See the moving picture

FIGURE 7.1

Méliès in America (I)

Le Royaume des fées (Fairyland)

Georges Méliès, Star-Film, France, 1903

The story of a prince who must rescue his beloved from a tower in the middle of the ocean, Le Royaume des fées (left) takes place almost entirely beneath the sea. Journeying from a medieval castle to an underwater grotto, Prince Bel Azor rides to the rescue of Princess Azurine on a giant sturgeon, followed by loyal servants in fish-drawn chariots, and the finale occurs in the belly of a friendly whale. The 20-minute extravaganza includes 30 tableaux and features some crosscutting between simultaneous actions. Méliès shot most of Le Royaume des fées through a tank filled with real swimming fish. American director Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011—right), which is, among other things, an homage to Méliès, flashes back to Méliès’ Montreuil studio to take a glimpse at the production of Le Royaume des fées.

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