19 June 2018

Madeleine Lebeau

French stage and film actress Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016) is best remembered as Yvonne in the classic Casablanca (1942), passionately singing La Marseillaise with a tear-stained face. After the war she had a respectable career in the European cinema and portrayed a temperamental actress named Madeleine in another highlight, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963).

Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 194. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
French autograph card.

Warner Bros


Marie Madeleine Berthe LeBeau was born in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France, in 1923 (some sources say 1921).

In her teens, she landed a tiny role in a play with Marcel Dalio, who was about 20 years her senior and struck by her beauty. They soon married. As Madeleine Lebeau she made her screen debut in the drama, Jeunes filles en détresse/Young Girls in Trouble (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1939).

In 1940, she fled Nazi-occupied France with Dalio. They left Paris just hours ahead of the invading German army; Dalio’s image had been used in Nazi posters to identify Jewish-looking features. They made their way to Lisbon and, using what turned out to be forged Chilean visas, booked passage on a Portuguese cargo ship, the Quanza, that was taking more than 300 refugees to the west.

Dalio and Lebeau eventually obtained temporary Canadian passports and ended up in the US. Due to Dalio’s connections in Hollywood with fellow French exiles such as Jean Renoir and Charles Boyer, they were both given Warner Bros contracts.

Lebeau made her Hollywood debut with a small part in Hold Back the Dawn (Mitchell Leisen, 1941), which starred Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland.

The following year, she appeared as glamorous Polish-born stage star Anna Held, the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, in the Errol Flynn drama Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942) a biography of Irish-American boxer James J. Corbett.

With  Marcel Dalio she appeared then in the classic Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942). Lebeau played Yvonne, the French pushed-aside mistress of Rick Blaine, the owner of Rick’s Café Américain (Humphrey Bogart).

Neglected by Rick, a drunken Yvonne steps out with a German soldier, but she regains her moral compass. Wikipedia: “Lebeau's best moments in Casablanca are during the scene when French nationals sing ‘The Marseillaise’ drowning out the group of German soldiers singing a German folk song. The camera captures the (genuine) tears on her face, and later at the end of the anthem when she cries out Vive la France. France had fallen to Nazi forces, and many of the actors performing in the scene were real life refugees from Europe”.

Not long after finishing Casablanca, the then 19 years-old Lebeau and Dalio divorced. He filed suit, claiming desertion. Lebeau hoped Casablanca would catapult her to great demand in Hollywood. It did not.

As a freelancer, she earned supporting roles in the French underground drama Paris After Dark (Léonide Moguy, 1943) with George Sanders and Philip Dorn (Frits van Dongen), and her former husband. The film portrays the activities of the French resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris. Lebeau played a cafe owner who is secretly helping the resistance.

Ronald Bergan in The Guardian: “Besides brilliantly handling dramatic scenes, one with a slimy collaborator played by Dalio (they were then on the verge of a divorce), LeBeau, who had a fine singing voice, delivered a soulful ballad, My Paree.”

The following year, Lebeau had a smaller role in the musical comedy Music for Millions (Henry Koster, 1944) starring Margaret O'Brien. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946. She also appeared on Broadway in the play The French Touch directed by René Clair.

Madeleine Lebeau in Dupont Barbès (1951)
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 787. Photo: Phönix / NF. Publicity still for Dupont Barbès/Sins of Paris (Henri Lepage, 1951).

Madeleine Lebeau in Quai des blondes (1954)
German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 683. Photo: d. H. Thibault / P.A.C. / Pathé Cinéma. Publicity still for Quai des blondes (Paul Cadéac, 1954).

Fellini


After the war, Madeleine Lebeau returned to Europe and appeared in 20 more films. These included Les Chouans/The Royalists (Henri Calef, 1947) and the English drama Cage of Gold (Basil Dearden, 1950) starring Jean Simmons.

Lebeau had a rare leading role in Dupont Barbès/Sins of Madeleine (Henri Lepage, 1951), about a prostitute who uses the ruse of pregnancy to end relationships with men, only to find one of her clients is delighted at the prospect of being a father.

