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07 October 2013

Louis Leubas

Louis Leubas was a French actor who in the 1910s starred in the films of Léonce Perret and Louis Feuillade.

Louis Leubas in La nouvelle mission de Judex
French postcard by Coquemer Gravures, Paris. Photo: Gaumont. Still for La nouvelle mission de Judex/The New Mission of Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1917-1918).

Corrupt Banker


Louis Leubas was born in 1870 (unknown where).

Just before 1900 he started as stage actor at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris. Afterwards he also acted at l'Athénée, with Jules Berry, Marcel Lévesque and Georges Tréville.

Then he returned to the Vaudeville. It was there that film director Léonce Perret discovered him and had him forget the stage and debuted as film actor in Main de fer contre la bande aux gants blancs/The Iron Hand (1912).

Here he already incorporated a banker, precurring his part as the corrupt banker Favraux in Louis Feuillade’s crime serial Judex (1916-1917).

Louis Leubas in La nouvelle mission de Judex
French postcard by Coquemer Gravures, Paris. Photo: Gaumont. Still for La nouvelle mission de Judex/The New Mission of Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1917-1918) with Louis Leubas in the role of Favraut.

Big Mouthed, Bossy Type


In the earlier 1910s, Louis Leubas mostly acted for Léonce Perret as director, with occasional sidesteps in films by Louis Feuillade, Maurice Mariaud, René le Somptier and Jean Durand.

From the mid-1910s on he almost exclusively worked with Louis Feuillade. Leubas was often type casted as the big mouthed, bossy type in dramatic films.

While his part as the head of police in the crime drama Les mystères des roches de Kador/The secret of the rocks of Kador (Léonce Perret, 1912) with Perret and Suzanne Grandais, may not have been so remarkable, Leubas put down a highly memorable performance as the abominably bad guy Edmond le Bachelier (the graduate) in L’Enfant de Paris/The child of Paris (Léonce Perret, 1913).

This dangerous gang leader sells an orphan girl escaped from boarding school as a young slave to a shop. There a young hunchback, Bosco (Maurice Lagrenée), takes care of her. When the Graduate hears her father is still alive, he extorts money from him, captures him, but his gang is caught and the father freed thanks to Bosco. The Graduate himself though escapes with the girl, pursued by Bosco all over France.

Suzanne Grandais
Suzanne Grandais. Vintage postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Les Vampires


With Leonce Perret, Louis Leubas also acted in La force de l’argent/The power of money (1913), the sequel Main de fer et l'évasion du forçat de Croze/Iron Fist and the escape of the convict Croze (1913), La Voix de la patrie/Voice of the Fatherland (1914), Le Roman d’un mousse/The Romance of a foam (1914), L’Enigme de la Riviera/The Enigma of the Riviera (1915), La Fiançée du diable/The Devil's Bride (1916), and lastly Une mariage de raison/A marriage of convenience (1916) in co-direction with Feuillade. 

With Louis Feuillade, Leubas already started acting in 1913, in the comedy La Vengeance du sergent de ville/The Revenge of the sergeant of the city. Leubas played the sergeant.

After various individual films by Feuillade, Leubas made his mark again in the crime serial Les Vampires/The Vampires (Louis Feuillade, 1915), in which he played the deaf-mute Father Silence (only in the 3rd episode) and the terrible Satanas, who leads the gang of the Vampires in the 7th and 8th of the 12 episodes, and uses a.o. a paralysing pin in his glove and a bomb in a top hat.

When he is finally imprisoned, he commits suicide by eating a poisoned note. Other actors were a.o. Musidora as the femme fatale Irma Vep, Edouard Mathé as the reporter Philipe Guérande and Marcel Lévesque as Mazamette.

Leubas became a regular member of the casts of practically all of Feuillade’s films until 1919 (23 titles), including the serials Judex (1916-1917), La nouvelle mission de Judex/The New Mission of Judex (1917-1918) – in which the banker Favraux has repented and is on the side of the good guys now, Tih Minh (1918-1919), and Vendémiaire (1918-1919).

Leubas’ last film for Feuillade was L’Homme sans visage (1919), starring René Cresté.

After two more films in 1922, Judith by Georges Monca and La Bâillonnée by Charles Burguet, he quitted acting in film altogether.

Louis Leubas died in Digne, France in 1932.

Edouard Mathé in La nouvelle mission de Judex
Edouard Mathé. French postcard by Coquemer Gravures, Paris. Photo: Gaumont. Still for La nouvelle mission de Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1917-1918).

Sources: Wikipedia (French and English) and IMDb.

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