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Author Topic: What Early Films are relevant to Steampunk?  (Read 682 times)
RJBowman
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« on: September 19, 2015, 05:07:16 am »

I would guess that everyone on this forum probably loves Georges Méliès' Le Voyage Dans la Lun, and you have probably all seem Metropolis; I am going to add them to the list of early films that, if not an inspiration for steampunk, at least have a very strong steampunk vibe to them.

I am asking for help in compiling a list of early films that wouldn't be out of place in the video room at a steampunk convention.

We have the two examples above. I'm going to suggest a couple of more.

The Edison Frankenstein; this once lost film is bizarre. It is an early film depiction of the mad scientist. It isn't as stylish or as influential as other silent horror films like Nosferatu, but I think that it deserves a spot. And it's only twelve minutes long and available on YouTube so you have no excuse for not having seen it.

And a curve ball: "Mr. Robinson Crusoe", an early sound film, but a late film for its star, Douglas Fairbanks. It was not a futuristic film, but it features an interesting set piece of animal-powered automation, and it pitted Fairbanks against a murderous native islander that wore a necklace of vacuum tubes, presumably taken off one of his previous victims. And there is a beautiful native girl played by Maria Alba, who shows a lot of skin. This one is also available on YouTube; not a fast moving film, and kind of cheesy, but charming.

And I can think of many more, but I want to leave some films for other forum members to suggest.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 12:08:47 pm »



 From time to time short films pop up on here , facebook and   other social media  of a vintage  or sci fi nature  that are  steampunk or dieselpunk in  nature 

 There are all manner of  silent era  films  and shorts , modern  made  silent films  and  other worldly  videos out there
 
 Scope out  Youtube  and Vimeo

 Then we have the  classic sci fi such as Barbarella,   white zombie etc


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Rockula
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 02:15:10 pm »

I remember a thread in this Aural-Ocular forum some years ago that tried to list those films that would definitely be of a Steampunk nature and those that would be relevant to Steampunk interests.

As with many of these lists (like music) many people tried to 'shoehorn' in anything they personally liked and the list became ridiculous.

Then people stopped posting in it.

But I would agree that a number of Georges Méliès films had the definite influence of Verne and Wells and would be a good place to start.

I have the 13 hour boxset of his complete surviving works on DVD.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 04:16:41 pm »

Then we have the  classic sci fi such as Barbarella,   white zombie etc

How is Barbarella relevant to Steampunk?
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2015, 11:39:30 pm »

Then we have the  classic sci fi such as Barbarella,   white zombie etc


How is Barbarella relevant to Steampunk?


  The movie has elements  of   steampunk.  The past taken into the future. Apocalyptic notions .Edwardian and Victorian imagery and influences



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selectedgrub
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2015, 11:45:09 pm »

Yes.
Much more than Robinson crusoe...
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RJBowman
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 04:24:08 am »

If no one is going to suggest any others here's one:

Aelita Queen of Mars NTSC


Aelita Queen of Mars; an early Soviet science fiction film.

In 1924, it seems, the fledgeling Soviet government realized that it had driven all the artists out of the country, and Soviet films sucked. So they contacted Yakov Protazanov, a leading pre-revolution filmmaker who was living in Western Europe, and convinced him to come back to Mother Russia and make another film.

The film is based on a 1923 novel by Aleksey Tolstoy. It is a space fantasy in which a Russian inventor contacts Mars by Radio, then travels there by rocket ship. Interesting costume design. It pre-dated Metropolis by four years.
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GCCC
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 06:33:11 am »

Regarding Victorian-era science fiction, there are a few silent versions of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the most well-known one of which stars John Barrymore (1920).

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0DK1dl8eRc
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GCCC
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 06:35:59 am »

Then we have the  classic sci fi such as Barbarella,   white zombie etc


How is Barbarella relevant to Steampunk?


  The movie has elements  of   steampunk.  The past taken into the future. Apocalyptic notions .Edwardian and Victorian imagery and influences








I would argue instead that this film, released in 1968, does not meet the definition of "early" film.
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Rockula
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2015, 01:48:25 pm »

I would argue instead that this film, released in 1968, does not meet the definition of "early" film.

I would have tended to agree. Until I heard a group of teenagers talking about watching some 'oldies' from the 'last century' and realised they were talking about films from the 1960's.  Grin
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RJBowman
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2015, 04:00:14 pm »

I would argue instead that this film, released in 1968, does not meet the definition of "early" film.

