Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on May 17, 2012
The 65th Cannes Film Festival is currently underway and I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and share some early photos of the classic film stars and directors who have attended this prestigious event. Cannes is one of the oldest film festivals in existence and undoubtedly the most glamorous. Photographers from around the world converge on the French Riviera every year to snap photos of well-heeled celebrities who are eager to sell themselves and their latest movies to their adoring public.
Just like today, the Cannes Film Festival of yesteryear was attended by high-profile Hollywood couples often more in love with the cameras than one another as well as sexy starlets willing to bare all in order to get noticed and directors engaged in ridiculous publicity stunts for profit. The only things that have really changed in the last 65 years are the hairstyles and the fashions but while browsing though these old photographs it’s easy to become mesmerized by the charismatic faces that stare back at you. As Norma Desmond famously said in SUNSET BLVD. (1950), “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” Norma may have been talking about silent film stars then but those infamous lines haunted me while I was compiling these images. Of course there’s an element of nostalgia in my opining because these are some of the faces that made me fall in love with the movies and they’re faces that I never get tired of looking at.
1939: Filmmaker Louis Lumière met with the mayor of Cannes in 1939 to set the groundwork for the first Cannes Film Festival. Unfortunately WW2 would delay their plans for another six years.
1946: Director David Lean and actress Celia Johnson board a train in London on their way to the Cannes Film Festival where they’ll receive the Palme d’Or (Cannes highest honor) for their work on BRIEF ENCOUNTER.
1946: Actors Maria Montez and Jean-Pierre Aumont dance the night away. The young couple had recently celebrated the birth of their daughter (actress Tina Aumont).
1947: Actress Martine Carol and Orson Welles enjoy a smoking break together.
1947: Erich Von Stroheim looks on (apparently a bit bored by his company) while actress Denise Vernac seems to be having a good time.
1951: A young Elizabeth Taylor attracts the attention of photographers & onlookers while strolling the beach in Cannes. She was there supporting the release of A PLACE IN THE SUN, which was nominated for a Palme d’Or.
1952: Gene Kelly avoids the crowds at Cannes and relaxes in his hotel room. His film, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951), was nominated for a Palme d’Or but lost to Orson Welles’ OTHELLO and Renato Castellani’s DUE SOLDI DI SPERANZA.
1952: Filmmaker Mack Sennett nurses a pricked finger after receiving a special lifetime achievement award at Cannes that came with some prickly roses.
1953: Actors Olivia de Havilland and Edward G. Robinson stroll the sidewalks at Cannes. Robinson was a member of the Cannes Jury that year, which awarded the Palme d’Or to Henri-Georges Olivia Clouzot’s THE WAGES OF FEAR.
1953: A dashing Gary Cooper and Jean Marais surrounded by other festival attendees.
1953: Brigitte Bardot made her debut at Cannes in 1953 and attracted a lot of attention from photographers. The actress seems to positively glow while chatting with handsome Errol Flynn and who can blame her?
1953: Kirk Douglas was also taken with Bardot and the two actors goofed around on the beach for photographers. Douglas told reporters that Bardot was wearing the first bikini he’d ever seen and he was obviously impressed with her sexy new beachwear.
1953: Federico Fellini and his wife Giulietta Masina look like their being guided around Cannes by Jean Cocteau, who served as the President of the Cannes Jury from 1953-1954.
1953: Anne Baxter and Orson Welles dance while exchanging some private jokes. Baxter was there to support Hitchcock’s I CONFESS, which was nominated for a Palme d’Or.
1953: Zsa Zsa Gabor dances with husband George Sanders.
1954: Doris Day relaxes on the beach.
1954: One of Cannes most notorious incidents occurred when budding starlet Simone Silva decided to drop her top during a photo session with a surprised Robert Mitchum. Photographers rushed to snap photos of the two and a few were injured in the process. Cannes officials asked Silva to leave the festival afterward but Hollywood offered her a contract. Unfortunately all the publicity didn’t help Silva who ended up committing suicide just a few short years later but Mitchum walked away from the event with the Etoile de Cannes award.
1954: Grace Kelly and Gene Kelly chat.
1956: Susan Hayward & Ingrid Bergman share a drink and celebrate Hayward’s Best Actress win for her performance in I’LL CRY TOMORROW.
1956: Diana Dors and Ginger Rogers pose for photographers.
1957: Director William Wyler receives the Palme d’Or for FRIENDLY PERSUASION.
1957: Mike Todd and his new bride Elizabeth Taylor arrive in Cannes to promote his latest film, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. Unfortunately this was the last Cannes Film Festival Mike Todd attended. He was killed the following year in a horrible plane crash that left Taylor a widow.
1957: Dorothy Dandridge prepares to take a swim.
1957: Henry Fonda gets stuck in Cannes traffic while driving and is swarmed by the paparazzi as well as curious onlookers.
1958: Alain Delon carries actress Bella Darvi down the beach at Cannes.
1958: Jeanne Moreau, Anouk Aime and Maurice Ronet share some laughs.
1958: Jayne Mansfield and husband Mickey Hargitay dazzle the crowds.
1959: Yves Montand and his wife Simone Signoret share a private joke. Signoret won the Best Actress award in 1959 for her performance in ROOM AT THE TOP.
1959: Sophia Loren waves to photographers & onlookers from the balcony of her hotel room.
1959: One of the big news stories at Canne in 1959 was the blossoming relationship between Cary Grant and Kim Novak. The two actors were inseparable during the film festival much to the delight of photographers. Novak was there to help promote Delbert Mann’s MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, which was nominated for a Palme d’O but lost to Marcel Camus’ BLACK ORPHEUS.
*Coming Soon: 1960-1969*
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