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After the Ball, the Bath (1897)

Après le bal (original title)
| Short
The first film to ever show a nudity scene on screen is a simple presentation of a servant preparing a bath for another woman.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jane Brady ...
Jeanne d'Alcy ...
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Storyline

An elegantly dress woman and her maid servant enter a room which has a large basin on the floor. The maid immediately helps the woman disrobe giving modern viewers an idea of how many layers of clothing women wore in 1897. When the woman is down to her last garment she steps into the tub and the maid pours what appears to be black powder onto her back. She then covers the woman with a robe, pats her dry and the film ends. Written by DrRichardh

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After the Ball, the Bath  »

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1.33 : 1
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Jeanne d'Alcy became the first person to appear nude in a film when she exposed her bare buttocks for a few seconds in this film. Coincidentally, she would later marry the film's director, Georges Méliès. See more »

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Historic first nude scene
31 December 2013 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

1897. The very first nude scene ever filmed came out in that year, presented in this Méliès classic. Some call it, the first adult movie ever made. I wonder if there were outcries or any kind of negative reaction, censorship or something when of its release, there isn't much that can be found about it.

Here, more than a hundred years later it seems that cinema haven't evolved in terms of how nudity is presented and viewed by general public. Sure, nudity scenes are far more present and far more visible than what can be seen in "Après Le Bal" ("After the Ball"), sometimes showed as an art, other times merely exploitative, but it's always an issue that brings controversy, to some. And Méliès film is a perfect example that illustrates that a nude scene, actors naked on screen, shouldn't be a matter of negative discussions. They must be appreciated, seen in the same light as we see ourselves in our daily routine as we do, it's our body and there's nothing wrong with it.

The movie: a maid prepares the bath for his lady boss, who undresses and enters in a tin tub while the servant washes her. A simple action in the 1800's, a very natural thing. The cleverness comes from the way it was filmed, a behind perspective rather than frontal exposures, perhaps the main reason why this film escaped from harsh criticism.

Georges Méliès was a genius. He could take us to the moon, present devils and angels, wonderful magicians, men with floating heads and give us the human body as it is. That must have been a dazzling magic trick to many in the audience back in the day. 9/10


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