18 January 2020

New Acquisitions: Nos artistes dans leur loge

In 2012, EFSP had a post on the French postcard series 'Nos artistes dans leur loge'. The series presents dozens of French stage and film stars of the early 1920s in their dressing rooms. Nearly all of the postcards were produced by the French journal Comoedia. Since then, Ivo Blom collected more cards of the series and we did a post on these in November last year. Here are 31 more fascinating examples of the series, which Ivo acquired recently and EFSP never published before.

André Calmettes
French postcard in the Nos artistes dans leur loge series, no. 52. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

André Calmettes (1861-1942) was a French stage and screen actor an director. After being a stage actor for twenty years, Calmettes became artistic director and director of the company Le Film d'Art, founded by the Laffitte brothers. Its films were distributed by Pathé Frères. Until the early 1920s he acted on stage, mainly at the Parisian theatres Odéon, Vaudeville, Gymnase, and Porte St. Martin.

Christiane Delval
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 56. Photo: Comoedia.

Christiane Delval
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 57. Photo: Comoedia.

Christiane Delval (?-?) acted as a child actress in eight French silent films in the early 1920s, starting with the drama Face à l’océan (René Leprince, 1920). In 1920 Delval also acted in Le petit poucet (Robert Boudrioz, 1920) and Fabienne (Camille de Morlhon, 1920). In 1921, Delval acted as young Geneviève and Palôtte in the four episodes of the family drama Gigolette (Henry Pouctal, 1921). Other films Delval acted in were the Emile Zola adaptation Le rêve (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1920) with Gabriel Signoret and Andrée Brabant, La tentation (Henry de Golen, 1921) with Georges Wague, La folie du doute (René Leprince, 1923) with Jean Dax, and Pour une nuit d'amour (Yakov Protazanov, 1923) with Edmond Van Daële. In 1931 Delval acted in the French early sound comedy Plein la vue (Edmond Carlus, 1931) starring Raymond Dandy and shot at the Tobis studios in Epinay, while her last part was in the comedy Dora Nelson (René Guissart, 1935) starring Elvire Popesco.

Maud Strassel
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 80. Photo: Comoedia.

Little is known about Maud Strassel but shat was a performer in revues and operettas in the early 1920s. In those years she played Aphasie in the operetta 'Phi-Phi' at the Bouffes Parisiens, and also performed e.g. at the Folies-Bergère and the Théàtre de la Gaité-Lyrique. As far as known she did not act in cinema.

Camille Bos
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 98. Photo: Comoedia.

Camille Bos (born 1899) was a French ballet dancer. At the age of 10, she entered the ballet school of the Paris Opera. In 1920 she was named 'première danseuse', and in 1925 she was promoted to 'danseuse étoile/star dancer'. Bos participated in numerous performances, e.g. 'Siang-Sin' (1927), 'L'écran des jeunes filles' (1929) and 'La Grisi' (1935). Her partners included the famous Serge Peretti and Serge Lifar with whom she danced in 'Le Spectre de la Rose' (1931) by Michel Fokine. At the age of 36, she stopped dancing to dedicate herself to teaching. For 12 years she taught at the Opéra de Paris. Her only known film performance was as a dancer in the Zola adaptation Nantas (Donatien, 1925), starring Donatien, Lucienne Legrand, and Maxime Desjardins.

Inga Agni
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 102. Photo: Comoedia

Little is known about singer/actress Inga Agni. In the early 1920s she performed at the Folies-Bergère, e.g. in the revue 'C'est la folie', and at the Casino de Paris, e.g. in the revue 'Y a qu' Paris!' with Dorville. She probably never acted in the cinema.

Lucette Darbelle
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 103. Photo: Comoedia.

Lucette Darbelle (?-1943), originally Louise Silvain, was a French operetta singer. She probably didn't act in film. Darbelle became a Parisian vedette after the success of her part of Madame Phidias in 'Phi-Phi' in 1921. She was e.g. part of the troupe of 'La Revue des Étoiles '(1922), starring American crime serial queen Pearl White. Darbelle had a fatal ending during the war: because of a relationship with a German officer, she was strangled with a telephone cable. She is not to be confused with the actress Louise Silvain (1874–1930), wife of actor Eugène Silvain.

French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 104. Photo: Comoedia.

