mercredi 19 avril 2017

In Memoriam

C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse que je vous annonce le décès de Yvonne Monlaur.
Elle nous a quittés le mardi 18 avril.

Selon ses volontés et celles de son fils Alexis,
ce blog restera en ligne afin de célébrer sa mémoire.

Pour de nombreux cinéphiles, elle sera à jamais cette éblouissante incarnation du charme féminin des années soixante.
Elle aura traversé le cinéma Italien et Fantastique avec une grâce qui, aujourd'hui encore, enchante tous ceux qui découvrent ses films.

A travers le blog, les conventions internationales et les hommages, elle avait retrouvé son public et vu de nouvelles générations de fans venir à sa rencontre et l'applaudir.

Yvonne aimait passionnément la vie et les autres.
Et c'est tout naturellement que notre relation de travail durant la rédaction de ce blog s'est muée en une profonde et sincère amitié.
Je mesure aujourd'hui à quel point il en est aussi le plus beau témoignage.

Son ami,
Jean-Luc Gagé

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of Yvonne Monlaur. She left us yesterday, Tuesday, April 18.

According to her wishes and those of her son Alexis, this blog will remain online to celebrate her memory.

For many film fans, she will be forever the dazzling incarnation of the feminine charm of the sixties.
She will have blessed the Italian and fantastic cinema with a grace that, still today, delights all those who discover her films.

Through the blog, international conventions and tributes, she found her audience again and saw new generations of fans come to meet her and applaud her.

Yvonne passionately loved life and others. And it is only natural that our working relationship during the writing of this blog has changed into a deep and sincere friendship.
Today, I can see how it is also its unique testimony.

Her friend,
Jean-Luc Gagé

" Très triste d'apprendre la disparition d'Yvonne Monlaur, l'inoubliable Marianne Danielle des " Maîtresses de Dracula" de Terence Fisher, mais aussi Nicole dans " Le Cirque des horreurs", Lee dans "L'empreinte du Dragon Rouge", ou Nora Rivière dans le sulfureux " Concerto de la peur" de Benazeraf.

Pour lui rendre hommage, un extrait d'une vidéo filmée récemment lors d'une interview qu'elle m'avait accordée. 
A la fin de l'entretien, elle avait joué le jeu d'une lecture du célèbre numéro 1 de Midi-Minuit fantastique, où bien sûr, il était question de Dracula et du baron Meinster...
RIP dear Yvonne." Nicolas Stanzick - Midi Minuit Fantastique

  ( Vidéo réalisée par / directed by Erwan Le Gac )

"Very sad to hear of the passing of Yvonne Monlaur,
the unforgettable Marianne Danielle from Terence Fisher's " Brides of Dracula", but also Nicole in " Circus of Horrors", Lee in " The Terror of the Tongs", or Nora Rivière in Benazeraf's sulfurous " Night of Lust".

To pay tribute to her, here is an excerpt from a video 
recently filmed during an interview she had given me.
At the end of the interview, she had accepted to read from the famous number 1 issue of Midi-Minuit Fantastique, which of course was about Dracula and baron Meinster...
RIP dear Yvonne." Nicolas Stanzick - Midi Minuit Fantastique

"Une bien triste nouvelle.
J'ai toujours en mémoire ma visite à Yvonne Monlaur, 
la qualité de son accueil et la précision de ses passionnants souvenirs ( notamment la scène des cadenas 
des  "Maîtresses de Dracula" ): témoignage irremplaçable
du glorieux temps de la Hammer films et témoignage radio  en or."

