Gabriel Leuvielle (16 December 1883 – 1 November 1925), known professionally as Max Linder (French: [maks lɛ̃.dɛʁ]), was a French actor, director, screenwriter, producer and comedian of the silent film era. His onscreen persona "Max" was one of the first recognizable recurring characters in film. He has also been cited as the "first international movie star" and "the first film star anywhere".Born in Cavernes, France to Catholic parents, Linder grew up with a passion for theater and enrolled in the Conservatoire de Bordeaux in 1899. He soon received awards for his performances and continued to pursue a career in the legitimate theater. He became a contract player with the Bordeaux Théâtre des Arts from 1901 to 1904, performing in plays by Molière, Pierre Corneille, and Alfred de Musset.From the summer of 1905, Linder appeared in short comedy films for Pathé, at first usually in supporting roles. His first major film role was in the Georges Méliès-like fantasy film The Legend of Punching. During the following years, Linder made several hundred short films portraying "Max", a wealthy and dapper man-about-town frequently in hot water because of his penchant for beautiful women and the good life. Starting with The Skater's Debut in 1907, the character became one of the first identifiable motion-picture characters who appeared in successive situation comedies. By 1911, Linder was co-directing his own films (with René LePrince) as well as writing the scripts.Linder enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War, and worked at first as a dispatch driver and entertainer. During his service, he was injured several times, and the experiences reportedly had a devastating effect on him both physically and mentally. It was during this time he suffered his first outbreak of chronic depression.
Max Linder was born Gabriel Leuvielle near Saint-Loubès, Gironde. He was called "Max" from a young age. His parents, Jean and Suzanne (née Baron), were wealthy vineyard owners and expected Linder to take over the family business; his older brother Maurice (28 June 1881 – 14 December 1959) had become a celebrated national rugby player. But Linder grew up with a passion for theater, and was enthralled by the traveling theater and circus performances that occasionally visited his town. He later wrote that "nothing was more distasteful to me than the thought of a life among the grapes."As a child, Linder fell victim to a severe case of cholera. He survived by resting in the oven of the village baker. The heat from the oven supposedly brought down the infection to a manageable level.In the spring of 1888, the Leuvielle family's plantation was attacked by grape phylloxera. Jean and Suzanne heavily considered emigrating to America, and embarked on a trip to New York in search for propitious offers. During their trip, Max and Maurice remained in France with their grandmother Jeanne. Nothing became of Jean and Suzanne's plans to emigrate, as it was discovered that the French vines could be replaced with American plants, which were sturdier and resistant to phylloxera.While in New York, Suzanne gave birth to Max's younger brother, Gérard. They returned to France, and, two years later, a sister, Marcelle, was born. Max developed a particular affection for her. Marcelle, along with Suzanne and Jean, appeared in Max's film Max Is Convalescent (1911) and Marcelle starred alongside Max in Max, The Heartbreaker (1917).
Movies & TV shows
Fun on a Weekend
Nancy Crane and Peter Porter met at a beach. Nancy is inspired by Peter's belief that a person can acquire wealth simply by creating an aura of success, so she convinces Peter to join her in pretendin...
The Ghost Comes Home
Comedy ensues when a small town pet store owner is mistaken for dead during a sea voyage. A number of people, including Frank Morgan, John Shelton, Harold Huber, Donald Meek, Nat Pendleton, Renie Rian...
The Theft of the Mona Lisa
This German crime drama was based on a true story. Willy Forst stars as a poverty-stricken Italian glazier who falls in love with French hotel maid Rosa Valletti. Struck by the girl's resemblance to L...
Max Comes Across
The adventures of Max Linder, some based on real events, some fictional, as he travels by ocean liner from France to America.
Max and the Purse
Max being a gentleman and helping a lady in distress. Max willingly helps the lady recover her forgotten purse before the boat they're traveling on is leaving.
Max Wants a Divorce
Max has to choose between losing his wife and a fortune. He will give his wife grounds for a divorce and then make her his wife. Again, Linder. He goes through a lot of trouble in helping her to get t...
Max entre deux feux
The story is about Max who in holiday in Switzerland meets two young American girls. They're friends, the first one is blond, the other one is brunette. He falls in love with the two of them and decid...
Max Linder Visits Charlie Chaplin
In 1917, renowned French comedian and filmmaker Max Linder visited Charlie Chaplin.
