New French Comedy Premiere In The US
Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle was born in December 1883 in Caverne, France. His parents were wealthy vineyard owners but Leuvielle was attracted to the theater. In 1899 he enrolled in the Bordeaux Conservatorie and by 1901 had become a contract player with the Bordeaux Théâtre des Arts. By 1905 he had adopted his stage name of “Max Linder” and applied for work at Pathé Frères film studios in Vincennes where he appeared in slapstick coedies in bit parts. From 1905 to 1907 Linder appeared in dozens of short comedy films for Pathé. When their leading comedy star left, Linder took over his character as a high-society dandy and made it his own. Linder’s “Max” a wealthy and dapper man-about-town frequently in hot water because of his penchant for beautiful women and the good life created one of the first identifiable motion-picture characters who appeared in successive situation comedies.
“Max” debuted in 1907 and by 1910 Linder was one of the most popular film actors in the world. The appeals of silent films were appreciated everywhere and Linder was perhaps the first world movie star. He made 150,000 francs a year at the time the average monthly salary in France was 100 francs. In 1912 Linder demanded and received a salary of 1,000,000 francs a year. Pathé paid him and used the huge sum to add publicity to their films.
On June 4, 1912 Max Linder’s “One Exciting Night” was released in the US after premiere in Berlin in May.
Max Linder in “One Exciting Night” – 1912