Pathé-Natan


Pathé-Natan
   Pathé-Natan was the name given to Pathé Studios in 1928 after its takeover by film producer Bernard Natan and its merger with Natan's companies Rapid Films and Productions Bernard Natan. Natan obtained control of the company by buying out the interest of founder Charles Pathé who sold his shares in order to fend off a financial crisis or a foreign takeover. Under Natan's direction, the studio underwent a massive transformation that expanded its studio and production facilities, its editing capability, and its distribution network. It also began a large buyout of cinemas and theater chains in order to guarantee distribution. The studio became larger, more centralized, and more efficient. It also reintroduced several of its products, including the Pathé Journal, which had been shut down in 1927.
   Under Natan's direction, Pathé-Natan became the most significant studio and production and distribution company in France. Between 1929 and 1936, when Natan was forced out of the company, the studio produced more than seventy feature-length films, including André Hugon's Les Trois masques (1929), La Tendresse (1930), Le Marchand de sable (1931), and La Croix du sud (1931), Marco de Gastyne's La Belle garce (1930), Pierre Colombier's Le Roi des resquilleurs (1930), Le Roi du cirage (1931), Charlemagne (1933), and Théodore et cie (1933), Jean de Limur's Mon gosse de père (1930), Jacques de Baroncelli's L'Arlésienne (1930), Fyodor Otzep's Les Frères Karazamoff (1931) and Amok (1934), Léonce Perret's Après l'amour (1931) and Enlevez-moi (1932), Maurice Tourneur's Les Gaietés de l'escadron (1932), Au nom de la loi (1932), Les Deux orphelines (1933), and Kônigsmark (1935), René Clair's Le Dernier milliardaire (1934), Raymond Bernard's Les Misérables (1934), Marcel L'Herbier's Le Bonheur (1934), and Anatole Litvak's L'Équipage (1935).
   In 1936, Pathé, probably in order to extricate himself from the problems of his own mismanagement, began a campaign against Natan. The studio was suffering from various financial problems inherited from the Pathé era. There were also various legal issues related to the sale of the studio, and the crash of the stock market led to some financial problems and particularly cash-flow problems. These problems were heightened by financial problems at the bank that had financed the takeover and expansion.
   Natan was accused of mismanagement and of embezzling large sums of money from the studio. The studio was declared insolvent, despite the fact that the records show that it was operating in the black. Natan was driven out of the company, despite the fact that there seems to have been no merit to the charges against him. He was, it seems, a victim of anti-Semitism. The company was put in receivership and ownership was given to the investors of a group called the Société Nouvelle Pathé Cinéma.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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