17 user 7 critic

Ballet mécanique (1924)

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 »


Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy (uncredited)


Fernand Léger




Uncredited cast:
Kiki of Montparnasse Kiki of Montparnasse ... Smiling Girl (uncredited)
Fernand Léger Fernand Léger ... (uncredited)
Dudley Murphy ... (uncredited)
Katherine Murphy Katherine Murphy ... (uncredited)
Katrin Murphy Katrin Murphy ... Girl with a Flower (uncredited)


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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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 »

Alternate Versions

There are various existing versions of this film. However, the one thought to be closest to the version premiered in Vienna in 1924 is a print found in 1975 by Lillian Kiesler, widow of Frederick Kiesler, who arranged the premiere. This version has been preserved by Anthology Film Archives of New York. See more »


Ballet Mecanique
by George Antheil
See more »

User Reviews

Beautiful, with a mind-blowing score
1 November 2005 | by nadpretselSee all my reviews

This film is a very interesting short. To fully understand it you have to put your self in a mindset of someone in the 1920's when machines were starting to do jobs that humans typically did, were we being replaced by our own creations. It's scary and beautiful and shows machines as humanistic and humans as mechanical and visa versa. However, what I found most interesting was the score which was composed when the film was made in the 20's but couldn't be preformed or recorded until today as it requires 16 synchronized player pianos. This score was well worth the wait, it is one of the most interesting beautiful and shocking pieces of music I have ever heard. If the idea of music written for xylophones, sirens, a piano, 4 percussionists, an airplane propeller, buzzers, and the aforementioned player pianos intrigues you then you should hear the score however possible.

Note: the score of which I'm referring isn't on all versions of this film, as it was not recorded as intended until 1999 so make sure you see this film with the music you were supposed to see it with or you will be sorely missing out.

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Official Sites:






Release Date:

24 September 1924 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Balet mechaniczny See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Synchro-Ciné See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Kiesler)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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