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22 October 2017

In Memoriam Han de Gruiter

Here at EFSP, we love all postcard collectors, but some a little bit more than others. Today we bring a salute to Han de Gruiter, a Dutch collector from The Hague. I once sold him (at Marktplaats, the Dutch equivalent of eBay) a postcard of Brigitte Bardot, his favourite actress, and from then on we corresponded. Like me, he was a fan of another postcard collector, Carla Bosch, with whom he also corresponded. Recently, Carla and I wondered why we did not receive mail anymore from ‘Haegsche Han’, like he called himself. Sadly, Carla discovered our friend had passed away and he is now our guardian angel in film star postcard heaven. Han, Carla and I salute you with this post full of postcards of beautiful women, we know you (would have) loved.

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. German postcard by Ufa / Krüger, no. 902/87. Photo: Sam Lévin, 1957.

Paul: "This is the BB card I sold to Han in 2014. Like every Dutch boy who became a man in the 1950s, he loved Bardot. There was even a Dutch hit song at the time: "Brigitte Bardot, Bardot, die heeft ze niet zo, maar zo." (Sorry non-dutchies, untranslatable :)) Back then, I was not born yet, but I can imagine what a sensation she must have been for him. What an erotic glance! A sensual kitten, prrrr."

Sophia Loren in A Countess From Hong Kong
Sophia Loren. Publicity still for A Countess From Hong Kong (Charles Chaplin, 1966). Source: Doctor Macro's.

Carla: "One of the first cards I sold to Han was this card of Sophia Loren in A Countess From Hong Kong. It was a Chinese card which was printed on cheap paper, but Han did not care about that. He bought wat he thought was beautiful or of which he had certain, often fond, memories. And whether they were cheap fake Chinese cards or expensive original Kolibri cards did not matter. What mattered were his memories and he liked to write about them. I am afraid I have lost his first emails. I did, however, find some old notebooks in the attic in which I used to write my first transactions. I saw my contact with Han goes back to January 2010. And I don't have this particular card in my possession anymore as Han bought it. I can see why he thought it was beautiful. If I did not see it, Han would make me see it, he would bear no contradiction."

Sophie Hardy
Sophie Hardy. German postcard by Kruger, no. 902/290. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Paul: "Han called Sophie Hardy 'that damn sexy pussycat'. I've never seen a film with her but I guess she was in the France of the 1950s to Brigitte Bardot what Mamie van Doren was in the US to Marilyn Monroe. I like her, but to me the real star of this postcard is the photographer, Bernard of Hollywood. He was a German immigrant who photographed all the glamour ladies of Hollywood, including Marilyn. In the early 1960s, he returned to Germany where he made a series of sizzling pictures for postcards with Jayne Mansfield, Heidi Brühl and Barbara Valentin. And Sophie Hardy."

Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida. German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 3433. Photo: Constantin Film. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Han shouted (in writing) 'Those eyes, those eyes, who can resist those eyes!' when he saw this card of Gina Lollobrigida. Gina's eyes were not the first thing that struck me on this card. The goat did. Yet, again Han convinced me those eyes were special. Another buyer was interested in this card, but when Han decided he liked a card, there was no bidder that could defeat him. So he bought the card and gossiped about this other bidder... When he found out that I wrote with Paul too, he immediately suspected we were gossiping about him. Ill doers are ill deemers (or something like that). He forgot that he was likeable, interesting and funny and that to be talked about did not necessarily mean ill talk."

Senta Berger
Senta Berger. German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 5162. Photo: Terb Agency / Ufa. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Han liked cards of attractive women. He did not buy pin up cards, though I once caught him buying a card of Pamela Anderson in a spectacular red bathing suit. He insisted he liked women who were sexy, but were capable of more than just being beautiful. He acknowledged Pamela was an exception to this rule. Senta Berger was not: apart from being an excellent actress, she was also a shrewd business woman, producer, owner of a film production company.... and pretty. He wrote about her and that is why I look at Senta with different eyes. She had more potential than I thought."

Marina Vlady
Marina Vlady. German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-76. Photo: Unifrance Film.

Paul: "Han was so happy with this - indeed wonderful - postcard of Vlady, another free-spirited French beauty of the 1950s. Very sexy woman, in a natural way. This picture by Sam Lévin captured her natural allure, don't you think? Did you also wonder if there had been a woman in Han's life? He did write about his neighbours, the young girls next door, his brother and about his former colleagues, but he never wrote about a wife or a girlfriend. He certainly was not shy and as a journalist he must have met countless attractive women. But maybe that is what I liked about him: he kept dreaming. Even when you're 80: stay dreaming, hoping, longing, stay collecting."

Juliane Werding
Juliane Werding. German autograph card. Photo: Zill. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Yet, sometimes I could neither rhyme nor reason his taste. When I asked him why one woman was more attractive than the other, he answered it would be the same if he asked me why the Ardennes were more attractive than the Botlek. He said he apparently liked women who acted cool and unemotional, not like Dutch Linda de Mol (yes, he really wrote that; I still have the email). One such choice was a card of German singer Juliane Werding. Well, yes, she looks rather cool and tough on this card, but he never said why he chose Juliane Werding. Perhaps because of her 1984 hit song Geh' nicht in die Stadt: in 2015 Han bought a card of Juliane Werding. He wrote he was rather concerned about his neighbourhood. All the people he knew had moved away and he now had the feeling that his beloved neighbourhood, once designed by urban designer Berlage, had become a kind of waiting room for people who were waiting to move again. He felt like Methuselah and I think rather lost, but the children who were new in his street were impressed that he survived the war and trusted him. They became a bridge between him and the changing neighbourhood. He felt well again. So I never knew why Juliane Werding, but this story belongs to one of her cards and I found it one of Han's more interesting purchases."

Eva and Pavel Roman
Pavel and Eva Roman. Vintage postcard. No editor. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "I have many cards with a story connected to Han. This one is a rather surprising choice of his too: Czech ice skating brother and sister Pavel and Eva Roman. Han used to be a sports journalist, so that may explain the subject skating. He also showed a genuine interest in people. He wrote it was so sad that Eva died very young. I had read somewhere that Eva Pavel was living together with Jackie Graham and that it was her brother who had died in a car accident. Han asked who Jackie Graham was and said he sometimes doubted his memory and asked me whether I suffered from memory loss too. I read Pavel's story on the internet, so I had no doubts. Han had the memory of an elephant, but he immediately doubted himself when he mis-remembered something."

Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Paul:  "This is a Romanian Acin card I sold to somebody else. And Han mailed me afterwards that he was so mad that he had missed it! He would have paid much more, et cetera. He loved, loved, loved Bisset, he wrote me. Sadly, I could not find another example for him. So I guess this postcard now deserves a place in this I.M. post for him. Recently I saw Jacqueline Bisset in a new film by François Ozon. She was still as elegantly beautiful as ever."

Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida. German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 1575. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "A few years ago, I bid on postcards for my collection on Marktplaats. However, there was another bidder who seemed to have a programme on his computer that notified him each time I bid on a card. He would outbid me within a few minutes. It drove me mad. Han noticed this other bidder. I do not know what he did or said, but it suddenly stopped. I received this card of Gina Lollobrigida and Han asked me whether I knew this rival bidder was a man or woman. I guessed it was a man, Han thought it was a woman. He was the expert... Perhaps he persuaded the woman to give up this card and send it to me. Some time ago, something similar happened when I bid on some of Paul's cards. I was immediately outbid by another bidder. A day later this rival had removed all his bids. Han again? It made us think we have a guardian angel."

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. German postcard by WS-Druck Wanne-Eickel. (I cannot read the number, there is glue on it.) Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "This card of Brigitte Bardot I would have chosen to give as a birthday present. I do not know whether he would have chosen it himself, but I am certain he would have liked it and be a bit embarrassed."

Carla: "I know I chose too many cards! I have many more cards and stories that are connected to Han: postcards of Julie Christie, Raquel Welch, Claudia Cardinale, and why, surprisingly, he had nothing with Michelle Pfeiffer. Yet, I don't want to pretend I knew him that well and write a complete biography about him. It is just that when I looked through my cards and re-read Han's emails, so many stories bubbled up. Too many stories. It was fun to read those stories, Han had a great sense of humour, but it also made me sad, because we discovered too late that he had gone..."

Thanks, Carla, and Han of course!

21 October 2017

Quo vadis? (1913)

EFSP contributor Ivo Blom speaks today at 'Alma-Tadema: Antiquity at Home and on Screen'  in London. This symposium aims to air and develop new research inspired by the exhibition Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, still on view at London's Leighton House Museum, its third and final venue, till 29 October 2017. The symposium brings together scholars and students from art and design history, architectural history, garden history, classics, classical reception studies, film studies, theatre history, musicology, and Victorian studies among others. Ivo will speak about ‘Art and Art Decoration: Alma-Tadema and Set Design from Guazzoni to Ridley Scott’. So EFSP repeats its post on Guazzoni's colossal epic Quo vadis? (1913), starring Amleto Novelli and Gustavo Serena. All the postcards are from the collection of Ivo Blom.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: "Ave Caesar, those who are about to die salute you." This image cites a famous 19th century painting (1859) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. It was often quoted, also in the Asterix comics.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The fight of the gladiators in the arena.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The death of the gladiator. This image cites Jean-Léon Gérôme's famous painting Pollice verso (Thumbs down, 1872) and was often used in the publicity for the film. In the back the emperor Nero (Carlo Cattaneo) makes the sign of thumbs down, sign for the conqueror to kill his adversary. Flanking Nero are left Tigellinus (Cesare Moltroni) and right Petronius (Gustavo Serena). Left of the imperial box the Vestal Virgins are seated.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The wild animals destined to tear the Christians to pieces. The lion keepers activate the lions under the circus before sending them above ground.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The last prayer. This scene quotes Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer (1863-1883).

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The Christians in the circus, while the hungry lions approach.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). The beasts have committed the massacre of the Christians.

Where Are You Going?


Quo vadis? is Latin for 'Where are you going?' and alludes to the apocryphal acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom.

Quo vadis? written by Henryk Sienkiewicz tells the love story between a young and beautiful Christian woman, Lygia, and a military tribune and Roman patrician, Marcus Vinicius. The story takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero around AD 64.

Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, Quo vadis? came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.

In 1901, Pathé Frères produced the first screen version, Quo vadis? (Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca, 1901). It is only 65 meters long (duration: about three minutes) and was recently restored by the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) in Paris.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The winner of the chariot race.

Gustavo Serena and Amleto Novelli in Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Gustavo Serena as Petronius Arbiter and Amleto Novelli as Marcus Vinicius. Caption: Vinicius tells Petronius of his acts. Vinicius started to talk about the war (Chapter I).

Lea Giunchi and Bruto Castellani in Quo vadis?
Italian postcard by Uff.Rev. St. Terni. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Lygia (Lea Giunchi) saves Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) from the hands of Ursus (Bruto Castellani). Ursus, protector of Lygia, has just killed a gladiator who had been charged by Vinicius to kill Ursus while he himself planned to abduct Lygia.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The devotion of the slave Eunice (Amelia Cattaneo) to Petronius (Gustavo Serena).

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The litter of Petronius. In front of Nero's palace, Petronius (Gustavo Serena) says goodbye to his cousin Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) and promises to have a good word to Nero about Vinicius getting Lygia.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) is presented to Nero (Carlo Cattaneo). Behind Nero stands Petronius (Gustavo Serena).

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). A Roman banquet. In the front Lea Giunchi as Lygia and Amleto Novelli as Vinicius.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: A banquet on the Palatine. The fat and drunken man in front is Giuseppe Gambardella (Vitellius), who was also famous as Checco in short Italian comedies.

A colossal epic


Ten years later, Italian director Enrico Guazzoni made a colossal epic starring Amleto Novelli and Gustavo Serena. He masterly combined huge spectacle with intimate scenes.

In 1913, Guazzoni's Quo vadis? premiered and the results at the box office quickly proved it a smashing success. Wikipedia: "It was arguably the first blockbuster in the history of cinema, with 5,000 extras, lavish sets, and a running time of two hours, setting the standard for 'superspectacles' for decades to come."

Throughout the world, Quo vadis? became popular not only among readers but also among fans of the new phenomenon, cinema. The film influenced Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria 1914) and D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916).

Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Quo Vadis? is nonetheless an important milestone in movie history. The film ran 12 reels (approximately three hours) at a time when most American productions were still within the 1- to 4-reel length. American film distributor George Kleine pared the film down to 8 reels for US distribution, but this still was an uncommonly long production for its day."

 In 1997 the film was restored by the Dutch Filmmuseum (now Eye Institute) in Amsterdam and since then it was shown on several festivals. Tonight it will be screened in Rome.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Helped by Acte, Nero's former mistress, Ursus (Bruto Castellani) subtracts Lygia (Lea Giunchi) from the orgy of the imperial banquet, where the drunken Roman Vinicius tries to rape her.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). The Giant Ursus (Bruto Castellani) awaits the bull in the circus. After his long captivity Ursus is almost blinded when he enters the arena. Then a wild bull enters the arena on which back Lygia is bound. Ursus will kill the bull with his bare hands, much to the delight of the audience and the emperor.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Ursus (Bruto Castellani) and Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) implore the audience and emperor Nero to grace the Christian Lygia (Lea Giunchi), after Ursus has killed the bull on whch back Lygia had been bound. The audience raves because of Ursus' tour de force. Vinicius has stripped his cloth to show his scars from the wars, while Ursus holds up Lygia. All around Nero hold their thumbs up for grace, even if this sign seems to have been a 19th century invention and historically incorrect.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The apostle Peter (Giovanni Gizzi) preaching to the Christians in the catacombs.

Quo vadis (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Ursus (Bruto Castellani) and Chilo Chilonides (Augusto Mastripietri).

Bruto Castellani in Quo vadis (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) sweettalks to Ursus (Bruto Castellani) to find out where Lygia is hidden. Caption: Chilo talks to Ursus about the traitors of the Christians. (Ursus:) Go to the Christians, go to their godhouses and ask for the brothers of Glaucus. (Chapter XVII of the book).

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) finds back Lygia (Lea Giunchi) at the catacombs of Ostriano. Left of Lygia is St. Peter (Giovanni Gizzi), right of her protector Ursus (Bruto Castellani). Vinicius plots to abduct Lygia, with the help of the Greek Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) and a gladiator.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) is baptised by the apostle Paul (of Tarsus). Chilon! I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen! (Chapter LXI of the book).

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The historical death of Petronius (Gustavo Serena) and Eunice (Amelia Cattaneo). "Friends, confess that with us perishes..." (Chapter LXXIII).

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The fire of Rome.

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

20 October 2017

Danielle Darrieux (1917-2017)

On Tuesday 17 October, French actress and singer Danielle Darrieux (1917-2017) passed away. She was a beautiful, international leading lady whose eight-decade career was among the longest in film history. From her film debut in 1931 on she played in more than 110 films in which she progressed from playing pouty teens to worldy sophisticates. In the early 1950s she starred in three classic films by Max Ophüls, and she played the mother of Catherine Deneuve in five films! Danielle Darrieux was 100.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Edition Chantal, Rueil, no. 96. Photo: x.phot.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 4. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Happy birthday, Danielle Darrieux!
French postcard by SERP, Paris, no. 90. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Danielle Darrieux
Dutch postcard.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 10.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 70. Photo: Universal Film.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 70. Photo: Universal Film.

Romantic Lead


Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux was born in Bordeaux, France in 1917, but she was raised in Paris. She was the daughter of an army doctor who died when she was seven years old. Her brother was actor Olivier Darrieux.

Her family were keen music enthusiasts and Danielle studied the cello and piano at the Conservatoire de Musique (the Paris Conservatory). When she was only 14 she auditioned for a secondary role in the musical film Le Bal/The Ball (Wilhelm Thiele, 1931). Her beauty combined with her singing and dancing abilities got her the part.

Her performance as a headstrong teenager was impressive and the producer offered her a five-year contract. Her first romantic lead was in the backstage comedy La Crise est finie/The crisis is finished (Robert Siodmak, 1934) with Albert Préjean.

She scored an international hit with the historical love-drama Mayerling (Anatole Litvak, 1936) in which she played doomed Baroness Marie Vetsera opposite Charles Boyer as Archduke Rudolph of Austria.

In 1935, Darrieux married director/screenwriter Henri Decoin, and they made six films together in the following years like Abus de Confiance/Abused Confidence (Henri Decoin, 1938) with Charles Vanel. Decoin encouraged her to try Hollywood, and in 1938 she signed with studio executive Joe Pasternak from Universal Studios to appear in the comedy The Rage of Paris (Henry Koster, 1938) opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Both the film and Darrieux were well-received, but her stay in Hollywood proved short-lived. She quickly returned to Paris, where she continued to star in such major hits as Battement de coeur/Beating Heart (Henri Decoin, 1940) with Claude Dauphin.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Danielle Darrieux in The Rage of Paris (1938)
Dutch postcard by Sparo. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for The Rage of Paris (Henry Koster, 1938) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 959. Photo: Paramount.

Danielle Darrieux
Dutch postcard by J.S.A. (J. Sleding, Amsterdam), no. 640/516. Photo: Lumina Film.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard, no. 96. Photo: UFA.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions Chantal, no. 96. Photo: UFA.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 59. Photo: Films Osso.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 1. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

German Occupation


After the occupation of France, Danielle Darrieux found herself working under the scrutiny of the new Nazi regime. She became the leading light of Continental, a Franco-German film company which was closely scrutinised by the Nazis. She distinguished herself in films such as Premier Rendez-Vous/Her First Affair (Henri Decoin, 1941).

After a visit to Germany, where she entertained the German troops, Darrieux’s popularity in France immediately plummeted and her name was placed on a death-list of the French Resistance. Even when her death sentence was lifted after the war, it was several years before she had regained her former popularity.

After the war, she explained that Alfred Greven, the manager of Continental, had threatened to deport her brother Olivier to Germany. After her divorce from Henri Decoin in 1941, she had married Dominican Republic diplomat and international jet-setter Porfirio Rubirosa in 1942. His anti-Nazi opinions resulted in his forced residence in Germany. Darrieux had accepted the promotional trip to Berlin in exchange for Rubirosa's liberation. They lived in Switzerland until the end of the war, and divorced in 1947.

A year later she married script-writer George Mitsikides and lived with him until his death in 1991. Her grand return came in 1949 with Claude Autant-Lara’s period farce Occupe-toi d'Amélie/Keep an Eye on Amelia (Claude Autant-Lara, 1949).

After La Ronde/Roundabout (Max Ophüls, 1950), Danielle Darrieux returned to Hollywood to appear as a French chanteuse in the MGM musical Rich, Young and Pretty (Norman Taurog, 1951) with Jane Powell. Joseph L. Mankiewicz then lured her to play the duplicitous lady friend of James Mason in the thriller 5 Fingers (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1952).

Back home, she starred in Le Plaisir/Pleasure (Max Ophüls, 1952) with Madeleine Renaud, and opposite Charles Boyer and Vittorio de Sica in Madame de....../Diamond Earrings (Max Ophüls, 1953).

