Translation of: Hablando con Max Linder, El Heraldo de Madrid, 17. Jun. 1915

Back to Original Text

 

 

Talking to Max Linder.

————

 

The dead resurrected.—Max, deputy.—

in his «dressing room».—The disease of

Max.—I was not hurt!—At the front.—

A moment of emotion.—For his mother!...

————

 

   "Max Linder in Flesh and Blood..." That's what theatre posters of the teatro Alfieri in Turin announced.

   And that's what was presented to the public.

   The green velvet curtain that hid the stage went up for Max Linder, excitement gave way to a delirious ovation. When Max Linder began to stammer a greeting in Italian, the large Turin audiences laughed. And than the representation began.

   Max Linder presented to the public a piece, purposely named "Max, deputy ..." Max received an invitation from his father to leave urgently to present himself to a district deputy, but his wife didn't want to part from him and when the couple left their home a white curtain was lowered and the beginning of the action of Max and his wife was cinematically projected, with many comic scenes of great effect, until Max came to the house of the governor of the province where Max would submit his application, in the suitcase carrying his wife, folded as one of his suits. When Max learned of the news of the general mobilization, again the white curtain was showing the sudden departure of Max Linder towards the Italian border in a car at appalling speed, eventually shattered in a curve, on a horse that falls into a river, running and finally aboard a balloon, in which and from which comes down to pulse-rudder rope on the edge of the Italian border, where he quickly dressed as a French soldier and with a gun in his hand looks at first at the sullen face of an Italian soldier on the other side of the border who also gives warning with his rifle ... but the suspicious looks of the two soldiers gradually softened and became sympathetic looks that pushed Max Linder and the Italian soldier to cross the border and join in a brotherly hug ... "Marseillaise" and the Italian national anthem ... Delirious ovation! .. An enthusiastic patriotic demonstration! .. There is nothing! ... On the eve of a hereby declared war! ...

   Max Linder, pale, very pale, shouting with all the strength and weaknesses of his lungs: "Viva Italy! ..." And the entire audience, standing, screaming, clapping, cheering to Max Linder, who, very pale, is forced to leave the stage supported by the artists who came to hold him ...

* *

   "In the dressing room" of Max Linder, the funny artist, still dressed as a French soldier, has difficulty breathing, a doctor takes his pulse and says he is wrong to strive, is very weak, not strong; another effort would cost him dearly ...

   Max Linder, very pale, bright-eyed look with fever, to the doctor and friends who are there.

   — I can no more — he says, I can no more ... — At last!, others give all their life for their country ... I'm giving mine in doses! ... .

* *

   While undressing Max Linder speaks to the "HERALDO":

   — I love the public in Spain very much, he says, you don't know how I felt with that mishap at the Gran Teatro, which forced me to stop work in Madrid, which was all I had wished for .. But anyway, I'm going back there ... Spain is so nice! ...

   — . . . ?

   — No. When the worldwide press broke the news of my death I had not been injured. An artist whose name resembled mine died in the trenches, and to communicate the news the telegraph perhaps initially mistook the name and that was enough to wrongly spreading the news of my death to everyone ...; but neither has it been an "advertising stunt" as has been said, nor had I anything to do with that mistake that almost cost the life of my mother ... ,

   — . . . ?

   Yes, sir ... my poor mother, whom I love and whom you journalists are wrongfully killing, by giving news about my health ...

   — . . . ?

   — I was four months at the front, feeding only out of cans ... Through the power and the hardships of the campaign I became seriously ill ... creating all those memories ...

   — . . . ?

   — No, I do not ... I have never believed that I'd die ... As in my life I've escaped death so many times, seeing her so close ... One of the times I have been operated on appendicitis by a doctor who told me that in all his life he had not operated in such a serious case like mine .. Then, in my profession, I have often seen death closely ... Total: I went to war when I took the conviction that I'm not going to die there.

   — . . . ?

   To maintain the connection between Paris and the front ... My car provided the basic service ... I had to cover the holes they made, officers were among the dead ... My God, I have conducted wounds of injured officers, dying and dead! ...

   Max covered his eyes with his hands, insights of one who got away.

   — . . . ?

   —Many times I was in danger ... Talk dodging the fire of the Germans ... My car got holes many times ... but, this I saw!, No one dies until he must die ... Once we believed we were finished, I had a captain who felt the duty "at all costs" to join the front trenches ... The Germans near Soissons, shooting ... "to give ...", and the captain ordered: "Forward!". I closed my eyes, because I heard the bullets whistle so close and were crossing in front of us ... For as in the "films"! Our airplane that appeared over us drew the fire that was meant to be thrown at the automobile, and ... We are saved! ...

   — . . . ?

   — No, I have not been injured ... Only I have suffered severe pneumonia ... The state of weakness ... the ..

   At that time Max removed his T-Shirt, and on the chest I saw a scar...

   — What is this?

   Max Linder looked at me for a moment, and then said:

   — Yes, it's true ... This is a serious injury, but as you see, it has healed ... Only that I do not tell anyone because I do not want my poor mother to find out, because she would suffer greatly ...

   — . . . ?

   — Taking advantage of my convalescence I wanted to take a trip to Italy, I had promised before the war ... The proceeds it brings go to the Red Cross ...

   — . . . ?

   — From here I go to Milan, then to Florence, Genoa, Rome and Naples ... There I embark for Marseille ...

   — . . . ?

   — Yes, embark because I want to make a film on board ...

   — . . . ?

   — Don't you know that I have a theatre of mine in Paris? ... You have to make films ...

   — . . . ?

   — On arrival in France the first thing I do is lock myself in a sanatorium, "I miss that good"

   — . . . ?

   — No, I can not say more ... When the war is over, and my words can be candid, I will tell some agencies which are very curious ... I have worked on the front ... I worked! And I regret not being healthy enough to be there, next to my fellow countrymen...

* *

   Upon leaving, a painful impression juxtaposed with images of Max Linder when he went to Madrid, vigorous, full of health, strong, and a picture of life ... now the Max Linder, weak, sick, his eyes bright with fever, sad, shot ... victim of war!

   But ... for heaven's sake! ... Readers ... Be pious and conceal this, that you not tell his mother! RAFAEL Turin, June 1915 (El Heraldo de Madrid, Jun. 17, 1915)

 

 

 

 

Note: When the same author did a "Hablando con 'Toribio'" a few weeks later, André Deed confirmed, that Max's "gloomy" state of mind, was not due to his war experiences alone, but really his nature: "¿No ha observado usted a Max Linder?... —Si... pero yo creí que su tristeza actual provenía de su enfermedad después de la guerra. —No, señor... Toda su vida ha sido un melancólico..." ["Haven't you watched Max Linder?... —Yes ... but I thought that his current sadness came from his illness, following the war. —No, sir ... His whole life he has been a melancholic ..."] (Heraldo de Madrid, Jul. 10, 1915)