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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 03/09/15--23:00: Alwin Neuss
  • German actor and director Alwin Neuss (1879-1935) started his film career at the pioneering Nordisk studio in Denmark. He was known for playing Sherlock Holmes in a series of silent films during the 1910s.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 1439. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1442. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1482. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


    Carl Alwin Heinrich Neuss was born in 1879 in Cologne, Germany. He was the son of a government official.

    Neuss made his stage debut in 1895 in Cologne at the Sommerbühne Flora, followed by engagements in Bremen, Magdeburg, Innsbruck, Breslau and Dresden. From 1903 he was a member of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, with whom he undertook tours in several European countries.

    He began his film career in the early Danish cinema. For the Nordisk studio, he played a spy in August Blom’s silent film Spionen fra Tokio/The Red Light (1910). He appeared in the double role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the horror film Den skæbnesvangre opfindelse/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (August Blom, 1910), one of the first adaptations of the famous novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

    He also appeared as Sherlock Holmes in another Nordisk production, Den stjaalne millionobligation/The Stolen Legacy (1911). That year, he also featured in Hamlet (August Blom, 1911) based on the play by William Shakespeare.

    He moved on to the new German film company Atlantic-Film Aarhus GmbH, for which he started to make films like Seine erste Liebe/His first Love (Alwin Neuss, 1911), and Alwin auf der Hochzeitsreise/Alwin on Honeymoon (Alwin Neuss, 1911), both with Dorrit Weixler.

    He returned as Sherlock Holmes in Der Hund von Baskerville/Hound of the Baskervilles (Rudolf Meinert, 1914) with Hanni Weisse. It was the first film adaptation of the famed Arthur Conan Doyle novel.

    Films based on mystery novels were very successful in German cinema at the time and Der Hund von Baskerville was so successful, it spawned five more films: Das einsame Haus/The Isolated House (Rudolf Meinert, 1914), Das unheimliche Zimmer/The eerie room (Richard Oswald, 1915), Die Sage vom Hund von Baskerville/The legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles (Richard Oswald, 1915), Dr. MacDonalds Sanatorium (Willy Zeyn, 1920), and Das Haus ohne Fenster/The house without windows (Willy Zeyn, 1920).

    Ness played Holmes in the first three sequels, but was replaced in the last two by Erich Kaiser-Titz.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by NPG (Neue Photographische Gesellschaft), no. 823. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 502/3. Photo: Decla. Publicity still for Die Faust des Schicksals/Fist of Doom (Alwin Neuss, 1917) with Ressel Orla.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 7126. Photo: Decla-Film. On the back a stamp of U.T.-Lichtspiele, Barmen [Wuppertal], Cleferstrasse.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Wolff, Berlin, no. F 128. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Fritz Lang


    Alwin Neuss moved on to the Decla studio, where he directed himself in many films. These included Dynamit/Dynamite (Alwin Neuss, 1916) with Bruno Kastner, Die Spinne/The Spider (Alwin Neuss, 1917), and Das Spiel vom Tode/The game of death (Alwin Neuss, 1917) with Käthe Haack.

    In several films, he played the detective Tom Shark like in Das Licht im Dunkeln/The light in the dark (Alwin Neuss, 1916).

    After the war, Alwin Neuss directed the Leo Tolstoy adaptation Lebendig tot/Living dead (Alwin Neuss, 1918) starring Lil Dagover. With Dagover, he also appeared in Bettler GmbH/Beggars Ltd. (Alwin Neuss, 1919), which was written by Fritz Lang. Lang also wrote Die Rache ist mein/Vengeance is Mine (Alwin Neuss, 1919).

    During the 1920s, his fame began to fade and Neuss only appeared in a few films, including Auf Befehl der Pompadour/On the command of Pompadour (Friedrich Zelnik, 1924) with Lya Mara.

    His last films were two sound films. In Der Tanz ins Glück/Dance Into Happiness (Max Nosseck, 1930), he played a supporting part. In Das alte Lied/The Old Song (Erich Waschneck, 1930), starring Lil Dagover, he only had a small part.

    His final film as a director had been the silent production Strassenbekanntschaften/Street acquaintances (Josef Medeotti-Bohác, Alwin Neuss, 1929). Then he returned to the theatre.

