Francen, Victor

   Actor. Born in Belgium, Victor Francen began his acting career in the theater. He made his screen debut during the silent-film era, appearing in such films as Henri Étiévant's Crépuscule d'épouvante (1921) and La Neige sur les pas (1923). It was the sound era, however, that made Francen a veritable star. He appeared in 1931 in Léonce Perret's Après l'amour, and that same year in Abel Gance's La Fin du monde and Viktor Tourjanksy's L'Aiglon. After 1931, Francen's reputation as a firstrate actor was solidified and he appeared in film after film until the German Occupation. He starred in such films as Paul Czinner's Mélo (1932), André Berthomieu's Les Ailes brisées (1933), Maurice Tourneur's Le Voleur (1933), Pierre Colombier's Le Roi (1936), Gance's J'Accuse (1937), Henri Diamant-Berger's La Vieille folle (1938), Julien Duvivier's La Fin du jour (1939), and Jacques de Baroncelli's L'Homme du Niger (1940). Francen was also a favorite of Marcel L'Herbier, starring in a number of his films during the 1930s, including L'Aventurier (1934), Veilles d'armes (1935), La Porte du large (1936), Forfaiture (1937), Nuits de feu (1937), and Entente cordiale (1939).
   Francen fled France with the advance of the Nazis and went to Hollywood. Although Hollywood gave him plenty of work, Francen had to abandon the status of leading man he had held for a decade in France and accept lesser roles, usually that of the villain. Nonetheless, he chose to spend the better part of the remainder of his career in Hollywood, appearing in such films as Hold Back the Dawn (1941), Duvivier's Tales of Manhattan (1942),Madame Curie (1943), San Antonio (1945), Devotion (1946), The Adventures of Captain Fabian (1951), A Farewell to Arms (1957), and Joshua Logan's English-language remake of Marcel Pagnol's Fanny (1961). Francen returned to France to film only occasionally, appearing in L'Herbier's La Révoltée (1948), Pierre Méré's La Nuit s'achève (1950), and Jean-Pierre Mocky's La Grande frousse (1964). Francen did, however, spend his final days in France and died in Aix-en-Provence.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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  • Francen, Victor — (1888 1977)    Actor. Born in Belgium, Victor Francen began his acting career in the theater. He made his screen debut during the silent film era, appearing in such films as Henri Étiévant s Crépuscule d épouvante (1921) and La Neige sur les pas… …   Guide to cinema

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