4 user 9 critic

Zaza (1923)

Zaza is an actress and the favorite at an open-air theater in a small French town. When diplomat Bernard Dufresne comes to the village, he stays away for fear he will fall for her. But when Zaza is badly injured, he has no choice.


Allan Dwan


Pierre Berton (play), Albert S. Le Vino (as Albert Shelby Le Vino) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Stage Struck (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young woman dreams of becoming a great actress. When her boyfriend starts to flirt with an actual actress, she becomes jealous and decides to fight with her rival.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Gloria Swanson, Lawrence Gray, Gertrude Astor
Manhandled (1924)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Gloria Swanson plays Tessie McGuire, a shopgirl who, when her boyfriend breaks their date one evening, goes to a party with a louche crowd of artists and hangers-on. She wows them with some... See full summary »

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Gloria Swanson, Tom Moore, Lilyan Tashman
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen
Certificate: Passed History | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway.

Director: John Ford
Stars: George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy, Charles Edward Bull
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Mary Tudor, sister of England's Henry VIII, causes a stir by falling in love with a guardsman below her class.

Director: Robert G. Vignola
Stars: Marion Davies, Forrest Stanley, Lyn Harding
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An unhappily married woman devises a scheme to get rid of her husband.

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd
Fine Manners (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Fine Manners is a 1926 American black-and-white silent comedy film directed initially by Lewis Milestone and completed by Richard Rosson for Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Pictures. After ... See full summary »

Directors: Richard Rosson, Lewis Milestone
Stars: Gloria Swanson, Eugene O'Brien, Helen Dunbar
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The tenements are home to an international community, including the friends and family of a tough young ragamuffin named Annie Rooney, but their neighborhood may be threatened by a dangerous street gang.

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Mary Pickford, William Haines, Walter James
Spies (1928)
Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The mastermind behind a ubiquitous spy operation learns of a dangerous romance between a Russian lady in his employ and a dashing agent from the government's secret service.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill
Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A gruff Marine sergeant and a handsome new recruit compete for the affection of a nurse.

Director: George W. Hill
Stars: Lon Chaney, William Haines, Eleanor Boardman


Cast overview:
Gloria Swanson ... Zaza
H.B. Warner ... Bernard Dufresne
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Duke de Brissac
Lucille La Verne ... Aunt Rosa
Mary Thurman ... Florianne
Yvonne Hughes Yvonne Hughes ... Nathalie - Zaza's Maid
Riley Hatch ... Rigault
L. Rogers Lytton L. Rogers Lytton ... Stage Manager (as Roger Lytton)
Ivan Linow ... Apache


Zaza is an actress and the favorite at an open-air theater in a small French town. When diplomat Bernard Dufresne comes to the village, he stays away for fear he will fall for her. But when Zaza is badly injured, he has no choice.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance | Drama







Release Date:

21 October 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zaza, das Mädel vom Varieté See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


On the pretext of needing an operation, Gloria Swanson went to New York to make this film. Swanson hoped to distance herself from Jesse Lasky, Paramount's head, and take more control over her career with this film. See more »


Version of Zazà (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Based on Life?
14 July 2018 | by sb-47-608737See all my reviews

While watching it, I found a remarkable similarity between the movie and a still alive Great Actress of that time (the play was of 1898), whose name was even mentioned in the movie once, though not in the context, Sarah Bernhardt.

Some natural changes (and a few major ones) were made. Most probably, this being Hollywood Production, even in non-code era, some codes needed to be followed. But that didn't really hide the similarities to great extent.

If We equate Zaza to Sarah, Rigault (the avuncular manager) was almost like Alexandre Dumas, who had been a similar paternal mentor (sans the managership) of Sarah. Florianne could well be Zaire-Nathalie Martel, the senior actress of Comédie-Française, with whom Sarah indulged into physical. Though that was on different context, due to the mistreatment meted by madama Nathalie to Sarah's kid sister, but that too was a cat-fight alright. Here for a change the two made up, where as in real life Sarah and Nathalie didn't.

Bernard Dufresne was obviously Prince Henri Maximilien Joseph Charles Louis Lamoral de Ligne. Here a small 'moral' change had to be done, probably due to censor or censure - the absence of physical relationship, that had in real life culminated into the birth of Sarah's only child, Maurice. The parting was necessitated by 'state affairs' and 'diplomatic act' though a bit different type. Here the child's, of a different gender, mother was Defresne's wife, not Sarah (Zaza).

The Duke, and other lovers, that happened in real life, was naturally not permitted to happen here, the morality clause issue. Of course movies like La Boheme or Camille didn't stop the heroine from becoming mistresses of dukes or Barons. Here too that should have been done, instead of Duke trying to make her a morganatic duchess.

When the Prince comes back much later, in real life as well as in movie versions, to accept the child as his own, despite having shirked from the responsibility earlier. In the later movie version (1939), Zaza rebuffs him, whereas in the real life, the son, Maurice did, telling him in no unclear terms, that he was proud to hold the Bernhardt name, and didn't need another. The variation here could have been audience demand.

The temper of Zaza was remarkably similar to Sarah, who too would throw things at people, at slightest context.

There are many other factors, like rise of Sarah from Starlet to Star, after Prince Episode, or her works during war, trying to cheer up the soldiers, despite being sick and almost immobile (and with one leg amputated). Here of course Zaza is still young, but she was active in war efforts, at least so hinted in the passing comments.

I wonder didn't Sarah herself notice these, she was not only alive but at her prime during this period (1898, theater version, not the movie), or was the theatre better masked to hide similarities ?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed