The Grand Maneuver
The Grand Maneuver is a 1955 French drama film written and directed by René Clair, starring Michèle Morgan and Gérard Philipe. It was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland as Summer Manoeuvres, in the United States under the title The Grand Maneuver, it is a romantic comedy-drama set in a French provincial town just before World War I, it was René Clair's first film to be made in colour. Armand de la Verne, a lieutenant in the French cavalry and a notorious seducer, undertakes a bet that he will "obtain the favours" of a woman selected secretly by lot, before his company departs for its summer manoeuvres in a month's time, his target turns out to be Marie-Louise Rivière, a Parisian divorcée who runs a milliner's shop, and, being courted by the serious and respectable Victor Duverger. Marie Louise's growing attraction towards Armand is tempered by her discoveries about his reputation, while Armand's calculated strategy becomes undermined by his genuine emotions. A subplot follows the parallel but simpler courtship of Armand's friend and fellow officer Félix and Lucie, the young daughter of a photographer.
Michèle Morgan as Marie-Louise Rivière Gérard Philipe as Armand de la Verne Jean Desailly as Victor Duverger Pierre Dux as the Colonel Jacques Fabbri as Armand's orderly Jacques François as Rodolphe Yves Robert as Félix Leroy Brigitte Bardot as Lucie Lise Delamare as Juliette Duverger Jacqueline Maillan as Jeanne Duverger, Victor's sister Magali Noël as Thérèse, the singer Simone Valère as Gisèle Monnet Catherine Anouilh as Alice, the Prefect's daughter Claude Rich as Alice's fiancé Madeleine Barbulée as the lady in a yellow hat Dany Carrel as Rose-Mousse Judith Magre as Emilienne In René Clair's own words, "Love is the only concern of Les Grandes Manœuvres", he added that the film was one of the countless variations to be made on the inexhaustible theme of Don Juan. The film is set in a French garrison town in the period just before the First World War, the end of the Belle Époque. Describing the origins of the film, Clair said, "Having passed a part of my childhood near Versailles, I could not forget the cavalry officers, their galloping in the forest of Viroflay, the rumors of their adventures, a duel which the newspapers talked about and in which two of those officers died...."
Elsewhere he commented, "For me it is a sentimental film more sentimental because it is situated in the period of my childhood. I put into it things that I saw."Clair's aim was to create a portrait of provincial life in the years before 1914, close attention was paid to the fashions of the period and the rituals of military life. Les Grandes Manœuvres was Clair's first film in colour, a medium he had wanted to use since his time in England in the late 1930s, because, he stated, "it would enable him to keep reality at a distance" The production designer, Léon Barsacq, created sets in which muted colours were dominant, with furniture and accessories in black or white, costumes in beige or brown; the only bold colour permitted was the red of the military uniforms. The film's budget was 222 million old francs. Filming began at the Studios de Boulogne on 28 April 1955, continued until 2 July, after which the film was completed rapidly. However, Clair hesitated between different endings for the film, two of which were filmed and shown to groups of friends to gauge their reaction.
Although several favoured the more bitter and tragic ending, Clair adopted the one, more delicate and low-key, as being more in keeping with his own manner. So, it was the first of his films which "ended badly", thus marked a departure in his style; the first screening of Les Grandes Manœuvres took place in Moscow, on 17 October 1955, as part of the first "French Film Week". The French première took place in Paris on 26 October 1955, was well received by both press and public; those critics who were less than enthusiastic were at any rate respectful. Several of Clair's longtime supporters thought. One of the few hostile reactions came from Claude Mauriac who objected that the performance of Gérard Philipe made a sympathetic character out of a complaisant seducer. André Bazin observed that the film was "like those classics which do not claim originality in their material, only in the manner in which they move the pieces on the chess-board.... Les Grandes Manœuvres begins as vaudeville, continues as comedy, reaches drama, culminates in tragedy."