French actress and operetta singer Mary-Hett (?-?) was already around 1900 a popular Parisian café-concert singer and would remain so for decades. In the late 1890s, Edouard Marchand overtook the Parisian theatre Eldorado, appointed Leon Garnier as director and the latter composed a group of newcomers among whom a few would become very popular such as Mistinguett and Dranem. Mary Hett was also among these newcomers. She was also a popular actress in revues at the Folies-Bergères and sang at the Scala. In 1909-1910, she played Conchita in 'L'Amour en Espagne', which revived the French operetta after its fall, while in 1915 she starred in the comic operetta 'Antonio Toréador'. She would remain a highly active operetta singer all through the 1920s, in operettas mostly by Maurice Yvain, including 'La dame en rose' (1921), the extremely popular 'Ta bouche' (1922-1931, with reprisals in 1936, 1940 and 1944), and 'La dame en décolleté' (1923-1925). Mary Hett acted in a handful of short films in the early cinema. In 1909 she started at Pathé Frères in the comedy Octave (1909) with a young Harry Baur, the comedy Le Roman d’une bottine et d’un escarpin (Georges Monca, 1909), L'Infidélité d’Ernest (1910) with Prince, and the drama Le Bon agent (Georges Monca, 1910). Under the name of Miss Ellynett, Hett also acted in the comedy Mariage à l’espagnole (Michel Carré, 1909) and La Malle du peintre (1910) with Prince. Later, she acted in the Lux production Un bal d'apaches dans le grand monde (André Heuzé, 1912), and was one of the leads in the two-reeler comedy Deux maris, deux femmes et un commissaire (1917), about a presumed adultery cleared before the police. The title of the feature-length silent comedy Miss Helyett (Georges Monca, Maurice Kéroul, 1928) seems to hint at Hett's earlier used pseudonym. Hett herself also had a major part in the film as a Spanish senorita, though the title role was for Marie Glory. It was her last film role.

Louis-Jacques Boucot
French postcard in the Nos artistes dans leur loge series, no. 121. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

Louis-Jacques Boucot aka Boucot (1882-1949) was a French stage and screen actor, famous for his comic characters of Pénard and Babylas.

Jean Hervé
French postcard in the Nos artistes dans leur loge series, no. 132. Photo: Comoedia.

Jean Hervé (1884-1966) was a French stage and screen actor, known for his work at the Comédie-Française but also for his parts in Film d'Art cinema, the Rocambole films, La Terre (1921) and Feu Mathias Pascal (1926).

Paul Gerbault
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 137. Photo: Comoedia.

Paul Gerbault (?-?) was an esteemed French stage actor, who also played in a handful of films. As far as can be reconstructed, he acted at the Comédie-Française from 1912 onward, first in Le Ménage de Molière (1912). He alternated the classics of Molière, Corneille, Euripides, Sophocles, and Hugo, with modern repertory by Bataille, Bernard, and Ibsen. In 1931 Gerbault acted in his last Comédie performance, 'Patrie!' by Sardou, directed by Émile Fabre, and starring Albert Lambert fils and an all-star cast. The play was reprised in 1932, with Gerbault again acting, by the Théâtre National Populaire. Gerbault's last part was that of Orgon in Molière's classic 'Tartuffe', in 1935 at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. In the cinema, Gerbault acted in the historical drama La Jacquerie, révolution paysanne de 1358 (Henri Pouctal, 1911), a Pathé production on a farmer's rebellion in the Middle Ages. He played Colline in the Pathé drama La Bohème (Albert Capellani, 1912) with Paul Capellani as Rodolphe and Suzanne Revonne as Mimí. In 1914, he acted opposite Léon Bernard in Sa majesté l'argent (Adrien Caillard, 1914). After a long absence from the screen, Gerbault returned as Dr. Boudon in Le crime du Bouif (1922), starring the popular comedian Tramel. His last film part was that of the judge in La main qui a tué (Maurice de Marsan, Maurice Gleize, 1924). The costume on the postcard reminds of this part. Gina Manès played the lead in this film.

Suzanne Nivette
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 145. Photo: Comoedia.

French stage and screen actress Suzanne Nivette (1895-1995) debuted on screen as Eponine in Les Misérables (Henri Fescourt, 1925), based on Victor Hugo's classical novel, while in 1921 she had debuted on stage in the theatrical version of the same source. This was her only silent film part, as only from 1934, she had a steady career as film actress in the French sound cinema, which would end in 1960 and include some 20 films. One of her last film parts would be in another adaptation of Les Misérables (1958), now playing Mademoiselle Gillesnormand. In addition to film, Nivette had a rich stage career. Her last part evolved at the Comédie Française in the early 1950s. Suzanne Nivette would become 100. She was married to the actor Georges Saillard (1877-1967).

