13 November 2014

Geneviève Page

Long-necked, doe-eyed Geneviève Page (1927) starred in French, Italian, British and American films during a career spanning fifty years. The French actress often played glamorous roles in costume pictures as a delectable heroine who meets an untimely demise.

Geneviève Page
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 281. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Geneviève Page
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 330. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Fanfan la Tulipe

Geneviève Page was born Geneviève Bonjean in Paris, France in 1927. Her father was Jacques Paul Bonjean, a well known French art-collector.

Her film début was in the murder mystery Pas de pitié pour les femmes/No Pity for Women (Christian Stengel, 1951) starring Simone Renant (AllMovie mentions the documentary Ce Siecle A Cinquante Ans/This Is the Half Century (Denise Tua, 1949) as her first film appearance).

It was followed by the comedy adventure film Fanfan la Tulipe (Christian-Jaque, 1952) in which she played Madame de Pompadour, alongside Gérard Philipe and Gina Lollobrigida. This swashbuckler was an enormous popular success and in 1952, it won both the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Since then, Page has appeared in French, Italian, British and American films. In Great-Britain, she appeared opposite David Niven in the romantic comedy The Silken Affair (Roy Kellino, 1956). Opposite Robert Mitchum she played in the American thriller Foreign Intrigue (Sheldon Reynolds, 1956).

In France she co-starred with Jean Marais in the comic fantasy Amour de poche/Girl in His Pocket (Pierre Kast, 1957) and in the spy parody L'honorable Stanislas, agent secret/How to Be a Spy Without Even Trying (Jean-Charles Dudrumet, 1963).

In Hollywood, she co-starred in the biographical film romance Song Without End a.k.a. The Story of Franz Liszt (1960) produced by Columbia Pictures. It was directed by Charles Vidor, who died during the shooting of the picture and he was replaced by George Cukor. The film starred Dirk Bogarde as Franz Liszt, Capucine as Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, and Page as Marie d'Agoult. The film won the Best Music score Academy Award for Morris Stoloff and Harry Sukman and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture (Musical).

Next, she appeared for Samuel Bronston Productions in the historical epic El Cid (Anthony Mann, 1961), a romanticized story of the life of the Christian Castilian knight ‘El Cid’ (Charlton Heston), who in the 11th century fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain.

Geneviève Page
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 129/69. Photo: publicity still for El Cid (Anthony Mann, 1961).

Jean Marais & Geneviève Page in L'honorable Stanislas, l'agent secret
German postcard by Progress-Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2416.Photo: publicity still of Jean Marais and Geneviève Page in the film Der ehrenwerte Stanislas/L'honorable Stanislas, l'agent secret (Jean-Charles Dudrumet, 1963).

Belle de Jour

Geneviève Page was a member of the international cast of the American action film Grand Prix (John Frankenheimer, 1966) with James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand. One of the ten highest grossing films of 1966, Grand Prix won three Academy Awards for its technical achievements.

One of her most famous films is Belle de Jour (Luis Bunuel, 1967). She played Madame Anais, who runs the high-class brothel, where Séverine (Catherine Deneuve) goes to work.

Page appeared with Deneuve again when she played Countess Larisch in the romantic tragedy Mayerling (Terence Young, 1968). Billy Wilder cast her as the mysterious villain in his The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) with Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes.

In France, she had a small part in the black comedy Buffet Froid (Bertrand Blier, 1979) with Gérard Dépardieu, and a bigger part in the thriller Mortelle Randonnée/Deadly Circuit (Claude Miller, 1983) with Isabelle Adjani as a serial killer and Michel Serrault as the detective who is on her trail. The film had a total of 916,868 admissions in France.

In the US, she appeared in Robert Altman's Beyond Therapy (1987) with Jeff Goldblum and in Altman’s segment of the anthology film Aria (1987). In Italy she starred in the drama Cartoline italiane/Italian Postcards (Memè Perlini, 1987).

Besides her film career, Geneviève Page had a long and distinguished career on stage. She was the winner of the 1980 Prix de la meilleure comédienne du syndicat de la critique (Best Actress award of the critics association) for her role in Les Larmes amères de Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) at the Théâtre national de Chaillot in Paris, and in 1996, she was nominated for the Molière Award (the French equivalent of the Tony Award) for her role in Colombe. She continued to act until 2003.

Geneviève Page has been married to Jean-Claude Bujard, a corporate director, since 1959 and they have two children.

Geneviève Page
Yugoslavian postcard by ZK, no. 2190. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Geneviève Page
Yugoslavian postcard by IOM, Beograd. Photo: Sedmo Silo.

Geneviève Page
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Sources: AllMovie, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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