Europa Film Treasures, which I wrote about earlier here, has really put a major treasure online in the form of Max Linder’s The Three Must-Get-Theres (1922), the last of his American films, which he also considered his best film; a hilariously anachronistic spoof of Douglas Fairbanks’ Three Musketeers (1921), it is presented in a fine restoration by Deutsche Kinemathek of the German release version, with a new musical score by Maud Nelissen. (The original American version has been lost.)
As David Robinson wrote of the pioneering French comedian, in The Oxford History of World Cinema,
Max Linder was one of the most gifted comic artists in the history of the performing arts. Inscribing a photograph to him in the early 1920s, Charlie Chaplin called him ‘The Professor—to whom I owe everything.’
And one can see in this photo how Chaplin’s tramp costume might easily be seen as a sort of hobo version of Linder’s dapper persona. His early French films (he started acting in films in 1905) are remarkably sophisticated and certainly set the standard not only for Chaplin, but for many of the great silent film comedians. Unfortunately, by the time he made The Three Must-Get-Theres, his star had been eclipsed by Chaplin and he eventually committed suicide in 1925.
Thoughwell known to film historians, Linder’s films have been generally neglected even by many fans of silent comedy. For those interested, I highly recommend Film Preservation Associates’ DVD, Laugh with Max Linder!, which includes the feature-length Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), an excerpt from Be My Wife (1921), as well as a handful of his early shorts. A recent DVD, The Actors: Rare Films Of Max Linder from Classic Video Streams, which includes Be My Wife and 14 of his shorts, came out in August, but I haven’t seen it yet. And you apparently can still find copies of his daughter Maud’s 1983 documentary-compilation film, The Man in the Silk Hat which was issued in the US by Kino only on VHS.
Thanks to The Bioscope.