The Island of Love

(l'Île d'amour)

France 1928. Dir Jean Durand, Berthe Dagmar.

With Claude France, Pierre Batcheff. Xenia’s gowns Mouna Katorza. c.98min

The stars are Xenia, the altruistic niece of an American millionaire, and Bicchi, a dashing country boy who is also the film’s proper pin-up. The directors are Gaumont’s veteran Jean Durand and his wife-collaborator Berthe Dagmar. The key attraction is a ‘Fantasy in White and Black’ featuring Dagmar who descends a staircase in a sensational multi-train costume held by a chorus of girls, evoking that of Paulette Duval in the 1923 Ziegfeld Follies. The music hall superstar Mistinguett, who was originally to appear in this act with her partner Earl Leslie, never made it to the final cut – something of a mystery given contemporary press reports and surviving photographs from the set.