The Cakewalk dance was developed at plantation get-togethers by slaves in the southern United States. Thereafter it was performed in minstrel shows, exclusively by men at first. After a performance of the Cakewalk in a competition at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, an enormous cake was awarded to the winning couple, thus the phrase, “takes the cake“.
Plot summary of the movie per the original Méliès catalogue:
“Pluto, having seen the earth, comes back home amazed at the success of that well-known dance, the ‘cake-walk.’ He has brought back with him two noted well-known dancers, who start their favorite dance amidst the flames. A queer and ugly being wishes also to join in the dance, but his limbs break away and dance far from him. All the subjects of His Majesty are seized with the irresistible mania for dancing, and start an unbridled provincial dance. At this sight Satan starts out of the earth a large blaze, which annihilates everything around him, disappearing himself through the flames. This view has beautiful new effects and much improves with colors. For the first time in a cinematograph view one can see some of the will-o’-the-wisp wandering among human beings. The effect is magical.”
May 10, 2012 — chrisgiddens
In The Dancing Midget (aka La danseuse microscopique), Méliès makes his foppish assistant regurgitate 6 whole eggs, which are then cracked into a magic hat and turned into a single, larger egg. When the new egg explodes, what springs forth? Why, a tiny ballerina of course!
April 28, 2012 — chrisgiddens
Guy continues her Spanish exploration with three hand-tinted films showing the tango, flamenco, and bolero dancing styles:
The Tango [Le Tango]
The Malaguena and the Bullfighter [La malagueña et le torero]
Saharet Performs the Bolero [Madame Saharet, boléro]
April 19, 2012 — chrisgiddens
An early example of a hand-tinted film, where each frame was painted and which always contain an air of
Music performed by Billy Duncan for Change Before Going Productions.
April 16, 2012 — chrisgiddens
Slightly odd little piece that holds a bit more significance due to its unique attempt at copyright (watch the bottom-right starting at 0:21).