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A comment from the webmaster: Annabella was an exceptionally talented actress. She could play comedy or drama with equal ease. At one time, in the 1930’s she was a huge star in France. I have watched a few of her films ( Le Million, Dinner at the Ritz, Wings of the Morning, Suez, and 13 Rue Madeline, where she had only a role that didn‘t show her to best advantage) , and it is easy to understand what fans liked about her and what moviemakers liked. Because I was impressed with her talent as an actress, I decided to create the Annabella, Leading Lady of French Films as a companion site to the Tyrone Power, King of 20th Century-Fox site.
Annabella made her film debut in Napoléon in 1927, in a minor part. She followed up with another small part in Maldone in 1928. After that, she was on her way to major stardom in French films. 1929 saw her as leading lady in La Barcarolle d'amour , which co-starred Charles Boyer, who would come to America and become a major star of Hollywood movies. Before either left for Hollywood, however, they would co-star in two more films together, 1933's La Bataille and 1934's Caravane . By the early 1930’s, she was one of France’s most important female leads, and, more often than not, she took top billing in her films. In 1932, she starred in her first movie with her then-husband, Jean Murat, well-known French star. The movie was Paris-Méditerranée . They went on to co-star in three other movies: 1933’s Mademoiselle Josette, ma femme , 1935’s L' Équipage , and 1936’s Anne Marie. In 1935, she co-starred with famous French actor, Jean Gabin in two movies, La Bandera and Variétés
Her career in Europe continued to gain steam and, in 1937, she co-starred with Henry Fonda in Wings of the Morning , a film made by 20th Century-Fox's British company. A few years later, she would learn from her sister-in-law that Tyrone Power was so impressed with her performance in Wings of the Morning , shown at a theater in American that released foreign films, that he went three times to see it. She came to America in 1938, where she made her first 20th Century-Fox American film, The Baroness and the Butler , with William Powell. She was then given the role of Toni in Suez, where she and Tyrone Power first became romantically involved.
Her marriage to Tyrone Power in April 1939 slowed her burgeoning American film career. When she came over from Europe, Darryl F. Zanuck was most impressed with her talent and was prepared to give her the big Hollywood star buildup. However, when she and Tyrone Power became romantically involved, Zanuck saw the romance as a threat to his top box office star’s appeal among the female fans. He tried to squelch the romance by offering Annabella a multi-picture deal, with foreign filming. Annabella decided that she would rather marry Tyrone than take the film offer. Zanuck was very angry, and he decided that, despite her talent and exclusive contract with 20th Century-Fox, she would not be given plum screen roles.
In 1938, the same year that Suez was released in America, her film Hôtel du Nord was released in France. It would receive an American release a couple years later. Just shortly after her wedding, the MGM movie, Bridal Suite was released. It would then be several years before she would again appear on the screen. In 1943, for the first time since her marriage, Annabella was seen in 20th Century-Fox‘s Tonight We Raid Calais, in a starring role opposite John Sutton.
She followed that up with Bomber’s Moon , opposite George Montgomery. During this time, her husband was in the U.S. Marines and would later serve in the Pacific.
After the war was over, Tyrone Power and Annabella were hoping to re-build their marriage. It was not to be. Annabella went to New York to star in the Broadway play, No Exit, while Ty was resuming his film career, with his first movie post-war, the drama The Razor’s Edge. By the time The Razor’s Edge premiered, the couple had announced their legal separation (though Annabella did attend the premiere with him). Shortly after her separation from Ty, Annabella made an attempt to resume her film career with 20th Century-Fox. She had been in 13 Rue Madeleine , which starred James Cagney, with her in the female lead role. The movie, her last at 20th Century-Fox, was released January 15, 1947. Though she was the female lead, the part was relatively minor and the role did not show her to good advantage. She had movies yet to film under her contract, and she set up a meeting with Darryl F. Zanuck to discuss her possible movie roles. Apparently the meeting did not go well for her, and she left for France to attempt to resume her career there. She made a few movies in France, among them Éternel conflit , Dernier amour , and Don Juan. She made the film, Quema el suelo in 1952 and then retired from the screen. She would return once more, in 1971, for a starring role in Bonaparte et la révolution . Annabella has said that she just never really gained her enthusiasm for film making once she and Tyrone Power were divorced and she had returned to France to attempt to re-build her career.unofficial Annabella site
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