Natanson, Jacques

(1901-1975)
   Director and screenwriter. Born in Asnières, Jacques Natanson started his career as a playwright and went on to become one of the most popular screenwriters of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Natanson's plays were largely popular in the vein of the comédie du boulevard, and he brought something of that with him to the screen. He started working in film in the early 1930s, cowriting on such films as Carmine Gallone's Un soir de rafle (1931) and Augusto Genina's Ne sois pas jalouse (1932). Natanson worked on the screenplays of more than thirty films, including Pierre Billon and Kurt Gerron's Une femme au volant (1933), Jean de Limur's Paprika (1933), Viktor Tourjansky's L'Ordonnance (1933) and Les Yeux noirs (1935), Alexis Granowsky's Les Nuits muscovites (1934) and Tarass Boulba (1936), Jacques de Baroncelli's Michel Strogoff (1935), Marcel L'Herbier's Forfaiture (1937), Max Ophuls's De Mayerling à Sarajevo (1940), La Ronde (1950), Le Plaisir (1952), and Lola Montés (1955), Richard Pottier's Vertige (1947), and Ralph Habib's La Rage au corps (1954).
   In addition to screenwriting, Natanson also tried his hand at directing. He made four films in total. The first was La Fusée (1933), and it was followed by Maître Bolbec et son mari (1934), Le Clown Bux (1935), and Les Gais lurons (1936). His success as a director was not spectacular, and he focused his efforts on writing after 1936.
   Natanson has the distinction of being an artistic screenwriter with popular appeal. Several of the films he worked on can well be considered avant-garde, most notably those of Ophuls. However, a number of the films he worked on were also successful with audiences. The French writer Colette, who was popular and literary herself, once said of Natanson that he was one of the most gifted writers of his generation. That reputation has held.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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