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Showing posts from December, 2011

A Merry Christmas and A Freilichin Chaunukah!

Happy Holidays to all of my friends and visitors! Here is a gift to all from The Forlorn Path:



This is George A. Smith’s short film “Santa Claus” from 1898. Smith was a pioneer of British cinema and was a friend and colleague of Georges Méliès. Smith began as a stage illusionist and magician, and like Méliès, would later incorporate these skills into the new art of filmmaking.

This film is most likely the first time Santa was put on film. It is interesting to note that he has the same overall appearance as he is portrayed today, albeit a bit thinner and perhaps a little more pagan-looking. Also, instead of coming down a chimney, he enters the children’s room through a magical portal.

I find these old films so very fascinating; they are like magical portals that transcend the sands of time and give us a glimpse into the past. I hope that you enjoy it.

Georges Méliès, The Alchemist of Light

Today marks the 150th birthday of Georges Méliès, the first sci-fi movie director, not to mention one of the worlds’ first directors. He made 552 films between 1896 and 1913--nearly all of which are under twenty minutes in length (many are only one or two minutes long.) His films are some of the most imaginative films ever to be directed, even by today’s standards. His innovations in the field of cinematography were groundbreaking and paved the way for future directors. D.W. Griffith said of Méliès, "I owe him everything," and Charlie Chaplin dubbed him "the alchemist of light."

Georges was born in Paris, France, on December 8, 1861. His full birth name was Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès. In his younger days, he worked as an illusionist and conjuror. He also had a background in theatre and had a lifelong compulsion to draw. All of these skills would be used to enhance his films and contributed to making his movies stand out. Many of his early films were of himself per…