"A little while ago there was a great convention of women's clubs of America. Mrs. Edison is interested in women's clubs and their work and she decided to entertain the Presidents of the ... See full summary »
The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.
This is the first movie in what quickly became one of the most popular genres in the earliest years of motion pictures. Many of Edison's earliest Kinetoscope films featured popular dancers, the best known probably being Annabelle (Whitford) Moore. But "Carmencita" was the first such feature and, as best as anyone has been able to determine, the dancer herself also became the first woman to appear in an American-made movie.
The dance routine itself is similar in style and quality to most of the other movies of its kind and era. The completely dark background makes "Carmencita" herself the full focus of attention. Her appeal is said to have been based as much on her energy and fervor as on her actual skill in dancing, and even with the limitations of 1890s cinematography, it's easy to tell that she is enthusiastic about what she is doing. Her stage routine was probably even livelier.
It's not hard to guess why this kind of movie was so popular in its time. This and similar features could provide something worth seeing within the very limited running time of the earliest movies. Some of the later movies of popular dancers display more film-making experience, but "Carmencita" got the genre off to a lively start.
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