Skip to main content
Select Source:

Jouvet, Louis

JOUVET, Louis



Nationality: French. Born: Jules Eugène Louis Jouvet in Crozon, Finistère, Brittany, 24 December 1887. Education: Attended schools at Toulouse, Vorey-sur-Arzon, Le Puy-en-Velay, and elsewhere; studied pharmacy, 1905–07. Military Service: Performed military service, 1914–17. Family: Married; three children. Career: 1908—co-founder and administrator of Théâtre d'Action et d'Art; 1910—stage debut as member of Léon Noël troupe; 1911—joined Théâtre des Arts company; 1913—joined Jacques Copeau's Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier as actor and stage manager; 1917—assisted in preparation for Copeau season on Broadway; 1919–21—actor-designer with Vieux-Colombier following reopening; 1923–34 actor-manager of Comédie-Théâtre in Champs-Elysées; formed group "théâtre de cartel" with aim of reviving traditions of French theater; 1928—began association with playwright Jean Giraudoux: produced Giraudoux's subsequent plays; 1932—film debut in Topaze; 1934—began managing Athénée Théâtre and collaboration with designer Christian Bérard; appointed to faculty of Paris Conservatoire; 1936—worked on Comédie Française productions; 1940–45—self-imposed exile from German-occupied France; 1945—returned to Paris with production of Giraudoux's La Folle de Chaillot. Died: 16 August 1951.


Films as Actor:

1932

Topaze (Gasnier) (title role)

1935

La Kermesse héroïque (Feyder) (as the Chaplain)

1936

Mister Flow (Siodmak) (title role); Les Bas-Fonds (Renoir) (as the baron)

1937

Mademoiselle Docteu (Salonique, nid d'espions) (Pabst) (as Simonis); Un Carnet de bal (Duvivier) (as the lawyer); Drôle de drame (Carné) (as the bishop); Forfaiture (L'Herbier) (as Wolfar); Alibi (Chenal) (as the commissioner); La Marseillaise (Renoir) (as Roederer)

1938

Ramuntcho (Barberis) (as the leader of the smugglers); La Maison du Maltais (Chenal) (as Rossignol); Entrée des artistes (Allégret) (as Lambertin); Education de prince(Rim) (as Cercleux); Le Drame de Shanghaî (Pabst) (as Ivan); Hôtel du Nord (Carné) (as M. Edmond)

1939

La Fin du jour (Duvivier) (as Saint-Clair); La Charrette fantôme (Duvivier) (as Le Charretier de la Mort); Volpone (Tourneur) (as le parasite cynique)

1940

Untel Père et fils (Duvivier) (as the colonial); Sérénade (Boyer) (as the Viennese chief of police)

1946

Un Revenant (Christian-Jaque) (as Jean-Pierre); Copie conforme (Monsieur Alibi) (Dréville) (as Gabriel Dupont and Isamora)

1947

Quai des Orfèvres (Clouzot) (as Inspector Antoine)

1948

Les Amoureux sont seuls au monde (Decoin) (as Favier); Entre onze heures et minuit (Decoin) (as Inspecteur Carrel); "Le Retour de Jean" ep. of Retour à la vie (Clouzot) (as Gérard)

1949

Miquette et sa mère (Clouzot) (as Monchablon); Lady Paname (Jeanson) (as Bagnolet)

1950

Knock ou Le Triomphe de la médecine (Lefranc) (as Dr. Knock, + artistic direction); Une Histoire d'amour (Lefranc) (as inspector); Comédiens ambulants (Canolle—short)



Publications


By JOUVET: books—

Prestiges et perspectives du théâtre français, Paris, 1945.

Quatre ans de tournée en Amérique Latine, 1941–45, Paris, 1945.

Ecoute, mon ami, Paris, 1952.

Le Comédien désincarné, Paris, 1954.

Reflexions du comédien, Paris, 1978.


By JOUVET: articles—

"Le cinéma? Que voulez-vous que j'en sache! Je débute . . . j'apprends," interview with Nino Frank in Pour Vous (Paris), 9 June 1932.

"L'Acteur à l'écran," in Festival International (Cannes), May 1965.


On JOUVET: books—

Canaille, Caro, Etoiles en pantoufles, Paris, 1954.

Knapp, Bettina, Louis Jouvet: Man of the Theatre, New York, 1957.

Kerien, Wanda, Louis Jouvet, notre patron, Paris, 1963.

Capara, Leo, Dix ans avec Jouvet, Paris, 1975.

Loubier, Jean-Marc, Louis Jouvet: Biographie, Paris, 1986.

