Carl, Renée

(1875-1954)
   Actress and director. Renée Carl was one of the first major leading ladies of the cinema. She began her career, like most silent-film stars, in the theater. Carl was one of those stars of the stage lured to the screen in order to elevate the status of cinema from spectacle to art. She went to Gaumont in 1907, where she acted in Roméo Bosetti's celebrated silent film, Une dame vraiment bien (1908). She also appeared in a number of the films in the Bébé series, which was directed by Louis Feuillade and which ran from 1911 to 1913. She was also the heroine of Feuillade's Fantômas films. She starred in many other of Feuillade's films as well, including Le Roman de soeur Louise (1908), Le Collier de la reine (1909), La Cigale et la fourmi (1909), Judith et Holopherne (1909), La Fille de Jephté (1910), Esther (1910), Mater Dolorosa (1910), André Chénier (1911), Aux lions les chrétiens (1911), Les Vipères (1911), Androclès (1912), La Maison des lions (1912), Le Proscrit (1912), Le Revenant (1913), Severo Torelli (1914), the Heures series, which ran in 1909, and Feuillade's celebrated series Les Vampires (1915).
   During her career Carl also worked with Léonce Perret and Marcel L'Herbier and was the leading lady in Robert Peguy's L'Aviateur series (1921-1922). She also appeared as Madame Thenardier in Henri Fescourt's Les Misérables (1925). Carl managed, briefly, to transition into talking films. She had a role in Julien Duvivier's film noir classic, Pépé le Moko (1937). That role would be her last.
   In addition to acting, Carl tried her hand at directing. She directed herself in Un cri dans l'abîme (1923), at a period when female directors were still a rarity. What stands out about her work onscreen, apart from her sheer longevity during a time when the names of film actors, much less actresses, were rarely known, and when actresses disappeared forever after only a few roles, is her breadth. She performed in burlesque just as well as she did in biblical histories, and was as compelling in Fantômas as she was in Androclès (1912). All in all, Carl appeared in more than 160 films.
   See also Women.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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