    Alwin Neuss died in 1935 in Berlin, Germany. He was 56. Alwin Neuss was married to Anna Klara Warczok.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1507. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 83/2. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Alwin Neuss
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 83/4. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/10/15--23:00: Frieda Riess
  • During the 1920s, Frieda Riess (1890-1957) was a highly successful German portrait photographer who ran a prestigious studio in the centre of Berlin. Many of her expressive star portraits found their way to newspapers, magazines and to postcards.

    Liane Haid
    Liane Haid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 462/2, 1919 - 1924. Photo: Riess.

    Maria Jacobini
    Maria Jacobini. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 569/2, 1919-1924. Atelier Riess, Berlin.

    Liane Haid
    Liane Haid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1023/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Riess, Berlin.

    Soft-edged effects and subtle shades of grey


    Red-haired Frieda Gertrud Riess was born in 1890 in the Western Prussian town of Czarnikau (now Czarnków in Poland) where her Jewish parents were shopkeepers. At the end of the 1890s, the family moved to Berlin.

    There Frieda first studied sculpture under Hugo Lederer (c. 1907) and later photography at the Berlin Photographischen Lehranstalt. She received her diploma in the summer of 1915.

    In 1917 or 1918, she opened a photo studio on the prestigious Kurfürstendamm in the centre of Berlin. It became one of the most popular photo studios in the city.

    Partly as a result of her marriage to the poet and journalist Rudolf Leonhard in 1918, she extended her clientele to celebrities such as playwright Walter Hasenclever, novelist Gerhart Hauptmann, the painters Max Liebermann and Marc Chagall, the famous dancer Anna Pavlova, and actors and actresses including Tilla Durieux, Asta Nielsen, Mistinguett, Lil Dagover, Ernst Lubitsch and Emil Jannings.

    After her divorce from Leonhard in 1922, her circle of illustrious clients extended to politicians, aristocrats, cardinals and bankers.

    Hans-Peter Schwanke at Kunstmarkt.com: “In her portraits, Riess combined soft-edged effects and subtle shades of grey of the classical art photography with modern visual elements such as under- and top views, the near camera point of view, the emphasis of moods, or dynamic diagonals to the imagination of movement. Striking is her extremely keen sense of what was publicly allowed to disclose and what not. Among the most impressive examples of her erotic portraits is the one of [sculptor] Renée Sintenis with refined bare shoulders and her nude pictures of boxer Erich Brandl that comes near to the limit of the permissible.”

    Bartolomeo Pagano aka Maciste
    Bartolomeo Pagano aka Maciste. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 478/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Riess.

    Bartolomeo Pagano alias Maciste
    Bartolomeo Pagano aka Maciste. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 478/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Riess.

    Mia May
    Mia May. German Postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 450/6, 1919-1924. Photo: May Film / Riess.

    Maria Jacobini
    Maria Jacobini. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 569/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Riess, Berlin.

    Photography as art


    In 1925, Alfred Flechtheim, the influential Berlin collector and dealer of Modern Art, asked Frieda Riess to do a solo exhibition in his gallery. “I have asked Rieß for an exhibition of her photographs, because she creates art using lenses and rubber balls”, Flechtheim wrote in the catalogue.

    Kraftgenie at his blog Weimar: “At that time it was somewhat surprising for one of Berlin’s leading art dealers to show photographs, and the fact that he refers to photography as art invited particular attention.” The show with 177 portraits increased the already high appreciation of Riess further.

    Between 1926 and 1930, she regularly presented her photographic work in her own salon, which became an exclusive meeting place. She invited international guests to her studio who raved about her work and recommended it in their literary and aristocratic circles abroad.

    Writer Vita Sackville-West wrote to Virginia Woolf in London of the circle that gathered for tea in Riess’ studio: "Shifty figures between exquisite portraits". Riess herself also travelled to Paris, London and Rome, where she moved in upper social circles.

    While on a trip to Italy in 1929, she was invited to photograph Benito Mussolini. In addition, she contributed to the journals and magazines of the day including Die Dame, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Der Weltspiegel, Querschnit and Koralle.

