November 26th, 2008

carole lombard 03
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From France, a posthumous tribute

In the past, we’ve noted that France was among the many countries where Carole Lombard was popular (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/49256.html
and http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/119847.html). But like virtually all the European continent, French audiences were unable to view her final film, “To Be Or Not To Be,” at the time of its release in 1942 because it was under Nazi occupation. It wouldn’t be until 1948, several years after France’s liberation and the Allied victory, that the film, known in France as “Jeu (or Jeux) Dangereux” was released.

And here’s an artifact of that release – the French magazine Le Film Complet from Aug. 15, 1948:



Note that Lombard (and director Ernst Lubitsch, who had died the previous November) are the focal point; indeed, Carole is shown with supporting player Robert Stack, not co-star Jack Benny. (Of course, Benny was primarily a radio performer, not a film actor, and thus wasn’t well known to most in France.) The film did good business with the French, but many were still suffering from the aftereffects of World War II, so perhaps the subject hit too close to home. It wouldn’t be until 1960 – when time gave the war some distance – that the film became a huge hit among French cinema devotees, playing in one Parisian theater for more than a year.

eBay has this magazine available, and while the auction is scheduled to expire just after 8:45 a.m. (Eastern) Dec. 20, it’s a “buy it now” item for $8 (U.S.), so if you want it, don’t delay. Go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-LUBITSCH-TO-BE-OR-NOT-FRENCH-MAG-1948_W0QQitemZ360109122436QQcmdZViewItemQQptZMagazines?hash=item360109122436&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318.
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