René Rocher
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 149. Photo: Comoedia.

René Rocher (1890–1970) was a France stage actor and theatre director. In 1923, Rocher gave its name to the current Comédie-Caumartin. He was managing director of the Théâtre Antoine from 1928 to 1933, then of the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier from 1935 to 1943, and of the Théâtre de l'Odéon from 1940 to 1944. In the 1910s, he acted in four films, a.o. Le coupable (André Antoine, 1917) and Blessée au coeur (director unknown, 1917).

Jo Magnard
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 159. Photo: Comoedia.

While a Jo Magnard could not be found, this may have been the actor Jean Magnard (?-1924), aka Magnard. The earliest known film with him is the Pathé production La coupable (1911), with Henry Krauss and Stacia Napierkowska, about a woman who tries to prevent her sister's husband to kill her for adultery, by taking the blame on herself. In 1916 Magnard acted in Chignon d'or (André Hugon, 1916), starring Mistinguett as the title character. The film was shown last year at the Giornate del Cinema Muto within the Mistinguett retro, and deals with a vedette of the stage who amuses herself posing as a gigolette in the Parisian underworld, and has an affair with a count who is also posing as apache. Magnard plays the jealous real apache, called Le Frisé, causing trouble to the fake apaches of course. Magnard then acted in a comical short La chambre de la bonne (Georges Monca, 1918), in which he is he romantic hero, and La marque révélatrice (Maurice de Marsan, 1919). After a gap, Magnard acted in two more films, but minor parts: he was an apache in Soirée mondaine (Pierre Colombier, 1924) starring André Luguet, and André in L'étrange aventure (Robert Saidreau, 1924) about a husband (Pierre Etchepare) who wants his wife (Edmée Dormeuil) to remain submissive and plays a dirty trick on her. Magnard first had a stage career. Then he focused on music-hall, and performed in 'La revue des Folies Bergère' by Michel Carré and André Barde in 1913. In 1923 he married Maryse Tirville, music-hall artist like himself. While Magnard in 1924 still performed in a revue by Rip and Briquet at the theatre Chez Fursy et Mauricet, he died in October 1924 after a long and painful illness.

René Alexandre
French postcard in the Nos artistes dans leur loge series, no. 164. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

René Alexandre (1885-1946) was a French actor of the Comédie-Française. Between 1909 and 1940, he acted in some 53 films, mainly in shorts by Pathé but also in Antoine’s rural drama La Terre (1921).

André Allard
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 179. Photo: Comoedia.

André Allard (1874-1939) was a French opera and operetta singer. He studied singing at the Conservatoire de Paris and made his debut in 1897 at the Opéra National de Bordeaux. He entered the Parisian Opéra Comique in 1900, and was one of its stars between 1900 and 1910. In the early 1910s he starred at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, while during WWI and the early 1920s, he returned to the Opéra-Comique. Allard only performed randomly in cinema: in 1920 he had the lead opposite Suzanne Bianchetti and André Nox in La Marseillaise (Henri Desfontaines, 1920), and in 1930 he had a supporting part in the French early sound film Le Requin (Henri Chomette, 1930).

Louis-Jacques Boucot
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 183. Photo: Comoedia. (See also no. 121).

Louis-Jacques Boucot aka Boucot (1882-1949) was a French stage and screen actor, famous for his comic characters of Pénard and Babylas. Just like the more famous Dranem, Boucot was a comical actor known for his vivacity and grimaces who knew a career from music-hall to cinema. Boucot started acting at Pathé Frères in 1910, first in Une petite femme bien douce (Georges Denola, 1910), scripted and performed by Mistinguett. By 1911 he had his own comedies such as Ami trop entreprenant (1911) and La dame de compagnie (1911), while in the same year he also developed the popular comic character of Babylas in various shorts directed by Alfred Machin. Sometimes, Machin's pet panther Mimir acted in these films too, such as in Babylas vient d'hériter d'une panthère (Alfred Machin, 1911). In 1912 Boucot also developed another character, Pénard, with whom he made even more short comedies (16 films in 1912-13), all for Pathé. During the First World War, Boucot could only be seen in one Babylas comedy, Babylas marraine (1917). After the war, he acted in only one film in the 1920s, La première idylle de Boucot (Robert Saidreau, 1920). He only returned to the screen when sound film had set in and would act in 14 films between 1930 and 1938, such as the drama Une femme a menti (Charles de Rochefort, 1930), the musical comedy Arthur (Léonce Perret, 1931) with Boucot in the lead, Le costaud des PTT (Jean Bertin, 1931) in which he sang several songs, La bonne aventure (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1932) with again Boucot in the lead, Brevet 95-75 (Pierre Miquel, 1934), and Le puritain (Jeff Musso, 1938).

