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Encyclopedia > Jacques Tourneur

Jacques Tourneur, born November 12, 1904 – died December 19, 1977, was a French film director.


Born in Paris, France, he was the son of noted director Maurice Tourneur. As a young man, Jacques went to live in New York City and proceeded to Hollywood with his father. He is famous for directing three "horror" movies (in fact, film noir–influenced films of understated terror) with producer Val Lewton at RKO Radio Pictures in the nineteen forties: Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man. Night of the Demon is one of the best horror/supernatural films in movie history. He also directed one of the classics of film noir, Out of the Past.


In 1964 Tourneur directed an episode of The Twilight Zone, Night Call (Episode 139, February 7, 1964): superb and an excellent showcase for Tourneur's directing style.


He met his wife, actress Christiane Virideau, while assisting his father on the 1929 German film production Das Schiff der verlorenen Menschen.


Jacques Tourneur died in 1977 in Bergerac, Dordogne, France.


Jacques Tourneur received recognition for his contribution to the film industry in the book "Jacques Tourneur - The Cinema of Nightfall" (1998) by Chris Fujiwara.


Partial filmography

External link

  • All Movie Guide review of "Night Call" (http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:198420)

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I wrote another, much longer essay on horror film entitled "Heidegger, the Uncanny, and Jacques Tourneur's Horror Films." It appeared in the fall of 2003 in Dark Thoughts: Philosophic Reflections on Cinematic Horror.
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The opening line of H.P. Lovecraft's story, The Whisperer in Darkness, tells us most of what we need to know not only about his approach but Jacques Tourneur's: "Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual...
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