A positive review by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze appeared in France-Observateur in November 1955 in which he wrote that everything about the film reminded him of an operetta: "We smile, are astonished, smile again and feel our hearts ache it would be a mistake to underestimate Les Grandes Manoeuvres, as I understand some people have." The film won the Prix Louis-Delluc and the Prix Méliès. Among English-language reviewers, there was consistency in their appreciation of Clair's wit and the visual elegance of his use of colour on the one hand, but on the other a disappointment at his perceived failure to bring sufficient emotional engagement to the film's scenes
George Orson Welles was an American actor, director and producer who worked in theatre and film. He is remembered for his innovative work in all three: in theatre, most notably Caesar, a Broadway adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. While in his twenties Welles directed a number of high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project, including an adaptation of Macbeth with an African American cast and the political musical The Cradle Will Rock. In 1937 he and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941. Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds performed for his radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, it caused widespread panic because many listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring. Although some contemporary sources say these reports of panic were false and overstated, they rocketed Welles to notoriety.
His first film was Citizen Kane, which he co-wrote, produced and starred in as Charles Foster Kane. Welles followed up Citizen Kane with twelve other feature films, the most acclaimed of which include The Magnificent Ambersons, The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight and F for Fake. With a development spanning fifty years, Welles' final film, The Other Side of the Wind, was released in 2018. Welles was an outsider to the studio system and directed only thirteen full-length films in his career, he struggled for creative control on his projects early on with the major film studios in Hollywood and in life with a variety of independent financiers across Europe, where he spent most of his career. Many of his films were either edited or remained unreleased, his distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots and long takes. He has been praised as "the ultimate auteur".
In 2002 Welles was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics. Known for his baritone voice, Welles was an actor in radio and film, a Shakespearean stage actor and magician noted for presenting troop variety shows in the war years. George Orson Welles was born May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, son of Richard Head Welles and Beatrice Ives Welles, he was named after his paternal great-grandfather, influential Kenosha attorney Orson S. Head, his brother George Head. An alternative story of the source of his first and middle names was told by George Ade, who met Welles's parents on a West Indies cruise toward the end of 1914. Ade was traveling with a friend, Orson Wells, the two of them sat at the same table as Mr. and Mrs. Richard Welles. Mrs. Welles was pregnant at the time, when they said good-by, she told them that she had enjoyed their company so much that if the child were a boy, she intended to name it for them: George Orson. Welles's birth announcement and a picture of him as a young boy are among George Ade's papers at Purdue University.
Despite his family's affluence, Welles encountered hardship in childhood. His parents separated and moved to Chicago in 1919, his father, who made a fortune as the inventor of a popular bicycle lamp, became an alcoholic and stopped working. Welles's mother, a pianist, played during lectures by Dudley Crafts Watson at the Art Institute of Chicago to support her son and herself. Beatrice died of hepatitis in a Chicago hospital on May 10, 1924, just after Welles's ninth birthday; the Gordon String Quartet, which had made its first appearance at her home in 1921, played at Beatrice's funeral. After his mother's death, Welles ceased pursuing music, it was decided that he would spend the summer with the Watson family at a private art colony in Wyoming, New York, established by Lydia Avery Coonley Ward. There he played and became friends with the children of the Aga Khan, including the 12-year-old Prince Aly Khan. In what Welles described as "a hectic period" in his life, he lived in a Chicago apartment with both his father and Dr. Maurice Bernstein, a Chicago physician, a close friend of both his parents.
Welles attended public school before his alcoholic father left business altogether and took him along on his travels to Jamaica and the Far East. When they returned they settled in a hotel in Grand Detour, owned by his father; when the hotel burned down and his father took to the road again."During the three years that Orson lived with his father, some observers wondered who took care of whom", wrote biographer Frank Brady."In some ways, he was never a young boy, you know," said Roger Hill, who became Welles's teacher and lifelong friend. Welles attended public school in Madison, enrolled in the fourth grade. On September 15, 1926, he entered the Todd Seminary for Boys, an expensive independent school in Woodstock, that his older brother, Richard Ives Welles, had attended ten years before until he was expelled for misbeha
Jean-Luc Godard is a French-Swiss film director and film critic. He rose to prominence as a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement. Like his New Wave contemporaries, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema's "Tradition of Quality", which "emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, preferred the great works of the past to experimentation." As a result of such argument, he and like-minded critics started to make their own films. Many of Godard's films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood in addition to French cinema. In 1964, Godard described his and his colleagues' impact: "We barged into the cinema like cavemen into the Versailles of Louis XV." He is considered the most radical French filmmaker of the 1960s and 1970s. Along with showing knowledge of film history through homages and references, several of his films expressed his political views. Since the New Wave, his politics have been much less radical and his recent films are about representation and human conflict from a humanist, a Marxist perspective.