I would have tended to agree. Until I heard a group of teenagers talking about watching some 'oldies' from the 'last century' and realised they were talking about films from the 1960's.  Grin

A hazard of using '00 years as cutoff points.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2015, 02:54:00 am »



 What are we specifying as early  ? pre ww2  or ww1?
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GCCC
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2015, 04:15:21 am »

I would argue instead that this film, released in 1968, does not meet the definition of "early" film.

I would have tended to agree. Until I heard a group of teenagers talking about watching some 'oldies' from the 'last century' and realised they were talking about films from the 1960's.  Grin

Kill them.

I'll help you hide the bodies.  Tongue
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GCCC
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2015, 05:04:33 am »



 What are we specifying as early  ? pre ww2  or ww1?

Doing only the briefest of searches, I cannot find a consensus among film scholars. For myself, I would pick a date where the form reached a (relatively) consistent level of sophistication (mastery of the skill) and an overall quality (end product) beyond which other films failing to meet those benchmarks are the result of either lack of funding or absence of mastery.

I would say definitely not past either 1938 (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Algiers, Angels With Dirty Faces, Boys Town, Jezebel, The Lady Vanishes, Pygmalion, You Can't Take it With You, et al) or 1939 (Dark Victory, Destry Rides Again, Gone With the Wind, Gunga Din, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, et al).

A case could be made for as early a cut-off as 1935 (A Night at the Opera, Anna Karenina, The Bride of Frankenstein, David Copperfield, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Mutiny on the Bounty, Top Hat, et al).
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Rockula
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 10:23:11 am »

If the earliest film was around 1894 then 2015 is the 131st anniversary of movies.

Therefore I'd put 'early film' as maybe the first 20 or 30 years of that.

So between 1894 and 1914, or 1894 and 1924.

Although the first accepted 'sound' film was 'The Jazz Singer' in 1927 so maybe up to that?

There are a couple of DVD'S called 'Landmarks of Early Film' and they cover 1894 to 1913.

I'd personally rule out anything post-1934 as that would have been the 40th anniversary of film.

But maybe anything pre-1950 is still considered 'vintage'?
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GCCC
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 05:45:43 pm »

...I'd personally rule out anything post-1934 as that would have been the 40th anniversary of film...

That sounds reasonable.

...But maybe anything pre-1950 is still considered 'vintage'?

Or likely paleolithic going by the attitudes of the youth mentioned in your earlier post...
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Atterton
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 09:49:02 pm »

I'm surprised George Melies made enough movies to fill 13 hours considering his longest movie was 15 minutes. I obviously have a lot to catch up on.

The movie Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin has a number of interesting inventions and of course the famous scene of Chaplin caught between the cogwheels of a large machine.
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GCCC
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2015, 01:31:15 am »

Since you've got a collection of Méliès's films, you already know about the "sort of" version of Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea, his Deux cent mille lieues sous les mers from 1907.

An excerpt:

Georges Méliès -1907- 20000 Lieux Sous les Mers ( 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arhv1iorf9A

There is also this full-length feature from Universal from 1916:

An excerpt:

20000 Leagues under the Sea (1916)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRxpzJR2d-g
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GCCC
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2015, 01:39:32 am »

Edison's A Trip to Mars (1910):

[1910] A Trip To Mars - Thomas Edison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO5T_aAyUJc

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Rockula
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2015, 03:21:06 pm »

I'm surprised George Melies made enough movies to fill 13 hours considering his longest movie was 15 minutes. I obviously have a lot to catch up on.


This is what I've got...
http://www.amazon.com/Georges-Melies-Wizard-Cinema-1896-1913/dp/B0013K8J90

...and...
http://www.amazon.com/Melies-Encore-George/dp/B0032Y6XCU/ref=pd_sim_74_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=03R8F0CEDYTVPXEKNM14&dpID=51Dz-dwEaSL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR117%2C160_

...also...
http://www.amazon.com/Extraordinary-Voyage-Deluxe-Blu-Ray-Edition/dp/B0081XAQNE/ref=pd_bxgy_74_img_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0Q8RSJB7GVJEBK0R16DS

And I also have the 2012 remastered version of 'Le Voyage Dans La Lune' with new soundtrack by the French band 'Air'.
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GCCC
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2015, 05:41:59 pm »

Wow...Those all look like amazing finds.
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