Fresnay, Pierre


Fresnay, Pierre
(1897-1975)
   Actor. Born Pierre Laudenbach in Paris, Pierre Fresnay studied drama at the Paris Conservatoire d'art dramatique and then went on to begin his acting career on the stage. He established himself as a talented stage actor and was in residence at the Comédie Française from 1915 until 1929. Fresnay made his film debut during the silent-film era, appearing in such films as Henri Pouctal's France d'abord (1915), Charles Burguet's L'Essor (1920), Les Mystères de Paris (1922) and his series La Bâillonnée (1922), André Hugon's series Le Diamant noir (1922), Charles Maudru's series Rocambole (1924), and Luitz-Moratz's La Vièrge folle (1929). Fresnay married the actress Berthe Bovy in 1923, but the two divorced in 1929.
   The breakthrough role in Fresnay's career came early in the sound era, however, when Marcel Pagnol cast him as the lead in Marins (1931). Fresnay, not at all from the south, had to learn the Marseille accent for the role. However, his efforts were worth it, and the film made him an instant star. He reprised the role in two subsequent Pagnol films, Fanny (1932) and César (1936).
   After Marius, Fresnay worked steadily in cinema, with one major role after another throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He had starring roles in Abel Gance's La Dame aux camélias (1934) and Roman d'un jeune homme pauvre (1935), Maurice Tourneur's Kônigsmark (1935) and La Main du diable (1943), Marc Allégret's Sous les yeux d'occident (1935), Léon Mathot's Chéri-Bibi (1937), Pierre Billon's La Bataille silencieuse (1937), Jean Renoir's La Grande illusion (1937), Marcel L'Herbier's Adrienne Lecouvreur (1938), Julien Duvivier's La Charette fantôme (1939), George Lacombe's Le Dernier des six (1941), Le Journal tombe à cinq heures (1942), and L'Escalier sans fin (1943), Henri-Georges Clouzot's L'Assassin habite au 21 (1943) and Le Corbeau (1943), Jean Anouilh's Le Voyageur sans bagages (1944), Henri Decoin's La Fille du diable (1946) and Au grand balcon (1949), Jean Dréville's Le Visiteur (1946), Maurice Cloche's Monsieur Vincent (1947), and Richard Pottier's Barry (1949). Fresnay's costar in many of these films was the actress Yvonne Printemps, whom he married in 1934.
   As evidenced by the sheer number of films in which he starred during the 1930s and 1940s, Fresnay was a major star on a par with Jean Gabin. The two were very different actors, however, fulfilling different roles in cinema. This is, perhaps, best illustrated by the characters the two played in Renoir's classic film, La Grande illusion (1937). Fresnay's De Boeldieu is clearly an aristocrat, the last of a disappearing class, whereas Renoir's Maréchal is clearly a man of the people.
   Fresnay, despite the broad range of characters he brought to the screen (including the very "man of the people" Marius), always had a classical air to his performances, a bit of a sophisticated edge, whereas Renoir, however refined his characters, was always of the people. Beyond La Grande illusion and the Pagnol trilogy, Fresnay's best-known, and probably greatest, film is Clouzot's Le Corbeau (1943), in which Fresnay played the very complex Dr. Rémy Germain. It is also worth noting that he had a very brief, but central, role as Louis Bernard in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).
   In the 1950s, Fresnay continued to act in films, but the roles became either less prominent or more difficult to find. He, like Gabin and Arletty, was an icon of a previous age, of the classic era of French film, and cinema was trying to move in different directions. He appeared in such films as Jean Delannoy 's Dieu a besoin des hommes (1950) and La Route Napoléon (1953), Henri Diamant-Berger's Monsieur Fabre (1951), Jean-Paul Le Chanois's Les Évadés (1955), Léo Joannen's L'Homme aux clefs d'or (1956) and Tant d'amour perdu (1958), Alex Joffé's Les Fanatiques (1957), Allégret's Les Affreux (1959), and Gilles Grangier's Les Vieux de la vieille (1960), among other films. For the most part, however, Fresnay returned to working on the stage. He did not act in films after 1960, his only screen roles being on the small screen after that.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fresnay, Pierre — (1897 1975)    Actor. Born Pierre Laudenbach in Paris, Pierre Fresnay studied drama at the Paris Conservatoire d art dramatique and then went on to begin his acting career on the stage. He established himself as a talented stage actor and was in… …   Guide to cinema

  • Fresnay, Pierre — ▪ French actor original name  Pierre jules louis Laudenbach   born April 4, 1897, Paris died Jan. 9, 1975, Paris       versatile French actor who abandoned a career with the Comédie Française for the challenge of the cinema. Groomed for the stage …   Universalium

  • Fresnay, Pierre — pseud. di Laudenbach, Pierre …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Fresnay, Pierre — (April 4, 1897, Paris, France January 9, 1975, Neuilly sur Seine, Hauts de Seine, France)    One of the finest French stage and film actors he made his theatrical debut in 1912 and joined the Comédie Française in 1919. From 1915 (Quand même,… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Pierre Fresnay — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Pierre Fresnay Nombre real Pierre Jules Louis Laudenbach Nacimiento 4 de abril de 1897 París …   Wikipedia Español

  • FRESNAY (P.) — FRESNAY PIERRE (1897 1975) Pierre Laudenbach, connu sous le pseudonyme de Pierre Fresnay, fait ses débuts au théâtre, en 1911, avec Réjane. Admis au Conservatoire, il est l’élève de Paul Mounet et de Georges Berr. Il entre à la Comédie Française… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Fresnay — (Pierre Laudenbach, dit Pierre) (1897 1975) acteur français de théâtre et de cinéma: Marius (1931), la Grande Illusion (1937), le Corbeau (1943), Monsieur Vincent (1947) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pierre Fresnay — (* 4. April 1897 in Ermont[1]; † 9. Januar 1975 in Neuilly sur Seine, Hauts de Seine; eigentlich Pierre Jules Louis Laudenbach) war ein französischer Theater und Filmschauspieler. Leben und Werk Pierre Jules Louis Laudenbach, so der bürgerliche… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pierre Fresnay — (April 4, 1897 January 9, 1975) was a French stage and film actor.Born Pierre Jules Louis Laudenbach in Paris, France he was encouraged by his uncle, the actor Claude Garry, to pursue a career in theater and film. Fresnay became one of the most… …   Wikipedia

  • Fresnay-Le-Gilmert — Pays & …   Wikipédia en Français


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