Film (1909; vt A Trip to Jupiter). Pathé Frères. Directed by Segundo de Chomón, actors unidentified. Written by Segundo de Chomón. 8 minutes. Tinted.
This short silent film has sometimes been incorrectly attributed to Georges Méliès and given the title Dreams of an Astronomer; the confusion is understandable, since writer-director de Chomón's film is very similar in its style and story to Méliès's Voyage Dans La Lune (1902; vt A Trip to the Moon), although not as directly imitative as his earlier film Excursion dans la Lune (1908; vt Excursion to the Moon). A group of robed astronomers enthusiastically observe the sky with their telescopes, seeing the face of the Man in the Moon, a beautiful woman sitting on a crescent Moon, an old man sitting on the rings of Saturn (> Outer Planets), and a bellicose warrior standing in front of Jupiter. They also envision a ladder that might be used to climb up into the sky and reach these figures. One astronomer then goes to sleep and dreams that such a ladder has appeared next to his bed. He climbs the ladder, passing the Moon lady and the old man of Saturn, and upon reaching Jupiter leaps off the ladder and lands on the planet's barren, rocky landscape. He is immediately attacked by two acrobatic soldiers who disintegrate when he hits them with his sword, but other soldiers overpower him and take him to their leader. This bearded man bedevils the astronomer with electric shocks, represented by puffs of smoke, and finally picks him up and throws him off a cliff. He falls back on to his ladder and climbs down, though the old man of Saturn uses enormous scissors to cut the ladder and sends him plummeting to Earth – at which time he awakens from his dream. While for the most part an inconsequential Fantasy, this is the first film to depict a visit to the planet Jupiter, though only its briefly observed terrain suggests a true Alien world. [GW]