"Very sad news. 
I always remember my visit to Yvonne Monlaur, the quality of her welcolme and the precisions of her exciting memories 
( notably the scene of the locks in " Brides of Dracula" ): an irremplaceable testimony of the glorious times of Hammer films and a gold stuff for radio."
François Angelier - Mauvais Genres / France Culture

"I met Yvonne when shooting " Brides of Dracula". We were both very young ( I was 28 and Yvonne just 20 ).  
Yvonne was so beautiful, professional and sweet with every one. We met again, many years later, at Hammer films convention  at Bray studios,  where the film was shot. 
She looked great, pretty as ever, and had not changed that much. She will be very missed by a lot of people, and I hope many will pay homage to her. She deserved it so."
Andrée Melly - Gina in "Brides of Dracula"

" Yvonne was a terrific actress and a wonderful lady. I was privileged to first know her when Simon Greetham and I organized the Bray Days with many Hammer alumnis and she was just a joy to be with. she later gracefully granted me an interview in her home near Paris.
She will be sadly missed. She is forever associated with so many good memories of times gone by."
Don Fearney - Hammer Bray Days conventions UK

" I was absolutely devasted to hear of the passing of Yvonne. So upset actually.
She was the most charming, beautiful and funny woman. 
An amazing and very dignified lady.
I shall miss her enormously. We had so much fun together at film conventions.
I send all my love and prayers to her family and her son Alexis, whom she positively adored. "
Caroline Munro 

" Yvonne was such a sweet lady and I love the time we had together.
We last met at the festival of fantastic films at Manchester and she bought me a scarf for my birthday.
I am so saddened by this terrible news. My condolenses and love to her family."
Wayne Kinsey - Writer UK 

" I did not know Yvonne very well but had met her a few times, in various film conventions.
She immediatly went to my heart. She was such a lovely spirit, so adorable, sweet and kind. 
I was looking forward to meeting her again and I am so sorry she is gone. All my thoughts go to her and her family."
Martine Beswick

" Yvonne was one of the sweetest guests we ever had at THE MONSTER BASH EXPO ( Pittsburg, USA ). 
In her french accent and broken english she stopped me at one of the MONSTER BASH shows and said : " I wish to tell you. You are like a family. This is my family in America."
It meant so much to me. She gave me a hug in that hotel hallway and it makes me well with tears remembering this moment in time. She was so sweet.
We will greatly miss you, Yvonne. Rest in peace."
Ron Adams - Monster Bash USA

" Dearest Yvonne,

With such love, I remember and hold you in my heart. You, your dear family, and friends and fans the world over are all in my thoughts and prayers. With gladness and reverence, I share these memories of you, in celebration of your beautiful Life and Spirit...

When first the joyful occasion of meeting our beloved Yvonne presented itself to me, it was at the hallowed Fanex convention in Baltimore. It was a beautiful, breezy, sunny July afternoon, and Yvonne's fans here in the U.S. were ecstatically lining up to meet this beautiful, charming and delightful lady, who had won hearts the world over with her unforgettable performances. Like thousands of other people around the world, I fell in love with Yvonne while watching her films on TV. Little did I realize then, as a "monster kid" growing up in the late 1970s in Painesville, Ohio, that I would one day meet this vivacious and amazing woman, whose cinematic heroines from a storybook universe swept me off my feet. 
   But, the day arrived, and the time had come that peaceful July afternoon to step forward and greet this magical person, who, in my universe, was akin to an Olympian Goddess, taking a vacation from Mount Olympus to spend a relaxing weekend with us mortals here on earth! Having seen her "Brides of Dracula" co-star, the sainted Peter Cushing, kiss so many ladies' hands in the movies and in press photos and interviews, I spontaneously decided to do the same...and as I did so, I saw an adorable, furry little face peering from across the table at me--it was "Joulik," Yvonne's beloved little dog, who had made the trans-Atlantic journey with her to Baltimore! Yvonne introduced us with the same Continental elegance I had seen her bring to her roles, and, to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart's classic closing line in "Casablanca,"it was "the beginning of (two) beautiful friendships"!

