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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?

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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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1900s | 900s | inferno | infernal | pit | See All (54) »

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Short | Fantasy | Horror

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13 June 1903 (USA)  »

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The Cake-Walk Infernal  »

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User Reviews

Funny, Witty, & Nicely Crafted
12 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Although the original motivation behind this Georges Méliès feature was to spoof a popular dance craze of the day, it has so much of Méliès's wit and camera wizardry that it is still quite funny and entertaining today. This kind of popular culture parody is just one of the many genres to which Méliès applied his extraordinary imagination.

The feature takes the "Cake-Walk" dance and uses it is the subject for a series of short dance numbers, some of which would almost look at home in an MGM musical, and others of which are enjoyably bizarre. The backgrounds are stage-like, but they usually contain plenty of interesting detail in themselves. Some of the sequences feature amusing sights without any camera tricks, while at other times Méliès demonstrates the special effects for which he was so well-known.

There isn't really a story so much as a succession of images, which yet somehow seem connected by a strange logic all their own. There are so many unusual and skillful Méliès movies that it gets awkward to say of all of them that, "any fan of Méliès would enjoy this", but in this case it is once again true.


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