A look back at his career in five unforgettable films and a cult series

The famous actress, who passed away last Wednesday, began cutting her teeth in the film industry during the 1930s. After that, she had the opportunity to work with great and renowned personalities of French cinema.

Micheline Presle, a significant figure in French cinema in the 1940s, died on Wednesday, February 21, at the age of 101. During her career, she showed exceptional talent, oscillating between comedic roles and dramatic characters. We present an overview of five of her notable films as well as a famous television series in which she performed brilliantly.

1 “Fantastic Night” (1942)

In this work by Marcel L'Herbier created during the occupation period, Micheline Presle shares a poster with Fernando Gravey. Playing the role of a ghostly-looking woman dressed in white, she appears every night in Denis's dreams. The latter, haunted by that vision, breaks away from his companion to follow her, thus getting lost in the world of dreams.

2 “Tallow Ball” (1945)

In this feature film directed by Christian-Jaque and adapted from Guy de Maupassant's short story of the same name, she replaces Viviane Romance, who refused to play a “patriotic prostitute”. For that role, the director sent her to the Pyrenees to gain some weight. She plays an easy-going woman with a big heart who will save stagecoach passengers during the Prussian occupation in 1870, only to receive contempt in return. This movie really thrust her into the limelight.

3 “Falbalas” (1945)

A career-defining film shot during the occupation, Jacques Becker's “Falbalas” offers exquisite melodrama combined with a portrait of the Parisian fashion world. In fact, the production called on fashion designer Marcel Rochas to make all the dresses in the film. In this film, Micheline Presle plays the role of Micheline Lafaurie, a young bourgeois from the provinces who arrives in Paris to prepare for her wedding, but falls under the spell of her future husband's best friend.

4 “The Devil in the Flesh” (1947)

This is a film adaptation of Raymond Radiguet's novel that she chose herself. Gérard Philipe is his partner, and they play a love story between a high school girl and a nurse, married to a soldier during the First World War. When it was released, director Claude Autant-Lar's black-and-white film caused a scandal for its anti-militaristic aspect and incitement to adultery before becoming a classic of French cinema.

5 “The Nun” (1967)

After almost ten years of absence from the screen in the United States, the actress made a surprising comeback thanks to the New Wave. After a great success on stage in the movie “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” », she was noticed by Jacques Rivette, with whom she recorded “The Nun”. In this adaptation of Diderot's epistolary novel, she plays the superior of a young novice who is forced to assume the veil.

6 “Dear Saints” (series, 1965-1971)

“Les Saintes Chéries” is a 39-episode television series broadcast from 1965 to 1970 on the first ORTF channel. It humorously depicts the daily life of Eva and Pierre Lagarde, a couple of wealthy Parisians, and has become an emblem of idealized France before May 68. Micheline Presle and Daniel Gélin play the Lagarde couple, who became symbolic representations of average French people during the Trente Glorieuses.

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