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Title: Georges Méliès and the Mystery of the Automaton in Martin Scorcese’s Hugo
Authors: Kurt Cline
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Publisher: 英語學系
Department of English, NTNU
Abstract: The Martin Scorsese film Hugo, based on the life of film pioneer Georges Méliès, is viewed as a particularly apt union of 3-D aspects of contemporary Hollywood cinema and the films content. The Automaton which serves as the film’s central motif implies the same sensory interrogation as the original Méliès films. What Méliès brings out in the emergent cinema of his day is a kind of magic seeing, a conscious displacement of everyday reality, a demonstration of the impossible made real. This essay interrogates Scorcese’s rendering of the Automaton’s construction in light of the pseudo-automata of ancient Greece, the Gnostic practice of statue animation, the automata of the Renaissance magi, Edgar Allen Poe’s observation of the Jean David Maillardet automata and Harry Houdini’s refutation of his namesake Robert-Houdin’s claims to be the creator of the writing and drawing automaton. Ultimately the automaton can be viewed not only as one historical antecedent of cinema in a general sense, but as the antecedent of 3-D cinema most particularly.
Other Identifiers: F8AB8A0D-2EEC-5CDE-7866-9B7FA8518F64
Appears in Collections:Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics

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