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Édith Jéhanne | by Truus, Bob & Jan too!
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Édith Jéhanne

Photo: R. Tomarig, Nice. T. 93. Postcard for the Al Film Co. Batavia-Centrum (former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia). Édith Jehanne in the French film Tarakanova (Raymond Bernard 1930). This picture was also used for posters and magazine covers.

 

Édith Jéhanne (born 1902, date of death unknown, real name as well) was discovered by French director Raymond Bernard in 1920 during the shooting of Le secret de Rose Lambert, when Edith visited the set to see her sister Sylvia Grey. She debuted in Raymond Bernard's sentimental comedy Triplepatte (1922) based on a play by Bernard's father Tristan Bernard. Next she performed in the adventure serial Rouletabille chez les bohemiens (Henri Fescourt 1923), opposite Gabriel de Gravone, Romuald Joubé and Joe Hamman. In 1924 she had a small part in Raymond Bernard's historical drama Le miracle des loups, an epic film about he struggle between Louis XI and Charles le Téméraire.

 

In 1927 Jéhanne was given the lead in two major films. First in G.W. Pabst's Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney, based on a story by Ilya Ehrenberg. Jeanne Ney is a woman tormented by the political upheavals of post World War One. Bolchevik Andreas (Uno Henning), Jeanne's lover, kills her father during the Civil War because of his poltical betrayal. He sends Jeanne to her family in Paris but he is preceded by the perfidious Khalibiev (Fritz Rasp), who murders Jeanne's uncle and proposes to marry Jeanne's blind cousin (Brigitte Helm). Andreas is accused of the murder... Pabst mingled straight forward American style filming with echos of Soviet montage style and German expressionism. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C62q_hVcV4

 

Secondly, Jehanne played the lead, together with Pierre Blanchar, in Le joueur d'échecs (Raymond Bernard 1927), about 19th century Poland striving for independence. Polish freefighter Boleslas (Blanchar) loves Sophie, while they are both in the independence movement, but she becomes attracted to Oblonoff (Pierre Batcheff), a young officer in charge of the Russian forces in Poland. When Boleslas is wounded during an insurrection at Vilmo, Sophie stays at his side. He is hidden in a chess-player mannequin that ends up at the court of the Russian czarina Catherine II. He plays against her... The film was grand spectacle, using 35 decors including an enormous set for the Winter Palace. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck3ldWe_l3M for a beautiful clip of the restored version of the film.

 

However, after these major works, Jéhanne only made three more films. In two she had the female lead: Le perroquet vert (Jean Milva 1928) with Max Maxudian, and the late silent Tarakanova (1930) with Olaf Fjord, on a female impostor who claims to be heir to the Russian trone. When the czarina (Paule Andral) sends her best aid (Fjord) to capture the girl, he falls in love with her. It was Raymond Bernard's last silent film, shot in 1929, but held back to be sonorized in 1930. Bernard considered it his best film, but no copy of the film ever showed up so we can judge for ourselves. After that, Jéhanne only had a minor part in the early sound film Quand nous étions deux (Léonce Perret 1929), starring Alice Roberts and André Roanne.

 

Raymond Bernard remembered Jéhanne died soon after the coming of the talkies. Did sound cinema kill her career? Might have been. She was a very dear actress to Bernard.

 

Sources: IMDB, www.dvdclassik.com/critique/tarakanova-bernard

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Taken on November 29, 2009