Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (2)

Zigomar contre Nick Carter
R: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. B: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset, Léon Sazie (novel). K: Lucien N. Andrio. D: Alexandre Arquillière, Charles Krauss, André Liabel, Josette Andriot, Olga Demidoff, Paul Guidé. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1912
Print: EYE

“Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (1862 – 1913) was an early film pioneer in France, active between the years 1905 and 1913. He worked on many genres of film and was particularly associated with the development of detective or crime serials, such as the Nick Carter and Zigomar series. (…) In 1905 he was hired by the Gaumont Film Company to work with Alice Guy on film productions such as La Esméralda (1905), based on Victor Hugo‘s ‘Notre Dame de Paris’, and La Vie du Christ (1906), working firstly as a designer and then as assistant director. After a short period working for the Éclipse film company, Jasset was engaged in 1908 by the new Éclair production company to make film series beginning with Nick Carter, le roi des détectives; the detective hero Nick Carter was based on the series of popular American novels which were then being published in France by the German publisher Eichler. Jasset kept the name of the character but invented new adventures with a Parisian setting; the first six sections that Jasset directed were released at bi-weekly intervals in late 1908, and each one narrated a complete story. (…)
In 1911 he made Zigomar, taking his title character from the popular newspaper and magazine stories of Léon Sazie about a master-criminal; this feature-length film was so successful that a second title, Zigomar contre Nick Carter (1912), was made ready within six months, and a third instalment followed in 1913, Zigomar peau d’anguille. Jasset adapted other popular novels such as Gaston Leroux‘s ‘Balaoo’ in 1913, and in the same year ‘Protéa’, a spy story in which for the first time the title character was a woman, played by a long-time favourite actress of Jasset, Josette Andriot; the Protéa series continued after Jasset’s death. In 1912 Jasset turned from fantasy and spectacle to realism in making the first of two Zola adaptations, as part of Éclair’s new series of social dramas. For Au pays des ténèbres, based on ‘Germinal’, he took his crew to Charleroi in Belgium to film in authentic locations, and although he updated the story to the present, he went to great lengths to recreate in the studio the detail of the actual mining galleries, exploiting the ability of film to be a recorder of contemporary reality. In the following year, Jasset filmed Zola’s ‘La Terre’ (1913).”

Balaoo (Fragm.)
R: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. B: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset, Gaston Leroux (novel). K: Lucien N. Andriot. D: Lucien Bataille, Camille Bardou, Henri Gouget, Madeleine Grandjean. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1913

“All film histories have sung the praises of Louis Feuillade, while only a faint and superficial memory of Victorin Jasset remains. But he was the first to bring to the screen, well before Feuillade’s Fantômas (1913) and Les Vampires (1914), the thrilling adventures of Zigomar and of Protéa. These films, suffused with generous amounts of self-irony, had a wonderful knack of telling audiences that everything they saw on the screen was pure fantasy, joyfully, playfully poking fun at the mystery adventures that Feuillade directed with such serious, heavy-handed and punctilious realism.”
Vittorio Martinelli
XXXIX Mostra Internazionale

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