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18 January 2016

Henri Garat

‘Beau garcon’ Henri Garat (1902-1959) was a popular singer and leading man in light romances during the 1930s. As the partner of Lilian Harvey in French adaptations of her film operettas he became a big star.

Henry Garat
French postcard by Viny, no. 68. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Viny, no. 68. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 162. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by AN, Paris, no. 623. Photo: Paramount.

Henry Garat
Dutch postcard by De Faam, Breda. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1932. Photo: Ufa.

Henri Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6300/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.

Jeune Premier


Henri (sometimes Henry) Garat was born Emile Henri Camille Garassu in Paris in 1902. He was the son of a minor actor and vaudeville performer known as Garet and the singer Césarine Lévy.

Henri began his career in 1924 as a jeune premier in music halls working with the likes of Mistinguett. In 1930 he made his first film for the Ufa, Flagrant délit/Burglars (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1930) starring Blanche Montel.

He replaced Willy Fritsch in the French adaptation of the popular German film operetta Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1930) starring Lilian Harvey and the result, Le chemin du Paradis/The Road to Paradise (Wilhelm Thiele, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1930) was a huge success and made Garat a 'grand vedette' in France.

He replaced Fritsch again in the French but also in the English versions of Der Kongress Tanzt (1931): Le congrès s'amuse (Erik Charell, Jean Boyer, 1931) and Congress Dances (Erik Charell, Jean Boyer, 1931), both with Lilian Harvey.

Other films with Harvey were La fille et le garçon/The Girl and the Boy (Roger Le Bon, Wilhelm Thiele, 1931), Princesse, à vos ordres/Adorable (Hanns Schwarz, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1931) and Un rêve blond/Happy Ever After (André Daven, Paul Martin, 1932) based on a script by Walter Reisch and Billy Wilder. His songs in these films became huge hits.

Henry Garat
French postcard by Erpé, no. 779. Photo: Ufa.

Henry Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6119/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Le congrès s'amuse (Jean Boyer, Erik Charell, 1931).

Lilian Harvey, Henri Garat
With Lilian Harvey. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6739/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Le Chemin du Paradis/The Road to Paradise (Wilhelm Thiele, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1930).

Lilian Harvey and Henry [Henri] Garat in Princesse, à vos ordres
Belgian postcard by Edition de la Chocolaterie Lecoq, no. 59. Photo: Ufa. Caption: "Lilian Harvey and Henry Garat in the famous film Princesse à vos ordres." Princesse à vos ordres (Hanns Schwarz, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1931) was the French version of the early German sound film Ihre Hoheit befiehlt. Co-writer of this film was Billy Wilder. It was remade in Hollywood in 1933 as Adorable, with Garat and Janet Gaynor.

Blanche Montel and Henry Garat in Flagrant Délit (1931)
French postcard by Nels / Alliance Cinématographiques Européenne. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Flagrant Délit (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1931) with Blanche Montel. Flagrant Délit was an alternate-language version of Einbrecher/Burglars (Hanns Schwarz, 1930) with Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch.

Blanche Montel and Henri Garat in Flagrant Délit (1931)
French postcard by Nels / Alliance Cinématographiques Européenne. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Flagrant Délit (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1931) with Blanche Montel.

Henry Garat
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 779. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Delphine (Roger Capellani, 1931).

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 24. Publicity still for Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933).

Meg Lemonnier, Henry Garat
French postcard by Éditions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 55. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933) with Meg Lemonnier

Seducer


When Lilian Harvey left for Hollywood Henri Garat continued with a new partner, Meg Lemonnier, in Simone est comme ça/Simone Is Like That (Karl Anton, 1932), which became his biggest success.

He starred with Arletty in his best film, Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933). In Hollywood he appeared with Janet Gaynor in Adorable (William Dieterle, 1933), a remake of Princesse, à vos ordres.

He returned to Paris for the Molière adaptation Les dieux s'amusent/Amphitryon (Reinhold Schünzel, Albert Valentin, 1935). In 1936 he made another comedy with Lilian Harvey, Les gais lurons/Lucky Kids (Paul Martin, Jacques Natanson, 1936), but his next films were less popular than they used to be.

At the end of the 1930s Garat started to consummate cocaine and his career declined further. His extravagances (a yacht, an aeroplane, a castle) and his divorces ruined him. His next films failed and he suffered a serious depression. In 1944 he left for Switzerland for a long period of rehab.

In 1947 he tried to make a come-back to no avail and also in the 1950s he tried several times to return in the spotlights, but sadly nobody was interested anymore in the former jeune premier. Henri Garat died in 1959 in Hyères, France, at the age of 57. He had been married four times. His wives were Betty Rowe, Marie Tchernycheff, Jacqueline Nigon, and Anna Luginbuhl. With Luginbuhl he had a son.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal, Rueil, no. 53. Photo: R.A.C.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 94. Photo: Studio Lorelle.

Henri Garat
French postcard by EPC (Editions et Publications Cinematographiques), no. 170. Photo: Ufa.

Henri Garat
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, London, no. C 153. Photo: Paramount.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 50. Photo: André Tranché.

Henri Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8748/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

Henry Garat in Il est charmant (1932)
French postcard by P.C., Paris, no. 1. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Il est charmant/He Is Charming (Louis Mercanton, 1932). Music sheet for the song En parlant un peu de Paris.

Henry Garat in Delphine (1931)
French postcard by P.C., Paris, no. 50. Photo and song from Delphine (Roger Capellani, 1931).


Clip from Un soir de réveillon (Karl Anton, 1933). Henri Garat sings J'aime les femmes (I Love Women). Source: Vieux Disques (YouTube).

Sources: Charlotte Hanotte (CinéArtistes, French), Paul Dubé, Jacques Marchioro (Du Temps des cerises aux Feuilles mortes, in French), Hall de la Chanson (French), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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