She was in the all-star cast of Sacha Guitry’s Napoleon (1955), and appeared in the bedroom farce Une Parisienne (Michel Boisrond, 1957), as Brigitte Bardot’s romantic rival.

In 1956 she married a young businessman, Marcel Guez, but the marriage ended three years later in a divorce.

In Federico Fellini's avant-garde classic Otto e mezzo/8½ (1963) she played a French actress named Madeleine, one of the former loves of Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) .

During the 1960s, she also appeared in the Spaghetti Western Desafío en Río Bravo/Gunmen of the Rio Grande (Tulio Demicheli, 1964) with Guy Madison and Angélique, marquise des anges/Angélique (Bernard Borderie, 1964), the first of the Angélique cycle starring Michèle Mercier.

Lebeau's film career ended with the Spanish production La vuelta/The return (José Luis Madrid, 1965). Her last turn before the cameras came in the French television series Allô police/Hello, Police (1969-1970).

After the filming of Otto e mezzo/8½ (1963) she stayed in Rome. In 1988 she married Italian screenwriter Tullio Pinelli who had co-written 8 1/2. He passed away in 2009 at 100.

After the death of her husband, Madeleine Lebeau moved to Estepona in the south of Spain. There she died in 2016 from complications following breaking her thigh bone. She was 92. A daughter, Maria Duhour Gil, survived her.

Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1431. Photo: publicity still for La Picara Molinera/The Miller's Saucy Wife (Léon Klimovsky, 1955).


Scene from Casablanca (1942). Source: myyouyou111 (YouTube).

Sources: Ronald Bergan (The Guardian), Adam Bernstein (Washington Post), William Grimes (The New York Times), Frances D’Emilio and Lindsey Bahr (The Globe and Mail),  Tom B. (Westerns...All'Italiana!), CineMemorialBBC, Wikipedia and IMDb.

18 June 2018

New acquisitions at GDI: MGM Cine Stars

In addition to yesterday's post, Egbert Barten of the Geoffrey Donaldson Institute also lent me a postcard album, which the film institute acquired in January in Argenteuil, France. This album, 'MGM Cine Stars' was produced by the Belgian-Dutch chocolate factory Kwatta, on which we did this post in 2015. The pocket album contains some 100 collectors cards in black white of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stars of the 1940s. For this post, we selected 12 cards from the album. Some are numbered, some are not.

Lana Turner
Lana Turner. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Cyd Charisse
Cyd Charisse. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 36. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Judy Garland
Judy Garland. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 101. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 110. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Beverly Tyler in The Green Years (1946)
Beverly Tyler. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 116. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Green Years (Victor Saville, 1946). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Keenan Wynn
Keenan Wynn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 136. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Jules Munshin in Easter Parade (1948)
Jules Munshin. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 143. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. Publicity still for Easter Parade (Charles Walters, 1948).

Irene Dunne and Spencer Tracy in A Guy Named Joe (1943)
Irene Dunne and Spencer Tracey. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 158. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for A Guy Names Joe (Victor Fleming, 1943). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Lana Turner
Lana Turner. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

MGM Cine Stars


Cine Stars Album for Belgian collectors cards with MGM stars by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. The Kwatta cards could be collected in this pocket album named 'Ciné Stars'. On the cover is the lion of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio with more stars than the heavens. The short introduction in the album is both in French and in Dutch, the two languages of Belgium.

Cine Stars, Cover

Cine Stars, Inside


Egbert, thank you!

17 June 2018

New acquisitions at GDI: Heinz Rühmann and other European stars

In Noord Schwarwoude, the Netherlands, there is small film institute we love, the Geoffrey Donaldson Institute (GDI). Our friend Egbert Barten is the managing director and he regularly shares new postcards from his collection with EFSP. Tomorrow we'll have a post on a postcard album he lately found in France. Today we do a post on a series of fine postcards plus a photo of the popular German film star Heinz Rühmann. The pictures plus the text for an article on Rühmann, were acquired from Dutch film journalist and collector Thijs Ockersen. We combine them with other new acquisitions by GDI and finish this post with one of the cards from the album on which we will focus tomorrow.

