Was Max Linder the first truly worldwide movie star?

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2 Reel
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Was Max Linder the first truly worldwide movie star?

Unread post by 2 Reel » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:02 pm

I have often thought so, but I'm curious what others think. If you disagree, could this be at least partly because so few of his movies have been available for viewing, thus swaying bias? I'm also looking into the new book that was just announced yesterday, Max Linder: Father of Film Comedy. http://www.bearmanormedia.com/max-linde ... -mathiesen" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
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Re: Was Max Linder the first truly worldwide movie star?

Unread post by Smari1989 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:27 pm

Well, I'd argue that he was, at least. ;) (Thanks again for buying my book, I really appreciate it!) However, at the same time I'll certainly not say that it's impossible to argue otherwise. Max's name didn't become widely-known until the latter half of 1909, by which time André Deed had already been identified to the public since two years prior (albeit mostly by his screen character's name, "Boireau"). Also, Charles Prince rose to worldwide fame about the same time as Max did (late 1909), and then there's "The Biograph Girl," Florence Lawrence, of course.

The truth is that no movie star can be said to be, without question, the very "first" one; it all depends on how one defines a star. We can be pretty sure that no one in 1910 ever THOUGHT of Max, or anyone else, as "the first star." However, I still maintain that Max qualifies as the first megastar. It's not just the fact that audiences knew his identity; based on newspaper reports, film ads etc that I've been able to find from the years before WW1, simply no other star seems to have been as widely idolized and talked about...if by widely we mean internationally.

Regarding the survival rate of Max's films, although most of his films are lost and/or unavailable, he actually fares better than many of the pre-WW1 years. Deed and Charles Prince are far more unfortunate in that regard.

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Re: Was Max Linder the first truly worldwide movie star?

Unread post by Aaron1927 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:23 am

What I love about Max Linder is that he plays the average Joe and the public can immediately relate to him and love his character. His problems and predicaments were never over the top like Chaplin's and his humour was just as clever, if not more so, and also clean. Here are just a few mentions of Max in the press.

May 15th 1917 - American, Idaho Paper


December 25th 1921 - Arizona Morning Paper


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Re: Was Max Linder the first truly worldwide movie star?

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:26 am

My entry on Max Gets Stuck Up in my excellent book 100 Essential Silent Film Comedies begins this way:

Let's have no quibbling about it: Max Linder was the first international movie comedy superstar. I have chosen those words carefully: challenge them at your peril.

I go on to expand upon each of those words: "first", "international", "movie star", "comedy star", and "superstar".

For the full argument, buy the book!


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