Han Shot First

by John Holbo on March 11, 2007

Crooks & Liars links to that fine old Smashing Pumpkins video, “Tonight, Tonight”: the George Méliès, “Le Voyage Dans La Lune” homage.

Anyway, if you’ve never seen the Méliès original, you should be aware YouTube has got it, too (part 1; part 2) – the 14 minute epic; the first science fiction film.

Purists take note. What we’ve got here is a hybrid version: round about minute 11, when the the first selenite appears, the voice-over indicates that “the fantastical being rushes at the astronomer, who defends himself”. Obviously this is from the digitally remastered Lucas edition of 1904. In the film itself – unremastered, 1902 material – it is clear the astronomer strikes first, aggressively exploding the alien with his umbrella.

Oh, hey! The Internet Archive has a free, downloadable, higher quality version. If you’ve never seen this landmark of cinema, check it out.



norbizness 03.11.07 at 4:11 pm

I believe the Pumpkins video was directed by the husband/wife directing team that did Little Miss Sunshine; however, it’s no Way Cool Jr.


Xanthippas 03.11.07 at 5:30 pm

“Han shot first”…Ha.


Gary Farber 03.11.07 at 11:56 pm

John, have you ever seen Part 12 of From The Earth To The Moon, which is also entitled “Le Voyage Dans La Lune,” and portrays the filming of Méliès’ piece?

If not, I recommend it, though I’d strongly recommend seeing the entire series, which it’s the last episode of, in order.


Robert 03.13.07 at 7:03 am

Does anybody know the name and author of the recent children’s sort-of graphic novel in which Méliès appears as a character, if I understand correctly. The protagonist is an orphan living in a Paris train station. There’s also an automaton that draws the man in the moon image. Thanks.

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