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Le Monde de Djayesse

Le Monde de Djayesse

Un peu de tout : du cinéma (beaucoup), de l'actu (un peu) et toute cette sorte de choses [A bit of everythying: cinema (a lot), news (a little) and all this kind of things]

Publié le par Djayesse
Publié dans : #Cinéma, #Muet, #Rex Ingram, #English
Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923)

A year after The Prisoner of Zenda, Rex Ingram shoots another film with more or less the same team. This time, it takes place during the French Revolution. So we can se Alice Terry (Mrs Ingram), Lewis Stone and Ramon Novarro. But when you look closely, you can recognize Edward Snitz, John George, Edward Conelly...

Scaramouche is the film where the story and the History collide.

The story is the one of André Louis Moreau (Ramon Novarro), an orphan whose friend, a fighter for freedom, is killed in duel by the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr (Lewis Stone). Moreau is also in love with Aline de Kercadiou (Alice Terry), the niece of the man who raised him.

The History is the one of France. But it is rewritten by Hollywood. So, when you are French, you do not recognize your History. Before, there was Griffith's French Revolution (Orphans of the Storm, 1921), now there is Ingram's. This time, Robespierre is not a communist, but we can see a very ugly Danton (George Siegman), with his "pock-marked" face. There is also a very peculiar Parisian crowd: savage, shouting, bloodthirsty and greedy for aristocratic heads to fall. There are also the historic characters: Louis XVI, his wife Marie-Antoinette (and their children), Danton and Marat (Roy Coulson), and a young officer who watches silently, Napoleon (Slavko Vorkapich).

Fortunately, we are interested in the story. Ramon Novarro is young, bold and handsome; Alice Terry is beautiful and cries easily; Lewis Stone is, as usual, very straight-up, and also a sort of villain, for he kills Moreau's friend.

Once more, we have a fencing dual, but this time, it is better than in Zenda.

But what strikes the spectator are the glittering eyes. In the first sequence, a dead man is brought back home. He was killed by the tyranny. We see his wife crying, the tears glittering in her eyes. Later, Moreau's eyes will glitter, when his friend is killed by de la Tour. IN every great moment of the film, we have these glittering eyes.


Time and space have a very strange aspect in this film. Indeed, when you know France, you do not understand everything. It seems that the likelihood has been put aside. The events happen in three locations: Gavrillac (a village in Brittany), Rennes and Paris.

Gavrillac is the place where Moreau and Alice grow up .

Rennes is where Moreau speaks about Freedom. This is also where he meets Marat, another famous actor of the Revolution (who does not look like him at all, except the cloth he wears on his head).

Paris is where everything really happens, where everyone meets. This is where the Assembly is meeting; where the play Figaro-Scaramouche (written by Moreau) is performed; where Aline, de la Tour and Moreau finally meet.

Unfortunately, if we recognize very well each location, there is a big problem of space: in 1789, you cannot ride from Rennes to Paris in one day! Nevertheless, the characters of the film can be on Sunday in Gavrillac or Rennes and on Monday in Paris!

As for the Time of the film, I would prefer not to talk about it. One date is right: August the 12th, 1792. When the people of Paris invades the Tuileries Palace, creating in the same time a real bloodbath.


Despite all this, this Scaramouche movie has much charm. The fencing duel may be shorter than in George Sidney's movie (Scaramouche, 1952), it is nevertheless a great moment. The final revelation is quite amazing, and the actors were really well chosen.

And, despite the fact that Moreau (and the script) is naive, we feel quite happy for him at the end.

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