Friday, May 4, 2012

Le Manoir du Diable by Georges Méliès -- first ever horror film 1896


The 1896 three-minute-long film Le Manoir du Diable (The Haunted Castle) was directed by Georges Méliès, and is considered by most to be he first horror film as well the first vampire film.

It was released on Christmas Eve in 1896 at the Théâtre Robert Houdin in Paris. Originally meant to amuse people, it ended up frightening them--thus was born the horror genre of cinema.


Referred to as the first "Cinemagician", illusionist and filmmaker Méliès became famous for inventing technical and narrative developments and special effects: multiple exposure, time-lapse photography, dissolves, hand-painted color, and he accidentally discovered stop trick in 1896.



An early pioneer of horror films, Méliès was also known to create some of the important early science fiction films: A Trip to The Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). (Somewhat in the style of Jules Verne.)

Méliès directed 531 films between 1896 and 1913, ranging from 1 to 40 minutes in length. 

In 1910, Méliès made a deal with Charles Pathé (Pathé cinema still exists today as one of France's biggest chain of cinemas), a deal where he accepted a large amount of money by mortgaging his home and studio to Pathé. In 1912 Méliès broke his contract with Pathé, and his brother (and business partner) frittered away all his money. Méliès was bankrupt and, by the mid-1920s was a candy and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris. 

By the late 1920s, journalists began to research his life and work. A retrospective of his work was held in 1929, and in 1931 Méliès was awarded the Légion d'honneur, presented to him by one of the Lumière brothers. In 1932 the Cinema Society arranged for him to live at La Maison du Retrait du Cinéma, the film industry's retirement home. In 1938, Méliès died of cancer, and is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetary in Paris. 

Bon, Gros bisous de cinéma d'horreur!!!

Love,
Charley

5 comments:

  1. Welcome back, Charley. Great story! I have been interested in Melies since I saw "Hugo" a few months ago. What an inovator that man was; a true genius (like many artists he did not have good financial sense apparently...) Lovely story. Bon weekend! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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  2. Veronique, thanks, and quelle coincidence that you recently saw one of Méliès' films recently! Good to be back, and hope my busy schedule will permit me to write more often.... I miss it so. :-) Bisous et bonne semaine!!

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  3. I just discovered your blog and I'm in love with it. I love everything you write about, like this interesting little story. I've gone crazy and read almost every entry you've made. I feel like I have learned so many interesting things about France, it's people and culture. I'm a 25 year old girl and I feel so bored, living here in southern Canada, haha. I'm in love with France and your blog. You've made me want to move to France, even more!! Anyways, I just want to thank you for creating this really unique and interesting blog, I really appreciate it :)

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    1. Alisa, Thank you so much for your kind words and generous enthusiasm!! I am so happy to share eclectic details about the life and culture in France. I love, love, love it here! :-) I truly hope you make a journey to France soon, and trust that some of my blog entries will help find interesting things to do and see.
      Love,
      Charley

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  4. I will make a trip to France, it has been on my "to do" list for a long time. Your blog has inspired me to visit all the places you've talked about, thank you :)

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