The Beginning of Genre in Film

Interesting that the first few films where a story played out were works of science fiction. Georges Melies’ A Trip To The Moon (1902) is a standout. Laughable today for its special effects, it still gave future film-makers what to look for in an unpredictable future where technology would expand the borders of entertainment.  A more serious attempt to reach an audience through an established work of fantastic fiction came from Edison, who filmed the first version of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

Perhaps the use of genre in early film making was inevitable. Much science fiction and fantasy is visual in nature. It provides tremendous opportunity for metaphor and subtext without being overwhelmed by it. The audience for fantastic fiction is a dedicated following, many embracing technology’s potential. It made sense that the pioneers of the film medium should turn to content which sparked the imagination and embodied at once the light and dark side of human nature.

Below, for your enjoyment, find A Trip To The Moon, and the very first production of Frankenstein, by Thomas Edison.



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