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Micheline Presle

  1. Odette Joyeux, Leçon de conduit, France, 1945.      He was still new to the job, and then mainly directing French musicals (!) but Gilles Grangier hoped for better lovers - like Micheline Presle-François Périer. He got Odette-Gilbert Gil.
  2. Josette Day, La belle et la bête, France, 1945.       Poet, painter, scenarist, realisateur Jean Cocteau at his finest... Obviously, his lover, Jean Marais, would be La Bête, but who could match him, taunt him, enflame him as La Belle.Producteur André Paulvé suggested Presle.“Too fat,” said Cocteau and Marias as one.Then playwright and film-maker Marcel Pagnol recommended his most recent ex-mistress. Bingo!
  3. Suzanne Cloutier, Juliette ou La clef des songes/Juliette or Key of Dreams, France, 1951.     Quickly shuttered by the Nazi Occupation when production began inOctober1941,realisateur Marcel Carné revived his filma decade later with nota second, but a third pair of co-stars. From Jean Marais-Presle to Roland Lesarffe-Leslie Caron to Gérard Philipe-Cloutier... Presle was Philipe’s co-star in his 1946 breakthrough, Le diable au corps: and the Canadian Cloutier was Peter Ustinov’s second wife, 1945-1971.
  4. Ann Blyth, I’ll Never Forget You (aka The House in the Square), 1950.    Still phonetically billed as Prelle, the French star was all set to work a second time with Tyrone Power after An American Guerrilla in the Philippines, 1949.  As the 18th Century beauty falling for his transmigrating 20th Century atomic research physicist… Collective minds changed and Constance Smith was drafted and then  dropped  due to pneumonia, it says here.  More truthfully because  head Fox Fox Darryl F Zanuck felt she was not ready “for such a difficult part. ”  Enter: a Blyth spirit.
  5. Corinne Calvet, What Price Glory, 1951     One French beauty for another as Calvet inherited Charmaine from Presle (or Prelle as LA inisted on calling her). No one sangthe Charmaine song - nor any others which annoyed top star James Cagney who believed he was booked for a musical. Director John Ford did not agree. And not for the first time…
  6. Danielle Darrieux, 5 Fingers, 1951.       First decent Hollywoodrole offeredthe French star (after marrying US producer Bill Marshall) and guess - she was pregnant with future French actress-director Tonie Marshall.
  7. Danielle Darrieux, Le rouge et le noir, Italy-France, 1953.     Talks went on with Brando to be Julien Sorel… But these were tough times for Presle. She had moved to the US with her husband, William Marshall. “No one wanted me in LA. Nor at home - except for a new Dame aux camelias, 1953. It did nothing for me.”She made it all the same: Dumas, Italian style.
  8. Anne Vernon, Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), France-West Germany, 1963.     Auteur Jacques Demy asked Presle to join Catherine Deneuve inhis musical - but as her mother!Perfectly reasonable as Presle was 21 years older. Fortunately for her image, she had a better offer - co-starring with Paul Newman in The Prize. She later worked with Demy and Deneuve in two films - sans maternity issues.
  9. Liselotte Pulver, La Religieuse (The Nun), France, 1965.    “At first, I was rather disappointed,” Presle toldStéphane Lambert in 2007. “I thought Jacques Rivette wanted me for the frivolous nun, Madame Chelle. But Madame de Mony was another wonderful role.” Both were 18th Century mothers superior at the Longchamps convent of the helpless Sister Anna Karina. “Absolutely perfect,” said Presle.
  10.  Danielle Darrieux, 8 femmes (8 women), France,  2001.   After Charlotte Rampling in  Sous le sable, 1999, auteur François Ozon wanted to film more impeccable actresses  - a la Cukor’s The Women, 1938. Casting icon Dominique Besnehard recalled a creaky, 70’ whodunnit by Robert Thomas: 8 femmes. It proved a decent  launchpad…  now a la Douglas Sirk. At first, Ozon and Besnehard could only come up with 7 femmes, including Catherine Deneuve, who recalled Alfred Hitchcock giving up on another old-fashioned Thomas murder mystery, Man Trap. Ozon’s film became quite an Artmedia talent agency production when Darrieux and Deneuve joined Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Izabelle Huppert, Virginia Ledoyen, Firmine Richard, Ludivine Sagnier. Result: They shared the  Berlin festival’s Silver Bear for “Outstanding Artistic Achievement” in 2002.





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