Renaud, Madeleine


Renaud, Madeleine
(1900-1994)
   Actress. Madeleine Renaud was one of the great stage actresses of the past century, and she was also a prominent screen actress. She studied drama at the Paris Conservatoire d'art dramatique, and then entered the Comédie Française in 1921. She remained in residence at the Comédie Française until 1946, at which point she left to form her own theatrical company with her husband, actor Jean-Louis Barrault. The company, called the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, was a very successful independent troupe and was associated with the Théâtre de l'Odéon, among other theaters.
   Renaud made her screen debut during the silent era, appearing in René Leprince's Vent debout (1923) and Jean Choux's La Terre qui meurt (1926). However, Renaud did not have much success on the screen until the arrival of sound, at which point she became a sought-after screen actress. Among the films in which she appeared during the 1930s and 1940s are Henri Fescourt's Serments (1931), Choux's Jean de la lune (1931), Harry Lachman's Mistigri (1931) and La Belle marinière (1932), René Guissart's Primerose (1933), André Hugon's Boubouroche (1933), Curtis Bernhardt's Le Tunnel (1933), Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein's La Maternelle (1933) and Hélène (1936), Pierre Caron's Les Demi vièrges (1936), Jean Dréville's Les Petites alliées (1936), Jean Grémillon's L'Étrange Monsieur Victor (1937), Remorques (1941), Lumière d'été (1943), and Le Ciel est à vous (1944), and Georges Lacombe's L'Escalier sans fin (1943).
   Renaud did not act onscreen during the Nazi Occupation and, in fact, she was absent altogether from 1944 until 1952, when she appeared in Max Ophuls's Le Plaisir. She appeared only occasionally in film after that, since her theatrical career took up most of her time. Her later films include Philippe Agostini's Le Dialogue des Carmélites (1960), Ken Annakin and Andrew Marton's The Longest Day (1962), Philippe de Broca's Le Diable par la queue (1969), Edouard Molinaro's La Mandarine (1972), Marguerite Duras's Des Journées entières dans les arbres (1976), and Francesca Comencini's La Lumière du lac (1988), her final film, in which she appeared with Barrault.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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