George Melies Tripto The Moon Essay, Research Paper
In the early 1900’s Georges Melies introduced his film “A Trip To The Moon” to audiences in France. This film, when first seen by viewers at this time, was jawdropping. Melies who happened to be a magician, and illusionist before becoming a filmmaker, made one of the first-ever narratives in motion picture history. Similarily throughout “Trip To The Moon” and many of his later films, Melies, who also worked in theatre, took full advantage of what is known as Mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene is defined as: All the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the settings and props, lighting, costumes and make-up, and figure behavior. In “Trip to the Moon” Melies created a world to which no one had ever seen on film, and utilized all the characteristics to which mise-en-scene is based upon.
In probably using only one camera for his film, Melies had to basically film in a theater style setting. Almost every shot of the film is a long shot which is taken from the audiences’ point-of-view angle. There were no close-ups in “Trip To The Moon” no dolly shots, or handheld shots..etc. Throughout the film the same angle and longshot is used, however that does not take away from the film, knowing that he could only utilize this shot, Melies went on to first: Decorate his set like no one had ever seen. For instance in the beginning of the film we can see what looks like an abundance of individuals who seemed to be gathered in what resembles a castle of some sort. This is where the so-called “wizards” have gathered and have figured out to take their trip to the moon. The following scene shows us a large cannon type figure, an extremely large cannon to be exact, very abnormal looking. The concept of space travel at this time was unheard of and this being a silent film, allows us to realize that just by looking at this contraption that this is how they are going to get to the moon. It is by these elements that Melies utilizes mise-en-scen, and in other cases such as the rocky hills of the moon, the bullet shaped space-ship that encapsulates the wizards and sends them on their trip.
The costumes of the actors that are used in the film also give us the feeling that these folks are not from our time, but we can identify with their “wizardly” presence. The long white beards, the long jackets and shiny clothes. The face of the moon is even an actual face which gets shot in the eye by the rocket ship. On that same note, the men in the moon are just how we would figure an alien to look like at that time. Some sort of green men, with the martian antennae type, and cape. The woman also are dressed to impress as they see the men off before they leave on their trip to the moon, in what looks to be like some sort of bathing suit, ballerina type dresses.
Melies who was a magician also knew how to capture his audience with the use of special effects, using stop motion photography he was able to create the wizards being able to destroy the moon-men. Moreover, the actual launching of his “space-ship” to the moon was edited in such a fashion that is what most basic narratives follow today: The pulling of the string to launch them out of the cannon. A shot of the moon being hit in the eye, and then a shot of the ship in the moon.
Melies definitley utilized his knowledge of the theatre, and he also knew that his film would have mostly static shots, so he told his film by using his elaborate costumes as well as his elaborate set pieces and special effects. The man was way ahead of his time and knew how to keep his audiences attention. When looking at the definition of mise-en-scene and looking at this film, one would tend to think that Melies himself invented the term.
Just the film George Melies “A trip to the moon”