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Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema 1896-1913 (2008)

Georges Melies , Georges Melies  |  PG |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema 1896-1913 + Melies Encore + A Trip To The Moon & The Extraordinary Voyage Deluxe Combo Blu-Ray DVD Edition
Price for all three: $105.47

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Product Details

  • Actors: Georges Melies
  • Directors: Georges Melies
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Flicker Alley
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 782 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013K8J90
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,523 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema 1896-1913" on IMDb

Special Features

Le Grand Méliès (Georges Franju, 1953)- A half-hour introductory film featuring Méliès' widow (who performed in many Méliès films) and André Méliès portraying his father. 36 Page Booklet includes: HOMAGE TO GEORGES MÉLIÈS by Norman McLaren, NOTES ON THE WORK OF GEORGES MÉLIÈS by John Frazer, and ANNOTATED FILM INDEX.

Editorial Reviews

This early wizard of modern filmmaking set a tempo for things to come. This collection celebrates 173 rare, original silent films by Georges Meliess, painstakingly gathered by Eric Lange and David Shepard, including his first film Partie de Cartes (1896) right on through to his last Voyage de la Famille Bourrichon (1913) on 5 DVDs. 1896-1913. (B&W/13 hrs/NR/fullscreen.)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Flicker Alley has been coming up with some interesting sets focusing on early cinema. This is their latest set, and it looks to rival Kino's DVD set on Edison on being a real contribution to the history of cinema on DVD. There is a cheaper set out there on Melies, but ultimately you get what you pay for when it comes to silent film. If you are interested in Melies I suggest you wait for this set. The following is the press release for this set:

This 5-disc DVD set, includes Méliès's first film, Partie de Cartes and his last, Voyage de la Famille Bourrichon, and brackets more than 170 others. Included are the celebrated and famous journey films, among them A Trip to the Moon, The Impossible Voyage, The Kingdom of Fairies, The Merry Frolics of Satan, The Palace of the Arabian Nights, and The Conquest of the Pole. Fifteen films are reproduced from partial or complete hand-colored original prints, thirteen are presented with the original English narrations written by Méliès. The duration of these films ranges from less than half a minute (The Misfortunes of an Explorer, 1900), to more than half an hour (Conquest of the North Pole, 1912). Also included is a filmed tribute, Le Grand Méliès (1953) by Georges Franju in its original English version, and a substantial booklet containing essays by filmmaker Norman McLaren and historian John Frazer.

This unparalleled collection, several years in the making and produced by Eric Lange and David Shepard, calls for a re-evaluation of the early years of cinema by scholars and historians, for it reveals Méliès to have been the most accomplished filmmaker in the world during that time.
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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolutely Splendid Set. March 12, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Of all the early film pioneers, I have always had a soft spot for Georges Melies. I love tricks and magic as they invite you to suspend disbelief and make you believe, if only temporarily, that anything is possible. After all that is what movies do especially silent movies and no one in the silent era did it better than Melies. The amazing thing about him is that he did it so early starting back in 1896! This 5 DVD set collects films from a 17 year period (1896-1913) and presents them under the best of conditions.

The bulk of these have never been on home video before and they are a revelation. In addition to the famous fantasy films (A TRIP TO THE MOON, THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE) and trick films (THE LIVING PLAYING CARDS, THE UNTAMEABLE WHISKERS), there are serious films like those relating the story of the Dreyfus affair, a hand tinted version of the life of Joan Of Arc from 1900, and even a woman taking a bath standing up in AFTER THE BALL (nudity in 1897!). This set reportedly contains all 173 known surviviving films by Melies which were collected from archives all over the world. The films range from around 1 minute to Melies' magnum opus THE CONQUEST OF THE POLE (1912) which lasts for half an hour. I especially enjoy the later films with their Gustave Dore' like backgrounds and 19th century stage mechanics. The quality of the shorts is very good for the most part with the earliest ones being in the roughest shape. The musical accompaniment by various artists is uniformly fine and helps to bring these century old treasures to life.

