Arletty

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Arletty
Arletty.jpg
Born
Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat

(1898-05-15)15 May 1898
Courbevoie, France
Died23 July 1992(1992-07-23) (aged 94)
Paris, France
OccupationActress, singer, fashion model
Years active1930–1963

Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat (15 May 1898 – 23 July 1992 [1] ), known professionally as Arletty, was a French actress, singer, and fashion model. She was found guilty of treason for an affair with a German officer during WWII, but she continued her career which included playing Blanche in the French version of A Streetcar Named Desire .

<i>A Streetcar Named Desire</i> 1947 play by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The Broadway production was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Jessica Tandy, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter. The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, Renee Asherson and Bernard Braden and was directed by Laurence Olivier. The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often regarded as among the finest plays of the 20th century, and is considered by many to be Williams' greatest work.

Contents

Early years

Arletty was born in Courbevoie (near Paris), to a working-class family. After her father’s death, she left home and pursued a modeling career. She took the stage name “Arlette” based on the heroine of a story by Guy de Maupassant. She was not interested in acting until she met Paul Guillaume, a famous art dealer. He recommended some theaters and, at the age of 21, she was hired. [2]

Courbevoie Commune in Île-de-France, France

Courbevoie is a commune located 8.2 km (5.1 mi) from the center of Paris, France. The centre of Courbevoie is situated 2 kilometres from the outer limits of central Paris. It is one of the most densely populated municipalities in Europe, and ranks as the third-best place to live in the Île-de-France region, after the neighbouring communes of Levallois-Perret and Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Guy de Maupassant French writer

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a French writer, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the naturalist school of writers, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms.

Paul Guillaume French art dealer

Paul Guillaume was a French art dealer. Dealer of Chaim Soutine and Amedeo Modigliani, he was one of the first to organize African art exhibitions. He also bought and sold many works from cutting edge artists of the time, such as Henri Matisse, Constantin Brâncuși, Pablo Picasso, and Giorgio de Chirico.

Her early career was dominated by the music hall, and she later appeared in plays and cabaret. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years before her film debut in 1930. Arletty’s career took off around 1936 when she appeared as the leading lady in the stage plays Les Joies du Capitole and Fric-Frac , in which she starred opposite Michel Simon. She later starred as Blanche in the French version of A Streetcar Named Desire . [3]

Music hall Type of British theatrical entertainment popular between 1850 and 1960

Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment that was popular from the early Victorian era, beginning around 1850. It ended, arguably, after the First World War, when the halls rebranded their entertainment as Variety. Perceptions of a distinction in Britain between bold and scandalous Victorian Music Hall and subsequent, more respectable Variety differ. Music hall involved a mixture of popular songs, comedy, speciality acts, and variety entertainment. The term is derived from a type of theatre or venue in which such entertainment took place. American vaudeville was in some ways analogous to British music hall, featuring rousing songs and comic acts.

Fric-Frac is a 1939 French comedy film directed by Maurice Lehmann and Claude Autant-Lara, starring Fernandel, Arletty and Michel Simon. It tells the story of Marcel, an assistant to a jeweller, who befriends a couple of criminals who want to use him as an accomplice to rob his boss. The film is based on a 1936 play by Édouard Bourdet. Filming took place in March and April 1939 at the Laboratoires et Studios Eclair in Épinay-sur-Seine. The film was released in France on 15 June 1939.

Michel Simon Swiss actor

Michel Simon was a Swiss actor. He appeared in the notable films La Chienne (1931), Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932), L'Atalante (1934), Port of Shadows (1938), The Head (1959), and The Train (1964). The actor François Simon is his son.

Marcel Carné was known for his poetic realism filmmaking style. Arletty’s minor role of Raymonde in his film, Hotel du Nord, garnered attention for her “Atmosphere! Atmosphere!” performance. In 1945 Arletty appeared in her most famous film role, the central part of Garance in Les Enfants du Paradis , her fourth role for the director. For this role she earned one of the highest salaries ever in French cinema. [4]

Marcel Carné 1906-1996 French film director

Marcel Carné was a French film director. A key figure in the poetic realism movement, Carné's best known films include Port of Shadows (1938), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), The Devil's Envoys (1942) and Children of Paradise (1945), the last of which has been cited as one of the greatest films of all time.

Poetic realism was a film movement in France of the 1930s. More a tendency than a movement, poetic realism is not strongly unified like Soviet montage or French Impressionism but were individuals who created this lyrical style. Its leading filmmakers were Pierre Chenal, Jean Vigo, Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, and, perhaps the movement's most significant director, Jean Renoir. Renoir made a wide variety of films some influenced by the leftist Popular Front group and even a lyrical short feature film. Frequent stars of these films were Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Simone Signoret, and Michèle Morgan.

Controversy

Arletty was imprisoned in 1945 for her wartime liaison with a German Luftwaffe officer, Hans-Jürgen Soehring, [5] during the occupation of France. She allegedly later commented on the experience, "My heart is French but my ass is international." [6] Although other French women fell in love with German soldiers, her romantic affiliation with Soehring during the German occupation prompted a charge of treason. James Lord wrote of her special treatment:

The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:

Treason Crime against ones sovereign or nation

In law, treason is criminal disloyalty to the state. It is a crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign. This usually includes things such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.

James Lord was an American writer. He was the author of several books, including critically acclaimed biographies of Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso. He appeared in the documentary films Balthus Through the Looking Glass (1996) and Picasso: Magic, Sex, Death (2001).

“Arletty was too well known for the mere humiliation of having her head shaved, her naked skull tarred with a swastika and in this abject state paraded through the streets to confront the jeers and spittle of the mob. Prison would be none too good for her, people said, looking forward to severe retribution for the moral treason of which they found her guilty.”

For her crimes she received a sentence of eighteen months imprisonment, most of which was served in a private chateau. [2]

Legacy

In 1995 the government of France issued a series of limited edition coins to commemorate the centenary of film that included a 100 Franc coin bearing the image of Arletty. [7]

Filmography

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References

  1. "Arletty". IMDb. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  2. 1 2 Lord, James (1994). Six Exceptional Women. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. pp. 43–82.
  3. Felando, Cynthia. "Arletty." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 4th ed. Vol. 3: Actors and Actresses. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 35-36. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  4. Aldstadt, David. (2002). Imaginary Co-Signatures: Collaboration, Authorship, and Star Personae in Films by Marcel Carne with Arletty and by Jean Cocteau with Jean Marais. Retrieved from ProQuest. Order Number 3048992
  5. Mark Le Fanu Book Review: "And the Show Went On" Archived 2 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine ., Spear's, 4 July 2011
  6. Geoffrey Nowell Smith, The Oxford History of World Cinema, p. 347. See also Arletty, allocine.fr: "mon coeur est français mais mon cul est international !"
  7. "MDP les francs". Monnaie de collection. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.

Further reading