The Inspiration for The Smashing Pumpkins’ Video for “Tonight, Tonight”
The release of The Smashing Pumpkins’ third album, the remarkable double-CD Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, spawned six big singles during 1995 and 1996 drawn from the 28 tracks and two hours of music on the album, beginning with “Butterfly with Bullet Wings,” followed by “1979,” “Zero,” Tonight, Tonight,” “Muzzle,” and “Thirty-Three.”
The video for “Tonight, Tonight” is a masterpiece — and an homage. In case you’ve forgotten it or never seen it before, watch this first:
You might have noticed that the boat at the end is named the S.S. Méliès. Georges Méliès was a French illusionist and master filmmaker, producing more than 500 films from 1896 to 1912, of which 200 still exist today. He made use of all sorts of special effects, truly incredible at the turn of the previous century. The best know is A Trip to the Moon from 1902. Compare this to The Smashing Pumpkins’ video. This one is in black and white, but there is also a colorized version from approximately 1906.
We appreciate that Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins chose to honor this genius. We would also recommend the movie Hugo (2011), which also honors Méliès. There are several outstanding documentaries about the career of Georges Méliès, all worth your attention. Here is a short one:
And thank you, Tyne!