1982

The face of Simone Signoret on the Paris Metro movie posters in March 1982 looked even older than her 61 years. She was still a box office draw, but the film, L’étoile du Nord (1982), would be her last theatrical release. Born Henrietta Charlotte Simone Kaminker on March 25th 1921 she died on September 30th 1985 aged just 64. A true icon of French and World cinema.

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Signoret had a long film apprenticeship during World War II, mostly as an extra and occasionally getting to speak a single line. She was working without an official permit during the Nazi occupation of France, because her father, who had fled to England, was Jewish. Working almost all the time, she made enough as an extra to support her mother and three younger brothers.

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Starting her career in the early 1940’s she honed her craft in French films rarely seen outside their home territory. Then Charles Crichton (The Lavebder Hill Mob, TheTitfield Thunderbolt) cast her with Robert Beatty, Gordon Jackson, Jack Warner (Dixon of Dock Green) James Robertson Justice in Against The Wind (1948)

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Dedee d’Anvers (1948) directed by Signoret’s first husband, Yves Allégret.

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La Ronde (1950)

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Gunman in the Streets (1950)

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Casque d’Or (1952) Directed by Jaques Becker this won Simone a BAFTA for Best Foreign Actress.

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Therese Raquin (1953)

Directed by the legendary Marcel Carne this won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

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Les Diaboliques (1955)

One of the all time great films. Henri-Georges Clouzot directed Simone and Vera Clouzot in this fabulous shocker. Genius.

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Trailer

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Room At The Top (1959) Her breakthrough to international stardom came at the age of 38 with  Room at the Top. Her Alice Aisgill, an unhappily married woman who hopes she has found true love, radiated real warmth in all of her scenes and won her an Oscar. Directed by Jack Clayton (The Innocents, The Great Gatsby) and co-starring Laurence Harvey. Signoret and her second husband, Yves Montand, were refused visas to enter the United States; their progressive political activities did not sit well with the ultra-conservative McCarthy-era mentality that gripped the US at the time. They got visas in 1960 so Montand, as a singer, could perform in New York and San Francisco. They were in Los Angeles in March 1960 when Signoret received the Oscar for best actress and stayed on so Montand could play opposite Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love (1960). 

Oscar Speech

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Adua e le Compangne (Hungry for Love) 1960

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Ship Of Fools ((1965).

Simone won an Oscar Nomination for her role opposite Vivien Leigh, Lee Marvin, Jose Ferrer Oskar Werner and George Segal. It also featured Werner Klemperer (the Camp Commandant from Hogan’s Heroes)

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Games (1967) with James Caan and Katherine Ross

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Army of Shadows (1969) directed by noir master Jean-Pierre Melville.

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L’Aveu (The Confession) (1970) Directed by Costa-Gavras and starring her hubby Yves Montand.

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Le Chat (1971) with cinema legend Jean Gabin.

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Police Python 357 (1976)

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http://www.filmposterart.co.uk/police-python-357-10-p.asp.

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