Baron Munchausen's Dream

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Les Aventures de baron de Munchhausen
Directed by Georges Méliès
Release dates
  • 1911 (1911)
Running time
Short
Country France
Language Silent film
French intertitles

Baron Munchausen's Dream (French: Les Hallucinations du baron de Münchausen) is a 1911 French short silent film directed by Georges Méliès.

Synopsis[edit]

After an evening of entertaining guests, an intoxicated Baron Munchausen goes to sleep only to experience a variety of disturbing and otherworldly dreams.

Production[edit]

Méliès greatly admired the Baron Munchausen stories created by Rudolf Erich Raspe, and may have used them as inspiration for his celebrated film A Trip to the Moon.[1] However, Baron Munchausen's Dream has little in common with the Baron character or his traditional adventures.[2] The film was one of six commissioned from Méliès by the studio Pathé Frères; Méliès made the film in his Star Film Company studio, relying on Pathé to distribute it. However, it is unknown if Pathé ever actually released the film.[3]

Many of the props are recycled from Méliès's earlier films, such as an elaborate dragon puppet from the 1906 fantasy The Witch. Effects in the film were created using stage machinery, pyrotechnics, stop tricks, and dissolves.[3] The mirror sequence in the film is based on a routine that had long been popular in music halls. The effect was not produced with a real mirror, which would have reflected the studio windows and the camera; instead, there were two actors on the set, one of whom mimicked the other's gestures from the opposite side of the imaginary "glass." The comedian Max Linder revived the mirror routine in his 1921 film Seven Years Bad Luck.[3]

The film was released, possibly for the first time, in 1943; the exhibitor was André Robert, who obtained permission for the screenings from Méliès's widow, Jehanne d'Alcy. Because Münchhausen, a German film about the Baron, was then playing in Paris theaters, Robert changed the title of the Méliès film to Monsieur le Baron a trop bien dîné. An original orchestral score for the film was written and recorded by Marius-François Gaillard. Robert donated his print of the film to the Méliès family.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lefebvre, Thierry (2011), "A Trip to the Moon: A Composite Film", in Solomon, Matthew, Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Méliès's Trip to the Moon, Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 60, ISBN 978-1-4384-3581-7 
  2. ^ Zipes, Jack (2010), The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films, New York: Routledge 
  3. ^ a b c d 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. 345, ISBN 2903053073, OCLC 10506429 

External links[edit]