In a 2002 Sight & Sound poll, Godard ranked third in the critics' top-ten directors of all time. He is said to have "created one of the largest bodies of critical analysis of any filmmaker since the mid-twentieth century." He and his work have been central to narrative theory and have "challenged both commercial narrative cinema norms and film criticism's vocabulary." In 2010, Godard did not attend the award ceremony. Godard's films have inspired many directors including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh, D. A. Pennebaker, Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-wai, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini. From his father, he is the cousin of former President of Peru, he has been married twice, to actresses Anna Karina and Anne Wiazemsky, both of whom starred in several of his films. His collaborations with Karina—which included such critically acclaimed films as Bande à part and Pierrot le Fou —was called "arguably the most influential body of work in the history of cinema" by Filmmaker magazine.
Jean-Luc Godard was born on 3 December 1930 in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the son of Odile and Paul Godard, a Swiss physician. His wealthy parents came from Protestant families of Franco–Swiss descent, his mother was the daughter of Julien Monod, a founder of the Banque Paribas, she was the great-granddaughter of theologian Adolphe Monod. Relatives on his mother's side include composer Jacques-Louis Monod, naturalist Théodore Monod and pastor Frédéric Monod. Four years after Jean-Luc's birth, his father moved the family to Switzerland. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Godard was in France and returned to Switzerland with difficulty, he spent most of the war in Switzerland, although his family made clandestine trips to his grandfather's estate on the French side of Lake Geneva. Godard attended school in Switzerland. Not a frequent cinema-goer, he attributed his introduction to cinema to a reading of Malraux's essay Outline of a Psychology of Cinema, his reading of La Revue du cinéma, relaunched in 1946.
In 1946, he went to study at the Lycée Buffon in Paris and, through family connections, mixed with members of its cultural elite. He lodged with the writer Jean Schlumberger. Having failed his baccalaureate exam in 1948 he returned to Switzerland, he lived with his parents, whose marriage was breaking up. He spent time in Geneva with a group that included another film fanatic, Roland Tolmatchoff, the extreme rightist philosopher Jean Parvulesco, his older sister Rachel encouraged him to paint, in an abstract style. After time spent at a boarding school in Thonon to prepare for the retest, which he passed, he returned to Paris in 1949, he registered for a certificate in anthropology at the University of Paris, but did not attend class. He got involved with the young group of film critics at the ciné-clubs. Godard held only French citizenship in 1953, he became a citizen of Gland, canton of Vaud, Switzerland through simplified naturalisation through his Swiss father. In Paris, in the Latin Quarter just prior to 1950, ciné-clubs were gaining prominence.
Godard began attending these clubs – the Cinémathèque, the CCQL, Work and Culture ciné Club, others – which became his regular haunts. The Cinémathèque had been founded by Henri Langlois and Georges Franju in 1936. At these clubs he met fellow film enthusiasts including Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut. Godard was part of a generation for, he has said: "In the 1950s cinema was as important as bread—but it isn't the case any more. We thought cinema would assert itself as an instrument of knowledge, a microscope... a telescope.... At the Cinémathèque I discovered a world. They'd told us about Goethe, but not Dreyer.... We watched silent films in the era of talkies. We dreame
Jacques Tati was a French mime, filmmaker and screenwriter. Throughout his long career, he worked as a comic actor and director. In a poll conducted by Entertainment Weekly of the Greatest Movie Directors, Tati was voted the 46th greatest of all time. With only six feature-length films to his credit as director, he directed fewer films than any other director on this list of 50. Tati's Playtime ranked 43rd in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll of the greatest films made; as David Bellos puts it, "Tati, from l'Ecole des facteurs to Playtime, is the epitome of what an auteur is supposed to be: the controlling mind behind a vision of the world on film". Jacques Tati was of Russian and Italian ancestry, his father, George Emmanuel Tatischeff, born in 1875 in Paris, was the son of Dmitry Tatishchev, General of the Imperial Russian Army and military attaché to the Russian Embassy in Paris. The Tatischeffs were a Russian noble family of patrilineal Rurikid descent. Whilst stationed in Paris Dmitri Tatischeff married a French woman, Rose Anathalie Alinquant.
