Capellani’s Sleeping Beauty

La belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty)
R: Albert Capellani / Lucien Nonguet. B: Charles Perrault (tale). D: Julienne Mathieu. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1908

“In 1907, Capellani directed La Légende de Polichinelle, the story of a robot who falls in love with a doll. The film, which starred film icon Max Linder, was an enormous success. And as a result, Charles Pathé moved Capellani over to the newly created Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens de Lettres (SCAGL), which Pathé had created to make films d’art. As a director for this series, Capellani brought to the screen a number of French classics, ranging from fairy tales to histories. These included Le Chat botté (1908); La Belle au bois dormant (1908), codirected with Lucien Nonguet; L’Assommoir (1909), codirected with Michel Carré; Germinal (1912), an adaptation of the novel by Émile Zola; and a sweeping, four-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1912), which is still regarded as a masterpiece of cinema. Capellani’s films elevated the cinema from a popular distraction toward an art form, and his longer-than-average films are seen to have established the trend toward feature-length films.
Capellani is also credited with bringing a number of talented actors and directors to the filmmaking industry. He cast the great stage performer Mistinguett in Les Misérables, her first film, and established her as a silent-film star. He also brought theater actors such as Paul Capellani (his brother) and Berthe Bovy to film. The directors he helped to train include Georges Monca and Michel Carré.”
ACADEMIC

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