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Human Animals: The Radical Potential of Marcel Carné's "Drôle de drame"

Two films by Marcel Carné are playing on Mubi in the United States as part of the series Marcel Carné, Arletty, Jean Gabin: Le jour se lève (1939), from June 7 - July 7, and Air of Paris (1954), from June 8 - July 8, 2017.Marcel Carné’s 1937 film Drôle de drame (Bizarre, Bizarre) feels anomalous when placed next to his classic dramas. Unlike the sincere emotion, heartbreak, and despair which characterize his poetic realist works, Drôle de drame is a lighthearted and rather frivolous comedy of manners. The film depicts a series of absurd events caused by a need to maintain appearances, following meek botanist Irwin Molyneux (Michel Simon) as he lives a double life, writing crime novels in secret. When his cousin, the bishop Bedford (Louis Jouvet), accuses Molyneux of having killed his wife, the married couple go into hiding rather than rectify the mistake. Molyneux emerges with his novelist persona in order
See full article at MUBI »

Remembering Actress and Pioneering Woman Producer Delorme: Unique Actress/Woman Director Collaboration

Danièle Delorme: 'Gigi' 1949 actress and pioneering female film producer. Danièle Delorme: 'Gigi' 1949 actress was pioneering woman producer, politically minded 'femme engagée' Danièle Delorme, who died on Oct. 17, '15, at the age of 89 in Paris, is best remembered as the first actress to incarnate Colette's teenage courtesan-to-be Gigi and for playing Jean Rochefort's about-to-be-cuckolded wife in the international box office hit Pardon Mon Affaire. Yet few are aware that Delorme was featured in nearly 60 films – three of which, including Gigi, directed by France's sole major woman filmmaker of the '40s and '50s – in addition to more than 20 stage plays and a dozen television productions in a show business career spanning seven decades. Even fewer realize that Delorme was also a pioneering woman film producer, working in that capacity for more than half a century. Or that she was what in French is called a femme engagée
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Cummings Pt.4: Career Peak with Tony Award Win, Acclaimed Mary Tyrone

Constance Cummings: Stage and film actress ca. early 1940s. Constance Cummings on stage: From Sacha Guitry to Clifford Odets (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Flawless 'Blithe Spirit,' Supporter of Political Refugees.”) In the post-World War II years, Constance Cummings' stage reputation continued to grow on the English stage, in plays as diverse as: Stephen Powys (pseudonym for P.G. Wodehouse) and Guy Bolton's English-language adaptation of Sacha Guitry's Don't Listen, Ladies! (1948), with Cummings as one of shop clerk Denholm Elliott's mistresses (the other one was Betty Marsden). “Miss Cummings and Miss Marsden act as fetchingly as they look,” commented The Spectator. Rodney Ackland's Before the Party (1949), delivering “a superb performance of controlled hysteria” according to theater director and Michael Redgrave biographer Alan Strachan, writing for The Independent at the time of Cummings' death. Clifford Odets' Winter Journey / The Country Girl (1952), as
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Starmaker Allégret: From Gay Romance with 'Uncle' (and Nobel Winner) Gide to Simon's Movie Mentor

Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret.[1] The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Cat People Star Simon on 10th Anniversary of Her Death (Fully Revised/Updated Part I)

Simone Simon: Remembering the 'Cat People' and 'La Bête Humaine' star (photo: Simone Simon 'Cat People' publicity) Pert, pretty, pouty, and fiery-tempered Simone Simon – who died at age 94 ten years ago, on Feb. 22, 2005 – is best known for her starring role in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic Cat People (1942). Those aware of the existence of film industries outside Hollywood will also remember Simon for her button-nosed femme fatale in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938).[1] In fact, long before Brigitte Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Mamie Van Doren, Tuesday Weld, Ann-Margret, and Barbarella's Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm – with a tad of puppy dog wistfulness – in a film career that spanned two continents and a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Actress Simon Part 2 - Deadly Sex Kitten Romanced Real-Life James Bond 'Inspiration'

Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939).[11] This thematic and
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Jean Grémillon: Realism and Tragedy

  • MUBI
Translators introduction: This article by Mireille Latil Le Dantec, the first of two parts, was originally published in issue 40 of Cinématographe, September 1978. The previous issue of the magazine had included a dossier on "La qualité française" and a book of a never-shot script by Jean Grémillon (Le Printemps de la Liberté or The Spring of Freedom) had recently been published. The time was ripe for a re-evaluation of Grémillon's films and a resuscitation of his undervalued career. As this re-evaluation appears to still be happening nearly 40 years later—Grémillon's films have only recently seen DVD releases and a 35mm retrospective begins this week at Museum of the Moving Image in Queens—this article and its follow-up gives us an important view of a French perspective on Grémillon's work by a very perceptive critic doing the initial heavy-lifting in bringing the proper attention to the filmmaker's work.

