5 Things You Might Not Know About Georges Méliès

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Make no mistake about it, Georges Méliès is one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history. Just a few years after the birth of filmmaking in the 1890s, the French filmmaker began releasing his own minutes-long silent shorts in 1896. However, it wasn’t until the groundbreaking 1902 short A Trip to the Moon that Méliès became a bona fide international star.

In addition to being one of Méliès’s longest works, A Trip to the Moon was also an astonishing accomplishment in animation and special effects unheard of in 1902. In fact, the film’s widely popular image of a spaceship crashing into the moon’s eye turned Méliès into a legend, one that Martin Scorsese would eventually pay tribute to with his 2011 3-D adventure, Hugo. By the time of his death in 1938, the prolific talent had starred in, written, produced, and directed almost all of his 500 films.

Today, as Google celebrates Méliès with a Google Doodle, get to know more about the film pioneer with these five facts.

1. GEORGES MÉLIÈS WAS AN ILLUSIONIST BEFORE HE WAS A FILMMAKER.

Méliès’s background in magic undoubtedly aided him in becoming the first master of special effects in cinema. According to Turner Classic Movies, after finishing his studies, Méliès moved to London to work for a family friend, and there he frequented the magic shows of illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne. He began practicing tricks himself, and eventually started performing in public back in Paris.

2. HE PIONEERED SOME OF TODAY’S MOST COMMON FILM TECHNIQUES.

According to Méliès’s official website, the director is responsible for three still widely-used techniques: the first double exposure (which he used in 1898's The Cave of Demons), the first split screen with performers acting opposite themselves (in 1898's Four Heads are Better Than One), and the first dissolve (in Cinderella in 1899). He first discovered that cameras could manipulate images in the fall of 1896, when he developed the footage he took after his camera jammed filming a basic street scene.

3. HE BUILT THE FIRST MOVIE STUDIO IN EUROPE.

As one of the earliest film pioneers, Méliès had a hand in all facets of developing the film industry in Europe. According to World Film Directors: Volume I, 1890–1945, in 1896, Méliès ordered the construction of Studio A in the vegetable garden of his property outside of Paris. The building was made entirely of glass walls, with a shed used as a dressing room. However, according to his official website, Méliès was forced to turn his studio into a variety theater in 1915 (which was then turned into a hospital for wounded soldiers during the war) once the novelty of his films began to wear off. Bankrupt, he eventually abandoned filmmaking altogether.

4. MÉLIÈS TEAMED UP WITH YOUNGER BROTHER GASTON TO BRING HIS MOVIES TO THE UNITED STATES.

As piracy of his films increased overseas, Méliès needed to protect his work. As noted in Georges Méliès, by Elizabeth Ezra, Georges sent Gaston to set up shop in the U.S. to guard his copyrights and distribute his films to the American market. Eventually, Gaston himself began making his own films under Georges's Star Films banner. First based in New Jersey, Gaston relocated to San Antonio, where he started making westerns and changed the company’s branch name to American West.

5. MÉLIÈS DIRECTED THE EARLIEST ADAPTATION OF CINDERELLA.

Although the most famous adaptation of the fairytale is Disney's 1950 animated version, Méliès first brought it to the big screen as a short in 1899. The film starred Jeanne d’Alcy (as the Fairy Godmother), Méliès' second wife, who appeared in most of his works.

A Friends Jewelry Collection Just Launched From Alex and Ani for the Show's 25th Anniversary

Getty Images
Getty Images

The 25th anniversary of Friends is coming in September, and there is no shortage of ways you can celebrate, whether you binge-watch the series while drinking a cup of Central Perk coffee or head to a movie theater for a marathon of some of the show's standout episodes. Now, courtesy of jewelry outlet Alex and Ani, you can further flaunt your love of Friends with a line of new charm bracelets and necklaces inspired by episodes from the beloved '90s sitcom.

If you're looking for a gift for the Rachel to your Ross, Alex and Ani has a “You’re My Lobster” bracelet, featuring a charm of a little lobster and one with Phoebe’s famous advice. For your favorite coffee lover, you can get the Central Perk bracelet with the café’s logo and two little steaming coffee mugs. And for that friend that's always there to help you move, there's the gold Couch and Pivot Cluster Charm Bangle, which has multi-colored crystal charms, a couch charm, and one that, of course, reads “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”


Alex and Ani

The pieces in the Friends Alex and Ani collection run from $39-$49 and can be found on the company's website or at select retailers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

[h/t US Weekly]

Netflix's Stranger Things Season 3 Video Is Full of Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things's third season was full of many surprising twists and turns, not to mention some awkward teen romances. While the gruesome Mind Flayer and the evil Russians were no doubt terrifying, the show kept its sweet touch of nostalgia due mainly to the fact that the Hawkins gang is now smack-dab in the middle of the 1980s.

It doesn’t take a keen eye to see many of the series's '80s references, particularly in the latest season. With scenes taking place at the new mall, references from the decade—including Hot Dog on a Stick, Sam Goody, and Back to the Future—are all part of the setting. However, creators Ross and Matt Duffer wanted to pay true homage to the decade, and thus left Easter eggs throughout the season that you likely missed.

Luckily for us, as BGR reports, Netflix has just released a video explaining the hidden references (with the New Coke debate, Mrs. Wheeler’s erotica novel, and Hopper’s Tom Selleck-inspired Hawaiian shirt among some of our favorites).

Check out the full video above and see what you missed!

[h/t BGR]

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