Ozeray, Madeleine, A Toujours Monsieur Jouvet, Paris, 1987.

Mignon, Paul Louis, Louis Jouvet: Qui êtes-vous?, Paris, 1988.

Cathala, Josée, Louis Jouvet, Paris, 1989.


On JOUVET: articles—

Cournot, Christine, "Vie d'un grand comédien: Louis Jouvet," in Cinémonde (Paris), 24 September 1946.

Lemoine, A., "Jouvet le magnifique," in Ciné-Digest (Paris), October 1949.

Lefranc, Guy, "Louis Jouvet n'aimait pas le cinéma: une légende," and "La Prodigieuse Carriére de Louis Jouvet," by Bob Bergut in L'Ecran Français (Paris), 29 August 1951.

Aguettand, Lucien, "La Grande Probité de Louis Jouvet," in Technicien du Film (Paris), 15 September 1956.

Sadoul, Georges, "Jouvet et le cinéma," and "Notre revanche de cinéastes: lui donner la survie," by Julien Duvivier in Les Lettres Françaises (Paris), 25 August 1961.

Peyraud, Marcel, "Les Immortels du cinéma français," in Ciné Revue (Paris), 26 October 1967.

Régent, Roger, "Louis Jouvet, 1887–1951," in Anthologie du Cinéma vol. 5, Paris, 1969.

"Louis Jouvet," in Film Dope (London), December 1983.

Virmaux, A., and O. Virmaux, "Max Ophüls, Madeleine Ozeray, Louis Jouvet: Le Toboggan," in Cinématographe (Paris), April 1986.

Philippe, C.-J., and others, "Le comédien exemplaire," in Cinématographe (Paris), January 1987.

Chirat, R., "Télé-Jouvet," in Cinéma (Paris), 28 October 1987.

Jeanson, Henri, "Jouvet comédien de l'écran," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), January 1991.

Stars (Mariembourg), March 1992; additions in Summer 1996.

Aslan, Odette, "Jouvet et le cinéma," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), January 1996.


* * *

Louis Jouvet was already established as a giant of the French theater before he made his first film at the age of 46. Theater always remained his priority; he sometimes claimed, provocatively, that he acted in movies only for the money. True or not, there was nothing casual about his screen performances. Memorable even in mediocre films, he brought to good material a subtlety and complexity of characterisation that set him among the finest of cinema actors.

Lean, saturnine, faintly reptilian in appearance, Jouvet regarded the world sardonically through narrowed eyes, evidently expecting the worst of humankind. In La Kermesse héroïque, his Spanish chaplain, lecherous and mercenary, openly revels in his own hypocrisy, certain of finding it echoed in all those he meets. He was richly sanctimonious as another clergyman, the Anglican bishop of Carné's Drôle de drame, set in a wildly improbable Edwardian London; at one point, wishing to avoid the conspicuousness of clerical garb, he appears deliriously camouflaged in kilt and dark glasses.

Under weak direction, Jouvet could edge towards self-plagiarism, as he himself recognized: "If I'm being too Jouvet, stop me," he warned the director of his last film. His disenchanted air suited him to the failures and parasites of society: Arletty's unsavoury pimp in Hôtel du Nord, the shifty lawyer of Duvivier's Carnet de bal, or, in a more sympathetic vein, the proud, ruined count in Renoir's masterly treatment of Gorky, Les Bas-Fonds.

Almost all Jouvet's finest screen roles came during the five years from 1935 to 1940. His postwar films were unremarkable, with one exception: Clouzot's misanthropic policier, Quai des Orfèvres. Jouvet was the police detective, shabby and stubborn, retaining through his weary disillusionment a cold thin edge of compassion for the denizens of his seedy underworld. The hard-won humanity of his portrayal redeemed the film from facile cynicism.

—Philip Kemp

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jouvet, Louis." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jouvet, Louis." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jouvet-louis

"Jouvet, Louis." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jouvet-louis

Jouvet, Louis

Louis Jouvet (lwē zhōōvā´), 1887–1951, French actor, producer, and director. A member of Copeau's Théâtre du Vieux Colombier after 1913, he left in 1922 to organize his own theater. He was director of the Comédie des Champs Élysées (1924–34) and from 1934 of the Athénée in Paris. He was the first to produce and act in many of the plays of Giraudoux. Jouvet's simple though powerful stage decors and lighting effects were extremely influential.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jouvet, Louis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jouvet, Louis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jouvet-louis

"Jouvet, Louis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jouvet-louis