Filmmaker maudit?
See full article at MUBI »

Daily | Marcel Carné’s Le Jour Se LÈVE

Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert's Le jour se lève (1939) "tracks the inevitable unraveling of factory worker François (Jean Gabin) after he kills the absurd vaudeville entertainer Valentin (Jules Berry), his romantic rival for the affections of Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent) and Clara (Arletty)," writes Anna King for Time Out. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw finds it "bristling with energy and shaped with incomparable artistry and flair." We're collecting reviews and the trailer for the new restoration opening at New York's Film Forum. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

The Definitive Original Screenplays: 40-31

As we continue to move forward through the list, let us consider: how do you define an original screenplay? In theory, everything is based on something. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is basically a modern A Streetcar Named Desire. But, somehow, Jasmine is classified as an original screenplay. When a film is wholly original, nothing like it had been done before, and others have tried to copy it since. Plenty of original screenplays (some in this list) take on tired genres, but flip the script. But the ones that really catch the audience by surprise are the ones that feel imaginative, creative, and different.

40. Spirited Away (2001)

Written by Hayao Miyazaki

That’s a good start! Once you’ve met someone, you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.

No writer/director on this list may be more fantastical than the great Hayao Miyazaki,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Joy of Visiting 'Children of Paradise' for the First Time

Last night I finally finished watching Marcel Carne's 1945 film Children of Paradise. At just over three hours long it took me a couple sittings, though last night I watched the bulk of it (a little over two hours) and it's one hell of a piece of cinema. Roger Ebert describes the production saying it "was shot in Paris and Nice during the Nazi occupation and released in 1945. Its sets sometimes had to be moved between the two cities. Its designer and composer, Jews sought by the Nazis, worked from hiding. Carne was forced to hire pro-Nazi collaborators as extras; they did not suspect they were working next to resistance fighters. The Nazis banned all films over about 90 minutes in length, so Carne simply made two films, confident he could show them together after the war was over." The film largely focuses on an actor -- Frederick Lema?tre played by
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Forty 1940s Films: ‘Les Enfants du Paradis (Children Of Paradise)’

Les Enfants du Paradis (Children Of Paradise)

Directed by Marcel Carné

Starring Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Pierre Brasseur

France, 190 min – 1945.

Les Enfants du Paradis is a film about that class of people that hangs on the outskirts of 1820s and 30s French society, exuberantly enjoying theatre productions in the ‘Boulevard du Crime.’ It is very much a piece that celebrates the bohemian artist (of an earlier generation than the famed bohemians depicted in Moulin Rouge) and the tragedies of love. This love centers around the beautiful woman-about-town and artist, Garance (Arletty), and the four men who fall in love with her: Jean-Baptiste Debureau (Jean-Louis Barrault), a famous pantomime actor, Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur), an aspiring, classical actor, Pierre-François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), a criminal, and finally, Count Édouard de Montray (Louis Salou), a rich aristocrat. Each man falls in love with Garance, but she only gives her heart to one of them.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

"Les Visiteurs du Soir" Awaken from Nazi-Occupied France

In France, during the Nazi occupation of World War II, filmmakers faced the challenge of creating entertainment that might still carry with it the French perspective of the enemy occupation while still making it past Nazi censors who enforced considerably harsher penalties than the MPAA (like death, for example). This posed a challenge for filmmakers like Marcel Carné who desired to comment on the deplorable situation through his work without being penalized for political messaging. His solution: Les Visiteurs du Soir (or The Devil’s Envoys), a story set in the time of kings and traveling minstrels imbued with heavy themes of an evil working from within to destroy youth, love, and order. The classic film receives the Criterion Collection Blu-ray restoration treatment here, but it’s worth noting that the print from which it’s derived is not without its share of quality issues, but the bewitching beauty of Arletty,
See full article at JustPressPlay »

DVD Playhouse--October 2012

By Allen Gardner

Prometheus (20th Century Fox) Ridley Scott’s quasi-prequel to his 1979 classic “Alien” has an intergalactic exploratory team (Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba) arriving on a uncharted planet, where they discover what appears to be a dormant alien spacecraft and what might be the first discovery of intelligent life outside of Earth. Of course, everything goes straight to hell before you can scream “Don’t touch that egg!” Sumptuous visuals and strong performances from the cast (not to mention a nearly-perfect first half) can’t compensate for gaping plot and logic holes that nearly sink the proceedings in the film’s protracted second half. It feels as though some very crucial footage wound up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps, as with “Alien” and “Aliens” we’ll see a “Director’s Cut” of “Prometheus” arriving on DVD within the next year. In the meantime,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Criterion Collection: Les Visiteurs Du Soir | Blu-ray Review

Known for creating some of the most important films in French history, and during Nazi Occupation, no less, Criterion issues two of Marcel Carne’s most widely acclaimed masterpieces, his crowning achievement, Children of Paradise (1945), which, if you haven’t seen, you need to, and a noteworthy work that directly precedes it, Les Visiteurs du Soir (1942), which has long since been popularly interpreted as an allegory of the hostile occupation. While this interpretation is hardly surprising and seems rather fitting, Carne’s film is much more universal than that, instead conveying the unbreakable spirit of pure love. Presented like the dark, harsh fairy tale it is, Carne managed to create a sumptuously poetic, luxurious film about how love does not indeed conquer all, but can perhaps endure.

