André Hugon

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Arnold Day. Scen.: Armand Du Plessy, Albert Dieudonné, André Hugon. F.: Karémine Mérobian. Int.: Musidora (Dolorès Melrose), André Nox (Gervisi), Louis Paglieri (Higgins), M. Byon (James Hampton), Marc Gérard (Benedictus), René Carrère (Goldoya), Maggy Delval. Prod.: Les Productions André Hugon. 35mm. D.: 80’. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

André Hugon was a filmmaker steeped in popular culture. He haunted Montmartre with its boxing clubs, its bars, its artists’ salons and its cabarets where, in 1917, Musidora was to be found boldly doing her stuff. In flesh-and-blood and in light and shade, she boosted conscript morale, a disreputable queen of the serial, performing her dangerously exciting one-woman routines, daring in front of the camera and behind it, with Colette. Hugon stole Musi from Gaumont, offering her a spectacular contract, just as his firm was drawing crowds by showing Mistinguett’s exploits on screen. The idea was to work with Musidora on a “sensational series”, which soon became her first feature film, Chacals, a 1,750-metre adventure reel. Musidora dyed her hair blonde to play the much courted Dolorès. She marries Sir Hamptvon, a British big-game hunter, rejecting the advances of a Cuban named Goldoya, played by her boyfriend of the time, a Montmartre painter named René Carrère, who was to assist in the making of her own Pour Don Carlos (In the Name of Don Carlos). On honeymoon in the thrilling city of Havana, the couple confront Goldoya and his ban of gold-digging ‘jackals’, whom they win over in a bar-brawl. Daringly expressive edits convey the feverishness, the violences and the seediness of the location. The film was praised for its arid settings and shadowy lighting, for its shadowy ap­proach to the western; and its fiery red night scenes. And for Musidora/Dolorès, this production, shot near the Mediterranean not Cuba (for financial reasons), meant a first foray into the heightened Hispanic fantasy-world of sol y sombra, or sun and shade.

Elodie Tamayo

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