13 August 2013

Marie Glory

Coquettish and captivating Marie Glory (1905-2009) made more than 50 films during the course of nearly four decades, from 1924 to 1960. For a long time, she was the longest living star of the silent era, but in 2009 she died at the age of 103. 

Marie Glory
French card by Massilia.

Jazz Bank
Marie Glory was born Raymonde Louise Marcelly Toully in Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy, in 1905. Her father was a hairdresser, her mother a painter. When she was still an infant, the family moved to Rouen, where she studied at the Lycée Jeanne d'Arc. Aged 18, and chaperoned by her mother, she moved to Paris, where she enrolled in dance classes. It was in the French capital that she entered the first of many beauty contests, winning second place and her first professional job, working as an advertiser's model posing for postcards and posters.

She made her film debut in 1924 with a small role in Le Miracle des Loups/The Miracle of the Wolves (Raymond Bernard, 1924), a historical adventure set in the court of Louis XI. In this film she appeared under the stage name Arlette Genny, which she used until 1927, but she had her real breakthrough under the name Marie Glory in the late silent film classic L'Argent/Jazz Bank (Marcel L'Herbier, 1928) opposite Brigitte Helm. Glory played Line, the wife of aviator Hamelin (Henry Victor) who is manipulated by business tycoon Saccard (Pierre Alcover) to fly to Guyana and drill for oil there. Saccard tries to seduce Line while Hamelin is away, but she sees through his scheming and accuses him of fraud. The three hours plus French-German co-production was based on Emile Zola's classical homonymous novel but temporally transposed to the 1920s instead of the 1860s.

With her porcelain features and cloud of hair, Glory went on to captivate audiences in a string of silent films. She starred with Jean Angelo, Lil Dagover and Gaston Modot in the Franco-German coproduction Monte Cristo/The Count of Monte Christo (Henri Fescourt, 1929) and in the German production Vater und Sohn/Father and Son (Geza von Bolvary, 1929) opposite Harry Liedtke. Glory's first sound film was Le Roi de Paris/The King of Paris (1930, Leo Mittler), with exiled Serbian matinee idol Iván Petrovich.

Marie Glory
French card. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Marie Glory
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 2027. Photo: Studio J. Utudjian.

Marie Glory
French postcard by Editions et Publications cinématographiques, no. 14. Photo: Studio J. Utudjian.

The Last Refuge
In the 1930s, Marie Glory played many leading roles in films like the war drama Les deux mondes/Two Worlds (Ewald André Dupont, 1930) with Henri Garat, Dactylo (Wilhelm Thiele, 1931) with Jean Murat, Madame ne veut pas d'enfants/No Children Wanted (Hanns Steinhoff, Constantin Landau, 1933), Le paquebot Tenacity/S.S. Tenacity (Julien Duvivier, 1934) opposite Albert Préjean, and the comedy Les amants terribles/The Terrible Lovers (Marc Allégret, 1936), an adaptation of Noël Coward's Private Lives. In the circus drama Les gens du voyage/People Who Travel (Jacques Feyder, 1938), she co-starred with Françoise Rosay.

While already acquainted with Italian directors when working in France, from the late 1930s on, Glory played in several Italian films: Napoli che non muore/Naples That Never Dies (Amleto Palermi, 1939) with Fosco Giacchetti, Terra di fuoco/Land of Fire (Giorgio Ferroni, Marcel L'Herbier, 1939) with the great lyric tenor Tito Schipa, and Una moglie in pericolo/A Wife in Danger (Max Neufeld, 1939), which would turn out to be her last leading film part. When war broke out in 1939, she was shooting The Last Refuge, written by the screenwriter Jacques Constant, whom she later married. She was advised to leave Nazi occupied Paris, and the film was abandoned and never finished.

Marie Glory
French postcard. Photo: Paramount.

Marie Glory
French card by Massilia. Photo: R. Joffres.

Marie Glory
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4595/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Super-Film.

Marie Glory
French postcard by Editions et Publications cinématographiques, no. 974. Photo: Studio Rudolph.

Cinema Europe
Two years later, Marie Glory escaped with Constant to Spain via Biarritz, and then over the Portuguese border. She crossed the Atlantic to Buenos Aires and became active in relief and charitable work on behalf of children in occupied France. In 1942 she moved to Algeria and then Martinique, where she worked in propaganda radio. She was one of the few actresses to work under the aegis of the Free French Forces of General de Gaulle.

Following the armistice, Glory returned to France. She was decorated by the Allies, but was unable to regain her former status in the French film industry. In the 1950s she was seen in minor roles in French and Italian films. She played Antonella Lualdi‘s mother in Adorables créatures/Adorable Creatures (Christian-Jaque, 1952), Brigitte Bardot‘s mother-in-law in Et Dieu… créa la femme/…And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1955), and a café customer in Pierre Chenal‘s Raffles sur la ville/Sinners of Paris (1958) with Charles Vanel.

She stopped as a film actress in 1960 and as a television actress in 1964. In 1967 she returned to Paris, where she opened and managed her own beauty salon. She retired in 1973 and settled in Cannes in the south of France. Glory was one of the actresses interviewed by Kevin Brownlow for his memorable TV-series on the silent European cinema: Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1996). In 2006, she was a guest of honour at the Cannes Film Festival‘s special screening of the restored Monte Cristo. In 2009, Marie Glory passed away in her house in Cannes, two months shy of her 104th birthday.

Marie Glory, publicity for Campari
French postcard for Campari. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "J'aimais un Campari... plusieurs!"

Marie Glory
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 1034. Photo: Paramount.

Marie Glory
French postcard by O.P., Paris, no. 50. Photo: Studio Piaz.

A fan's tribute to Marie Glory. Song: Marie (1929) by Rudy Vallee And His Connecticut Yankees. Source: Aaron1912 (YouTube).

Sources: Andre Soares (Alt Film Guide), Yvan Foucart (Les Gens du Cinema) (French), Telegraph, The Times, The Bioscope, Wikipedia and IMDb.


Beth Niquette said...

What a beautiful elegant woman! I had never heard her. She sure did live a long long time. I bet she could tell so many wonderful stories about show biz at that time.

Thank you again for joining us for Postcard Friendship Friday.

I noticed your link isn't up yet, would you like me to put it in?

Take care and have a great day.

Snap said...

Wow! 103 years of age! Coquette is right ... look at those pouty lips! Beautiful woman.

Sheila said...

She appeared in an amazing number of films, and then a long and (I hope) a happy retirement.

Clytie said...

I so enjoy your posts to PFF.

And to think this wonderful woman with the wonderful name lived to the age of 103. Wow.