Marais, Jean


Marais, Jean
(1913-1998)
   Actor. Born Jean Alfred Villain-Marais in Cherbourg, Jean Marais dreamed of becoming an actor from an early age. Marais left school at the age of fourteen. He had been a weak student in any case. He went to work for a photographer and studied acting with Charles Dullin. Marais's introduction to cinema came through Dullin, who introduced him to Marcel L'Herbier. Marais had a series of mostly minor supporting roles in several films in the 1930s, but most, apart from L'Herbier's films, were fairly in-significant. Among the films in which Marais appeared in this early part of his career were L'Herbier's L'Epervier (1933), Le Scandale (1934), L'Aventurier (1934), Le Bonheur (1934), Les Hommes nouveaux (1936), and Nuits de feu (1937), Jean Tarride's Etienne (1933), Victor Trivas's Dans les rues (1933), and Henri Decoin's Abus de confiance (1938). He also had an uncredited role in Marcel Carné's Drôle de drame (1937).
   The turning point in Marais's career came in 1937, the year he met Jean Cocteau. The two men formed an instant bond, and Marais would go on to be Cocteau's companion for a number of years. Cocteau cast Marais in a number of his stage plays, most notably Oedipe-Roy in 1937. Thereafter, Marais's screen career also took a turn for the better. He had fairly significant roles in Jacques de Baroncelli's Le Pavillon brûle (1941) and Roland Tual's Le Lit à colonnes (1942). However, he never gave up the stage, continuing to act in theater throughout his life.
   Marais's real breakthrough film roles, however, also came through Cocteau, specifically in films which Cocteau either directed or for which he wrote the screenplays. These films include Jean Delannoy's L'Éternel retour (1943), Cocteau's La Belle et la bête (1946), L'Aigle à deux têtes (1948), Les Parents terribles (1948), Coriolan (1950), and Orphée (1950), and Pierre Billon's Ruy Blas (1948). Marais also had other roles during this period, including in Christian-Jacques's Voyage sans espoir (1943) and Carmen (1945), Henri Calef's Les Chouans (1947), Delannoy's Aux yeux du souvenir (1948) and Le Secret de Mayerling (1949), and René Clement's Le Chateau de verre (1950).
   By the 1950s, Marais was a veritable icon of the cinema. He was highly sought after as a leading man, embodying masculinity, strength, and physical beauty. He starred in such films as Yves Allegret's Les Miracles n'ont lieu qu'une fois (1951), Roger Richebé's Les Amants de minuit (1953), Georges Lacombe's L'Appel du destin (1953), Decoin's Dortoir des grandes (1953), Marc Allegret's Julietta (1953) and Futures vedettes (1955), Sacha Guitry's Si Versailles m'était conté (1954), Si Paris nous était conté (1954), and Napoléon (1955), Robert Vernay's Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1955), Jean Renoir's Elena et les hommes (1956), Pierre Kast's Un amour de poche (1957), Clément Duhour's La Vie à deux (1958), Georges Lampin's La Tour, prends garde! (1958), and Delannoy's La Princesse de Clèves (1960), a film for which Cocteau wrote the screenplay.
   In the 1960s, Marais starred in a series of adventure films, starting with André Hunébelle's Le Bossu (1960). He made a terrific swash-buckler, and these films added a new dimension to his already impressive career. Among the other adventure films in which he appeared were Hunébelle's Le Capitan (1960), Le Miracle des loups (1961), and Les Mystères de Paris (1962), Pierre Gaspard-Huit's Le Capitaine Fracasse (1961), Decoin's Le Masque de fer (1962), Christian-Jacques's Le Gentleman de Cocody (1964) and Le Saint prend l'affût (1966), and Gilles Grangier's Train d'enfer (1965). Other films in which Marais appeared include Abel Gance's Austerlitz (1960), Claude Boissol's Napoléon II, l'aiglon (1961), and Robert Thomas's Patate (1964). Marais also appeared in the remake of Louis Feuillade's legendary series Fantômas (1964) and its sequels Fantômas se déchaîne (1965) and Fantômas contre Scotland Yard (1967), all directed by Hunébelle.
   The year 1970 brought Marais one of his last great roles, that of the king to Catherine Deneuve's queen in Jacques Demy's Peau d'âne (1970). Thereafter, Cocteau went into semiretirement, spending time on painting and sculpting, his other great loves. He made the occasional appearance in television productions but rarely appeared on-screen. Exceptions are his appearances in Demy's Parking (1985), Willy Rameau's Lien de parenté (1986), Jérôme Foulon's Les Enfants du naufrageur (1992), and Claude Lelouch's Les Misérables (1995). His final film role was in Bernardo Bertolucci's international multilanguage film Stealing Beauty (1996). When Marais died in 1998, the world mourned a great icon of cinema, and France mourned one of the last living links to what it considers French cinema's golden age.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marais, Jean — (1913 1998)    Actor. Born Jean Alfred Villain Marais in Cherbourg, Jean Marais dreamed of becoming an actor from an early age. Marais left school at the age of fourteen. He had been a weak student in any case. He went to work for a photographer… …   Guide to cinema

  • Marais, Jean — ▪ 1999       French actor (b. Dec. 11, 1913, Cherbourg, France d. Nov. 8, 1998, Cannes, France), appeared in more than 70 films as well as a number of stage productions and became one of France s most popular actors. He was especially noted for… …   Universalium

  • Marais, Jean — • МАРЕ (Marais) Жан (наст. фам. Виллен Маре, Villain Marais) (p. 11.12.1913)    франц. актёр. Снимался в эпизодич. ролях в ф. реж. М. Л Эрбье ( Новые люди , 1936, Пламенные ночи , 1937). Выступал в т ре. Первую значит. роль в кино сыграл в 1941 ( …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Marais, Jean — pseud. di Marais Villain, Jean …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Jean Marais — (1947) par Carl van Vechten Données clés Nom de naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean Marais — (1947) por Carl van Vechten. Jean Marais, de nombre completo Jean Alfred Villain Marais (Cherbourg, 11 de diciembre de 1913 Cannes, 8 de noviembre de 1998), actor francés. Fue también director de cine y teatro, escritor, pintor …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jean-Luc Tardieu — est un metteur en scène, ancien directeur de la Maison de la Culture de Loire Atlantique[1]. Metteur en scène 1978 : Irma la douce d Alexandre Breffort, musique Marguerite Monnot, avec Joëlle Vautier, Maison de la culture de Nantes… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • marais — [ marɛ ] n. m. • 1459; maresc, mareisXIe; frq. °marisk, rad. germ. °mari « mer » 1 ♦ Nappe d eau stagnante généralement peu profonde recouvrant un terrain partiellement envahi par la végétation. ⇒ étang, fagne, marécage, marigot, palus, tourbière …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jean-Baptiste Lulli — Jean Baptiste Lully « Lully » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Lully (homonymie). Jean Baptiste Lully Giovanni Battista Lulli …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-baptiste lully — « Lully » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Lully (homonymie). Jean Baptiste Lully Giovanni Battista Lulli …   Wikipédia en Français


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