Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Danielle Darrieux, 96

Instead of a RIP, a Happy Birthday notice to legendary French actress Danielle Darrieux, 96 on 1st May, born in 1917 and still working until recently, on stage too.

I am not familiar with the majority of her films (IMDB lists 140 titles!), but remember being impressed as a child by her as Alexander's scheming mother Olympias in Rossen's turgid ALEXANDER THE GREAT (right) in 1956 - there is a great shot of her on the castle ramparts.

From her debut in 1931 she progressed to playing wordly sophisticates (rather like a French Lilli Palmer - they both played Maugham's ADORABLE JULIA in their own languagues, Lilli's was very amusing in 1962; it would be interesting to see Darrieux's in 1988). The 1936 CLUB DE FEMMES was amusing to see recently, and she starred in the first version of MAYERLING with Boyer. FIVE FINGERS and THE GREENGAGE SUMMER are others of her English speaking films. She was one of the victims of Chabrol's LANDRU in 1963 (French label), and also appeared in one of those legendardy missing films, Romain Gary's THE BIRDS COME TO DIE IN PERU with Jean Seberg, one of 1968's oddities.

I have been meaning to re-watch Ophul's '53 THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE..., and of course she also featured in 2 other Ophuls films (LA RONDE and LE PLAISIR) and she played Catherine Deneuve's mother in 5 films, very amusingly in Demy's LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT in '67, and she was also one of Ozon's 8 WOMEN. (I shall be comparing the 2 versions of LA RONDE before too long, Ophuls' and Vadim's 1964 version).

Some actresses like the late Deanna Durbin gave up the cinema early, others like Madame Darrieux just go on and on .... she is certainly to be included in any list of great French stars. Below: the Rochefort line-up, more at French, Demy, Denueuve, Dorleac labels ...

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