Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Le premier cigare d'un collégien - 1908

Country: France
Language: French (intertitles)
Release Date: 18 January 1908 (USA)
Director: Louis J. Gasnier
Stars: Max Linder
Also Known As: Die erste Zigarre des Primaners Austria / Germany
First Cigar USA
His First Cigar USA
Production Co: S.C.A.G.L.
The French comic Max Linder is largely forgotten today, but he was so huge in his native country that he became sufficiently well-known in the States to have a crack in Hollywood (thanks largely to Charlie Chaplin identifying him as a major influence). This is one of Linder's earliest films, and it's well worth seeking out. He plays a callow youth who steals a cigar on which he liberally puffs in an attempt to impress a young lady. Of course it's not long before he's feeling a little sick and begins staggering around under the force of an attack of hiccoughs that sees him blundering into a neighbour's flat as he tries to make his way home.
The film is quite sophisticated for it's time with a relatively large number of scene changes as we follow Max's misadventures. It also features a close-up shot to show his reactions to the effects of the cigar he is smoking. Linder's movements when he is under the influence of the cigar are remarkably similar to Chaplins, and fans of the little tramp shouldn't miss the opportunity to watch this. You can find it on the internet.

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