September 1: Le Voyage dans la Lune

220px-Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneToday in 1902, cinematic pioneer Georges Méliès released his famous film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip To The Moon).

Le Voyage is a pretty straightforward short depicting a group of astronomers traveling to the moon and back and encountering a group of lunar inhabitants. The film, based in part on both H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon and Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, is fairly simple compared to modern cinema, but it’s still a marvel for it’s day. Although it’s lacking many of the now standard techniques of filmmaking (note how every scene is done in a static shot), the short is still highly entertaining, largely because of the relative impressiveness of the film’s special effects. Méliès was a master of theatrical effects and his knowledge in that field easily transferred to motion picture production.

Sadly, most of Méliès’ film work has been lost, but over a century later we can still enjoy Le Voyage dans la Lune as it was originally seen in 1902; in black and white or in hand-painted color! Yes, you heard me right, color. Although full color film wasn’t commonly used until the 1930s, Méliès would often hire Elisabeth Thuillier’s coloring lab in Paris to colorize a few prints of his films. Now, as I mentioned, a lot of Méliès’ work was lost or destroyed over time, and for decades it was widely believed that the color prints of Le Voyage dans la Lune had been lost. However, in 1993 a color print was rediscovered in a Spanish film archive. The print was on the verge of decomposition, but from 1999 to 2010 the Technicolor Lab in Los Angeles worked on a strenuous frame-by-frame restoration of the print, and finally, in 2011 the restored color print of Le Voyage dans la Lune was screened (with a soundtrack by French electronica duo Air) at the Cannes Film Festival to great rejoicing of film lovers everywhere.

While you watch Le Voyage dans la Lune, why not enjoy a nice drink? And what’s the best thing to have while watching a film? How about buttered popcorn, or failing that, a Buttered Popcorn cocktail? Attributed to Aricka Johnson of Sedalia, Missouri, Buttered Popcorn is a fun little drink with a taste reminiscent of a Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly.

Buttered Popcorn

  • 1 ounce Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1/2 ounce Hazelnut Liqueur (i. e. Frangelico)
  • 1/2 ounce Amaretto

Pour all ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass with ice, stir, and serve.

Tomorrow: One of the worst video games ever made.

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