Film & Music

Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Quentin Chirol

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The French of Hollywood : Jean Gabin, the Parisian kid

Historically, the American dream has always been a part of the French spirit. And in the world of cinema, it is not any different. In every time period,cinema professionals have seen Hollywood as the means to a successful career. Many have also become lost as they desperately try to break into the field, at any cost, on the other side of the Atlantic.  

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Photo by Tout Le Cine – “Moontide,” Ida Lupino and Jean Gabin

The story of Jean Gabin is different. Born in Paris in 1904, he became known in France with the arrival of talking pictures. As a result of his strong charisma, he was able to shoot movies with the greatest directors of the era such as Jean Renoir and Marcel Carné.

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Photo by Cinéma français – ” The Impostor”

Unfortunately, his career came to an end with the Second World War. A passionate patriot, he refused to shoot movies with the Nazis, and decided to go to Hollywood. On February 2, 1941, he arrived in the United States. Once there, he participated in two films, one was ” La Péniche De L’Amour “, (” Moontide ” in the original version) by the American, Archie Mayo and the other was ” L’Imposteur ” (” The Impostor “) by his friend, Julien Duvivier.

His American artistic life was short, however ; and despite the romance he had with Marlene Dietrich since he arrived in the US, Jean Gabin decided to enlist in the French liberation forces in 1943. At the end of the war, he resumed his career , now playing the roles of strong men and patriarchs . He returned to the United States with his role in the film by René Clément ” Beyond the Gates ” which received the  Honorary Oscar in 1951 for best foreign film. His love for France pushed him to stay in his country and to continue his profession until his death in 1976.


About the Author

Détenteur d'une Licence de Cinéma et étudiant en journalisme à l'école HEJ de Lyon, Quentin écrit pour Abus de Ciné et Les Narrateurs. Passionné de culture en général et de cinéma en particulier, il aime partager cette passion avec le plus grand nombre.



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