The Infernal Cake-Walk (1903)

aka Le cake-walk infernal
Article 4619 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-1-2014
Directed by Georges Melies
Featuring Georges Melies
Country: France
What it is: Comic dance short

In the flaming world where the demons and devils live, the cake-walk becomes the dance of the day.

It appears that I haven’t reached the end of covering the oeuvre of Georges Melies; here’s another one. The cake-walk was a dance that became very popular in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century; it’s popped up in several Melies shorts. Here it takes center stage, only in a milieu that lent itself to Melies’s love for special effect. More than any other of the shorts I’ve seen, this one seems to be intended as a comic dance short; though dances have popped up many times in those shorts, they were generally side items to the action. Fortunately, it’s a fun dance to watch; it’s energetic, somewhat weird-looking, and it looks like it’s rather difficult to do. Things get especially weird when a demon with twisted legs attempts to do the dance, though his limbs keep separating themselves from his body. It’s one of his shorts that really needs the proper musical accompaniment to appreciate; fortunately, the print on the Melies boxed set has some very appropriate music. This is fun, if minor, Melies.

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