Heinz Rühmann in Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931)
Heinz Rühmann in Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931). German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 606. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Bomben auf Monte Carlo/The Bombardment of Monte Carlo (Hanns Schwarz, 1931). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Heinz Rühmann in Ich und die Kaiserin (1933)
Heinz Rühmann in Ich und die Kaiserin (1933). German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7848/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Ich und die Kaiserin/The Empress and I (Friedrich Hollaender, 1933). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Heinz Rühmann in Kleider machen Leute (1940)
Heinz Rühmann in Kleider machen Leute (1940). Dutch postcard by I.F.P. (Drukkerij Uitg. Int. Filmpers), Amsterdam, no. 1243. Photo: publicity still for Kleider machen Leute/Clothes Make the Man (Helmut Käutner, 1940). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Heinz Rühmann
Heinz Rühmann. German photo. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Heinz Rühmann


Actor, director and producer Heinz Rühmann (1902-1994) played in more than 100 films over nearly 70 years and was one of Germany's most popular film stars. He was a favourite actor of Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels but also of Anne Frank. She pasted his photo on the wall of her room in her family's hiding place during the war, where it can still be seen today.

Anny Ondra
Anny Ondra. French postcard by EC, no. 83. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Estrellita Castro in El barbero de Sevilla (1938)
Estrellita Castro in El barbero de Sevilla (1938). German postcard by Das Programm von Heute / Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Cando. Publicity still for El barbero de Sevilla/The Barber of Seville (Benito Perojo, 1938). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Estrellita Castro


Estrellita Castro (1914-1983) was a Spanish 'tonadillera' (little tune singer) and actress, who had a stirring and passionate style. Born Estrella Castro Navarrete to a humble family, she started singing from an early age and busked around in Sevilla streets. She was yet known in Andalusia when she appeared in Barcelona in 1929 with a variety show named 'La copla andaluza', where she was the first star together with 'Ángel Sampedro 'Angelillo''. From that moment on she enjoyed success all over Spain, Europe and America. Castro became one of the greatest 'copla' (Spanish popular song) performers.

Estrellita Castro's success as a singer paved her way to the film industry, and she became one of the most popular and highly-paid Spanish actresses of the time. She made many folkloric musicals, including and La Maja del capote/ (Fernando Delgado, 1943). She starred in 40 films of which the most important were filmed in Germany - Suspiros de España/Sighs of Spain (Benito Perojo, 1938), El barbero de Sevilla/The Barber of Seville (Benito Perojo, 1938) both with Miguel Ligero, and Mariquilla Terremoto (Benito Perojo, 1939). The charm of her movements in the cinema together with her powerful acute voice and beauty conquered the public. One of the iconic features of her personal looks was a hair-curl on her forehead. After the war, she became a living myth of the Spanish music and cinema.

Jean Murat in Vénus (1929)
Jean Murat in Vénus (1929). French postcard by EC, no. 648. Photo publicity still for Vénus/Venus (Louis Mercanton, 1929). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, Colonel d'Empire (1942)
Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, Colonel d'Empire (1942). French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 187. Photo: Pathé Cinéma, Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, colonel d'empire/Pontcarral, colonel of the empire (Jean Delannoy, 1942). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Jean Tranchant
Jean Tranchant. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 87. Photo: Teddy Piaz. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Jean Tranchant


Jean Tranchant (1904-1972) was a French singer-composer, poster designer and painter, who also incidentally acted in films. Tranchant wrote songs for Lucienne Boyer (La Barque d'Yves, Moi j'crache dans l'eau), then for Marianne Oswald (Appel, La Complainte de Kesoubah, Sans repentir), Marlène Dietrich (Assez) and Lys Gauty. He performed with his wife Simone Naudet. Many of his songs were used in French films, and he also composed for the soundtrack of such films as Fanatisme (Tony Lekain, Gaston Ravel, 1934), starring Pola Negri. Tranchant himself starred in the film musical Ici l'on pêche (René Jayet, 1941) with Jane Sourza.

Hildegard Knef
Hildegard Knef. French postcard by Edition P.I., offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 712. Photo: H.P.S. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 173. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. Publicity still for The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946).

Egbert, thank you!