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Bonjour Tristesse starring Deborah Kerr, Jean Seberg & David Niven: Hello Sadness, my old friend #book2movies

Jean Seberg, born on November 13, 1938

Previously I shared a few photos of Deborah Kerr from some of her classic films: From Here to Eternity, The King and I and my favorite An Affair to Remember. The star would have been 96 had she not died in 2007, at that cliche ripe old age of 86. Not a bad run. 

Not as well known perhaps, the role Kerr played in Bonjour Tristesse the Otto Preminger adaptation of the French author, Fran├žois Sagan’s first book about a wild, young woman living with her playboy father, struggling to find herself. As was sometimes the fashion at the time, the French father Raymond is played by the very British David Niven, while the 17 year old American actress Jean Seberg—who loved France so much, she would come to spend half her life in France—played the daughter Cecile. The eternally classy Kerr plays an English clothing designer and friend of Raymond’s deceased wife. She sees herself as a sort of mother figure to Cecile and as a potential mate to Raymond.

I loved the movie, in part because of the glimpses we’re given of France, in part because of the yearning sadness of Cecile, the disappointment of Anne and the ultimate tragedy of the story which is one that stays with you. 

The book was such a success that it was adapted for the screen by the great Otto Preminger. Fifties leading man David Niven stars as Cecile's father, a handsome wealthy bachelor playboy who treats her more like a pal than a daughter. Jean Seberg was young Cecile, the teenage girl who idolizes her dad and loves sharing his rather dissolute lifestyle, traipsing along on a series of dates to Parisian nightclubs.  Classy Deborah Kerr plays Anne, an old family friend who comes to visit at the same time papa has a woman staying at their Mediterranean beach cottage. She stirs up the pot with her more conventional outlook and expectations.

It’s all very glamorous, gorgeous but ultimately tragic. I loved the black and white shots of Paris while the full on color shots of the south of France were blindingly beautiful.

Update, 11/13/2018 I recently learned that Jean Seberg, born on this day, died in 1979 in what the French police ruled a probable suicide. Her then-husband Romain Gary blamed her deteriorating mental health on being the target of an FBI campaign against her for her support of the Black Panthers. Against All Enemies, due out in 2019 is based on the true story with Kristen Stewart playing the iconic Jean Seberg.

Bonjour Dreaming of France friends ... Let’s watch this black and white look at Paris from Bonjour Tristesse circa 1958.

Available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu and GooglePlay.

Connect with other lovers of all things french at An Accidental Blog where Paulita Kincer is always Dreaming of France.