16 December 2014

Suzy Carrier

French actress Suzy Carrier (1922-1999) was a pretty ingénue who appeared in several comedies and crime dramas of the 1940s and early 1950s.

Suzy Carrier
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 40. Photo: Carlet Ainé.

Suzy Carrier
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 191. Photo: Carlet.

A piece of resistance

Suzy Carrier was born as Suzanne Knubel in Moulins, France in 1922. She spent her youth between two beloved women, her aunt and grandmother, while her parents lived in Paris.

After finishing her education, she moved to her family to Paris. Another aunt, Eliane Carrier of the Opera detected the artist's temperament in her niece.

Suzy studied drama at the Conservatoire and made her film debut during the German occupation of France. She played next to Pierre Blanchar and Annie Ducaux in Pontcarral, colonel d'Empire/ Pontcarral - colonel of the empire (Jean Delannoy, 1942), based on a novel by Albéric Cahuet. Some critics viewed the film as a piece of resistance against the Nazis.

D.B. DuMonteil at IMDb: “Some directors did not want to give up struggling in an occupied France. So they used the Middle Ages (Les Visiteurs Du Soir) or the Restoration (this movie) to tell their compatriots they had to carry on the fight. They say the audience used to applause during the last scenes, when the colonel was reinstated in his French army and was leaving for Algeria. After two hours of resistance against the new kings, Louis the Eighteenth and Charles the Tenth, Louis-Philippe told him he needed men of his value.” Several lines were cut by the German censorship.

Next her co-star Pierre Blanchar directed her in Secrets (1943), an adaptation of the play A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev. The lead roles were played by Pierre Blanchar, Marie Déa and Jacques Dumesnil. During the shooting, Carrier nearly drowned.

D.B. DuMonteil at IMDb: “Pierre Blanchar, an actor who directed only two films, manages quite well. Arthur Honegger's splendid score and Matras's quivering cinematography help. So does the cast. There's a long dreamlike sequence which throws the movie a bit off balance, because it verges on tongue in cheek while the rest of the story is solid psychological drama. (...) Although filmed during the German occupation, ‘Secrets’ seems to happen in a different age. Hence its charm.”

Other films in which she appeared during the war years were L'Escalier sans fin/The endless stairs (Georges Lacombe, 1943) with Pierre Fresnay, and L'aventure est au coin de la rue/The adventure is around the corner (Jacques Daniel-Norman, 1944) starring Raymond Rouleau.

After the war she continued her films career opposite Bourvil in the comedy Pas si bête/Not so stupid (André Berthomieu, 1946) and opposite Armand Bernard in another comedy, Bichon (René Jayet, 1947).

Suzy Carrier
French postcard by SERP, Paris, no. 150. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Suzy Carrier
French postcard, no. 67. Photo: Carlet.

The cow Yolande

During the early 1950s, Suzy Carrier continued to play leading roles in comedies. In Les Mémoires de la vache Yolande/The memories of the cow Yolande (Ernst Neubach, 1950, she was the love interest of Rellys, and in Le Père de Mademoiselle/The Father of the Girl (Marcel L'Herbier, 1953) she was the daughter of André Luguet.

In 1955 she played Madame Elisabeth in the lush historical drama Marie-Antoinette reine de France/Marie Antoinette Queen of France (Jean Delannoy, 1955) starring Michèle Morgan as the Queen and Richard Todd as her lover, Count Axel von Fersen.

After that, Carrier’s film career had an intermission of nearly 20 years. Then she returned to the screen in a small part in the comedy Na! (Jacques Martin, 1973). She also appeared in the West German-French co-production Die Antwort kennt nur der Wind/Only the Wind Knows the Answer (Alfred Vohrer, 1974). Maurice Ronet portrays in this routine thriller an insurance agent who investigates a millionaire’s suicide (or was it one?) and his life insurance. It was Carrier’s final film.

Suzy Carrier died in Grasse in the French Alps in 1999. She was 77. She was married twice. Her first marriage, to Dr. George Loublié was announced in 1943. Her second husband was M. Schmitt, a banker in Le Vésinet, France.

Suzy Carrier
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 140. Photo: Ch. Vandamme / Les Mirages.

Suzy Carrier
French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 4. Photo: Pathé.

Sources: Louis Delallier (Le grenier de mon moulins - French), D.B. DuMonteil (IMDb), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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