Albert Capellani

Sog.: Jean Richepin; F.: Karémin Mérobian e Louis Forestier. Int: Mistinguett (La Glu), Henry Krauss (Doctor Cézambre), Paul Capellani (Marie-Pierre) Cécile Guouyon (Anaïk), Gina Barbieri (Marie des Anges, the mother); Prod.: S.C.A.G.L. (Pathé No. 6388). 35mm. L.: 1900 m. D.: 75’ a 18 f/s. 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

Capellani’s film La Glu (1913) is based on an 1881 novel and 1883 play of the same name, by the eccentric Romantic writer Jean Richepin. They also served as the model for a 1908 opera by Gabriel Dupont. In the film version – running time about a hundred minutes –Mistinguett stars as Fernande, the sensuous, immoral and fascinating “Glu”. Her victims are, in order of appearance and in three different locations: in her home village the country doctor Cézambre (Henry Krauss), in Paris a young nobleman and in Brittany the fisherman Marie-Pierre (Paul Capellani). The old story of the evil femme fatale, an Eve figure causing suffering to decent, tormented men, is neither new nor very pleasant: at the end the mother kills the whore. Oh well. But this film does get under your skin. It can draw an audience – if the audience is willing – under its spell. The exterior shots and, above all, the photographic style are consistently fresh and strikingly beautiful, while the expressive physicality of the star is mesmerising. The passionate love scene with Marie-Pierre, for example, generates a physical empathy hardly ever felt in other films of the time. “Mlle Mistinguett plays the role of La Glu with artistry and a profound truthfulness. Messieurs Capellani and Krauss distill from their roles a most moving passion and high dramatic pitch. The production, admirable in every way, in fact nearly turned into a real drama. For we all remember that Mlle Mistinguett, struck by the hammer which was to kill La Glu, fainted, in real life, from the shock; and then we see something that was not in the script: the horrified gesture of Krauss before the bloody figure of his friend at his feet, believing for a moment that she was really dead.” (Le Journal, 7.11.1913, quoted by Henri Bousquet, Catalogue Pathé 1913, p. 711)

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