéra in Paris. See also films 10 and 17.
148Assaut d'escrime (École de Joinville)Fencing at the Joinville School1898 (1898)Lost
Presumably filmed at the military school in Joinville-le-Pont.
151Panorama pris d'un train en marche (ponts et tunnels)Panorama from Top of Moving Train1898 (1898)Survives
Also known as Panorama from Top of a Moving Train.[21][22]
157Montagnes russes nautiquesShooting the Chutes1898 (1898)Lost
Presumably shows a roller coaster (in French, montagnes russes).
173–174Funérailles de Félix Faure (1—char; 2—les troupes)Funeral of Felix Faure23 February 1899 (1899-02-23)[23]Lost
Filmed in Paris.[23] Presumably shows the hearse and attending troops at the funeral of Félix Faure, President of France.
193Combat de coqsA Lively Cock-Fight (US), A Lively Cock Fight (UK)1899 (1899)Lost
Presumably shows a cockfight.
201Panorama du port de Saint-Hélier (île de Jersey)Bird's-Eye View of St. Helier (Jersey) 1899 (1899-Summer)[23]Lost
In 1899 the Méliès family again took their summer vacation on the coast of Normandy. During the trip Méliès filmed three actualities (201, 202, and 203), as well as footage of the open sea, which he used in special effects in his fiction films Neptune and Amphitrite and Christ Walking on the Water the same year.[23] This film presumably shows the port of Saint Helier.
202Entrée du paquebot Victoria dans le port de JerseySteamer Entering the Harbor of Jersey 1899 (1899-Summer)[23]Lost
Presumably filmed in Jersey. For more information, see film 201.
203Débarquement des voyageurs, port de GranvillePassengers Landing at Harbor of Granville 1899 (1899-Summer)Lost
Presumably filmed in Granville, Manche. For more information, see film 201.
232–233Panorama de la SeinePanorama of River Seine1899 (1899)Lost
Two short actualities filmed on the Seine, showing construction of buildings for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.[24] See Paris Exposition, 1900 (film series): Related films for more information.
245–261Vues spéciales de l'Exposition de 1900Paris Exhibition, 19001900 (1900)Unknown
A series of seventeen actualities, serving as a documentary record of the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.[25] See the main article for more information.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frazer 1979, pp. 33–35
  2. ^ Malthête & Mannoni 2008, pp. 301–302
  3. ^ a b Ezra 2000, p. 13
  4. ^ a b c d e f Rosen 1987, p. 749
  5. ^ Ezra 2000, p. 62
  6. ^ a b Rosen 1987, p. 750
  7. ^ Malthête, Jacques (2002), "Les Vues spéciales de l'Exposition de 1900, tournées par Georges Méliès", 1895: Revue de l'Association française de recherche sur l'histoire du cinéma, 36, retrieved 24 January 2014 
  8. ^ Cook, David A. (1981), A History of Narrative Film, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 13, ISBN 0393013707 
  9. ^ Kovács, Katherine Singer (Autumn 1976), "Georges Méliès and the Féerie", Cinema Journal, 16 (1): 1, doi:10.2307/1225446, JSTOR 1225446 
  10. ^ Malthête & Mannoni 2008, pp. 334–356
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 23
  12. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (24 July 2013), "George Melies Flip Book Sets off Crowdsourcing", Variety, retrieved 30 December 2013 
  13. ^ Malthête, Jacques (2013), Gaines, Jane; Vatsal, Radha; Dall'Asta, Monica, eds., "Georgette Méliès", Women Film Pioneers Project, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia University Libraries, retrieved 26 December 2016 
  14. ^ Malthête & Mannoni 2008, pp. 23–24
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 24
  16. ^ Méliès, Pauline (2013). "Questions posées … Réponses en cours". Georges Méliès site officiel. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Frazer 1979, p. 242
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 25
  19. ^ Frazer 1979, p. 243
  20. ^ Dewdney, Christopher (2008), Soul of the World: Unlocking the Secrets of Time, Toronto: HarperCollins, p. 70, retrieved 27 March 2014 
  21. ^ Méliès, Georges (2008), Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (DVD; short film collection), Los Angeles: Flicker Alley, ISBN 1893967352 
  22. ^ Frazer 1979, p. 245
  23. ^ a b c d e Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 26
  24. ^ Malthête & Mannoni 2008, p. 27
  25. ^ Frazer 1979, p. 81

Citations[edit]

  • Ezra, Elizabeth (2000), Georges Méliès, Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 0719053951 
  • Frazer, John (1979), Artificially Arranged Scenes: The Films of Georges Méliès, Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., ISBN 0816183686 
  • Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, ISBN 9782732437323 
  • Rosen, Miriam (1987), "Méliès, Georges", in Wakeman, John, World Film Directors: Volume I, 1890–1945, New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, pp. 747–765, ISBN 0824207572 

External links[edit]