Max Linder dies
In the 9th arrondissement of Paris is the Max Linder Panorama, one of the best theaters in the city. A beautiful wide screen, a balcony and mezzanine — the single-screen palace harkens back to a time when a night at the movies was an elegant occasion. But, today, few remember the man for whom the cinema was named, one of France’s great film actors and also a director, producer and comedian whose work was a clear influence on silent greats like Charlie Chaplin. Born Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle in 1883 to a family of vintners, “Max Linder,” as he dubbed himself, created a character, Max, who starred in over 100 comedy shorts as a wealthy rogue constantly getting into trouble with women. After success in France Linder traveled to the States where he effectively replaced Charlie Chaplin in a series of shorts, but the actor’s work didn’t catch on. There was also World War 1; Linder was injured while working as a driver, an injury that plunged him into depression. He and his young wife made, it is a said, a suicide pact, and on October 31, 1925, they both succeeded in killing themselves, leaving a young daughter behind. That daughter remembered her father with a documentary, The Man in the Silk Hat, shown in Cannes in 1983. And, in 2009, Cannes screened Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which features its Jewish resistance fighter/theater owner Shoshana planning a Max Linder festival at her theater.