Peggy Vere
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 206. Photo: Comoedia.

Peggy Vere (?-?) was a British music-hall artist, dancer and singer, as well as a stage and screen actress. She debuted at the Parisian music-hall Concert Mayol and at the Théâtre des Variétés, then moved on to the Ambassadeurs and Casino de Paris in 1920. Between 1920 and 1940 she mostly performed at the Concert Mayol again. She was active in spreading the Lambeth Walk in France. De Vere debuted on the film screen in the propagandist drama Dans les ténèbres (Théo Bergerat, 1919). In 1923 she acted in La porteuse de pain (René Le Somptier, 1923), one of the many adaptations of Xavier de Montepin's popular novel, scripted by Germaine Dulac, and with Suzanne Desprès in the lead. In the comedy Ma tante d'Honfleur (Robert Saidreau, 1923) she played Albertine, opposite Jane Loury as the title character. In the early sound era she also played in two films, Le roi du camembert (Antoine Mourre, 1931), in which she had a lead as Miss Peggy Wood opposite Louis Rollin as the title character, and she played a supporting part in La dernière nuit (Jacques de Casembroot, 1933), starring Florelle.

Albert Decoeur
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 223. Photo: Comoedia.

Albert Decoeur (1879-?), aka Decoeur, was a French stage and screen actor. In 1911 he debuted in the film Le pouce, made by Gaston Roudès for the company Éclipse. In 1912 he played Francis Drake in the Pathé production Les amours de la reine Élisabeth (Henri Desfontaines, Louis Mercanton, 1912) starring Sarah Bernhardt and Lou Tellegen, followed by Adrienne Lecouvreur (Henri Desfontaines, Louis Mercanton, 1913) again with Bernhardt. In 1913 he continued at Éclipse with La sandale rouge (Henry Houry, 1913), while for the company Éclair he had the male lead in La bergère d'Ivry (Maurice Tourneur, 1913). In 1914 he played Thomas Wyatt in the Éclipse film Anne de Boleyn (1914), and had the lead of a detective fighting a gang in The Thumb Print (1914), a Gaumont film for which the French title is unknown. In 1920 Decoeur retook his screen career and would act in 12 films between 1920 and 1927, including La faute d'Odette Maréchal (1920), La fille des chiffonniers (1922), La bouquetière des innocents (1923), Les première armes de Rocambole (1924), Les amours de Rocambole (1924), Les deux gosses (1924), Mylord l'Arsouille (1925), Jean Chouan (1926), L'espionne aux yeux noirs (1926), La petite bonne du palace (1926), Le capitaine Rascasse (1927), and Casanova (1927). Often these were historical drama and adventure films. Memorable were Decoeur's major supporting parts as the evil Bamboche in La fille des chiffonniers, Jacques Bonhomme in La bouquetière des innocents, and Sir William in the Rocambole films, though he never was the male lead in his films anymore. His last film Decoeur did, was the sound film La châtelaine du Liban (Jean Epstein, 1934), starring Spinelly and Jean Murat.

Gabrielle Colonna-Romano
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 237. Photo: Comoedia.

Gabrielle Dreyfuss, better known as (Gabrielle) Colonna-Romano aka Colonna (1883-1981) was a French stage and screen actress. A pupil and devotee of Sarah Bernhardt, Colonna Romano became a member of the Comédie-Française from 1913 to 1936. She was famous for her roles as tragedienne, and she gave numerous plays and poetry readings, notably by the poet Saint-Pol-Roux. She was also a favourite model of the Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir for several of his paintings, notably 'Jeune femme à la rose' (1913), while she had an affair with his son Pierre until he left her for the actress Vera Sergine. In 1916 Romano married actor Georges Grand (1863-1921), who died of a heart attack at the age of 56. In 1939 she married actor Pierre Alcover (1893-1957). Both her husbands were actors from the Comédie-Française. Colonna-Romano can be seen acting in the documentary Un soir à la Comédie-Française (Léonce Perret, 1935). Between 1908 and 1913 she also acted in such Film d'art shorts as Hamlet (Henri Desfontaines, 1908), in which she played Queen Gertrude, Hop-Frog (Henri Desfontaines, 1910), and L'Honneur (Albert Capellani, 1910).