    Her success in Berlin was however short-lived. In 1932, after falling in love with Pierre de Margerie, the elderly French ambassador in Berlin, she moved to Paris with him, disappearing from the public eye.

    About Riess’ further life in France is little known. At the end of the 1930s, she became ill and paralyzed. She survived the German occupation of Paris in seclusion. According to Timm Starl at Fotokritik, she died alone and impoverished in 1957.

    In 2008, a retrospective of Frieda Riess’ work was held in the Berlinische Galerie. Marc Peschke at Photo Scala: “300 rediscovered prints can be seen of her tens of thousands, that are now considered lost. Examples of subtle expressionism, a dynamic portrait art that combines realism with profundity. The poet Max Hermann-Neisse wrote about his portrait by Frieda Riess: ‘Who saw this picture, will recognize me. And so full of knowledge are almost all portrait photos by Riess.’"

    Rudolf Klein-Rogge
    Rudolf Klein-Rogge. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag no. 780. Photo: Riess, Berlin.

    Harry Liedtke
    Harry Liedtke. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 463/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Riess.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    Bernhard Goetzke. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1279/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Riess.

    This was the last post - for now - in our series on film star photographers. For earlier posts, see the links at right under the caption 'The Photographers'.

    Sources: Kraftgenie (Weimar), Timm Starl (Fotokritik), Hans-Peter Schwanke (Kunstmarkt.com - German), Marc Peschke (Photo Scala - German), and Wikipedia.

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  • 03/11/15--23:00: Hélène Rémy
  • French actress Hélène Rémy (1932) was active in the French and Italian cinema from the early 1950s till the late 1960s. She was also a popular pin-up and cover girl and worked for television and stage.

    Hélène Rémy
    Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 514.

    Miss Cinémonde


    Hélène Rémy was born in 1932 in Paris, France, where her father was a butcher. She studied dance and at eight, she danced at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Only 15, Roland Petit committed her to the Ballets des Champs-Elysées to replace a failing dancer.

    But her mother changed her direction when she sent a picture of her beautiful, blonde daughter to the magazine Cinémonde for a competition. Hélène perfectly personified the Parisian girl and was chosen as Miss Cinémonde by a jury including Orson Welles and director Julien Duvivier. Welles offered her a part in his stage production La langouste qui ne pense à rien (The Unthingking Lobster) at the Théâtre Edouard VII in 1950.

    Hélène had already made her first uncredited film appearance in Jean Becker's Rendez-vous de juillet/Rendezvous in July (1949) about a group of young jazz-loving Parisians. Small roles followed in Au royaume des cieux/The Sinners (Julien Duvivier, 1949) starring Serge Reggiani, the drama La cage aux filles/The cage girls (Maurice Cloche, 1949), and Les enfants terribles/The Terrible Children (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1950), based on the love story by Jean Cocteau.

    She had supporting parts in the lesbian-themed Olivia/The Pit of Loneliness (Jacqueline Audry, 1951) starring Edwige Feuillère, and the Italian comedy Parigi è sempre Parigi/Paris Is Always Paris (Luciano Emmer, 1951) as a fresh and cute French newspaper seller who falls in love with Italian Franco Interlenghi. The film was a huge success in Italy.

    Like several other French actresses - Catherine Spaak, Jacqueline Sassard, Lise Bourdin, Isabelle Corey and Myriam Bru - she moved to Rome where she found bigger and more rewarding film roles than in her home country.

    Hélène Rémy
    German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 4166. Photo: Peter Bamberger Prod. / Ufa. Publicity still for Pezzo, capopezzo e capitano/Always Victorious (Wolfgang Staudte, 1958).

    Hélène Remy
    Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 511.

    A popular pin-up and cover girl


    In Italy, Hélène Rémy played the female lead in the comedy Un ladro in paradise/A thief in paradise (Domenico Paolella, 1952) and she appeared with Eduardo de Filippo in the comedy-drama 5 poveri in automobile/The Lucky Five (Mario Mattoli, 1952).

    Rémy had also become a popular pin-up and cover girl. She appeared opposite the handsome and athletic Pierre Cressoy in the costume drama Il sacco di Roma/The Barbarians (Ferruccio Cerio, 1953). The two also privately became engaged.

