Undoubtedly one of most significant DVD releases in recent years in the early and silent cinema field was Flicker Alley’s Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913). Issued in 2008, this 5-DVD set features 173 titles made by the premier filmmaking genius of the early cinema period. It brought together material from collections around the world in as near comprehensive a form as possible, turning what had previously would have taken half a lifetime for just a handful of dedicated researchers to see into something available to all. The set contained revelations for everyone, whether early cinema expert or those stumbling upon these visionary films of magic for the first. The Bioscope produced a review with full listing of all of the titles, including Star-Film catalogue number (the name of Méliès’ film company), the original French title and English title on the discs.
The set was extensive, but it was not complete. More Méliès films were known to be out there, and now Flicker Alley has just announced Georges Méliès Encore, a single disc follow-up which adds a further 26 titles produced by the Frenchman between 1896-1911, plus two titles by his Spanish contemporary Segundo de Chomón done in the Méliès style which have long been is taken for his work. That latter offering sounds a bit odd (let’s instead see a comprehensive DVD dedicated to the supremely artistic work of de Chomón alone one day, please), but the chance to take things that much closer to the complete extant archive is a cause for rejoicing.
The production description available on Amazon.com gives these English titles:
The Haunted Castle from 1896 relies on shot-substitution, the filmmaker’s first trick discovery; it is a work in 21 shots at a time when everyone else in the world was making only single-shot films! An Hallucinated Alchemist is a beautifully-colored trick film from 1897, which survives in perfect condition. Among other surprises, the set includes military re-enactments (The Last Cartridges, Sea Fighting in Greece), dream films (The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship, Under the Seas), dramatic narratives (The Wandering Jew and The Christmas Angel, both with original narrations), slapstick comedies (How Bridget’s Lover Escaped, The King and the Jester, The Cook’s Secret), and, of course, a substantial group of the lovely trick films on which rest Méliès modern reputation.
Flicker Alley has now (updated information, 27 January) provided a full title listing on its website, from which the Bioscope has produced this listing (which corrects some slips):
15 – Défense d’afficher / Post no Bills
78-80 – Le manoir du diable / The Haunted Castle
95 – L’hallucination de l’alchimiste / An Hallucinated Alchemist [Note: this is a misidentification – see comments]
100 – Sur les Toits / On the Roofs
105 – Les Dernières cartouches [Flicker Alley call this Bombardement d’une maison] / The Last Cartridges
110 – Combat naval en Grèce / Sea Fighting in Greece
359 – L’omnibus des toqués ou Blancs et Noirs / Off to Bloomingdale Asylum
392-393 – l’oeuf du sorcier / The Prolific Egg
397 – Éruption volcanique à la Martinique / Eruption of Mount Pele
430-443 – Les aventures de Robinson Crusoé (fragment) / Robinson Crusoe
472 – La flamme merveilleuse / Mystical Flame, The
545 – Un peu de feu s.v.p. (fragment) / Every Man His Own Cigar Lighter
662-664 – Le juif errant / The Wandering Jew
669-677 – Détresse et charité / The Christmas Angel
550-551 – Les apparitions fugitives / Fugitive Apparitions
662-664 – Le juif errant / Wandering Jew, The
669-677 – Détresse et charité / Christmas Angel, The
693-695 – Le baquet de Mesmer / A Mesmerian Experiment
750-752 – L’île de Calypso / The Mysterious Island
786-788 – Le dirigeable fantastique ou le cauchemar d’un inventeur / The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship
888-905 – Robert Macaire et Bertrand, les rois des cambrioleurs / Robert Macaire and Bertrand
912-924 – Deux cent milles sous les mers ou le cauchemar du pêcheur / Under the seas
929-933 – Le mariage de Victorine / How Bridget’s Lover Escaped
1010-1013 – Satan en prison /
1040-1043 – François 1er et Triboulet / The King and the Jester
1476-1485 – Hydrothérapie fantastique / The Doctor’s Secret
1530-1533 – Le papillon fantastique (fragment) / The spider and the butterfly
The three Pathé titles are
Le vitrail diabolique / The Diabolical Church Window (1911)
Les roses magiques / Magic Roses (1906)
Excursion dans la lune / Excursion to the Moon (1908)
So, where (and what is) The Cook’s Secret?
Georges Méliès Encore is released on 16 February 2010, price $19.95.