- (1920-2002)Director and screenwriter. Henri Verneuil was born Achod Malakian in Rodesto, Turkey, of Armenian ancestry. He later immigrated to Marseilles with his parents. Verneuil studied engineering and later worked as a journalist and radio commentator. He started in cinema as an assistant to Robert Vernay. Verneuil made short documentary films in the 1940s then directed his first feature, La table aux crevés (1952), starring the famous comedian Fernandel. Fernandel then played a more serious starring role in Verneuil's very popular drama, Fruit défendu (1952). Fernandel was Verneuil's preferred actor in the 1950s. He played the lead in Carnaval (1953), Le Boulanger de Valorgue (1953), and L'Ennemipublic n.1 (1953), which also featured Zsa Zsa Gabor. Le Mouton à cinq pattes (1954), starring Fernandel alongside one of Verneuil's favorite actresses, Françoise Arnoul, was nominated for an American Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Verneuil's La Vache et le prisonnier, again starring Fernandel, was the top grossing French film of 1959.Verneuil's collaboration with French stars such as Fernandel—and later Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, and Jean-Paul Belmondo—would bring him great commercial success. Verneuil's Des gens sans importance (1956) marked his first film with Gabin as the lead; Gabin would also star in Le Président (1960) and Mélodie en sous-sol (1963). Mélodie en sous-sol costarred Delon and was the second top French film of 1963. In 1962, Gabin paired with Belmondo in Un singe en hiver. Verneuil's Le Clan des Siciliens, with Gabin, Delon, and Ventura, was the second most viewed French film in 1969. Verneuil directed several Belmondo films that scored among the top five French best sellers. These include Cent mille dollars au soleil (1964), Le Casse (1971), Peur sur la ville (1975), and Les Morfalous (1984). Week-end à Zuydcoote (1964) and Le Corps de mon ennemi (1976), both with Belmondo in the principal role, were also quite profitable at the box office.Verneuil ventured into international cinema with his La Vingt-Cinquième Heure (1967), starring Anthony Quinn, and La Bataille de San Sebastian (1968), featuring Quinn and Charles Bronson. He also directed The Serpent (1973), starring Henry Fonda and Yul Brynner. He is best known for his French films, however, especially his dramatic thrillers. Verneuil received critical acclaim for the thriller I . . . comme Icare (1979), a film that recalled through fiction the assassination of John F. Kennedy as it simultaneously took its inspiration from psychologist Stanley Milgram's experiment on obedience to authority at Yale. Milgram viewed the shooting of the film, which stars actor Yves Montand. It received César nominations for Best Film and Best Screenplay.In part because of his commercial savvy and fruitful use of French movie stars, Verneuil has been called "the most American of French cineastes." Yet not all of his films are clever, profit-producing vehicles. Verneuil directed a moving drama about an Armenian family's struggle in Turkey, Mayrig (1991). Based on his childhood and adapted from his own novel, Mayrig stars Claudia Cardinale and Omar Shariff. Verneuil directed a sequel, 588 Rue Paradis (1992), inspired by his sometimes tumultuous experiences as an immigrant in France. He was assisted by his son, Patrick Malakian, who later directed Pourquoi maman est dans mon lit? (1994). In 1996, Verneuil received an honorary César.
Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins. 2007.
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Verneuil, Henri — (1920 2002) Director and screenwriter. Henri Verneuil was born Achod Malakian in Rodesto, Turkey, of Armenian ancestry. He later immigrated to Marseilles with his parents. Verneuil studied engineering and later worked as a journalist and radio … Guide to cinema
Verneuil, Henri — (Achod Malakian / October 15, 1920, Rodosto, Turkey January II, 2002, Bagno let, Seine Saint Denis, France) Of Armenian descent, he arrived in 1924 in Marseille, France, with his parents, who fled Turkey and its slaughters. Having trained at… … Encyclopedia of French film directors
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