Deed, André

(1879-1938)
   Actor. André Deed was born André de Chapais, the son of a customs inspector. He seemed, early on, to follow the appointed bourgeois path that had been set out for him, studying at lycée, then at various postsecondary institutions, finally becoming a clerk in a bank. Deed, however, was restless, and gave up the quiet life, at first for the sea, then for the theater, or more particularly the café-concerts. He performed as both a singer and an acrobat before being hired on at the Folies-Bergères, and then the Châtelet. He appeared in several early Georges Méliès films, including Dislocation mystérieuse (1901), Les Aventures de Robinson Crusoe (1902), Le Royaume des fées (1903), and Le Barbier de Seville (1904).
   Around 1905, Deed was hired on at Pathé by Charles Pathé, who was scouring the café-concerts at the time looking for potential talent for his films. Deed was at Pathé from 1905 to 1908. At the beginning of his time at Pathé, he made several films with Georges Hatot, including Les Débuts d'un chauffeur (1906) and La Course à la perruque (1906), a classic early chase film. However, Deed's most important contribution to cinema at Pathé came in his development of the "Boireau" character. Appearing for the first time in the film La Course à la perruque, Boireau was a fool or idiot character at the center of burlesque silent-film comedies and was one of the first regular and reappearing characters in cinema. The character and the comedies in which he appeared were also some of the first film comedies and are seen as central to the development of the genre in film.
   Boireau would reappear in series of films, many of them bearing the character's name, which was also quite unusual at the time. The first of these sequels was Boireau démenage (1906). Major titles in the first series (during Deed's initial term at Pathé from 1905 to 1908) include Les Apprentissages de Boireau (1907), Les Débuts d'un canotier (1907), both directed by Albert Capellani, and Boireau fait la noce (1908). Deed also starred in a number of non-Boireau films during his time at Pathé, including Le Chevalier mystère (1908) and Les Tribulations du roi Têtaclaque (1908), both directed by Segundo de Chomon, and Apaches mal avisés (1908), among others.
   In 1909, Deed left Pathé for Italy, hired away by Itala Film due to the success of Boireau (in Italy called "Beoncelli"). His departure was a blow to Pathé, since Boireau was, at the time, a bigger draw even than Max Linder. In Italy, Deed created the character of "Cretinetti" (called "Gribouille" in French), and made some seventy films with that character for Itala Film. He also directed films while in Italy. Pathé meanwhile tried, in vain, to continue the Boireau series without Deed, hiring another actor, Paul Bertho, to play Boireau. They made four films with Bertho and then gave up. The type, however, remained in film. Roméo Bosetti, among others, created Boireau-inspired characters, most notably "Calino" and "Romeo." Boireau's influence on film comedy lasted well beyond 1909.
   Deed remained in Italy until 1912, at which time he returned to France, lured back by Pathé. He again reincarnated the Boireau character for Pathé, who cleverly debuted him in a film titled Gribouille redevient Boireau (1912). To add a bit of farce to the mix, Pathé paired Deed with the Italian actress Valentina Frascaroli. The pair was a hit and would appear together in many of the twenty or so films Deed would make for Pathé between 1912 and 1915. Of these, the best known include Boireau se venge (1912), La Fête de Boireau (1912), Boireau et Gribouillette s'amusent (1912), Boireau magistrat (1912), and Boireau empoisonneur malgré lui (1913).
   Deed seems to have left Pathé again for Itala, around 1915. He made five films with Valentina Frascaroli in 1915 and 1916 and may afterwards have been mobilized for war, and possibly injured. In any case, he seems to have returned to France and continued his career, which, at that point, had gone into decline. He made a handful of films in the 1920s and early 1930s, appearing in Gaston Ravel's Tâo (1923) and Monsieur de Pourceaugnac (1932), Georges Pallu's Phi-Phi (1926) and La Rose effeuillée (1936), Georges Monca's Miss Helyett (1927), and Bernard-Deschamps' Le Rosier de Madame Husson (1931), among others. He also wrote, directed, and starred, alongside Frasacaroli, in an early science-fiction film titled L'Uomo Meccanico (1921), which exists in a fragment. He seems to have disappeared after 1936 and died more or less forgotten.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Deed, André — (1879 1938)    Actor. André Deed was born André de Chapais, the son of a customs inspector. He seemed, early on, to follow the appointed bourgeois path that had been set out for him, studying at lycée, then at various postsecondary institutions,… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Deed, Andre — (1879 1938)    Actor, writer, director. Following an early career as a stage performer and sometime actor in the films of Georges Melies, Deed (whose real name was Andre Chapuis or De Chapais) had become one of the Pathe studios greatest stars… …   Guide to cinema

  • Deed, Andre — (1879 1938)    Actor, writer, director. Following an early career as a stage performer and sometime actor in the films of Georges Melies, Deed (whose real name was Andre Chapuis or De Chapais) had become one of the Pathe studios greatest stars… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

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  • André Deed — (* 22. Februar 1879 in Le Havre als Henri André Augustin Chapais; † 4. Oktober 1940 in Paris) war ein französischer Schauspieler, Drehbuchautor und Regisseur; ein Pionier aus den Anfängen der europäischen Kinemat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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