Translation of: Una interviú con Max Linder, El Cine, 28. Sep. 1912
An interview with Max Linder
At the hotel Colón
With great difficulty I managed, that the lovely author of my days leaves his center, primps and decides to accompany me to the interview that, representing El Cine, was to celebrate the great artist Max Linder.
— Gee, old nag — I mumbled looking at the clock and seeing that three minutes are missing till twelve.
And the old nag, as if he heard that whisper, trots and trots, and the vehicle runs along the cobbled streets with nervous trepidation.
What an idea — of Max Linder — to apoint for a conference, the classical and sacramental hour of the agony of the pots and pans!
We finally arrived with Spanish timeliness: five minutes after the appointed time.
By this time it will not be the traditional quarter hour of courtesy.
We entered the luxury reading room of the hotel Colón, through a compact group of curious, in which, horror!, sharpened pencils and poorly hidden photographic machines are seen.
Max Linder beleaguered in his own home by the most fearsome of armies! Poor Max Linder! I pity the heart a moment, but that compassion does not translate into repentance for me. Any renunciation of a chat with the very popular Max!
There in the back of the room the director of El Cine, Mr. Argilés, photographer correspondent for Mundo Gráfico, Mr. Ballel, two thick men and, caught up in color, a very distinguished and beautiful lady that pries with the look, and two more men who apparently have three daughters in this lively people who have converted Max into a San Sebastián martyr.
Max Linder has a very delicate health; gets up very late and is waited for a few minutes, for him to finish toilette.
The wait is not long, but it is utilized to observe the army of blowfly-like onlookers, next to the large windows of the hall.
Finally he appears in the hall, bareheaded, wearing supreme elegance. It is a kind of perfect Parisian, of distinguished manners, which unfolds with great naturalness, really handsome, dark-colored rosy, with all the freshness of a well-preserved youth, no trace of defects of any kind, seriously sympathetic, not paying attention to the curiosity that he is the subject of.
After cursory examination of his person, sheltering the confidence that the interview has to be cordial. I am not mistaken. The greeting is warm; I find out about his health and understand that it is not exaggerated. He left Paris after a few days in bed because of a slight throat ailment, that was reproduced on the journey to Barcelona. Fortunately it's better and almost completely restored.
Beginning the interview
— Do you allow me to begin a small interrogation, M. Linder? — I say.
— With great pleasure, Senorita. All I feel now is not being able to answer in Spanish. I really had an obligation to know something.
And we make a parenthesis of mutual apologies. Because, he does not speak the language of Cervantes; I, because of fear to stab the Racine and Molière.
— How do they behave my coountrymen?
— Oh, very well! I had previously been in Spain, incognito*. I can say that Spaniards are bluffs, very expansive, very noble, who puts his whole soul into the hand when offered.
I do not want to hurt Max Linder, bringing on the table, the comparisons that have been made of the Spanish character with other peoples.
So spontaneous are his manifestations that I am compelled to give thanks as Spanish.
— You are very popular in Barcelona; the announcement of your films is echoed in theaters with exclamations of satisfaction. If you announce a specific time for your release, soon after would see a queue of a few thousand people.
— I dislike to exhibit myself, Senorita. In addition, the civil governor, Mr. Portela, expressed his desire that I avoid, where possible the occasions that results in the public to agglomerate.
I think to myself, that Mr. Portela has not been proven very fine with Max Linder, but did not exteriorize my thoughts.
— Surely your trip to Spain has some artistic purpose that we can not penetrate. Can you tell me something in this regard?
— Oh, Senorita! My journey has no artistic purpose. I want to pay tribute of gratitude and learn about the public who is distracted by my humble work. And I am much indebted to Barcelona and Madrid.
— But there is something that compelled you to start your Tournee in Spain.
— I can't explain why, but I feel a great affection towards this nation, our sister in everything good. From here will march to Madrid, then back to Paris, and from there make another trip to Berlin and Vienna. Not really wanting to leave for America, as they say.
— However, will you not take adventage of the occasion of this trip to inspire some new creations in Spanish customs?
— Yes, Senorita. I know the Spanish character, and probably do something inspired by those customs. I wanted to compose in Barcelona five films, but I very much doubt, that you can get for now. For the moment I have thought seriously, making one.
— Can you tell me the title of that movie?
— Yes, Senorita: Max, torero for love.
— Ah! You like the bullfighting? Have you ever seen?
— I like very much. I have seen in France, and especially in San Sebastian, where I've gone incognito.
And it is no longer possible to describe the accents of enthusiasm with which Max Linder expressed himself.
Amices doesn't have in his España phrases as beautiful as that which has had Max Linder with regard to bullfighting.
