Charles Vanel - Actors and Actresses





Nationality: French. Born: Rennes, 21 August 1892. Career: On stage in Paris from age 16; 1912—film debut in Jim Crow ; followed by some 200 films; 1929—directed the film Dans la nuit . Awards: Best Actor, Cannes Festival, for The Wages of Fear , 1953; special César award, 1978. Died: In Cannes, 15 April 1989.


Films as Actor:

1912

Jim Crow (Péguy)

1921

Crépuscule d'epouvante ; L'Enfant du carnaval

1922

L'Atre (Boudrioz); La Nuit de la revanche (Etievant); Les 50 Ans de Don Juan (Etievant); Du Crépuscule à l'aube (de Feraudy)

1923

Tempêtes (Boudrioz); Miarka, la fille à l'ourse (Mercanton); La Maison du mystère (Volkoff); Le Vol (Péguy); Valvaire d'Amour (Tourjansky); Phroso (Mercanton)

1924

La Flambée des rêves (de Baroncelli); Pêcheur d'Islande (de Baroncelli); La Mendiante de Saint-Sulpice (Burguet); Martyre (Burguet); L'Autre aile (Andreani)

1925

Barocco (Burguet); Le Réveil (de Baroncelli); Ame d'artiste (Dulac); La Flamme (Hervil)

1926

La Proie du vent (Clair); Nitchevo (de Baroncelli); 600,000 Francs par mois (Péguy and Koline); L'Orphelin du cirque (Lannes); Feu! (de Baroncelli)

1927

L'Esclave blanche (Genina); Charité ; La Femme rêvée (Durand); Paname n'est pas Paris (Malikoff); Maquillage (Basch)

1928

Le Passager (de Baroncelli); La Plongée tragique (Heinz); Feux Follets (Waschneck)

1929

Waterloo (Grüne); Les Fourchambault (Monca)

1930

Chiqué (Colombier); Accusée levez-vous! (Tourneur); La Maison jaune de Rio (Grune and Péguy); Le Capitaine jaune (Sandberg); L'Arlésienne (de Baroncelli)

1931

Maison de danses (Tourneur); Au nom de la Loi (Tourneur); Dainah la métisse (Gremillon); Faubourg Montmartre (Bernard); Les Croix de bois (Bernard)

1932

Gitanes (de Baroncelli)

1933

Les Misérables (Bernard); Au bout du monde (Flücht-Linge) (Ucicky and Chomette)

1934

Le Grand Jeu (Feyder); Roi de Canargue (de Baroncelli); Obsession (Tourneur—short)

1935

L'Impossible aveu (Glavany); Le Domino vert (Selpin and Decoin); L'Equipage ( Flight into Darkness ) (Litavak); Michel Strogoff (de Baroncelli)

1936

Les Bateliers de la Volga (Strijewsky); Port Arthur ( I Give My Life ) (Farkas); Jenny (Carné); La Belle equipe ( They Were Five ) (Duvivier); Les Grands (Gandera and Bibal); L'Assaut (Ducis); La Flamme (Berthomieu); Courier Sud (Billon); Vertige d'un soir ( La Peur ) (Tourjansky)

1937

Abus de confiance ( Abused Confidence ) (Decoin); Troika sur la piste blanche (Dréville); Police mondaine (Bernheim and Chamborant); La Femme du bout du monde (Epstein)

1938

L'Occident (Fescourt); Les Pirates du rail (Christian-Jaque); Légions d'honneur (Gleize); S.O.S. Sahara (de Baroncelli); Bar du Sud (Fescourt)

1939

Carrefour ( Crossroads ) (Bernhardt); L'Or du Cristobal (Stelli and Becker); La Brigade sauvage ( Savage Brigade ) (Dréville and L'Herbier); Yamile sous le Cèdres (d'Espinay)

1940

La Loi du nord ( La Piste du nord ) (Feyder); Le Diamant noir (Delannoy); La Nuit merveilleuse (Paulin)

1941

Le Soleil a toujours raison (Billon)

1942

Promesse à l'inconnue (Berthomieu)

1943

Les Affaires sont les affaires (Dréville); Le Ciel est à vous (Gremillon); Les Roquevillard (Dréville)

1944

Haut-le-Vent (de Baroncelli); L'Enquête sur le 58 (Tedesco—short)

1945

La Ferme du pendu (Dréville)

1946

La Bateau à soupe (Gleize); La Cabane aux souvenirs (Stelli); Gringalet (Berthomieu)

1947

Le Diable souffle (Gréville)

1948

Vertigine d'Amore (Capuano)

1949

Mafia ( Il nome della legge ) (Germi); La Femme que j'ai assassinée (Daniel-Norman)

1950

Il Bivio (Cerchio); Malaire (Perla); Cuori sul mar (Bianchi)

1951

Gli Inesorabili (Mastrocinque); Son dernier verdict ( Ultima Sentenza ) (Bonnard); Incantesimo Tragico (Mastrocinque)

1952

Tempête sur les Mauvents (Dupé); Le Salaire de la peur ( The Wages of Fear ) (Clouzot)

1953

Si Versailles m'était conté ( Royal Affairs in Versailles ) (Guitry); L'Affaire Mauritzius ( On Trial ) (Duvivier)

1954

Les Diaboliques ( Diabolique ) (Clouzot); Maddalena (Genina); Tam Tam (Napolitano); To Catch a Thief (Hitchcock) (as Bertani); Rafles sur la ville ( Sinners of Paris ) (Chenal)

1956

La Mort en ce jardin ( Gina ; Evil Eden ) (Buñuel)

1957

Le Feu aux poudres (Decoin); Les Suspects (Dréville)

