Your Questions Answered – A Trip to the Moon in COLOR

Pssst!!!! Last week we announced the release of Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon in its original 1902 colors (and featuring a soundtrack by AIR) and Lobster Films‘ new feature length documentary The Extraordinary Voyage in a limited 2-Disc BD/DVD G2 SteelBook Edition. The restoration of A Trip to the Moon is a collaborative effort between Lobster Films, Paris, and two non-profit entities, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage.  This landmark film restoration won a 2011 Film Heritage Award from National Society of Film Critics.

Georges Méliès, one of the celebrated heroes of Martin Scorsese’s new movie HUGO, was a master of cinematic invention and enchantment. Flicker Alley, of course, is no stranger to Méliès, having first released First Wizard of Cinema in 2008 and Georges Méliès Encore in 2010. We are a small company and each publication is a labor of love. So, we are thrilled that our love affair, so to speak, with the films of Méliès can continue with A Trip to the Moon. We’ve also been pleased about the enthusiasm from you all, and appreciate the questions that have been pouring in via email, Twitter, and Facebook. There have been some really wonderful questions about contents and technical specifications, which we think warrant some public display. Here they are, along with their respective answers….

Cover art for "A Trip to the Moon" in its 1902 colors

Q: What is the street date for this?

A: The day to circle in your calendars is TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012. We will ship out pre-orders on or slightly before this date.

Q: What size does the SteelBook Case come in? Is it DVD size (G1) or Blu-ray size (G2)?

A: It’s Blu-ray size, also known as G2. To clarify: both a Blu-ray and a DVD will be included inside of the Blu-ray sized SteelBook case.

Q: What’s the region-coding going to be on this?

A: Due  to the very specific parameters in which this product was licensed, it is being made available in a Region A edition (North America, South America, East Asia, and Southeast Asia). Although we wish we could do more, we have to abide by our licensing agreement and be fair to our other distribution partners.

Q: Can you tell me about The Extraordinary Voyage? What is the total running time for it?

A: Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films in Paris directed this documentary about the life of Georges Méliès and his most famous film A Trip to the Moon. It’s a tale about film history and film preservation. The total running time is 78 minutes.

Q: How will the black and white version of A Trip to the Moon on this release differ from your previously published versions?

A: The black and white version of Moon will actually be from a brand-new HD transfer that has not previously been available. The film materials utilized for this transfer come from a fine-grain master derived from a nitrate print made available by the Méliès family.

Q: Will your restored color version of A Trip to the Moon contain the audio narration written by Méliès?

A: The color version of A Trip To The Moon is a special case in that it will only be released with an original soundtrack by the French band, AIR. However, the black and white version that we described in the previous answer will have three separate audio tracks:

Audio Track  1: Robert Israel Orchestral Score track with an original spoken English narration written by Méliès,

Audio Track 2: A “troupe of actors” voicing the various characters as performed in the U.S. in 1903 with piano accompaniment by Frederick Hodges in the background.

Audio Track 3: piano accompaniment ONLY by Frederick Hodges (no voice actors).

Q: Can you describe the audio quality for the AIR soundtrack?

A:  Correction: We previously stated that the audio soundtrack by AIR will be released in DTS HD. Please note that we are preparing AIR’s soundtrack in DTS 5.1 for this release.

Q: What will the subtitling options be?

A:  The parts of the documentary and bonus features in French will contain English subtitles on the master. (The doc is half in French and half in English). As we mentioned earlier, because our legally licensed territory is USA, we do not have the authority or the rights to subtitle this in multiple language editions. There are financial considerations that we had to weigh carefully, as well, since this is such a limited release.

Q: Are you going to include some of Méliès’ other films?

A: Yes! Both the DVD and Blu-ray discs will feature other two lunar-themed films by Georges Méliès: 1. The Eclipse (1907), which was sourced from an original negative. 2. The Astronomer’s Dream (1898), which was sourced from the Lobster Films Collection. On the Blu-rary, these bonus features will be presented in HD.

Q: How will the SteelBook cases be protected and packaged to avoid damages during the shipping process?

A: We are taking the shipping and packaging of the SteelBook cases  very seriously and are making a concerted effort to take extra care in this matter.

Q: How many copies will make up this limited edition publication?

A: There will only be a few thousand Blu-ray G2 SteelBooks manufactured, and the film materials will not be printed again in the future this way.  We hope that the collector’s market embraces this, and will support our efforts to consider SteelBook cases for future Flicker Alley editions.

Q: Will there be an enclosed booklet in the SteelBook case?

A: Yes! As with all of our publications, this release will include a booklet with materials provided to us by the two Foundations working together to save this film heritage milestone. This is still a work in progress, but we can tell you that there will be an essay, which focuses on the original production of A Trip to the Moon and Méliès’ working methods.

Thanks again for your amazing support!  For more information on A Trip to the Moon & The Extraordinary Voyage, check out our website.



