The Sunday Intertitle: Cigarette Girl

Beautiful art title from Germaine Dulac’s LA CIGARETTE (1919).

Google translates, less beautifully:

The love of ancient art did not prevent Pierre Guérande from marrying despite his age wall a young and pretty woman very modern.
Denise Guérande – Miss Andrée Brabant
Dressed by Margaine-Lacroix…

I found an excellent appreciation of the largely forgotten designer Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix here. And it’s only fair to let you see some of her frock-work for this film.


There is a surprising amount of golf in this film.  

Remember, when a sarcophagus comes into your bedroom, love walks out the door.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

The movie is an elegant but rather underplotted fifty minute, which anticipates the Russian roulette suspense games of THE SMILING MADAME BEUDET (my favourite Dulac). Instead of a loaded pistol we have a poisoned cigarette, stashed amongst numerous of the harmless (?) variety, with not a health warning in sight. The Egyptologist husband, believing his young wife unfaithful, seeks to kill himself by smoking the whole pack, knowing he’ll eventually light up the lethally envenomed ciggie. And no filter can save him.

It’s all a prolonged setup to a pretty neat pay-off, employing multiple flashbacks to pull the Egyptian rug from under our feet.

There may be more costumery this week, as I have obtained a beautiful edition of Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle, edited by Marketa Uhlirova.

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