March 08, 2010

69. El Dorado (1921)

When I watched La Galerie des Monstres last April, I had no idea some people from the film would come back and haunt me now, almost a year later.
Jaque Catelain directed and starred in Galerie des Monstres, while Philippe Heriat played a bit part in it.
Today I tracked down another film in which they starred together, called El Dorado.
It was directed by Marcel L'Herbier.

This is Ève Francis (35), who played Sibilla, the star of the cabaret

Sibilla's little son who sleeps in her studio apartment upstairs.
He's on the brink of death.

Philippe Hériat (23)... looking wild and pretty.
He played the somewhat deranged and creepy Joao, a performer at the show

Sibilla entertains the crowd while Joao sits on the piano and looks like Morrissey

Jaque Catelain ! He's like a mixture of famous faces... Stephen Tennant, Brigitte Helm... I was stunned to see him looking like this. Extremely androgynous. He was 24.

I'm drawn to these suffering and unconventional characters. Sybille was a tragic character and near the end of the film it was almost too overwhelming to watch. She'd gotten a raw deal in life and had her only ray of light taken away. I would have loved to have seen Gladys Brockwell play Sybille in an American production of the film, if they'd ever done it.

her mourning is interrupted by Joao, who wants what he can't get

One of the most striking death scenes that I've seen in a silent film so far :


Directed by Marcel L'Herbier