Search - Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913) on DVD

Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913)
Georges Melies First Wizard of Cinema
Actor: Georges Melies
Director: Georges Melies
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG     2008     13hr 2min


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Movie Details

Actor: Georges Melies
Director: Georges Melies
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Silent Films, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance, Horror, Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Flicker Alley
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 13hr 2min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Finally a DVD set worthy of Melies' contributions to cinema
calvinnme | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Flicker Alley has been coming up with some interesting sets focusing on early cinema. This is their latest set, and it looks to rival Kino's DVD set on Edison on being a real contribution to the history of cinema on DVD. There is a cheaper set out there on Melies, but ultimately you get what you pay for when it comes to silent film. If you are interested in Melies I suggest you wait for this set. The following is the press release for this set:

This 5-disc DVD set, includes Méliès's first film, Partie de Cartes and his last, Voyage de la Famille Bourrichon, and brackets more than 170 others. Included are the celebrated and famous journey films, among them A Trip to the Moon, The Impossible Voyage, The Kingdom of Fairies, The Merry Frolics of Satan, The Palace of the Arabian Nights, and The Conquest of the Pole. Fifteen films are reproduced from partial or complete hand-colored original prints, thirteen are presented with the original English narrations written by Méliès. The duration of these films ranges from less than half a minute (The Misfortunes of an Explorer, 1900), to more than half an hour (Conquest of the North Pole, 1912). Also included is a filmed tribute, Le Grand Méliès (1953) by Georges Franju in its original English version, and a substantial booklet containing essays by filmmaker Norman McLaren and historian John Frazer.

This unparalleled collection, several years in the making and produced by Eric Lange and David Shepard, calls for a re-evaluation of the early years of cinema by scholars and historians, for it reveals Méliès to have been the most accomplished filmmaker in the world during that time. For example, his 1896 film The Nightmare has seven shots with exact matches on cuts, when Lumiere, Edison and Biograph films of that year were one shot each. By 1902, Méliès was making wondrous films such as Gulliver's Travels Among the Lilliputians, which are enormously entertaining even today.

The films were gathered from archives and collectors all over the world. Pictorial quality of most of the films is remarkably good; in addition, they have been digitally stabilized and cleaned as necessary. New music has been commissioned for all of the original Méliès films by some of the finest practitioners of silent film accompaniment, including Brian Benison, Eric Beheim, Frederick Hodges, Robert Israel, Neal Kurz, Alexander Rannie, Joseph Rinaudo, Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and Donald Sosin."
An Absolutely Splendid Set.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 03/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Of all the early film pioneers, I have always had a soft spot for Georges Melies. I love tricks and magic as they invite you to suspend disbelief and make you believe, if only temporarily, that anything is possible. After all that is what movies do especially silent movies and no one in the silent era did it better than Melies. The amazing thing about him is that he did it so early starting back in 1896! This 5 DVD set collects films from a 17 year period (1896-1913) and presents them under the best of conditions.

The bulk of these have never been on home video before and they are a revelation. In addition to the famous fantasy films (A TRIP TO THE MOON, THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE) and trick films (THE LIVING PLAYING CARDS, THE UNTAMEABLE WHISKERS), there are serious films like those relating the story of the Dreyfus affair, a hand tinted version of the life of Joan Of Arc from 1900, and even a woman taking a bath standing up in AFTER THE BALL (nudity in 1897!). This set reportedly contains all 173 known surviviving films by Melies which were collected from archives all over the world. The films range from around 1 minute to Melies' magnum opus THE CONQUEST OF THE POLE (1912) which lasts for half an hour. I especially enjoy the later films with their Gustave Dore' like backgrounds and 19th century stage mechanics. The quality of the shorts is very good for the most part with the earliest ones being in the roughest shape. The musical accompaniment by various artists is uniformly fine and helps to bring these century old treasures to life.

If there is a problem with the set it's that Melies has a tendency to do many of the same things over and over again which doesn't bother me but will probably annoy many viewers. Just remember that Melies had no idea that we'd be watching his movies over and over again courtesy of DVD but I'm sure he'd be delighted. The set also comes with Georges Franju's 1953 touching tribute LE GRANDE MELIES which features son Andre Melies as his father and his long time collaborater and later wife Jeanne D'Alcy (the woman taking the bath in AFTER THE BALL way back in 1897) still going strong at 88.

Although the set is rather pricey it does come from Flicker Alley so you know that it's a quality presentation complete with lots of extras. If you are truly interested in the history of early cinema or like me you enjoy being fooled by a magician's tricks or enjoy the idea of traveling back in time, then you need to find a way to get this set. You won't be disappointed."
The last word on a pioneer
Burritoman "USA" | Pennsylvania | 04/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Five dvd's that contain every known surviving Melies film, and a book.
Sounds good, but what is revelatory is the visual quality of the films here. While a few exist only in fragments, and some films have, of course, rough quality, the vast bulk of this set is extraordinary. I wouldn't hesitate to say that noone alive right now has ever seen any of these films in better condition. Absolutely beautiful; it's obvious that putting this set together was an arduous labor of love, and a gift for film lovers everywhere. This set is expensive, but don't let that stop you if you like Melies. It's worth every cent, believe me."
Melies would have been pleased . . .
Richard Kukan | Toronto, ON Canada | 03/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Since others have already submitted detailed reviews of this set, I will keep it short. I can't imagine a better Melies compendium than this one. If you've any interest at all in this delightful filmmaker, grab it. Bravo, Flicker Alley! Bravo, Jeffery Masino and David Shepard, and all others who contributed to this labour of love!"