Monday, October 04, 2010

French Clowns 1905-1914, A-Z, Programme 2

Teatro Verdi, Pordenone (GCM), e-subtitles in English and Italian, with Donald Sosin on the grand piano, 4 Oct 2010. Prog. 2 ca 107 min

Biographical notes by David Robinson. Film synopses supplied by the Archives Françaises du Film du Centre National de la Cinématographie, Bois d’Arcy. All prints from the Archives Françaises du Film (CNC), Bois d’Arcy. Quotes from the GCM Catalogue in italics.

BOIREAU (André Deed, 1884-1938). Having worked in music hall and (probably) in films at the Méliès studio, Deed was engaged in 1906 by Pathé, and, as “Boireau”, achieved rapid international popularity, definitively inaugurating the personality series comedy. In January 1909 Deed defected to the Itala company of Turin and was renamed Cretinetti (known in France as Gribouille). Returning to Pathé in 1911 he resumed his old name.

LES APPRENTISSAGES DE BOIREAU / Jim's Apprenticeship / Jim as Pastrycook (Pathé Frères, FR 1907). D: Albert Capellani; cast: André Deed, Aurèle Sidney; 35mm, 105 m., 5' (18 fps), tinted. English intertitles.
Boireau is a dunce. His angry parents send him to be an apprentice to a hatter, a grocer, and finally a hairdresser. But every time the boy proves his ineptitude and clumsiness and is sacked. - From a battered, scratched source. The enfant terrible in the world of jobs.

BOIREAU FAIT LA NOCE (Pathé Frères, FR 1908). D: ?; cast: André Deed; 35mm, 188 m., 9' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau takes advantage of his parents’ absence to put on his father’s clothes and go out on the town. He invites two young ladies to dine in a private room and orders champagne. Soon drunk, Boireau creates scandal and destruction. He leaves the waiter the card of his known and respected father so that the man can be recompensed. Then Boireau takes his two ladies for a trip in a motorcar, again at his father’s expense. He hits a pedestrian and attracts a crowd, but extricates himself by showing his father’s card to the policeman on the spot. Still staggering, he meets two characters whom he invites home for a drink; they imprison the servant in the chimney and strip the house while Boireau lies collapsed on his bed. When his parents return home they not only have to face the burglary but find themelves assailed with bills. Obliged to pay, the father severely corrects his son. - Good print. The enfant terrible on a spending spree on his father's credit. Furious speed, the farce based on the chaos principle.

UNE DOUZAINE D’OEUFS FRAIS (Pathé Frères, FR 1908). D: ?; cast: André Deed; 35mm, 170 m., 8' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
A lady sends her husband to get a dozen eggs. On the way he makes quite a few stops in bistros. He remembers that he has to buy eggs. But after each stop, some mishap prevents him from bringing back the eggs safe and sound… - Print fair to good. Drunken farce taken to the extreme limits.

BOIREAU ET LA DEMI-MONDAINE (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli; 35mm, 237 m., 11' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau’s father has decided to marry off his son, the pride of the family. But Young Boireau is not in accord with the paternal view, having already made his choice in the amiable person of Valentine, a young beauty who will consent to make her friend happy through marriage. - A fair print.

BOIREAU ET LA GIGOLETTE (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli; 35mm, 301 m., 14' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau is attracted by some unusual explosions. It is a group of Apaches who are quarreling over their standing in the affections of a dark-haired moll. Boireau ventures into a sleazy bar where he discovers the moll herself, thereby fanning the flames of jealousy in his rivals… - B. is even buried in cement in a well from where he sneaks himself free with the help of funny special effects.

LA FÊTE DE BOIREAU (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli; 35mm, 207 m., 10' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
For his name-day, Boireau’s girlfriend Valentine comes with her parents to present him with a big bouquet. Boireau, in a bad temper after his complicated preparatory toilette, brushes aside the flowers and good wishes. The poor girl weeps and stamps her foot, but finally the couple are reconciled with a thousand inanities… - Good print. A farce based on the motif of wet paint.

BOIREAU SE VENGE (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli; 35mm, 226 m., 10' (18 fps).Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau asks for the hand of Miss Jane Ronchonot, the daughter of a retired colonel. Jane loves Boireau, but her father wants to impose another match on her. To defeat the paternal willl, Jane and Boireau get together to ridicule the Colonel’s candidate… - Print fair to good. Mayhem includes felling a tree, tricking a statue being apparently broken by a ricocheting bullet, and having the rival being plunged into a pond.

BOIREAU FILLE DE FERME (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli (Gribouillette); 35mm, 221 m., 10' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Gribouillette, the daughter of a fat Normandy farmer, has four suitors: a fireman, a farmer, a lawyer’s clerk, and Boireau the farm boy. Only Boireau has been able to conquer her heart. But Gribouillette’s father, who dreams of a good match for his daughter, turns a deaf ear. The other three combine their votes. Boireau, dressed up as a farm girl, pretends to be Gribouillette and receives the candidates… - Good print. Cross-dressing: Gribouille and Gribouillette change clothes, and Gribouille gives the three rivals a rough treatment.

BOIREAU AU HAREM (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed, Cherifeh Hanem; 35mm, 320 m., 15' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau, drawn by the charm and sweetness of the East, has settled in Constantinople, when he is is commanded to photograph His Highness Pasha Maboul Humid. The interview is extremely cordial, and, to reward his guest, the Pasha permits him to enter the throne-room, where there are his dancers… - Good print. An extraordinary belly dance. Cherifeh Hanem is an excellent partner to André Deed. The funniest cut: after entering the harem, we see Gribouille totally exhausted and Cherifeh very vitalized, enjoying a smoke. In the chase sequence, André Deed gets to play the harem maid, himself. *

BOIREAU EN MISSION SCIENTIFIQUE (Pathé Frères, FR 1912). D: ?; cast: André Deed; 35mm, 319 m., 15' (18 fps). Sans intertitres à l’origine.
Boireau, appointed by the scientific society of which he is President, departs on a scientific mission. His quest is to find, at the bottom of the ocean, the famous sponge out of which towels can be made. After sailing for days and nights, our explorer is the victim of a grave catastrophe. His boat, hit by an iceberg, is destroyed at the bottom of the sea. Boireau saves himself on a raft, along with his trunk… - Print fair to good. Kevin Brownlow remarked after the show that Buster Keaton may have seen this and it might have inspired The Navigator. There are Méliès affinities in this wacky story.

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