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.

Out of Print's Retro Star Wars T-Shirts Pay Homage to an '80s Reading Campaign

Out of Print
Out of Print

If only Luke had known that he could use a book to channel The Force, it might have saved him a whole lot of hassle. Online retailer Out of Print has united two nerdy camps—readers and Star Wars lovers—with its latest collection of retro-inspired T-shirts.

One shirt features Yoda with the text, “Read and The Force is with you.” A Princess Leia tee says, “Read: It’s our only hope,” while one of Darth Vader says, “Read: Use the power of The Force.”

A Star Wars t-shirt
Out of Print

If the graphics look familiar, it’s because they’re from the American Library Association’s Star Wars-themed READ campaign, which first emerged in 1983 with a poster of Yoda holding a book.

“Star Wars is a vehicle to help support and excite young readers,” Todd Lawton, Out of Print’s co-founder, told StarWars.com. “That’s perfectly in line with our mission and we feel that the world’s a better place if people are reading more books. So when you see a character like Yoda or Darth Vader presented in a way that’s supporting this love of reading and the importance of reading, we want to show that and celebrate that as well.”

An Out of Print T-shirt featuring Darth Vader
Out of Print

The shirts are priced at $28 or $30 apiece, depending on whether it’s a classic unisex T-shirt or relaxed fit tee. Kids’ shirts are also available for $20 each.

Out of Print is also selling a Little Golden Books collection of Star Wars hardcovers, including A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and an anthology with seven books in one. For more literary-inspired apparel, totes, accessories, and more, check out the company's website.

New Game of Thrones Theory Predicts That the Night King Won't Be at the Battle of Winterfell

HBO
HBO

Game of Thrones is gearing up for the biggest battle the show has ever seen: At Winterfell, Gendry is forging weapons made of dragonglass, Brienne is training soldiers, and Jon is going through an existential crisis. No one knows who will live or die (or if anyone will live at all).

The White Walkers are very close to Winterfell, but where is their leader? At the end of season 8's second episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," we saw the frontline of White Walkers leading the wights toward Winterfell, but the Night King was nowhere to be seen. We know that the Night King is soaring through the air on Viserion somewhere, but what if his plan doesn't include making an appearance at the battle at all?

As Mashable reported, fans on Reddit have already started predicting that the Night King won't show up for the fight. They believe that he will use the battle as a distraction and that, while his army is attacking Winterfell, he'll fly to King's Landing instead.

The basic argument here is that the Night King is not stupid. He knows that it would be easy for Daenerys's two remaining dragons to fly up to the recently resurrected Viserion and breathe fire on him to kill him. So why not attack another, unguarded target?

"If you have a super weapon that you can't use against a particular target, then you find a different target," one Redditor explained.

So while everyone is expecting him to show up at Winterfell, the Night King could instead be flying to King's Landing in order to kill everyone there and create yet another army of the dead in the south—an army that whoever survives the battle in the north will ultimately have to conquer.

There are a couple of scenes in previous seasons that add some credence to this theory: In season 4, Bran had a series of visions which all came true—except the one where he sees a destroyed throne room and the shadow of a dragon pass over. This could have been the Night King on Viserion, instead of Daenerys and her dragons (as was previously believed). In season 2, Daenerys also had a vision where the throne room was destroyed and covered in snow.

While it does seem like a reasonable theory, we won't know for sure until next week, when audiences will finally witness what is being touted as the biggest battle in Game of Throneshistory.

[h/t Mashable]

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