Over the years, I, along with hundreds of other monster kids, was blessed with the repeated lifetime highlight of seeing Yvonne and Joulik, every time they came to the U.S. to greet their adoring fans. During these times, I would bring little doggie treats for Joulik to nibble on, and Yvonne would help me improve my French; once, in 2007, she had even translated for me the opening quote in French that appears at the beginning of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," which I was performing later that year. In the story, the quote reads, "Son coeur est un luth suspendu; Sitot qu'on le touche il resonne--De Beranger," which Yvonne translated for me as, "His heart is a lute that is suspended; as it is touched, it resonates--De Beranger."

   I would write little hand-made birthday and holiday greeting cards to Yvonne in French, and every so often, I'd send her one of my little "Christmas ornament" creations, as well. We had a lovely trans-Atlantic penpal correspondence over the years. I smile as I think back over our various phone conversations, too, such as the morning she excitedly called to tell me about her newly-created blog page, wherein she would entertain her fans with stories and photos of her career. It is a wonderful way to honor her now, as we celebrate the joy she has brought to so many.

   During her U.S. visits, I would show Yvonne my latest sculpting achievements on the stop-motion model I had made of Peter Cushing, who, in 1989, had graciously done a voice-over for my (still) work-in-progress animation film, "Walpurgis Night." To my everlasting gratitude and delight, Yvonne, herself, agreed to join the ensemble voice-over cast, and, in June, 2009, recorded some poetry by Charles Baudelaire for me, in its original French text, at the Monster Bash classic movie conference in Butler, Pennsylvania. These included "Les Metamorphosis du vampire"  ("Metamorphosis of the Vampire"); "Le Revenant" ("The Ghost"); and "Les Hiboux" ("The Owls"). It has been a decades-long labor of love, which I am now more than ever determined to bring to completion. Yvonne's participation in it is nothing short of breathtaking. 

   Imagine, then, how this joy became multifold, when dozens of other fans got to listen to Yvonne perform, live on stage at Monster Bash in June, 2011, Charles Baudelaire's "Les Metamorphosis du vampire," again in its original French text. It was the opening to our "midnight show" stage presentation of Bram Stoker's short story, "Dracula's Guest." Carla Laemmle, who played the "Prima Ballerina" in the 1925 Lon Chaney version of "The Phantom of the Opera" (by another genius from France, Gaston Leroux), as well as the young lady who speaks the opening line of dialogue in the 1931 production of "Dracula" with Bela Lugosi, provided a voice-over introduction for the show, detailing the background of "Dracula's Guest." She also autographed several antique Transylvanian postcards, as take-home souvenirs for the audience. Two of Yvonne's fellow Hammer leading ladies, Caroline Munro and Veronica Carlson, joined in on the fun, playing ghostly vampires that a young traveler encounters in a graveyard on Walpurgis Night. Closing out the show were passages of vampire poetry from Lord Byron's "The Giaour," with puppets of Dracula, a werewolf, and Frankenstein's creation, operated by Michael Lederman, Bruce Tinkel, and Gary Patti. At the end, I did a little dance, wearing a dragon mask. Paul Spencer did the sound editing for the show (overseen and operated by Brian Keegan and Geoffrey Curtis), and Caroline's daughter, Iona, came up with the lovely idea of having audience participation during once of the rehearsals. 
At key points in the show, the audience would provide howling and screaming sound effects, as they waved assorted spooky props in the air. Ron Adams, who helms the Monster Bash shows, arranged to have a beautiful, ornate chair that belonged to the hosting Days Inn, be brought on stage for Yvonne to sit in while she performed. I partly draped the chair with some gorgeous antique fabrics, that looked like something right out of a Hammer movie! To complete the effect, Yvonne read Baudelaire's vampire poetry from a huge, bat-shaped card, surrounded by Victorian era lamps with flickering, battery-operated candles. Beside us, on the stage, was an amazing antique wicker coffin, which Ron and the rest of the terrific Monster Bash crew supplied as a prop for the weekend festivities.

