Saturday, February 27, 2016

Joe Hamman, the Frenchman who invented the western (Part 3)

When Jean ... returns. Everyone calls him Joe ... It's the name he will now keep until his death. It became a baptism of the Indians, but also confirmed by cowboys with whom he worked on a ranch, marks the symbolic birth of the first European western! It was the beginning of another adventure.

Back in France for military service, they continued with the images of the Wild West. "I considered him the most cinematic subject it was possible to achieve. This energy school, this adventure would allow mine to lead the most varied stories, where nature is the great collaborator" (in Cinema 61, No. 60, October 1961). This is why, in 1909, he invented the French adventure films, first in the Paris suburbs (Careers Arcueil, Fontainebleau forest, etc.) and then in the Camargue.

He will then work in turn with the main French production companies: Lux (1909-1911), Pathé Frères (1911), Gaumont (1911-1912), Eclipse (1912-1914), and finally Eclair (1914).

First led by Gérard Bourgeois, Jean Durand and Gaston Roudès in scenarios of his own, Joe Hamman is quick to move himself to completion. With his acting skills, he combines those of a rider and a stuntman, chaining horse falls, fights against a lion and prosecution on a bandwagon. "I did not fake anything," he confided.

Éclair Productions hired him in early 1914, Hamman has committed to shoot westerns in the American branch of the French firm in Tucson (Arizona).

Indian friends of Joe are quick to return to Paris at the time of the new tour in France and Europe's Wild West Show.

 Joe turns into tourist guide for a group of Lakota Sioux Indian warriors ... and about.

And to his disappointment, was not the Sacré Coeur, Montmartre or Eiffeil Tour that the Sioux want to see. No, what they wanted most was to go back to... the Moulin Rouge! "They wanted to go on the stage" says Joe Hamman in his memoirs...

"That evening, after the performances at Wild West Show and with the permission of Buffalo Bill, we went to the Moulin Rouge!"

Joe had gained confidence with horses and the life of Indians and cowboys. The Indians taught him to shoe a horse and to how an academic practice in riding! Buffalo Bill also bade Joe to hold a place in the show for several performances....

But Joe said he had noticed a curious thing: When the scene of the famous attack on the Deadwood stage, he was among the cows-boys... He rushes upon an Indian with his gun and instead of taking aim, they raise their arms... He returned to the charge, they still had their weapons raised... Worried about whether he had failed in his duties or if they had taken a dislike to him, he asked behind the scenes "Why is it that you did not shoot at me?" He wrote the following Jacob White Eyes: "Joe, we do not want you to die."

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