André Deed as Cretinetti

Come Cretinetti paga i debiti
D: André Deed. P: Itala Film. It 1909

Come fu che l’ingordigia rovinò il Natale a Cretinetti
D: André Deed. P: Itala Film. It 1910

“Not long after Deed made his film debut, a decidedly different comedian established himself as Deed’s most formidable rival.  That comedian was the irrepressible Max Linder.  Deed and Linder were the yin and yang of early film comedy.  But, at first, Linder did not seem as influential as Deed, who spawned far more imitators than Linder.  There was, however, a good reason for that.  Linder derived comedy from his distinct charm and personality.  How could anyone really be Max Linder except for Max Linder himself?  Deed played a bungling idiot who created destruction wherever he went.  That was an easier formula to replicate. (…)
Deed, a protégé of Georges Méliès, is the missing link between Méliès and Mack Sennett. He achieved popularity with camera-trick gags and slapstick chases. An early success for Deed was The Wig Chase (1906), which was written by André Heuzé. This film, which was about a woman’s wig floating away with balloons and a mob of people climbing up the Eiffel Tower to retrieve it, established an effective formula of fantastic comic anarchy for the comedian. Heuzé later applied the same formula to The Runaway Horse (1908), a highly successful comedy that was quickly remade by Biograph as The Curtain Pole (1909). The Biograph film starred Mack Sennett as Monsieur Dupont, who was made up to resemble a grotesque version of the dapper Linder. This funny and energetic film set Sennett on a path that would eventually lead the young filmmaker to launch the Keystone studio.”
Anthony Balducci
Anthony Balducci’s Journal

>>> Runaway Horses

Le delizie della caccia
D: André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli. P: Itala Film. It 1910

Troppo bello!
D: André Deed. P: Itala Film. It 1909
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema

“Silent cinema is in some ways a cinema of exaggeration, and smoking is a useful gesture that, like clutching at one’s breast, may be overrepresented there. The density of smoking in the silent films (…) at times literally clouds the screen. And some smokers puff away in absurdly vogorous fashion, e.g. in the short Troppo bello (Too much Beauty) of 1909. Still, that presence provides a useful counter to the rarity of smoking in, for example, the popular press of the time. Probably real practice fell somewhere in between the two. And already in this period – few opportunities seem to have escaped these early masters – the cinematic possibilities of smoking are employed to good effect.”
Carl Ipsen: Fumo: Italy’s Love Affair with the Cigarette. Stanford University Press, 2016, p. 34