23 May 2019

Isabelle Corey

French film actress Isabelle Corey (1939-2011) appeared in French and Italian films in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her best film was her first, the Film Noir Bob le flambeur/Bob the Gambler (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1956).

Isabelle Corey
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 618. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Isabelle Corey
French postcard Editions P.I., offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 748. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Isabelle Corey
German postcard by ISV, no G 3.

Young Femme Fatale

Isabelle Corey was born in Metz, France in 1939. Corey started modelling in Paris in her teens for magazines such as Jardin des Modes, Elle and Madame Figaro.

She was discovered by director Jean-Pierre Melville, walking in the Latin Quarter of Paris where she lived with her parents.

Her film debut was his Film Noir Bob le flambeur/Bob the Gambler (1956, Jean-Pierre Melville) starring Roger Duchesne as an old gangster and Corey played his young femme fatale, Anne. When Anne is down on her luck Bob takes her under his wing, hoping to steer her away from a life of prostitution. But Anne begins a love affair with Paulo (Daniel Cauchy), one of Bob’s young associates.

Alice Liddel at IMDb writes: “Isabelle Corey is unprecedented among all film heroines, her amoral, seemingly indifferent sexuality far more suggestive and powerful than her contemporary, Bardot's”.

That same year Corey appeared opposite Brigitte Bardot in the hit Et Dieu... créa la femme/And God created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1956), which made a superstar of BB.

The late James Travers wrote at the former website Films de France: “Vadim was so impressed with his work that he remade the film in the late 1980s, but, lacking the presence of Bardot, the result was scarcely a patch on the original. The original Et Dieu... créa la femme succeeded, despite the shallowness of its subject matter, because it happened at just the right time. Its impact on French cinema can only be guessed at, but it was probably very considerable indeed”.

Isabelle Corey
German postcard by UFA, no. FK 3372. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Betzler / Bavaria-Schorcht Film.

Isabelle Corey
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. I 270. Photo: Rank. Publicity still for Souvenir d'Italie/It Happened in Rome (1957).

Isabelle Corey in La ragazza della salina (1957)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Mionden/Westf., no. 2363. Photo: Schorcht / Betzler. Publicity still for La ragazza della salina/Sand, Love and Salt (Frantisek Cáp, 1957).

It Happened in Rome

The following years Isabelle Corey played in several French-Italian coproductions, filmed in Italy. Among them were the romantic comedies Vacanze a Ischia/Holiday Island (Mario Camerini, 1957) with Vittorio de Sica, Souvenir d'Italie/It Happened in Rome (Antonio Pietrangeli, 1957), and Adorabili e bugiarde/Adorable and a Liar (Nunzio Malasomma, 1958).

More interesting were the comedies Giovani mariti/Young Husbands (Mauro Bolognini, 1958) based on a screenplay by Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Amore a prima vista/Love at First Sight (Franco Rossi, 1958) with Walter Chiari.

Three years later, she reunited with director Mauro Bolognini for La Giornata balorda/A Crazy day (Mauro Bolognini, 1961) which featured Jean Sorel and Lea Massari. Again the script was written by Pier Paolo Pasolini, before he became a director himself. It is a black-and-white film about the lower class of Rome, based on a novel by Alberto Moravia.

Corey then worked with the future horror master Mario Bava at the Peplum spectacle L'Ultimo dei Vikinghi/Last of the Vikings (Giacomo Gentilomo, Mario Bava, 1961) starring Cameron Michell in the good-guy role and Edmund Purdom as the mincing, giggling villain.

That year she also worked with maestro Roberto Rossellini on the costume drama Vanina Vanini/The Betrayer (Roberto Rossellini, 1961) starring Sandra Milo and Laurent Terzieff. This is her last film according to IMDb.

AllMovie also lists the Italian/Spanish Peplum Il Gladiatore Invincibile/Invincible Gladiators (Alberto de Martino, Robert Mauri, 1963) with Richard Harrison.

After only 16 films Isabelle Corey’s film career was over. She died of cancer in Crozon, France in 2011.

Ingeborg Schöner, Isabelle Corey and Eloisa Cianni in Adorabili e bugiarde (1958)
Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Adorabili e bugiarde/Adorable and a Liar (Nunzio Malasomma, 1958) with Ingeborg Schöner, Isabelle Corey and Eloisa Cianni.

Isabelle Corey
Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor, no. 216.

Isabelle Corey
Italian postcard by Turismofoto, no. 17. Sent by mail in 1958.

Trailer for Bob le flambeur/Bob the Gambler (1956). Source: CynicalC1 (YouTube).

Sources: James Travers (Films de France - now offline), AllMovie, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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