Pages flipped by a dark gloved hand inform us that our tale is set in the Middle Ages, May of 1485. Two of the devil’s envoys,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Blu-ray Review: Timeless Elegance of ‘Children of Paradise,’ ‘Les Visiteurs du Soir’

Chicago – Marcel Carne is one of the most important filmmakers in European history and two of his most timeless efforts, “Children of Paradise” and “Les Visiteurs du Soir,” are two of the most recent films inducted into the most important collection of Blu-rays in the history of the form — The Criterion Collection. “Children” had been a Criterion release before (it’s spine #141) but “Visiteurs” (#626) is new to the collection. Both are gloriously restored version of French classics.

“Children” is the superior of the two, a film that has often been voted the best French film of the last century. It’s often compared to “Gone with the Wind” in its epic scope (it’s 190 minutes long) or at least that’s how it was sold in some markets — “The French Gone with the Wind!” The film is actually much more ambitious thematically than the American epic as wonderfully detailed in
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Les Enfants du Paradis

(Marcel Carné, 1945, Second Sight, PG)

This vibrant three-hour epic was made during the German occupation by director Marcel Carné, poet Jacques Prévert and designer Alexandre Trauner, the chief creators of the so-called poetic realism that dominated French cinema in the late 1930s. The film then enjoyed a triumphant reception at its premiere in March 1945, just two months before Ve Day, when it helped assert the indomitable spirit of French culture and restore national pride.

The Nazi regime forbade direct reference to the war or any currently controversial matter, so the setting is the Parisian theatre of the 1830s, which is given a Balzacian social scope and dramatic vigour. Pierre Brasseur and Jean-Louis Barrault play rival actors, one a Shakespearean star, the other a brilliant mime, both of them in love with the cool, graceful Arletty's much-sought-after courtesan, who's also admired by a charismatic criminal and an aristocrat.

The movie
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Raymond Benson Reviews "Children Of Paradise"- The Criterion Blu-ray Edition

  • CinemaRetro
By Raymond Benson

Children of Paradise has been called the greatest movie ever made in France, their equivalent to Gone With the Wind. Originally released in 1945 and directed by Marcel Carné, the three-hour historical epic is big in scope and ideas, and yet it is simplistic in its story about four men in love with the same woman. The excellent Criterion Collection label released the picture on DVD several years ago, but now they have given it the deluxe treatment with Pathé’s 2011 restoration and uncompressed monaural soundtrack in new Blu-ray and DVD editions. It looks and sounds amazing.

The story of the film’s production is just as fascinating as the picture itself. Made in Vichy France during the Nazi Occupation, Carné and his collaborator/writer Jacques Prévert had to work in secrecy, for the Nazis acted as “studio executives” and approved everything being made. The production designer and music composer were Jews,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The film that changed my life

How Les Enfants du Paradis, a French film about a theatre company, convinced the actress that a life on the stage – and in front of the cameras – was for her

I first saw Les Enfants du Paradis when I was about 16 and still at school. I was completely intoxicated by it. What I found so thrilling was the way it portrayed the world of the theatre. It made me realise that this was a place where art happened: it wasn't just a lot of nonsense. It was about the development of the soul: people spent their whole lives in the theatre and relished it and grew in it. I think that had a big effect on my decision to become an actress.

The film is set in the mid-19th century, but it was made in the early 1940s, while France was under German occupation, and what an extraordinary achievement
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Children of Paradise

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012

Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Jean-Louis Barrault stars in Marcel Carne's Children of Paradise.

Poetic realism reached sublime heights with Marcel Carné’s 1945 romantic drama Children of Paradise, which is widely considered one of the greatest French films of all time.

A classic depiction of 19th century Paris’s theatrical demimonde, Les enfants du paradis follows a mysterious woman (Arletty, The Pearls of the Crown’s) loved by four different men (all based on historical figures): an actor, a criminal, a count, and, most poignantly, a street mime (Jean-Louis Barrault, La ronde).

Directed with sensitivity and dramatic élan (during World War II, no less!) director Carné (Port of Shadows) and screenwriter Jacques Prévert (Le jour se lève) bring to life a world teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers, and, of course, love and sorrow.

Released previously by Criterion in
See full article at Disc Dish »

The Intouchables, A Trip To The Moon: Colcoa 2012

Omar Sy, François Cluzet, The Intouchables Among the three dozen or so films screening at the City of Lights / City of Angels (Colcoa) French film festival currently being held in Los Angeles, you'll find a couple of restored classics, several César nominees, and one of the biggest box-office hits in French history. Georges Méliès' 1902 short Le voyage dans la lune / A Trip to the Moon, inspired by Jules Verne's novel, is one of the restored classics to be screened at Colcoa. Méliès' short will be accompanied by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange's Le Voyage extraordinaire / The Extraordinary Voyage, about the making and the restoration of A Trip to the Moon. The festival's other classic presentation is Marcel Carné's 1938 drama Hôtel du Nord, with Arletty, Louis Jouvet, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Tyrone Power's future wife Annabella, the recently deceased Paulette Dubost, and Bernard Blier. Those ignorant about the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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