04 April 2021

La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (1914)

For this Easter post, Ivo Blom chose a Spanish series of postcards for the early silent French film La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), produced by Pathé Frères. The film, also known as La Passion, consisted of four parts: 1. Naissance de Jésus; 2. L'Enfance de Jésus; 3. Vie publique et miracles de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ; 4. Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Jacques Norman played Jesus Christ. A print of this film has been preserved by the Cinémathèque française.The postcards follow the last part of the film, 

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: The Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Jesus chases the Mercenaries from the Temple.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: The Flagellation.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: The Crown of Thorns.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Peter denies the Lord.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Jesus before Pilate: Ecce Homo.

Pathé Frères' four versions of the life of Christ


In addition to the Gaumont version by Alice Guy, and the Kalem version shot in Palestine and following the Bible Illustrations by James Tissot, it was the French company Pathé Frères who made its mark in early cinema with well four versions of the life of Christ.

While from the first version, Vie et Passion du Christ (c. 1897-1899) only pictures remain, a second version was made in 1902, called La Vie et la Passion de Jésus-Christ. Though some sources claim its director was Ferdinand Zecca, the Seydoux-Pathé website with the Pathé filmography indicates no director.

From the film, only a few fragments remain, despite claims on YouTube and elsewhere they show the full version - often confounded with the third version by Lucien Nonguet, made in 1907. The 1907 version exists at various archives and has nice Pathé color stenciling.

In 1913-1914 a new, longer, and more elaborate, and again stencil-colored version was made by Maurice Maître, containing 19 tableaux. As the titles of the captions perfectly match the titles of the tableaux, it is possible six cards may still be missing in our series: The Last Supper, Jesus at the Mountain of Olives, The Kiss of Judas, Jesus Before Pilate, Jesus Falls under the Cross, and the final scene: The King of Kings.

Among the tableaux, Jesus Falls under the Cross and The Wonder of Veronica are presented as separate scenes, while our card seems to synthesize the two. A photo series at the time was made that indeed contained 18 and not 19 photos.

With most of these film versions, exhibitors could choose to show only one part of the life of Christ around, say, Christmas and Easter.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, Pathé Frères 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Jesus falls under the cross (Miracle of Veronica).

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Calvary.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: The Crucifixion.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Death of Jesus.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: In Descent.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: The Grave.

Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
Spanish edition by ELD of the postcard series Passion et mort de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Photo: Films Pathé Frères. This was the fourth part of La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Maurice André Maître, 1914), with Jacques Norman playing Christ. Caption: Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.

Sources: Fondation Jerome Seydoux - Pathe, and IMDb.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello my friends from European Film Star Postcards. It's Maria. This is truly a wonderful Easter post and I will be linking back to it from my blog. Happy Easter to you all! And better times for everyone in the coming months.

Paul van Yperen said...

Thanks, Maria, and happy easter to you too!