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The Cake-Walk Infernal (1903)

Le cake-walk infernal (original title)
Deep into a vast cavern of the pitch-black inferno, a couple of professional dancers demonstrate the cakewalk that is currently so much in vogue, and now, everyone in the once-gloomy underworld is doing the crazy dance. Who is the best?

Director:

Georges Méliès (uncredited)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Méliès ... Devil
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Storyline

Deep into a vast and high-ceilinged cavern of the pitch-black inferno, a black servant of hell introduces a couple of professional dancers to demonstrate the cakewalk--the satirical dance which originates from the late 19th-century black America and is currently so much in vogue. All of a sudden, a grotesque demon sprouts out of an enormous cake, performing his version of the popular dance; however, it all ends up in a loud explosion and a thick cloud of smoke. But, everything about this latest craze is so infectious--so, without delay--everyone in the once-gloomy underworld starts doing the crazy dance. Who is the best dancer? Written by Nick Riganas

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Plot Keywords:

1900s | 900s | inferno | infernal | pit | See All (50) »

Genres:

Short | Fantasy | Horror

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Connections

Featured in Méliès' Magic Show (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Little substance but its style carries it
19 July 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Do they dance in Hell? If they do then this is maybe what it is like. We join the scene of naïve celebration among the dancers when a demon bursts through onto the scene to torment the only black dancer with a version of the cake-walk that has the fires of damnation behind it.

Back when many films were very descriptive and very 'real' in their subjects, Méliès must have been a bewildering influence. Films called 'man riding a horse' were wowing them in the moving pictures (or movies as they are still called) by doing exactly what they said on the tin, or in other words, such a film would feature a man on a horse, a training coming into a station and so on. Méliès created short films that contain visual images that still retain their appeal today and will be known to many people (even if they don't know that they are his images!) and this is the modern appeal of his films to me. Sure they are simple in terms of substance and are more style over content but remember these are a century old – think of how they must have been viewed then!

This is one example but it is not one of his best for my money. The film is weird even watching it now and it is far more about visual impact than about its narrative foundation or substance. It looks great and some of the effects show him to have been years ahead of his time – anyone looking for meaning or plot will be annoyed but the focus is visuals and, in this regard, it still works and is very imaginative and strange.

I have watched many rubbish films and many good films that have lasted two hours; this film lasts only a very minutes and is well worth the amount of time it took for me to watch it. Méliès' images are still in the public psyche today and this film, while not his most famous, is another good example of why that is the case.


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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

13 June 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cake-Walk Infernal See more »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (hand-colored)
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