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Born: Lille, France, 8 October 1896.
Died: 1967.

Julien Duvivier (JPG, 15 KB)

He began a brief career in 1916 as an actor on the Paris stage. Two years later he entered French films as assistant director (to Feuillade, L'Herbier, etc.) and occasional screenwriter. In 1919 he directed his first film. His films of the 20s gained little notice, but in the 30s he gradually emerged as one of the "Big Five" of French cinema, alongside René Clair, Jacques Feyder, Jean Renoir, and Marcel Carné. He established an international reputation for his poetic realism in such films as David Golder (1930), Poil de Carotte (1932), The Naked Heart / Maria Chapdelaine (1934), Escape from Yesterday / La Bandera (1935), The Golem (1936), Pépé le Moko (1937), They Were Five (1936), Un Carnet de Bal (1937), La fin du jour 1939), and La Charrette Fantôme (1939). In 1938 he was invited to Hollywood to direct The Great Waltz (1938), a lavish if somewhat kitschy biography of Johann Strauss.

After the invasion of France, Duvivier returned to America, where he spent the war years directing a number of expensive films, memorably two multistar pictures made up of several episodes, Tales of Manhattan (1942) and the more successful Flesh and Fantasy (1943). In 1945 he returned to Europe, where he continued as a director of French films and films of other nations, including the British Anna Karenina (1948), starring Vivien Leigh. Most notable among his postwar pictures was The Little World of Don Camillo (1951), for which he won a prize at Venice. His career as director spanned almost 50 years, paralleling the development of French cinema, from Feuillade to Godard. He scripted or coscripted most of his own films.

— Ephraim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia

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