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Louise Beaudet



Sometime during the mid-1910s the generation of newspaper writers assigned the task of writing critiques of current motion pictures found the larger than life passional acting of the stage tragediennes of the 19th century (Sarah Bernhardt, Mrs. Scott-Siddons, et. al.) sufficiently marked from the norm of screen acting that they saw it as "educational" acting. One such educational actress was Louise Beaudet, whose titanic emotionality in "The Battle Cry of Peace," stunned witnesses in 1916. She had been schooled in the grand manner by Marie Aimee who took Beaudet as a protege at age twelve. She refined her skills with the Baldwin Stock Company in San Francisco at at time when the "queen of spasms," Clara Morris, James O'Neil, and Jeffreys Lewis were colleagues.

She distinguished herself in several roles during a course of a long career--New York was much taken with 1879's "The Life of an Actress." In 1885 she paired with the eminent German tragic actor Daniel Bandmann for a globe circling tour performing Shakespeare and classic repertory; a hallmark of the tour was charging minimal ticket prices so that common people might encounter masterworks of world drama. One of the attractions was Bandmann's adaptation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In the late 1880s she turned to comic opera, hiring on with James Duff in Boston. Boston loved her operatic performance as "The Dragoon's Daughter" (1895). The attempt to run her own opera bouffe company in the mid-1890s bankrupted her.

Beaudet's style was scaled improperly for vaudeville, so she gravitated to motion pictures early--in 1912--signing with Vitagraph Studio in New York. The silent cinema could not showcase one of her greatest performing virtues, a splendid singing voices that was capable of assaying opera as well as musical comedy.

NOTES: "Louise Beaudet Brings Educational Acting to the Screen," Columbus Daily Inquirer (Feb 15, 1916), 5. David S. Shields/ALS