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23 December 2015

L'empereur des pauvres (1921)

Just before Christmas, EFSP presents you the film special L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). This beautiful French silent film serial was an adaptation of the epic novel by Felicien Champsau. The serial was produced by Pathé Frères Consortium and the stars were Léon Mathot and Gina Relly.

L'empereur des pauvres
Léon Mathot. French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921).

Gina Relly in L'empereur des pauvres (1921)
Gina Relly in L'empereur des pauvres (1921). French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Vagabond

L'empereur des pauvres was written by French novelist and journalist Félicien Champsaur in 1920.

Director René LePrince created a silent film serial, based on this novel.

The film tells the epic story of a rich and spoiled  young man, Marc Anavan (played  by Léon Mathot). Marc leads a profiligate life but when he understands his fortune is about to evaporate he decides to change his life.

He becomes a vagabond and wants to do good around him. The task is not easy but his faith in his mission and the love of the pure Sylvette (Gina Relly) help him.

Marc becomes the peaceful spokesperson for the disinherited. He has to face revolution, anarchism and the Great War, before retaking his humanitarian mission. In the end he overcomes all the hardships on his way.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Left, Henry Krauss, as Jean Sarrias, revolting against society.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). On the foreground, Gina Relly as Sylvette. Standing in the back, Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan, and Henry Krauss as Jean Sarrias.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Probably Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Left Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan, in the middle, Gina Relly as Sylvette, and right, Henry Krauss, as her uncle Jean Sarrias.

Gina Relly in L'empereur des pauvres
Gina Relly in L'empereur des pauvres (1921). French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Gina Relly as Sylvette and Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Left, Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan, In the middle, Gina Relly as Sylvette, and right, Henry Krauss, as her uncle Jean Sarrias. Left of Mathot is Andrée Pascal as Clémence Sarrias.

Gina Relly and Léon Mathot in L'empereur des pauvres
Gina Relly and Léon Mathot in L'empereur des pauvres (1921). French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Epic Novel


L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921) was produced in six episodes: 1. Le Pauvre (The Poor); 2. Les Millions (The Millions); 3. Les Flambeaux (The Torches); 4. Les Crassiers (The Slag); 5. L'orage (The Storm) and 6. Floreal.

On demand of exhibitors, these six episodes were re-edited into twelve parts of 900 metres each, which were shown over six weeks in France. In The Netherlands the 12 parts were shown in three or two weeks.

Besides Léon Mathot and Gina Relly in the lead roles, the cast of L'empereur des pauvres includes several well-known actors of the French silent cinema.

Henry Krauss played Jean Sarrias, the uncle of Silvette, Gilbert Dalleu was Cyprien Cadal, the mayor of Saint Saturnin du Var, Andrée Pascal appeared as Clémence Sarrias and Lily Damita was Riquette, credited as Lily Deslys. In supporting parts well known faces as Charles Lamy, André Luguet, Charles de Rochefort and Maurice Schutz were cast.

The elaborate camera work was done by Julien Ringel and Paul Gaillard. Director René Leprince was a well-known film maker of the silent era, who had worked several times with comedian Max Linder and went on to make Fanfan La Tulipe (1925) with Aimé Simon-Girard. In 1929, Leprince died at the age of 53, at the end of the silent era.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Standing in the middle, actor Léon Mathot.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). In the middle, Gina Relly as Sylvette, and right, Henry Krauss, as her uncle Jean Sarrias, revolting against society. Left could be Andrée Pascal as Clémence Sarrias.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). The vagabond could be Léon Mathot.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Left to right: Andrée Pascal as Clémence Sarrias, Gina Relly as Sylvette, Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan, and Henry Krauss as Jean Sarrias.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Gina Relly as Sylvette, Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). In bed: Gina Relly as Sylvette, left of her Andrée Pascal as her sister Clémence.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Standing front, Léon Mathot.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Henry Krauss as Jean Sarrias, revolting against society.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Gina Relly as Sylvette, and Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Visible are Gina Relly as Sylvette and Léon Mathot as Marc Anavan.

L'empereur des pauvres
French postcard by M. Le Deley, Paris. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. Publicity still for L'empereur des pauvres/The Emperor of the poor (René Leprince, 1921). Gina Relly as Sylvette, working as a nurse during the First World War.

For now, this was our last weekly film special.

Sources: Guy Bellinger (IMDb), Ciné RessourcesWikipedia and IMDb.

2 comments:

Bunched Undies said...

What a wonderful Christmas present! Thank you Bob. Happy holidays and all the best to you and your family

Beth Niquette said...

I absolutely love these postcards. The pageantry, the costumes! All that wonderful information about these amazing actors and actresses of old. Merry Christmas from Oregon, my Friend. I am expecting lots of family and friends tomorrow morning. I can hardly wait. It will be so good to see everyone. Have a lovely day, yourself. :D