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16 July 2016

Agnès Laurent

Beautiful French actress Agnès Laurent (1936-2010) featured in a dozen European sexploitation films of the late 1950s and early 1960s. She was touted as 'The New French sex kitten', a rival to Brigitte Bardot.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1013. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/233. Photo: Gérard Decaux.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Ufa (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-182. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Sam Lévin / Ufa.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/77.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Ufa (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-199. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Sam Lévin / Ufa.

Striptease


Agnès Laurent was born Josette Chouleur in Lyon, France in 1936 (according to Les Gens du Cinema, based on her birth certificate) or 1938 (according to CITWF). After working for a few months as a secretary, she had some acting classes from Eve Francis and Charles Dullin.

She made her film début in the short film Axelle et son Clochard/Axelle and her Tramp (Pierre Foucaud, 1956). The film was produced by René Thévenet, who would also produce some of her later films. Her next stint was a small part in Mannequins de Paris/Mannequins of Paris (André Hunebelle, 1956) starring Madeleine Robinson and Ivan Desny.

In her following film she was already top-billed, Les Collegiennes/The Twilight Girls (André Hunebelle, 1956) about the turbulent emotions among girls on a regimented French girls' school. In the film also appeared a young Catherine Deneuve. In the sexploitation melodrama Marchands De Filles/Sellers Of Girls (Maurice Cloche, 1957) she gets involved with a white slavery racket. While on a ship to South America, she becomes engaged to a crewman, played by Georges Marchal, and then she tackles the syndicate head-on.

In the sex comedy Mademoiselle Striptease/The Nude Set (Pierre Foucaud, 1957), she played a spoiled young provincial girl who coerces her wealthy parents into sending her to Paris. In gay Paris, Agnes discovers the bohemian nightclubs where striptease has become so popular - in no time the timid country girl goes from spectator to performer.

Mark Deming calls it at AllMovie ‘a charming sexual frolic that features outstanding striptease and cabaret performances’. When Audubon Films released The Nude Set in 1961 in the US, the big selling point was Agnès Laurent. The film's sexy young star was touted by Audubon as 'The New French Sex Kitten'. She was hailed as a rival to Brigitte Bardot.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 896. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 935. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 964. Photo: Studio Vauclair.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 727. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1025. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Miniature Girl


1957 was a busy year for Agnès Laurent. She also appeared as Monette, the sexy assistant of scientist Prof. Jerome (Jean Marais) in the Sci-Fi comedy Un amour de poche/Girl in His Pocket (Pierre Kast, 1957).

The professor stumbles upon a formula that shrinks people. When his wife suspects that her husband is carrying on a romance with Monette (she's right), the naked Monette hides herself by drinking the potion and shrinks to 3 inches tall. The professor keeps her in his pocket until he can find an antidote. The film was based on The Diminishing Draft, a short story by Waldemar Kaempfert from 1918.

The following year she appeared in the German-French war film Die grünen Teufel von Monte Cassino/The green Devils of Monte Cassino (Harald Reinl, 1958) featuring Joachim Fuchsberger.

In 1959, Lauerent starred in the Spanish production Un mundo para mí/Soft Skin and Black Lace (José Antonio de la Loma, 1959). Scenes were later edited in Radley Metzger’s compilation film Dictionary of Sex (1964).

In Spain she also appeared in Altas variedades/The Big Show (Francisco Rovira Beleta, 1960) opposite Christian Marquand, and in Italy she made the adventure film La notte del grande assalto/The Night of the Great Attack (Giuseppe Maria Scotese, 1960).

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. FK 4138. Photo: Contact Organisation, Paris / Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof.

Agnès Laurent
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 692 Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Ufa. Photo: Dieter E. Schmidt / Ufa.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by Ufa. Photo: Unifrance-Film.

Agnès Laurent
German postcard by UFA, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 4503. Photo: Bernard Vauclair / Unifrance / Ufa.

Plenty of Ooh la la!


In 1960 Agnès Laurent moved over to England to appear in the British comedy A French Mistress (Roy Boulting, 1960). She played a gorgeous new French language teacher on a traditional British boys' school, who causes countless crushes of the young lads and their profs. Jenny Evans at IMDb calls it ‘a breezy comedy with plenty of ooh la la!’.

The next year she appeared in another British comedy Mary Had A Little... (Edward Buzzell, 1961). This was Britain's first sex comedy, according to David McGillivray in his history of the British sex film, Doing Rude Things.

In 1961 she also appeared opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in the episode Lauzun of the anthology film Amours célèbres/Famous Love Affairs (Michel Boisrond a.o., 1961).

Later she worked for television in TV films like Peril au Paradis/Peril in the Paradise (Edmond T. Greville, 1964).

Laurent then abandoned acting and wrote some crime novels, including Au cœur de ma nuit (In the heart of my night, 1970) and Requiem pour un fantôme (Requiem for a ghost, 1973).

In 2010, Agnés Laurent passed away in Grenoble, France. She was 74.

Agnès Laurent in Péché de jeunesse (1958)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1103, 1959. Photo: publicity still for Péché de jeunesse/Sins of Youth (Louis Duchesne, 1958).

Agnès Laurent
East-German postcard by VEB progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1105, 1962. Photo: Progress.

Agnès Laurent in Amours célèbres (1961)
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 1122. Photo: Unidex. Publicity still for Amours célèbres/Famous Love Affairs (Michel Boisrond, 1961).


This clip is a special feature that describes the making of the American version of Les Collegiennes (1956), The Twilight Girls. This film broke new ground in the country's legal definition of pornography and was the cause of a landmark judicial decision in late-1950s New York's censorship statutes. Source: Georgina Spelvin (YouTube).


American trailer for Marchands De Filles/Sellers Of Girls (1957). Source: SomethingWeirdDotCom (YouTube).

Sources: Mark Deming (AllMovie), Yvan Foucart (Le coin du cinéphage - French), CITWF, Les gens du cinema (French), Wikipedia (Dutch) and IMDb.

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