French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 60. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinema. Publicity still of Jean Daragon as De Beaufort in the Alexandre Dumas adaptation Vingt ans après/The Return of the Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1922).
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Jean Baptiste Emile Daragon was born in Clermont-Ferrand at the French Auvergne in 1870.
From c. 1900 he became a well-known stage actor, playing e.g. in Les Aventures du capitaine Corcoran/The adventures of Captain Corcoran (1902) and L'auberge des Adrets/The Inn of the Adrets (1903) at Théâtre du Châtelet.
In 1908 he married actress Marguerite Moreno and followed her to Buenos Aires.
They returned to France when war was imminent. While Moreno worked in a hospital, Daragon was obese and suffered from emphysema, so he was exempted from military service during the First World War.
When war broke out, all theatres were closed so Daragon and Moreno’s income was drastically reduced. With Moreno and many other Parisian stage actors he acted in Henri Diamant-Berger’s Paris pendant la guerre/Paris during the war (1916), a silent film which still exists.
Together with Moreno and Claude Mérelle, Daragon also acted in the Gaumont production Debout les morts!/Standing dead! (1916) directed by Henri Pouctal, Léonce Perret and André Heuzé, and scripted by Henri Diamant-Berger.
Debout les morts! was based on Vicente Blasco Ibanez’ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which would be adapted for film again by Rex Ingram in 1921, starring Rudolph Valentino and Alice Terry.
French postcard by Comoedia in the series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 53. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Marguerite Moreno in Vingt ans après. French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 52. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinema. Publicity still of Moreno as Anne d'Autriche in Vingt ans après/The Return of the Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1922).
The Return of the Musketeers
After the First World War, Jean Daragon acted in stage plays like Aux jardins de Murcie/In the gardens of Murcia (Théâtre Antoine, 1919, dir. Firmin Gémier), Le courrier de Lyon/The Courier of Lyon (Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 1920), and Sapho (Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 1921), the latter two with Moreno.
In the cinema he acted in Musidora’s film Pour Don Carlos/Don Carlos (Jacques Lasseyne, Musidora, 1920), based on Pierre Benoit’s 1920 novel.
In 1922 he played the part of the Duc de Beaufort in Henri Diamant-Berger’s sequel to his Les Trois Mousquetaires: Vingt ans après/The Return of the Musketeers (1922).
His wife Marguerite Moreno played Anne of Austria in the same film.
Daragon’s last film was Le doute/Doubt (Gaston Roudès, 1923), starring Rachel Devirys, Victor Francen and Jacques de Féraudy.
Jean Daragon died in 1923, in Paris.
French postcard. Photo: Pathé. Publicity still for Vingt ans après/The Return of the Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1922). Collection: Didier Hanson. The four musketeers were played by Jean Yonnel (D'Artagnan), Henri Rollan (Athos), Pierre de Guingand (Aramis) and Charles Martinelli (Porthos).
French postcard. Photo: Pathé. Publicity still for Vingt ans après/The Return of the Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1922). Collection: Didier Hanson.
Sources: Judith Thurman (Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette) and IMDb.
Paris pendant la guerre exists as a bonus on the Flicker Alley 2-disc DVD of J’accuse (Abel Gance, 1919).