Voyage Around a Star

Director: Gaston Velle

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Gaston Velle's Voyage Around a Star (Voyage autour d'une etoile, 1906) was a French/Italian production, having no dialogue cards so requiring no translation.

Voyage Around a StarStrongly in the manner of Georges Melies, & closest to Melies' The Astronomer's Dream (La Lune a un metre, 1899), Gaston Velle's tale opens in the studio of an amateur astronomer. He seats himself at his little telescope & gazes through the large picture window, where a crescent moon appears, upon which lounges a moon-woman.

When the astronmer rises from his seat, the picture window turns into a cloudy sky, which one would've thought would keep the telescope from seeing anything.

He sits anew & with no adjustments needed, the planet Saturn appears in the window. Storm windows are thrown open on face of the planet & a wizened white-bearded man pokes his head out, Saturn himself.

The laughing astroner checks his notes then sits again & this time there appears a seven-pointed star ridden by a star-maiden. She waves at him & he gets quite excited, leaping up from the telescope to declare his love, & calling a servant to his side requiring feedback & ideas for conquering space, in order to meet that star-maiden.

The servant in long apron brings a bowl of soapy water & makes a soap bubble, showing how it floats about. The astronomer is delighted & they go up on the roof (a simple but very attractive set) & whip up a laundry bucket thick with soapy bubbles.

Voyage Around a StarDonning hat & taking his umbrella & hugging his servant farewell, the old gent climbs in the laundry tub, the servant blows a big bubble about him, & up he goes into the heavens, passing seven stars with the faces of women.

Meanwhile the seven-point star maiden climbs off her star-vehicle onto a stage where she is greeted by six other star-maidens. These are obviously the Pleiades which number seven. They all climb into the star-vehicle which is simultaneously a palace much larger inside than out.

Just then the astronomer in his bubble arrives, pops his bubble, enters the star-palace, greets the queen therein, the other Peiads come forth & they all dance together. But then the elderly gent Saturn arrives & breaks up the festivities out of jealousy, tossing the astronomer to earth.

He's descending safely at first with his umbrella open. But then the umbrella turns inside out & he lands on a lightning rod, skewered through the back, an unhappy ending for an otherwise lighthearted tale.

This gruesome ending was later done more in jest in Melies' Conquest of the North Pole (La Conquete du pole nord, 1912) when someone falls keester-first onto a tower point, & pretty much the same schtick was done more safely with the falling man merely caught by his longjohns on a steeple in McCutcheon & Porter's Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906).

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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