Several novels, melodies, films and even paintings that have become cult will enter the public domain in 2024. In France, a work enters the public domain 70 years after the death of its author, while in the United States you sometimes have to wait until 'to the 95th anniversary of the publication of the work. From Bécassine to Kiki de Montparnasse via Django Reinhardt, here is a selection of copyright-free works in France and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from this year.
In literature, we (re)discover a green dress, a Picardy headdress and a baby face that will bring back good memories to an entire generation: Bécassine, born under the pencils of Émile-Joseph-Porphyre Pinchon, enters the public domain, seventy years - as it should be - after the death of its creator. We also include the writings of filmmaker Jean Epstein as well as the poetic works of Francis Piacabia, more particularly collections marked by Dadaism. Among them are La Poésie ron-ron (1919), Unique Eunuch (1920) and even Jesus Christ Rastaquouère. The writings of several authors also make their entry, such as the poet Rosemonde Gérard, wife of Edmond Rostand, the novelist Anne Osmont, specialized in occultism, Colette Yver, figure of Femina, the storytellers Alice Pujo and Jeanne Roche-Mazon. Just like the Memories of Alice Prin, aka Kiki de Montparnasse, the star of the Roaring Twenties.
In the United States, Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Nothing New in the West by Erich Maria Remarque and The Blue Train by Agatha Christie are now royalty-free, as are plays, like Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera.
In painting, Raoul Dufy and his colorful canvases, the Luxembourg painter Félix Glatz, also known as the “painter of the South” for his representations of Provence, Louis Charles Crespin, Edmund Dulac, a Franco-British illustrator, and, a once again, Francis Picabia, a versatile artist, falls into the public domain.
As for the 7th art, fans of a certain big-eared mouse will be delighted to learn that Steamboat Willie, Mickey's first appearance on screen, is now free of rights. This does not mean, however, that Walt Disney's flagship character belongs to everyone: only this first black and white version of the rodent - which is still missing its pair of gloves, its red shorts and its thin voice - can be freely exploited.
There are also works that have become classics, such as Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, Buster Keaton's The Cameraman, A Mud Man, Laurel and Hardy's first comedy as a duo, In Speed, Harold Lloyd's last silent film, The Passion by Joan of Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, renowned as one of the best films in the history of cinema, The Man Who Laughs, an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel directed by Paul Leni, Lumières de New York by Bryan Foy, Speedy by Ted Wilde (and starring Harold Lloyd) and The Last Command, directed by Josef von Sternberg (winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor).
To end in music, the catchy melodies of Django Reinhardt are entering the public domain this year, and the most music lovers will have the pleasure of playing cult scores of American music like Mack the Knife (excerpt from Kurt's Threepenny Opera). Weill), Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) by Cole Porter, When You're Smiling, Makin' Whoopee! or I Wanna Be Loved By You (immortalized by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot), now also royalty-free in the United States.