This once-in-a-lifetime dream was followed, in October 2014, by another witches' brew extravaganza at the Halloween Monster Bash celebration. I had adapted Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," calling it "Mac of the Red Beth." Yvonne returned to delight the fans with another live performance of a Baudelaire poem in its original French text--this time, it was "L'Horloge" ("The Clock"). In a costume I had assembled for Yvonne, with much help from Dan Webber, Michael Lederman, Kelly Patterson, Paul Spencer and Yvonne, herself--along with the fabric stores in Manhattan and in Mars, Pennsylvania, and from Yvonne's own wardrobe!--our dear Yvonne played a Spirit who inhabits "the gigantic clock of ebony" in one of the chambers described in Poe's tale. She read from a scroll of purple fabric with red trimming, with miniature skulls at either end. As she sat on her throne, Yvonne was surrounded by eerie characters holding such props as an hour class, or a miniature grandfather clock draped in antique fabric, with a skull affixed to its top. 
Joining the amazing ensemble gathered for this production were Veronica Carlson, Caroline Munro and Martine Beswicke as Shakespeare's 3 Witches, whose costumes evoked, respectively, Spring & Summer; Autumn; and Winter. Monica Moehring played the dual role(s) of Queen Hecate and the Red Death, wearing exquisite masks for each role created by her husband, Tim, all of which Yvonne enthusiastically described in her blog. Adding to the fun were Mark Redfield, Tami Hamalian, Bruce and Sharon Tinkel, Michael Lederman, Gary Patti, Steven Thornton, Michael and Ria Pierce, John and Timothy Frick and fellow Bash attendees as an assortment of colorful and ghoulish characters during the masquerade ball. These were led by Poe's "Prince Prospero," wearing a mask of the legendary hobgoblin of Christmas folklore, "Krampus," joined by an assortment of masks and puppets from earlier plays at Monster Bash. Once again, the voice of Carla Laemmle provided chilling and dramatic readings, herein from the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Louisa May Alcott.

   This show was also a tribute to the memory of Carla Laemmle, who had unfortunately passed away earlier in 2014. I had adopted her beautiful Persian cat named Mimi, who also had something of a hand (or rather, a paw!) in the production, as she sat with me and her loving "cat siblings" in Brooklyn--Millie, Buddy and Johnny--as they perched on my lap while I made props such as Yvonne's magic scroll for the show. As they kept me company during the wee hours, I cut out little cardboard "flying witches" to use as shadow puppets during the presentation. As Yvonne and company assembled together, I performed a rendition of Poe's "The Imp of the Perverse." Then, as Carla Laemmle's voice could be heard reciting Percy Shelley's poetry at the beginning of "Mac of the Red Beth," describing a "legion of witches" flying through the air, the "witch" shadow puppets appeared behind thin red fabric on stage, lit up from behind. This was accompanied by theremin music created by Paul Spencer, composed on an actual theremin that he built, himself! Brian Keegan, Geoffrey Curtis and the rest of the amazing Bash team operated the lights, ran the music & sound cues, and brought everything together for a wonderfully spooky Halloween celebration. At the end of the evening, the lights dimmed, and an enormous, glow-in-the-dark owl appeared beside a banner which read, "Happy Halloween!"--with dear Peter Cushing's voice chirping "Tu-whit! Tu-whoo!" (thanks to his beautiful recordings for me). It was a fun way to top off the night, especially with so many of Peter's lovely leading ladies in attendance.

   The next day, as it has now turned out to be, was the last time I was to see my beloved friend Yvonne in person, although we did continue our cherished correspondence in the following years. The last time I saw her, Yvonne clasped her hands on mine, and gazed at me intently with her beautiful brown eyes, whose luminousness I will remember always. "Promise me you will perform in France one day," she said. I promised her that I would; then we hugged, and I kissed her hand once more--just as I had done all those years before, when we first met in Baltimore, with beautiful Joulik's face peering across the table at me.

