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Ballet mécanique (1924)

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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,489 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 5 critic

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »


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Title: Ballet mécanique (1924)

Ballet mécanique (1924) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Credited cast:
Fernand Léger
Dudley Murphy
Katherine Murphy
Katrin Murphy ...
Girl with a flower


A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, kitchen objects in concentric circles or rows - pots, pan lids, and funnels, cars passing overhead, a spinning carnival ride. Over and over, a heavy-set woman climbs stairs carrying a large bag on her shoulder. An Art Deco cartoon figure appears, dancing. This is a world in motion, dominated by mechanical and repetitive images, with a few moments of solitude in a garden. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

24 September 1924 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Ballet mécanique  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Kiesler)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


George Antheil wrote the score for this film, but due to various disagreements - including that Antheil's original version of the music ran 30 minutes while the film was only 16 minutes - the film was premiered without the original music. The film and music were first shown together on 25 August 2000 in Antwerp, Belgium, at the Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderen. The film print with music was created by Paul Lehrman. See more »


Ballet Mecanique
by George Antheil
See more »

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User Reviews

You really can't give a numerical score to this one!
25 August 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is just one of many strange films from the DVD collection "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941" and it's from Disc 3.

In the notes shown on the screen before the film begins, you learn that the original musical score was so complicated and strange that it was not played at the film's original debut. For the film, they were able to recreate the cacophony caused by eight percussionists, two pianists, bells, a siren, airplane propellers and sixteen player pianos! This film is a creation and is made up of a weird collage of machinery, objects and shapes. Being Dadaist, is seeks to defy contemporary ideas of art, provoke the viewer and be anarchic. I liked the cubist intro myself and loved whenever it reappeared (it looked like Chaplin as drawn by a cubist) and thought it rather cute--which would have horrified the folks who made this! I don't think 'cute' is what they were going for with this film! The rest of the film consisted of pulsating objects, upside-down film clips of people, kaleidoscopic effects, random objects that were in primary and secondary colors and, once again, the cubist Chaplin! It all defies adequate description and is not something most folks would like to see very often--but I can respect all the work they put into it.

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