Friday, September 12, 2008

And You Know it Don't Come Easy


Alfred Hitchcock with Claude Jade (center) and Dany Robin

It's getting harder and harder to come up with a scan that isn't already up on Hitchcock Wiki or Doctor Macro what with the thousands of pics they have but still I manage. I did a search first to make sure this wasn't up on Hitchcock Wiki (I just like typing those words in over and over - Hitchcock Wiki - say it out loud for added entertainment) and was pleased to know it wasn't, although if they want to put it up now I guess they can. D'oh! Actually, that would be great if they did. As I learned from HUAC star Ginger Rogers, "Share and share alike. That's the American way!"

But the main reason I put this up was because of Claude Jade, not because I was trying to beat (here it comes again) Hitchcock Wiki to the punch. Recently, something happened to me while reading up on Jade that has happened to me a few times before, perhaps even to you (I hope I'm not alone in this): Someone dies in the film world and it completely flies under my radar for years. Please tell me I'm not the only one. So imagine my surprise when I decided to find out what the lovely star of Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board and Topaz had been up to recently. After all, she would only be 58 this October. Surely she was still active in the community, making movies and television shows in France. Then I discover she died in December 2006 of complications from retinal cancer after suffering from liver cancer. I had no idea. 21 months have passed and I just found out. Perhaps if I had been blogging, or even just reading the blogs, in December 0f 2006 I would have known this, for surely it was mentioned.

Well consider this a late goodbye. Francois Truffaut was one of the first foreign language directors I latched onto as a cinephile and then, as now, I found his movies utterly accessible to even a novice. And since Hitchcock's Topaz was shown over and over on TBS in the early days of cable, this, combined with the Truffaut obsession, put Claude Jade front and center in my mind as far as foreign actresses go. Most latch onto Bibi Anderson first, or Liv Ullman, or Monica Vitti or Anita Ekberg when first diving into the deep waters of cinephilia because they are in the big movies, the movies made by Bergman, Fellini and Antonioni. But for me it was Jade. There she was, ever present on TBS running it's old print of Topaz over and over and in Stolen Kisses, having to win back Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud because he fell for someone else, which if it hadn't been done it such a lighthearted manner by Truffaut would've stretched the limits of believibility.

I didn't see a lot of her movies and practically nothing she made after 1980 but nonetheless she was always there as the first "foreign actress fascination" of my early days. Always popping into my mind whenever any discussion online or off of Truffaut took place. I'm sorry she didn't live a longer life, sorry she had to suffer so much in her last year and also sorry it took me so long to find out. But mainly I'm just sorry she's gone.

14 comments:

Fox said...

With all of these cool banners you keep creating, pretty soon there's gonna need to be a LapperWiki!

Rick Olson said...

Lapper Wiki, Lapper Wiki, Lapper Wiki ...

Maybe that's why I love Truffaut so much, he's completely accessible, even to me.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Thanks as always Fox. I like the visual motif with the words "self expression" being done with a wave/water appearance, because, you know, the whole American tragedy thing.

By the way, I did a similar visual reference in the last banner but I'm not sure if it was noticed. There was the "mendacity" reference of course to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof since that's what the banner's from but I also did the letters in block metallic font and used the colors silver and gold. Burl Ives, Silver and Gold. I put way too much thought into these stupid things.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Rick, Truffaut is kind of out of favor with a lot of cinephiles who don't find his movies "avant garde" or "complex" enough for the "real" foreign film canon. Yeah whatever, I think Stolen Kisses is a great little movie. I say wiki, wiki, wiki to all of them. Wiki.

Fox said...

"...he's completely accessible, even to me."

Olson, you sell yourself short!

Jonathan Lapper said...

Actually, I hear Rick is seven foot three.

Fox said...

(RIMSHOT)!

And on Truffaut... I think Shoot The Piano Player is one of the tightest, funnest, most stylish little movies to come out of that era; in France or anywhere.

Jonathan Lapper said...

I was surprised the first time I saw Shoot the Piano Player at the comedic elements inserted into the action that throw the viewer off. It's been years since I revisited it for fear (completely irrational) that I may not like it as much as I did when I first saw it because for some odd reason I really like Truffaut's lightweight later stuff (I'm one of the few). I'll have to check it out again soon.

Fox said...

Do either of you have a strong opinion - either way - about Jules and Jim? The reason I ask it up is b/c I find amongst my friends that that film doesn't really play that well. And that has always intrigued me.

I think it's brilliant. I don't connect with the story so much as I do the energy of it. But since it doesn't have that POW! like say Godard's Breathless & Band of Outsiders or the POP! of Melville's gangster pics, I think some of my pals write it off as "boring". I could be wrong, they very well could dislike it for other reasons, but that's the way I've tried to make sense of it in my head.

I feel the same way Malle's early work - that it goes under loved by people. He, I think, was hurt b/c people lumped him in with the New Wave when he was of a totally different wavelength.

Jonathan Lapper said...

I think Truffaut was a much more classical filmmakers than the others in the New Wave and so after 400 Blows and Jules and Jim it's perceived that he slid down a sentimental track but I think that was his style all along and I think he did it very well. I love Jules and Jim myself but you're right, people lump him into the same school as Godard so I think when they see Truffaut's work they're expecting much more vibrant, edgy filmmaking instead of Truffaut's brand of more straightforward storytelling.

Peter Nellhaus said...

For myself, Truffaut's films generally have aged better. My own personal favorite is The Soft Skin. Stolen Kisses was the first Truffaut I had seen, at the Art Cinema on 8th Street in NYC.

I like the banner from Monty and Shelley go Boating.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Ah Peter, you've mentioned a Truffaut I have yet to see, The Soft Skin, damn you. Like most Truffaut I've heard plenty good about it but still haven't seen it. Another I have to see soon.

And I love the alternate title for A Place in the Sun - They should re-release it under that title.

I've always felt it could also be released as part of a Perry Mason box set, what with Raymond Burr and his courtroom oar/boat histrionics at the end.

ARBOGAST said...

I remember feeling a terrible sense of loss when I found out, in 1977 or so, that Nigel Green had died in 1972... meaning that right around the time I started seeing him in things, he was gone. This kind of thing has happened since then, too often, and I guess the most recent example would be Kellie Waymire, whom I had just seen on a run of episodes of Six Feet Under (catching up via Netflix), Googled, and found out she'd died suddenly in November 2003 at the age of 35.

Jonathan Lapper said...

I've discovered actors too only to discover shortly thereafter that they were gone before I knew it. The converse happens quite a bit too where I assume someone has long since passed only to find out they're still around, and performing.