Archive for August 3, 2014

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1897 – Serpentine Dance

And, we get to 1897.

This is one of the years I mentioned earlier as having a lack of choices. Mostly this is here because, in montages of early cinema, you see this a lot. Plus, this is basically the same as putting a stripper on the screen. Which… considering there were review boards who would ban films on a state by state basis into the 30s, I’d say that’s pretty significant.

The serpentine dance is something that showed up in this decade. (The 1890s. In case you’re lost.) Basically, it was a form of burlesque dance that was a reaction to ballet dancing. Mostly, “We can’t do that fancy shit, I never took no dancing lessons, let’s just shake our skirts around and then people will clap.” This is America in a nutshell. Something is too formal for us, we don’t believe in high class shit (either because we can’t do it, don’t get it, or because… ‘Murica), so we just develop our own lower class version. It was pretty popular in the vaudeville shows of the day.  The main thing about it was, as they waved their dresses in the lights, the colors would reflect and create a nice projection.

Which is really what I came here to talk to you about. Tinting and toning. This is my Alice’s Restaurant twist to the whole thing. This image, aside from being memorable in the history of film and all that, is also a beautiful example of early film coloring. (more…)


Pic of the Day

Serpentine Dance Edison - 6