Unique among the clowns of this first golden age was the dapper Frenchman Max Linder, who, more than any other artist, was to shape the whole future of film comedy. He was the motion pictures first great comedian, and its first genuine star.

Originally a stage actor under his real name Gabriel Levuielle, Linder’s first appeared on the screen for Pathe Studios in 1905. Over the next 20 years he wouldwrite, direct, and star in nearly 500 films.

Unlike most comedians of the era who were still relying on crude slapstick, Linder’s comic style was subtle and sophisticated. A gifted pantomimist, he was the first actor to create a distinctive film character. Charlie Chaplin later credited Linder as ‘His Teacher’.