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Cinema and the Work of Doré
Title of the book
Gustave Doré: Master of Imagination
Flammarion National Gallery of Canada Musée d'Orsay
Exhibition Catalogue (Musée d'Orsay, Paris: 18 February-11 May 2014 / National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa: 13 June-14 September 2014)
According to Ray Harryhausen, a special effects expert in the film industry, "Gustave Doré would have made a great director of photography . . . He saw things from the point of view of the camera." Doré's work has had a permanent impact on the imaginative realm of film since its very early days. In return, the silver screen has etched Doré into the 20th century imagination. Almost every film about the Bible since The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ produced by Pathé in 1902 refers to his illustrations, and every film adaptation of Dante or Don Quixote has used him as a model, from Georg Wilhelm Pabst and Orson Welles to Terry Gilliam. All films dealing with life in London in the Victorian era by directors ranging from David Lean, to Roman Polanski and Tim Burton draw on the visions in London: a pilgrimage for their sets. A large number of dream fantastical or phantasmagorical scenes take their inspiration from Doré's graphic world, beginning with Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon in 1902. In the realm of cartoons and animation, Walt Disney owes a huge debt to Doré. Doré primal forests, from Atala in particular, were also used in the various versions of King Kong from 1933 to the 2005 film by Peter Jackson, who had already drawn on Doré for The Lord of the Rings. Jean Cocteau was also indebted to the illustrations for Perrault's Fairy Tales for his Beauty and the Beast (1945), as was George Lucas for the character Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977) and even the Harry Potter film series. Through his influence on film history, Doré shaped the mass culture imagination.
Gustave Doré, cinema, film history, art, influence, painting, etching, imagination, tableau vivant, realizations, re-enactment, iconography
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