|La Sirčne des Tropiques
aka Siren of the Tropics
This black-and-while silent film is
about a beautiful girl from the tropics who goes to Paris and
becomes a glamorous dancer. Josephine was used to overexaggerating
her movements and voice to reach the people in the back of a
theater; consequently, on her first film she severely overacted
and was embarrassed by her performance. Unfortunately, most
of the film has been lost over the years.
Josephine plays a young Creole woman whose father works at a
circus. As children, she and her adopted white brother, Jean,
are put in the show as "twins." Zouzou eventually falls in love
with Jean, and he is her protector throughout the film. When
Jean is wrongly convicted of a crime, Zouzou starts performing
to raise money for him. This is when the film becomes a musical,
showing off Josephine's talents and charm. Zouzou goes to the
police to prove Jean's innocence on opening night of her performance,
and makes it back in time to do the finale and become a star.
She does a memorable scene wearing feathers and singing Haiti
while in a swing. In the end, Jean falls in love with a white
woman, leaving Zouzou alone. She is seen in a gilded cage, almost
naked and singing. Now she must perform because it is all she
has left. Zouzou
was a success in France, showcasing Josephine's charm and charisma.
|Princess Tam Tam (1935)
Shot in Tunisia, this film is considered by some to be the best
of Josephine's movies. She is, once again, a "primitive" girl
in Africa, who meets French novelist Max de Mirecourt on vacation
there. He has gone to Africa because he is tired of his socialite
wife, who is cheating on him. Max is enchanted by Alwina (Josephine)
and decides to take her back to France as "Princess Tam Tam."
He introduces her to French culture, where her innocent reactions
and emotions charm everyone. She eventually showcases her talent
in a Paris nightclub, singing and dancing to Under
the African Sky.
|The French Way (1945)
Josephine plays Zazu, a cabaret performer who helps a young
couple stay together despite their quarreling parents. Her character
has been recruited by the son's father to break up the relationship,
but she disagrees with him and decides to play matchmaker instead.
This film was not as well-received as Zouzou
or Tam Tam,
but it still provides a glimpse of Josephine in her prime.
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