Colette Marchand

Colette Marchand ( born April 29, 1925 in Paris ) is a French dancer and actress. Notoriety she gained from the late 1940s as a prima ballerina of Roland Petit's Les Ballets de Paris. For her feature film debut in John Huston's Moulin Rouge ( 1952), she received the Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. Critically, it was counted together with Margot Fonteyn among other things, Yvette Chauviré and Violetta Elvin among the ten greatest contemporary dancers in Western Europe.


Training and working with Roland Petit

Colette Marchand was born in 1925 in Paris. She enjoyed a classical dance training at the School of the Opéra de Paris and also received violin lessons. Her teachers were the Russian-French dancer and choreographer Victor Gsovsky (1902-1974) and Albert Aveline ( 1883-1968 ). After a short time at the Paris Opera Marchand went to England in 1947 where she briefly joined the Metropolitan Ballet under the direction Letty Littlewoods and Gsovskys. She joined, among others, as Queen in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake on, danced the Galatea in Pygmalion and took over the title role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet Sergei Lifar. Your breakthrough came in 1948 with Roland Petit's Les Ballets de Paris at the Théâtre Marigny. With the ballet company newly established Marchand appeared in London in Les Demoiselles de la Nuit in the spring of 1949. For Jean Françaix ' ballet, a variant of the fairy tale The Little Mermaid, she received praise from critics, who attested her a beautiful and distinctive dance style.

In October 1949, Marchand went with Petits company in the United States on tour. On Broadway, the prima ballerina dancing with success in L' œuf à la coque and Le combat the Winter Garden Theatre and the production brought it up in January 1950 to 116 performances. Then U.S. media became aware of the charismatic French. Known for his photographs about Life magazine devoted her four sides and Marchand was due to her dance skills soon the simple nickname The Legs (German: " Legs "). That same year, she was from October to December as Carmen and a return appearance in the title role as L' œuf à la coque at the National Theatre or the Broadhurst Theatre. Also success Marchand was granted with the production of Two on the Aisle, which toured from July 1951 to March 1952 on Broadway. In the musical revue she appeared in provocative black silk stockings, among others, together with Dolores Gray and Bert Lahr.

Feature film debut and Oscar nomination

The year 1952 also marked Colette Marchand's debut as an actress after she had her voice already Isidore Isou experimental film Traité de bave et d' éternité (1951 ) borrowed. John Huston, who had led among others such films as The Maltese Falcon (1941 ), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948 ) or The African Queen (1951 ) Director, put her in his movie Moulin Rouge, in which the Americans tried to work consciously with color dramaturgy. In the screen adaptation of the Toulouse- Lautrec Biography of Pierre La Mure Marchand plays on the side of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Suzanne Flon the role of a prostitute who the artist (played by José Ferrer ) Love vorheuchelt to satisfy their desire for money. The New York Times rated Marchands part as a "short but painful task, the sharp, metallic temperament and the helpless weakness of character of a street girl " display, while the time " a masterstroke actor's performance," praised her as Marie Charlet. At the Golden Globe Awards 1953, Marchand sat then as best young actress against Katy Jurado ( Twelve clock noon) and Rita Gam (I'm an atom spy ) by. Three weeks later at the Academy Awards in 1953 Moulin Rouge was nominated in seven categories for an Academy Award, but was able to prevail only in the technical categories with two wins. The nominees also was Colette Marchand, eighteen years after the victorious French Claudette Colbert ( It Happened One Night ) in the category Best Supporting Actress in relation to the US-American Gloria Grahame (City of Illusions ) was a laggard.

After Moulin Rouge was seen Colette Marchand, 1953 in Paris Roland Petit ballet Ciné- Bijou, a parody of gangster movies in which she played the role of the femme fatale and the Petit gangster. A year later, she received the lead female role in Peter Berneis ' and André Haguets German - French film production Hungarian Rhapsody (1954 ) opposite Paul Hubschmid. The free of historical facts staged love story between the composer Franz Liszt and the noble Carolyne von Sayn -Wittgenstein was evaluated as " soulful romance with musical bright spots " and praised for its vivid color photography, but also because of its representation of the pre-marital companionship and some debauched scenes from filmdienst recommended only with reservations. In film director André Haguet Marchand slipped in the same year in par ordre du tsar again in the role of unhappy love Princess and danced and choreographed in Haguets Short Romantic Youth addition Milorad Miskovitch. However, on the success of their acting debuts was known for her elegance and the French even decades later as " étoile de l'Empire " (engl.: "Star of the Empire " ) revered dancer not match and she returned the movie screen back on.

1953 Marchand danced the coquettish wife beside Petit ballet Deuil en 24 heures, Paris and London. In the same year she took over in London and New York, the title role in The Lady in the Ice, to which the famous film director Orson Welles was responsible, and Carmen. Until the 1960s, Marchand remained active as a dancer. The well-known ballet critic Olivier Merlin counted together with Margot Fonteyn, Yvette Chauviré and Violetta Elvin among the ten greatest contemporary dancers in the West.

Colette Marchand married in 1953 her three -years-younger compatriot Jacques Bazire, the musical director of Roland Petit's ballet company, who also contributed the soundtrack to Hungarian Rhapsody.

Ballets (selection)



  • Golden Globe Award 1953: Best Young Actress for Moulin Rouge
  • Academy Awards 1953: nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Moulin Rouge
  • British Film Academy Award 1954: nominated for Best Newcomer for Moulin Rouge