    Her first leading role was in the romantic comedy Siamo ricchi e poveri/We are rich and poor (Siro Marcellini, 1953) with Gaby André. She often played in Italian costume dramas like Un giglio infranto/A lily broken (Giorgio Walter Chili, 1956) with Milly Vitale.

    After a series of mediocre films in which she had leads, she played a supporting part in Dino Risi's great comedy A porte chiuse/Behind Closed Doors (1961) starring Anita Ekberg.

    During the 1960s, she only incidentally appeared in films, such as in the Bourvil comedy Les cracks/The Hotshots (Alex Joffé, 1968). She worked often in the Italian theatre and starred in Italian stage versions of Mam'zelle Nitouche and The Lady from Maxim's.

    She also appeared for French and Italian TV in such series as Les dossiers de l'agence O/The records of the agency O (1968). Her final film part was as Lydia, the madam of a brothel in the memorable crime drama Borsalino (Jacques Deray, 1970) with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon.


    Yves Montand sings Les Feuilles Mortes in a scene from Parigi è sempre Parigi/Paris Is Always Paris (Luciano Emmer, 1951) while Hélène Remy dances with Franco Interlenghi. Source: paccaggicco (YouTube).


    American trailer for L'amante del vampiro/The Vampire and the Ballerina (Renato Polselli, 1960). Source: Sleaze-O-Rama (YouTube).

    Sources: Yvan Foucart (Les Gens du Cinéma - French), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 03/12/15--23:00: Charlotte Thiele
  • Gorgeous Charlotte Thiele (1918-2004) played cool blondes in German films of the 1930s and 1940s. The Ufa star was side-lined by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, after she had rejected his advances.

    Charlotte Thiele
    German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. A 2550/2, 1939-1940. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

    Lesbian subtheme


    Charlotte Thiele was born as Carlotta Margarita Teresa Thiele in Berlin in 1918. She trained at the Drama School of the Schauspielhaus Berlin.

    Her debut as an actress was in the short film Wochenendfriede/Weekend peace (1938) with Hans Brausewetter, one of the first films of renowned director Kurt Hoffmann.

    In 1939, she became an instant star with her first feature, the Revue film Wir tanzen um die Welt/We dance around the world (Karl Anton, 1939) with Irene von Meyendorff, Carola Höhn and Carl Raddatz. Thiele played the lead as the captain of the dance troupe.

    Remarkable is the lesbian subtheme in the film. Hanns-Georg Rodek in Die Welt: “there is no other film from the Nazi era, where a woman so openly courted a woman: Charlotte Thiele dismissed Beau Carl Raddatz and charmed Irene von Meyendorff.”

    According to Wikipedia, Thiele was offstage as extravagant as onstage. At premieres she used to wear a monocle, and she refused to fit in the cliché of the Ufa starlet. In her next film, the adventure comedy Ein Mann auf Abwegen/A man goes astray (Herbert Selpin, 1940), she was seen as the daughter of Hans Albers.

    In 1941, she played a doctor in the controversial pro-euthanasia propaganda film Ich klage an/I Accuse (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1941) in which a successful doctor (Paul Hartmann) is forced to make a heart wrenching decision after his beautiful young wife (Heidemarie Hatheyer) is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This film was commissioned by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the suggestion of Karl Brandt to make the public more supportive of the Reich's T4 euthanasia program, and presented simultaneously with the practice of euthanasia in Nazi Germany. The actual victims of the Nazi euthanasia program Action T4 were in fact mainly killed without their consent, or that of their families.

    In her next film, Titanic (Herbert Selpin, Werner Klingler, 1943), Thiele played Lady Astor, the wife of Karl Schönböck. The film used the sinking of the British luxury liner Titanic in 1912 as a setting for an attempt to discredit British and American capitalist dealings and glorify the bravery and selflessness of German men. Titanic was commissioned by Joseph Goebbels and enjoyed a brief theatrical run in German occupied Europe starting in November 1943—but not in Nazi Germany proper by order of Goebbels himself who feared that it would weaken the German citizenry's morale instead of raising it. Goebbels later banned the playing of the film, and it did not have a second run.

    Charlotte Thiele
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2550/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Quick / Tobis.

