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.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Jean Seberg: In the French style ....

A trio of Seberg's best ....
Nice to see - and get - a new edition of IN THE FRENCH STYLE, another of 1963's stylish romantic dramas, featuring that perennial - the American girl in Europe. I have done reports on this before here, see Jean Seberg label. I like the cover of this, showing part of Jean's goodbye speech to Stanley Baker at that bittersweet airport meeting.

She is now that brittle playgirl, as opposed to the naive young innocent who first arrives in Paris - to learn how to paint and study art! We get her father's disapproval, the young man she first gets involved with, men about town like Stanley Baker who loves his foreign correspondent job more than her, as she becomes a "Citizen of Paris" and "embraces its endless parties and jaded view of love." Then there is the doctor who adores her and whom she decides to marry and go back to America with (played by a favourite writer of mine, James Leo Herlihy), all based on two Irwin Shaw (TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN) stories which make up this Robert Parrish film. It has that early '60s black-and-white international jetset look in spades, as Jean refines her American Girl in Paris after of course BREATHLESS ...

It is always a pleasure too to go back to 1958's BONJOUR TRISTESSE, her second film with Otto Preminger, from - that word again - the bittersweet Francoise Sagan tale. More on this too at Seberg label, and photographer Bob Willoughby's photos from the set, as above left. More on that at Bonjour Tristesse labelIN THE FRENCH STYLE, below.

Another favourite is the 1965 MOMENT TO MOMENT, a late Mervyn LeRoy romantic thriller which we like a lot, Jean as I said before is perfection here in that Yves St Laurent wardrobe (which would still be very chic today), driving around St Paul de Vence in her red sportscar and taking her naval officer lover to the Colombe D'Or restaurant, while her husband is away. Add in Honor Blackman  (just after
her GOLDFINGER stint) as the maneater next door, a missing body, a husband and suspicious detectives and the stage is set for a fabulous drama. A lot of it is studio bound but the South of France locations are enjoyable too .... as is that Henry Mancini score.

These were Jean's good years, after Rossen's LILITH (one to re-see), before those darker late ones - that Chabrol thriller THE ROUTE TO CORINTH in '67 was enjoyable too. 

More French stuff next: R-Patz as BEL AMI



  2. You are right about Jean's good years, Michael. They were all too few before the shadow fell, bruising an intense
    remarkable filmic & personal presence, toppling it into unrescuable depths.

    Delighted that the documentary feature co-produced by Gary McGee, "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" is due to be released summer 2013 for Jean's 75th birthday. Hoping you can review this for us all.

    Just arrived by post book of, "The Films of Jean Seberg" by Michael Coates-Smith from London & Gary McGee, published 2012 with fascinating details for weekend reading. Her 37 films in detailed scrutiny & a comprehensive examination of her career within the 1960's -70's movie industry.

  3. Yes a couple of friends of mine got that book, I shall have to investigate it for myself. Seberg too of course has the unique distinction of having a musical (even if it did not last long) made on her life, at the National Theatre in London no less in 1983/84, directed by Peter Hall and music by Marvin Hamlisch. There must be a cast recording ....