ZaZa (1915)

Pauline Frederick in ZAZA (1915)

Caption: "Bernard's child drives vengeance from Zaza's heart."

"Zaza," Famous, Found Intact in Vault After Fire

Feature, Scheduled for Release on October 4, Vehicle for Pauline Frederick, is Only One of 11 Completed Productions to Wholly Escape effects of Conflagration

PAULINE FREDERICK IN "ZAZA" (Famous Players - Paramount - October 4)

THE opening of the huge film vault, which hung on the walls of the Famous Players Film Company's studio after the total destruction of the building by the disastrous fire of September 11, revealed the fact that the negative of the company's film adaptation of "Zaza," in which Pauline Frederick is the star, was the only one of eleven completed feature productions to escape wholly the ravages of the flames.

It was the fate of this picture that caused the officials of the company the greatest concern, as it represented the outlay of many thousands of dollars, and had consumed six weeks in the making.

When notified of the saving of "Zaza," Miss Frederick was jubilant.

"I cannot tell you how glad I am to hear the news," she declared to Mr. Zukor, president of the Famous Players Company, when he telephoned her the facts. "Never in my life have I felt so utterly miserable as when I arrived at the fire and realized that 'Zaza' was in that building. I had put my whole heart and soul into the enactment of the great character, and I am sure that if it had been necessary to repeat the entire production, I should never have done as well again.

"Only a person who has gone through the terrible emotional stress which is necessary in acting such a powerful impersonation as 'Zaza' can realize with what dismay I faced the prospect of repeating the whole performance.

"'Zaza' is to me the most marvelous character that has appeared on the stage in years. I looked forward to playing the role with the keenest anticipation, and when we began the filming of the play for the first time I had worked myself up to a nervous tension that enabled me to put all my force into the role. But with this tension gone, as it inevitably would be, it would have been practically impossible for me to have put the same spirit into a repetition of 'Zaza' which I did before."

The miraculous escape of "Zaza" from the flames preserves for the motion picture public the record of Pauline Frederick's greatest histrionic achievement, as it was into the portrayal of the French music hall singer that she had put her whole soul. "Zaza" had been considered the heart-breaking kind of role that only a Rejane or a Bernhardt could adequately interpret.

That Miss Frederick was the one person fitted by temperament and artistry to give this great character the most resplendent presentation on the screen, everyone will be quick to affirm who has seen her in "The Eternal City" or "Sold," in both of which she startled the motion picture public by her wonderful emotional acting.

"Zaza" was produced under the joint direction of Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford, who also collaborated in the production of the Famous Players masterpiece, "The Eternal City," in which Miss Frederick made her screen debut. Prior to the outbreak of the fire they were at work on the picturization of Robert Hichen's famous novel and play, "Bella Donna," the continuation of which has already been resumed.

Motion Picture News, October 2, 1915, page 54

with Pauline Frederick. Directed by Hugh Ford and Edwin S. Porter. Famous Players/Paramount.

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Last Modified December 29, 2014.