Biography of Marcel Achard (1899-1974)

Playwright, journalist, screenwriter and French film director, born in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon (Rhone Department) on July 5, 1899 and died in Paris on September 4, 1974. Author of numerous plays, characterized by the exaltation of love and friendship, tender and sentimental tone of their discussions and the fantastic approach to its contents, also wrote several screenplays and deployed, throughout his life, intense activity within the world of the performing arts, to become one of the leading figures of contemporary French theater. His work was held and released by the great masters of the gala drama of the 20th century, as the writer, actor and theatrical director Louis Jouvet (1887-1957), who garnered noisy successes with the premieres of many of the comedies of Marcel Achard.

Life and work

The strange family circumstances in which it came to the world were explained, but not true humorous leave, by the own writer: "I was born thanks to a special authorization from the Pope and the President of the Republic: my father had married the daughter of his sister, so that my grandfather was, at the same time, my great-grandfather;" My father, my great-uncle; and my mother, my cousin." Disoriented in measured from this hodgepodge of blood ties, spent his childhood and his early youth in coffee that his father ran in his hometown, where moved to Calluire to attend their high school studies. The doubts and hesitations of adolescence led him then to try his luck in different studies and professions; and so, after passing through the École Normale d'Instituteurs ("Normal School for teachers of primary education"), he learnt the trade of industrial machinery montador-ajustador and tried, without fortune, entering the Conservatory in Lyon.

During this confusing period of his youth, Marcel Achard was only clear intent: devote himself someday, professionally, to playwriting, vocation that had been manifested since childhood (ten years had written a swashbuckling comedy). So, eighteen years of age, with just five hundred francs in his pocket, he settled in Paris and began to exercise different offices to ensure their survival in the big city, as the commercial representative of a paper factory. In their leisure time, gave rein to his theatrical vocation representing some minor pieces (usually, films) in small companies of amateur performers, until he got a job as a prompter at the Théâtre du Viuex-Colombier; but it did not last long in that position, obfuscated by his privileged perspective of the legs of the actresses, I stopped paying attention to the text and confuse the interpreters, so it was soon dismissed. Shortly after, thanks to the influences of his friend Henri Béraud Lyons writer, got on the template of the Rotary L'Oeuvre, where began to deploy his brilliant journalistic career.

By that time, Marcel Achard concluded their first theatrical pieces and managed that it was carried to the stage one of them, titled the messe est DITE (the mass is over, 1923), work that went virtually unnoticed for the public and the critics. Influenced, shortly afterwards, by the renovators airs of the avant-garde, surrendered to the aesthetic innovation in Voulez-vous jouer avec moi? (Do you want to play with me?, 1924), which was mounted at L'Atelier by the company of the great actor and director Charles Dullin (1885-1949), without either succeed that he deserved for their freshness and quality. After other many films that also won him some prestige among the dramatists of the 1920s, Jean de la Lune (Juan de la Luna, 1929), finally reached recognition nationally and internationally thanks to his work in which patent right was one of the main hallmarks of its theatre: the presence of fertile and evocative of the fantastic imagination. Subsequently, reached the status of universal master of theatre "boulevard" with other parts as bright as the belle mariniere (the beautiful seafaring, 1929), Domino (Domino, 1932) - put in scene by the aforementioned Jouvet, Petrus (1933), Noix de coco (coconut, 1936 walnut), Le corsaire (Corsair, 1938), Adam (Adam, 1939), auprès de ma blonde (beside my blonde1947), Nous irons à Valparaiso (go to Valparaiso, 1947), Le moulin de la Galette (the mill of Galette, 1951), Les compagnons de marjolaine (the companions of Marjoram, 1953), Patate (potato, 1954) - led to the stage by Pierre Dux - and L'idiote (idiot, 1960) - mounted by Annie Girardot in the Théâtre Antoine - company. In all these works, as well as the rest of his extensive theatrical production, Marcel Achard boasts a mood, a tenderness and a celebration of love and melancholy that captivated the audience of its time without conditions.

Elected member of the Académie Française on May 28, 1959, was received in the House Docta by the also playwright Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974) on 3 December of that same year. Was, by then, one of the precipuas of the art of Talia in France, where it is also admired for his work of screenwriter, embodied in some films as notable as Mayerling (1936), of the American filmmaker - of Russian origin - Anatole Litvak (1902-1974), dubbed into Spanish under the title dreams of Prince; Alibi (1937), the Belgian Pierre Chenal (1904-1990); Gribouille (1937) - Natalia, in its Spanish version-, Orage (1938) - bent under the title of storm-, Felice Nanteuil (1942) and Les petites du quai aux fleurs (1943), all four of the Swiss director Marc Allégret , (1900-1973); L' étrange monsieur Victor (1938), de Jean Grémillon (1901-1959); Madame de... (1953), by the German Director Max Ophüls (1902-1957); and La femme et le pantin (1958), of Julien Duvivier (1896-1967). In addition, he collaborated with the American of German-born Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947) in the script of the Merry Widow (1934), and the American Roy del Ruth (1893-1961) in the French version of the gentleman of the Folies Bergère (1935). In his role as director, Marcel Achard filmed in 1949 an adaptation to the big screen of your own work Jean de Lune - which had already been taken to celluloid in 1931 by Jean Choux-, and also filmed the movie La valse de Paris (Paris, 1950 Waltz), starring by Pierre Laudenbach (1897-1975).

List of his works

Given the extension of the literary production of Marcel Achard, below an exhaustive list of the titles that came out of his pen, ordered chronologically:

Celui qui vivait sa mort (1923); Voulez-vous jouer avec moi? (1923); The messe est DITE (1923); Malborough s' on va-t-en guerre (1924); Je ne vous aime pas (1926); The femme silencieuse, d' après Ben Johnson (1926); Jean de la Lune (1929); Une balle perdue (1929); The belle mariniere (1929); Vie est belle (1929); Mistigri (1931); Domino (1932); The femme Blanc (1932); Le Cinéma à vol d'oiseau (1932); Petrus (1933); Noix de coco (1936); Gribouille (1937); L'Alibi (1938); Le corsaire (1938); Adam (1939); Colinette (1942); Theatre, 2 vols. (1942); Them all useless (1947); Savez-vous planter les choux? (1947); Auprès de ma blonde (1947); Nous irons à Valparaiso (1947); Histoires d'amour (1949); Nouvelles histoires d'amour (1950); The petite Lili (1951); Le moulin de la Galette (1952); Les compagnons de marjolaine (1953); Le mal d'amour (1955); Patate (1957); Rions avec eux. Les grands auteurs comiques (1957); The Bagatelle (1959); L'Idiote (1961); The polka des lampions (1962); Turlututu (1962); Eugène le Mystérieux (1963); Machin-Chouette (1964); Gugusse (1969); Debauche (1974).