A Harlequin's Story (La Légende de Polichinelle)

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Or, 'How Max Came To Comedy'

Online: Dailymotion

In Max Linder's 1914 Max Plays At Drama (Max Joue Le Drame), Max's attempt at drama has so many bloopers that the audience applauds in hysterical laughter. This film looks like it could have inspired that later film.

The dramatic rescue is first stymied when the romantic hero stumbles over the debris and nearly falls over, and then again when he can't fit his dismembered beloved through the doorway. Later, part of his costume falls off.

After the heroine is revived, it's time for the girlie show: a mock international pageant in a bizarre funhouse setting, and the popular butterfly dance close out the fun.

Although it's tempting to conclude that it was while watching this film that Max Linder realized his true calling was comedy, the comic character of Max, the dapper and loveable upper-class twit. had already debuted the previous month in The Unskillful Skater/The Skater's Debut/Max Learns To Skate (Début d'un Patineur).

Here is a summary and background of the film, taken from “Max Linder: Father of Film Comedy” (2018), by Snorre Smári Mathiesen:

Summary and background of La Légende de Polichinelle