The writer and director Marcel Pagl (1895-1974) is today perhaps best kwn outside France as a result of the international acclaim garnered by film adaptations of his vels Jean de Florette and Man des sources. He wrote Cesar (1936), which brought to a close the hugely popular Marseille trilogy, directly for the screen. Although the trilogy's first two films - Marius (1931) and Fanny (1932) - were t directed by Pagl, he played a substantial part in their making, and the trilogy overall was very much his work. After mapping Pagl's career and situating his turn to cinema in the context of the coming of talking pictures, Stephen Heath discusses Cesar and its relation to the Marseille trilogy. In so doing, he considers questions of speech and accent, cinema and theatricality, stereotypes and the film's cultural effects. Above all, he looks at Cesar's relation to the contemporary artistic and historical reality of Marseille, the locale of the trilogy and in many ways its main character.
Stephen Heath is a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and the author of Questions of Cinema (1985), among other books.