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"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.
The clip shows a jockey, Domm, riding a horse, Sally Gardner. The clip is not filmed but instead consists of 24 individual photographs shot in rapid succession, making a moving picture when using a zoopraxiscope.
Here's a perfect example of the pitfalls of writing about films: especially films from the earliest days of the cinema. The other IMDb'ers who have posted reviews of Carmencita's performance for Thomas Edison's Kinetograph camera are apparently reviewing footage from Edison Motion Picture #28, which has been reissued on DVD as part of "Edison: The Invention of the Movies". Well, I am likewise reviewing Carmencita's performance for Edison's Kinetograph. However, the performance I saw (and which I'm reviewing) was a different performance by the same dancer, filmed on the same occasion -- the second week of March 1894 -- but photographed on a different negative and not included in the DVD.
I saw this film (the one I'm reviewing, mind) in October 2006 at the Cinema Muto festival in Sacile, Italy. The print screened at Sacile was retrieved from the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield, England. (WKL Dickson, who shot many films for Edison, was an Englishman; he shipped prints of many of his Edison films to Britain.) When the Sheffield print was found, it was at first assumed to be one more copy of the existing Carmencita footage (the one on the DVD). However, after restoration, it was discovered that this was a 'lost' movie which no living person knew had ever existed in the first place: a completely different take of Carmencita's performance, differing significantly from the 'known' version. Since Edison's catalogue lists only one version, this 'lost' film has been provisionally titled "Carmencita #2" and catalogued as EMP 28.1.
This is certainly not a 'belly dance', despite a previous IMDb'er's comment. Carmencita's performance here is virtually identical to the one in the DVD version, with one interesting difference: in the version found at Sheffield and screened at Sacile (the one I saw), the señorita concludes her performance by curtseying to the camera (or to its operator?) and offering a moue.
Frame-by-frame comparisons make it clear that these are two separate 'takes': two completely different pieces of footage of the same dancer giving similar but not identical performances. I'd be keen to learn which one was shot first. Carmencita's acknowledgment in the Sheffield version might imply that this was the conclusion of her performance, therefore the final take. Or perhaps this was her first take, and Dickson may have felt that Carmencita's gesture -- appropriate enough for a live audience watching a stage performance -- was inappropriate for a movie, and he required her to do a retake. Barring authorisation for a trip yesterwards to March 1894 (grease up the time-portal!), it's unlikely that anyone will ever know which version was shot first.
On its own merits as an historic artefact, I'll rate "Carmencita #2" 6 points out of 10 ... plus one point extra (7 total) because this film and its twin sister -- placed side by side -- serve as a caution to those who would review old-time movies, or who would criticise other reviewers' film scholarship: sometimes the version which you saw, and the version which I saw, really are NOT the same movie!
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