vendredi 12 novembre 2010

Simone Signoret and Alec Guinness – A look back at two distinguished acting careers

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement.


Simone Signoret
1921 - 1985

Sir Alec Guinness
1914 - 2000

 Simone Signoret, a leading French actress, died 25 years ago.  Her long acting career was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 64. She was the first French person to win an Oscar Award – for her role in Room at the Top.


In the following video clip, Signoret describes her own career.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOuO6a-bxUw

Sir Alec Guinness, one of the most distinguished actors in history, played a remarkable variety of roles on the stage, on television and in movies. Guinness died 10 years ago, at the age of 86. In 1957 he won an Oscar as the leading male actor in The Bridge on the River Kwai


In 1980 he received an Honorary Oscar.

The following video clip reviews his long and distinguished career.


It is not well known that Signoret and Guinness once appeared on stage together – in Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1966.

The British Guardian’s obituary of Guinness describes Guinness' performance on that occasion as having been handicapped by Signoret's  "impossibly Gallic English" in her role  as Lady Macbeth.

Whether or not that expresses fair criticism or reflects English jingoism, many theatre and movie lovers.remember Signoret as one of the brightest stars in the firmament of French acting.

Several biographies have been written, both in English and in French, of Signoret and Guinness. Signoret, une vie, by Emmanuelle Guilcher, was published in paperback by Michel Lafon in September 2010. Guinness’ authorized biography, Alec Guinness, written by Piers Paul Read was published in 2005 by Simon and Schuster..








Two collections, each containing 5 DVDs of Guinness’ films, are available from Amazon.com. A collection of 4 DVDs of Signoret’s films is available from Amazon.fr





 

A personal footnote: In 1959 I saw Paul Robeson, the famous American singer, play the lead role in Othello at Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. (I still have the programme.)  Alec Guinness sat in the audience.

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