Whatever Happened To Irina Demick?

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momsne

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Whatever Happened To Irina Demick?

PostSat Apr 08, 2017 9:44 am

IMDb shows that French actress Irina Demick passed away in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 8, 2004. How did she wind up there? In the 1960s, Demick was Darryl Zanuck’s girl friend and he made sure she got good parts in three movies he produced, starting with “The Longest Day”. In an interview extra on the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of 1969’s “The Sicilian Clan”, that movie’s producer, Jacques Strauss, describes how Zanuck threatened to remove Fox-Europa’s financing for the movie unless the French producers of the movie enlarged Demick’s part. She played Jeanne Manalese, the French wife of the son of Vittorio Manalese (Jean Gabin), a gangster kingpin whose cover was selling pinball machines.

I thought Demick did a fine job in a limited role. While Strauss complains about the pressure Zanuck put on the film makers to help out his girlfriend, he accepts that Zanuck’s insistence on having a large role for the character of police chief inspector Le Goff (Lino Ventura) was a key element to the movie’s success. According to Strauss, this movie was in production for three years. By its release date, Zanuck had moved on to a new girl friend, Genevieve Gilles, and Demick’s movie career cratered, having roles in five low budget European movies before she called it a movie career.

I first saw “The Sicilian Clan” in 1971 at the Mayfair movie theater in Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY, when the Weinstein brothers ran the theater. It was the second feature, I think the main feature was Woody Allen’s “Bananas”. “The Sicilian Clan” was a hit in Europe but flopped in the United States, who wants to see a movie about a mob family? Two weeks ago, on the BUZZR cable station, they had a “To Tell The Truth” episode from September 10, 1962, where two of the contestants were the French Resistance member who hid an American soldier from the Nazis on D-Day and the soldier himself. “The Longest Day” had not yet been released, where Demick played the part of the member of the French Resistance just shown. At the end of the segment, a camera panned over the audience, dazzling Irina Demick stood up, a key light on her, as Bud Collyer identified her. Then on to the next contestants.

Now, almost 50 years on, “The Sicilian Clan” is for sale as a Blu-ray disc with a 4K restoration of the American version of the movie, dubbed into English for all the actors except Alain Delon. For this movie, the other stars memorized their lines in English and spoke them in accented English, including Jean Gabin. So when other actors excellently dubbed their lines into English, the lip movements match the dialog. I wonder if voice-over artist Paul Frees did any of the dubbing.
And since Zanuck required the whole film to be shot again just for the American version, the film’s color and timing are consistent.

Too bad Irina Demick seems never to have given an interview about her role in the making of “The Sicilian Clan”. And the question for me remains, what happened, what was the reason for Irina Demick to end up in Indianapolis, Indiana, far away from France? No guesses from the peanut gallery, please, just facts if you have them.
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sepiatone

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Re: Whatever Happened To Irina Demick?

PostSun May 14, 2017 8:34 am

That was a fine movie. The LoC played it in the summer of 2001 a few weeks before 9/11. For those who've never seen this movie the ending has a jetliner(Boeing 707) hijacked and lands on a New Jersey highway I believe. Sort of foreboding considering what happened in NY, DC and Shanksville a few weeks after the LoC viewing.

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