Marie Glory: French Silent Film Actress Dead at 103

by Andre Soares
Jaque Catelain Marie Glory L'Enfant de l'amour

Actress Marie Glory (a.k.a. Arlette Genny in the mid-1920s) died at her house in Cannes this past January 24. She was 103.

Though forgotten today, Glory did have an extensive film career – more than 50 motion pictures during the course of nearly four decades, from 1924 to 1960.

Among her most notable films were those she made for innovative director Marcel L'Herbier: the silent classic L'Argent (1928), an adaptation of an Emile Zola novel that is considered by some one of the greatest silent films ever made, and in which Glory co-starred with Brigitte Helm (of Metropolis fame) and Pierre Alcover; L'Herbier's first talkie, L'Enfant de l'amour (1930), with frequent L'Herbier leading man Jaque Catelain (top photo); and the Franco-Italian production Terra di fuoco (1939), co-directed by L'Herbier and Giorgio Ferroni, in which she had one of her last important roles. (Glory also had a small role in L'Herbier's 1928 drama Le Diable au coeur, which starred Catelain and British silent superstar Betty Balfour.)

Additionally, Glory had major roles in, among others, Henri Fescourt's Monte Cristo (1929), starring Jean Angelo and Lil Dagover (of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari); Leo Mittler's Le Roi de Paris / King of Paris, opposite Ivan Petrovich; and Pierre Colombier's Charlemagne (1935), starring French cinema icon Raimu.

Following the German occupation of Paris, she fled to Argentina with her husband, screenwriter-director Jacques Constant, but later joined Charles de Gaulle's Free French movement by way of radio broadcasts out of Martinique. Following the armistice, Glory returned to France, but was unable to regain her former footing in the French film industry.

In the 1950s, Glory had supporting roles in Christian-Jaque's Adorables créatures (1952), as Antonella Lualdi's mother; in Roger Vadim's Et Dieu… créa la femme / …And God Created Woman (1955), as Brigitte Bardot's mother-in-law; and Pierre Chenal's Raffles sur la ville (1958), as a café customer.

Marie Glory's last appearance in front of the cameras was in the 1964 TV series Les Beaux yeux d'Agatha.

In 2006, she was a guest of honor at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival's special screening of the restored Monte Cristo.

Some time ago, she told a reporter from the Nice-Matin, “If I was offered a film role today, I'd refuse it … unless they were to pair me up with Robert Redford.”

Among the few surviving performers who had leading roles in silent films are Barbara Kent (Lonesome), Dorothy Janis (The Pagan), and Miriam Seegar (When Knights Were Bold).

More on Marie Glory (in French) at ZZ Productions' Monte Cristo promo.

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