Gugusse and the Automaton

Gugusse and the Automaton (French: Gugusse et l'Automate),[1] also known as The Clown and the Automaton,[2][3] was an 1897 French short silent film directed by Georges Méliès.[1] The film featured a clown amazed and confused by the mechanical movements of an automaton.[2]

Gugusse et l'Automate
Directed byGeorges Méliès
Produced byGeorges Méliès
Distributed byStar Film
Release date
Running time
20 meters/65 feet[1]

The film marked the first known cinematic appearance of a robot (a word that would not replace "automaton" until its use in Karel Čapek's play R.U.R.),[4] and was one of the earliest films to feature themes of "scientific experimentation, creation and transformation."[2] In their Things to Come: An Illustrated History of the Science Fiction Film, Douglas Menville and R. Reginald judged Gugusse to be the most significant scientifically themed film of 1897, and suggested that "may be the first true SF film."[3]

Gugusse was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 111 in its catalogues.[1] It is currently presumed lost.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Hammond, Paul (1974). Marvellous Méliès. London: Gordon Fraser. p. 137. ISBN 0900406380.
  2. ^ a b c Johnston, Keith M. (2011), Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction, Oxford: Berg Publishers, p. 55, ISBN 9781847884763
  3. ^ a b Menville, Douglas; Reginald, R. (1977), Things to Come: An Illustrated History of the Science Fiction Film, New York: Times Books, p. 3
  4. ^ Benson, Michael (2002), Fighting Robots: A Guide to Radio-Controlled Combatants, New York: Citadel Press, p. 15
  5. ^ Frazer, John (1979), Artificially Arranged Scenes: The Films of Georges Méliès, Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., p. 244, ISBN 0816183686