Maurice Chevalier at the Casino de Paris

Maurice Chevalier at the Casino de Paris


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Maurice Chevalier at the Casino de Paris

© ADAGP, Library of Contemporary International Documentation / MHC

Publication date: January 2006

Historical context

The Casino de Paris, symbol of the music hall years

Maurice Chevalier's French career is inextricably linked to the Casino de Paris. Without question, the big star of those years is the “Miss”, Mistinguett. In the early 1920s, she shared the bill at the Casino de Paris with Maurice Chevalier, a rising star of American music hall.

Image Analysis

Boater, lippe and camber: the symbols of the dandy of the suburbs

Charles Kiffer (1902-1992), a close friend of Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972), designed the advertisements for the singer's successive shows at the Casino de Paris in the late 1930s. The composition of the poster for Love of Paris is characterized by a perfect balance between text and drawing, and, in the drawing, between three characters who synthesize the content and the subject of the magazine. In the frame built by the repetition of the name of the room, the name of the star appears in huge letters, and the advertising argument does not skimp on hyperbole: the "great and super review" is that Maurice Chevalier " plays all the roles and offers its audience its syncopated dance from America and its popular songs. The image of Kiffer accomplishes this program: the left half is entirely occupied by the famous velvet gaze and the famous lippe. The boater, emblem of the singer since 1921, falls to a languid music-hall Cupid, arched to the Knight. Finally, the sensual chorus girl sketched in the middle is a pretext for variations on the theme of the heart: sandal curls, a smile, a thong, echo the silhouette of the young woman - an emblem of the Paris that Americans love and that Maurice Chevalier knows how to capsize.

Interpretation

Maurice Chevalier, an American star in Paris

From 1917, Maurice Chevalier was headlining at the Casino de Paris. Then, during the 1920s, he left for the United States and filmed in Hollywood. It is therefore crowned with now international glory that the singer returns to France for two triumphant shows: Paris I love you (1937) and Love of Paris (1938). If he is surrounded by a large troupe of dancers and musicians, if he is assisted by experienced scenographers and decorators, he alone embodies the show and ensures its success. His fame is the cause of the emergence of American-style stardom in France, based on advertising by all available media: cinema, radio, posters. The music hall then mixes the popular culture of the revue with more elitist rhythms of jazz, the French tradition of the singer and scenic originality from across the Atlantic. Maurice Chevalier is a faceted icon: archetypal of the French in the United States, a Parisian dandy in a boater or a bewitching scoundrel of the bohemian suburbs, he is popular because he knows how to reflect these various figures wonderfully.

  • Hobbies
  • dandyism
  • music hall
  • Paris
  • stardom
  • bohemian (life of)

Bibliography

Jacques CHARLES, One hundred years of music hall: General history of music hall, from its origins to the present day in Great Britain, France and the USA, Paris, Jeheber, 1956.Jacques FESCHOTTE, History of the music hall, Paris, P.U.F., coll. "What do I know? », 1965. Jean-Claude KLEIN, The song on the bill. History of French song from the café-concert to the present day, Paris, Du May, 1991.Denis-Constant MARTIN and Olivier ROUEFF, The France of Jazz: Music, Modernity and Identity in the First Half of the 20th Century, Marseille Parenthèses, 2002.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "Maurice Chevalier at the Casino de Paris"


Video: Maurice Chevalier: Bouquet De Paris with Raymond Legrand From the film Le Roi 1950. Rec 1949-50