A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) was made in 1902. It is not only one of the very first Science Fiction films ever made, but it is the first film to depict alien life. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. The plot, as it were, involves astronomers planning the first trip to the moon. This is accomplished by essentially putting themselves in a giant bullet and firing themselves at the moon with an absurdly large canon.
|That's a pretty detailed diagram of the Earth and Moon.....|
|What could possible go wrong using the Human Cannonball principle of space travel?|
|You've got to be friggin kidding me!|
The bullet...er....capsule reaches the moon and in one of cinema's most iconic images, we see the projectile poking the Man in the Moon's eye out. The effect is primitive, but when you stop to realize that this film was made OVER one hundred years ago, that's pretty damn impressive. Anyway, the capsule lands on the moon and or Victorian scientists all clamor out of the capsule, clown car style. The lunar surface is rocky (beautifully painted sets) and the Earth rises from the horizon. Then our scientists mysteriously get sleepy and take a nap. Then it snows (?!?).
|Nailed the landing....good show, old boy!|
After waking up the astronaut astronomers discover a cave full of giant mushrooms. Then one of their umbrellas turns into a mushroom.
Okay, you still with me? So let's recap....it snows on the moon and there are giant mushroom caves.
|Wow! This is awesome! We're on the Moon.........|
|........Let's take a nap!|
Now the aliens appear. They are called Selenites (I presume named after the Greek Goddess of the Moon, Selene) Selenites appear to be some kind of cross between a skeleton and an insect. One of the astronomers whacks it with his umbrella and it disappears in a puff of smoke! Which is kinda weird. More Selenites attack and the astronomers are briefly captured and brought to the Selenite King. This is the most hilarious part of the whole film, I think. One of the astronomers breaks free, picks up the Selenite King and body slams him and the King goes up in smoke.
The Astronomers make a run for it and all but one jump in the capsule. One stays sacrifices himself to save the others by pulling the capsule off a cliff (which causes it to fall off the moon!). Our travelers return to Earth heroes!
|The Selenites and their king!|
The whole thing is very wonky and beyond ludicrous, but that's where it gets it's charm. Georges was a pioneer and Science Fiction wouldn't be where it is today without him.
On an interesting note....while I was doing a little research on the film, I found out that there were only seven films made before 1950 that had anything to do with aliens, two of which were Flash Gordon serials (and one Captain Video serial). I was able to count twenty nine alien films made from 1950 - 1959, but I know that there are far more that I'm missing.
If you are a cinema fan, you would do well to watch these early films to really appreciate how far the art of cinema has come.
|Carl stayed behind......|
|The Selenites lose their captives.....|