Allan Dwan

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima di Pierre Berton e Charles Simon. Scen.: Albert Shelby Le Vino. F.: Hal Rosson. Int.: Gloria Swanson (Zaza), H.B. Warner (Bernard Dufresne), Ferdinand Gottschalk (duca di Brissac), Lucille La Verne (zia Rosa), Mary Thurman (Florianne), Yvonne Hughes (Nathalie), Riley Hatch (Rigault), Roger Lytton (impresario teatrale), Ivan Linow (l’Apache). Prod.: Adolph Zukor per Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. 16 settembre 1923 35mm. L.: 2011 m. D.: 73′ a 24 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

Although Dwan took steps to limit the budget, Zaza is a handsome  film  that still looks more opulent than the 1939 remake directed by George Cukor. Dwan had told the studio that New York would be better locale to achieve the European background for Zaza. He claimed that for atmosphere he used French-speaking extras, who couldn’t speak a word of English… On a more practical level, Dwan arranged for his cameraman, Hal Rosson, to see a display of the piantings of
Toulouse-Lautrec to visualize the spirit of French cafés […]. Zaza was based on a French play by Pierre Berton and Charles Simon. In January 1899, a few months after Gabrielle Réjeane starred in the Paris première, a version produced by David Belasco opened in New York with Mrs. Leslie Carter in the title role. It was a great success. […..] The play is about a small town singer of great ambitions, who falls for one of her wooers but when she learns that he is married and has a little girl who idolizes him, she breaks off the affair. Years after, when Zaza has won wealth and fame on the Parisian stage, her lover comes to see her. Zaza says she loves him as she does someone who is dead, and while she will retain sweet memories of him, she never wants to see him again. Zaza provides an affecting portrait of a woman who suffers greatly in love but pours her
life into her art and achieves independence and inner peace. But the character of Zaza also reflects the era of her creation. No matter how great her success, Zaza must leave the man she loves to a more respectable woman. For the 1915 version [with Pauline Frederick], reviews suggest that Famous Players wanted to exploit the oh-là-là quality of the play while toning down the tragic aspect […]; with Swanson, Dwan could project an image suited for the liberated 1920s. The story was updated from the 1890s to the period just before the World War 1 […]. Dwan again shows his great economy in storytelling and his film  is rich in atmosphere, while running the full game of feelings. His final shot, showing a moment preserved at the edge of happiness, seems to glide into eternity.

Frederic Lombardi, Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of Hollywood  Studios, McFarland, Jefferson NC 2013

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