"Murder on the Orient Express" Reader's GuidePage 6
THE DIVINE SARAH VS.THE DUSE
The two greatest stage divas, Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse, were opposites in almost every respect. French born Bernhardt was brash, bold, and flamboyant. Italian born Duse was the picture of restraint. While Duse was the pioneer of the “less is more” style of acting, Bernhardt’s artistic motto was obviously “bigger is better.” Bernhardt stunned. Duse mesmerized.
Each had their devoted followers. While today more are familiar with Bernhardt’s name (largely due to the French artists who immortalized her in art nouveau posters) the overly dramatic style of her performances seems ridiculous by today’s standards, and the artistic interpretations of the quite Duse have, over time, won.