Translation of: A la memoria de Max Linder, ABC, 13. Nov. 1925

Back to Original Text

 

TO THE MEMORY OF

MAX LINDER

————

   The tragic death of Max Linder has not made "the press moan", as everybody had the right to expect with such an illustrious figure of the animated projection. This new tragedy (old time) of enamoured Pierrot, didn't produce this time a great sensation. Lives are now very fast with truly cinematic dizziness. The merits, the reputations, pass before our eyes, like the images of a film by the focus of a projector apparatus. Thus passes the glory of the world.

   Max Linder was not very involved lately, stayed a bit on the sidelines. Since Hollywood, the city of mimes, conquered the world market of the "screen" and began launching aces of laughter, Max Linder was losing ground. The Yankee fashion, which since the great war has been exerting much influence in types, uses and customs, has ruined not a few European values; Max Linder, one of them. And without discussing the quality of the others, permit me to reason on the slightly unreasonable case of Max Linder.

   Max Linder, to my mind, was the first master of the graceful film, but, also, I think that he has been the greatest teacher. When he appeared in the gallery of the House Pathé, the funny movies in fashion were the nonsense of demolishing furniture and destroying dishes, and running in the streets, chasing the first actor. Something very funny and varied, as could be seen.

   The stars of the genre were called André Deed (Toribio, between us) and Polydor (Tontolín). Max Linder, with Prince (Salustiano), brought dignity to the exhilarating film, elevating it from the plain level of the grotesque blunders to the more dignified of the vaudeville and funny comedy. And Prince, being an excellent actor, found himself to Max Linder having the notable advantage of his handicap face. That helped Prince very much, to make people laugh, the shape of his mouth and the protruding nose, while Max Linder's face was a common face. His moustache also did not offer anything special, his hairstyle, neither; correction of his clothes can't be improved. Always impeccably cut jackets, trousers always tense, always flamboyant hat, always impeccable shoes ... It seemed as if Max Linder said to himself when he became a silent actor: "Let's see if it's possible to start laughter by appearing before the audience in form of a person just like the other."

   Of which he succeeded, no doubt. How difficult it is to provoke the hilarity of a film audience with a decent figure and normal face without resorting to caricature dresses, it can give us the idea that Max Linder has had no rival on that level, nor leaves successor. If not, let's watch the comic aces now. Charlie Chaplin (Charlot) would he make us laugh without the peculiar little moustache, without the bushy fungus, without eccentric circus boots with a morning coat and trousers illogical least more plausible? Possibly not. And the Fat Fatty, without that corpulence, exploited to his advantage. Would he be as popular as he is? And Snuff Pollard, with his small stature and big drooping Chinese moustache? What about the cross-eyed Ben Turpin? And Tomasin, the one with the floured face and the fishing pants? The very Harold Lloyd, within his normality, he could not get away from the trick of the big glasses. Nobody trusts the vis comica unadorned, without hairpieces, without any physical deficiency or some quirky detail. That is why we must reduce the merit. So you have to increase that of Max Linder. The grace of this was all his and all natural and no twisting and never had to share his successes with neither disfiguring feature, nor with any extravagant garment. It was this his great virtue, and it gives him in my judgment, the preeminent place among the comic film aces.

   That Charlot has earned more money than him? So what? Since when here means the biggest gain greater merit?

   Poor Max Linder! Do not bring justice. Who knows if in the mystery of your death - which is the only trail that has left your life, discouragement hides produced by human injustice! RAMÓN LOPEZ-MONTENEGRO. (ABC, Nov. 13, 1925)