He had made a few silent pictures, but his film career began properly in 1933 with Topaze (Louis Gasnier) and was pursued seriously until the outbreak of war, even if it was usually out of step with the understated naturalism of the period: La Kermesse Héroïque (35, Jacques Feyder); Mister Flow (35, Robert Siodmak); as the Baron in Les Bas-Fonds (36. [ean Renoir); Mademoiselle Docteur (36, Edmond T. Greville); Un Carnet de Bal (37, Julien Duvivier); Drôle de Drame (37, Marcel Camé); L'Alibi (37, Pierre Chenal); La Marseillaise (38, Renoir); Entrée des Artistes (38, Marc Allegret); Hotel du Nord (38, Carné); and La Fin du Jour (39, Duvivier).
In the first year of w'ar, fouvet planned to film another of his stage hits, Molieres LEcole des Femmes, with Max Ophuls in Switzerland. It fell through and, instead, lie played Mosca in Volpone (40, Maurice Tourneur) and Untel Père et Fils (40, Duvivier). He spent most of the war years in South America, but returned in 1946 and filmed steadily if without much distinction until his death: Revenant (46, Christian-Jaque); Les Chouans (46, Henri Calef); as the detective in Quai des Oifèvres (47. Henri-Georges Clouzot); Entre Onze Heures et Minuit (48, Henri Decoin); in the ‘ Retour de Jean” episode from Retour à la Vie (49, Clouzot); Lady Paname (49, Henri Jeanson); and Miquette et Sa Mère (50, Clouzot).
Jouvet was an immense movie presence in the late thirties, so plainly powerful and intelligent—and determined to have the world know that theatre was more important than movies. In 1913, he had joined Jacques Copeau’s company; but in 1922 he set up his own company and combined acting and directing. He had an especially close relationship with Giraudoux, whose glossy wit suited Jouvets style. One of his great stage successes was in fules Romains Knock, which he filmed twice—in 1933, directed by Roger Goupillières, and in 1951 (his last film), directed by Guy Lefranc.