An inventor hallucinates an attack on himself and his airship and finds that he cannot awaken from the dream. Dark stuff that may come as a surprise to anyone who thinks Méliès was all about cute anthropomorphic moons.
A mysterious message from outer space captures the imagination of a Russian scientist. He has other problems, though, as he suspects that his wife is stepping out on him with a petty official who moonlights as a black-market dealer. Oh yes, and there are scenes on Mars.
René Clair’s first film as director, this is a quirky little science fiction comedy about a mad scientist and a special ray that freezes the entire city of Paris. All of it except for the very top of the Eiffel Tower and the night watchman sleeping there. What will he do now that he is the king of a frozen city?
A band of intrepid dreamers design and build a spaceship with the goal of an exploratory mission to Mars. What they discover is a shockingly peaceful culture for a planet named after the god of war. This pacifist film is often called the first space opera.
A group of intrepid explorers blast off for an anthropomorphized moon but find more than they bargained for when they meet the moon’s residents, acrobats and ballerinas. If all of this sounds suspiciously close to Méliès, that’s because it is a ripoff of same by Pathé.
Continue reading “An Excursion to the Moon (1908)”
Jules Verne’s legendary nautical science fiction tale was adapted in grand style by Universal, complete with underwater photography and billed as the “First Submarine Photoplay Ever Filmed” by the proud studio.
Continue reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) A Silent Film Review”
On September 8, 1966, a little science fiction show called Star Trek made its network debut. What does this have to do with silent films? Not much at all but the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek is too important to pass up!
Have a spare 44 seconds? Then you may want to check out this charming trick film from 1897. A wacky scientist turns his x-ray machine onto a courting couple and the inevitable occurs. British film pioneer George Albert Smith brings his usual whimsy to the table.
One of the single most iconic silent films and certainly the most famous picture from the pre-feature era, A Trip to the Moon has been studied and discussed for over a century. Why is it so beloved and how did it drill down so deeply into our pop culture? That’s what we’re going to find out.
Continue reading “A Trip to the Moon (1902) A Silent Film Review”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may be famous for Sherlock but what he really loved writing were rousing adventure tales. The most famous of these concerned Professor Challenger and his intrepid band of explorers who discover dinosaurs in a lost world atop a plateau. Cutting edge stop-motion made the film adaptation one of the most beloved silent films.