Striptease and Burlesque

Airy Fairy Lillian Tries on Her New Corsets (Fragment)
P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1905

From Show Girl to Burlesque Queen
K: A.E. Weed. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1903.
Filmed August 25, 1903 in the Biograph New York City studio
Print: Library of Congress

“Both as an overt theme and as a medium of theatrical jesting, voyeurism seems to be largely a contribution of the cinema to the basic entertainment formula. Consider, for instance, a 1903 Biograph short entitled From Show Girl to Burlesque Queen in which a young woman enters a dressing room and removes everything but a sleeveless undergarment; then, slipping a strap off of one shoulder, she retreats behind a screen, over which she finally tosses the chemise. What’s particularly interesting is the fact that, throughout the act, she insists on smiling flirtatiously at the camera, and it’s the proximity of the camera which, in registering the look that she gives it, foregrounds the exhibitionist act, displaying it as exhibition.”
Cinematheque Froncaise

>>> smiling women: La signora dall’eterno sorriso on this website

“Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery. (…) A later use of the term, particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a vatiety show format. These were popular from the 1860s to the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theatres, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease.”