Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Opening the Northwest Passage Had its Obstacles.

This is an iconic image of silent film:

Please Withhold Judgement On Others For The Obvious Reasons.
The shot is from Le Voyage Dans La Lune by Georges Meiles, an early experimenter in special effects in film.

In the early days of film, the inherent value in the content of the first "Cinemagician" was overlooked and dismissed by the general public. Meiles, although creatively adept and prolific, was behind hundreds of films displaying cutting-edge techniques. Some films existed solely to provide a vehicle for the process, much like Man Ray's experiments in avant-garde cinematography.

Sci-fi website io9.com posted an amazing clip from a century ago- the devouring ice giant of Meiles film The Conquest of the Pole.

Mieles actual troubles seemed to be a bit more pedestrian than ice golems as a large percentage of his films were melted into boot heels for the French Army during World War I after he filed for bankruptcy and was forced to work in retail in a train station.

Meanwhile, Birth of a Nation, another movie dealing in fantasy, albeit unintentionally as it elevates the Ku Klux Klan to heroic warrior status, goes on to be the highest grossing film of that era.

Just another outworking of the less-then-perfect H.L. Mencken's "booboise."


  1. I believe, woefully, this has as much to do (or not to do) with the surreptitiously overprescribed artform called "art". What more is art but a yearning to make and explore new meanings, and new passages of the mind? I ask you. Nothing is the answer. Which is precisely why, this Northwest Passage has no end in signt...Other than that which we deem the limit. When reached, that epoch being Antioch and us its arrow.

  2. Why are all these post so wrought with archaic language, yet so lacking in earnest meaning?

  3. Thomas Pynchon, the answer you are seeking may be closer than you realize. (By the way, thanks for stepping outside of yourself by not posting anonymously. I know that was hard.)

  4. The Smutty GardenerSeptember 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    This blog has taken a stubby, well worn spade and driven it right through it's blood pumper

    You writers are all the same, I am in agreement with Thomas.

  5. Forsooth and Semper Fidelis.