Hunébelle, André


Hunébelle, André
(1896-1985)
   Director, producer, and screen-writer. André Hunébelle began his career as a director in the postwar era in France, the period that the filmmakers of the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave would refer to as the era of the "cinema du papa" and Hunébelle, no doubt, was one of the filmmakers those directors had in mind when coining the term. He was a popular director in the most often used sense of the word and was often accused by critics of producing an overly commercial, insufficiently aesthetic cinema. Today he might be regarded as a master of the B movie.
   Hunébelle's first film was Métier de fous (1948), based on a screenplay written by the equally popular Gilles Grangier. He went on to make more than thirty other films, most of them in the 1950s and 1960s, before the New Wave permanently altered the composition of cinema. There was a certain diversity to Hunébelle's film-making, commercialism aside, although some trends are evident. He made adventure films, mostly literary adaptations or remakes of classic films. These included Les Trois mousquetaires (1953), Le Bossu (1960), Le Capitain (1960), and Le Miracle des loups (1961). He also did other literary adaptations, producing mostly melodramas. These included Les Mystères de Paris (1962), based on the novel by Eugène Sue, and an interpretation of Alexandre Dumas in Sous le signe de Monte Cristo (1968).
   Hunébelle was also inspired by the cinema, remaking again (it had already been remade) and adapting Louis Feuillade's Fantômas films, in Fantômas (1964) and Fantômas contre Scotland Yard (1967). Other types of films that were his forte included thriller or spy films. These included OSS 117 se déchaîne (1963), Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117 (1964), and Furia à Bahia pour OSS 117 (1965). Hunébelle also had some favorites with whom he liked to work. Jean Marais starred in many of his films, and many of his screenplays were written by Michel Audiard.
   Apart from directing, Hunébelle also produced films and wrote screenplays. He worked on the screenplays for several of his films and produced many of his own films, as well as films for Gilles Grangier and Claude Berri, among others. His last film was Ça fait tilt, which was made in 1978.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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