known as LORTAC
Although Lortac was recognized among animation specialists, he was completely unknown to the general public. Nevertheless, he occupies a place of honor among the pioneers of cartoon animation, and thus deserves to be rediscovered. His work is quantitatively the most important in the history of French animation.
"I was born the on 19th of November 1884, in Cherbourg, Manche. I can not say 'I saw the day,' as I arrived in the world during the night."
His father destined him to a military career, but his undisciplined character got him a timely expulsion at age 16 from Prytanée de la Flèche. He subsequently began to study painting at the Beaux-Arts de Paris. From 1906 to 1914, he contributed to newspapers as a cartoonist and caricaturist. He made sketches of actors in performance as illustrations for theatrical reviews.
In 1914 he had started "Le Savant Microbus et son Automate," a comedy with silent-film actors of the period, when the war of 1914-1918 was declared. The film was hastily terminated in August of 1914, as he had to leave for the front. Wounded in 1915, his shoulder torn off by a shell, he was discharged. From the time after his convalescence, he took to producing animated puppet films in a propaganda effort urging civilians to buy bonds from the National Defense. It consisted of short strips inserted in the news section of the news reels "Eclair-journal." It was during this period that he met and collaborated with Emile Cohl. The Clémenceau government sent him to the United States to present an exhibition of enlisted French artists in order to collect funds for the war. With great amazement he discovered American animation studios and Winsor McCay's comic strips in the New York Herald..
Upon his return in 1919, he founded his own production company. After producing a few comic fiction cartoons which were unprofitable, he chose to focus on advertising cartoons. His shorts were adapted and edited for the 9.5 mm format, the ancestor of the "Super 8," or "the home movie." These short films were distributed by Pathé Baby.
In 1921 he responded to the request of two amateurs from Geneva, Peyrot and Ehrenhold, initiators of a movie adaptation of the Rodolphe Toepfer (1799-1846) cartoon, "Monsieur Vieuxbois." The film was produced by Pencil Film and directed by the Parisians Lortac and Cavé. The movie was discovered and restored by the Swiss Cinémathèque following the research done by its curator Freddy Buache. It lasts 35 minutes and is a very faithful adaptation of Toepfer's book, made up of three episodes of Monsieur Vieuxbois's love affairs.
His house of Montrouge became the first animation studio in Europe (1926) with between 10 and 15 collaborators and five cameras. He also shot documentaries, technical and educational films. Lortac collaborated with Cheval, Jodelet, Landelle, Maleva, Quésada, Poulbot, Raymond Savignac, Leiritx, Hémard, among others. He worked occasionally with Emile Cohl or Raoul Guerin. He also mentored Antoine Payen and André Rigal, whose names would gain recognition much later.
From 1922 on, he launched the "Canard en ciné," animated news reels commenting on current events in an amusing and sassy manner. Pathé distributed them alongside regular news reels.
In 1936 the depression slowed down business and commercial advertising vanished.
After thirty years of producing movies, Lortac sold his film making equipment when World War II broke out. He started writing scripts for comic books and detective stories ("Bibi Fricotin," "Bicot," "Les Pieds Nickelés," "Météor," etc.), which French academics call "paralittérature."
He died in 1973 at age 89.
When Lortac started his cinema career, the technological revolution was changing people's lives and imaginations. The first automobiles, speed records, airplanes that defied the laws of gravity, the technological advances in all areas appeared both fascinating and scary.
Lortac dealt with the theme of modernity with humor-automation, the practical yet dangerous aspects of all of these inventions that could turn against their creators. "Le Savant Microbus et son Automate" features a robot, "La Maison Automatique" shows how a scientist automates his home to replace his housekeepers. (A movie by E. Cohl deals with the same theme.) "Les Déboires d'un Piéton," "En Vitesse," and "Un Horrible Cauchemar" express the very mixed feelings of contemporary observers-both attraction and fear-with respect to automobiles.
He "invented" commercial advertising in the form of cartoons, creating funny little fictions that caught the attention of viewers when the brand name was revealed.
Alain Resnais recalls seeing "L'Invention du Professeur Mécanicas," and advising Sabine Azéma to use it for her documentary on Lewis Caroll.
