It was associated with a replica of the Quai des brumes that she had never pronounced. the “You have beautiful eyes, you know”, blew Gabin. Michèle Morgan, 18 years of age, in contrast, was “Kiss me”, but it is the French cinema as she hugged him, throwing in his arms. The actress, icon, popular, representing a type of beautiful woman not a rebel, who died Tuesday at the age of 96 years, leaving a filmography atypical : large but bland, without the shine that some of the works of youth, port of shadows by Marcel Carné, therefore, Trailers by Jean Grémillon, the pastoral Symphony, for which she received the first prize of interpretation of the Cannes film Festival in 1946.
Born Simone Roussel in Neuilly-sur-Seine on February 29, 1920, she grew up in Dieppe, in a family that she thought “exceptional”. His father, made unemployed after the 1929 crisis, which has taken over a grocery store, and the little Simone, the eldest of four children, haunts the cinema. the “I wanted to be an actress, to be Garbo, had she been entrusted with, even going so far as to ask his mother to make him outfits that resembled those of the star. in The Thursday I was going to dream in front of Marlene Dietrich and Jean Harlow on the big screen at Dieppe.” It will tell later that an astrologer had predicted to him, from the age of 3 years, the fame.
“La Symphonie pastorale” (1946) by Jean Delannoy. Photo Rue des Archives, coll. BCA
It is on the beach of Dieppe that she is enrolled in a summer in a competition of photogenic ; she won the second prize and fugue shortly after to Paris, with his younger brother, to move in with her grandmother. Simone Roussel will be written during the course of comedy with Rene Simon, won, in 1935, a few roles of extras, including in Mademoiselle Mozart (pseudonym of Simone Morgan, Danielle Darrieux in the credits) and chooses a nickname : Michèle Morgan.
Two years later, Marc Allégret makes him pass tests for Scribble, and the financier of the film, conquered, will insist that it be entrusted with the leading role. It embodies, tinny and delicate, a poor, young immigrant Russian who has killed his rich lover to become violent. Raimu plays a juror who falls head over high heels for her at the time of his trial. His presence magnetic on screen, and his beauty, offered him an instant success : the RKO draws up a contract, Jean Gabin the cue and suggested to Marcel Carné to make him pass a test for le Quai des brumes. “With these eyes, you need to travel a lot and take up not bad,” he says it after having seen the test. She has 18 years, he has 34. This is the movie that will shape his legend, a look enhanced by the light of the chief op Eugen Schüfftan, a refugee in France after the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, and the poetic realism of Carné installed on the port of le Havre, which serves as a setting to the love story between a deserter and his mistress.
And then it is. “I was stuck on the back of the characters increasingly hieratic and a little frozen. Me they were can be. They were probably at my physical. Has facilities for writers, too. The desire of the public, explained it in an interview with Liberation in 1988. in But I have not always been frozen to the screen. I’ve been a bitch, light, alcoholic.”
Testing for Hitchcock
Morgan, his gaze sanctified by the cinema before the war, is not desired by the New Wave who, at the end of the years 50, redistributes the cards of the French cinema and ejected by a star-system modernized (Bardot, Moreau, Deneuve, Lafont etc), where it no longer. Chabrol gives him a small role in Landru. To make it disappear. the “We were afraid for the young filmmakers who had not the desire nor the means – we were rather dear for them – we rotate”, she says.
With Jean Gabin in “Trailers” by Jean Grémillon, 1941.
that share at the time the life of Gérard Oury was not more sparing of bad choices : “I have not stopped making mistakes. I refused the Notte because I knew nothing about the cinema of Antonioni.” in The United States, it is “fai[t] tests for Suspicion of Alfred Hitchcock, but [it has] not been made”.
It will have more of a chance in the 70′s, appearing with caution in productions for the general public (Verneuil, Lelouch, Hossein…). the “I have always embodied the image of a French woman in which one could find, hence my difficulty, a few years ago, to accept scenarios of crazy aging that fell in the alcohol or hysteria under the pretext that they were no longer the age to play the young, first.” It is content to manage his roles without breaking his image. Nor to risk the change of directory, unlike Danielle Darrieux in a state of perpetual evolution.
Monument paradoxical for a French film in which she has gone through seventy years of production, the one that was cut to make equal play with the actresses in hollywood by his aura and a certain image of glamour has finally found herself a prisoner of this beautiful look from 1938.