Audry, Jacqueline (1908–1977)
Audry, Jacqueline (1908–1977)
French film director. Born Jacqueline Audry in Orange, France, on September 25, 1908; died in 1977; sister of Colette Audry (1906–1990, a novelist, playwright, literary critic, and screenwriter of The Battle of the Rails [Bataille du Rail]); married Pierre Laroche (1902–1962, a scriptwriter).
Les Chevaux du Vercors (short, 1943); Les Malheurs de Sophie (1944); Gigi (1948); Sombre dimanche (1948); Minne ou l'ingenue libertine (Minne, 1950); Olivia (Pit of Loneliness, 1951); La Caraque blonde (1952); Huis Clos (No Exit, 1954); Mitsou (1956); La Garçonne (1956); L'Ecole des cocottes (1957), C'est la faute d'Adam (1957); Le Secret du chevalier d'Eon (1959); Les Petits Matins (1961); Cadavres en vacances (1961); Cours de bonheur conjugal (1964); Fruits amers (1966); Le Lys de mer (1969); Un grand Amour de Balzac (1972).
Jacqueline Audry began her motion-picture career in the area of continuity in 1933. For the next ten years, she served as assistant director to such luminaries as G.W. Pabst, Jean Delannoy, and Marcel Ophüls. In 1943, Audry directed her first film, a short entitled Les Chevaux du Vercors. Two years later, she shot her first full-length feature Les Malheurs de Sophie and subsequently directed a number of films that were popular in France, many of which were written by her husband Pierre Laroche.
Audry brought two of Colette 's stories to the screen. In 1950, she cast Danièle Delorme as Gigi, Yvonne de Bray as Gigi's grandmother, and Gaby Morlay as the great aunt, to make Gigi. (Vincente Minnelli directed the 1958 musical version, which starred Leslie Caron .) In 1957, Audry directed Colette's love story Mitsou, again with Delorme in the title role. Wrote Pauline Kael , the movie "achieves some of the story's absurdly touching quality."
Though in her earlier films Audry often chose to make what would be considered in any country "studio pictures," she ultimately set herself apart as the only French filmmaker to exclusively explore women characters. In particular, her film Olivia, made in 1951, is considered a milestone because of its exploration of lesbian themes, certainly a subject considered taboo in the 1950s. Released in America as Pit of Loneliness, it was adapted from the English novel Olivia, which was published anonymously; the script was written by Colette. In the story, which starred Edwige Feuillère and Simone Simon , two women run a finishing school. The elegant and provocative Feuillère is looked up to by the girls, and she in turn takes a more than passing interest in the English student Olivia. The film, claims Kael, does not measure up to an earlier study of lesbianism at school, Mädchen in Uniform. "Audry was more adept at light comedy, than at this sort of subtle sensuousness. Feuillère has superb presence but the movie is so determinedly 'delicate' that it seems to move at a snail's pace." Audry also directed Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis clos (No Exit) in 1954.
Kael, Pauline. 5001 Nights at the Movies. NY: Holt, 1985.
Manvell, Roger, ed. The International Encyclopedia of Film. NY: Crown Publishers, 1972.