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Marc Allégret
© Danièle Allégret-Rosch

Emile COHL
Georges GLASS
Alice GUY
Jacques HAIK
Jacqueline JACOUPY
Bernard NATAN
Adolphe OSSO
Jean-Paul PAULIN
Michel SAFRA
Jacques TATI
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Created and managed Pathé-Frères branches in Moscow (1902), Berlin and Vienna (1904-05), Budapest and Bucarest (1906-07). Managed movie theaters in France in the Loire Valley from 1907 to 1930, and managed Palaces Populaires in Paris from 1910 to 1928. Produced and distributed movies from 1915 to 1950. Resuscitated Eclair from 1918 to 1930. Created the Société des Cinéromans and the Studios de la Victorine in Nice in 1919. Produced Sacha Guitry's movies from 1936 to 1939.

Serge Sandberg was born in Kowno (the Russian name of Kaunas) in Lithuania on November 27, 1879. His father, a textile industrialist, hired a private tutor to have him educated at home. The boy learned both the German and Russian cultures and developed and attraction for French Enlightenment.

After convincing his father to let him try his luck in Paris, he moved to the capital in 1900 at the time of the World Fair. After a few months of Parisian life, he found himself translating Charles Pathé's Russian mail from Moscow. He became an apprentice at the Studio du Poligône in Vincennes, where he worked with Ferdinand Zecca. Then Charles Pathé sent him to Moscow in 1902 with the mission of opening a branch of Pathé-Frères.

When the Russian Japanese war broke out in 1904, Serge Sandberg rushed back to Paris. Charles Pathé then sent him to Berlin, from where he expanded on to Vienna, Budapest, and Bucarest, until he came back to France in 1907.

With an exclusive license for Pathé movies for the center-west region of France, Serge Sandberg founded the company Cinéma-Théâtre in November 1907. With the help of Charles Le Fraper (the future founder of the Courrier Cinématographique in 1911), he created fixed movie theaters in the Loire Valley.

From 1910 on, he undertook to create the Palaces Parisiens with the Tivoli- Cinéma (17 rue du Faubourg du Temple near Place de la République). That was followed by the Grand Cinéma Saint Paul, the Aubert-Palace (with Louis Aubert, a film distributor since 1909), and the Montrouge Palace (now called the Gaumont Alésia).

During World War I, he was stationed as a nurse at the French Army's Section Cinématographique et Photographique created in 1915 by Jean-Louis Croze and Pierre Marcel.

Pierre Marcel interested him in the distribution of propaganda movies on a third of the French territory (the Loire Valley, Aquitaine, Brittany, and the Calais region).

He became a movie producer in 1915 with Films René Navarre, the brand name symbolized by a four-leaf clover. The brand was created by René Navarre, the famous actor of Fantomas, who had just been discharged from the army. In 1916, he produced "Paris Pendant la Guerre," directed by Henri Diamant-Berger.

In 1917, Serge Sandberg reacted to the threatening rebirth of a powerful German movie industry (creation of the UFA) under the auspices of Germany's state and financial circles. He offered to create a big model studio and to re-launch a continuous production of movies. Charles Pathé, returning from America, did not think that this was necessary. He thought that it was enough to re-start the existing production facilities, if necessary by saving from bankruptcy the Eclair industry (movies, studios in Epinay-sur-Seine, Menchen Studios, Union-Eclair, etc.). Thus in March-April 1918, Serge Sandberg and Louis Aubert founded the Société Industrielle Cinématographique, under a license from the brand Eclair. Serge Sandberg re-started the production of Eclair movies in late December 1918, commissioned the building of a third Eclair studio in Epinay-sur-Seine, and in 1920 launched the new camera engineered by Méry and called the "Caméréclair."

Then from January 1919 to August 1920, he developed a large movie production program in Nice with producer Louis Nalpas (Provisional Director of Art Movies during the war and founder of the brand "Films Louis Nalpas"). He commissioned the building of the Studio de la Victorine in Nice, where several movies were shot-"Mathias Sandorf," by Henri Fescourt, "La Fête Espangnole," directed by Germaine Dulac from a script by Louis Delluc. Shortly after his separation form Louis Nalpas in June 1920, Serge Sandberg entrusted to René Navarre the management of Studio de la Victorine. Navarre was already the director of Société des Cinéromans, founded by Sandberg in September of 1919. (Eight movies with sequels were shot in Nice from 1919 to 1922, based on scripts written by Gaston Leroux and Arthur Bernède, and published in Le Matin, Le Petit Parisien, Le Journal, and L'Echo de Paris.) Serge Sandberg sold off his stock to Jean Sapène in 1922, who then delegated the artistic directorship of Cinéromans movies to Louis Nalpas.

