On the other side of the Atlantic, the actor was considered the French Humphrey Bogart, crossed with James Dean …
The disappearance of the legend of French cinema has found a certain echo across the Atlantic. Even if Jean-Paul Belmondo has never really shot in Hollywood, he remains for Americans the actor of Jean-Luc Godard, the star ofBreathless, as much to say “New Wave icon“, as summed up soberly Entertainment Weekly. “A spectacular breakthrough in the industry, which allowed him to try everything afterwards, from blockbusters like Cartouche to arthouse films like Moderato Cantabile“.
For Deadline, Jean-Paul Belmondo was simply “one of the most emblematic French actors of the 20th centuryBut even more, seen from America, Bébel was above all “the embodiment of a certain French relaxation”, describe The Hollywood Reporter, which recalls that “the former boxer was a star of New Wave classics, then an action and Box Office star in the 1980s. ” THR goes on to say that in Hollywood, Jean-Paul Belmondo has often been considered the French Humphrey Bogart, crossed with James Dean. “With his boxer nose, shaggy haircut and smirk, he wasn’t the typical idol. He played characters who were often reckless tough guys …”
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The comparison with the two American icons of the 1950s comes up often in the articles of the US press. Thereby, Variety speaks of a character “charismatic and taciturn“, also close to a certain Marlon Brando. Like them,”he has proven to be able to perform in virtually any genre (…) Like Bogart, Belmondo has improved with age. He was never handsome, but his rough features aligned with character and his charm never completely disappeared (…) But unlike James Dean, who was a aimless rebel, the character of anti -hero camped by Belmondo was more existential, detached and irrecoverable. “
Uncle Sam’s media also notes that, despite his popularity and worldwide notoriety, Jean-Paul Belmondo never gave in to Hollywood sirens: “With such magnetism an American career could have been his, but he largely resisted studio productions and later in his life openly criticized Hollywood for its excessive dominance of movie screens in France.“, continues Variety, who insists on recalling that Bébel has often “openly criticized the American distributors who, according to him, were strangling French production by seizing all the available screens.“
Indiewire explains for his part that Belmondo was not opposed to the idea of making American feature films, “but he didn’t want to play the Frenchman on duty or a foil, seeing himself more as a dashing leader. He thus regularly turned down the roles offered to him in the United States.”
This did not prevent Jean-Paul Belmondo to acquire a certain aura in American culture, lastingly marking Spielberg and Tarantino, underlines Variety. And to be inspired by it too, to make action films in France, as in Hollywood, Soulgine Deadline, who concludes that Bébel “was a strong advocate of genre cinema, defending his popular films in the face of what he perceived as snobbery …”