Jollification! The Mary Pickford Blogathon

This past weekend, Classic Movies: The Blog hosted a Mary Pickford blogathon. In addition to being a lovely event containing many beautiful posts and informative links about “America’s Sweetheart”, the below music video I created was also graciously included, for which I am honored. Thanks KC!

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May Days of Melies – The Infernal Cakewalk [Le cake-walk infernal] (1903)

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 Days of Melies – The Dancing Midget [La danseuse microscopique] (1902)

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!

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – 3 Tinted Dances

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]

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Pierrette’s Escapades [Le départ d’Arlequin et de Pierrette] (1900)

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.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance [Le danse des saisons] (1900)

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).