Le Friquet (1912)

Countries - France  |  
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Probably the earliest surviving film of French-American director Maurice Tourneur, this discovered three-reel melodrama features Polaire in the title role, an impoverished waif turned circus performer. She is adopted by Mayor Hubert de Ganges (Henri Roussell), with whom she falls in love, but when he announces his engagement to a cousin (Renée Sylvaire), a devastated Le Friquet returns to the circus. During a high-wire performance, the girl spots Hubert and his new bride in the audience and deliberately falls to her death. Le Friquet, which was released in America as The Tree Sparrow, was based on a story by the controversial Gyp, the nom de plume of right-wing French novelist Sibylle de Mirabeau (1849-1932).