Monday, April 17, 2006

'Who is this well-dressed, handsome man?' Is everybody's eager cry


I make response, for the fleeting nonce, 'Excuse me, it is not I.'

But if you want to think it is, that's fine, too. This is the brilliant Russian movie actor of the silent era, Ivan Mosjoukine. He was the first great male movie star of Europe - what Valentino was in the U.S., Mosjoukine was in Europe. And no wonder - he was graceful, mesmerizing, charismatic, funny, adorable to women, and with eyes that could burn a hole through the movie screen. I am devoted to him, and spend much time scrounging through eBay for photos. Fortunately for my purposes of collecting, he's almost unknown today, so I have very little competition when it comes to buying memorabilia. For all of his great talent, he was unable to make the transition from silent movies to talkies, and his career collapsed and he died of TB, forgotten, in 1939. But I want the world to rediscover Mosjoukine, so I will use this little photo as my identifying avatar, in the hope that others will be inspired by curiosity to look him up. Maybe one day his movies will be restored and enjoyed again, as they deserve to be.

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