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16 Responses to Your Questions Answered – A Trip to the Moon in COLOR

  1. william frankeberger says:

    On your limited release of the Trip to the Moon In Color: can you please be sure that the soundtrack to “Astronomer’s Dream” is in sync with the picture? The sound is late to the image on the original “Wizard” set that I own, which greatly diminishes its effect. The music is absolutely BRILLIANT, fitting the movie’s action in an exemplary way, and it’s a shame that it was not set properly in sync.

    I am also hoping that you give us a properly-exposed print of the ECLIPSE, so that we do not see all the background construction paper and wires and junk. I really doubt Melies would approve of seeing all that, which really breaks the illusion. A little playing with the Blacks level is all that is needed.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Thanks for your feedback, William! Many of our customers have praised us for releasing a version of Eclipse that exposes the masterful techniques of Melies. Also, we do pride ourselves in releasing high quality editions for home video. We are currently in the process of QC before the A Trip to the Moon DVD/Blu-ray goes into replication.

      -The Flicker Alley Team

  2. Jonathan says:

    is the audio of the AIR soundtrack in two-channel stereo or 5.1 ??

  3. I would like to see FOUR versions of A Trip to the Moon. I know I am only dreaming:

    1. The original color, untouched, unrestored

    2. The original color, fully restored, color balanced, contrast corrected and all artifacts, flicker, dirt, scratches etc removed.

    3. The original black and white, untouched, unrestored

    4. The original black and white, fully restored, contrast corrected and all artifacts, flicker, dirt, scratches etc removed.

    • Well, thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, our publication has already gone to print. The good news is that you can see examples of all these versions that you mentioned in the documentary “The Extraordinary Voyage,” which shows an original, unrestored, un-speed corrected print; a print with image stability and other digital tools to enhance its presentation for modern audiences; and certainly before and after versions of the original hand-colored element. By the way, the new HD master utilized for the new B&W version (that will be a bonus feature on our new release) received the very minimum of stability correction and other artifact removal tools to maintain the amazing clarity of the original element.

  4. Daniel says:

    Out of curiosity, I was wondering why AIR’s soundtrack was chosen to be the only option available while viewing the restored color version? I’m planing to purchase this release but I was a little disappointed by this detail upon reading it. I’ve heard AIR’s contributions and, in my opinion, it doesn’t fit the feeling/atmosphere of the film.

    • Thanks for your support and feedback, Daniel. Please see our response to Roscoe in this thread regarding AIR’s soundtrack for the restored color version. His sentiments were similar to yours, and we hope that we addressed both of your comments.

  5. Thanks for the awesome pre-release price!! I discovered this DVD on Amazon and reached this blog from there and then your website. I was fascinated by Melies work when I took a cinema history course in college. I was further interested in his work after enjoying HUGO so I really look forward to the restored versions in this DVD pkg.Thanks for all you do for cinema history and furthering the causes of film preservation and restoration.

  6. Roscoe says:

    I do wish that other audio options had been available for the restored color version — that AIR score is, to put it politely, unfortunate indeed, a rare mis-step from Flicker Alley, whose releases are generally the standard for silent film on DVD.

    • Thanks for your comment and for reading our blog! We really appreciate input from our customers and fans.

      Sorry to hear of your disappointment. This release comes out of a major restoration project, fueled by a multitude of dedicated and professional archivists and cinema history institutions. The European-based Foundations that put up the money for this monumental restoration made the curatorial choice to incorporate AIR’s music with this particular version of Melies’ MOON. This is how the digital editions of the color restoration are being licensed around the world.

      This particular presentation of AIR’s music with the restoration is something all licensees have agreed to adhere to, which is why we have chosen to provide alternate audio versions for a new, beautifully preserved black and white version of the film originally sourced from the Melies family.

      • Roscoe says:

        My disappointment is pretty minor, when it comes down to it, but damn — that’s easily the single worst silent movie score I’ve yet heard. Easily remedied, though. I”ll just turn the volume down. Way way way down. All the way down. And put cotton in my ears.

  7. Paul Jacob says:

    I live in Europe but have ordered this through a US source, as I have a multi-region blu-ray player. I have never seen the film itself nor indeed the documentary, but I was inspired to make this purchase because I enjoyed Martin Scorcese’s movie “Hugo” so much. Although I expect to have the film in the next few days, I would just like to thank you all at Flicker Alley for making this piece of cinematic history available to the general public.

  8. william frankeberger says:

    If you’re still in the process of QC, perhaps you could check the sync of the Israel-with-narration before you put it on. On the current DVD version, the soundtracks is almost a full 2-seconds AHEAD of picture, which creates an odd effect when the cannon is fired, and when the moon gets hit in the eyeball.

  9. Davin Anderson says:

    I just got the steelbook of this film, and it’s a beautiful edition, the steelbook is gorgeous. Probably one of the best I’ve seen. The film is outstanding. Thanks for putting out such a quality product.

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