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The Cake-Walk Infernal (1903)

Le cake-walk infernal (original title)
Pluto, having seen the earth, comes back home amazed at the success of that well-known dance, the "cake-walk." He has brought back with him two noted well-known dancers, who start their ... See full summary »

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Pluto, having seen the earth, comes back home amazed at the success of that well-known dance, the "cake-walk." He has brought back with him two noted well-known dancers, who start their favorite dance amidst the flames. A queer and ugly being wishes also to join in the dance, but his limbs break away and dance far from him. All the subjects of His Majesty are seized with the irresistible mania for dancing, and start an unbridled provincial dance. At this sight Satan starts out of the earth a large blaze, which annihilates everything around him, disappearing himself through the flames. This view has beautiful new effects and much improves with colors. For the first time in a cinematograph view one can see some of the will-o'-the-wisp wandering among human beings. The effect is magical. Written by Méliès Catalog

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Short | Fantasy

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13 June 1903 (USA)  »

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The Cake-Walk Infernal  »

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Like a talent show in Hell!
8 January 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The summary was NOT meant to be negative--it is a true description of what seems to be happening in this pleasant but not especially remarkable film by that genius of silent cinema, Georges Méliès.

The film was made on a set with sliding backdrops. They are painted up to look like a cave--I assume this is meant to be Hell inside the Earth. And into this cave appear a wide variety of ladies dancing can-can style as well as the Devil himself. It all seems very random--with various characters appearing and disappearing without much story line or reason. Because there is no apparent theme, it all looks like a talent show, of sorts, and is among the poorer films I've seen by Méliès.

Having said this, poor Méliès is still great film work when compared to his contemporaries--even those who were deliberately copying his style and camera tricks. The randomness and ordinariness don't mean this isn't entertaining--but it sure could have used a theme to give it a sense of purpose other than to say "life here in Hell is pretty cool--come join the party"!


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