   I was so looking forward to seeing our dear Yvonne again this June, at Monster Bash, where she was scheduled to attend. I had been putting together an evening of French ghost stories, featuring the works of Guy de Maupassant, and had dearly wished for Yvonne to again be a part of it all. She still shall be, for the evening will be dedicated to her, and to the beautiful friendship we have shared.

   Ma chère Yvonne, je t'aime, et je tiens ma promesse. Merci!
 Restez tranquillement avec les anges. 
Vous continuerez toujours dans mon coeur. 
Votre ami amoureux pour toujours, Zach "
Zachary Zito - Monster Bash USA

"Un soir de septembre 2010, dans le métro, je pense à ce que je viens de voir. Dans une boutique, j’ai trouvé une affiche belge des « Maitresses de Dracula ». « Trop cher », me suis-je dit après l’annonce du prix par le vendeur.
Les stations défilent et l’incompréhension de ma décision grandit. Elle fait place très vite à des regrets.
Regrets liés à ce que représente «Les Maitresses de Dracula » (et bon nombre de films de la Hammer) : la naissance d’une cinéphilie qui ne m’a jamais quittée depuis la vision de ces films à la télévision les mardi soirs à l’heure où internet n’existait pas.
Regrets liés aussi à quelque chose de plus personnel qui débuta en juillet 2000 après un emménagement dans le même immeuble qu’Yvonne Monlaur : la naissance d’une amitié réelle et forte.
Le métro poursuit sa course et je continue à penser à cette affiche.
Yvonne fait partie de ma vie quotidienne et je ne sais pas encore à quel point nos rencontres sont précieuses.
Entre l’attente d’une météo plus clémente, la dernière lecture d’un bon bouquin, la programmation excellente d’une émission de musique classique ou la sortie d’un film tant attendu, il y avait toujours matière à discuter et à se donner des nouvelles. Curieuse de tout, grande voyageuse (entre ses conventions internationales et la visite chez ses proches et amis), mère et grand-mère comblée, Yvonne était très occupée et ne s’arrêtait jamais. Ses mots et ses pensées étaient toujours positifs malgré tout.
Je sors alors du métro, je monte l’escalier et je ne pense plus à cette affiche. Je pense simplement à Yvonne et je me retrouve sur le quai d’en face pour faire demi-tour.
Ce soir de septembre 2010, je ne veux pas avoir de regrets. Je les garde pour plus tard. 
Mai 2017, Yvonne est partie. La vie de mon quartier ne sera plus jamais la même et je ne regrette pas mon détour.

Au revoir Yvonne."
Vincent Delorme

Veronica Carlson's Tribute

Yvonne Monlaur was a special friend. 
Of her many talents and accomplishments, she was most proud of when she left behind her career as an actress to stay home to raise her son, who was her pride and joy.
I was fortunate to have met her and her son in person years ago at an autograph show in California.
Years later, she attended the Monster Bash annual convention and there became part of my best friend
Zachary Zito's stage production of classic literary horror stories.
I, along with a roomful of admiring fans were awed by her presence as she opened the production of reciting short poems - in French.
Her readings made us appreciate the beauty of her native tongue. A beautiful soul speaking a beautiful langage. She promoted Anglo-French goodwill.
My vivid memory of her was when at the Monster Bash show, I met her in the hall way
and she asked me about Zach, who had not arrived yet from New York city.
She said : " Tell Zach, when I see him, I give him a billion kisses."
They had bonded and become close friends.
May the angels be giving her a billion - and more- kisses.
Viva la Yvonne !
Michael Lederman - New York City USA

Tribute from the French Movie Industry during the 2018 Césars awards ceremony.
 Hommage du Cinéma Français pendant la Cérémonie des Césars 2018.

