Sunday, August 28, 2022

Max Linder in His Supreme Burlesque -- August 28, 2022

Moving Picture World, 26-August-1922

Max Linder was the biggest star in film comedy before Charlie Chaplin. Linder appeared in hundreds of early Pathé slapstick comedies in France. He became a major star before World War One. There is some confusion about what he did in the war, but he was wounded or became seriously ill and newspapers reported that he had died. This was not true, but the French film industry, the most powerful in the world before the war, had mostly shut down. Max took an offer from Essanay and came to America, signing a deal to make six short films. The first two did poorly and the third did only a little better, so that was the end of the series. Max returned to France and opened a cinema. He made a feature in France, and then headed back to the US. He made a feature, Seven Years Bad Luck, which did well at the box office. His next American film, Be My Wife, did not do well at the box office. 

His next feature film, The Three Must-Get-Theres, a parody of Douglas Fairbanks' recent hit The Three Musketeers, was his last film produced in the US. Max wrote, directed and produced the movie. I always thought the title was clunky. 

Moving Picture World, 12-August-1922

The film used many anachronisms, like the telephone. 

Moving Picture World, 26-August-1922

Max played Dart-In-Again (groan) and Jobyna Ralston played Constance. Bull Montana played Cardinal Richie-Loo.

Moving Picture World, 26-August-1922

The movie was booked into some major theaters. 

Moving Picture World, 19-August-1922

Meanwhile, Max had gone back to France and started work on what would be his last films. Abel Gance directed Au Secours! and Édouard-Émile Violet directed The King of the Circus. I saw Au Secours! at the San Francisco Film Festival.

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