By Professor Phil Powrie, Professor Eric Rebillard

ISBN-10: 0748621970

ISBN-13: 9780748621972

Pierre Batcheff was once a in demand cinema big name of the Twenties, a French Valentino best-known to trendy audiences because the protagonist of the avant-garde vintage, Un chien andalou (1929). not like different stars, Batcheff moved inside highbrow circles, in particular the Surrealists. This biography locations the silent display famous person in the context of Nineteen Twenties well known cinema and its male stars. Batcheff's lifestyles exemplifies the tensions among "popular" and the "intellectual" as cinema—the topic of extreme highbrow curiosity throughout Europe—became labeled someplace among commercialism and "art." significant movies studied intimately contain: Le Double amour (Epstein, 1925), Feu Mathias Pascal (L'Herbier, 1925), ?ducation de prince (Diamant-Berger, 1927), Le Joueur d'?checs (Bernard, 1927), los angeles Sir?ne des tropiques (Eti?vant and Nalpas, 1927), Les Deux timides (Clair, 1928), Un chien andalou (Bu?uel, 1929), Monte-Cristo (Fescourt, 1929), and Baroud (Ingram, 1932).

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One of the main reasons is the reluctance of Denise Tual and other protagonists to discuss it (Tual’s account of his death was only published in her autobiography in 1987, fifty-five years after the event). Then there is the stigma and silence related to drug usage, often only referred to obliquely in the press: ‘Les sentiers dangereux des paradis artificiels’ (‘The dangerous paths of artificial paradises’; L’Œuvre, 17 April 1932). Batcheff’s death was covered in great detail in the newspapers between 15 and 17 April 1932, and the results of the first medical findings were publicly disclosed (heart attack resulting from a toxic substance).

We find a peculiar combination of realism and comedy, a perception of the need for everydayness, but also a stepping back, a self-deprecating distance, an irony: Je voudrais que mes personnages disent des phrases comme on en dit dans la vie. N’avez-vous pas remarqué que, dans la vie, certaines gens sont comiques à chaque instant sans le savoir. Ils disent sérieusement des mots burlesques – burlesques pour les autres. Je voudrais mettre dans des films non seulement de l’ironie, mais de la farce, de cette grosse farce qui fait notre joie dans les comédies de Mack Sennett, avec des échelles qui tombent sur la tête du héros, des plats pleins de sauce qui se renversent, toute cette lutte sournoise que les objets et les animaux mènent parfois contre les maladresses des hommes.

It is worth noting that Les Enfants du paradis includes a scene that was originally in the Émile-Émile screenplay: ‘la pantomime où Baptiste veut se pendre avec une corde à sauter d’enfant’ (‘the pantomime where Baptiste wants to hang himself with a kid’s skipping rope’; Pierre Prévert 1965: 54). CHAPTER 2 Stardom in the 1920s The star system in France emerged around 1910 as theatre and music-hall stars crossed over into film (Vincendeau 2000: 5), but only really took off in the 1920s with the establishment of a wide-ranging film press, and the sharp rise in cinema attendance in the mid-1920s (see Abel 1984: 49).

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Pierre Batcheff and Stardom in 1920s French Cinema by Professor Phil Powrie, Professor Eric Rebillard


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