Esteemed scientific gentlemen
I flatter myself that you may have seen some of my cinematographic presentations such as Un Homme de Têtes and Visite Sous-Marine. This year, I am resolved to bring to the screen a long-cherished project, a magnificent spectacle entitled Le Voyage dans la Lune. I envisage this as a drama almost fifteen minutes in duration — a true epic of the cinematic medium, I am sure you will agree.
In previous years I have achieved my astonishing visual effects with a combination of painted glass mattes, mirrors and double exposure of the film. It has occurred to me that, by reason of the green comet that currently looms so large in our sky, marvels have become easier to accomplish “in the field”, so to speak. In short, I am considering whether to shoot on location.
Could I ask your learned advice on any difficulties that might present themselves in the course of a trip to the Moon?
In anticipation of your help, Monsieurs, I ask you to accept the expression of my heartfelt regard.
Dr Clattercut replies: I must confess that—although this year I have had to contend with kleptomaniac spriggans, some very rude spirit writing in the Gents, and a sphinx running amuck in the Babylonian Gallery—I have yet to visit one of these newfangled “moving picture” shows.
Prof Bromfield: Much the same thing as watching a stage play, only it’s all in black and white and you can’t hear what they’re saying—though, in the case of Monsieur Méliès’s films, I take it that what you can’t hear is in French anyway.
Dr Clattercut: Monsieur Méliès, I’m afraid I don’t know a great deal about astronomy. I advise you to write to Mr Selwyn Cavor at the Royal Institution, as he may be able to offer some practical tips about food, oxygen, anti-gravity and Selenite politics. Also, be aware that Mr Thomas Cook is now advertising weekly trips by ladder to the Moon, which may lessen the impact of your production to today’s audiences.
Prof Bromfield: If not the impact, I might add, on landing.