08 October 2014

Jacqueline Sassard

Charming and beautiful Jacqueline Sassard (1940) had a short but successful career in the European cinema of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Jacqueline Sassard
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/112. Photo: Farabola.

Taking revenge on playboy Alain Delon

Jacqueline Sassard was born in Nice, France in 1940.

She started her career as a teenager in the French thriller Je plaide non coupable/Guilty? (Edmond Gréville, 1956).

The following year, she played the title role of the Italian comedy Guendalina (Alberto Lattuada, 1957), with Sylva Koscina and Raf Vallone as her parents.

The film was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, and the latter offered her another lead role in the comedy Nata di marzo/Born in March (Antonio Pietrangeli, 1958) opposite Gabriele Ferzetti. For her role she won the Zuleta Prize at the San Sebastián International Film Festival 1958.

In Italy she also appeared as a young woman with family and economical troubles in Il magistrato/The Magistrate (Luigi Zampa, 1959), a co-production with Spain and France. The Spaniard José Suárez stars in the film, and other roles were played by François Périer and a 21-year-old Claudia Cardinale.

In the award-winning drama Estate violenta/Violent Summer (Valerio Zurlini, 1959), her character is left by Jean Louis Trintignant for Eleonora Rossi Drago.

She also played one of the three sisters who take revenge on playboy Alain Delon in the comedy Faibles femmes/Three Murderesses (Michel Boisrond, 1959), co-starring Mylène Démongeot and Pascale Petit.

Jacqueline Sassard
French postcard by Editions P.I., licency holder in France for Ufa, no. FK 4506. Photo: Ufa.

Jacqueline Sassard
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 868. Photo: Studio Vauclair.

A heady mixture of Yiddish accents, Borscht-belt one-liners and rippling pecs

In the early 1960s, Jacqueline Sassard mainly worked in Italy in less prestigious films than before.

It was the period of the Peplum spectacles and she was seen as Antiope in Arrivano i titani/The Titans (Duccio Tessari, 1962) with Pedro Armendáriz and Giuliano Gemma.

Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “My Son the Hero started out in 1961 as a straightforward Italian sword and sandal affair titled Arrivano i Titani, all about the quest for a magic helmet in ancient Thebes. Well cast (Pedro Armendariz is the star) and extremely well photographed, the original film was still not sufficient different from all the other Italian strongman films glutting the American market in 1963. Thus the American distributors hit upon the notion of transforming the film into a satire, by redubbing all the actors and hoking up the sound effects. What resulted was a heady mixture of Yiddish accents, Borscht-belt one-liners and rippling pecs.”

Sassard also appeared in a small part opposite Steve Reeves in the adventure film Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem/Sandokan the Great (Umberto Lenzi, 1963).

In between, Sassard played opposite Freddy Quinn in the German Schlagerfilm Freddy und das Lied der Südsee/Freddy and the Song of the South Seas (Werner Jacobs, 1962).

She had a supporting part in the Italian-French sex comedy Le voci bianche/Counter Tenors (Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, 1964) with Sandra Milo and Anouk Aimée.

Jacqueline Sassard
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Jacqueline Sassard
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin. Photo: publicity still for Il Magistrato/The Magistrate (Luigi Zampa, 1959).

Captivating, sensual performances

One of Jacqueline Sassard’s best films is the Italian drama Le stagioni del nostro amore/Seasons of Our Love (Florestano Vancini, 1966) with Enrico Maria Salerno and Anouk Aimée.

Sassard then played an Austrian princess in the prestigious British film Accident (Joseph Losey, 1967), based on a script by Harold Pinter and starring Dirk Bogarde. At the 1967 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury.

Gavin Jones at IMDb: “One of the best films ever made, this movie oozes atmosphere. The cinematography is impeccable, the script disturbingly brilliant.”

Her last credited screen appearance was opposite Stéphane Audran and Jean-Louis Trintignant in the sensual and sexy thriller Les Biches/The Does/Girlfriends (1968), directed by Claude Chabrol. It was one of the first films subtly dealing with bisexuality.

James Travers at Films de France: “All the time, we, the audience, are seduced by the beautiful cinematography, the captivating, sensual performances, most notably from the Sphinx-like Stéphane Audran, and Chabrol's masterful direction. This is a deliciously seductive work, but one which is also profoundly disturbing.”

Then Jacqueline Sassard retired and disappeared from public view. In Brazil, she had met Gianni Lancia, the Italian former automobile engineer, industrialist and racing enthusiast. They married and have one son, Lorenzo.

Today, Jacqueline Sassard lives in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Jacqueline Sassard and Jose Suarez
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 1501, 1961. Photo: Jacqueline Sassard and José Suárez in Il magistrato/The Magistrate (Luigi Zampa, 1959), released in Germany as Der Richter.

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), James Travers (French Films), Gavin Jones (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

She was very good in Les Biches. What a beautiful woman.