End Credits #30: Cinema's 2015 Lost Treasures
These are some of Cinema's sad departures of 2015 taken from my personal notes soon after the tragic events took place:
Louis Jourdan, the gifted French born actor has sadly passed away on Valentine's Day at age 93. Along with the recent passing of Lizabeth Scott, still another of the dwindling ambassadors from a bygone era of classic film making is gone forever. His portrayals were typically sophisticated, elegant, erudite and romantic, representing a quality of character acting that now seems further cemented in the past.
Jourdan was brought to America by Producer David O. Selznick in the 40's to appear in The Paradine Case directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Selznick must have really liked the actor's European films to offer him such a long-term contract. Today, those early films are obscure and hard to find.
Thankfully, there are many motion pictures we can readily appreciate him in, like Bird of Paradise, Three Coins in the Fountain, The Swan, Julie, The VIP's and of course Gigi. One is a certifiable masterpiece, and could not have been without the special presence of Louis Jordan: Letter from an Unknown Woman. Jourdan starred in this exquisite romantic tragedy, perfectly conveying his character's layered complexity: Behind a veneer of poised, seductive charm there's a cad-like indifference masking his insecurity, but all the while hinting at a deep capacity for emotional empathy. At the story's conclusion, Jourdan so effectively communicates this realization of a love offered but never fully reciprocated, it leaves us as emotionally devastated as the character he portrays. His cinematic love was shared with the radiant Joan Fontaine who was also lost to us just over 1 year ago. Louis Jourdan (June 19, 1921 - February 14, 2015) R.I.P.