30 March 2012

Alexandre Rignault

Alexandre Rignault (1901-1985) was a French stage, film, and television actor, often seen in supporting roles. He acted in some 150 films.

Alexandre Rignault
French postcard by A.N., Paris no. 1229. Photo: Ancrenaz / C.F.C.C. Alexandre Rignault as Renaldo in Le Capitan (Robert Vernay, 1946).

Louis Jouvet

Alexandre Paul Rignault was born in Paris, France in 1901.

In 1926, he started acting with the stage company of Louis Jouvet, at the Comédie des Champs-Elysées. Here he played in pieces by Merimée, Gogol but in particular Jean Giraudoux and Jules Romains.

Jouvet's troupe included Pierre Renoir, with whom Rignault would play together in various films as well.

Rignault expanded his career with film acting in 1931 when he played the art critic Langelard in La Chienne/The Bitch (Jean Renoir, 1932) starring Michel Simon.

It was followed by a part in the comedy Knock, ou le triomphe de la medicine/Dr. Knock (Roger Goupillières, Louis Jouvet, 1933). Jouvet had played this adaptation of Jules Romain's novel hundreds of times on stage and now directed it for the cinema, playing the title role himself.

Rignault had bigger parts in the Guy de Maupassant adaptation L'Ordonnance/The Orderly (Viktor Tourjansky, 1933) with a young Fernandel, and in L'Aventurier/The Adventurer (Marcel L'Herbier, 1934) starring Victor Francen.

Pierre Renoir in Le capitan
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 1228. Photo: Ancrenaz / C.F.C.C. Pierre Renoir as the Duke of Angouleme in Le capitan (1946).

Claude Génia
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 1225. Photo: Ancrenaz / C.F.C.C. Claude Génia played Gisèle d'Angoulême in Le Capitan (1946).

Major Film Parts

From the mid-1930s on, Alexandre Rignault had an enormous career in the French sound cinema. He played in some 150 films.

Rignault had major parts in La Terre qui meurt/The Land That Dies (Jean Vallée, 1936), and the war film Les Réprouvés/The Forsaken (Jacques Séverac, 1936) with Jean Servais.

Durting the occupation of France, he appeared in the adventure comedy Les Mystères de Paris/Mysteries of Paris (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1943), Le Comte de Monte Christo/The Count of Monte Christo (Ferruccio Cerio, Robert Vernay, 1943) starring Pierre Richard-Willm, and Dernier métro/The Last Metro (Maurice de Canonge, 1945).

After the war, he played in the drama Raboliot (Jacques Daroy, 1946), and La Nuit sans fin/Night Without End (Jacques Séverac, 1947).

He played commisioner Juve in the mystery Fantômas (Jean Sacha, 1947), and the sequel Fantômas contre Fantômas/Fantomas Against Fantomas (Robert Vernay, 1949) in which Marcel Herrand played Fantomas.

He worked several times with director Robert Vernay, including on the adventure film Le Capitan/The Captain (1946) starring Pierre Renoir, Claude Génia, and Aimé Clariond.

Rignault also played supporting parts in several films of Julien Duvivier, including Maria Chapdelaine (1934), La Charrette fantôme/The Phantom Cart (1939), the comedy La Fête à Henriette/Holiday for Henrietta (1952) featuring Dany Robin, and Le retour de Don Camillo/The Return of Don Camillo (1953).

Other films by famous directors he acted in are Maurice Tourneur's Volpone (1941), Fritz Lang's Liliom (1934), Anatole Litvak's L'Equipage/The Crew (1935), and Friedrich Feher's classic The Robber's Symphony (1936).

With Marcel L'Herbier he worked on La Citadelle du silence/The Citadel of Silence (1937), and La Tragédie impériale/Rasputin (1938) with Harry Baur as the Siberian monk.

He also appeared in such classics as L'Eternel retour/Love Eternal (Jean Delannoy, 1943) starring Jean Marais, the historical drama Les Sorcières de Salem/The Crucible (Raymond Rouleau, 1957) with Simone Signoret, and the horror mystery Les Yeux sans visage/Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1960) with his old friend Pierre Brasseur.

One of his later film roles was in Alain Resnais' Mon oncle d'Amérique/My American Uncle (1980). His final film was Partenaires/Partners (Claude d'Anna, 1984). Between 1961 and 1985 he also often played on television.

Alexandre Rignault died in Saint-Mandé, France in 1985. He was 84. He is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery. Rignault was married since 1922 to Eugénie Gayet.

Aimé Clariond
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 1229. Photo: Ancrenaz / C.F.C.C. Aimé Clariond as Concini in Le Capitan (1946).

Sources: Dvdtoile.com (French), Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

This post was last updated on 27 April 2020.

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