Vous pouvez laisser un commentaire ci-dessous en hommage à Yvonne   You may leave herebelow a comment in homage to Yvonne.

lundi 20 février 2017

Agence Interim : Banque (1969)

With Georges Adet and Marius Laurey

( lire la version française)
When my agent offered me a part in a French series, I welcomed the news with shared feelings.
Of course, I was delighted to shoot again in my country, I had a good memory of Claude Pierson’s “Chevalier Bayard” and Dominique Nohain’s “Ah the women”, but I had arrived at a time in my career where I wanted to ease up a bit. Besides, I was several months pregnant, and the promise of a happy event occupied all my thoughts.

The director of the series, Marcel Moussy, insisted on meeting me. He asked me if I liked to sing. He was ready to wait for the birth of my son towards the end of winter to continue filming of the episode with me.

As Peggy

Summary :
Two night watchmen in a bank ask to be replaced to go to a feast in Brittany. That night, criminals decide to rob the bank ...

“Agence Interim: Banque” remains a fond memory. On this occasion, I had Pierre Richard as a partner. He was a very nice man, and one could easily foresee that he would have a great career, given his irresistible comic power.

I even remember seeing the talented Francis Veber join him during a lunch break. There was already a great complicity between these two artists.

With Pierre Richard

The wardrobe lady had found me a very pretty costume of a dancer in gold lame. She made me wear a very tight corset to hide the curves of my past pregnancy.

The episode was a tribute to the Music-Hall with a nod to the burlesque films, evidenced by a mad rush in the middle of the plot.

For my part, I had the great honor of singing Mistinguett’s biggest hit : “C’est vrai !”
It is the kind of fantasy that French television could afford at that time, in spite of a tight budget, but with such a sense of entertainment that it still gives today a certain charm to all these amused and amusing productions !

With Pierre Richard

Agence Interim : Banque (1969)

Avec George Adet et Marius Laurey

Lorsque mon agent me proposa un rôle dans une série française, j'accueillis la nouvelle avec des sentiments partagés.
Bien sûr,  j'étais ravie de tourner à nouveau dans mon pays, j'avais gardé un bon souvenir de "Chevalier Bayard" de Claude Pierson et "Ah les femmes" de Dominique Nohain, mais j'étais arrivée à un moment de ma carrière où je voulais lever le pied. De plus j'étais enceinte de plusieurs mois et la promesse d'un heureux événement occupait toutes mes pensées.
Le réalisateur de la série, Marcel Moussy insista pour me rencontrer. Il me demanda si j'aimais chanter. Il était prêt à attendre la naissance de mon fils vers la fin de l'hiver, pour poursuivre le tournage de l'épisode avec moi.

Dans le rôle de Peggy

 Résumé :
Deux veilleurs de nuit dans une banque demandent à être remplacés pour aller à La fête des bretons. Cette nuit-là, des malfaiteurs ont décidé de cambrioler la banque...

"Agence Interim: Banque" reste un bon souvenir. A cette occasion, je donnais la réplique à Pierre Richard un homme sympathique dont il n'était pas difficile de prévoir qu'il ferait une grande carrière tant il avait un pouvoir comique irrésistible.
Je me souviens même avoir aperçu le talentueux Françis Veber le rejoindre durant une pause déjeuner. Il y avait déjà une grande complicité entre ces deux artistes.

Avec Pierre Richard

La costumière m'avait trouvé un très joli costume de danseuse en lamé or. Elle me fit porter un corset très serré pour masquer les rondeurs de ma grossesse passée.
L'épisode se voulait un hommage au Music-Hall avec un clin d'oeil appuyé aux films burlesques, en témoigne cette cavalcade folle qui traverse l'intrigue.

J'avais, pour ma part, l'insigne honneur de reprendre le grand succès de Mistinguett: C'est vrai !
C'est le genre de fantaisie que la télévision française de l'époque pouvait se permettre, malgré de petits moyens, mais avec un tel sens du divertissement qu'il confère aujourd'hui un charme certain à toutes ces productions amusées et amusantes !

Avec Pierre Richard

Pour plus de précision sur la série, consulter l'excellent site BDFF