17 July 2016

Elmire Vautier

French actress Elmire Vautier (1897-1954) had a career in cinema between the late 1910s and the early 1940s.

Elmire Vautier
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 51. Photo: Studio Pathé.

An Illegitimate Child

Armandine Elmire Vautier was born in Grandchain, Eure, France in 1897.

She made her film debut in Sa gosse/Her Kid (1919), directed by Henri Desfontaines. It was the story about a woman from the countryside who moves to Paris after having an illegitimate child, but she does not like the capital and longs for her daughter.

From then on Vautier had a prolific career in French silent cinema, often paired with René Navarre, but also with Renée Sylvaire.

Memorable titles are Le roi de Camargue/The King of the Camargue (André Hugon, 1922), Judith (Georges Monca, Rose Pansini, 1922), the serial L'homme aux trois masques/The Man with Three Masks (Émile Keppens, René Navarre, 1922) with Gina Manès, Vidoq (Jean Kemm, 1923), Ferragus (Gaston Ravel, 1923) with British actor Stewart Rome, Jean Chouan (Luitz-Morat, 1925), Belphégor (Henri Desfontaines, 1927), and La tentation/Temptation (René Barberis, René Leprince, 1929).

In Le roi de Camargue,Vautier plays Lisette, a girl who is in love with Renaud (Charles de Rochefort), the 'king' of the Camargue. When he falls for a dashing gypsy woman, she tries to drown herself.

In Judith she is a countess whose husband is suspected of murder, and in Vidoq she is Manon la blonde, wife of Vidoq (René Navarre) but now the mistress of a rich man.

In Ferragus she is the daughter of an ex-convict (Navarre), now leader of a powerful secret society. A young man (Lucien Dalsace) is interested in her, but her father fears the unmasking of the family reputation.

Elmire Vautier
French postcard by Editions Filma in the series Les Vedettes du Cinéma, no. 10. Photo: Super-Film.

René Navarre
René Navarre. French postcard. Photo: DIX, Paris.

Dressed As A Ghost

One of Elmire Vautier's leading roles in the 1920s was that of Simone Desroches, who haunts the Louvre dressed as the ghost Belphégor, trying to steal from the museum. Eventually she is unmasked by the detective Chantecoq (René Navarre) and her own friend, the journalist Jacques Bellegarde (Lucien Dalsace).

In 1930 Vautier made the passage to sound film, playing in French productions shot at the Parisian Paramount studios. From 1931 and 1934 she was away from the screen for a while, and when she returned her parts had become smaller.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s she still acted in a few period pieces like Le patriote/The Mad Emperor (Maurice Tourneur, 1938) with Harry Baur, and Mam'zelle Bonaparte/Miss Bonaparte (Maurice Tourneur, 1942) starring Edwige Feuillère, but then her film career was over.

Elmire Vautier died in Livilliers, Val d'Oise, France in 1954. She was 56. For a time, she was married to René Navarre, but no exact dates are available.

Elmire Vautier
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 266. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères.

Sources: Ciné-Artistes (French), Cinefil, Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

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