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Danielle Darrieux, a luminous beauty of French cinema whose portrayals of wistful ingénues, romantic temptresses and tragic adulteresses spanned more than eight decades,” eulogized Sleuth’s hometown Washington Post in its half-page obituary, “died last week at her home in France. She was 100.”

Which explains why the New York Times felt she merited the full-page treatment:

“It is always an unpleasant surprise to all young men when they first go to France,” wrote noted film historian David Shipman, “that all Frenchwomen are not like Danielle Darrieux.” Indeed, the lifelong ‘magnet to men’ never lacked lovers—from her first husband as a teen (below left) to the much-younger constant ‘companion’ who announced her death, Jacques Jenvrin (below right).

“She became unwell recently after a little fall,” Jenvrin told the press.

“Beginning in 1931,” in the words of Wikipedia, “she appeared in more than 110 films. Darrieux {pronounced dairy-YOU} was one of France’s all-time great movie stars and her eight-decade career is perhaps the longest in film history. She turned 100 on May 1, 2017”—with theater marquees marking the occasion in her homeland.

And this head•line produced a tricky translation of the ‘French’—her native tongue.

“Hailed as the Grand Dame of French Cinema,” the Daily Mail wrote upon her passing, “Danielle appeared in more than 100 movies during her unparalleled career”—you don’t have to speak French to understand the title, “La Femme aux 100 Films” (below left).

The New York Times trumpeted her “indelible incarnations as ingénue, female fatale and grand dame” {and enduring beauty, above right}.

How’s this for a Top Ten timeline of smoldering yet sublime seduction?

“There are few actors who embodied many people’s idea of a French woman of the world more than Danielle Darrieux,” opined The Guardian. “Starting as an ingénue in the 1930s, she grew into a sophisticate in the ’40s and ’50s, and retained a dignified and magical presence in films into the new century.”

Added Business Recorder: “Darrieux was still working at 99, and lent her voice for the grandmother in the 2007 animate hit Persepolis.”

“Not for nothing was she christened Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux (below left),” observed Turner Classic Movies.

“She commands the screen as if born to rule, though her subjects would never think of revolting.” Indeed, her royal roles included several French crowned heads {though Marie Antoinette lost hers when things got hot under the collar, below left), including having to consort with the ‘bony part’ of Napoleon (below right).

“Let them eat croissants” she seems to be saying to her subjects in the signed shot below:

As the Post put it: “Ms. Darrieux’s poise, languid glamour and fine singing voice catapulted her to stardom as a teenager (below left) in the early 1930s and kept her there for decades”—recording scores of music albums (below right).

“She was only 14 when she auditioned for and won a role in the film Le Bal (1931),” recounts the N.Y. Times, “playing an upwardly mobile couple’s neglected daughter whose naughty behavior (below left) drives the plot.”

And few child stars ever made a more seamless—and sensual—transition to adult roles (above right).

“Ms. Darrieux became an international star in 1936’s Mayerling,” the Times continues, “playing the teenage mistress of Rodolfo (Charles Boyer), crown prince of Austria (below left). American critics praised both her beauty and her performance. She was only 19, and it was her 19th film!”

“Her new stardom was ratified by a timeless phenomenon: women around the world copied her hairstyle. ‘Danielle Darrieux appears with her hair bundled on top of her head in Mayerling,’ Bosley Crowther wrote in the New York Times in 1938. ‘And a few months later, all the girls are building bird’s nests in their tresses’” (above right).

While just a few years earlier, in less restrained Europe, Danielle was building pert breasts in her dresses!

“She is very sexy in the 1935 film Dédé (above),” read one review. “And wears no bra. Never!”

Considering that the prudish Hollywood Production Code “began strictly being enforced” the year before, such unencumbered views of unsupported nipples (below) would never have been allowed in America.

And when seen in profile {‘Hey buddy, my eyes are up here!,’ below} they could take an eye out!

While in motion, in the clip below, DD’s BBs clearly display more bounce to the ounce:

Calling herself “an instinctive performer who shunned rehearsals,” Darrieux decided, “That’s why they gave me my first role, at 14: because I didn’t know anything”—yet later managed to show everything {in this even more revealing braless scene from Dédé}.

The sophisticated comedy was a big hit … largely owing to Danielle’s diaphanoustit!

And while the term “puffy nips” (above right) had yet to be coined … her silver dollar-sized areolae were sheerly in mint condition:

Such transparent tops wouldn’t translateto here though, as the Times wrote: “Ms. Darrieux had an abbreviated chance at Hollywood stardom, traveling to the United States in 1937 and signing a contract with Universal Studios. She was soon cast as a young woman looking for a rich husband in The Rage of Paris (1938), which also starred Douglas Fairbanks Jr.”

While in production, columnist E.J. Smithson aka ‘Peeping Tom’ visited the movie set: “Believe me, it was a revelation,” he reported in an August 1938 article. “When shooting of the first sequence began Monday morning, Danielle Darrieux, the French beauty who plays the leading feminine role was doing the revealing!”

“Danielle, as a lovely unsophisticated French girl comes tripping in, starts to undress—and you should have heard the gasps that literally whistled from the throats of the two hundred visitors who stood around.”

“Off comes her hat,” Peeping Tom tattles. “Off come her gloves. Off come her shoes. Then she slips out of a tight-fitting sweater. Then she slips out of her skirt. Then she slips out of a couple of silky thingamajigs

… and I come mighty near slipping off the chair I’m sitting on!”

Everything came off in Darrieux’s French followup to Dédé, the 1935 comedy Quelle drôle de gosse! {aka Mad Girl}. “This was 18-year-old Danielle Darrieux’s 17th film in 4 years,” according to an IMDb review, “and it becomes apparent that she was more than just another ‘cute’ kid. Her character Lucie turns the house of a chic dandy upside down”—especially when she turns upside down without a top to be massaged by the maid.

“Miss Darrieux spends the second half of the movie in loud and erratic activities,” reads another review, “that almost embarrass the viewer”—and almost show her bare ass to the viewer (below left)!

“Yes, young Miss Darrieux became very much in demand,” the commentary continues. “Nothing mysterious in this: just take a sip of 5 minutes of any of her movies and you’ll understand why producers and directors felt compelled to offer her leading parts.”

And, in The End, Danielle’s derrière was the part that most often was offered up in those early rears.

Coming Next: Part 2—Those Nips, Those Eyes!