The Sunday Intertitle: The Further Adventures of the Liquorice Kid


More from The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon, the only blogathon in the world to feature only one blog.

One of Louis Feuillade’s last productions, PIERROT, PIERRETTE (1924) is a feature (just over an hour) that plays somehow like a short, with a tone Dickensian and Chaplinesque. When aging former ringmaster grandpa gets taken into an old folks’ home, Pierrot and Pierrette go on the lam: gramps encourages this, telling them to have adventures. The first adventure, it turns out, is starvation.


Pierrotte is a teenage René Poyen, the Liquorice Kid from JUDEX, elongated but still very recognizable. He’s adjusted his acting style to suit the twenties — he’s no longer so aware of the audience, doesn’t act things out for our benefit along. But he’s still one of nature’s aristocrats, even performing in a monocle. His little sister is played by an adorable and very natural kid called Bouboule, another Feuillade discovery.


Two surprisingly unpleasant bits of slapstick: in one scene, Bouboule intervenes in a fight between two big adults and gets tossed around like a rag doll — she is literally replaced by a doll to allow this, but Feuillade sets his camera back at a distance so it’s horrifyingly convincing. Poor Bouboule gets used as a bludgeon, then chucked ten feet through the air, magically turning back into a real girl on impact with terra firma. Later, a burglar gets a pitchfork in the throat, also played for laugh. He doesn’t seem to be suffering, or not as much as you’d expect.

Stealing from the best, Feuillade wraps his story up with an Oliver Twist housebreaking followed by somewhat unmotivated happy ending. It’s all quite cute.

I was intrigued to see whether Feuillade was moving with the times. Yes and no. He cuts a lot more within scenes than he did in 1916, when his approach was somewhat tableau-based. He even does regular shot-reverse-shot cutting. But he doesn’t edge the camera round for over-the-shoulders. Instead he creates a tableau with the actors facing front and then fragments it into closeups. This was perhaps slightly old-fashioned for 1923, but not severely outdated.



4 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: The Further Adventures of the Liquorice Kid”

  1. Hooray, our first, um, entry! Since the director and actress seem to agree on this one, I’d say that yes, the simulated sex act was probably sprung on Schneider without warning. It’s good that BB feels guilty. While it’s not rape, dry-humping someone without their consent could well be classed as indecent assault.

  2. But why is he bringing this up NOW? Marlon and Maria are both long dead. There’s not way to further question them about this to find out “the truth.” I believe Bernardo’s gone Round the Bend.

  3. I saw an interview with him several years back where he told exactly the same story. It wasn’t long after Maria’s death, and I think he felt guilty – said he wished he could apologise. And he seemed sane enough when we saw him in Bologna in his Mondrian wheelchair.

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