    Charlotte Thiele
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3823/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien-Film.

    Goebbels' powder box


    Charlotte Thiele made with Ein Blick zurück/A look Back (Gerhard Menzel, 1944) starring Rudolph Forster, her final film.

    Reportedly, Joseph Goebbels had side-lined her. Hanns-Georg Rodek: “’You do not meet the requirements of a German woman,’ the doctor would have told her in the face. He had tried to court her like so many other screen beauties, but she gave him the cold shoulder. She threw his powder box with an engraved dedication in the trash.”

    Thiele was first married to the prominent physician Wolfgang Wohlgemuth, an assistant surgeon to Ferdinand Sauerbruch. With her second husband, the Croatian diplomat Branko Buzjak, she emigrated in 1944 to Argentina.

    In 1954 she returned to Germany. That same year Thiele was suddenly back in the media spotlights due to the involvement of her ex-husband, Dr. Wohlgemuth, in a scandal around GDR politician Otto John. Thiele was not involved in the case, and the affair did not help her to build a new film career.

    In 1956, she returned for once before the camera in an episode of the American television series Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents/Rheingold Theatre. The episode, The Last Tour (Derek N. Twist, 1956) was filmed in Germany. It did not lead to new role offers and Thiele retired.

    Charlotte Thiele died in Berlin in 2004. She was 85.

    Charlotte Thiele
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2709/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Tita Binz / Tobis.

    Charlotte Thiele
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3400/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

    Sources: Hanns-Georg Rodek (Die Welt), Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

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    This week's film special is about the Italian silent film Il fornaretto di Venezia/The Baker Boy of Venice (Mario Almirante, 1923). This film, starring Amleto Novelli and Alberto Collo, was a raving success in Italy, even if censors suppressed the most macabre scenes. Critics praised it as the more restrained answer to the then outdated epics and diva films.

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 249
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 249. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Alberto Colloplays the lead role of Pietro Faciol, the baker boy of Venice.

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 250
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 250. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Amleto Novelli plays the nobleman Lorenzo Barbo.

    A struggle between aristocracy and the people


    Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923), aka Il povero fornaretto and Il povero fornaretto di Venezia was based on the novel Il Fornaretto (1846) by Francesco Dall'Ongaro. The title translates as The Baker Boy of Venice. Wikipedia also mentions the American TV title The Scapegoat.

    The story of the film is situated around 1500, when Pietro Faciol (Alberto Collo), a poor baker boy, is unjustly sentenced to death by the Venetian Council of Ten. The boy is suspected of murder in a trial that becomes a struggle between aristocracy and the people.

    The defender in court is Lorenzo Barbo (Amleto Novelli), who finds out the real culprit is a notorious womanizing count who killed the victim with the help of Barbo's wife Clemenza (Niní Dinelli).

    The aristocratic court refuses to acknowledge Lorenzo's findings. Lorenzo is finally willing to accuse himself as being responsible. It is too late: the boy has been tortured and executed.

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 254
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 254. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). The caption translates: "In the bakery".

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 255
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 255. Photo: Alberto Collo and in Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). The caption translates: "The baker boy and Annella (Lia Miari), maid of the nobleman Barbo, love each other."

    Il fornaretto di Venezia 256
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 256. Photo: Amleto Novelli and Nini Dinelli in Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). The caption translates: "The nobleman Lorenzo says farewell to his wife, pretending he is called outside of Venice."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 257
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 257. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "Nightly gatherings."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 259
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 259. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "Early meeting of the two bethrothed."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 260
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 260. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "My God! Blood... He is not drunk but dead!"

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 261
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 261. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "Though innocent, the baker boy is accused of murder and arrested."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 262
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 262. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The baker boy accused by Annella before the Council of Ten."

    A raving success


    Il fornaretto di Venezia was a raving success in Italy, even if censors suppressed the most macabre scenes. Critics praised it as the more restrained answer to the outdated epics and diva films.

    Both the leading actors Amleto Novelli and Alberto Collo were lauded - although by 1923 Collo was no boy at all anymore. There was also praise for the Venetian scenery. The film continued to be screened in Italy until the end of the silent era.

