Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cinma*, Cinmat* (for Cinema*, Cinemat*)

French star of the silent screen, Jeanne Roques was born on February 23, 1889. Taking the stage name "Musidora," she created an exotic persona akin to Hollywood's Theda Bara ("The Vamp"). She starred in numerous movies by director Louis Feuillade, including the popular Les Vampires series. She also wrote and directed ten films (all but two of them lost to history), which was an unusual feat for a woman at that time. Her last film, which she both directed and starred in, was a 1950 homage to Feuillade called La Magique Image. The precocious Musidora was raised by a feminist mother and socialist father and began performing at an early age. She published a novel when she was fifteen years old and acted in the theater with her friend Colette. (As an old woman, she even worked in the ticket booth of the Cinematheque Francaise, where probably few moviegoers recognized her as an icon.) An early figure in French cinema, Musidora had a more conventional side as well, eventually marrying a doctor and producing a "Junior" before divorcing in 1944. Musidora died where she was born, in Paris, the City of Lights. Cinma* gets five hits in OhioLINK and Cinmat* nine.

(Portrait of Musidora, 1914-1926, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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