Christiane Dor
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 248. photo: Comoedia.

Christiane Dor (1892-1939) was a French stage and screen actress and singer, who was a star in 1920s French operettas and musical comedies. Apart from one French silent film, she acted in some 25 French sound films between 1932 and 1936. Notable films with her were Poil de carotte (Julien Duvivier, 1932) with Robert Lynen in the title role and Harry Baur, and Pomme d'amour (Jean Dréville, 1932), with André Perchicot and Raymond Cordy, followed by Madame Bovary (Jean Renoir, 1933), with Valentine Tessier in the title role and Renoir himself, and Cette vieille canaille (Anatole Litvak, 1933) with Harry Baur and Pierre Blanchar.

Suzy Renard
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 249. photo: Comoedia.

Suzy Renard (?-?) was a stage actress who had a small film career too. Renard did the Conservatoire in Paris, but according to the stage journal La Rampe she received a harsh judgement by the jury in 1918, although she won second prize in the category Comedy. The same year she joined a tour around France with the play 'La Reine Wanda', starring Pierre Magnier. In 1919, the Comédie Française engaged Renard for its summer tour, where she debuted in 'Le Dépit amoureux'. December 1919 she acted at the Comédie française in 'Les Soeurs d'amour' by Bataille, starring Léon BernardRenard, though, never became a pensionnaire nor a sociétaire of the Comédie. In the satirical journal Les Potins de Paris, her collaboration with the respectful Comédie Française was even criticised and ridiculed. Renard left the Comédie after one year and focused on light comedy on the stage. In 1921 she played a supporting part in 'Le Chasseur de chez Maxim's', performed at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. Renard debuted in cinema in the Gaumont drama Le Noël d'Yveline (Georges-André Lacroix, 1918), with Suzy Prim and Simone Vaudry. In 1920 she was with Blanche Ritier in the Film d'Art production Illusions (Jean Manoussi, 1920). Her last part according to IMDb was in the short, La revanche de Suzanne (1921), for whom the director is unknown. Renard seems also to have played in a Feydeau adaptation, the comedy Un fil à la patte (Robert Saidreau, 1924) starring Armand Bernard. In it, the actress is credited at IMDB as Suzanne Renard, but papers from 1924 indicate it was Suzy.

René Gerbert
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 260. Photo: Comoedia.

René Gerbert (?-?) was a popular French operetta singer of the 1920s and early 1930s, for a long time engaged to the Théâtre de la Gaité-Lyrique. In 1921 he sang there the part of Tromboli in Franz von Suppé's 'Boccaccio'. Around 1929-1930, Gerbert was most prominent at the Théâtre de la Gaité-Lyrique when performing the title character in the operetta 'Mr. Beaucaire'. As far as can be traced, he didn't act in films, while his voice could be heard singing 'Les gars de la marine' and 'Quand la brise vagabonde' in Le capitaine Craddock (Hanns Schwarz, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1931), the French version of Bomben auf Monte Carlo/Bombs Over Monte Carlo (Hanns Schwarz, 1931). The songs were released on records too, just like several of Gerbert's operetta songs such as 'Tous nous charme' from Emmerich Kalman's 'Die Czardasprinzessin'.

Jane Renouardt
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 266. Photo: Comoedia.

Jane Renouardt aka Jane Renouard (1890–1972), born Victorine Catherine Renouard, was a French actress of the silent screen. She played Jane, the partner of Max Linder, in many of his short comedies for Pathé Frères. During the First World War, she acted in various feature films, such as the pantomime L'Enfant prodigue (Michel Carré, André Wormser, 1916) with Cécile Guyon as Pierrot and Renouardt as 'his' beloved Phrynette, and the tragedy Clown/Le Clown (1917) by and starring Maurice de Féraudy, as an old clown who kills himself for his son (René Rocher). In 1919 Renouardt did her last film, En quatrième vitesse, by Marcel Simon. She was the first manager of the Theatre Danou, which opened in 1921. In 1936 she married the actor Fernand Gravey.

Andrée Féranne
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 269. Photo: Comoedia.

Little is known about French actress Andrée Féranne. She acted in one film: Vers l'argent ( René Plaissetty, 1920), starring Mary Massart.

