Georges Méliès: The First Wizard of Cinema (DVD)

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Georges Méliès built the world's first movie studio in 1896 near Paris; from it cascaded fantastic magic films, dream films, historical reconstructions, imaginary journeys, melodramas, slapstick comedies -- even erotic films. Examples of all are here, with many still retaining power to astonish and charm. This monumental thirteen hour collection on five DVDs gathers for the first time nearly all the surviving films of Georges Méliès from his first, Card Party (1896) to his last, The Voyage of the Bouririchon Family (1913), bracketing 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.

This unprecedented set produced by Eric Lange and David Shepard, has been assembled from archival and private holdings in eight countries. The quality of these film elements is variable, of course. Many look stunning; a few are fragmentary, others are longer than earlier-known versions. Beautiful new music has been prepared by ten leading practitioners of silent film accompaniment. Georges Méliès can now be seen not only as a great pioneer but also as the most accomplished filmmaker in the world during the first years of cinema.

Starring: Georges Méliès

Directed By: Georges Méliès

Written By: Georges Méliès

Score By: Fredrick Hodges, Eric Beheim, Neil Kurz, Joe Rinaudo, Donald Sosin, Brian Benison, Robert Israel, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Alexander Rannie

Language: Silent with French intertitles

Video: 480i / 1:33:1 / Black and White / Tinted Color

Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo

Subtitles: English

Theatrical Release: 1896-1913

Runtime: 782 Minutes

Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Region Code: Region Free (0)

Special Features: A lovely half-hour introductory film, Le Grand Méliès (Georges Franju, 1953), features Méliès' widow (who performed in many Méliès films) and André Méliès portraying his father. The enclosed booklet includes a foreword by Norman McLaren, a superb essay by John Frazer, and an annotated index to the films by genre.

Genre: Foreign, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Silent Cinema, Adventure, Comedy