Under suspicious circumstances Dmitri Tatischeff died from injuries sustained in a horse-riding accident shortly after the birth of George Emmanuel. As a child George Emmanuel experienced turbulent times, such as being forcibly removed from France and taken to Russia to live. In 1883 his mother brought him back to France where they settled on the estate of Le Pecq, near Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the outskirts of Paris. In 1903, Georges-Emmanuel Tatischeff married the Dutch-Italian Marcelle Claire van Hoof. Together they had two children and Jacques. Claire's Dutch father, a friend of van Gogh, whose clients included Toulouse-Lautrec, was the owner of a prestigious picture-framing company near the Place Vendôme in Paris, he brought Georges-Emmanuel into the family business. Subsequently, Georges-Emmanuel became the director of the company Cadres Van Hoof, the Tatischeff family enjoyed a high standard of living. Jacques Tatischeff appears to have been an indifferent student, yet excelled in the sports of tennis and horse riding.
He left school in 1923 at the age of 16 to take up an apprenticeship in the family business, where he was trained as a picture framer by his grandfather. Between 1927 and 1928 he completed his military national service at Saint-Germain-en-Laye with the Cavalry's 16th Regiment of Dragoons. Upon graduating the military he took on an internship in London where he was first introduced to the sport of rugby. Returning to Paris, he joined the semi-professional rugby team Racing Club de France, whose captain was Alfred Sauvy and whose supporters included Tristan Bernard, it was at the Racing Club de France that Jacques Tatischeff first discovered his comic talents, entertaining his teammates during intervals with hilarious impersonations of their sporting endeavours. He first met Jacques Broido, they would become lifelong friends. Between 1931 and 1932 the global economic crisis reached France at the same time he left both the Racing Club de France and, to his family's disapproval, his apprenticeship at Cadres Van Hoof.
Giving up a comfortable middle-class lifestyle for one of a struggling performing artist during this difficult economic time, he developed a collection of physical mimes that would become his Impressions Sportives. Each year from 1931 to 1934 he would participate in an amateur show organised by Alfred Sauvy. Although he had played music hall engagements before, his act was first mentioned in 1935, when he performed at the gala for the newspaper Le Journal to celebrate the French victory in the competition to set the transatlantic crossing record from Normandy. Among the honourable spectators was the influential writer Colette. Tati's act caught the attention of Max Trebor, who offered him an engagement at the Theatre-Michel, where he became the star act. After his success there, Tati tried to make it in London, playing a short season at the Finsbury Park Empire in March 1936. Upon his return to Paris in the same year, he was hired as top billing at the ABC Théâtre alongside the singer Marie Dubas, where he would work uninterrupted until the outbreak of the Second World War.
It was for Tati's performances of his now finely tuned Impressions Sportives at the ABC that the impressed Colette wrote, "From now on no celebration, no artistic or acrobatic spectacle can do without this amazing performer, who has invented something quite his own... His act is ballet and sport satire and a charade, he has devised a way of being both the player, the ball and the tennis racquet, of being the football and the goalkeeper, the boxer and his opponent, the bicycle and the cyclist. Without any props, he conjures up his partners, he has suggestive powers of all great artists. How gratifying it was to see the audience's warm reaction! Tati's success says a lot about the sophistication of the "uncouth" public, about its taste for novelty and its appreciation of style. Jacques Tati, the horse and rider conjured, will show all of Paris the living image of that legendary creature, the centaur." During the 1930s he performed at the Scala in Berlin between 1937 and 1938, began to experiment with film acting in the following shorts: 1932: Oscar, champion de tennis directed by Jack Forrester written by and starring Jacques Tati.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, conservationist, innovator, photographer and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. Cousteau described his underwater world research in a series of books the most successful being his first book, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, published in 1953. Cousteau directed films, most notably the documentary adaptation of the book, The Silent World, which won a Palme d'or at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, he remained the only person to win a Palme d'Or for a documentary film, until Michael Moore won the award in 2004 for Fahrenheit 9/11. Cousteau was born on 11 June 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France, to Daniel and Élisabeth Cousteau, he had Pierre-Antoine. Cousteau completed his preparatory studies at the Collège Stanislas in Paris. In 1930, he graduated as a gunnery officer. After an automobile accident cut short his career in naval aviation, Cousteau indulged his interest in the sea.
