Art History, Cinema, Who was/is

Who was Jehanne d’Alcy?

Charlotte Lucie Marie Adèle Stephanie Adrienne Faës was a Frech actress of theatre and cinema best known by her stage name Jehanne d’Alcy. She was born in Vaujours (Seine-et-Oise) and in 1888 she moved to Paris where met the illusionist and film director Georges Méliès who would later become her husband. He was, by that time, the director of the theatre Robert-Hudson, where she began her career.

Jehanne d’Alcy by Léopold-Émile Reutlinger.

Jehanne d’Alcy had achieved success in theatrical productions by 1896, when she decided to change the stages and devote her career to the cinema, becoming one of the first artists to do so. Méliès was a pioneer of the cinema world and she was a one of the stars of his films, appearing in Le Manoir du diable (1896), Jeanne d’Arc (1900) and in Le voyage dans la lune (1902).

Alcy was the first actress of history to be Cleopatra in films, more precisely, her ghost after the profanation of her tomb in a short film (4 minutes long) which was considered lost for years, but that was found in 2005.

When her artistic career ended, she ran a toy and candy shop in the Paris-Montparnasse station. She married for the first time, but then her husband died. In 1952, Georges Méliès, who was also a widower since 1913, found her again and they married. He was ruined, so he took care of the shop with her. In 1932, the couple moved into an apartment in a house available to veterans of the cinema.

Jehanne d’Alcy in La danse du feu

After Méliès death, she devoted herself to perpetuate his memory. She survived the World War II with her son André Méliès. She is buried in Père-Lachaise cemetery (division 64) alongside her husband Georges Méliès.

Filmography:

  • 1896: Escamotage d’une dame au théâtre Robert-Houdin
  • 1896: Le Manoir du diable
  • 1897: Faust et Marguerite
  • 1897: Après le bal
  • 1898: Pygmalion et Galathée
  • 1898: La Lune à un mètre
  • 1899: La Colonne de feu (ou La Danse du feu)
  • 1899: Cendrillon
  • 1899: Cléopâtre
  • 1900: Jeanne d’Arc
  • 1900: Nouvelles luttes extravagantes
  • 1901: Barbe-Bleue
  • 1902: Le Voyage dans la Lune
  • 1903: L’Enchanteur Alcofrisbas
  • 1952: Le Grand Méliès de Georges Franju
Jehanne d’Alcy in La source enchantée, 1892

Curiosities:

  • She was portrayed by actress Helen McCrory in Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo (2011).
  • Once finished her career as an actress, she held a shop of toys and sweets in the Paris-Montparnasse station.
  • In 1952 she appeared in the short film Le Grand Méliès. The film was a tribute to the pioneer of cinema directed by Georges Franju.

References:

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