The Dancing Pig (1907)
4min · Comedy, Short · 10 August 1907
A girl in a short Belle Epoch chorus outfit stands in a small circus ring with a flat of a fancy entrance way with portieres. Into frame steps an enormous fat pig of about 6 feet in height. This is a comical, cartoon-like pig, wearing a tie, waistcoat and Victorian style jacket with a small ill fitting hat. It's a most impressive costume, expertly handled by the one wearing it. It shows smooth, articulate expressions and body movements, giving a very believable illusion that it's an actual living being. He expresses affection for the dancing girl, mimicking a proposal, but she refuses, and strips off his outfit, an obvious breakaway that separates in the back. In his embarrassment, he tries to cover himself with his front legs and pouts and appears on the verge of tears. She makes him wear a fluffy tutu-like skirt around his middle. They both dance together, doing kicks and hops in unison, until they finish by turning around, arm in hock, as it were, beyond the curtain behind them. The whole film has been in one static take, a full body shot centered on the stage. Suddenly a close up of the pig, filmed earlier when his clothes were on, of a tour de force of wild mugging. He opens his eyes wide, looking at us, a crazy teeth and gums bearing smile, he shuts his eyes, gushes into a laugh, his ears wiggle madly,and his tongue, (obviously the operator's arm in a stocking) sticks out from his mouth waving back and forth as the Pathé trademark abruptly ends the film. (a lot of their efforts at this time end in a close-up of the star, perhaps in that primitive day they thought a film needed some sort of coda to signal the story was over.) Also seen in this film was a man who removed a table and opened the ring, being inconspicuous in the background, like you weren't supposed to see him. It would seem we're seeing a filmed music hall/circus act. The pig is really a wonder, and has to be seen to be believed. It's far too sophisticated a costume for just a film.
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