Pierre Granier-Deferre, 80, director

Filmography includes 'Le Chat,' 'Le Train'

Pierre Granier-Deferre, an award-winning director of well-crafted French films characterized by meaty roles for Gaul’s A-list thesps including Simone Signoret, Jean Gabin and Alan Delon, died Nov. 16. He was 80.

After studies at the IDHEC film academy, Granier-Deferre, who was born in Paris, served as first assistant director to established talents including Marcel Carne and Jean-Paul Le Chanois.

Working more often than not from novels, Granier-Deferre, who wrote the majority of his own scripts, began helming in earnest in 1962. Although he was a contemporary of the New Wave directors, he took a more traditional approach to storytelling. 

Granier-Deferre adapted several Georges Simenon tales, for both big and small screen, directing Bruno Cremer as the famous police inspector in “Maigret and the Open Window” for TV as recently as 2001.

Most noteworthy in a filmography of some 25 titles are  “Le Chat” (1971) with Jean Gabin and Simone Signoret; “La veuve Couderc” (1971) with Alain Delon and Signoret;  “Le Train” (1973) with Romy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant;  “Adieu Poulet” (1975) with Lino Ventura and Patrick Dewaere; “L’Etoile du Nord” (1982) with Signoret and Philippe Noiret; “Cours prive” (1986) and “Noyade interdite” (1987).

Nathalie Baye won a best supporting actress Cesar for her role in “Une etrange affaire” (1981).  Pic also won the Prix Louis Delluc as best French film of the year.

Granier-Deferre was married four times. Son Denys, from his first marriage, is a film director. He had four other children.

–Lisa Nesselson