The Bit I Like More Than Maybe I Should #3

The Apache Dance scene, from Charlie Chan In Paris (1935):

The apache dance is downmarket Parisian in origin, named after gangs of the time. According to Wikipedia, that Keeper of Truth, some say it is an interpretive dance version of a conversation between a prostitute and her pimp. Maybe – it’s definitely an interpretive dance of being a spectacular jerk. If you called it “The Misogyinist Dance” you wouldn’t be far off.

Charlie Chan In Paris is a pretty dreary entry in the Fox series of adventures of the Chinese detective starring Warner Oland, as dull as any I’ve yet seen (many are quite fun). It does have Erik Rhodes, one of the very fruitiest of 30s actors, and early on it features an alarming Apache Dance. Other than that, it sort of puts me to sleep. So let’s go to the dance!

chan1 chan2

Charlie and some Paris friends go to a nightclub. He’s gone along because an undercover operative who works as a dancer there has a message to slip him. Charlie makes eye contact with her.

chan3 chan4

The girl sees Charlie, and then her act begins. Let the violent girl-tossing begin!

chan5 chan6

Some creepy dude in a ludicrous disguise watches from a back window of the joint, the dancers silhouetted through frosted glass.

chan7 chan8
chan9 chan10

Just dumping a girl on the ground is not a move you see much of. Dancing With The Stars should look into it.

chan11 chan12
chan13  chan14

Ok I think the overhead shot is a helicopter ride, and then when he’s spinning her by an arm and leg, that’s an airplane ride, right? If she forgot to wear panties, this is where it would be a big problem.

chan15 chan16

This is how I remember most airplane rides ending when I was a kid.

chan17 chan18

After you’ve flung a girl across the floor, just to make sure she knows who’s boss, lift up her foot and strike a match for your ciggy off her shoe. Since smoking makes you look cool, it’s probably about time in the dance to light up anyway.

chan19 chan20

When she crawls after you, give her a kick in the face! Ah just kidding around…haul her back up.

chan21 chan22
chan23 chan24

Flip her, toss her, make sure she lands awkwardly in the crowd. Honestly, the difference between this and an uneven bar fight is hardly worth mentioning.

chan25 chan26

One last overhead lift, and then we end the way all classical dances and barfights do – by heaving the girl feet first out a glass window. The crowd applauds, knowing klassy Paris culture when they see it.

chan27 chan28

She lands as she must after every performance (what a window bill this place must have!), on a cot outside. Only tonight, the groupie waiting is the murdering kind.

chan29 chan30
chan31  chan32

Knife is thrown, inside her scream is heard. Charlie and the crowd jump up. I think it’s very sweet that her dance partner, having just concluded artistically beating the crap out of her, runs out to hold her quite tenderly as she dies.

And that folks, is how you do the Apache Dance!

Comments are closed.

LouiseBrooks theme byThemocracy