De la Falaise, Henry (1898-1972)*

Henry de la Falaise plays himself in ‘Kliou the KIller’

Henry de la Falaise was a feature film director of French aristocratic origins. Although he had shown an interest in film-making even as a boy, his introduction to the world of cinema appears to have been when he married the American film star, Gloria Swanson in 1925, after they met in Paris where she was making a film and he was acting as her interpreter.

They divorced in 1931 and De la Falaise got married again almost immediately to another American star, Constance Bennett. It was she who bankrolled Legong – Dance of the Virgins, shot in Bali in 1933 and released in 1935.

This was the only film of any ethnographic interest that De la Falaise directed. Two years later,  he went on to the French colony of Annam, in Indochina, where he made his last film, Kliou the Killer. This had an absurd plot about a tiger that terrorises local villagers who have no religion other than the fear of the tiger, whom they call Kliou. This is said to be the first feature film to have been made in the country that would later become Vietnam.

© 2018 Paul Henley