Friday, September 12, 2008

And You Know it Don't Come Easy

Alfred Hitchcock with Claude Jade (center) and Dany Robin

It's getting harder and harder to come up with a scan that isn't already up on Hitchcock Wiki or Doctor Macro what with the thousands of pics they have but still I manage. I did a search first to make sure this wasn't up on Hitchcock Wiki (I just like typing those words in over and over - Hitchcock Wiki - say it out loud for added entertainment) and was pleased to know it wasn't, although if they want to put it up now I guess they can. D'oh! Actually, that would be great if they did. As I learned from HUAC star Ginger Rogers, "Share and share alike. That's the American way!"

But the main reason I put this up was because of Claude Jade, not because I was trying to beat (here it comes again) Hitchcock Wiki to the punch. Recently, something happened to me while reading up on Jade that has happened to me a few times before, perhaps even to you (I hope I'm not alone in this): Someone dies in the film world and it completely flies under my radar for years. Please tell me I'm not the only one. So imagine my surprise when I decided to find out what the lovely star of Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board and Topaz had been up to recently. After all, she would only be 58 this October. Surely she was still active in the community, making movies and television shows in France. Then I discover she died in December 2006 of complications from retinal cancer after suffering from liver cancer. I had no idea. 21 months have passed and I just found out. Perhaps if I had been blogging, or even just reading the blogs, in December 0f 2006 I would have known this, for surely it was mentioned.

Well consider this a late goodbye. Francois Truffaut was one of the first foreign language directors I latched onto as a cinephile and then, as now, I found his movies utterly accessible to even a novice. And since Hitchcock's Topaz was shown over and over on TBS in the early days of cable, this, combined with the Truffaut obsession, put Claude Jade front and center in my mind as far as foreign actresses go. Most latch onto Bibi Anderson first, or Liv Ullman, or Monica Vitti or Anita Ekberg when first diving into the deep waters of cinephilia because they are in the big movies, the movies made by Bergman, Fellini and Antonioni. But for me it was Jade. There she was, ever present on TBS running it's old print of Topaz over and over and in Stolen Kisses, having to win back Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud because he fell for someone else, which if it hadn't been done it such a lighthearted manner by Truffaut would've stretched the limits of believibility.

I didn't see a lot of her movies and practically nothing she made after 1980 but nonetheless she was always there as the first "foreign actress fascination" of my early days. Always popping into my mind whenever any discussion online or off of Truffaut took place. I'm sorry she didn't live a longer life, sorry she had to suffer so much in her last year and also sorry it took me so long to find out. But mainly I'm just sorry she's gone.