Jacques Feyder

Active - 1916 - 1946  |   Born - Jul 21, 1885   |   Died - Jan 1, 1948   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama

Share on

Biography by Sandra Brennan

French Filmmaker Jacques Feyder is one of the founders of poetic realism in French cinema. Feyder came from a bourgeois family with a strong military tradition, but after flunking the entrance exams to officers school, Feyder began working in a canon foundry. Upon learning that his son really aspired to becoming an actor, Feyder's father forbade him to use the family name on stage. Feyder went to Paris in 1911 where he played many small roles on stage and in film before becoming interested in filmmaking. Just before World War I, he began assisting director Gaston Ravel. As most of the regular directors were called to serve in the war, Feyder was assigned to direct. He began with nondescript little comedies, but in 1917, soon after he married famed actress Francoise Rosay, he was inducted into the Belgian army where he worked as an actor in a military troupe. He did not return to filmmaking until 1919. Over the next two decades, Feyder's reputation as a filmmaker extraordinaire grew. Feyder shot his films on location whenever possible -- his first major film L'Atlantide(1921) was shot in the Sahara Desert. When his 1928 film, the stingingly satirical Les noveaux messieurs, was banned for poking fun at Parliamentary ministers, Feyder accepted an offer from MGM and moved to Hollywood where he directed Garbo's last silent film. He made several more there, but he returned home three years later. His most famous film La kermess heroique (1935), a farcical look at contemporary politics, won many international awards, but when Nazis invaded France, Goebbels banned it and Feyder fled to Switzerland where he began writing scripts for himself and other filmmakers.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography