Friday, June 15, 2007
Max Linder: The First Movie Comedian
Parisian boulevardier Max Linder was cinema's first star comedian, an accomplished headliner in France before D.W. Griffith and Allan Dwan started their film careers; Chaplin described him as "the great master".
Linder (1883-1925) starred in his own series of comedy short subjects as early as 1905, before Mack Sennett, before Fred Mace, before John Bunny, before "Keystone Mabel" Normand, even before Marcel Perez.
The dapper, top-hatted performer's innovative role in developing screen comedy is comparable to Emile Cohl's pioneering contributions to animation. The perpetually-cool "silk hat slicker" character of the inspired 1920's comic actor Raymond Griffith could be regarded as a creative homage to Max Linder.