James Travers at Films de France: "The 1950s saw a marked change in Darrieux on-screen persona. She was no longer the care-free ingenue of her pre-war years. She had become a sophisticated and passionate society woman, often appearing cold and calculating, but sometimes showing a tender tragic vulnerability. The film which defined Danielle Darrieux in this period was Madame de… (1953), in which she gave probably her best screen performance. This was the third of three films she appeared in which were directed by her fond admirer Max Ophüls."

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 15. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 76. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 242. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 56. Photo: Universal Film.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 19.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Collection Chantal, Paris, no. 96 A. Photo: Discina, Paris.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 310. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

Lady Chatterley's Lover


During the 1950s, Danielle Darrieux also appeared in Le rouge et le noir/The Red and the Black (Claude Autant-Lara, 1954) opposite Gérard Philipe, and in L’amant de Lady Chatterley/Lady Chatterley's Lover (Marc Allégret, 1955) with Leo Genn. Due to its content, the latter film was banned by the Catholic censors in the United States.

She also played a supporting role in United Artists' epic Alexander the Great (Robert Rossen, 1957) starring Richard Burton. It was her last Hollywood production. Since then she continued to work in the European cinema.

In England she starred opposite Kenneth More in The Greengage Summer (Lewis Gilbert, 1961), and in France she appeared as the mother of Catherine Deneuve in five films: L’Homme à femmes/Ladies Man (Jacques Gérard Cornu, 1960), the classic musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort/The Young Girls of Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967), the drama Le Lieu du crime/Scene of the Crime (André Téchiné, 1986), the comedy-murder-mystery 8 femmes/8 Women (François Ozon, 2002), and in Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, 2007). This remarkable animated feature is based on a graphic novel of the same name about the impact of the Iranian Islamic revolution on a girl's life as she grows to adulthood.

The actress sang in concerts and cabarets in the 1960s, and in 1970 replaced Katharine Hepburn in the Broadway musical Coco. In the 1980s, Danielle Darrieux scored a significant success in a Paris staging of the film musical Gigi.

For her long service to the motion picture industry, she was given an Honorary César Award in 1985. Her final film was Pièce montée/The Wedding Cake (Denys Granier-Deferre, 2010) with Jérémie Renier. D.B. DuMonteil at IMDb: "Pièce Montée (Tiered cake) is a funny comedy, with some nostalgia and an attack on the bourgeoisie Chabrol would not disown. Its depiction of a wedding in France is marvelously precise, with all these smug people, wearing their Sunday's best, and taking photographs of each other."

Madame Darrieux, rest in peace. Here at EFSP we salute you.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 54. Photo: Studio Piaz.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Viny, no. 55. Photo: Regina.

Danielle Darrieux
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris. Photo Sam Lévin.

Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux and Vittorio De Sica in Madame de... (1953)
Spanish promotion card by Cosmofilm. Photo: publicity still for Madame de... (Max Ophüls, 1953) with Charles Boyer and Vittorio De Sica.

Dany Carrel, Gérard Philipe and Danièle Darrieux in Pot-Bouille (1957)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 1294, 1960. Photo: publicity still for Pot-Bouille/Lovers of Paris (Julien Duvivier, 1957) with Dany Carrel and Gérard Philipe.

Danielle Darrieux
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 2715, 1966.

Danielle Darrieux
Vintage collectors card.

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Scene from Madame De... (1953). Source: Classic Movies (YouTube).


Trailer of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967). Source: British Film Institute (YouTube).


Trailer 8 femmes/8 Women (2002). Source: 2663KinkyCyborg (YouTube).

Sources: James Travers (Le Film Guide), Hal Erickson (All Movie), Thanassos Agathos (IMDb), D.B. DuMonteil (IMDb), John Charles (TCM),  AlloCiné (French), Wikipedia, and IMDb.