Max in a Taxi
Max Linder in his first Los Angeles made comedy "Max in a Taxi"
Max Wishes He Hadn't
In consequence of a first kiss, poor Max finds himself claimed as a property of a persistent damsel. Even his approaching marriage does not deter the lady, who leads him a merry dance.
Max Sets the Style
Max is late for his own wedding, and, worse yet, has no shoes.
The Forced Marriage
Again Max is forced into marriage. If he doesn't marry soon he won't get any more money from his uncle. As all three candidates refuse his proposal he talks his servant into playing the bride. He mana...
Max in the Convent
In this three-reeler, the young lady with whom he is in love is sent to a convent to get away from Max. Max is after her. While we are not forced to watch the mustachioed Linder in drag, there are som...
Max is invited to join his uncle for a holiday, but he hasn't invited his wife, so he sneaks her in in his suitcase, always hiding her from his uncle...
Max as a Chiropodist
Came to visit a girl, Max presents itself as a pedicure.
Max Speaks English
"Scene, a first-class railway carriage. Max and delightful girl alone. "May I smoke?" breaks the ice, and then Max brings all the arts of fascination to bear on the lady, who is by no means shy. Max c...
Max and the Jealous Husband
A Max Linder comedy short.
Max Takes a Picture
He attempts to take a photo of a woman in a bathing suit (and she's no beauty), waiting while she swims around like she thinks she's an early embodiment of Esther Williams. He's waiting for her to eme...
Max as a Musician
Max loves a charming girl to distraction, but her father declares that his daughter shall never marry anyone but a musician. Max tries his hand at all kinds of instruments, only to fail lamentably. Ev...
Le billet doux
Max Hates Cats
In this one, Max is engaged to a girl -- called, as in all his shorts, 'Jane' -- and she loves her pussycat. She loves the lazy, immobile lump of fur in a way that only cat lovers can, and which is a ...
Max has been invited to meet with his in-laws and must dress formally, but each hat he attempts to wear for the occasion gets destroyed.
Max: Jockey for Love
Max meets the Countess Duvienne in a very distressing moment, for she has just learned that her jockey will be unable to ride her horse, the favorite for the owner's stakes. In that irresistible way o...
Max is not allowed to pay attention to the girl by her father. It is a case where persistency meets obstinacy to win. The father and daughter must be followed by the artist. The old man promised to pa...
Max and Dog Dick
When Max, a newly married man, suspects that his wife may be cheating on him, he gives his faithful dog Dick orders to keep on eye on her when he's not at home.
Max is in love with Lili, capricious bride who won't do his will until he has recovered the ring she launched into the sea. But Max is afraid of water...
Max Linder's Appointment
The charming French lover, who gets into a bit of chaos in the coordination of his dates, is played by Max Linder.
Max and the Donkey
Max Linder strays further from his usual haunts of situational comedy, far into straight slapstick as he gets into a dispute over the woman he is courting with a pantomime donkey -- although whether t...
A Farm-house Romance
Max is informed by his rich uncle that he's tired of supporting him. Instead, he has a farmer friend and he wants Max to marry one of the farmer's daughters. However, the farmer decides that his oldes...
The Wedding Trunk
One man is standing in the way of Max marrying his girl. Her guardian. Max had to find a way to get him to agree.
Max Juggles for Love
Max would like to marry a lady. She insists she won't marry him until he learns to juggle. He gets a idea that he hopes will work.
Max, Professeur de Tango
Max is doing the Tango with Miss Leonora in a Berlin night club. Being impressed by the performance a german Baron asks him to give his family a dancing lesson. In the course of the evening Max gets d...
The story is simple: Max and a pretty young lady, whom he has never met before, arrive at the same time at a luxury hotel on the Riviera, each for a little vacation by themselves. They are placed in a...
Max and the Statue
Max starts out at a costume store to get a costume for a party. He sees a suit of armor and purchases it. He wears it to the party and gets kind of drunk and passes out. In the meantime, a museum has ...
Max Takes Back His Freedom
"Max quarrels so with his wife that the lady leaves him. Our hero then attempts to do his own cooking, etc. He buys a fowl, but it proves to be still alive, and after he has chased it with a revolver,...
Max and his friend, who came to visit him in Paris both fall in love with his new maid. The girl is very friendly, and while one plays the piano, she dances with the other - and they are so happy that...
