In the March of 1948 director Christian-Jacque showed Gérard the script of a 170-minute long adaptation of Stendhal's La chartreuse de Parme. The movie, shot in its entirety in Rome and its surroundings was aimed to propagate Stendhal's novel. Gérard accepted to play the role of Fabrice del Dongo, and in his partner Maria Casarés he found not only a great colleague and friend but an acomplice to a future avant-garde play, Les épiphanies.
In the same year Yves Allégret cast Gérard as the sensitive young man in Jacques Sigurd's script Une si jolie petite plage. The movie of the film-noir genre verged on existentialism, with dark shots and characters both miserable and pitiful. Right after this movie, Gérard accepted to play in what turned out to be his first failure on the big screen: Tous les chemins ménent é Rome. It was directed without imagination and the actors could not make their characters live, despite their talent.
Still during the shooting of Chartreuse..., Gérard and Maria Casarés decided to embark on a brave mission: playing in Henry Pichette's avant-garde, lyrical piece. It was too modern for the Edouard VII theatre, therefore it was first produced in the Noctambules and later on in the Ambassadeurs. The young audience loved the play; Gérard and Maria would only quit playing in it when Gérard signed a long-term contract for Jacques Deval's K M X Labrador in the Michodiére theatre. When he returned to Paris the audience saw him in Alfred Savoir's Le figurant de la gaité.
René Clair's proposition to Gérard in early 1948 was to embark with him on the journey of creating a new Faust: in La beauté du diable, Faust was to be lucid enough to fight against Méphisto on equal terms. Gérard replied that perhaps Faust truly chose damnation... The director found out only later that when Gérard was very enthusiastic about something, he would act defiant. The shooting of the movie started a bit later in a cold atmosphere; this was to change when one evening Gérard invited René Clair and his wife Bronja to introduce his fiancée, Nicole (Gérard called her Anne) to them. From then on they would be inseparable friends: the Clair couple would be Gérard's and Nicole's wedding witnesses, and René Clair would help Anne Philipe struggle through the last weeks of her husband.
La ronde from 1951 was directed by the famous Max Ophuls, after the work of Arthur Schnitzler, in which the vain search for bodily pleasure leads to unhappiness and solitude. Gérard played the sad officer, in whom, through his almost mechanical movements and slowness the melancholy of the Viennese writer comes alive.
The pleurisy that attacked Gérard in his childhood turned into tuberculosis, which revealed itself in the moments of great fatigue. From the flat they had bought in Neuilly, Gérard and Anne took refuge for a few weeks in Janvry, staying in a small inn in the midst of picturesque scenery. Gérard's passion for his work did not let him rest for long: he returned to Paris to work with Marcel Carné in Juliette ou la clef des songes written by Georges Neveux. The shooting of the movie lasted from july to october. Gérard loved this movie of light and shadows, but the Cannes Festival did not receive it well and after that, it received more warmth from Paris but not as much as Gérard was hoping for.