Google honours French movie luminary with world first

Doodle celebrates one of cinema's most visionary film-makers with first-ever 360-degree VR animation

French filmmaker Georges Méliès is the subject of the first ever Google Doodle presented as a 360-degree VR animation.

The interactive film was posted on search engine's front page on Thursday

Méliès was known for pioneering special effects and narrative film techniques during the early days of cinema, most famously in his 1902 film A Trip to the Moon.

The film became the one of the earliest known examples of movie piracy. An illegally copied print of the film was smuggled from London to the USA and released before Méliès could make the journey across the Atlantic himself.

He was born in 1861, and attended the prestigious Lycee Louis-le-Grand. But, after completing military service and serving an apprenticeship as a clerk in London - he became a conjurer at the Theatre Robert-Houdin in Paris.

But, the success of the Lumière brothers' moving picture camera in 1895 prompted Méliès to establish his own studio - and he employed many of the tricks he had learned in the theatre to create illusions and special effects on film.

Another successful film was his 1907 Tunnelling the Channel.

But he went bankrupt at the start of the First World War and sold most of his back catalogue to Pathé. The rest he burned in his garden years later, after being reduced to running a sweet stall at Montparnasse railway station. He died in 1938.

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