— Do not be offended by the question, M. Linder. Do you believe that the Spain that you now visit is that described by Dumas and Gauthier?
Max Linder blushes a little and his smile shows the beautiful battery of small and ivory teeth.
Ponders for a moment, and finally answers.
— I love Carmen; but I like the Spain as it is: a very civilized country.
I appreciate the finesse of Max as much as I admire the direction and talent of his answer, for me, I confess, he prepared that matter as an ambush.
— Say, Max: Do you have the habit of studying the expression of your countenance?
— Never, Senorita.
— But undoubtedly you will write the arguments of your creations.
— Neither, Senorita. Do not have time for it, because weekly I do for the house Pathé Frères three or four films, some of which have thirty to forty tableaux.
— Then, how do you manage?
— Very simply. I conceive the issue, study carefully, and as I direct my colleagues, who assist me admirably, just an exposure, and the matter develops as we execute it.
— Then you create and develop a whim.
— This is the effect.
— Here are many who admire you always make comic roles in romantic situations and almost always Senorito.
— The thing is that, in romantic situations there is always a funny side of inexhaustible resources.
— To ridicule?
— No, to study.
— Inevitably you like especially the comic work.
— No, Senorita. I am passionate about serious genre, I like everything excessively sentimental, but they do not let me devote myself to it. Twice what we have tried, and both times have rained on the house Pathé demands, that they do not leave the comic genre.
— The claims have been of Spain?
— No, of foreign houses.
— If not indiscreet question, can you tell me what cinematic genre you like best??
— The serious. I'm attracted to the dramatic genre, which I find more merit as regards to the personal work of the artists.
Intimate Max Linder
— Do you have tragic or comic authors of your choice? Do you like Sardou more than the vaudeville of Montmartre and Porte St. Martin?
Max ponders a moment; again rises to his cheeks a crimson wave revealing a deeply felt shame, and answered me.
— Senorita, it has been talked a lot about me, introducing me as a man dedicated to all vices. As well, Senorita; and I have told you I like the serious and sentimental. Now I must add, that I have never visited nor will I visit those theaters, where the people of the underworld attend. Precisely my character is the contrast of my papers.
He stops a few seconds and brightening his eyes, without my asking, he tells me:
— I'm single, Senorita; love stories and conquests attributed to me are not true. All that account a love adventure with me and a Spanish artist, is false in an absolute mode. I do not usually go out at night, and as soon as I finish my work, I lie, not without surrender to reading my favorite authors.
— I thought that Mlle. Napierkowska was the wife of yours.
— No, Senorita; is the wife of a friend of mine whom I love very much.
The women and Max Linder
— What do you think of Barcelona women?
By asking the question I don't want to signify to you, what an immense match the popular artist is among the female element, and, moreover, already had discounted the polite thing of the response.
— The women? — he answers — are very beautiful, very elegant.
— Yes, but … which type do you like more?
— To me, blondes; if you have blue eyes even better. The type of feminine beauty pleases me most, is which approximates the English woman.
— Thin, huh?
— Oh, no; thin or thick, provided that they are slender.
— Have you ever been interviewed by a woman?
— No, Senorita; this is the first time in my life.
End of the interview
— What do you think of Barcelona?
— Barcelona is beautiful, it is a great civilized city.
— Have you visited our Paral-lel, where you're so popular?
— Max is not aware of the existence of such Paral-lel, and when I say that it has enough similarity to Montmartre, is encouraged and decides to visit.
— But you have to see at night.
— Then maybe I see not; I've already told you that I go seldom by night.
— Journalists bothered you much?
Max smiles in a special way, and answers:
— So far there have already been four.
I interpret as I must smile, because it coincides with a following furtive glance, directed to the clock on his wrist: Trifle!
All the correctness of Max Linder is needed to having remained attentive, thin and smiling, during an extensive hour, sitting on the rack of interrogation.
A few seconds during which photographers of El Cine and Mundo Gráfico take photographs of the group, and ends the lengthy conference.
— When will you return to Barcelona?
— Next year, Senorita; — replies Max Linder — and I promise to bring some novelty to Barcelona.
We parted with a strong handshake, I thank him for everything on behalf of El Cine and on my own behalf and we promise friendship.
My judgment? Although worth little, it is expressed with sincerity:
Max is a true artist, a cultured man and a perfect gentleman.
Barcelona in September of 1912
(El Cine, Sep. 28, 1912) [cited: SILENT FILM ARCHIVE, 2014]
* Max had taken part in the "Tornoeo de esgrima", lasting from Sep. 7 till Sep. 11, 1908, in San Sebastian.