    A year after Il fornaretto di Venezia conquered the cinemas. Amleto Novelli suddenly died. It happened during the shooting of the film La casa dei pulcini in Turin (1924). Novelli was only 38. Post mortem two more historical films with him were released: La congiura di San Marco (1924) and Marco Visconti (1925). He had played in over a 100 Italian silent films.

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia was filmed several times. The first film adaptation dates from 1907 and was directed by Mario Caserini. Seven years later, a second silent version followed, directed by Luigi Maggi. In 1939, there was a sound version, Il fornaretto di Venezia/The Fornaretto of Venice (Duilio Coletti, 1939) starring Roberto Villa, Elsa De Giorgi and Clara Calamai. It was made at the Cinecittà studios in Rome.

    In 1963, Duccio Tessari directed a colour version, Il fornaretto di Venezia/The Scapegoat (1963). Jacques Perrin played the title role, and his co-stars were Michèle Morgan, Sylva Koscina and Stefania Sandrelli. Duccio Tessari co-wrote the screenplay with Marcello Fondato, based of course on the novel by Francesco Dall'Ongaro.

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 263
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 263. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The torture."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 264
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 264. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The poor baker boy, passed out after his torture, is comforted by his father."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 265
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 265. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The gala embarkation leads nobleman Barbo and his wife to Palazzo Contarini."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 266
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 266. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The feast."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 269
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 269. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The flight".

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 271
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 271. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The baker boy is returned to the Palace and led to the scaffold in the Piazzetta."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 272
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 272. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The baker boy led to the scaffold between the columns of the Piazzetta."

    Il Fornaretto di Venezia 273
    Italian postcard by G.B. Salci, Milano, no. 273. Photo: publicity still for Il fornaretto di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: "The last prayer."

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/14/15--23:00: Irène Tunc
  • Sexy French actress and model Irène Tunc (1935-1972) was crowned Miss France in 1954. Until her premature death in a car crash, she appeared in 35 films and television shows.

    Irène Tunc
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano (Milan), no. 1656. Photo: Cineriz.

    Miss Côte d'Azur


    Irène Pierrette Louise Tunc was born in Lyon (according to IMDb in Lille), France, in 1935. Her father was a furniture dealer.

    In the summer of 1953, the beautiful teenager was chosen Miss Côte d'Azur in the beach town of Juan-les-Pins. At the time, she was already working as a mannequin, modelling for local papers and posing in beachwear for holiday postcards. The next year, she was crowned Miss France in 1954 at the age of 19.

    One of her first film roles was opposite Franco Fabriziand Gabriele Ferzetti in the Italian comedy-drama Camilla (Luciano Emmer, 1954). In Italy, she also appeared with Alberto Sordi in Bravissimo (Luigi Filippo D'Amico, 1955).

    Back in France, she continued to model in Paris and studied acting at the school of Françoise Rosay. Tunc played a supporting part in the comedy Les Truands/The Gangsters (Carlo Rim, 1956) starring Eddie Constantine. She also had a small part in the American comedy Paris Holiday (Gerd Oswald, 1958) starring the ‘comedy team of the century’, Bob Hope and Fernandel. The film was shot in Technirama and Technicolor in Paris and in the French village of Gambais.

    Just like many other beautiful French actresses of her generation, she returned to Italy for better roles. She played the lead role in the melodrama La sposa/The wife (Edmondo Lozzi, 1958), and a supporting part in the crime-comedy Noi siamo due evasi (Giorgio Simonelli, 1959).


    Ne French trailer for the re-edition of Les Deux Anglaises et le Continent/Two English Girls (François Truffaut, 1971). Source: Vincent Domaslaw (YouTube).

    New Wave


    Irène Tunc found more rewarding roles in the French cinema with the raise of the Nouvelle Vague. She had a big supporting part in the classic Léon Morin, prêtre/Léon Morin, Priest/The Sin (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva. The film was based on the 1952 Prix Goncourt-winning novel by Béatrix Beck.

