The Eclipse, or the Courtship of the Sun and Moon

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The Eclipse: Courtship of the Sun and Moon
Directed by Georges Méliès
Starring Georges Méliès
Release date
  • 1907 (1907)
Running time
9 min.
Country France
Language Silent

The Eclipse: Courtship of the Sun and Moon (originally L'éclipse du soleil en pleine lune) is a French silent film made in 1907 by director Georges Méliès.


A professor of astronomy gives a lecture instructing on an impending solar eclipse. The class rushes to an observation tower to witness the event, which features an anthropomorphic Sun and Moon coming together. The Moon and the Sun lick their lips in anticipation as the eclipse arrives, culminating in a romantic encounter between the two celestial bodies. Various heavenly bodies, including planets and moons, hang in the night sky; a meteor shower is depicted using the ghostly figures of girls. The professor of astronomy, shocked by all he has witnessed, topples from the observation tower.


The Eclipse has been remarked upon for its overt sexual symbolism.[1][2] Christine Cornea posits that the film's primary theme, the clash of scientific logic with sexual desire, was also evident in Méliès' earlier films A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage, and would become a prominent in many subsequent science-fiction films.[1]

Some scholars, interpreting the Sun and the Moon to be both male, have described the erotic "eclipse" as an early depiction of homosexuality in cinema,[2][3] with an "effeminate" Moon being seduced by an "devilishly masculine" Sun.[1] By contrast, Méliès's film catalogue describes the liaison in heterosexual terms, referring to the participants as "the man in the sun" and "dainty Diana" and using pronouns to match.[4]


Méliès appears in the film as the professor, with the actor Manuel as the class supervisor and Mademoiselle Bodson as a comet.[5] Some scenes in The Eclipse were originally made by Méliès for a film commissioned for a revue at a Paris music hall, La Cigale.[5]

Special effects in The Eclipse were created with stage machinery, pyrotechnics, substitution splices, superimpositions, dissolves, rolling scenery, and a mannequin for the professor's fall.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Cornea, Christine (2007), Science fiction cinema: between fantasy and reality, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 14 
  2. ^ a b O'Donoghue, Darragh (July 2004), "Great Directors: Georges Méliès", Senses of Cinema, retrieved 8 March 2014 
  3. ^ Jess-Cooke, Carolyn (2009), Film sequels: theory and practice from Hollywood to Bollywood, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 20 
  4. ^ Méliès, Georges (1905), Complete Catalogue of Genuine and Original "Star" Films, New York: Geo. Méliès, p. 135, retrieved 13 February 2014 
  5. ^ a b c 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, pp. 278, 280, ISBN 2903053073, OCLC 10506429 

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