- Le savant Microbus et son automate - 1914
- Journaux (Eclair-Gaumont) - 1917
- Le Canard en Ciné (news reels) (by Lortac and Rigal, Lortac and Landelle, Lortac and Cheval) - 1921
- Séquence (by Lortac, Rigal and Cavé for "Les étrennes à travers les âges" by Pierre Colombier) (Gaumont)
- Monsieur Vieuxbois (by Lortac and Cavé) -1921
- Microbus et Bigfellow - 1919
- La crise des domestiques (35 mm -161m) - 1921
- La bonne cuisinière (35mm-24m) - 1921
- La maison automatique
- La crise des domestiques (35 mm -161m) - 1921
- Une aventure zoologicomique (9,5-9m) - 1921
- Les animaux domestiques (35mm-187m)
- L'aspirateur du professeur Mécanicas (9,5-10m) -1921
- Le réveil du professeur Mécanicas - 1921
- Une invention du professeur Mécanicas -1921
- Mécanicas et la réclame (9,5-9m40)(P.B. 560) - 1923
- Mécanicas et la greffe animale (P.B. 694) - 1925
- Mécanicas et la machine à guérir (P.B698) - 1925
- La sève poilifère (by Lortac and Rigal) (P.B 565) - 1924
- Les déboires d'un piéton (35mm-22m) 2'30 -1922
- En vitesse (9,5-10m) - 1922
- Un horrible cauchemar (by Lortac and Landelle) (16mm-21m) 1922
- Bigfellow craint les autos - 1922
- Le monstre de l'automobile
- Les malheurs de Collignon (9,5-9m)(P.B 691) (by Lortac and Rigal) - 1925
- Cendrillon (by Lortac and Cheval) (16mm-156m)(P.B 699) - 1925
- La cigale et la fourmi (by Lortac and Landelle) (35mm-21m) - 1922
- Le lion et le rat (by Lortac and Landelle) (35mm-25m) - 1921
- Le pot de terre et le pot de fer (P.B N° 548) - 1923
- Toto au berceau (9,5-10m) - 1921
- Le Noël de Toto (23m-35mm) - 1922
- Toto aviateur (16mm-33m)(P.B 600) - 1924
- Toto cuisinier (9,5-8m) film, pas D.A.
- Toto artiste-peintre (by Lortac and Landelle) - 1923
- Toto acrobate (P.B 544) - 1923
- Toto musicien - 1924
- Toby toréador (2 nitrate copies)
- Toby a soif (16mm-20m) - 1921
- La consigne de Toby - 1921
- Toby garde l'auto
- Mistoufle dîne à l'oeil -1921
- Mistoufle au violon -1921
- Joko le singe
- Un chien trop bien dressé (pathéoscope-Pathé-baby N° 628) - 1924
- Du poids lourd au poids plume (2') - 1925
- Comment l'amour s'empare des coeurs (1'30) - 1920
- Monsieur Lénervé n'aime pas la réclame (1'30) - 1921
- La Mite au logis (2') - 1919
- T'en fais pas se marie ce matin
- Tom et Tim
- Tom et Tim policemen d'occasion
- Exposition de blanc au printemps
- L'intestin à travers les âges - 1919
- Roman de la momie
- Petit poisson deviendra grand - 1919
- Titre oblige - 1919
- La tuberculose menace tout le monde (3') - 1920
- François Lefranc défend la pomme de terre - 1948
VINS NICOLAS (from 1923 to 1930)
- Nectar est très demandé (by Lortac and Rigal) - 1923
- Nectar a la figure très sympathique - 1923
- Pourquoi Nectar a le sourire (by Lortac and Rigal) -1924
- Les bienfaits du grand Saint Nicolas (by Lortac and Cheval) - 1925
- Timon le Misanthrope (by Lortac and Cheval) -1925
- Château historique (by Lortac and Rigal) - 1925
- La colère de Jupiter (by Lortac and Cheval) - 1926
- Gargantua (by Lortac by Ragonneau) - 1926
- Aux Termopyles (by Lortac and Cheval) - 1926
- Le roi boit (by Lortac and Louis) - 1926
- La traversée de la Manche (by Lortac and Payen) - 1926
- Les mystères de Bécon-les-Bruyères (by Lortac and Payen) - 1927
- Les merveilles de la science (by Lortac and Louis) - 1928
- La commande (by Lortac and Louis) - 1928
- Le panier perdu et retrouvé (by Lortac and Payen) - 1928
- Le cambriolage de la rue Quincampoix (by Lortac and Mallet) - 1930
- Une révolution en Amérique (by Lortac and Payen) - 1930 -
- L'Arc en ciel (by Lortac and Louis)
- Rêve étrange (by Lortac and Thébault)
- A la S.D.N.
- Conte de Noël
- Chez les anthropophages (by Lortac and Maleva SAGA) -
- Monsieur Ledoux n'aime pas les scènes (1') - 1920
- Monsieur Pressé cherche une pièce (1' ) - 1920
- Une histoire crevante (1') - 1920
- L'eau des géants présenté (by Pathé) - 1923
- La poudre des nains - 1923
- Monsieur Purgon
- Les belles affiches
- Match avec la mort
- Le bonheur des uns - 1925
- La bougie Eyquem
- Chevaliers de la cloche - 1920
- Comme au temps des fées - 1920 or 25
- Déplorable erreur - 1918
- Un drame à la cuisine - 1920
- Les éruptions célèbres - 1920
- L'évasion de Latude - 1918
- Faites comme le nègre - 1920
- Le meilleur argument - 1920
- Monsieur difficile a des visions - 1920
- La peau de l'ours - 1918
- La réponse de l'au-delà - 1920
- Une tempête sous un crâne - 1920
- Toto Savamal est malade - 1920
- Le bonheur tient dans une boîte (by Lortac and Jodelet. pub for Fluoxetine and Clomipramine)