Nationality: French. Born: Edwige Caroline Cunati-Koenig (or Caroline Edwige Cunati) in Vésoul, Haute-Saone, 29 October 1907. Education: Attended Dijon Lyceum; studied acting with George Le Roy at Paris Conservatory from 1928. Family: Married the actor Pierre Feuillère, 1929 (divorced 1933). Career: 1930—began acting on stage using name Cora Lynn; 1931–33—member of Comédie Française, debut in Le Mariage de Figaro ; film debut, also using name Cora Lynn, in short La Fine combine opposite Fernandel; from mid-1930s—active on Paris stage; 1947—created role of the Queen in The Eagle with Two Heads , written for her by Jean Cocteau; 1951—first London stage appearance with Jean-Louis Barrault company in Partage de midi ; 1957—London season with own company in La Dame aux Camélias and other plays; also performed in TV adaptations of stage plays, and in TV series Le Chef de famille . Awards: Honorary César award, French Academy, 1984; Commandeur des Arts et Lettres; Grand Officier de la Légion d'Honneur, 1993. Died: 13 November 1998, in Paris, of natural causes.
Films as Actress:
La Fine combine (Chotin—short); Cordon-bleu (Anton)
La Perle (Guissart); Monsieur Albert (Anton); Une Petite Femme dans le train (Anton); Maquillage (Anton)
Topaze (Gasnier) (as Coco); Les Aventures du Roi Pausole (Granowsky); Toi que j'adore (von Bolvary and Valentin—French-language version of von Bolvary's Ich kenn' dich nicht und liebe dich ); Matricule 33 (Anton); Ces messieurs de la santé (Colombier)
Le Miroir aux alouettes (Steinhoff and Le Bon—French-language version of Steinhoff's Lockvogel )
Lucrèce Borgia (Gance) (title role); Golgotha (Duvivier) (as Claudia); Barcarolle (Lamprecht and Le Bon—French-language version of Lamprecht's Barcarole ); Stradivarius (von Bolvary and Valentin—French-language version of von Bolvary's Stradivari ); Amore (Bragaglia); La Route heureuse (Lacombe—French-language version of Amore )
Mister Flow ( Compliments of Mister Flow ) (Siodmak) (as Lady Helena Scarlett)
Marthe Richard au service de la France ( Marthe Richard, l'espionne au service de la France ) (Bernard); Feu! (de Baroncelli); La Dame de Malacca (Marc Allégret)
J'étais une aventurière (Bernard)
Sans lendemain (Max Ophüls); De Mayerling à Sarajevo ( Mayerling to Sarajevo ) (Max Ophüls) (as Sophie Chotkova)
Mam'zelle Bonaparte (Maurice Tourneur); L'Honorable Catherine (L'Herbier); La Duchesse de Langeais (de Baroncelli)
La Part de l'ombre ( Blind Desire ) (Delannoy) (as Agnes Noblet); Tant que je vivrai (de Baroncelli)
L'Idiot (Lampin) (as Nastasia Filipovna); Il suffit d'une fois (Feix)
L'Aigle à deux têtes ( The Eagle with Two Heads ) (Cocteau) (as the Queen)
Woman Hater (Terence Young) (as Colette Marly)
Julie de Carneilhan (Manuel)
"La Statuette" ep. of Souvenirs perdus (Christian-Jaque); Olivia (Audry)
Le Cap de l'Espérance (Bernard)
Adorables Créatures ( Adorable Creatures ) (Christian-Jaque) (as Denise)
Le Blé en herbe ( The Game of Love ) (Autant-Lara) (as Mme. Dalleray)
Les Fruits de l'été (Bernard)
Quand la femme s'en mêle ( Send a Woman When the Devil Fails ; When the Woman Gets Confused ) (Yves Allégret); Le Septième Commandement (Bernard)
En cas de malheur ( Love Is My Profession ; In Case of Adversity ) (Autant-Lara) (as Viviane Gobillot); La Vie à deux ( Life as a Couple ) (Duhour)
"Les Comédiennes" ep. of Amours célèbres (Boisrond)
"Le Masque" ("The Mask") ep. of Le Crime ne paie pas ( Crime Does Not Pay ; The Gentle Art of Murder ) (Oury) (as Dona Lucrezia)
Aimez-vous les femmes? ( A Taste for Women ) (Léon) (as Aunt Flo)
La Route d'un homme (Hacquard—short) (as narrator)
Scusi, facciamo l'amore ( Et si on faisait l'amour? ; Listen, Let's Make Love ) (Caprioli) (as Giuditta Passani)
Le Clair de terre (Gilles)
La Chair de l'orchidée ( Flesh and the Orchid ; Flesh of the Orchid ) (Chéreau) (as Madame Bastier-Wagener)
Chef de famille (Companeez)
Dames de la côte (Companeez); La Tueur triste (Gessner—for TV)
Un château au soleil
La Dame de Lieu-dit
By FEUILLÈRE: books—
Les Feux de la mémoire , Paris, 1977.
Moi, la Clairon , Paris, 1984.
By FEUILLÈRE: articles—
Interviews in Ciné Revue (Paris), 10 May 1979 and 16 April 1981.
On FEUILLÈRE: books—
Kemp, Robert, Edwige Feuillère , Paris, 1951.
Feydeau, Alain, Edwige Feuillère , Paris, 1983.
On FEUILLÈRE: articles—
Cinémonde (Paris), 25 May 1948 and 9 February 1956.
Films and Filming (London), December 1960.
Ecran (Paris), October 1978, additions in issue for February 1979.
Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), March 1981.
Curtiss, T. Q., "Veteran Film Stars Brighten a Season of Theater in Paris," in New York Times , 15 April 1990.
Stars (Mariembourg, Belgium), December 1990.
* * *
Edwige Feuillère is more famous as a stage actress than as a screen actress, but her many film roles in the 1930s and 1940s almost made her the acknowledged leading lady of French cinema.
Her first film and her acceptance into the Comédie Française in the early 1930s brought her attention from film producers, and Louis Gasnier cast her in the first film version of Topaze , based on the play by Marcel Pagnol; her charm and elegance opposite Louis Jouvet were widely appreciated. The role of Lucrezia Borgia in Abel Gance's 1935 version solidified her popularity. Over the next few years her roles as elegant and often heartless women were displayed in Marthe Richard au service de la France (as a charming spy opposite Erich von Stroheim), J'étais une aventurière , La Dame de Malacca , and De Mayerling à Sarajevo (as the young Sophia Chotkova).
Her triumph as Nastasia Filipovna in L'Idiot notwithstanding, she tended to make fewer films after the war, though her stage performances made her even more appreciated in films when she made them. She played in both the stage and film versions of Lucrèce , and her successful stage role in The Eagle with Two Heads (written for her by Cocteau) was also translated to the screen. Her role as the older woman introducing an adolescent to love in The Game of Love , based on Colette's novel, was a scandal, even though Feuillère was brilliant in the role and the writer kept out any suggestion of prurience. She appeared later in the 1950s with Jean Gabin and Brigitte Bardot in Love Is My Profession .