Click Here To Purchase Sarah Bernhardt, Her Films, Her Recordings

Author: David W. Menefee

ISBN: 9781463786564

Publisher: Create Space

Take a seat in the theater and close your eyes. Listen to the recording on the old record player coming through the speakers. Do you hear the rich tones as you hear her voice and listen to her recording of La Marseillaise or The Two Pigeons? Imagine sitting in the audience and watching her on stage, your translation in hand. Take a journey back in time as I review this outstanding biography and tribute to this great actress, film star, and legend of the 19th century. It will be my guided tour of the movies, recordings, photo gallery and the life of Sarah Bernhardt. Our tour begins with a brief history of her life, followed by her films and recordings and finally her photo gallery.

From her entrance into the world Berhnardt had a fiery and tempestuous personality that was known to public fits and outbursts. She was unique, vibrant and created her own Sarah Bernhardt. She was born in Paris 1844 and from the very beginning her road was a rocky one- with a mother who disregarded her in many ways and a family that sought to send her off to the convent. Sarah found many ways of creating havoc, scenes, escaping the nuns and finally making her presence known.

Sent off the to a Conservatoire to study she never realized that this would be where her career would begin. Many roles, many different parts, tearing up contracts and finally finding her true place in the acting world when she was cast in Ruy Blas written by Victor Hugo. The performance was spelling binding and the end result was fame for this legendary actress. Throughout the biographical section of this book the author has placed some amazing photos of her performances, places she has been and inventions that would change the course of the arts forever. Her facial expressions in these photos depict her personality and vibrancy as you feel as if she is in the room with the reader reliving each scene and each moment in her life.

Discontent, scorned, ridiculed for her manner of style, language and fashion, Bernhardt became an icon not only in the theater but also in many other areas in the arts. Creating sculptures, writing, daredevil stunts and her vivacious and wild flare for the dramatic, Bernhardt would either make you hate her or love her there was no  in between. Meeting Edward Jarrett led her to whirlwind tours around the world and eventually introduced her to Thomas Edison and the world of movies. Imagine meeting Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, seeing his phonograph and his other inventions first hand!

Bernhardt also became involved in sound films, writing and recording poems, plays and speeches. Her work was so sought after that many of her recordings were duplicated for worldwide distribution.  On our final two stops of  this biographical tour we meet Lou-Tellegen leading male actor that made more than a grand impression on Bernhadt. But, with age brings difficulties, and at 66 in order to maintain, as the author states, “that focus,” she surrounded herself with young actors.

Her life was so colorful and often filled with drama. Tellegen was quite taken with Bernhardt and they worked together for many years. Bernhardt played Queen Elizabeth, had a leg amputated and never missed a beat on stage. Friends rallied to her aide to pay her bill with the doctors and Sarah managed to revive her career on stage and in the movies.

Bernhard's first sound recording was done by Thomas Edison who not only invented the light bulb but also the phonograph. Throughout the chapter the author posts pictures of the various types of phonographs, his many inventions, and I must admit, seeing a 78 record brings back memories. All of her recordings, as mentioned, are self- announcing, as Sarah spoke the title of the selection first before recording it.

What better way to honor her recordings and films then by taking a journey back in time and listening to some of them to hear her voice first hand. La Samaritaine and Phedre were two recordings I was able to find and listen to. The intonation of her voice, the exuberance and feelings that flow as she records each line, speech and feel the anger, sadness and different moods that were portrayed by Bernhardt in both Phedre and La Samaritaine. The translations were both in the book and made it easier for me to understand what the script was about.

Her first film was Hamlet and she appeared in that film in 1900 and her final film in 1923 the Fortune Teller. Sarah’s films were corned without the advances effects used in later films like Tosca. The close-ups, mixing, master shots and more were not incorporated in her films. The characters were not from a fixed position in the front row of the theater.

Author David Menefee in this section highlights all the playbills and the many performances she gave. Our tour would not be complete without going through her photo gallery and really getting to know Bernhardt first hand. Each plate is so expressive and her roles brilliantly photographed and depicted on these pages. Playing so many different parts and enriching audiences all over the world Sarah Bernhardt, as Lou Tellegen said so beautifully, “ The lively spirit of Sarah Bernhardt brought joy to my life,” as she did so many others.

Author and writer David W. Menefee created a living tribute to an outstanding movie legend in a book that will bring this amazing star to life and keep her memory in the hearts and minds of everyone forever. Thank you David!

To Read an Interview With David Menefee CLICK HERE

Click Here To Purchase Sarah Bernhardt, Her Films, Her Recordings