Charles Boyer: The French Lover is the first biography of Boyer to exist in English in almost forty years. Author John Baxter artfully presents the often-tragic life of this often overlooked, yet profoundly impactful French actor. Baxter relates how Boyer (1899–1978) established himself in the theater and cinema of France, confidently transitioning from silent film to sound and making a name for himself as a romantic leading man in Hollywood through the early 1940s. During World War II, Boyer put his career on hold to become politically active on behalf of his occupied home country. Upon returning to the stage and screen, Boyer adapted effortlessly to postwar character roles in both Europe and the United States. He entered television in the 1950s as both producer and performer, and then remade himself as a comedy performer in the 1960s. Nominated four times for Academy Awards, he was honored by the Academy only once—a special honorary award received for his activities on behalf of France during World War II.
In an insightful analysis of Boyer's choice of roles during and after World War II, Baxter shows that the actor possessed a shrewd perception of his image. Baxter reveals how Boyer, realizing his accent would always mark him as an outsider, both embraced and subverted that identity. Far from clinging to the performances that made him famous, Boyer showed a readiness to break the mold. Yet above all, Baxter argues, Boyer's greatest achievement was becoming the embodiment of exiles everywhere.
The Eyes of a Stranger
All Quiet on the Western Front
On the Road
To Be Famous and To Be Loved
On Trial: Le Procés de Mary Dugan
Ufa and After: Brand in Der Oper. The Big House. The Magnificent Lie. Tumultes.
Mid-Atlantic: The Man From Yesterday. Red-Headed Woman. I.P.1 Ne Répond Plus. Ich und Die Kaiserin.
A Ride on the Carousel: Liliom
The Boyer Type
The Love of His Life: Caravan.
The Japanese Sandman: Le Bonheur
Think American: Private Worlds. Shanghai.
Discord: Break of Hearts.
The Sleeping Prince: Mayerling.
"Only God and I Know What Is In My Heart": The Garden of Allah.
The Best Head Waiter in Europe: History Is Made at Night.
Immortal Longings: Conquest.
Lazy and Hot and Happy: Orage.
"Come With Me To The Casbah": Algiers.
Sex on the High Seas: Love Affair.
The Gathering Storm: When Tomorrow Comes.
Blood, Toil, Sweat and Tears: Le Corsair.
The World's Best-Dressed Governess: All This and Heaven Too.
The War at Home
A Voice Singing in the Snow: Back Street.
The Golden Door: Hold Back the Dawn.
The Most Popular Frenchman in America: Appointment for Love. Tales of Manhattan.
Love and Death: The Constant Nymph. Flesh and Fantasy.
Not What It Looks Like: Gaslight.
Love in a Cold Climate: Together Again. Confidential Agent.
Stranger in a Strange Land: Cluny Brown. Arch of Triumph. A Woman's Vengeance.
"Why, this is Hell, Nor Am I Out of It.": Red Gloves. Don Juan in Hell.
No Fixed Place of Abode: The First Legion. Thunder in the East. The 13th Letter. The Happy Time.
One Star Short: The Four-Star Playhouse.
Superficially Superficial: Madame de... Nana
Great Body, Beautiful Soul: La Parisienne. Maxime.
Sins of the Father: The Buccaneer. Les Demons de Minuit. Fanny. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Men of Distinction: Lord Pengo. A Very Special Favor. Man and Boy. The Rogues.
The Calm Before the Storm: Is Paris Burning? Adorable Julia. How To Steal a Million.
Man and Boy. Michael
Fade to Black
The Rold of a Lifetime: Casino Royale, The Hot Line, Barefoot in the Park, The April Fools, The Madwoman of Chaillot. Lost Horizon. Stavisky, A Matter of Time.
Sophisticated and often witty, Charles Boyer: The French Lover is a clearly structured, chronological journey through Boyer's life. The author's writing style and his obvious extensive knowledge of the films of the period make it an easy read.~Ruth Barton, author of Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film and Rex Ingram: Visionary Director of the Silent Screen
A readable and valuable biography of a Golden Age film star who has received little attention even though he was a presence on movie screens worldwide for decades. The author's writing style is sharp and lively and the narrative of Boyer's life moves with energy.~Douglass K. Daniel, author of Anne Bancroft: A Life