1958

Le Gorille vous salue bien (Borderie); Le Piège ( No Escape ) (Brabant); Pêcheur d'Islande (Schlöndorffer)

1959

Les Naufrageurs (Brabant); Les Bateliers de la Volga (Tourjansky); La Valse du gorille (Borderie)

1960

La Vérité ( The Truth ) (Clouzot)

1961

Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d'Or (Vierne); L'Ainé des Ferchaux (Melville); Maria, matricula de Bilbao (Vajda); Symphonie pour un massacre ( Symphony for a Massacre ) (Deray); La steppa ( The Steppe ) (Lattuada)

1962

Lo Sogarro (Siano); Rififi à Tokyo ( Rififi in Tokyo ) (Deray)

1963

Un Roi sans divertissement ( La Poursuite ) (Leterrier)

1964

Le Chant du monde (Camus)

1967

Un Homme de trop ( Shock Troops ) (Costa-Gavras)

1969

Ballade pour un chien (Vergez); La Nuit bulgare (Mitrani)

1970

Ils (Simon); Comptes à rebours (Pigaut)

1972

Camorra (Squietieri); La più bella sereta della mia vita (Scola) (as Judge)

1973

Les Martiens (Ciampi—short); Le Sang des autres (Simenon)

1975

Sept morts sur ordonnance (Rouffio); Cadaveri eccelenti ( Illustrious Corpses ) (Rosi) (as Procura)

1976

Nuit d'or (Moatti); Comme un boomerang (Giovanni); Alice, ou la dernière fugue (Chabrol) (as Vergennes)

1977

A l'ombre d'un été (Van Belle); Ne pleure pas (Ertaud)

1979

Le Chemin perdu (Moraz)

1980

La Puce et le Privé (Kay); Tre fratelli ( Three Brothers ) (Rosi) (as Donato Giuranna)

1987

Si le soleil ne revenait pas (Goretta) (as Anzevui)

1988

Les Saisons du plaisir (Mocky) (as Charles)



Films as Director:

1929

Dans la nuit (+ ro)

1932

Au joli coin (+ ro)



Publications


By VANEL: articles—

"Une Carrière exemplaire: Charles Vanel," interview with R. Predal in Cinéma aujourd'hui (Paris), no. 10, 1976.

"Charles Vanel par Charles Vanel," dossier in Avant-Scene du Cinéma (Paris), 15 November 1981.

Interview with F. Gévaudan, in Cinéma (Paris), January 1982.


On VANEL: books—

Ford, Charles, Charles Vanel: Un Comedien Exemplaire , Paris, 1986.

Cartier, Jacqueline, Monsieur Vanel: Un Siecle de Souvenirs , Paris, 1989.


On VANEL: articles—

Niogret, Hubert, and Yann Tobin, "Charles Vanel," in Positif (Paris), February 1982.

Sellier, G., "Charles Vanel, un 'non-séducteur' du cinéma français," in Cinéma (Paris), October 1983.

Borger, Lenny, "Charles Vanel: Esteemed Character Actor, Dead at 96," in Variety (New York), 26 April 1989.

Stars (Mariembourg), September 1989.

"Dans la nuit : Film de (et avec) Charles Vanel (1929)," in Jeune Cinéma (Paris), November 1992.


* * *

Charles Vanel, the grand old man of French cinema, was born in 1892 at Rennes. He was educated for a career at sea, but his poor sight put an end to this ambition. Possessing a very fine voice, he decided to become an actor and went to Paris where, encouraged by Firmin Gemier, he played at the Theatre Antoine and the Gymnase. After four years of the theater, he entered films in 1912, playing in Robert Péguy's Jim Crow . He played with Rejane in Mercanton's Miarka, la fille à l'ourse , but had his first big success in Robert Boudrioz's remarkable L'Atre in 1922. This marked the beginning of a prolific silent film career for Vanel. He acted with Mozhukin in L'Enfant du carnaval , Tempêtes , and La Maison du mystère , and appeared in many films by Jacques de Baroncelli, particularly in the Pierre Loti story Pêcheur d'Islande , filmed in his native Brittany. He played in Germaine Dulac's Ame d'artiste and Rene Clair's Proie du vent (with Sandra Milowanoff, who had played in the Loti film). Vanel worked for German and Italian directors, and played Napoleon in Karl Grüne's Waterloo . In 1929 he directed Sandra Milowanoff in Dans la nuit , a film now restored by the Cinématheque Française which allows us to see a very talented director indeed. This story of rural love and jealousy set among quarry workers has a documentary realism, but as a film it was overshadowed by the coming of sound.

With the arrival of sound, Vanel spent two years in Germany on French versions of German films, and on his return to France became a familiar figure on the cinema screen. He played opposite Harry Baur in Raymond Bernard's two-part versions of Les Misérables in 1933 and also appeared in Bernard's Faubourg Montmarte and Les Croix de bois . He was in Feyder's Le Grand Jeu and La Loi du nord . For Gustav Ucicky he played in Flüchtlinge ( Au bout du monde ), and he was in Marcel Carné's Jenny . He was Yves Montand's cowardly partner in Clouzot's Le Salaire de la peur (for which he received the Cannes best actor award). He worked for Hitchcock ( To Catch a Thief ), Buñuel ( Le Mort en ce jardin ), and Jean Pierre Melville ( L'Ainé des Ferchaux ). In 1958 he again played in Pêcheur d'Islande (Schlöndorffer), and he was in both the Strijewsky and Tourjansky versions of Les Bateliers de la Volga . In 1978 Vanel was honored with a special César award, and continued to appear in films in his last years. He had a prolific output of 80 films during a distinguished career covering more than 70 years.

—Liam O'Leary



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