Serge Sandberg's first long period as a movie producer (1915-22) ended with about sixty movies. Serge Sandberg went back to producing movies in 1928-29 with "La Vierge Folle" by Luitz Morat, "Napoléon à Ste Hélène" by Lupu Pick, and "Finis Terrae" by Jean Epstein, on the eve of the revolution of talking movies.

In the meantime, he sold off his movie theaters to Louis Aubert amongst others, and the Studios de la Victorine to Corniglion Molinier (in 1927) after renting them out to Rex Ingram (from 1925 to 1927).

Serge Sandberg rented out the Eclair studios to the Tobis company in 1929, then sold them off to their founder Charles Jourjon in 1930.

In the early 1930's, the only thing left under Serge Sandberg's ownership was a very small production and distribution company that he created in 1928, the Nord-Est Films (N.E.F.) and he practically had to start over from scratch.

With Charles Le Fraper, he launched onto the market a talking movie projector (licensed in France), but without much success.

Under his leadership, the N.E.F. signed an exclusive film distribution agreement in 1933 with a movie theater cooperative that consisted of 200 theaters spread around France.

During the same period, he came up with the idea of creating a talking movie studio in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris. He tried to re-launch that project in 1946-47, but unsuccessfully.

Working with Sacha Guitry, he experienced a second long period of producing movies from 1936 to 1939, which resulted in "Le Roman d'un Tricheur" (1936), "Les Perles de la Couronne" (1937), "Remontons les Champs-Elysées" (1938). Their friendship dated back to the years 1918 to 1922, when Serge Sandberg produced theater plays at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris.

When the war broke out in September 1939, he took refuge in a farm in Gan (Basses-Pyrénées), where he managed to transfer a part of his archives. He was protected by Lazorthes Barrès, who held a job at the regional police headquarters.

After France was liberated, he came back to Paris and developed two big production projects that would never be completed-the first one in 1946 with Gaston Baty, who had written a script about the life of Robert Macaire; the second one in 1947 with René Char for the Soleil des Eaux.

He retired in 1950 in Nice. In 1976 he went to the Studio de la Victorine to participate in the cinematography exhibition as a guest of honor, which was organized by Henri Langlois to celebrate 80 years of cinema in Nice.

He died on January 5, 1981, at age 102, and now rests at the cemetery of the Château in Nice.

Marc Sandberg

Films produced by

1915-1917 - René Navarre films (Edition Eclair)

Documents secrets; L' homme qui revient de loin; Un père à marier; Miss; Du rire au larmes; Ce bon La Fontaine; Série dessins animés de Benjamin Rabier

1916-1919 - Serge Sandberg films

1916 - "Paris pendant la guerre" by Henri Diamant-Berger
1917 - La Bréhatine (project) script by Guillaume Apollinaire and André Billy
1919 - "Les mystères du ciel" by Louis Forest

1919-1920 Films Louis Nalpas / Nice (Edition Union-Eclair)

  • "La Sultane de l' Amour"
    by René Le Somptier and Charles Burguet
    script by Franz Toussaint.
  • "Un Ours"
    by Charles Burguet
  • "La Croisade"
    by René Le Somptier
  • "La fête Espagnole
    by Germaine Dulac
    script by Louis Delluc
  • "Le chevalier de Gaby"
    by Charles Burguet
  • "La montée vers l' Acropole"
    by René Le Somptier
  • "Mathias Sandorf"
    by Henri Fescourt (9 episodes)
  • "Tristan et Yseut Réal"
    by Maurice Mariaud (6 episodes)
  • "Série Serpentin"
    by Jean Durand with the actor Marcel Lévesque :
    Serpentin au Harem, Serpentin Coeur de Lion, Serpentin le
    bonheur est chez toi, Serpentin et les contrebandiers,
    Serpentin Reporter, Serpentin manoeuvre.

1919-1922 Films CINEROMANS / Nice (Edition Union-Eclair)

  • "Impéria"
    script: Arthur Bemêde
    director: Jean Durand
  • "Tue-La-Mort" (12 episodes)
    script: Gaston Leroux
    director: Emile Violet
  • "Le secret d'Alta Rocca"
    script: Valentin Mandelstamm
    director: André Liabel
  • "L' homme aux trois masques"
    script: Arthur Bernède
    director: Emile Keppens
  • "Le Sept de trèfle"
    script: Gaston Leroux
    director: Lino Manzoni
  • "Reine-Lumière"
    script: Henri Caïn
    director: Emile Keppens
  • "Il était deux petits enfants"
    script Gaston Leroux
    director: Lino Manzoni
  • "L'Aiglonne" (12 episodes)
    script: Arthur Bernède
    director: Emile Keppens
  • "Souffre-Joie"
    script: Henri Caïn

1918-1922 Films SIC Eclair (Edition Union-Eclair)

