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24 January 2017

Mylène Demongeot

Beautiful Mylène Demongeot (1935) became one of the blond sex symbols of the French cinema when she seduced Yves Montand in Les sorcières de Salem (1957). The coquettish French actress would go on to co-star in the three Fantômas adventures and many other European films of the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1980s she also became a producer.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Kruger, no. 902/162.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1066. Photo: Dimitri/Dalmas.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Kruger, no. 902/76.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1014. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 143. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 501. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Seduction Scene


Marie-Helene Demongeot was born in Nice, France in 1935 into a family of actors. Her parents met in Shanghai, China, and moved to Nice, France.

Her mother, Klaudia Trubnikova, was a Russian-Ukrainean emigre from Kharkiv who escaped from the horrors of the Russian Civil War. Her father, Alfred Demongeot, was of French-Italian heritage. The family was bilingual and young Demongeot was able to use Russian and French, but eventually switched to French. She grew up in Nice.

After the war, at the age of 13 she went to Paris and continued her education there. She studied piano under the tutelage of Marguerite Long and Yves Nat. At the age of 15 she became a model in the atelier of Pierre Cardin, and studied dramatic art with Marie Ventura at Le Cours Simon in Paris.

Two years later she made her film debut with a supporting role in Les enfants de l'amour/Children of Love (Léonide Moguy, 1953) starring Etchika Choureau.

More small roles followed in Futures Vedettes/Joy of Living (Marc Allégret, 1955) with Brigitte Bardot, and the British musical comedy It's a Wonderful World (Val Guest, 1956).

Then she had her breakthrough at the side of Yves Montand and Simone Signoret with a memorable seduction scene in Les sorcières de Salem/The Crucible (Raymond Rouleau, 1957), based on the play by Arthur Miller.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard. Photo: DEFA. Publicity still for Les sorcières de Salem (1957).

Mylène Demongeot
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1852, 1963. Retail Price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Progress.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1039, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane. Photo: H. Coste.

Mylène Demongeot
Dutch postcard by IFP, Amsterdam, no. 3014.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden/Westf. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1964.

Mylène Demongeot
Dutch postcard by Uitg. N.V. v.h. Weenenk & Snel, Baarn, no. 133.

Manipulative but Humorous


With appearances in three or four feature films every year, Mylène Demongeot would rise to international fame in the late 1950s.

Demongeot's first notable leading role was in Sois belle et tais-toi/Be Beautiful But Shut Up (Marc Allégret, 1958) opposite Henri Vidal, where she played a 17-year-old jewel smuggler.

She further developed her screen image of a manipulative but humorous blond mistress opposite David Niven in Bonjour tristesse (Otto Preminger, 1958, and opposite Alain Delon in the comedy Faibles femmes/Three Murderesses (Michel Boisrond, 1959).

Many of her screen assignments were along the ooh-la-la lines of her Swedish maid in the British Upstairs, Downstairs (Ralph Thomas, 1959).

In Italy she played opposite Steve Reeves in the Peplum (sword and sandal epic) La battaglia di Maratona/Giant of Marathon (Jacques Tourneur, 1959), with Rosanna Schiaffino and Elsa Martinelli in La notte brava/Bad Girls Don't Cry (Mauro Bolognini, 1959) based on a script by Pier Paolo Pasolini, again with Elsa Martinelli in the comedy Un amore a Roma/Love in Rome (Dino Risi, 1960) and with Roger Moore in Il ratto delle sabine/Romulus and the Sabines (Richard Pottier, 1961).

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1022. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
Spanish postcard by Oscarcolor, no. 268.

Mylène Demongeot
Spanish postcard by Oscarcolor, no. 266.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by St. Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/41. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions Borde, Paris, no. 130. Photo: Morel.

Milady de Winter


Among Mylène Demongeot's best known film-works are the role of manipulative Milady de Winter in the two-part adventure film Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Bernard Borderie, 1961) and the role of Helen in the Fantômas trilogy (André Hunebelle, 1964-1967), co-starring with Jean Marais and Louis de Funès.

Other incidental interesting films were À cause, à cause d'une femme (Michel Deville, 1963) with Jacques Charrier, the comedy 12 + 1 (Nicolas Gessner, 1969) with Sharon Tate, and the Canadian drama Quelques arpents de neige/A Few Acres of Snow (Denis Héroux, 1972).

Although she gradually fazed out of her stereotypical image of a beautiful French coquette, she still looked pretty convincing in the image of a mid-aged Madame, which she developed in the 1980s in films like Tenue de soirée/Evening Dress (1986, Bertrand Blier) starring Gérard Depardieu.

On TV she appeared in the detective series Il professore/Big Man (Steno, 1988-1989) starring Bud Spencer, and in The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (Desmond Davis, 1988).

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK 150. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Klaus Collignon / UFA.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/66. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/326. Photo: Gérard Decaux.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/327. Photo: Gérard Decaux.

Mylène Demongeot
Big Dutch postcard, no. 608.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by E.D.U.G., offered by Corvisart, Epinal, no. 29. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Comeback


Mylène Demongeot was the co-owner of Kangarou Films, a production company she had founded with her late husband, director Marc Simenon, the son of Georges Simenon.

During the 1970s and 1980s they produced a number of unsuccessful films like Par le sang des autres/By the Blood of Others (Marc Simenon, 1974) and Signé Furax/Signed Furax (Marc Simenon, 1981). Marc Simenon died in 1999.

Demongeot made a comeback in the crime drama 36 Quai des Orfevres/Department 36 (Olivier Marchal, 2004) starring Daniel Auteuil, and Victoire (Stephanie Murat, 2004) as the mother of Sylvie Testud.

Later films were La Californie/French California (Jacques Fieschi, 2006) based on a short story by Georges Simenon, the hit comedy Camping (Fabien Onteniente, 2006), and the sequel Camping 2 (Fabien Onteniente, 2010). With director Hiner Saleem, she made Sous les toits de Paris/Beneath the Rooftops of Paris (Hiner Saleem, 2007) and Si tu meurs, je te tue/If You Die, I'll Kill You (Hiner Saleem, 2011).

Demongeot also wrote several books, the best known are Tiroirs Secrets (Secret drawers, 2001) and Animalement vôtre (Animally Yours.2005). In the 2000s Demongeot made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of her mother in Kharkiv, Ukraine. There she planted a commemorative tree and presented her autobiographical book, Les Lilas de Kharkov (The Lilacs of Kharkiv, 1990).

In 2006 she was named Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters for her achievements in acting. Mylène Demongeot is currently residing in Nice in the south of France.

Her latest films include the comedy-drama Elle s'en va/On My Way (Emmanuelle Bercot, 2013), starring Catherine Deneuve, and Camping 3 (Fabien Onteniente, 2016), which became the second highest-grossing domestic film in France in 2016, with 3,228,313 tickets sold.

Mylène Demongeot
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 558.

Mylène Demongeot
Belgian postcard by Cox, no. 42.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 955. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Mylène Demongeot
Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor, no. 294.

Mylène Demongeot
German postcard by UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-268. Retail price: 300 Pfg. Photo: UFA.

Mylène Demongeot
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1035. Photo: D. Roger.

Sources: Steve Shelokhonov (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Personal website (French), Allociné (French), Wikipedia, and IMDb

6 comments:

Sherrie said...

Hi!
She's very beautiful!! Great postcards. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

Sherrie
A View of my Life

Christine said...

Great postcards. Is it just a coincidence that all of the postcards are German?

Bob of Holland said...

Hi,

Thank you for comments.

Yes Christine, most vintage filmstar postcards were made in Germany. In the 1920's the postcards by Ross Verlag were already very popular.

I like the colour postcards by Krüger from the late 1950's and early 1960's very much.

But filmstar postcards were also produced in France, Great Britain, Italy and many other European countries, including the Netherlands.

Beth Niquette said...

Wow--what a stunning young woman. I had never heard of her--I have a feeling she appreciates your remembrances.

Lay Hoon aka mescrap said...

Such pretty girls !!!
I've posted your link to my facebook postcard fans page :)

Cliff said...

What wonderful pix! Here's a little more on her B movie career:

http://bmoviebabes.blogspot.com/2015/12/46-mylene-demongeot.html