It's not to excuse the practice of blackface minstrelsy to note that it was perfectly widespread in North America and Europe during the nineteenth century and that Georges Méliès' use of it here (and a few others of his later films) seems a function of chroma more than race or culture; the blackened performer that surprises our protagonist during the night has a corresponding whitened one and one can be sure that if Méliès had ever the chance to employ color photography in his films, he would have painted his actors every hue in the rainbow at some point in his career. Indeed, his army of hand-colorists often did the closest available equivalent, frame-by-frame. More notable is the fact that A NIGHTMARE marks the earliest surviving Méliès film to include the "man in the moon" as a major motif. The leering Luna that disturbs this dreamer is an early version of the grinning orbs seen in THE ASTRONOMER'S DREAM and A TRIP TO THE MOON. Only perhaps even more disturbing than the later, more polished incarnations. - Brian Darr
Reviews(see the best reviews)
Like the moon prop. Inventive short. A packed minute. Modern in its frenetic density.
I had seen part of this movie in the movie "Hugo" and loved it.
How one can not love all of his Film is beyond me.
what would we do without short films like this! so little to work with and so creative for the technology at the time.
love the jaws on the moon.
This level of artistry for 1896 is just amazing.
These are the invention of a master in creating the stuff of imagination and dreams. They should be taught in film Schools.
Inspiring story - universal circumstance played out on a wonderfully crafted theatrical setting with energetic characters!