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Library Journal Starred Review

“Renowned French actress Simone Signoret (1921-1985), who captivated audiences in such films as Casque d’Or, Room at the Top, Les Diaboliques, and numerous others, is sensitively depicted in the biography by DeMaio. The description of Signoret’s early days is particularly insightful, revealing the essence of the young woman’s character as her life in a privileged, albeit dysfunctional, family was forever changed during the Nazi occupation of Paris. How the indelible impressions of these experiences resonated in the depth of her acting, involvement in social/humanitarian causes, and private choices is fully explored. The problematic details of Signoret’s life and cinematic career, including being blacklisted for social activism and plagued by scandals involving her husband, actor/signer Yves Montand, are presented honestly. However, the scope of her international fame, eventual recognition with an Academy Award and dignified continuation of her acting career in the midst of personal struggles are given equal prominence. VERDICT This is an exceptionally perceptive work, supported by solid research and thoughtful commentary and set in a relevant cultural/historical context. Summary discussions of the actress’s films enhance rather than dominate the narrative, and comprehensive notes, filmography, bibliography, and photographs compliment the text. For general and academic collections, film studies programs, and film enthusiasts.”
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