The accident caused him to break both his arms and could have killed him. This caused Cousteau to have to change his plans in becoming a naval pilot, but it worked out because of his passion for the ocean. In Toulon, where he was serving on the Condorcet, Cousteau carried out his first underwater experiments, thanks to his friend Philippe Tailliez who in 1936 lent him some Fernez underwater goggles, predecessors of modern swimming goggles. Cousteau belonged to the information service of the French Navy, was sent on missions to Shanghai and Japan and in the USSR. On 12 July 1937 he married Simone Melchior, with whom he had Jean-Michel and Philippe, his sons took part in the adventures of the Calypso. In 1991, one year after his wife Simone's death from cancer, he married Francine Triplet, they had a daughter Diane Cousteau and a son, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, born during Cousteau's marriage to his first wife. The years of World War II were decisive for the history of diving. After the armistice of 1940, the family of Simone and Jacques-Yves Cousteau took refuge in Megève, where he became a friend of the Ichac family who lived there.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Marcel Ichac shared the same desire to reveal to the general public unknown and inaccessible places — for Cousteau the underwater world and for Ichac the high mountains. The two neighbors took the first ex-aequo prize of the Congress of Documentary Film in 1943, for the first French underwater film: Par dix-huit mètres de fond, made without breathing apparatus the previous year in the Embiez islands with Philippe Tailliez and Frédéric Dumas, using a depth-pressure-proof camera case developed by mechanical engineer Léon Vèche. In 1943, they made the film Épaves, in which they used two of the first Aqua-Lung prototypes; these prototypes were made in Boulogne-Billancourt by the Air Liquide company, following instructions from Cousteau and Émile Gagnan. When making Épaves, Cousteau could not find the necessary blank reels of movie film, but had to buy hundreds of small still camera film reels the same width, intended for a make of child's camera, cemented them together to make long reels.
Having kept bonds with the English speakers and with French soldiers in North Africa, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, helped the French Navy to join again with the Allies. At that time, he kept his distance from his brother Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, a "pen anti-semite" who wrote the collaborationist newspaper Je suis partout and who received the death sentence in 1946. However, this was commuted to a life sentence, Pierre-Antoine was released in 1954. During the 1940s, Cousteau is credited with improving the aqua-lung design which gave birth to the open-circuit scuba technology used today. According to his first book, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, Cousteau started diving with Fernez goggles in 1936, in 1939 used the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus invented in 1926 by Commander Yves le Prieur. Cousteau was not satisfied with the length of time he could spend underwater with the Le Prieur apparatus so he improved it to extend underwater duration by adding a demand regulator, invented in 1942 by Émile Gagnan.
In 1943 Cousteau tried out the first prototype aqua-lung which made extended underwater exploration possible. In 1946, Cousteau and Tailliez showed the film Épaves to Admiral Lemonnier, who gave them the responsibility of setting up the Groupement de Recherches Sous-marines of the French Navy in Toulon. A little it became the GERS the COMISMER, more the CEPHISMER. In 1947, Chief Petty Officer Maurice Fargues became the first diver to die using an aqualung, while attempting a new depth record with the GERS near Toulon. In 1948, between missions of mine clearance, underwater exploration and technological and physiological tests, Cousteau undertook a first ca
Henri-Georges Clouzot was a French film director and producer. He is best remembered for his work in the thriller film genre, having directed The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques, which are critically recognized to be among the greatest films from the 1950s. Clouzot directed documentary films, including The Mystery of Picasso, declared a national treasure by the government of France. Clouzot was an early fan of the cinema and, moved to Paris, he was hired by producer Adolphe Osso to work in Berlin, writing French-language versions of German films. After being fired from German studios due to his friendship with Jewish producers, Clouzot returned to France, where he spent years bedridden after contracting tuberculosis. Upon recovering, Clouzot found work in Nazi occupied France as a screenwriter for the German-owned company Continental Films. At Continental, Clouzot wrote and directed films that were popular in France, his second film Le Corbeau drew controversy over its harsh look at provincial France and Clouzot was fired from Continental before its release.
