Lucie Lichtig, a continuity director who in the course of more than 50 years worked with the cream of European and American directors, died Aug. 19 in Brest, France. She was 87.
Born Lucie Barzman in Vladivostock, Lichtig studied in China and Japan, mastering several languages. Moving to Paris, she got her start in 1933 on Max Ophuls’ “Liebelei,” based on Arthur Schnitzler’s play. A Jew, she was highly active during WWII in the Alliance branch of the Resistance. She worked again with Ophuls on another Schnitzler-inspired film, the classic “La Ronde” (1950) and later on “Lola Montes” (1955).
Her first stint on an American production was “The Adventures of Captain Fabian” (1950), directed by William Marshall and starring Errol Flynn.
In 1957 alone, Lichtig handled continuity on Richard Fleischer’s Kirk Douglas starrer “The Vikings,” Nick Ray’s “Bitter Victory” and Billy Wilder’s “Love in the Afternoon” with Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier.
Darryl Zanuck made use of Lichtig’s meticulous but easy-going nature on John Huston’s “The Roots of Heaven” (1958) and Fleischer’s “Crack in the Mirror” (1959), both with Orson Welles and Juliette Greco, before tapping her skills for “The Longest Day.”
Lichtig also worked on Stanley Donen’s “Once More, With Feeling,” Ray’s “55 Days at Peking,” Joseph Mankiewicz’s mega-epic “Cleopatra” and Jules Dassin’s “Topkapi.” Frankenheimer relied on Lichtig in 1966-67 for “Grand Prix” — where she was able to address James Garner, Yves Montand and Toshiro Mifune in their native tongues — before hiring her on “The Fixer” (1968-69) and ‘French Connection 2″ in 1975.
She worked with Huston on “A Walk With Love and Death” (1969) and “The Kremlin Letter” the following year. In 1973, she worked on Robert Wise’s “Two People” with Peter Fonda and Lindsay Wagner.
Having collaborated with French greats Marc Allegret, Edmond Greville and Marcel Carne, Lichtig also worked on films directed by Anatole Litvak, Gene Kelly’s 1963 Jackie Gleason starrer “Gigot” and Peter Ustinov’s Sophia Loren/Paul Newman starrer “Lady L” (1965) before teaming with Joseph Losey on “Monsieur Klein” (1975-76), George Cukor on the first Russian-U.S. co-production, 1976’s all-star “The Blue Bird,” and George Roy Hill on “A Little Romance” (1979) with a very young Diane Lane debuting opposite Laurence Olivier.
Lichtig’s miniseries and made-for-TV movie credits include “Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna” (1986) with Amy Irving, “Peter the Great” with Maximillian Schell and “Lace II” with Phoebe Cates.
She was a lifetime member of the Cinematheque Francaise’s board of directors.
She is survived by her sister, Renee Lichtig, a retired film editor and film restorer.