George Méliès

Essay by georgegereisUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, April 2007

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George Melies (1861 - 1938)

George Gereis

Development of Film I

Fall 2006

Prof. Foster

October 30, 2006


Maries-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker. He was born into a wealthy family of shoe manufacturing in Paris on December 8, 1861 While his father expected him to work in the family's factory his interests was in the fine arts, puppetry and design. He completed military service in the French infantry and enrolled in the Ecole de Beaux Arts. His father forced him to work as a mechanic at the footwear plant. In 1884 he continued his studies abroad in London at the request of his parents, they insisted that he learn English. While he is in London he continued his art training and developed an interest in stage magic. He started observing some of the popular magicians such as Maskelyne and Devant. Melies often attend performances at the famous Theatre Robert-Houdin Magician attentively observing the show techniques and magical wonders.

Back in Paris he put his newly developed expertise as a conjurer and worked professionally by publicly performing magic. He also contributed cartoons to a humorous publication named La Griffe under the stage name of George Smile. Melies took over his father's business after his retirement so he will able to raise money to buy the famous Theater Robert-Houdin. ( From )

In 1888 he left the footwear business to his brother Gaston and purchased the Theater. From then on Melies worked full time as a theatrical showman, putting on performances that revolved around the magician illusionistic techniques that he had studied in London and observed from watching Maskelyne and Devant enhanced with his own technical tricks. In December of 1895, he was interested in attending one of the showing of Louis and Augustus Lumiere's Cinematograph in the Grand...