  • "Les aventures des Pieds-Nickelés" (4th series)
    director: Emile Cohl
  • "Les Figures de Cire"
    director: Pierre Bressol
  • "La Rétive"
    director: Pierre Bressol
  • "Les aventures des Pieds-Nickelés (fifth series)"
    director: Emile Cohl
  • "Fauvette"
    director: Gérard Bourgeois
  • "Graziella"
    director: Robert Boudrioz
  • "La Distance"
    director: Robert Boudrioz
  • "La mascotte des poilus" (sitcom: les poilus de la 9ème)
    director: Maurice Landay
  • "Frivolité"
    director: Maurice Landay
  • "Protéa V"
    director: Jean-Joseph Renaud
  • "Un Soir"
    director: Robert Boudrioz
  • "L'Impasse"
    director: Lucien Lehmann
  • "Une Goutte de Sang" (dramatic version from the series by NickCarter)
    director: Pierre Bressol
  • "Le Fils de la nuit" (12 épisodes)
    director: Gérard Bourgeois
  • "Un drame sous Napoléon"
    director: Gérard. Bourgeois (4.000 meters)
  • Dandy series: "Dandy fait un béguin;" "Dandy paye ses
    Dettes;" "Dandy prend des vacances;" "Dandy ébéniste;"
    "Dandy a des visions."
  • Gentleman Jack series: "La joyeuse aventure du grand Jack;" "L'Hypnotiseur;" "Jack noctambule;" "Gentleman Jack et la crise du charbon."
  • 1928
    "La vierge Folle"
    script: Lucien Bataille
    director: Luitz-Morat
  • 1929
    "Napoléon à Sainte Hélène"
    script: Abel Gance
    director: Lupu Pick

1928-1930 Films SGF

"Finis Terrae"
script and director: Jean Epstein

1928-1940 Films NEF / Serge SANDBERG

  • 1934
    "Projet avec Max Reinhardt"
    director: Henri Diamant-Berger
    "Le passager clandestin"
    director: Henri Diamant-Berger
  • 1937
    "Dans les Steppes de l' Asie Centrale"
    director: Serge Sandberg
    "Stenka Razine"
    director: Serge sandherg
    "Le mot de Cambronne"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
    "Les perles de la couronne"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
  • 1938
    "Remontons les Champs-Etysées"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
    script: Sacha Gutry
    director: Pierre Caron
    "Les Pauvres Gens"
    adapted from Victor Hugo
    director: Antoine Mourre
  • 1938/39
    Cartoons in color: a project with the painter Louis Icart

1936 Films CINEAS / Serge SANDBERG (Edition Tobis)

  • "Le nouveau testament"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
  • "Le Roman d'un Tricheur"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
  • "Mon père avait raison"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry
  • "Faisons un rêve"
    script and director: Sacha Guitry

1939 FILMS SACA (Sandberg / Caron)

"La route enchantée"
script: Charles Trenet
director: Pierre Caron

  • 1946-1969 FILMS SIFDAC / Serge SANDBERG
  • 1946 - "Bonne chance la France"
  • 1946 - "Robert Macaire" (project with Gaston Baty)
  • 1947 - "Le Soleil des Eaux" (project with René Char)
  • 1956 - "Gervaise" (co-production with J. Dorfman director: René Clément)
  • 1969 - "Napoléon à Ste Hélène" (talking version of 1929Lepu Pick silent)


  • Ahel (Richard)
    French cinema, the first wave (1915-1929)
    Princeton University Press - 1984
  • Sandberg (Marc)
    Serge Sandberg l'ascension d'un producteur
    Revue Cinémathèque No 6 Automne - 1994
  • Meusy (Jean-Jacques)
    Paris-Palaces ou le temps des cinémas (1894-1918)
    CNRS Editions - 1995
  • Sandberg (Marc)
    Destins croisés de deux aventuriers page 92 à 106 in
    ECLAIR Un siècle de cinéma à Epinay-sur-Seine
    sous la direction de Le Roy (Eric) et Billia (Laurent)
    Calmann-Lévy -April 1995
  • Lesourd (Dominique) and Sandberg (Marc)
    L'âge d'or du cinéma en Provencel / Les Studios de la
    Côte-d'Azur /Genèse des Studios de la Victorine
    (Catalogue d'Exposition)
    Municipal Archives of Marseille - May 1995.
  • Marty (Jean-Cliristophe) and Sandberg (Marc)
    Musique dans les cinémas Sandberg (1908-1928) in
    Musique et Cinéma Muet David Robinson.
    Catalogue d' Exposition
    Paris Musée d'Orsay. September - 1995
  • Dutheil de la Rochère (Anne-Elizabeth)
    Les Studios de la Victorine 1919-1929
    AFRHC & Cinémathèque de Nice - Janury 1998

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