Méliès by instalments

Une Partie de cartes, Entre Calais et Douvres and Un Homme de têtes, from http://filmjournal.net/melies

Parbleu! The publication of the Flicker Alley five-disc set of (most of) the works of Georges Méliès has already sparked off a lot of interest and investigation, some of it centred on identifying those titles which exist but aren’t included on the DVDs. But now we have Georges Méliès: An in-depth look at the cinema’s first creative genius. This is a new blog/research tool from Michael Brooke, part of the new Filmjournal blogging site. Brooke (a regular contributor to the BFI’s Screenonline site) has taken on the task of reviewing everyone of the 173 films on the Flicker Alley set, in chronological order. Each film is given under its English and French titles, with date, catalogue number and length; illustrated with a frame still; the action described; a detailed review follows (including comments on the DVD quality); then links (usually IMDB, Wikipedia and YouTube).

It’s well done and is going to build up into a really useful resource. The emphasis is very much on stylistic innovations, but there’s more to Méliès than magic and film form. His films were grounded in social and political realities (it’ll be interesting to see how his films of the Dreyfus affair are covered), and in ways of storytelling that reach way back before the upstart cinema. Anyway, an excellent effort so far, and an answer to the complaint on this blog that there weren’t any good Méliès sites out there. It looks like one is building up film by film before our eyes.