Prince, Charles

   Actor and director. Born Charles Prince Seigneur, Prince, as he would be known onscreen, signed on at Pathé studios in 1908 and went on to become one of the great comic stars of the silent screen. Prince's best-known screen character was Rigadin, and he appeared in a series of comic films that ran between 1909 and 1918 and included such titles as Rigadin (1909), Rigadin face à Napoléon (1910), Rigadin débute au music-hall (1911), Rigadin aux Balkans (1912), Rigadin président de la République (1913), Rigadin veut faire du cinéma (1913), Rigadin et l'homme qui l'assassina (1914), Un marriage à la baïonette (1915), Rigadin et les deux dactylos (1916), Une nuit tragique de Rigadin (1917), Rigadin a fait un riche marriage (1918), La Femme de Rigadin (1918), Rigadin et le code de l'honneur (1919), and Rigadin dans les Alpes (1919). All told, there were more than one hundred films in the Rigadin series. All films in the series were directed by Georges Monca. The Rigadin series accounted for most of Prince's contribution to the cinema. It was internationally very successful, although the character appeared under different names in different countries. The series was called the Moritz series in Germany, the Tartufini series in Italy, and the Whiffles series in England, for example. Prince also appeared in a number of other silent films including Monca's Le Contrôleur des wagon-lits (1913), La Mariée recalcitrante (1916), Les Femmes collantes (1920), Chouquette et son as (1920), all which Prince codirected, Monca's Un monsieur qui suit les dames (1908), L'Armoire normande (1908), Ce que femme veut (1909), Le Bon roi Dagobert (1911), Les Surprises du divorce (1912), Le Roi Koko (1913), Monsieur le directeur (1913), and Les Fiancés héroïques (1915), Charles Esquier's Sanatorium pour maigrir (1909), Albert Capellani and Michel Carré's Fleur de pavé (1909), Yves Mirande's Le Petit qui a faim (1909), Henri Germain's La Malle du peintre (1910), and Robert Péguy's Embrassez-moi (1928). He also starred in and directed Si jamais je te pince (1920). In terms of his box-office success, Prince was the only comic star during the silent era to rival Pathé's other great star, Max Linder. His comedy, however, was much more in the vein of Romeo Bossetti and André Deed than that of Linder, who had an air of elegance to his slapstick.
   Prince appeared in a handful of sound films before his death. These include Joe Francis and Jean Toulot's Le Tampin du Capiston (1930), Péguy and Erich Schmidt's Son altesse l'amour (1931), Maurice Toureur's Partir (1931), Pierre Colombier's Sa meilleure cliente (1932), Alexandre Ryder's L'Âne de Buridan (1932), and Maurice Cammage's Le Coq du régiment (1933), his final film. Prince had supporting roles in these films, and it is for his work during the silent era that he is best remembered.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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