The world’s first hand-tinted motion picture was produced by Thomas Edison’s company, Edison Studios, in 1895, more than 115 years ago. The dancer, Annabelle Moore (1878-1961), was just a teenager when this film was released, and her dance caused both a sensation and a scandal. (Note the flashes of undergarment, all the way up to above the knee, about 29 seconds in.) It may have been a sign of things to come: Moore would go on to star as the Gibson bathing suit girl in the first Ziegfeld follies, where she remained until her marriage and retirement brought her back to respectability in 1912.

The film is also worth comparing with a similar but much more delicately painted version done just five years later by the Lumiere brothers.

(Special thanks to the recently-launched Weyume)

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly


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