Volume III: Biographies



Director (1917)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Emile Chautard directed films at the Thanhouser studio in 1917.

Biographical Notes: Emile Chautard was born in Avignon, France in 1864 (one source states Paris in 1881). He studied for the stage and became a leading man at the Odeon Theatre in Paris, later going on to become the leading man and general manager of the Gymnase Theatre, Ryane Theatre, and Theatre Royal du Parc (Brussels, Belgium). He played the role of Napoleon 1,500 times in Madame Sans Gêne.

He began his screen career in Paris with Pathé in 1907, and directed L'Aiglon and other films, after which he went to Eclair. He was director-general of the Association Cinématographique des Auteurs Dramatiques. Jules Brulatour, one of the most active entrepreneurs in the nascent American film industry, brought Chautard to America. In 1915 he joined the Peerless-World studio in West Fort Lee, New Jersey. The Boss was his first World production. Over a period of time he directed such films as The Annals of Perpetua, The Rack, Love's Crucible (Brady for World), Little Dutch Girl, The Little Church Around the Corner, Human Driftwood, Sudden Riches, The Heart of a Hero, A Hungry Heart, Forget-Me-Nots, All Man, Friday the Thirteenth, and The Man Who Forgot.

A 1916 Biographical Sketch: An article in The Moving Picture World, May 27, 1916, told of his career to that point: "Emile Chautard, now working with World-Paragon at the new Paragon Studios, under the direction of William A. Brady, is the honor man of the World roster this week by reason of his completion and release of his most recent effort, Sudden Riches, in which Robert Warwick again makes his appearance on the World Program. Mr. Chautard is completing his year with the World Film Corporation and his seventh production for that company. Some of the other pictures were The Boss, Old Dutch, Human Driftwood, and Sudden Riches, and he is now busily engaged in Thomas W. Lawson's elaborate story, Friday the Thirteenth.

"Chautard and Maurice Tourneur were companions during their student days in the Latin Quarter, Paris. Tourneur was studying art, while Chautard was endeavoring to learn the intricacies of stage technique. Several years later they met at the Theatre Francaise, where Tourneur and Chautard were engaged in making a production. They separated and were again drawn together in the early days of film making in the various studios around Paris. Chautard took up film production, and when the Eclair Company began operation in Paris, he was one of the mainstays of that organization.... Chautard, in addition to being an actor, director, and film author, is at work on a book entitled Film Photography, which is to be published by a French publishing house and which it is thought will be translated into English and published here."

Thanhouser and Later: Emile Chautard joined Thanhouser in 1917 and directed three films in the New Rochelle studio, including the last regular Thanhouser production, The Heart of Ezra Greer, released on October 7, 1917.

Among later pictures for other studios, he directed The Eternal Temptress (Paramount, December 1917) and Under the Greenwood Tree (Artcraft, December 1918). After Thanhouser stopped producing, Emile Chautard remained in New Rochelle at the studio with the Clara Kimball Young Film Corporation, which had leased the facility, and directed various late 1917 and 1918 films, including Magda, The House of Glass, and The Marionettes, some of which included roles acted by former Thanhouser players. He also directed The Ordeal of Rosetta (Select, 1918), The Marriage Price (Artcraft, 1919), The Mystery of the Yellow Room (he directed and wrote the scenario for this 1919 Realart film), Out of the Shadow (Paramount, 1919), Paid in Full (Paramount, 1919), and The False Road (Paramount, 1920).

An advertisement in The New York Dramatic Mirror, December 18, 1918, noted that Chautard had directed the following stars: Holbrook Blinn, Alice Brady, June Elvidge, Robert Warwick, Pauline Frederick, Elsie Ferguson, Clara Kimball Young, Fred Ward, Kitty Gordon, Ethel Clayton, Mollie King, Frances Nelson, Vivian Martin, Gail Kane, and Jeanne Eagels. Further, "the following stars made their debut in pictures under the Mr. Chautard's direction: Doris Kenyon, Henry Hull, Emilie Poline."

In 1918 his home address was 630 Riverside Drive, New York City. His wife at the time, Alice, was the widow of Paul Archainbaud, an artist who died in 1896. The Archainbauds had one child, George. Alice was born in Paris, circa 1867. She died in New York City on March 13, 1920. Emile Chautard later remarried.

In spring 1920, Chautard was director for the Mayflower Corporation. In the mid-1920s he was an important director in France and in the United States, when he became an actor, usually in the role of a Frenchman, as in the 1927 production of Seventh Heaven. In the early 1930s he was an actor with the Fox and RKO studios. His last role was in Family Man. Emile Chautard remained in films until his death, which occurred in Westwood, California on April 24, 1934. He was survived by his widow and a stepson, George Archainbaud, a director at the RKO studios.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1917: Fires of Youth (6-17-1917), Under False Colors (9-23-1917), The Heart of Ezra Greer (10-9-1917)

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