King Edward VII of England and the President of the French Republic, Armand Fallières, envision tunnelling the English Channel; nevertheless, only a maiden voyage can determine whether this is a triumphant aspiration or an acrid nightmare.
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Just as Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon (1902) imagined a manned moon landing nearly seventy years before it happened, so, too, does he anticipate the opening of the Channel in 1994 with this 1907 short. King George VII of England and President Armand Fallières of France meet to discuss digging a tunnel under the English Channel and then dream about the venture in their adjoining staterooms. Fascination with the scientific advances of the time in air transportation and engineering mix with fanciful dream images. The hand tinting that still survives in the second half of the film enlivens the proceedings.Written by
aka Le Tunnel sous la Manche ou le cauchemar anglo-français
This fourteen-minute film is the perfect example of the saying "The Magic of Melies." The French president and the English king have a meeting and then that night they both dream about building a tunnel to connect their beloved homes. We then see how the tunnel would be built and the final outcome of such an adventure. TUNNELING THE CHANNEL is a perfect film to show someone unfamiliar with what the French master could do because it's just so entertaining and the level of imagination going on will keep a smile on your face from start to finish. I think some of the greatest moments happen when we see the tunnel once it's finished and we get to see how it's going to be used. I really enjoyed the little touches that Melies brought to the picture including the fish in the water above the tunnel. I also really liked the special effects and especially the one at the very end, which I won't mention so that I don't give the surprise away. The film starts off in B&W but turns over to the hand tint and it's quite beautiful and very effective.
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