Friday, June 24, 2016

Salome Avant Garde Gay Film From 1923 & A Trip To The Moon 1st Sci Fi Film

MindsiMediaHome is our repository for public domain films that I've come across and enjoyed. Our latest uploads highlight two firsts. America's first avant garde film and the worlds first science fiction movie.

Salome is a 1923 film based on an Oscar Wilde play and illustrations in the printed version of the play by Aubrey Beardsley. The play was Wilde's 1892 retelling of the Bible story of Salome, who danced before Herod to win the death of John the Baptist. The play was considered so depraved that the High Lord Chamberlain of England refused to grant it a license for public performance. Three years later during a libel trial he iniated evidence was unearthed that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labor Wilde, who died in 1900, never saw his play publicly performed.

 The silent movie version was produced and starred Alla Nazimova who up to this time was a star of stage and screen. Directing was Charles Bryant who was Alla's husband and also a theater and movie actor. In 1918 they formed their own production company which is when he began directing. Salome was America's first "art" film and rumored to be the first with all gay or bisexual performers. It cost an, at the time, astronomical sum of $350,000 and was a financial disaster probably bigger than Heaven's Gate which was at least released. This one took years to come out and destroyed the careers of both Bryant and Nazimova.

From stories from Biblical times we go to the modern age with a 1902 film "A Trip To The Moon" the world's first science fiction film. Made by French film pioneer and magician Geroge Melies who also plays a starring role. The trip is made by a couple of scientists who are shot to the moon in a capsule propelled by a giant cannon. Once there they discover some lunar creatures and bring one back to earth. The movie  was based on a couple of Jules Verne books and was wildly popular on it's release. It was listed by the Village Voice as one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century.

Melies also made the first supernatural film "Devil In The Convent" from 1899. We have also posted that.

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