10 April 2015

Elisabeth Wiener

Elisabeth Wiener (1946) is a French actress, singer, songwriter and performer, who appeared in several French and Italian films of the 1960s and 1970s.

Elisabeth Wiener
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Sensational Erotic and Psychological Thriller

Elisabeth (or Élizabeth) Wiener was born in Paris, France in 1946 as the daughter of composer Jean Wiener and film editor Suzanne De Troeye. She began her acting career at the age of 15 and also practiced classical singing and piano.

She made her film debut as Frederique in the independent comedy Dragées au poivre/Sweet and Sour (Jacques Baratier) with Guy Bedos. Soon followed L'Année du bac/Graduation Year (Maurice Delbez, José-André Lacour, 1964) with Jean Desailly. She also had a small part in the American war drama Behold a Pale Horse (Fred Zinnemann, 1964) starring Gregory Peck, which was filmed in France.

At 16 and a half she married. Two years later, she played Coralie, a young stage actress, in the TV mini-series Illusions perdues/Lost Illusions (Maurice Cazeneuve, 1966), based on a novel by Honoré de Balzac. At the time she appeared in many French TV films and series, including the popular mini-series Jacquou le Croquant/Jacquou the crunch (Stellio Lorenzi, 1969).

In the cinema she participated in the crime film Johnny Banco (Yves Allégret, 1967), a disastrous euro pudding with both funds and stars (including Horst Buchholz and Sylva Koscina) from three European countries.

More interesting was the sensational erotic and psychological thriller La Prisonnière/The Female Prisoner (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1968) in which she starred as the emotional prisoner of voyeur Laurent Terzieff. It was the last film of Henri-Georges Clouzot, the French Alfred Hitchcock.

Elisabeth Wiener
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Franco Nero
Franco Nero. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

A Mythical War Between Goddesses

During the early 1970s, Elisabeth Wiener acted in such films as On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes/One Is Always Too Good to Women (Michel Boisrond, 1971), Le moine/The Monk (Adonis Kyrou, 1972) with Franco Nero, the comedy Trop jolies pour être honnêtes/Too Pretty to Be Honest (Richard Balducci, 1972) with Jane Birkin, and La Jeune Fille assassinée/The Assassinated Young Girl (Roger Vadim, 1974).

One of her most interesting films was Duelle/Duel (Jacques Rivette, 1976) starring Juliet Berto and Bulle Ogier. It was meant to be as the first of four different films directed by Jacques Rivette with a running sub-plot involving a mythical war between goddesses of the Sun and the Moon, but till now Rivette has made only three parts.

In Italy, Wiener appeared in Al di là del bene e del male/Beyond Good and Evil (Liliana Cavani, 1977) starring Dominique Sanda, and the comedy Bianco, rosso e Verdone/White, red and Verdone (Carlo Verdone, 1981).

Wiener participated in musical performances by Michel Polnareff and Jacques Higelin. Most notably, she collaborated on Higelin's album Champagne pour tout le monde (Champagne for everyone). She is also interested in jazz as well as in contemporary and ethnic music. She joined such alternative rock groups as Phoenix before she started a solo career. She wrote for many singers and also composed several film scores. In 1992 she founded the female band Castafiore Bazooka.

Her most recent screen appearance was in the TV series Les Misérables (Josée Dayan, 2000) starring Gérard Depardieu. Elisabeth Wiener currently works as a voice actor and dubs such American stars as Jamie Lee Curtis, Glenn Close, Mia Farrow, Meryl Streep and Lauren Holly in the popular crime series NCIS (2005-2008). And she performs and records as La Beth and with her band Castafiore Bazooka.

Dream sequence from La Prisonnière/The Female Prisoner (1968). Source: Dogsfromabove (YouTube).

Elisabeth Wiener sings Vie a vies (1982). Source: TchikiSteph (YouTube).

Sources: ElisabethWiener.com (French), Wikipedia (French and English) and IMDb.

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