Henri Rollan (Henri Martine)
Photos with Henri Rollan
Passionate about theater to his very last day, Henri Rollan appeared in forty-odd movies, a career spanning six decades. He was one of the first few thespians to accept to play in moving pictures, as early as 1910, whereas most of his fellow actors regarded this new medium as definitely lowbrow. Fortunately for the spectators, a pocketful of repertory performers such as Le Bargy, Henri Rollan or the great Sarah Bernhardt saw no shame in bringing culture to a popular public that never went to the theatre, quite the opposite. Nevertheless, Henri Rollan did not grace many classics with his presence. Read more... bad because he would have been excellent in Renoir, Bresson, Clouzot or Autant-Lara's masterpieces. Henri Rollan was all too often in run-of-the mill productions of his time, forgettable and forgotten undemanding fare. Among the exceptions are his roles of the night watchman of the Eiffel Tower in René Clair's silent oddity "Paris qui dort" (1923), of the incompetent Maréchal d'Estrée in the famous "Fanfan la Tulipe" (Christian-Jaque, 1951) and of a French politician in Jacques Becker's "Les Aventures d'Arsène Lupin. He was also long remembered for being Athos in Diamant-Berger two versions (one silent, one talking) of Dumas' "Les trois Mousquetaires". And that is about all. Which does not mean that he was not effective in the films he appeared in. He was always a great professional and his performances (most often as a tough, stiff, humorless character endowed with authority) are excellent whatever the film he is in. Of course where he really shone was on stage, as an actor first, later as a renowned director. He was also a much loved and respected drama teacher who guided among others the first steps of Jean Claudio, Jacques Fabbri, Raymond Devos, Anna Gaylor, Annie Girardot, Marie Dubois and Jacques Lorcey. None of these persons ever forgot Henri Rollan, a passionate man who had the gift to transmit his genuine passion to other young passionates.