22 thoughts on “MCM: Jean Marais

  1. Very much appreciate this post. As a pedant, though, I’m compelled to point out that you don’t buckle a swash – you swash a buckler, i.e. clatter your sword on your own or the other guy’s shield in a swaggering way.

  2. Thank you for this post !

    My favorite movie is not listed, it’s Le Bossu, a swashbuckler that I lurved as a child but is probably very cringey if you watch it for the first time as an adult (Casual incest ! Terrible 18th century costumes ! Racial / cultural stereotypes ! Bad acting !)

    Oh well …


  3. Thanks for the great profile on Jean Marais!

    But I’m surprised you left out Jean Cocteau’s 1948 film version of his play “L’Aigle à deux têtes/The Eagle with Two Heads,” which was loosely inspired by the assassination of Elisabeth of Austria.

    Marais plays a young anarchist poet who gets taken in by the reclusive widowed queen (Edwige Feuillère) because he looks just like her lost love. Even though he’s there to assassinate her, she welcomes this as a release from her torment, and calls him “Azrael,” her angel of death.

    Marcel Escoffier’s costumes on that one were a mixed bag, even though beautiful in their own way.

    1. Edwige Feuillère is another actress who needs an entry of her own. For instance, she played Duchess Sophie in Ophuls’ “From Mayerling to Sarajevo” opposite John Lodge as Franz Ferdinand. I always thought it odd because Edwige was a glamorous blonde, and the real Sophie was a brunette who, though very attractive (especially her eyes, which were well-known for their beauty) was not what some modern people might call a stunner. The clothes are very nice, though.

  4. I watched many of these movies, on our first colour tv, when I was a kid, and loved them. Capitaine Fracasse was my favorite. (And Beauty and the Beast, the first one, Cocteau’s)
    Jean Marais was obviously very handsome, aged beautifully. He had also a very recognizable voice, a great part of his charm.

    1. I don’t care that it’s a fantasy–B and the B is a COSTUME fantasy; I love its production values, and I agree with you about Marais’s voice. (After his transformation, Garbo supposedly said she wanted her Beast back.)

  5. Speaking of swashbuckler, what about french actor Gerard Barray ? : he is the guy with the facelifted lady on that picture, Marais’s enemy in Fracasse. He played musketeer, knight (le chevalier de Pardaillan), pirat (Surcouf). Many «sword and cape» movies, snark them!

  6. More films to be added to my to watch list. My favourite is Beauty and the Beast but as you previously mentioned it’s a fantasy. Francis i would be my 2nd choice. I saw it too many years ago, and need to rewatch it. Imho, Francis I was even more interesting than his English counterpart, Henry VIII.

  7. Peau D’Ane, or in the less lovely English title, Donkey Skin. A radiant Catherine Deneuve, dresses the colors of the sky, moon, & sun. Jean Marais as Papa & a Perrault story that has never been remotely PC. Delphine Seyrig as the good (FABULOUS) fairy, in platform shoes (& a “history with Papa”) in a helicopter. Il etait une fois….

  8. Thank you for this post ! Love Jean Marais, one of my fav ones when I was a child. I may suggest another movie, where he had a minor character : he played the good priest Myriel, who helped Jean Valjean, in the French 1995 version of “Les Misérables” by Lelouch. It’s a peculiar version, focused on a reinterpretation of the story within the XXe century. But part of the XIXe century’s original story is illustrated via some scenes (and one of them concerns the character played by Marais).
    One photo : https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMzdmZDUzZGMtZTE1Yy00OWRjLTljZjctNWZlODBjZjgzMzVkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTk2NTY0NQ@@.V1.jpg

  9. He made so many Frock Flicks – it’s difficult to Research about all. I never liked his stiff Performance for example in the “Monte Cristo”-Adaption with him in the leading role (although Gérard Depardieu was not better some decades later with a fat Prisoner in a French prison ???…).
    I prefer the “Joseph Balsamo”-miniseries even although I don’t know how different the French version is (Germany and France normaly made two different versions of such co-productions at this time).

    However the audience had a different taste in the 1940s and 1950s and I see why Jean Marais was a very much beloved Actor. My mother loved his Performances too.

    The other actor you presented is Gérard Barray. He was iconic for French swashbuckling of the 1960s too. In my opinion not so stiff like Marais. But I never saw him in a good production.

  10. Oooh…I’ve never seen any of these but I love the picks! IMO the yummiest pics are from Ruy Blas and Romulus and the Sabines. Also, I’m totally loving his robe in the pic from The Count of Monte Cristo.

  11. What About The Eagle with Two Heads (1948)???
    Also let me make a little request: this Ruy Blas picture made me think are you familiar with the great Danielle Darrieux?? she’s a french actress I adore she’s marvelous and had a brillant career that spanned over 70 years what means lots of period films would you consider her for a WCW? i came across her at frockflicks once on a Madame de Montespan post but i think she deserved a post of her own

    1. I agree! Danielle Darrieux needs an entry of her own – she starred in some very notable Frock Flicks, especially “The Earrings of Madame de…”, “La Ronde” and “Pot-Bouille”, as well as “Ruy Blas”. She lived to be nearly 100, IIRC, and continued working up till nearly the end of her very long life.

      1. We’ve done social media posts on her for her bday, and she’s definitely worthy of a WCW! (The only hitch is I don’t think I’ve seen any of her films – insert monkey shamefaced emoji)

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