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OBITUARIES / Passings / Jean Delannoy

Cannes-winning French filmmaker

June 21, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jean Delannoy, 100, a classic French filmmaker who adapted novels by Victor Hugo and Andre Gide and won the Cannes Film Festival's top prize in 1946, died Wednesday at his home in Guainville, southwest of Paris, the local city hall said, without providing the cause of death.

Many of his films, starring actors including Jean Gabin, Jean Marais and Michele Morgan, were French box office successes in the 1940s and '50s.

But Delannoy's classic style went out of fashion in the 1960s, when he was derided by the more avant-garde New Wave filmmakers, including Francois Truffaut. The New Wave dubbed his movies "le cinema de papa."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Delannoy for "devoting his life, with success, to his passion for art."

Working with a script by Jean Cocteau, Delannoy revisited the Tristan and Isolde legend in 1943's "L'Eternel Retour" or "Eternal Return."

His 1946 film "La Symphonie Pastorale," adapted from a Gide novel, won Cannes' top prize. The film told the story of a blind orphan who falls in love with a married pastor.

Another of his films was "Notre Dame de Paris," an adaptation of Hugo's novel starring Gina Lollobrigida and Anthony Quinn and released in the United States as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Born Jan. 12, 1908, in Noisy-le-Sec, France, he studied at Lille University and Paris University before beginning his career as a film editor in the 1920s.

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