    Also memorable is Vivre pour vivre/Live for Life (Claude Lelouch, 1967), starring Yves Montand, Candice Bergen and Annie Girardot. The film won the Golden Globe and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

    Other interesting films in which she appeared are Les aventuriers/The Last Adventure (Robert Enrico, 1967) starring Alain Delon, the French science fiction film Je t'aime, je t'aime/I Love You, I Love You (Alain Resnais, 1968) and the romantic drama Les Deux Anglaises et le Continent/Two English Girls (François Truffaut, 1971) with Jean-Pierre Léaud, Kika Markham and Stacey Tendeter.

    Irène Tunc died in a car crash in 1972 in Versailles. She was only 36. Tunc was married twice. Her first marriage was to Belgian film maker Ivan Govar (1958-1964).

    Since 1965 she was the wife of film director Alain Cavalier, for whom she appeared in the crime drama Mise à sac/Pillaged (Alain Cavalier, 1967) and the romance La chamade/Heartbeat (Alain Cavalier, 1968) starring Catherine Deneuve. In 2009, Alain Cavalier dedicated a film to her, Irène (Alain Cavalier, 2009), based on her diaries. In the French newspaper Liberation, Gérard Lefort called it “a beautiful declaration of love”.


    French trailer for Irène (Alain Cavalier, 2009). Source: Cinema2000PT (YouTube).

    Sources: Céline Colassin (CinéArtistes – French), Gérard Lefort (Liberation – French), Wikipedia (French and English) and IMDb.

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  • 03/15/15--23:00: André Berger
  • Not all film careers are successful. Today, Belgian entertainer André Berger, who appeared in only one film.

    André Berger
    Belgian postcard by P.E. (Photo Édition), no. 95. Photo: Studio Verhassel.

    Single Luck


    André Berger played the lead of Simon in the Belgian production Les Invités de huit heures/The 8 O'Clock Guests (Gaston Schoukens, 1944).

    This is a crime film based on an early novel by Thomas Owen about two murders committed during a party.

    The murder mystery featured local entertainers from Brussels like Charles Gontier, André Gevrey, Robert Murat, and Michèle Orley.

    The Dutch website Cinema.nl calls the acting 'stiff' and the result 'disastrous'. That's probably why Berger stayed a case of single luck.

    We could not find any more information on André Berger on the internet. If you know more about him, post a comment. We're curious what happened to him.

    André Berger
    Belgian postcard by P.E. (Photo Édition), no. 95. Photo: Menestret.

    Sources: Cinema.nl (Dutch) and IMDb.

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  • 03/16/15--23:00: Luis Trenker
  • Luis Trenker (1892-1990) was an Austrian-Italian ski champion, mountain climber, architect, film director, and actor. He portrayed rugged, daring outdoorsmen in the 'Mountain Film'. This genre seemed to be created especially for him. Trenker's films glorified epic struggles such as colonization and wars for freedom, and were set against spectacular, usually mountainous landscapes.

    Luis Trenker
    Big German card by Ross Verlag. Photo: Tobis / Rota.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7314/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Deutsche Universal.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 685. Photo: Atelier Yva, Berlin.

    Luis Trenker
    German promotion card by Deutscher Verlag for the new magazine Der Stern (now Stern) - founded in 1948. Photo: H. von Perckhammer.

    The Holy Mountain


    Trenker was born as Alois Franz Trenker in 1892 in St. Ulrich in Southern Tyrol, then part of the Austrian Empire, now a part of Italy. He studied architecture in Vienna from 1912 until the outbreak of World War I.

    He fought on the Austrian side, serving mainly as an officer in the Dolomites. He wrote several books based upon his war experiences, such as Sperrfort Rocca Alta. Der Heldenkampf eines Panzerwerkes/Fort Rocca Alta (1937) and Berge in Flammen/Mountains in Flames (1931). The latter was also made into a film in 1931.

    After the war, he resumed his studies, and worked in Bolzano as an architect. His first contact with film came when he worked as an Alpine consultant on Wunder des Schneeschuhs/Wonders of the snowshoe (Arnold Fanck, 1920), a documentary about skiing at the beginning of the century.

    Trenker gradually assumed more roles on the sets of Arnold Fanck’s films. The main actor in Fancks feature film Der Berg des Schicksals/Mountain of Destiny (Arnold Fanck, 1923) could not perform the stunts required, and so Fanck engaged Trenker for the leading role.