As a result of his association with Continental, Clouzot was barred by the French government from filmmaking until 1947. After the ban was lifted, Clouzot reestablished his reputation and popularity in France during the late 1940s with successful films including Quai des Orfèvres. After the release of his comedy film Miquette et sa mère, Clouzot married Véra Gibson-Amado, who would star in his next three feature films. In the early and mid-1950s, Clouzot drew acclaim from international critics and audiences for The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques. Both films would serve as source material for remakes decades later. After the release of La Vérité, Clouzot's wife Véra died of a heart attack and Clouzot's career suffered due to depression and new critical views of films from the French New Wave. Clouzot's career became less active in years, limited to a few television documentaries and two feature films in the 1960s. Clouzot wrote several unused scripts in the 1970s and died in Paris in 1977. Henri-Georges Clouzot was born in Niort, France, to mother Suzanne Clouzot and father Georges Clouzout, a book store owner.
He was the first of three children in a middle-class family. Clouzot showed talent by playing piano recitals. In 1922, Clouzot's father's bookstore went bankrupt and his family moved to Brest, where his father became an auctioneer. In Brest, Henri-Georges Clouzot went to Naval School, but was unable to become a Naval Cadet due to his myopia. At the age of 18, Clouzot left for Paris to study political science. While living in Paris, he became friends with several magazine editors, his writing talents led him to theater and cinema as a playwright and adaptor-screenwriter. The quality of his work led producer Adolphe Osso to hire him and send him to Germany to work in Studio Babelsberg in Berlin, translating scripts for foreign language films shot there. Throughout the 1930s, Clouzot worked by writing and translating scripts and lyrics for over twenty films. While living in Germany, Clouzot saw the films of F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang and was influenced by their expressionist style. In 1931, he made his first short film, La Terreur des Batignolles, from a script by Jacques de Baroncelli.
The film is a 15-minute comedy with three actors. Film historian and critic Claude Beylie reported this short was "surprisingly well made with expressive use of shadows and lighting contrasts that Clouzot would exploit on the full-length features he would make years later". Clouzot's wife, Inès de Gonzalez, said in 2004 that La Terreur des Batignolles added nothing to Clouzot's reputation. In Berlin, Clouzot saw several parades for Adolf Hitler and was shocked at how oblivious he felt France was to what was happening in Germany. In 1934, Clouzot was fired from UFA Studios for his friendship with Jewish film producers such as Adolphe Osso and Pierre Lazareff. In 1935, Clouzot was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent first to Haute-Savoie and to Switzerland, where he was bedridden for nearly five years in all. Clouzot's time in the sanatorium would be influential on his career. While bedridden, Clouzot read and learned the mechanics of storytelling to help improve his scripts. Clouzot studied the fragile nature of the other people in the sanatorium.
Clouzot had little money during this period, was provided with financial and moral support by his family and friends. By the time Clouzot left the sanatorium and returned to Paris, World War II had broken out. French cinema had changed because many of the producers he had known had fled France to escape Nazism. Clouzot's health problems kept him from military service. In 1939, he met actor Pierre Fresnay, an established film star in France. Clouzot wrote the script for Fresnay's only directorial feature Le Duel, as well as two plays for him: On prend les mêmes, performed in December 1940, Comédie en trois actes, performed in 1942. Despite writing scripts for films and plays, Clouzot was so poor that he resorted to trying to sell lyrics to French singer Édith Piaf, who declined to purchase them. After France was invaded by Germany and subsequently during the German occupation of France during World War II, the German-operated film production company Continental Films was established in France in October 1940.
