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, 16 March 2016

People We Like: Gerard Philipe

It was tragic that Gerard Philipe (1922-1959) died so young, of cancer, aged 36 in 1959 - just as those new guys Delon and Belmondo were taking off. (that other attractive French actor Henri Vidal also died that year, aged 40 - of a heart attack). Philipe was such an attractive presence and would surely have achieved so much more. He didn't even need to go to Hollywood ... his first big hit was FANFAN LA TULIPE in 1952 for Christian-Jacque, with luscious Gina Lollobrigida, its still a delicious adventure now.

KNAVE OF HEARTS (or MONSIEUR RIPOIS) Rene Clement’s 1954 film about a romantic Frenchman on the loose in London and his conquests, including young Joan Greenwood at her loveliest – their scenes in the rain are very lyrical. It is cleverly done with Clement shooting on the streets of London (with mostly hidden cameras) 5 years before the New Wave were doing the same in Paris. The fillm exists in French and English versions and it was great seeing it again at the BFI on the big screen a few years ago.
Philipe is mesermising with those soulful eyes magnified on the large screen –  He is one of the LA RONDE merry-go-round in Ophuls 1950 classic. I still have several others of his lined up to watch in that 'pending pile': THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA, LE ROUGE ET LE NOIR, BELLES DE NUIT, POT BOULLE.

LES AMANTS DE MONTPARNASSE is a standard biopic from 1957 about painter Modigliani starving in a garret in Paris, Philipe is just right here with Anouk Aimee and Lilli Palmer as his contrasting lovers ...
In all he clocked up 35 credits, according to IMDB - so he crammed a lot into those 36 years!. Vadim's 1959 LES LAISIONS DANGEROUSES with Jeanne Moreau sees him in a last main leading role - I have already reviewed it here - Philipe, Moreau labels. His final film, FEVER MOUNTS AT EL PAO, a Mexican oddity by Luis Bunuel is now available on dvd and blu-ray. We will continue enjoying seeing Gerard Philipe on screen ...

The 1959 "Who's Who in Hollywood" says: "GERARD PHILIPE of Rouge et Noir and Lovers of Paris is to French audiences what Bill Holden, Tab Hunter and Cary Grant are to Americans (or Dirk Bogarde to the British). And "art house" devotees here are pretty gone on him too. A leading star of the French theatre Gerard was recently in this country with the Theatre National Populaire, as actor-director. The dark-haired, boyish-looking charmer started his career at 19 and has been happily married for several years". 

1 comment:

  1. I loved Phillipe, one of the best and most attractive French actors of the fifties who died tragically much too soon.