14 December 2012

Georges Grey

Handsome French star Georges Grey (1911 – 1954) was one of the favorite actors of director Sacha Guitry.

Georges Grey
French postcard by Edition O.P., Paris, no. 32. Photo: Studio Piaz.

Georges Grey
French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 46. Photo: Roger Carlet.

Nude Scene
Georges Grey, sometimes credited as George Grey, was born as Jean-Joseph-Georges Gacon in Lyon, France in 1911. He made his film debut in Sacha Guitry’s Les perles de la couronne/The Pearls of the Crown (1937). In this film, Guitry and his wife Jacqueline Delubac play multiple roles throughout a 400 year time span. In the present Guitry plays a historian who tells his wife the history of seven pearls acquired at the behest of Pope Clement who gave them to Catherine de Medici. Grey played a bit part as a young Hungarian. Les Perles de la couronne was a huge commercial success. JB Du Monteil at IMDb: “Guitry was French wit at its best. The film is marvelously constructed; Scheherazade could not do better even if she tried her best. Guitry goes backwards and forwards between the present and the past, with absolute virtuosity. And he even manages to make a ‘poetic’ ending.“ The following year, Grey played a much bigger role as a charming Hollywood matinee idol in Paris in Guitry’s Quadrille/2 x 2 = 4 (1938, Sacha Guitry), which also starred the director and his wife plus Gaby Morlay. At IMDb, Tentender writes: “the exceptionally appealing presence of young star Georges Grey - a very handsome man, who is seen in a (non full-frontal) nude scene. He's very chipper and genial (if not exactly funny - he doesn't really have any good lines).” Guitry kept casting him. Grey played a prince in Remontons les Champs-Élysées/Let us go back to the Champs Elysees (1938, Sacha Guitry) and had another supporting part in Ils étaient neuf célibataires/Nine Bachelors (1939, Sacha Guitry).

Georges Grey
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 85. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

Georges Grey
French postcard, no. 99. Photo: Studio Roger Carlet.

Georges Grey worked with several other directors besides Guitry. He appeared in Narcisse (1940, Ayres d'Aguiar) featuring Rellys, Monsieur Hector/Mr. Hector (1940, Maurice Cammage) starring Fernandel, and La fille du puisatier/The Well-Digger's Daughter (1940, Marcel Pagnol) with Raimu. About the latter, James Travers writes at Films de France: “La Fille du puisatier may not be Marcel Pagnol’s greatest film - indeed a less generous reviewer would write it off as a bland rehash of the director’s previous Angèle (1934) - but it does assume some historical significance by dint of the fact that it documents France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany more or less as it was happening. Work on the film began in May 1940 but was suspended in June at the height of the debacle. Filming resumed in August after France’s surrender and the establishment of the Vichy government.” Grey then played a gypsy in Cartacalha, reine des gitans/Cartacalha, queen of the gypsies (1942, Léon Mathot) starring Viviane Romance. He reunited with Guitry for Le destin fabuleux de Désirée Clary/Mlle. Desiree (1942, Sacha Guitry) featuring Gaby Morlay as a girlfriend of Napoleon. Grey only had a supporting part. In 1942 he appeared in a total of seven films. The following year, he played the second lead in the comedy Adémaï bandit d'honneur/Adémaï bandit of honor (1943) starring Noël-Noël. The film was produced by Les Prisonniers Associés, a company created by recently released prisoners. Probably this was not a good idea, because after this production there was a pause in Grey’s film career of three years. In 1946 he had another supporting part in Monsieur Grégoire s'évade/Mr. Gregoire Runs Away (1946, Jacques Daniel-Norman) with Bernard Blier. In the next years followed roles in five more films. He had his first leading role in the comedy Tierce à coeur/Third at heart (1947, Jacques de Casembroot), but it was not a success. He reunited with Guitry again for a supporting part in Le comédien/The Private Life of an Actor (1948, Sacha Guitry). This was a lovingly told biography of Guitry’s father, stage comedian and silent film actor Lucien Guitry. It was followed by another part for Guitry in the historical extravaganza Le diable boiteux/The Lame Devil (1948, Sacha Guitry). Grey’s final film was the drama La ferme des sept péchés/The Farm of Seven Sins (1949, Jean-Devaivre) with Jacques Dumesnil. Five years later, he died in a sanatorium in Passy, France in 1954. Georges Grey was only 43.

Georges Grey
French postcard by Editions et Publications Cinematographiques (EPC), no. 244. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Georges Grey
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 166. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Sources: James Travers (Films de France), JB Du Monteil (IMDb), Tentender (IMDb), Les gens du cinema (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

1 comment:

Chloe Schofield said...

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Lots of Love,
Chloe from Lobley Cottage blog.
P.S. Those pictures are mighty handsome, wink! :D xx