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Magical Films From The Early 1900s

Updated on January 8, 2013

Many film pioneers began their work in the late 1800s however they didn't truly shine until the early 1900s, for the first time bringing real scripts and classic stories to the screen. Many of these films were quite simple and obviously had no sound or voices but a handful of directors stood out from the rest. They worked long and hard to incorporate their own brand of special effects and showed quite incredible ingenuity for the time period. This article looks at some of the work of these directors and highlights some of their amazing work. Check it out below!

Trip To The Moon (1902)

Known as the first true science fiction film A Trip To The Moon follows a group of people that are shot into space in a ship that looks a lot like a huge bullet. They land on the moon and have very strange encounters with aliens on the moon. Along the way George Melies the french creator and director incorporates a lot of humor. Giving the moon and stars faces, having many of the aliens hop about comically. Throughout the film Melies, who was originally a magician incorporated many interesting special effects that many other directors would be copying for years. Check out the video to the right.

Alice In Wonderland (1903)

Alice In Wonderland as we all know is a classic story and this film directed in 1903 by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow was the first film version of the story. There are some effects that made it stand out for the time such as the shrinking and growing of Alice when she eats the cake or drinks from the bottle. It may not be as elaborate as Tim Burton's version of a few years ago but consider that this film is over a century old. They did quite well for that era. Check out the film to the right.

The Motorist (1906)

In this film directed by W.R. Booth in 1906 two people in a car go for a drive. After running over a police officer that is trying the stop them on the road they promptly drive up the wall of a building and into the clouds. After they drive across the clouds they drive around the moon, on Saturn's rings and fall out of the sky and right into a courtroom. They are finally stopped by police when they stop to crank the car back up. Somehow though the car turns into a horse and buggy, the police back off and the driver gets back to his seat. Suddenly the buggy turns back into a car and they drive off chased by police. Check out this funny early film at the right side.

The Haunted House (1908)

Segundo de Chomón was a spanish director that enjoyed incorporating humor into his scripts in much the same way that George Melies did. In this film there is slapstick comedy. With the use of camera tricks and stop motion he was able to create many special effects in his films. From paper cutout witches flying through the clouds, lightning and the house itself having a googly eyed face to a knife that cuts bread and meat by itself. I found this film quite incredible for something over a century old. Check it out the the right.


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    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      flashmakeit - Yes many can be see online now. I really like the history of it and seeing the types of special effects they were able to pull off in these films from the early 1800s.

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      First time I watched a silent film and the one of alice and wonderland was exciting. It so amazing how people archive old movies so any can view them.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      looniestlove - yes, there are quite a few films from the early 1900s and even some from the late 1800s dating beack as far as 1878 where the first moving picture, that of a galloping racehorse was made.

    • looniestlove profile image

      looniestlove 5 years ago from Davao City, Philippines

      thanks sof sharing this hub to us this is revey interesting i never thought that they have already made a black and white film about alice and in the wonderland...I have learned something new today...

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Thanks I really enjoyed showing these films they are all over 100 years old and anyone in them is long gone, it is so weird to think. But I find the effects they used amazing for the time.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think it's great that these almost forgotten films can now find a wider audience thanks to your hub. I'll need to make time to see the ones unknown to me. Voting this Up and Interesting.