03 March 2015

Georges Biscot

Georges Biscot (1886-1945) was a popular French music-hall and revue singer and actor, who also knew a career in French silent and sound film.

Georges Biscot
French postcard in the Series Nos Artistes dans leur loge by Editions La Fayette, no. 270. Photo: Comoedia.

A star of the Folies-Bergères

Georges Biscot was born Gaston Georges Bouzac in Courbevoie, near Paris, in 1886 (some sources say 1889). He studied at the Lycée Jean-Baptiste-Say in Paris and l’Ecole Estienne. Destined to become photogravure maker, he executed this profession for three years.

He then became projectionist at Pathé in Joinville near Paris. In 1904 he was hired by the Concert Bobino de Montparnasse where he gathered the functions of film projectionist and comedian for the theatrical programme.

In 1906 he launched himself in an artistic career in the Parisian cafés-concerts, singing La valse brune and Si mon cœur avait des roulettes, while moving on roller skates.

Georges Biscot debuted on the silver screen on 1913 in filmed songs, produced by Georges Lordier.

Soon he became a star of the music-hall of the Folies-Bergères, in particular when acting in La revue galante (1914) next to Musidora, then in À la parisienne (1916) where he did an imitation of Charles Chaplin.

In the same year he returned to film in the crime serial parody Le pied qui étreint/The clutching foot (Jacques Feyder, 1916). Impressed by his comic talent, Feyder recommended Biscot to Louis Feuillade.

Feuillade used him in Vendémiaire (Louis Feuillade, 1918) with René Cresté, and in the 7-hour mystery serial Tih Minh (Louis Feuillade, 1918) with Mary Harald. He succeeded Marcel Lévesque in the parts of jocular characters in the Feuillade films.

Subsequently, Biscot had notable comic parts in the serials Barrabas (Louis Feuillade, 1919) with Blanche Montel, Les deux gamines/The Two Girls (Louis Feuillade, 1921) with Sandra Milovanoff. With Milovanoff, he acted again in L’orpheline/The orphan (Louis Feuillade, 1921), Parisette (Louis Feuillade, 1921) and Le fils du filibustier/The son of the pirate (Louis Feuillade, 1922).

His final collaboration with Feuillade was with Vindicta/Vengeance (Louis Feuillade, 1923), a classic melodrama in which he played a simple guy, Césarin de Rétameur, who knows all but doesn’t talk.

Georges Biscot
French postcard in the series Les Vedettes de Cinéma by A.N., Paris, no. 66. Photo: Henri Manuel.

A rugby man turned prankster

In the early 1920s at the Eldorado, Georges Biscot launched the revue Bibi-la-purée by Alexandre Fontanes and André Mouésy-Éon. The play was such a giant hit that quickly a film version was staged, Bibi-la-Purée (1925), directed by Maurice Champreux.

In the same year Biscot peaked as the amateur cyclist in Le roi de la pédale/The Pedlar (Maurice Champreux, 1925). In 1926, he was a rugby man turned prankster in Le p’tit parigot/The Small Parisian One (René Le Somptier, 1926).

Biscot returned to Champreux for his last silent film Les cinq sous de Lavarède/The Five Cents of Lavarede (Maurice Champreux, 1927), but also for his first sound film Hardi les gars!/Hardi guys! (Maurice Champreux, 1930) with Mona Goya in the female lead.

In the 1920s Biscot also created other chansons, such as La Môme Biclo (a song about the Tour de France with words by Cazalis and music by Dufas and Gardoni), Fernande (1922, words by Nazelles, music by Mauprey), Elle sait conduire une automobile, Cécile (1926, words by Nazelles, music by Chantrier), created for the revue La foire aux fiancés at the Théâtre du Châtelet, and the songs Emilienne - c’est y toi? and C’est pa.., pa…, c’est parisien, made for the film La bande à Bouboule/Bouboule's gang (Léon Mathot, 1931).

Georges Biscot
French postcard by Ed. Cinémagazine, no. 268. Photo: Film Gaumont. Publicity still for Le roi de la pédale (Maurice Champreux, 1925).

Georges Biscot sings Elle sait conduire une automobile. Source: Damien Chemillé (YouTube).

The most beautiful guy of France

During the 1930s, Georges Biscot remained a popular star of the Paris stage.

He played in only four films: Le clochard/Clochard (Robert Péguy, 1932), Six cent mille francs par mois/600,000 francs a month (Léo Joannon, 1933), a new adaptation of Bibi-la-purée (Léo Joannon 1934), and finally Le plus beau gosse de France/The most beautiful man in France (René Pujol, 1937) with Bernard Lancret in the title role, and also with Pauline Carton and Josseline Gaël.

During the Second World War, Biscot returned to the screen in major roles in three films: Un tel père et fils/The Heart of a Nation (Julien Duvivier, 1940) with Raimu, Michèle Morgan and Louis Jouvet, La cage aux rossignols/A Cage of Nightingales (Jean Dréville, 1943) with Noël-Noël, and La route du bagne/The road from prison (Léon Mathot, 1944) with Viviane Romance.

A few months after the release of these last two titles, Georges Biscot died in 1945 in Paris. He lies buried at the cemetery of Montrouge.

Georges Biscot
French postcard by Ed. Cinémagazine, no. 138.

Georges Biscot
French postcard by Ed. Cinémagazine, No. 319. Photo Studio V. Henry.

Sources: Philippe Pelletier (CinéArtistes - French), Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.

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