Yes, he starred opposite the most beautiful women of his generation.
Our man, Charles Boyer, is pictured above with none other than Rita Hayworth, who joined a list of onscreen beauties — Garbo, Dietrich, Hedy Lamarr, Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones, Irene Dunn — who played opposite this fine French-born actor.
It may, therefore, come as a surprise to discover that Boyer’s life was not an easy one, especially at the end. He deserved better than he got. We fear that even dedicated classic movie fans have forgotten Boyer’s onscreen accomplishments, and we’re hoping this week’s Monday Quiz will perk renewed interest.
We raise a glass of full bodied Cahor vin rouge to honor his memory. On to our quiz answers. As usual, scroll down one blog to review the questions.
1) Answer: d) The consensus is that Boyer never said Come with me to the Casbah in the body of the 1938 movie, Algiers. The line is supposedly heard in the trailer for the picture but we’re not sure it was ever spoken by Boyer, who plays a Parisian crook seeking refuge in the Algerian safe place known as the casbah. A Looney Tunes cartoon character was later introduced — a lecherous skunk calling himself Pepe Le Pew — and is more identified with the phrase.
2) Answer: c) 1937’s Pepe Le Moko.
3) Answer: b) False. A country boy born in Figeac in south-western France’s Cahors wine district of the Lot, Boyer is largely forgotten in his home town. With the exception of a local movie house (dubbed the Cinema Charles Boyer) the actor’s roots in the town seem ignored today. Born there in 1899, he grew up as the precocious only child of Louise and Maurice Boyer, living above their general merchandise store on Boulevard Labernede. Today, the name of Charles Boyer finds little good resonance in the region, according to French author Elia Sabathie’s interesting book about the area, The Mysteries of the Lot (2009). The reason, according to Sabathie, is that Boyer exempted himself from the long, anguishing period the locales endured during the German occupation of World War II. By the late Thirties, just before the Germans arrived, the actor had already left for Hollywood and stayed there. He became a U.S. citizen in 1942, quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s top five best paid screen performers.
4) Answer: a) As indicated above, True.
5) Answer: b) Definitely false. Bergman much admired both Boyer’s talent and enjoyed a warm personal relationship with the actor. She was highly sympathetic to the personal travails he endured towards the end of his life.
6) Answer: In addition to his acting talent, Boyer proved to be a not-bad singer. In 1966 he recorded an album of love songs titled Where Does Love Go? Elvis is said to have loved the album, and listened to it repeatedly over during the last 11 years of his life.
7) Answer: Boyer was one of four actor-founders of Four Star Playhouse in 1952, which later became Four Star Studio, a formidable producer of several popular shows and tv series.
8) Answer: b) False. Boyer married just once — to former child actress Pat Paterson. The couple doted on their only son, who committed suicide in the mid Sixties. Boyer’s British-born wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she died in 1978. Two days later in Phoenix, Arizona, Boyer committed suicide. He was two days shy of his 79th birthday.
9) Answer: c) 1974’s Stavisky, directed by Alain Resnais about a notorious French swindler of the 1930’s. Boyer plays a jaded aristocrat, and is superb — as is the movie.
10) Answer: b) False. Boyer spoke several languages, and was indeed a man of the world.