Hugo-inspired Melies shorts, followed by Melies-inspired silent shorts, followed by Sherlock Jr. Everything except A Trip to the Moon had live music by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton, and the films were introduced and attended by every Emory film person I’ve ever seen. A great program – Katy loved it too.
A Nightmare (1896)
Melies is trying to sleep, but different people keep appearing in his bed.
The Man With the Rubber Head (1901)
Magician Melies reveals that he’s got his own head in a box, and can inflate and deflate it using a bellows and a valve. Magician Melies is too excited, and Melies Head is super flustered. It goes on like this until M.M. decides to let a passing clown inflate his head, then he is pissed at the clown when it explodes. What did M.M. think would happen??
Extraordinary Illusions (1903)
A straight-up magic show, with things turning into other things. The beauty is he cuts on the action, so to speak, transforming things as they’re thrown into the air.
The Melomaniac (1903)
Conductor Melies lays out sheet music onscreen using eight Melies Heads as notes. Much fun for the musicians.
The Infernal Cauldron (1903)
A devil throws people into a pot, I think there was fire and maybe an explosion – I was mostly staring at the vivid hand-coloring.
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
A group of wizards stands around talking for three minutes – longer than any of the previous films – before they finally decide to take any trips to the moon. What was that all about? After the explorers journey to the moon and make moon men explode by whacking them with umbrellas, they capture one alien (sort of – he grabs onto their capsule) and bring him home triumphantly to an appreciative crowd. In my remake, I would have the moon man suddenly grab an umbrella and whack the mayor, making him explode. Hyper coloring and nonsense music by Air.
The Haunted Curiosity Shop (1901, Walter Booth)
Very Melies-style thing with a sarcophagus and skeleton and throwing someone piecemeal into a pot.
The ‘?’ Motorist (1906, Walter Booth)
Two complete psychos run over a cop, drive up a building, circle the moon, ride on Saturn’s rings, then escape police by turning their car temporarily into a horse. One of the ten best films ever made, according to Ian Christie. I’m inclined to agree.
The Dancing Pig (1907, Pathe Freres)
Someone in a sick pig suit harasses a girl, is forced to strip, then dances for about a hundred minutes. One of the ten best films ever made, according to nobody ever.
Princess Nicotine (1908, J. Stuart Blackton)
Two smoke fairies harass a weirdly antisocial smoker, featuring some matchstick stop-motion.
Fantasmagorie (1908, Emile Cohl)
Holy crap. One minute of trippy stick-figure animation, eating itself.
How a Mosquito Operates (1912, Winsor McCay)
A balding mosquito the size of a man’s head sucks gobs of blood out of the sleeping man after sharpening his proboscis, repeating his actions frequently since McCay discovered the joy of animation reuse. One of the ten best films ever made, according to Mike Leigh.
Sherlock Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton)
Presented on 35mm, as was A Trip to the Moon. What I wrote last time still goes, except this time the music was much better.