Celebrated French actress Jeanne Moreau died earlier this week. She was certainly one of my favourite thespians of all time. Sexy, smart, seductive. Moreau had a commanding presence, even if she had a minor role in “Touchez Pas Au Grisbi.”
Here is an excerpt:
Moreau delved into French, Italian, and American cinema and her eclectic career saw her team up with such remarkable directors as Louis Malle, Michelangelo Antonioni, Joseph Losey, Francois Truffaut and Orson Welles, who referred to her as “the greatest actress in the world.” On screen, Moreau partnered with some of the biggest names the movie business ever created: Maurice Ronet, Lino Ventura, Jean Gabin, Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni and Stanley Baker.
Moreau was never frightened to play a role, no matter how degrading, iniquitous or morose the character. A despondent housewife in “La Notte,” a vengeful bride-turned-murderer in “The Bride Wore Black” ( the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”), a sexually sadistic schoolmarm in “Mademoiselle” or a gold digging tramp in “Eve” – all were game for Moreau. She never held back.
She maximized her time whenever on screen, a trait that only a few women of her era could achieve a la Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Agnes Moorehead and Barbara Stanwyck. Moreau held audiences in the palm of her hand – man or woman. Moreau’s coquettish nature could make men worship her, Moreau’s fiendish behavior could make women loathe her, Moreau’s desolate state could make everyone sympathize with her.
I’m not really a fan of today’s motion pictures or the stars on the silver screen, except for Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. Actors like Moreau are my favorites.
My five favorite films of her which she gets the top billing:
- “Elevators to the Gallows”
- “Diary of a Chambermaid”
- “The Bride Wore Black”
- “La Notte”
- “Bay of Angels”