Forerunning film stardom: Julienne Mathieu, the great illusionist of Pathé"s golden years (1905-1909) Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2023

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1468-0777


  • This article brings to light the career of Julienne Mathieu, a key figure in early cinema whose work was overshadowed by that of her partner, the Spanish trick film pioneer Segundo de Chomón. Mathieu was one of the most prolific actresses of her time, making more than sixty films between 1905 and 1909. She worked for Pathé Frères, the leading film company of those years in France and worldwide. Her case illustrates how in this period Pathé was already beginning to test out strategies that would lay the foundations for the rise of the world¿s first film star, fellow Pathé actor Max Linder. At the same time, her role as a show-woman in trick films made her an "authorial personae" and encouraged her, in collaboration with Chomón, to subvert established gender conventions and to reveal with her magic the flexibility of an artform in its nascent stages. This work thus contributes to the fields of film history and celebrity studies in early cinema.


  • early cinema; star system; film actress; french film industry; celebrity studies