06 February 2017

Jane Rollette

Jane Rollette aka Jeanne Rollette (1891-1994) was a French film actress who peaked in Louis Feuillade's serial films of the late 1910s and early 1920s.

Jane Rollette
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 82. Photo: Studio Henri LeBrun.

Serial Queen

Jane (or Jeanne) Rollette was born Jeannette Marie Fontaine in Paris in 1891.

In 1918, Rollette made her film debut opposite Georges Biscot in Louis Feuillade's four-part serial Vendémiaire, which was set during the First World War in the French countryside.

This was the start of an intense career at Gaumont in Feuillade's serial films. She appeared in Ti Minh (1918, 12 episodes), Barrabas (1919, 12 episodes), Les deux gamines/The Two Girls (1920, 12 episodes), L'orpheline (1921, 12 episodes), and Parisette (1921, 12 episodes). In Barrabas Georges Biscot played Biscotin, while Rollette played Biscotine.

Meanwhile Rollette also acted in the serial Le fils de la nuit/The Son of the Night (Gérard Bourgeois, 1919).

Between 1921 and 1923 she played in various comical shorts with Georges Biscot and directed by Feuillade: Zidore ou les métamorphoses, Séraphin ou les jambes nues/Seraphin; or, The Naked Legs, Saturnin ou le bon allumeur, Gustave est médium (all 1921), and Gaëtan ou le commis audacieux (1922).

Jane Rollette Biscot...ine
French postcard in the Nos artistes dans leur loges sewries, no. 258. Photo: Comoedia.

The world of circus, vaudeville and fairground

In 1923-1924 Rollette acted in two films with the Italian 'forzuto' Mario Guaita aka Ausonia, Édouard Mathé and Gina Relly. The first is the social drama Mes p'tits/Le calvaire d'un saltimbanque (Paul Barlatier, Charles Keppens, 1923), which evolves in the world of circus, vaudeville and fairground. Rollette is the Amazon who at first eyes Ausonia and later on lifts him up from the gutter and helps him trace his lost children.

The second film is La course à l'amour (Paul Barlatier, Charles Keppens, 1924), a road movie through the French countryside. The story is about a bet between three men (AusoniaÉdouard Mathé and Léon Lorin) and their search for what they think is one woman. In the second film she helps her mistress (Gina Relly) by doubling her to deceive the following men.

Rolette then appeared in the André Deed farce Le nègre du rapide numéro 13 (J. Mandemant, 1923). She closed her film career in 1924 with the serial Les deux gosses by Louis Mercanton, which had rich cast including Carlyle Blackwell, Marjorie Hume, Jean Forest, Gabriel Signoret, Yvette Guilbert and a very young Jean Mercanton, the son of the director. Les Deux Gosses deals with a father (Blackwell) who gives away his son (Mercanton) to evil wandering artists (Signoret, Guilbert) when he unjustly suspects his wife's (Hume) infidelity. When later on he reclaims the child, the evil couple offers him another child (Forest).

Jane Rollette died in Asnières-sur-Seine in 1994.

Mes p'tits
French postcard by Cinématographes Méric. Postcard for the French silent film Mes p'tits (Paul Barlatier, Charles Keppens, 1923). The girl down right is Jane Rollette, who plays Wanda the amazon, in love with the leading character played by Mario Guaita or Ausonia.

Sources: Cineartistes (French) and IMDb.

1 comment:

Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen said...

Jane Rollette is not the girl up right but the one down right.