If there is a problem with the set it's that Melies has a tendency to do many of the same things over and over again which doesn't bother me but will probably annoy many viewers.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last word on a pioneer April 24, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Five dvd's that contain every known surviving Melies film, and a book.
Sounds good, but what is revelatory is the visual quality of the films here. While a few exist only in fragments, and some films have, of course, rough quality, the vast bulk of this set is extraordinary. I wouldn't hesitate to say that noone alive right now has ever seen any of these films in better condition. Absolutely beautiful; it's obvious that putting this set together was an arduous labor of love, and a gift for film lovers everywhere. This set is expensive, but don't let that stop you if you like Melies. It's worth every cent, believe me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOVIE MAGIC OF GEORGES MELIES July 18, 2011
By Casey62
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This collection of films from cinema's foremost pioneer wizard, Georges Melies, is an enchanting viewing experience. 173 titles made between 1896 and 1913 have been restored and compiled for this beautifully packaged set from Flicker Alley. The quality in most cases is stunning considering the age of the material, and the fact that the films survived at all is a blessing in itself.

After his inevitable decline, the embittered Melies set about destroying his own works, believing no one would care to watch his old films again. While many are gone, we can be thankful for what was spared, leaving us with a precious treasure-trove of this prolific filmmaker's early cinematic wonders.

The films themselves are more sophisticated than we may initially think. Many of the double exposures and stop-start camera tricks are amazingly precise and totally convincing today. The hand stenciled color tints are charmingly effective, lending a period, picture post card - like ambience.

But the films also contain a cleverness that isn't always of a technical nature. For example, consider Melies' most popular production, A TRIP TO THE MOON from 1902. We 21st century viewers are quick to point out the quaint depiction of scale in the iconic shot of the rocket embedding itself in the eye of the moon's "face". Actually, the joke's on us because Melies didn't intend the shot to serve any kind of purpose other than metaphoric, and it isn't part of the sequential action. The shot is iconic not just for its vivid, haunting imagery, but also because it signifies visually the turn of the century notion of how a lunar landing could be seen as mankind's brazen intrusion of the cosmic realm, perceived as some place where we didn't belong. In effect, it would be like a proverbial poke in the eye.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Real hit for all film historians!
One of the best DVD anthologies of cinema's beginning time. Melies films are astounding - very fresh in our epoch too. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Grzegorz Pieńkowski
5.0 out of 5 stars A must own!
Melies is the best there ever was. Every single one of these 200 or so films is highly entertaining. The box set comes with an interesting booklet too! Read more
Published 5 months ago by federationofideas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection
I bought this for my boyfriend for Christmas and he LOVED it! He later bought the extra discs on his own. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jennifer Schrauben
5.0 out of 5 stars it;s great
I bought this because I've always been a fan of George melies because he was one of the screens first magicians
Published 13 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars I adore it
arrived on time for my mommy to wrap it I can't wait to open it and have this movie collection in my hands
Published 16 months ago by HazelBrookeDaniel
4.0 out of 5 stars Jaw Droping action films you've never seen....1896!!!!
was so impressed with the quality of this series and the imagination displayed esp. with the North Pole expedition and the flight modes d'emploi, thought I saw a flying saucer but... Read more
Published 21 months ago by DoMeNiQuE CoE
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Melies is truly the "Wizard of Cinema!" My dvd's came in only a few days later, and my children and I spent a whole evening watching these marvelous films! Read more
Published 23 months ago by KOrtego
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!
Wow, such bounty! The entire known works of Georges Melies on DVD! Melies was the first great auteur, bringing his deep knowledge of stage magic and theater tricks to film. Read more
Published 23 months ago by S. Olszewski
4.0 out of 5 stars Conquest of the North Pole - uncolored?
Hard to complain about this wonderful set, but on mine, the introduction to the "Conquest of the North Pole" mentions that it survives tinted and colored; mine is in all black and... Read more
Published on February 15, 2012 by Chris Burgess
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the expanded 2nd edition, ~2011-12 (EDIT: not to be expanded...
PREFATORY NOTE 1 MAR 2012: Thanks to the vigilance of a kind commentator, I now know that Flicker Alley has decided to _not_ reissue the box set with the MELIES ENCORE disc... Read more
Published on November 29, 2011 by Octave
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Topic From this Discussion
Does it include "Lightning Change Artist?"
I do not see anything by this title (or similar) listed in the contents for either the Flicker Alley set or the supplemental disk (Melies: Encore).

it's entirely possible (all too likely) that the film has not survived. Most of Melies' work is lost to us.
May 3, 2012 by Thelonious |  See all 2 posts
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