Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible
Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible (eng. The Impossible Voyage) is a french silent movie directed by Georges Méliès and released by Star Film in 1904. Along with Le Voyage dans la Lune and À la Conquête du Pole, it is considered one of Georges Méliès' best works and one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema. Black-and-white and hand-tinted versions of this movie exist.
An eccentric man named Professor Maboule comes up with the idea to build a single massive railroad that will let people travel all around the world. The construction is quickly finished under his own supervision (the professor is particularly impressed by the addition of an ice car to the train) and people are eager to partecipate in the professor's new invention's first travel but this is when troubles begins, as the train, after its arriving in the Alps of Switzerland, falls off the peak of a mount, forcing all the passengers and the personal to spend some time in a hospital.
Once they all have recovered and the train is being repaired, they resume their voyage, but this time, instead of falling off, the train gains too much speed and unexpectedly flies up in the air, off the mount's peak and into the mouth of the yawning sun, that ends up accidentally swallowing it.
The passengers and the crew find themselves stranded on the sun's surface and the train is reduced once again to a wreck. They immediately start to feel warm and took off their jackets, but the professor has a better idea and slides the doors of the ice car open and invite the others to go inside. Once he is about to go inside as well, he notice that everyone is frozen, so he quickly finds some straw, places it in front of the car and lights it up with matches, melting everybody.
Everyone decides that it is time to leave the sun. They go on board on a wheeled submarine that was attached to the train and drive it off a cliff, falling off the sun's surface and into the Earth's ocean. While navigating, a scary sea monster approaches the submarine and looks inside through a window, so one of the passengers pulls the window's cover down. Suddenly, a fire starts in the submarine's engine room. Professor Maboule's attempts to extinguish it fails and it begins to spread.
Meanwhile, sailors are taking a break from work on a shore. All of a sudden, a wreck of the submarine falls from the sky with every passenger and crew member inside, alive and well, to the surprise of the sailors. After that, they all triumphally return home.
Why It Rocks
- Extraordinary special effects.
- Beautiful scenographies, especially the sun's surface, particularly enjoyable in the hand-tinted version of the movie.
- An entertaining fantasy story that share basilar ideas with Le Voyage dans le Lune but without making it look like a copy of it. As a matter of fact, the movie can be considered a spiritual successor of the 1902 movie.
- The scene when the train enters the sun's mouth has become a famous and iconic scene in the history of cinema, just like the one in Le Voyage dans la Lune.
Professor Maboule, interpreted by Méliès himself, would return in the 1912 movie À la Conquête du Pole.
Since the movie is in public domain, a hand-tinted version in very good conditions can be viewed here.