Saturday, November 22, 2008

Can Can-ing at Le Moulin Rouge Again

Was YouTubing about as I do and found some footage purporting to be Can Can dancing at Le Moulin Rouge in 1902.

My attention was riveted (you know me) ... it does appear to be old film.

But I began to wonder about the Moulin Rouge connection.

It was obviously not shot on the premises but in a studio of some sort. In part cos wealthy patrons needed anonymity to engage dancers in their other than Can Can activities - so filming wouldn't have been functional in the famed establishment.

'Photographs' that do exist are constructions after the fact - composites of contemporary single shots ...

And the only film I've ever found is a tiny sequence around Montmartre at the turn of the C20 century, beginning at Le Moulin de la Galette and finishing in la place Blanche and in front of Le Moulin Rouge:

The beginning of my disappointment :<

But there was something else niggling away in the back of my mind.

Then I had it - the dancers didn't seem French!

Much more like Windmill chorus girls from the West End in London. Anglo is their boisterous laughing energy - bawdy English lasses rather than the sexually free-wheeling successors of La Goulue (my post of 31 August 2008 'La Goulue and the Can Can at the Moulin Rouge - Louise Weber (1866-1929)').

What do you think guys?


  1. So, the scenes of an elephant in Baz Lurhmann's "Moulin Rouge!" have a basis in fact.

  2. yep victor, it does - in fact the elephant was bought by the Moulin Rouge from a circus and set up in their cafe garden outside.

  3. hey victor again - remembered the elephant was a leftover from the Paris 1900 world fair.

  4. I agree about the film. They don't seem particularly graceful or interesting. Doubt they'd hold up in a paying situation. Love the street scene; so poignant!

  5. hey jason

    yeah they were so legendary ... and seem so ordinary in the film :<

    but u r right, the street is mesmerizing - works for me like time travel! :>