Monday, 1 July 2013

The Pre-Truffaut Jean-Pierre Léaud

It is widely known and accepted that it was François Truffaut who discovered Jean-Pierre Léaud and gave him the role of the rebel kid in Les quatre cents coups [The 400 Blows]. However, this is far from being true, because just a year before Truffaut's groundbreaking and Cocteau-backed premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Léaud has appeared in the French swashbuckler film La Tour prends garde! (Georges Lampin, 1958), starring Cocteau's lover, Jean Marais.

In this small but unforgettable role, Léaud's jaunty features, his involvement in adult's world and his hunger for an early maturity is well-manifested. Naturally this 14 year-old kid caught monsieur Truffaut's attention and the rest is history.

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