Léon Gaumont

Léon Gaumont is an inventor and industrialist French , bornin Paris and died onin Sainte-Maxime , the industry pioneer cinema .


Léon Gaumont is the founder of the French production company Gaumont , created August 12, 1895 under the name of L. Gaumont and company , taking over the company of optical and photographic equipment founded in 1882 and located 57, rue Saint-Roch , the General Photography Counter , where he was employed 1 . He then makes magic lanterns , then cameras, one of which was reversible. He bought from Georges Demenÿ , ruined, his chronophotograph format 60 mm wide without perforations he sold in 1896. The camera is sold accompanied by demonstration tapes, which turns Gaumont’s secretary, Alice Guy , who thus became the first woman director of the cinema.

From 1900, Gaumont develops film production and a network of theaters and distribution. At the same time, he is interested in sound cinema and color. In 1911, the Gaumont Palace of Paris became the largest movie theater in the world, hosting 3,400 and after installations up to 6,000 spectators.

The talking cinema

The , Gaumont projects three phonoscenes , films coupled with a phonograph , a process also bought from Georges Demenÿ who called it Chronophone 2 . Several hundred phonoscenes will be recorded from 1902 to 1917, which will immortalize songs, sketches, tirades performed by stars of the time.

The color cinema

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The Chronochrome Gaumont is launched in 1912 3 . It simultaneously records three images, each behind a red, green or blue filter.

The end of an empire

In 1930, Léon Gaumont abandoned the reins of his company, put into liquidation in 1934 and resumed in 1938 under the name of the new society of the Gaumont institutions .

Leon Gaumont often resided in Sainte-Maxime where he owned a castle, Les Tourelles , built around 1883 . This residence served as a reception and decor for some films including Judex , made in 1916 by Louis Feuillade partly in Sainte-Maxime.

Supporter of Esperanto , he produced a short film showing a lesson of the international language, screened in 1911 at the th World Esperanto Congress held in Antwerp.

Died in Sainte-Maxime in 1946, Léon Gaumont is buried in the Belleville cemetery in Paris. In the tomb also based me Léon Gaumont, born Camille Maillard (1859-1933), Gilles Boulouque , former magistrate and P. Boulouque, lawyer.


A Léon Gaumont avenue exists in the 20 th  arrondissement of Paris .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Marie-Sophie Corcy, Laurent Mannoni, Jean-Jacques Meusy , the early years of the Company L. Gaumont et Cie , French Association for Research on the history of cinema,p.  23
  2. ↑ Gaumont and early talkies  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Gaumont cinema in color and  [ archive ]

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