From the stage to “Belmondisme”, Jean-Paul Belmondo in “Le Monde”

Robert Kemp, theater critic of the World, describing himself as “Manic and grumpy” with the wise hindsight of his 75 years, reports in three successive articles, from July 4, 1955, of the final competition of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Paris. The future academician and self-proclaimed milk soup spectator engages in a game of massacres with this promotion which will later appear at the top of the posters of popular French cinema (Jean-Pierre Marielle, Claude Rich, Jean Rochefort, Bruno Cremer, Françoise Fabian, Annie Girardot).

Not one finds favor in his eyes. If, perhaps this M. Marielle who makes a drinkable Pancrace in Forced marriage, by Molière. “At a pinch, too, we could have encouraged Mr. Belmondo’s Scapin, who draws Z’s, X’s, N’s with his long legs… He goes out of his way. His voice would burst the walls. Of the others, nothing to say. “ Believing himself no doubt the victim of a fit of weakness, he then corrects the shooting on Sieur Belmondo, qualified as“Ardent gunner”. “The latter, in Scapin from Place Pigalle – a trailing accent reminiscent of Prosper, the king of the macadam – was impossible”, he grumbles. He values ​​the access granted to him “Really forgiving”.

However, in 1958, now signing “Robert Kemp of the French Academy”, the critic weaves laurels to the actor who plays in Oscar, a vaudeville by Claude Magnier which will later be adapted for cinema with Louis de Funès. “Mr. Belmondo shines with good humor and youth”, writes the journalist in a swoon. He is still rave the following year after attending Treasure-Party, by Bernard Régnier. “The whole is based on Mr. Belmondo, a young actor full of fire, talkative, bright with a smile, sonorous, stamping. He’s talented. He has a temper “, he enthuses.

Mixture of admiration and annoyance

The film critic Jean de Baroncelli is no exception. He incenses it in A funny sunday, by Marc Allégret, released in 1958. Finally, let us point out in the role of the trumpeter the young Belmondo. He should have a good career. “ To strangle him the following year in Twice locked, by Claude Chabrol, estimating the actor “Excessive, parody and caricature in his character of abusive fiancé”. Under Belmondo, “Bébel” pierces. The young premier with the incomparable face is only 26 years old but, already, can be read in the columns of the World the mixture of admiration and annoyance at the character’s talent and what he sometimes does with it.

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