Two years after A Trip to the Moon, Georges Melies continued his tongue-in-cheek riff on Jules Verne with The Impossible Voyage. A group of inept geographers take off on a comic voyage of exploration. They manage to crash or destroy every conveyance that they employ on their journey, including a train, dirigibles, and a submarine. Like the previous moon trip film, The Impossible Voyage remained a huge hit for years in an era when there weren’t even regular movie theaters yet. This film represents Melies the magician at his most extreme, employing trick photography, garish colors, and whimsical animation to the max.
After 1904, Georges Melies lasted another 10 years in the movie business. However, he met many challenges dealing with the growing financial complexities and productivity demands of the fledgling industry, and he found himself bankrupt by 1914. He spent the last 24 years of his life not making movies. See Martin Scorsese’s whimsical homage to Melies and early film-making, Hugo, for a glimpse of Melies in later life told through the eyes of a boy discovering the magic of the magician’s films for the first time.