Translation of: Max Linder en Nueva York, Cine-Mundial, Dec. 1916
Max Linder in New York
Great mimic arrives aboard the "Espagne," with a three days delay. - His luggage has been the subject of many com-
ments. - Leaves the same day for Chicago with the President of the ESSANAY. - No one speaks
of anything else in film circles.
By GIL PEREZ
ON the morning of November 7 Max Linder came to this metropolis together with 46 bags full of clothes. Expecting the comic on the docks of the French Transatlantic were Mr. George K. Spoor, manager of the firm Essanay, and representatives of the press. While the "Espagne" docked, we asked Mr. Spoor how long the latest addition to the Essanay would stay in the city. The manufacturer said that he intended to steer the whole entourage to Chicago that afternoon.
Max Linder embarked in Cherbourg on October 8 bound for Liverpool. He spent several days in London, conferring with the representative of the company in Europe and the 31st of the same month he left for New York thinking of securing tricks that he would use to make the Yankee audience laugh and the submarines of Von Tirpitz.
The arrival of the "Espagne," with about three days delay, was the sensational event of the month in New York that followed the election in importance. She had a huge gap and other considerable damage. Although there were no regrettable encounters with submarines during the voyage, in the Cantabrian Sea the "Espagne" hit at midnight with an unknown merchant ship and both were about to sink. For a hundred feet in the middle of the ship, on the port side, were the marks made with the mysterious ship's bow, which was lost in the mist moments later without triggering a signal. All passengers were on deck with lifeguards up to an hour, until the officers made sure that there was no danger.
Linder, in his dealings, retains the proverbial seriousness of the comedic actor off the boards. Perhaps this obedience to the transformation that is registered in the French character because of the war. Two years ago, the favourite mime, at the zenith of his artistic career, offered himself and other property to the government. He was a scout in the air corps and by automobiles and always provided his own machines. He joined later in the artillery, but was seriously wounded in the left shoulder, which necessitated three following operations, soon put an end to his military exploits. After three months in hospital he was discharged and went to Italy, where his speeches in favour of the Allies, rendered invaluable services. His work in this area earned him the enthusiastic approval of the Minister Salandra. He was then in Switzerland recovering the health and there produced several very funny films.
While in Contrexville, still convalescent, the Essanay contract proposed to him was very satisfactory to induce him to come to the United States. Linder, although initially refused to leave the ranks of the army, could be convinced that France was more in need of financial resources of his person, and here it should be noted that a large part of the salary of the actor is committed to the cause.
"I want my friends in North America to know, however," he said in Liverpool before leaving, "I have no animosity toward any nation. I feel in my soul, like everyone else in Europe, which has declared this war is great. But I'm French and I love my country. Though Germany is our enemy, I have respect for a German who fights for his country."
The Essanay has already opened negotiations on the exclusive rights of the films in France, Britain, Germany and Russia. S. Hertzberg, representative of a film company from Shanghai, currently in Chicago is trying to get the rights for China and Japan.
The artistic Europe gets hit with the mighty loss of a great ruler of mime and articles devoted to this topic, which newspapers and magazines publish overseas, noticed some bitterness in the comments.
Max Linder has signed a contract for a year, but retains the right to renew for the same time to completion. Each week the ex-soldier will receive a higher amount than General Joffre gets throughout the year.
His arrival has taken a sensational effect in art circles and especially among the actors who engage in the same genre. Undoubtedly entrepreneurs snatch the first film in which he appears, and the public will decide afterwards the status of Linder in this country. And it should be borne in mind, that the Essanay is one of the few companies that has never made mistakes in hiring artists. In their casts are included, with the exception of Mary Pickford, the "stars" most productive in the new art: Anderson (Broncho Billy), Walthal and Chaplin. Asking a critic of our English edition, a recognized authority on film, if Linder is to achieve success, we triggered this answer:
"I do not see how you can avoid it." As this issue of CINE-MUNDIAL goes to press, the French maestro of gesture already will have begun to work in the wonderful workshops held by the Essanay in Chicago Nebula. (Cine-Mundial, Dec. 1916)