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Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Short | 1894 (USA)
Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dances. For this performance, her costume has a pair of wings attached to her back, to suggest a butterfly. As she dances, she uses her long, flowing skirts to create visual patterns.
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Credited cast:
... Herself (as Annabelle)
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Storyline

A stationary camera records a smiling Annabelle dancing on a simple stage, a low barrier visible to her right. Her outstretched hands hold the edges of her wide skirt, which she moves in figures as she kicks and turns. On her back are wings, on her head a tiara of butterfly wings. The pattern on the front of her dress also suggests a butterfly. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary | Short

Certificate:

Not Rated
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1894 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Annabelle No. 1  »

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

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Edison: Invention of Movies
31 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

Sandow (1894)

Carmencita (1894)

Boxing Cats (1894)

Caicedo With Pole (1894)

Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894)

Cockfight, no. 2 (1894)

These six shorts from Edison, still early in the movie game, are rather interesting because of the self promoting factor in them. It's clear a few famous folks thought appearing in movies might bring more people to their actual show and on that level these shorts remain very interesting today. That's especially true when you consider the lack of footage of such acts. Sandow is Eugene Sandow, the man who claimed to be the strongest in the world. Shot on March 6, 1894, we see Sandow flexing in various ways in front of the camera. I'm not sure what he was thinking at the time of shooting but seeing this today is quite a laugh. Carmencita is the famous dancer doing her belly dance on screen making her the first woman to appear in an American movie. The film has become somewhat famous over the past several years because of various documentaries doing studies about early sexuality and how it caused so much controversy. This film, as innocent as they come, did strike a bit of outrage when originally released so it's fun to look at with that in mind. It's also worth noting that this was the first movie listed on the IMDb. Boxing Cats would have PETA members throwing a fit today but in 1894 seeing two animals fight, in a funny manor, was quite entertaining. Prof. Welton can be seen in the center of the frame directing his two cats, with boxing gloves on, to fight. This is actually pretty funny and it's worth noting that the cats throw more punches than a lot of the real fights that were filmed around this time with humans. Caicedo With Pole has hire-wire specialist Juan Caicedo jumping, bouncing and flipping on his wire, which must have been an amazing site when originally released. Annabelle Butterfly Dance features the famous Annabelle Moore dancing around a stage in a white outfit with wings attached. This here probably remains one of the most viewed shorts from this era with its images being shown throughout the world when it comes to exploring early cinema. Cockfight, no. 2 would be controversial today as it features two birds going after one another while two men in the background make bets. This was actually a remake so to speak as the original film was released earlier in the year and was apparently so popular that the prints wore out, which caused the studio to make this version. Apparently the original version didn't feature the men in the background.


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