The French had their share of broad, slapstick performers, but they also developed more subtle, character-driven comedies typified by the work of actor-director Leonce Perret. His influence across the Atlantic can be seen in the situational shorts of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew and the nuanced tit-for-tats of the Hal Roach Studio. The style returns to France with René Clair’s brilliant (and final) silent feature Les deux timides.
Leonce Flirt. 1913. France. Directed by Leonce Perret
His Wife Knew About It. 1916. USA. Directed by Sidney Drew
What Price Goofy. 1925. USA. Directed by Leo McCarey
Les deux timides (Two Timid Souls). 1928. France. Directed by René Clair
A first-generation filmmaker, the debonair Max Linder quickly stood out from his anarchic and roughhouse contemporaries. His persona of a dandified, everyman-about-town and his refined, naturalistic approach to physical comedy made him the first international movie star. This program follows Linder’s development from his beginnings in France to his later career in the US, and includes a direct imitation of Linder’s work directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Mack Sennett.
Le pendu. 1906. France. Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
Les debuts d’un patiner (Max Learns to Skate). 1907. France. Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
The Curtain Pole. 1909. USA. Directed by D.W. Griffith
Max et son chien Dick (Max and His Dog Dick). 1912. France. Directed by Rene Leprince, Max Linder
L’amour tenace (Love Unconquerable). 1912. France. Directed by Max Linder
Max in a Taxi. 1917. USA. Directed by Max Linder