Max Fears the Dogs
Max, who fears dogs, is chased by them through the city, over walls, and even up a chimney and onto a roof.
Who Killed Max?
Max Is Convalescent
Max has been filming with his family at his place of convalescence.
Max Takes Tonics
Max visits a doctor who prescribes a tonic (Bordeaux of Cinchona) for him to drink every morning. Upon returning home, Max sees a large glass which was left by his wife and labeled "Souvenir de Bordea...
Max and His Mother-in-Law
Max and his young bride attempt to enjoy an Alpine honeymoon, despite the presence of her mother.
Max and Jane Want to Do Theater
Max doesn't want to marry his father because he wants to go on stage. The girl, whom Max has never met, is also stage struck, and entertains no wish of marrying him, though her mother is anxious to se...
A Short-Sighted Duellist
Astigmatic, Max apologizes to lampposts, kisses the wrong lady, and is challenged to a duel.
Max Plays the Part
Max thinks he's a great dramatic actor, but his friends think he's not. He wants them to see him in a play. There are a lot of things that go wrong with Max's props. Max has the last laugh after his f...
Max Makes a Touch
Max and Mick, two brothers, have prepared for a merry spree and are actually stepping into their cab when it occurs to them they are penniless. Lots are drawn to see who shall beard stern father and m...
Max manque un riche mariage
Max is going to make his first call to a young lady, the daughter of distinguished parents, and he wants to make a good impression. He tears his trousers as he stoops over to fix his shoe. In a most e...
In a snowy Alpine district Max takes his first lessons in the art of skiing. He leaves the hotel with his skis fixed to his shoes, and his efforts and contortions to get through the door of his room a...
I Want a Baby
Max and his wife of three years are happy, but they still don't have a child. It seems Max's wish may have come true when he reads of a new method of spontaneously generation. The young couple may get...
Max's First Job
The letter was received in the Pathe by a friend of the theatre. He tested before the director of the house. He was summoned to Joinville studios a week later. It's necessary to play a husband who com...
Max Takes a Bath
On doctor's orders Max buys a new bathtub but things don't work out as planned.
Romeo Turns Bandit
When Juliet's father refuses to let Romeo see her, he resorts to extreme measures.
George, passing a pretty woman in the street, has recourse to that old-time trick of dropping his own handkerchief and hurrying after her, making believe that he thinks it is hers. On examining the ha...
The Gentleman Thief
Max escaped from the evening party when he took a necklace from one of the guests. The guests and the police set out in pursuit but Max employs some novel methods and among others mounts a boat on the...
The Barometer of Fidelity
The Max Linder short opens with him and his girl rowing in a canoe, then skips ahead two years later.
Mother in law gets a new set of dentures. Despite being initially happy, the family soon discovers the teeth have a life of their own and jump from their owner's mouth and bite everyone who comes near...
The Surprises of a Flirtation
A man and his family are eating. One of the sons leaves the room pretending to be sick and takes a bunch of flowers out of the cupboard. The other son leaves under his bed with a bunch of flowers, fol...
La Petite Rosse
Max Linder is a suitor for a young lady. When Max learns to juggle with three balls, he will marry her, even though he suffers from her rough treatment.
Beginning of the Serpentine Dance
We get scenery, with a fiddler playing as 18th century patrons do a minuet; we get some Méliès moments as the devil appears, makes the dancers vanish and takes the fiddler to pandemonium, where they p...
In a Difficult Position
Max, a young man about town, splits his trousers while getting ready to go out one night. After applying some rather risky repairs without taking the trousers off, he gingerly heads off to a dinner pa...
His First Cigar
The film is quite sophisticated for it's time with a relatively large number of scene changes as we follow Max's misadventures. It also features a close-up shot to show his reactions to the effects of...
Troubles of a Grass Widower
A woman returns to her mother because she tires of her husband's behavior. The husband is happy to have the house for himself. Even the most basic domestic chores can be difficult.
Au music-hall (At the Music Hall)
There are a lot of house boxes at the music hall.
Max Learns to Skate
Max causes havoc when he joins other skaters on a frozen lake.
The setting is a postoffice. A well-to-do lady has brought her maid to lick the stamps. A man, the maid's love interest, is taken by the sight and, as soon as he can, attempts to kiss her. Unfortunate...
In the English language version of the movie, a servant rescues his girlfriend from a group of rich people who have transformed her into a mechanical doll.