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Charles de Roche Returns
And brings with him a picture which he made in France, in the hope of showing that films suitable to meet the demands of American audiences can be produced in his country.
By Edna Foley
OW that the German film producers have found a means of getting some of their best products shown in the United States, the producers in other European countries are likely to make similar attempts. France, in fact, has already sent Charles de Roche as a commercial emissary on a mission of this sort.
De Roche, who is already known to American fans through his former work in American pictures, has brought to this country the print of a film called "Princess and the Clown." This picture, in which De Roche plays a gypsy, a king, a clown, and a lover, was made with the express aim of pleasing the American public. Having had two years of experience in the New York and Hollywood studios, De Roche was given the supervision of the production. A scenario editor who had worked for American producers was engaged, and no effort was spared in the making of the picture. French locations of interest to Americans were selected — such as the Champs Elysees, the Rue de la Paix, and the Rue de Rivoli, and by way of spectacular interest, a huge mob scene was taken outside the Olympia, one of the great Paris theaters.
Although, like "The Merry Widow," the story is laid in a "Graustark" land of fancy, the incidents are said to be taken from the true story of an authentic prince, according as it took place during the chaos of the recent revolutions that upset the thrones of so many European nations.
During the making of the picture, De Roche conducted a campaign of publicity in France, in an attempt to overcome the resentment against the exclusion of French pictures in America.
"I have tried to show," he explains, "that there is no ban against French pictures provided they can be made to please the American public. The Germans have learned that, and as a result, their pictures have at last found an American market. In the past, our pictures, like theirs, have not been adapted to the American taste, either in the development of the scenario, in
In his new picture, "Princess and the Cloivn," De Roche plays four distinct roles, two of which are shown here — at the left, a gypsy, and
above, the lover.
the photography, or in the direction. These things we have tried to overcome in 'Princess and the Clown,' and I hope that we may convince the American producers to that effect, for I have dedicated this picture to the American public in gratitude for the encouragement that was given me during my former stay here."
De Roche, it will be recalled, had the misfortune to be introduced in America as a successor to Valentino, at the time that Valentino temporarily left the screen after quitting the Lasky lot. Despite the protests and the abuse that such publicity brought down upon his innocent head, he made many friends through his work with Pola Negri and other stars.
After disposing of his French picture, he plans to return to Hollywood, and to appear once more in American productions.
In France, De Roche is one of the best-known screen stars, and besides his work in films, he had a long and varied career on the stage. At one time, he appeared in an act with a dog on the same bill in a variety show, "A Night in an English Music Hall," in which Charlie Chaplin took the part of the drunken spectator. Eater on, he became leading man to Sarah Bernhardt. He went through the war, was captured by the Germans, and was sent to prison in Bavaria. He is master of many languages, and at one time specialized as a dancer. In France he is quite an idol, and is the most popular of all the French stars of the screen.