Alfred Grevin, the director of Continental, knew Clouzot from Berlin and offered him work to adapt stories of writer Stanislas-André Steeman. Clouzot felt uncomfortable working for the Germans, but was in desperate need of money and could not refuse Grevin's offer. Clouzot's first fi
Man About Town (1947 film)
Man About Town is a 1947 French-American film written and directed by René Clair. It was released in a shortened version in the USA as Man About Town; the film marked Clair's return to working in France after twelve years abroad in Britain and the USA. The setting is Paris in the early 1900s and much of the action takes place in a silent film studio. Émile, a director, advises his shy young employee Jacques to adopt his own carefree attitude towards women. Émile takes under his wing Madeleine, the daughter of his old friend Célestin, when she arrives from the country. When Jacques returns from military service, he and Madeleine are drawn to each other but they feel guilty about betraying the fatherly Émile. Émile realises the truth and decides that he must not stand in the young couple's way. Maurice Chevalier as Émile Clément, known as M. Émile François Périer as Jacques Marcelle Derrien as Madeleine Dany Robin as Lucette Robert Pizani as M. Duperrier Raymond Cordy as Le Frisé Paul Olivier as the accountant Roland Armontel as Célestin Gaston Modot as Gustave Bernard la Jarrige as Paulo After 12 years of working in Great Britain and in the USA during World War II, René Clair returned to France in 1946 having signed a contract with RKO to produce his next film there.
Other funding for the film came from Pathé. Filming took place at the Joinville Studios in Paris. Clair chose as the background for his story the early days of silent film-making. In his introduction to the published screenplay he wrote, "Without doubt some memories of youth have given birth to the comedy that follows; the action of this film takes place during the heroic period of French cinema. The advent of this industry does not form the subject of our story, it is, at the most, only the background for the action. The author, who has a moderate taste for exceptional subjects, thinks, in effect, that making a film consecrated to the cinema is as dangerous as writing a play the heroes of which are comedians or a novel the main character of, a novelist, it would be fortunate, however, if the reader understood that, by prompting remembrances of the artisans who, between 1900 and 1910, gave birth, in France, to the first cinema industry in the world, their pupil wanted to render homage to their memory."Clair acknowledged an influence on his own script from Molière's L'École des femmes, with its story of an older man's rivalry with a younger one for the affections of the same woman.
The central role of M. Émile was intended for Raimu, but after his unexpected death in 1946 it was taken on by Maurice Chevalier, making his first film for seven years. For the release of the film in the United States under the title Man About Town, Clair experimented with an'English-language' version which did not use either subtitles or dubbing. Working with the American screenwriter Robert Pirosh, he produced a running English commentary on the action and the dialogue, spoken on the soundtrack by Maurice Chevalier during the pauses in the French dialogue; the effect was supposed to be that of sitting next to a friend who explained what was being said when necessary, but in the event audiences were put off by finding the same voice/character feature both within the action on-screen as well as commenting on it off-screen, which seemed to diminish credibility. For this version, an additional musical scene was filmed in which Maurice Chevalier sang "Place Pigalle"; the American version was however shortened to a running time of 89 minutes.
When the film was shown in London in 1948, it appeared under its original French title and was subtitled. In France Le Silence est d'or was welcomed for marking not just the return of Clair to France but his resumption of the preoccupations and the wit and elegance of his pre-war films. In the UK the film received some qualified enthusiasm, alongside a feeling that it did not represent Clair at his best. For example: "...film and audience most enjoy themselves when the action is confined to the studio with sets and all the parphernalia of primitive film-making perpetually collapsing and a quartet of hands, strayed from some Gallic crazy gang, eternally playing cards... This is not a major film of Clair's, but it is an authentic one...". There is some wonderful slapstick.... It must be admitted that this is not the best work of René Clair, because of this many may be disappointed with the flagging dialogue and slowing up of the tempo". In the USA the film did poor business with the public hampered by the experiment with a hybrid-language version.
The critic of The New York Times said, "He has treated a rather small idea in a small and unimaginative way, the only faint touch of irony in it is a typical'happy ending,' well contrived."Clair himself, while retaining an affection for the film, admitted to some shortcomings in respect of a certain heaviness in the exposition of the opening scenes. For the resolution of the story, he felt that he had not satisfied the maxim that "the public must always be surprised by what it expects", he expressed reservations about the prominence of dialogue in a film which both characters and setting explored the virtues of silence: "I am convinced that in a work for the cinema the dialogue should have no more importance than it has in a novel, that it is always more worthwhile to express oneself with images than with words." 1947 Locarno International Film Festival Won: Golden Leopard Won: Best Di