27 April 2012

Marc Porel

Handsome Marc Porel (1949–1983) was a Swiss-born French film actor, who appeared in 36 films between 1967 and 1983. He became known internationally with his roles in two films by Luchino Visconti, Ludwig (1972) and L‘Innocente (1976).

Marc Porel
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 33132.

The Son of Rita Hayworth

Marc Porel was born as Marc Michel Marrier de Lagatinerie in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1949. He was the son of the actors Jacqueline Porel and Gérard Landry, and great-grandson of the legendary actress Réjane.

He had two half-brothers, from Jacqueline Porel’s first marriage to actor François Périer: the assistant-director Jean-Pierre Périer (1943-1966) and the photographer Jean-Marie Périer, and a half-sister, journalist Anne-Marie Périer, the third wife of Michel Sardou.

Discovered by Jean-Claude Brialy, Porel made his film debut with a small role in Costa-GavrasUn homme de trop/Shock Troops (Constantin Costa-Gravas, 1967) starring Charles Vanel, Bruno Cremer and Brialy.

It was followed by a bigger role in the comedy Des garçons et des filles/Boys and Girls (Etienne Perier, 1967) with Nicole Garcia.

More supporting roles followed in the crime drama Le clan des Siciliens/The Sicilian Clan (Henri Verneuil, 1969) starring Jean Gabin and Alain Delon, the thriller La Horse/The Horse (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1970) again starring Gabin, and the drama The Road to Salina (Georges Lautner, 1970) in which he played the son of Rita Hayworth.

He had his first lead role in Tumuc Humac (1970), directed by his half-brother Jean-Marie Périer, and followed it up with another leading role in the romantic drama Un peu de soleil dans l'eau froide/A Few Hours of Sunlight (Jacques Deray, 1971) costarring Claudine Auger, based on a novel by Francoise Sagan.

He had great success in France in the crime drama Les aveux les plus doux/Tender wishes (Edouard Molinaro, 1970) as an ex-con manipulated by the policemen Roger Hanin and Philippe Noiret. Porel shares two scenes in the film with his father, Gerard Landry. Despite this success, his further career would take place mainly in the Italian cinema.

Marc Porel as Richard Hörnig in Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1972). Photo: Collection Carlo Gedda @ Flickr.

Marc Porel as Filippo d'Arborio in L’Innocente/The Innocent (Luchino Visconti, 1976). Photo: Collection Carlo Gedda @ Flickr.

A controversial and blacklisted Giallo

Marc Porel became internationally known with two films by Italian director Luchino Visconti. He was Richard Hornig, the valet and lover of the eccentric King Ludwig of Bavaria (Helmut Berger) in the four-hour epic, Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1972). Four years later he was Laura Antonelli’s lover Filippo d'Arborio in Visconti’s final opus, L’Innocente/The Innocent (Luchino Visconti, 1976).

Porel started to work more often in Italy. He co-starred in the controversial and blacklisted Giallo Non si sevizia un paperino/Don’t Torture a Duckling (Lucio Fulci, 1972), starring Florinda Bolkan and Barbara Bouchet. He reunited with Alain Delon in the French-Italian action film Tony Arzenta (Duccio Tessari, 1973), appeared in the Bud Spencer vehicle Il soldato di ventura/Soldier of Fortune (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1975), and co-starred in another Giallo, Sette note in nero/The Psychic (Lucio Fulci, 1977) with Jennifer O’Neill.

He was directed by a nephew of Luchino Visconti in Una spirale di nebbia/A Spiral of Mist (Eriprando Visconti, 1977), now in a starring role opposite Claude Jade. In 1977, he married Italian actress Barbara Magnolfi, with whom he made three films: Difficile Morire/Hard to Die (Umberto Silva, 1977), the police drama Milano Difendersi O Morire/Blazing Flowers (Gianni Martucci, 1978) and the Giallo La Sorella di Ursula/The Sister of Ursula (Enzo Milioni, 1978).

Reportedly shaken by the death of his half-brother Jean-Pierre in 1966 at the age of 23, he had begun to use drugs. He got hooked on coke, and went into a downward spiral. Porel became headline news because of his heavy drug abuse. It damaged his career and also his health. His final film was the thriller Delitto carnale/Killing of the Flesh (Cesare Canevari, 1983). That same year, Marc Porel died of meningitis resulting from an overdose of drugs in Casablanca, Morocco.

He was only 34. He had two daughters, Camille and Bérangère. The latter made her film debut as Bérangère de Lagâtinerie with Trocadéro bleu-citron/Trocadero Lemon Blue (Michael Schock, 1991), but shortly afterward she suddenly died at the age of 21. Father and daughter are buried together at the Cimetière de Passy in the grave of Réjane.

Italian trailer of the action-comedy Colpo in Canna/Loaded Gun (Fernando Di Leo, 1975) with Ursula Andress. Source: Neverlando74 (YouTube).

French trailer of Spirale di nebbia/A Spiral of Mist (1977). Source: Gunnar Solka (YouTube).

Sources: Olivier Sinqsous (CinéArtistes - French), Wikipedia (French, German and English), and IMDb.

This post was last updated on 16 June 2020.

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