Translation of: ¿Cómo era Max Linder?, Blanco y negro, 22. Nov. 1925

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In life and on the screen

BY J. B.


  If the invention of film had been delayed for a few years, Max Linder would not have pulled the head out of the gentle lake of anonymity. Because Max Linder could not be anything but a "movie actor". In his youth he was a bad student, in trade that he was occupied in, he was nothing more than a moderate dependent, in show business, with a company of strolling comics, he showed no great skills. His gestures and grimaces, his manners and attitudes required the performance of the screen, it had to be passed through the funnel of light.


ML and two girls

Max Linder with two girls that acted in one of his first

"Films". (Photo Iberia)


   It seems that Max Linder was not his name, but the name that he chose as "alpenstock" to scale the heights of popularity, therefore, what has been said of a German origin, does not seem to be true. Linder indeed sounds German, but the movie actor was adopting it, certainly not thinking of that. Max Linder was French, very core French. He was born and lived his early childhood in Bordeaux. I met him in the year 1911, and then he was what is called a Parisian. The good and legitimate Parisian believes that the world ends just across the fortifications. He lived at that time on a lower floor of a luxurious and expensive house on the banks of the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower. There was in the decoration and furniture of the floor some improvisation that hindered harmony. The owner must have wanted to buy everything in one afternoon, and had no time for selection. I was visiting Max Linder on behalf of the Argentinian magazine Caras y caretas. Max Linder tried to hide his spirit of a little commoner with a newly acquired solemnity that something big was coming. From time to time he forgot to handle this and a bit of his natural could be seen. It was much more sympathetic.

   Max Linder was happy then. He was satisfied with his popularity, and made money.

   — Would you change with someone? —I asked him point blank.

   Max Linder, in reply, opened his eyes and pursed his lips, his grin preferred to express amazement. And then added to pout these words:

   —Non, monsieur; je suis Max Linder!



   I wanted to "do" the journée de Max Linder, and was advised to pick a photographer. And at four p.m. Max Linder managed to wear the pajamas, eat breakfast, open the mail, make his morning toilette, go to the Forest, back to lunch, read newspapers, write some letters, received his employer (for employer served the Gas Company collector, who coincidentally came to read the meter) and, finally, to wear the tailcoat for the theater. All this was done in two hours. Max Linder was vehement, and his vehemence served for some great activity. Before leaving I was much advised not to forget the figure of 200,000 francs as his earning in that year.

   Before the war I was able to meet with Max Linder quite often. Sometimes he phoned to tell me of the great new contracts he signed. If there was one happy man in the world, that was Max Linder. Superficial, proud of his work, with his large vanity satisfied, he spoke only of his triumphs and his art. Charlot or Salustiano had not yet appeared on the screen. The laughter that erupted in the darkness of the cinemas was all his, he monopolized the laughter.


M. Max Linder

The Spanish artist Angelina Vilar, the popular Max Linder and

Mr. Vaudeme in the "Sketch" a la Americana. (Photos Garrigosa)


   One time I witnessed the shooting of a Max Linder film. Napoleon could not have given more strict orders to his generals than Max Linder to his operators, stagehands and other staff. And when something was not to his taste, there was unleashed in invective against all. Thankfully, the filmstrip did not contain his swearing.

   I left Paris, and since then my relationship with Max Linder was disrupted. It seems that he made a marriage of love with a rich bourgeois lady, whose family opposed their marriage. Max Linder kidnapped her, but this movie he didn't film. Younger than her husband, Madame Max Linder didn't seem to take married life very seriously. And so the happy man began to be unhappy. When the young wife danced in restaurants of Montmartre, Max Linder, from his table, followed her through the bars of the bottles of champagne with eyes full of jealousy. And this jealousy has killed and made him kill his wife. Because she disagreed about suicide; numb, under the effects of a dose of aconite which was managed by her husband, he severed her veins. And then his.

   Nobody could have foreseen this drama starring Max Linder. And, when the film of life gives a role to a woman, you can not ensure that it is in a movie with laughter ... J. B. [=Javier Bueno] (Blanco y negro, 22.11.1925)