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01 March 2013

Georges Rollin

Georges Rollin (1912 – 1964) was a French actor and director who appeared in more than 40 films.

Georges Rollin
French postcard by Ed. Chantal, Rueil, no. 31. Photo: H. Rand.

Soul of a Clown
Georges Rollin was born in Pont-à-Mousson, France in 1912. He started his acting career in the film Âme de clown/Soul of a clown (1933, Marc Didier) with Pierre Fresnay. In the following years he appeared in such films as Barcarolle (1935, Gerhard Lamprecht, Roger LeBonne) with Edwige Feuillère, Pattes de mouches (1936, Jean Grémillon), L'Homme du jour/Man of the day (1938, Julien Duvivier) starring Maurice Chevalier, and J'accuse!/I Accuse (1938, Abel Gance) with Victor Francen. James Travers at Films de France: “Abel Gance’s remake of his earlier 1919 film displays all the passion and power of that earlier film, but with the addition of sound to articulate the director’s protest against war. The final scenes where the dead soldiers return to life are haunting and beautifully filmed, but earned the film a horror classification when released in the UK.” During the war period, Rollin played in films like Annette et la dame blonde/Annette and the Blonde Woman (1942, Jean Dréville) featuring Louise Carletti, the crime film Dernier atout/Last trump (1942, Jacques Becker) with Mireille Balin, L'Homme sans nom/The Man with No Name (1943, Léon Mathot) and Goupi Mains Rouges/It Happened at the Inn (1943, Jacques Becker). James Travers: “Goupi mains rouges was the film that put director Jacques Becker on the map and immediately established him as one of the leading French filmmakers during the Occupation. (...) Dernier atout (1942), a gangster parody, was fairly well received, but it was with his third feature, Goupi mains rouges, that Becker came to be considered one of the most important French film directors of his generation. Outside France, the film is far less well-known than Becker’s subsequent great films but it occupies an essential place in his oeuvre, presaging the auteur masterpieces that would surely follow.”

Georges Rollin
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 93. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Georges Rollin
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 190. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Underground
Georges Rollin kept busy in the years after the war. Among his films were the Honoré de Balzac adaptation Le Père Goriot/Father Goriot (1945, Robert Vernay) with Pierre Larquey, Les Clandestins/Clandestine (1946, André Chotin) and Impasse/Deadlock (1946, Pierre Dard) with Julien Carette. Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie: “French ‘underground’ films were as common as the measles in 1946. Among the better efforts was Les Clandestins, directed with realism and conviction by Andre Chotin. A romantic subplot involving two resistance fighters can be forgotten; the film's strong suit is its vivid recreations of the horrors and deprivations suffered by the French under Nazi domination.” In 1947, Rollin was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. He worked again with Jean Dréville at Les Casse-Pieds/The Brain Feet (1948) with Noël-Noël. During the early 1950’s, he could be seen in such films as he historic adventure film Buridan, héros de la Tour de Nesle/Buridan, hero of the Tour de Nesle (1952, Émile Couzinet) and Le Guérisseur/The Healer (1954, Yves Ciampi) starring Jean Marais. The latter was a huge success with 1.7 million visitors. Rollin began to focus on a career as film director. He directed the short film Zig et puce sauvent Nénette/ Zig and Puce save Nénette (1954, Georges Rollin) and later made a short documentary, La nuit des insectes/The night of the insects (1957, Georges Rollin). As an actor, he worked more and more for television. His last feature film was the Spanish crime film La Muerte silba un blues/077 Opération SEXY (1964, Jess Frank a.k.a. Jesus Franco). Georges Rollin died in 1964. He was 51.

Georges Rollin
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 64. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

Georges Rollin
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 64. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

Sources: James Travers (Films de France), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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