Cora Laparcerie
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 271. Photo: Comoedia.

Marie-Caroline Laparcerie, better known as Cora Laparcerie (1875-1951), was an actress, poetess and French theatre director. Laparcerie was noticed by the actor Coquelin Sr. and began her career at the Théâtre de l'Odéon in Paris in 1896, before performing around the world. She acted in particular in tragedies set in Antiquity or ancient mythology such as 'Dejanira', 'Fausta', 'Prométhée', and 'Lysistrata', of which some were staged by the Odeon players in the Summer season at the Théâtre des Arènes at Béziers. In 1901, she married the poet Jacques Richepin, whose works she interpreted. Laparcerie was director of several Parisian theatres, notably the Bouffes-Parisiens theatre (1907 or 1909-1913), the Renaissance theatre (1913-1928), the Mogador theatre (1923-1924) - rebaptised Théâtre Cora Laparcerie but too costly an adventure, so she returned to the Renaissance theatre in 1925. In 1926, Laparcerie received the Legion of Honour, but fell seriously ill in 1927. She had to stop her theatrical career, and took a three-year leave to the Côte d'Azur with her family. However, she continued to direct, became a columnist in the magazine Comœdia and created radio theatre on 9 June 1935 by performing on Radio-Paris 'La Vraie Carmen'. As far is known, Laparcerie didn't perform in films.

Edmée Favart
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 277. Photo: Comoedia.

Edmée Favart (1879-1941) was a French singer and the daughter of baritone, director and manager of French operas, Edmond Favart. As far as known, she acted in only one film: Mannequins (René Hervil, 1933).

Gisèle Picard
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 278. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

Gisèle Picard was a French stage actress, who performed at the Odeon in Paris in the 1920s. She was the older sister of the more known actress Nadine Picard. While Nadine Picard acted in some 18 films, her sister is not mentioned at IMDb.

Marcelle Praince
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 290. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

Marcelle Praince (1882–1969) was a French stage and screen actress, who debuted on stage around 1905 and had a first peak in her film career in the Pathé comedies with Prince. From 1930 until the mid-1950s, she had a rich career in French sound cinema, playing grandmothers, concierges, old countesses, and even fortunetellers, in over 50 films. Memorable titles were a.o. Rive gauche (Alexander Korda, 1931), La Vie parisienne (Robert Siodmak, 1936), Maman Colibri (Jean Dréville, 1937), Félicie Nanteuil (Marc Allégret, 1942/1945), Impasse des Deux-Anges (Maurice Tourneur, 1948), and Sous le ciel de Paris (Julien Duvivier, 1951). Praince had her last major film part in Chaque jour a son secret (Claude Boissol, 1958). In 1959, she stopped with acting on stage too.

Pierre Stéphen
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 305. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

Pierre Stéphen (1890–1980), originally Pierre Trambouze, was a French stage and screen actor. In 1906 he entered the Conservatoire, after which he was hired by the Odeon theater and started using his stage name. In 1920 he married the actress Yvonne Thénard and started his film career, acting in over 70 films between 1920 and 1962, often in the part of the stupid, shy and stammering lover. Memorable titles are Le double piège (Gaston Roudès, 1923), Les mufles (Robert Péguy, 1929) with Suzanne Bianchetti, Cette vieille canaille (Anatole Litvak, 1933) with Harry Baur, Au son des guitares (Pierre-Jean Ducis, 1936) with Tino Rossi, On ne roule pas Antoinette (Paul Madeux, 1936) with Armand Bernard, Les trois valses (Ludwig Berger, 1938) with Yvonne Printemps, and the TV film La dame aux camélias (François Gir, 1962).

Pearl White
French postcard in the Series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 323. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

Pearl White (1889-1938) was dubbed 'Queen of the Serials', and noted for doing her own stunts, in silent film serials such as The Perils of Pauline (1914) and The Exploits of Elaine (1914-1915). Many episodes ended with a literal cliffhanger. In Europe, The Exploits of Elaine were re-edited with two subsequent serials into Les Mystères de New York. Until the end of the First World War, White remained globally a popular action heroine.

NB. The 'Nos artistes dans leur expressions' postcards were published in or before 1924, as in that year the journal Comoedia published the full list of all cards from the series.

Sources: Fondation Jerome Seydoux (French), Les étoiles de l'Opera de Paris (French), Les archives du spectacle (French), Giornate del cinema muto, Gallica, Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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