Georges Méliès

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Georges Méliès

After being driven out of business, Méliès disappeared from public life. By the mid-1920s he was making a meager living as a sweet and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris, with the assistance of funds collected by other filmmakers. In 1925 he married his longtime mistress Jeanne d'Alcy, and they lived together in Paris with Méliès's young granddaughter Madeleine Malthête-Méliès. By the late 1920s, several journalists had begun to research Méliès and his life's work, creating new interest in him. As his prestige began to grow in the film world, he was given more recognition and in December 1929 a gala retrospective of his work was held at the Salle Pleyel. In his memoirs, Méliès said that at the event he "experienced one of the most brilliant moments of his life.

Eventually Georges Méliès was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the medal of which was presented to him in October 1931 by Louis Lumière.Lumière himself said that Méliès was the "creator of the cinematic spectacle. However, the enormous amount of praise that he was receiving did not help his livelihood or decrease his poverty. In a letter written to French filmmaker Eugène Lauste, Méliès wrote that "luckily enough, I am strong and in good health. But it is hard to work 14 hours a day without getting my Sundays or holidays, in an ice-box in winter and a furnace in summer.

Georges Méliès (8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938), full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French illusionist and filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema. Méliès, a prolific innovator in the use of special effects, accidentally discovered the substitution stop trick in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted colour in his work. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the first "Cinemagician".[1] His films include A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904), both involving strange, surreal journeys somewhat in the style of Jules Verne, and considered among the most important early science fiction films, though their approach is closer to fantasy. Méliès was also an early pioneer of horror cinema, which can be traced back to his Devil's Castle (1896).

Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès was born on the 8th of December 1861 in Paris to Jean-Louis-Stanislas Méliès and his Dutch wife, Johannah-Catherine Schuering. His father had moved to Paris in 1843 as a journeyman shoemaker and began working at a boot factory, where he met Méliès' mother. Johannah-Catherine's father had been the official bootmaker of the Dutch court before a fire ruined his business. She helped to educate Jean-Louis-Stanislas. Eventually the two married, founded a high-quality boot factory on the Boulevard Saint-Martin, and had sons Henri and Gaston; by the time of third son Georges' birth, the family had become wealthy.

After completing his education, Méliès joined his brothers in the family shoe business, where he learned how to sew. After three years of mandatory military service, his father sent him to London to work as a clerk for a family friend. While in London, he began to visit the Egyptian Hall, run by the famous London illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, and he developed a lifelong passion for stage magic. Méliès returned to Paris in 1885 with a new desire: to study painting at the École des Beaux-Arts. His father, however, refused to support him financially as an artist, so Georges settled with supervising the machinery at the family factory. That same year, he avoided his family's desire for him to marry his brother's sister-in-law and instead married Eugénie Genin, a family friend's daughter whose guardians had left her a sizable dowry. Together they had two children: Georgette, born in 1888, and André, born in 1901.

Georges Méliès

Early life and education

Stage career

Later life


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