Max Linder

Love’s Surprises (1915, Max Linder)

Calling Love’s Surprises a tepid comedy would be an understatement. Writer-director-star Linder fails to understand the very basics of drama, which puts the whole short in the dumps right off.

It opens with a dinner party. The three men at the party all run off to grab hidden flowers for a girl. Unsurprisingly, they’re all courting the same girl. Only, Linder never establishes why the men are sneaking out or why they wouldn’t admit association with her.

I guess the comedy’s supposed to be in the girl hiding them around her room in closets, pianos or just under a blanket… but it’s not funny. Surprises only comes alive at the end when the girl’s friend shows up and they abuse the hiding men.

For the finish, one of the men apparently “buys” the girl (who isn’t present) from his chums.

Surprises successfully mixes unfunny, odd, discomforting and weird.

1/3Not Recommended


Written and directed by Max Linder; released by Pathé Frères.

Starring Max Linder (Max), Lucy d’Orbel (Lili) and Georges Gorby.

Max Sets the Style (1914, Max Linder)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a silent comedic actor ever mug for the camera quite as much as Max Linder. In Max Sets the Style, he’s a bumbling (we assume… it’s never clear) fellow on his way to a party. It might be a wedding, but it seems more like a party. It’s unclear.

After setting his shoes on fire, he buys a pair off a bum. He then has to convince his girlfriend’s brother (or father; it’s not clear) his oversized shoes are the new style.

So it’s a nine minute short with something like fifteen events. Maybe twenty. It’s amazing how Linder paces Style, but it doesn’t work.

And his performance is uneven at best. He mugs when he’s not even in close-up, as if he forgot who he told the cameraman to film.

It’s not bad (it’s only nine minutes), but it fails to impress.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Max Linder; released by Pathé Frères.

Starring Max Linder.

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