Julien Duvivier

Active - 1919 - 1967  |   Born - Oct 8, 1896   |   Died - Oct 29, 1967   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Briefly enrolled at the University in his home town of Lille, France, Julien Duvivier dropped out to study acting in Paris. Hired by Andre Antoine's Theatre Libre, Duvivier was retained as Antoine's assistant when the latter began directing films in 1916. After apprenticing under several notables of the French cinema, Duvivier was allowed to direct his first feature, Haceldama ou le Prix du Sang (1919). Working steadily and successfully throughout the 1920s, Duvivier emerged as one of the major French film talents of the early talkie era. He was particularly adept at handling multi-storied films, all-star efforts in which several short vignettes were tied together by a central theme. His two biggest European hits, Un Carnet du Bal (1935) and Pepe le Moko (1937), won Duvivier his first Hollywood contract. He made his American bow with a stylized and heavily romanticized biography of Johann Strauss, The Great Waltz (1938). Duvivier's best-remembered Hollywood efforts of the 1940s were his multi-storied Tales of Manhattan (1942) and Flesh and Fantasy (1943); on these and most of his other films, he was also credited as one of the screenwriters. At the end of World War II, Duvivier returned to Europe, continuing to turn out moneymaking films. His The Little World of Don Camillo (1953) won him an award at the Venice Film Festival. Not long after helming his last picture, the enigmatic amnesia drama Diabolically Yours (1967), the 71-year-old Julien Duvivier was killed in a car accident.

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