12 October 2010

Marcelle Monthil

Marcelle Monthil (1892-1950) was a French actress who started her film career in the days of the early silent cinema. She played dozens of supporting and bit parts during the 1930s and 1940s.

Marcelle Monthil
French postcard by Editions Pathé Frères. Photo: Félix.

Pathé Frères,
Marcelle Madeleine Montalenti was born in Monaco in 1892. She started her film career in short films of the Pathé Frères, including Deux petits Jésus/Two Little Jesus (1910, Georges Denola), Athalie (1910, Michel Carré) and Bébé/Baby (1913, Georges Monca). For Grands Films Lordier she appeared in Le bossu/The Hunchback (1914, André Heuzé). After the sound film was introduced, she returned to the cinema to appear in such films as L'amour chante/Love Songs (1930, Robert Florey) and Sa meilleure cliente/His best Customer (1932, Pierre Colombier) starring Elvire Popesco. She continued to play supporting parts in successful films like Roger la Honte/Roger the Shame (1933, Gaston Roudès), Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (1934, Henri Diamant-Berger) starring Aimé Simon-Girard, and Le voleur/The Thief (1933, Maurice Tourneur) starring the young Jean-Pierre Aumont. In the following years her parts became smaller and many of her appearances were even uncredited.

Jean-Pierre Aumont
Jean-Pierre Aumont. Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 3311. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer.

Jean-Louis Barrault
Jean-Louis Barrault. French postcard by O.P. Paris, no. 147. Photo: Star.

Children of Paradise
In the 1940’s Marcelle Monthil played supporting parts in such films as Le camion blanc/The White Truck (1943, Léo Joannon) starring Jules Berry, L'homme de Londres/The London Man (1943, Henri Decoin) and Lucrèce (1943, Léo Joannon) starring Edwige Feuillère. Her best known film is Les enfants du paradis/Children of Paradise (1945, Marcel Carné), the tragic tale of the ill-fated love between theater mime Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), and actress Garance (Arletty). Monthil played the supporting part of Marie in this beautiful drama. She played opposite Josephine Baker in the comedy Fausse alerte/The French Way (1945, Jacques de Baroncelli). The film was already shot in 1940 but its release was delayed because of the war. After the war she continued to appear in films like the drama Les dernières vacances/The Last Vacation (1948, Roger Leenhardt), Dernier amour/Last Love (1949, Jean Stelli) with Annabella, and Marlène (1949, Pierre de Hérain) starring Tino Rossi. Her last role was a bigger part in the comedy La dame de chez Maxim/Girl from Maxim's (1950, Marcel Aboulker). Marcelle Monthil died in 1950, in Paris, France.

Annabella. French postcard. Photo by Fox Film.

Tino Rossi
Tino Rossi. French postcard by Editions et Publications Cinématographiques, no. 119. Photo: Arnal (?) / EPC.

Sources: Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

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