The Merry Frolics of Méliès (1899-1909)

The films of Georges Méliès, one of the cinema’s earliest visionaries, have inspired moviemakers for over 100 years. Practitioners as diverse as Charles Chaplin (who described Méliès as “the alchemist of light”), René Clair, Salvador Dali, Ray Harryhausen, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, and of course Martin Scorsese. Scorsese’s Golden Globe winning film Hugo, based upon the Caldecott Award winning book by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a love letter to the film medium itself, and centers around the life and films of Georges Méliès, who is featured as a central character in the film.

The program lasts between 70 and 80 minutes, and consist of eight films, varying from 1 minute to 20 minutes in length. The music is performed by the composer with a four-piece ensemble (soprano saxophone, piano, vibraphone, and double bass), consisting of some of Australia’s finest musicians.

Phillip Johnston: soprano, tenor saxophone
Alister Spence: piano
Daryl Pratt: vibraphone
Steve Elphick: bass

The program includes: Dance of Fire (1899), The Melomaniac (1903) , The Mermaid (1904), The Damnation of Faust (1903), Trip to the Moon  (1902), Hydrothérapie Fantastique   (The Doctor’s Secret) (1909), The Merry Frolics of Satan (1906), Voyage Across the Impossible (1905).

Here is a sample, Phillip Johnston’s complete score for Georges Méliès’s iconic film Voyage dans la lune (1902)


The music for this program is also available on CD on Asynchronous Records.