Film (1904; vt Whirling the Worlds; vt An Impossible Voyage). Star. Produced and directed by Georges Méliès. 30 minutes. Black and white.
This was only the second sf-oriented film to be more than five minutes long – there had been several of around one minute – made by French cinema pioneer Méliès; the first was his Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902). It involves a newly invented experimental train taking off from the summit of the Jungfrau, travelling through space and crashing into the Sun; its occupants then return to Earth by space submarine and land in the sea. All this was achieved with primitive but ingenious special effects, including stop-motion photography, split-screen, multiple exposures, giant moving cut-outs and live action combined with painted backdrops. It was so popular that Méliès added five minutes to the end, showing the equipment used on the trip being recovered by a giant electromagnet. [JB/PN]
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