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Pierre Batcheff and Stardom in 1920s French Cinema$
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Phil Powrie and Eric Rebillard

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621972

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621972.001.0001

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Historical reconstructions

Historical reconstructions

(p.73) Chapter 4 Historical reconstructions
Pierre Batcheff and Stardom in 1920s French Cinema

Phil Powrie

Éric Rebillard

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores four films starring Pierre Batcheff and falling into the historical reconstruction genre as defined by Richard Abel: Destinée (December 1925), Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (April 1927), Le Joueur d'échecs (July 1927), and Monte-Cristo (May 1929). In none of them does Batcheff play a major role, but the roles he plays articulate a persona that is very clear in his starring roles, predicated on a static and often masochistic masculinity. It can be argued that the historical epic is more than likely to lead to a more static performance, given the decorative value of sets and more particularly costumes that constrain action. But this does not seem to affect the leading men in these films, who thrust and parry while Batcheff looks on, slightly bemused by it all, lost in his ‘look off’, semi-detached from what action there is.

Keywords:   Pierre Batcheff, films, Destinée, Napoléon vu par Abel Gance, Le Joueur d'échecs, Monte-Cristo, historical reconstruction, Richard Abel, masculinity, leading men

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