Les timidités de Rigadin
R: Georges Monca. B: Georges Monca. D: Charles Prince, Mistinguett, Carlos Avril. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1910

Rigadin et la doctoresse
R: Georges Monca. D: Charles Prince. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1911

Le champagne de Rigadin
R: Georges Monca. D: Charles Prince. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1915

Charles Prince (1872-1933) appeared in Pathé films as Rigadin, whose character was generally that of a bashful lover. He already enjoyed some fame as a theatre performer before joining Pathé in 1908, and he went on to appear in over 200 Rigadin films up to 1920, writing the senarios for many of them. In Britain and America he was known as Whiffles. Rigadin’s most interesting films were those that took on contemporay themes, such as Rigadin Peintre Cubiste (1912), where he mocked modern art by appearing as an angular figure, and Rigadin aux Balkans (1912) where he plays a war cameraman who gleefully fakes scenes for the camera in France rather than travel to the Balkan War. He ended his film career playing small roles throughout the 1920s and 30s.”
The Bioscope

Rigadin aux Balkans
R: Georges Monca. B: Charles Torquet, Jacques de Choudens. D: Charles Prince, Yvonne Maëlec, Ferdinand Zecca. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1912
Print: Pathé Télévision. From VHS
Without intertitles

“Rigadin courts a pretty woman and offers her a modest bouquet of flowers. But he has a rival who presents himself and offers the young woman jewels. Rigadin is mortified. To obtain money, he goes to Pathé Frères where he is received by Mr. Zecca. He is engaged as a reporter and must go to the Balkans where the war is raging. But Rigadin thinks himself clever to film the war in the suburbs of Paris, with the help of a few extras that he circles indefinitely around a bush. Then he makes them simulate an attack but everyone is disbanded. Our apprentice reporter rushes to help them get up. He does not notice that his rival, cleverly captures it in the camera lens. We guess the rest. The so-called reporter is kicked out immediately. (Scenario from vision)” (Translated from French synopsis, see YouTube)

TRAUM UND EXZESS, p. 234 ff.

Slapstick Italiano: Marcel Perez

Robinet vuol fare il jockey
R: Marcel Perez (i.e. Marcel Fabre). B: Arrigo Frusta. K: Giovanni Vitrotti. D: Marcel Perez. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio. It 1910

L’Auto di Robinet
R: Marcel Fabre. D: Marcel Fabre. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio, Torino. It 1911

Robinet aviatore
K: Giovanni Vitrotti. D: Marcel Perez. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio. It 1911

Amor pedestre
R: Marcel Perez. D: Marcel Perez. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio. It 1914

Perez was a comedy star first in Europe and then the U.S., much like Max Linder. He was born in 1885 (or so), spent the early part of his entertainment career in circuses and music halls (we believe), and started appearing in films around 1900 (allegedly). Details about his life are about as murky as an eyeful of cream pies (partly because of the tall tales he liked to cheerfully mix in his backstory). We do know that in 1910 the Ambrosio Company of Italy gave him his own starring comedy series, some of which survive today. When WWI began, Perez left Europe for the U.S., where he continued to direct and star in successful comedies. A big reason why much of Perez’s story has fallen into obscurity is probably because he used as many names as a phone book. At different times he went by Marcel Fabre, Fernandez Perez, Marcel F. Perez, and Marcel Perez, and he apparently used a different screen nickname for almost every film company he worked for: Robinet, Bungles, Tweedledum, Twede-Dan, and Tweedy! (…) He was a perfect fit for cartoony gags and could pull off a zany acting style that stayed just this side of the Keystone Ford Sterling/Al St. John line. Some of his mannerisms just might remind you a little of Jerry Lewis.”

“According to both the film’s listing on European Film Gateway and on Cineteca Milano’s site, Amor Pedestre was inspired by the play ‘Le Basi’ by Futurist-in-chief Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in which only the actors’ feet were visible to the audience. In fact the influence was in the other direction; Marinetti’s play was staged a year later, in 1915, and was inspired by Amor Pedestre. Fabre does not seem to have had any links to the Futurist movement, but was rather expressing ideas about motion and contemporary life that were in the ‘zeitgeist’. In Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader, Giovanni Lista refers to Amor Pedestre, writing:
‘A clear and definite stance [on the part of the Futurist artists] with regards to cinema was becoming ever more cogent: independently of Futurism, in fact, several films were pioneering or adopting expressive or promotional solutions that one would have associated with the Italian avant-garde movement.'”
Silents, Please!

More about Amor Pedestre:
Essay by Christel Tsilibaris: Marcel Fabre’s Amor Pedestre