21 September 2013

Marie-France Boyer

French actress and businesswoman Marie-France Boyer (1938) was a beautiful starlet in many European films and TV-series of the 1960s. Her most notable film is Le Bonheur (1965), one of the masterpieces of the Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave.

Marie-France Boyer
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/352. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Enormously Popular Adventure Series

Marie-France Boyer was born in 1938, in Marseille, France. She started her film career with a supporting part in La Verte moisson/Green Harvest (Francois Villiers, 1959) with Dany Saval.

Boyer then switched between the big screen and television. She appeared in the enormously popular adventure series Thierry la Fronde (Pierre Goutas, 1963) starring Jean-Claude Drouot as Thierry of Janville, both an unmatched sling man, and the savvy leader of a band of French rebels during the Hundred Year War.

Her first leading part was in an episode of the anthology film Les baisers/Kisses (Bernard Toublanc-Michel, 1964).

Jean-Claude Drouot, Thierry la Fronde
French postcard by Éditions d'art Yvon, Arcueil, no. 2. Photo: O.R.T.F ./ Télé France Film / Photo Bruguière. Still from Thierry la Fronde (1963-1966) with Jean-Claude Drouot.

Tea For Two

Marie-France Boyer  played a small part in the war film Week-end à Zuydcoote/Weekend at Dunkirk (Henri Verneuil, 1964) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Catherine Spaak and François Périer.

Then followed a part as the wife of Jean-Louis Trintignant in La bonne occase/The Real Bargain (Michel Drach, 1965).

She became a TV celebrity as one of the hosts of the pop music show À chacun son la (1965), and she even had a hit record herself with the 1967 duet Tea for Two, with Frank Alamo.

Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean-Paul Belmondo. Italian postcard in the series Artisti di sempre by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 355.


Marie-France Boyer’s best known film is probably Le Bonheur/Happiness (1965) directed by famous French director Agnès Varda. Le Bonheur was Varda's first colour film, and would win several prizes including a Silver Bear at the Film Festival of Berlin.

The protagonist is a young, married carpenter (Jean-Claude Drouot). He takes a mistress (Marie-France Boyer), assuming that he can be equally in love with both his wife (played by his real-life wife, Claire Drouot) and the new woman in his life. When the wife drowns, the mistress quietly takes her place.

According to Hal Erickson at AllMovie, this plot twist remains a subject of debate amongst Varda's admirers. Critics carped that her choice of hues was not "realistic". Varda responded that she was choosing the hues that were best suited psychologically to her story.

IMDb-reviewer Howard Schumann comments: “One of the seminal works of the French New Wave, Le Bonheur was audacious in its day and still leaves us unsettled, 37 years later.”

Jean-Claude Drouot
Jean-Claude Drouot. French postcard by Publistar, Marseille, no. 968. Photo: Philips / Alibert.

Sin With A Stranger

After this breakthrough role Marie-France Boyer was the leading actress of the TV comedy series Comment ne pas épouser un milliardaire/How not to marry a millionaire (Lazare Ilglesis, 1966), opposite Jean-Claude Pascal.

She also starred in several European film productions including the action drama L'inconnu de Shandigor/The Unknown Man of Shandigor (Jean-Louis Roy, 1967) with Ben Carruthers, Jeudi on chantera comme dimanche/Thursday We Shall Sing Like Sunday (Luc de Heusch, 1967) with Bernard Fresson, the thriller L'Etrangère/Sin With A Stranger (Serge Gobbi, 1968) with Pierre Vaneck, and the sex comedy The Man Who Had Power Over Women (John Krish, 1970) starring Australian actor Rod Taylor.

Marie-France Boyer
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3093, 1968. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Unifrance Film.


Marie-France Boyer had been married for ten years to producer and director Remy Grumbach. In the early 1970s she married to Jean Zorbibe, CEO of Lancel. She retired from the cinema.

One of her last roles was as the heroine of the adventure TV series Quentin Durward (Gilles Grangier, 1970).

After selling the Lancel group in 1997, her husband started to breed racehorses. They have two children. Marie-France Boyer currently lives between Paris and Deauville, where the family owns a stud farm that still breeds racehorses.

Scene from Le Bonheur (1965). Source: Vinnystation (YouTube).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Howard Schumann (IMDb), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.


Anonymous said...


Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I hope that she didn't have to hold that pose for too long!
Evelyn in Montreal

Beth Niquette said...

How very interesting. What a lovely woman she was--and she's still alive! Wow. That is cool.

Happy PFF!

Terry said...

Howdy Bob
Happy PFF to you :)
I am always so impressed by all the informaion you are able to gather together for us .
Thank you for a job well done .
What a truly amazing and beautiful woman .
Have a wonderful Easter weekend.
until next time
Happy Trails

Mary said...

I love the kind of baggy butt in the swim suit - the suit is soooooo

Linda said...

I learn so much from your posts! Thanks again for the introduction to some of Europe's most fascinating stars and films.

Clytie said...

I really like the cards and the information you put with them.

Bunched Undies said...

Le Bonheur is an interesting film...and quite disturbing in some ways. Ms. Boyer is quite beautiful in it.