Luis Martinetti, Contortionist (1894)

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Luis Martinetti, a contortionist suspended from acrobatic flying rings, contorts himself for about thirty seconds. This is one of the first films made for Edison's kinetoscopes.


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Uncredited cast:
Luis Martinetti ...
Himself (uncredited)


Vaudeville performer Luis Martinetti demonstrates his novelty acrobatic act. Performing on the flying rings, he puts his legs through the rings and then contorts himself so that his head is between his legs. He swivels around to take up several different positions, in each case twisting his body around as necessary. Written by Snow Leopard

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Also Known As:

Луи Мартинетти, человек-змея  »

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Did You Know?


One of the 50 films in the 4-disk boxed DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives (2000)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives. This film was preserved by the Academy Film Archive, Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences. This version has an uncredited piano music score and runs 26 seconds. See more »


Featured in Edison: The Invention of the Movies (2005) See more »

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Of Definite Historical Interest
21 September 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This short feature is of definite historical interest, as one of the very first of the Edison Company's films to be made available for viewing through their Kinetoscope. Filmed in Edison's 'Black Maria' studio, it does a good job for its time in filming its subject.

Like a good many of the early Edison movies, this one features a popular vaudeville performer of the time. Luis Martinetti's act combined acrobatic skill with a surprising ability to bend and twist himself into unexpected positions. He does these in the movie with a minimum of props, and while it's not really all that exciting, you can see that it's not easy to do.

This is one case in which filming in the studio with the very dark background works well, highlighting the performer while still allowing him what he needs for his act. The framing is good, and the occasional jumps in the footage may not have been there originally. The pace of Martinetti's movement seems to vary, but it's difficult to tell whether that was actually his pace, or whether the camera may simply have been cranked at different speeds.

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