Durand: Camargue Westerns (1)

Coeur Ardent
R: Jean Durand. D: Joë Hamman, Berthe Dagmar, Gaston Modot. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912

“Fiery Heart, a young Indian, loves Sun Ray, the daughter of chief Sitting Bear. But Sitting Bear demands a herd of cattle from Fiery Heart. To gain Sitting Bulls approval, he attempts to single-handedly steal the herd from the neighbour tribe, almost starting a Tribal feud. Sitting Bear then realizes that Fiery Heart is a brave warrior and approves to the marriage.”

“Not only did Europeans consume American film Westerns in large numbers; soon they were making their own. (…) Many of the thirty or so Westerns made in Britain before 1915 had Indian themes, as for example the Hepworth company’s The Squatter’s Daughter (1906), one of the very few of such films to survive. (…) The capture and rescue plot follows directly from the novels of Fenimore Cooper, from a myriad dime novels and from the narrative elements of Buffalo Bill‘s show. A less lurid, more wistfully romantic view of Indians emerges in Jean Durand‘s Coeur Ardent (1912), a Western shot in the south of France, in the Camargue, a wild region that passes for the American prairies. (…) The film has a real feel for the beauties of landscape and, like some American Westerns of the period, the story takes place entirely within Indian society, in an idealized world before conflict with whites. The film stars Joë Hamman, a French enthusiast of all things Western who had visited America and met Buffalo Bill. Durand and Hamman were to make several Westerns together in the period before First World War.”
Edward Buscombe: ‘Injuns!’: Native Americans in the Movies. Reaktion Books 2006

“Mit ‘Camargue-Western werden Filme vorzugsweise des Regisseurs Jean Durand bezeichnet, die zwischen 1910 und 1912 im Auftrag von Gaumont in der südfranzösischen Region der Camargue gedreht wurden. Hauptdarsteller dieser Filme war der Schauspieler Joë Hamman. Hamman hatte zuvor die USA bereist und Buffalo Bill und dessen Wild West Show kennengelernt. Als Buffalo Bill mit seiner Show nach Europa kam, wirkte Hamman sogar bei zahlreichen Auftritten mit. Diese Erfahrungen brachte Hamman in die Filme mit Durand ein. Zu den bekanntesten Camargue-Western, die auch noch erhalten sind, gehören Pendaison à Jefferson City (1911), Coeur Ardent (1912) und La prairie en feu (1912). Typisch für den europäischen Western, wird auch hier eine allerdings europäische Landschaft verwendet, die den Wilden Westen der USA repräsentieren soll.”
Thomas Klein
Lexikon der Filmbegriffe

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