His interest in films was stimulated by a meeting with King Vidor, who offered him employment in the US as actor and assistant director. However, he remained in France and became assistant to Jean Renoir, a friend of the family, during that director’s peak period (1932-39). In 1934 he ventured briefly into independent production, co-directing with Pierre Prévert a short film, Le commissaire est bon enfant, le gendarme est sans pitié (1935). In 1935 he turned out a five-reeler, Tête de turc (1935), which he later refused to acknowledge as his.
In 1939 he began shooting a feature film, L’or du Cristobal (1940), but walked out after three weeks, leaving the film to be finished by Jean Stelli. In 1942, after a year in a German prisoner-of-war camp, he began his career as director. His entire output consisted of only 13 films, but they include some of the most artistically and technically substantial in French cinema. He is one of the few Old Guard directors done honor by the New… read more