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I’m sure that many readers will have spotted that the Joao Kartoshka lookalike in my profile pic is in fact the great Mr Eddie Constantine, in a still from Jean Luc Godard’s 1965 classic Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution.
Reams have already been written about the postmodernist appropriation of traditional hero Caution, transferring him from the mean streets of the 20th century to a dystopian city of the future in a distant galaxy (in fact, Paris c.1965- the same streets…) and of Godard’s Marxian critique of society.
I’m not going to add to that canon.

Edward Constantinowsky was born in Los Angeles- his parents were Russian.
He studied singing in Vienna, but was unable to esablish himself as a singer on his return to the USA. Following a spell as a movie extra,Eddie Moved to Paris, where under the mentorship of Edith Piaf his singing career took off.
From 1953, his tough guy manner was put to good use in French B movie imitations of American Noir, such as La Môme vert-de-gris (1953) in which he first played Lemmy Caution.
Lemmy Caution was the creation of the English writer of hardboiled fiction, Peter Cheyney (1896 —1951), and Constantine played him on screen no less than a dozen times.

The New German Cinema revived Constantine and his persona, most notably Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte (1971). Constantine also appeared in a number of German TV dramas in the 70s and 80s and, late in life, reprised his most famous role in Godard’s reflection on German re unification Allemagne 90 neuf zéro (1991).
Constantine also appeared in the intriguing Malatesta, Peter Lilienthal’s 1970 German language biopic of Italian anarcho-communist Errico Malatesta . I’ve never seen this movie- can anyone share their views on it with us?


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