Figure 9.20

The Man in the Silk Hat

The Linder persona—“Max”—has been called a “leisured French bourgeois rentier” [man of independent means] or, at least, a lower-class bourgeois figure with pretensions to that status.” British film historian David Robinson characterizes Max as a “handsome young boulevardier, with sleek hair, trimmed moustache, and impeccably shiny silk hat [chapeau de soie] which survive[s] all catastrophes,” or, alternatively, an “elegant, insolent, skirt-following Parisian dandy.” A boulevardier is a man with enough leisure time to walk the boulevards looking elegant and seeking out women. Linder’s satire on the type focuses on the fact that Max’s personal projects are typically inconsequential and unsuccessful.

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