    Thereafter they shot the films Der heilige Berg/The Holy Mountain (Arnold Fanck, 1926), Der grosse Sprung/The Great Leap (Arnold Fanck, 1927) both co-starring Leni Riefenstahl, and Der Kampf ums Matterhorn/Struggle for the Matterhorn (Mario Bonnard, Nunzio Malasomm, 1928).

    By then Trenker was also directing, writing and starring in his own films and had abandoned his job as an architect. He married Hilde Bleichert, with whom he would have four children.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6075/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3516/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tita Binz, Berlin.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3673/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tita Binz, Berlin.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. G 50. Photo: Ufa / Tita Binz. Sadly the edges of this card were cut off by a former owner.

    The Prodigal Son


    Luis Trenker obtained the top of his film career with an impressive series of successful productions: Der Sohn der weissen Berge/The Son of the White Mountain (Mario Bonnard, Luis Trenker, 1930), Berge in Flammen/Mountains on Fire (Karl Hartl, Luis Trenker, 1931), Der Rebell/The Rebel (Kurt Bernhardt/Curtis Bernhardt, Edwin H. Knopf, Luis Trenker, 1932), Der verlorene Sohn/The Prodigal Son (Luis Trenker, 1934), Der Kaiser von Kalifornien/The Emperor of California (Luis Trenker, 1936), Condottieri/Giovanni de Medici: The Leader (Luis Trenker, 1937), Der Berg ruft!/The Mountain Calls (Luis Trenker, 1937) and Liebesbriefe aus dem Engadin/Love Letters from the Engadin (Werner Klingler, Luis Trenker, 1938).

    These film got him a unique place in the world of the Mountain Film. The main theme of Trenker's work was the idealization of people's connection with their homeland, and pointing out the decadence of city life. This is most clearly visible in his Der verlorene Sohn/The Prodigal Son about the trials and tribulations of a German who emigrates to the US during the Great Depression. In 1934 Trenker worked in Hollywood for this film, but soon he returned to Europe.

    Immediately after WW2, Der verlorene Sohn/The Prodigal Son was banned in the western part of Germany by the US military government because it was considered to be 'anti-American'. In the eastern part of Germany the film was banned by the Soviet military government because it was considered to advertise for the US and the American way of life.

    The Nazi propagandists seized upon the nationalistic elements of Trenker's work, but his film Der Feuerteufel/The Fire-Devil (Luis Trenker, 1940) displeased Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. Trenker was barred from directing and he was allowed to act only in films by second-rate directors.

    He eventually moved to Rome to avoid further governmental pressure. There he produced and co-directed a documentary about Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus (Romolo Marcellini, Luis Trenker, 1942) and directed Monte Miracolo (Luis Trenker, 1945). After this film, he returned to Bolzano and quit film making.

    Luise Ullrich, Luis Trenker
    German postcard. Photo: Verleih Muschak & Co. / Deutsche Universal Film. Publicity still for Der Rebell (1932) with Luise Ullrich.

    Luis Trenker
    Dutch postcard by H.W. Overeem. Photo: still from Der Rebell (1932).

    Luis Trenker, Der Rebell
    German postcard. Sent by mail in Germany in 1939. Photo: Peter Ottl, Nauders, Tirol. Still for Der Rebell (1932).

    Luis Trenker in Condottieri
    German postcard by Ross Verlag. Photo: Trenker / Tobis / Rota. Luis Trenker as Giovanni de' Medici in the Italian histroical film Condottieri (Luis Trenker, 1937).

    Visual Expressiveness


    The style Luis Trenker had developed in the 1930s was more than just nationalistic, folkloristic and heroic clichés. Many critics have praised the visual expressiveness of Trenker's films.

    His impersonation of a hungry, down ridden immigrant in depression time New York was regarded as one of the seminal scenes for future Italian Neorealism by the likes of Roberto Rossellini.

    After the war Trenker was accused of fascist opportunism, but eventually the charges were dropped. In this period he merely made short documentaries, but at the end of the 1950s he had a short comeback with his films Prigioniero della montagna/Flucht in die Dolomiten/Escape in the Dolomites (Luis Trenker, 1955), Von der Liebe besiegt/Defeated by love (Luis Trenker, 1956) with Marianne Hold, Wetterleuchten um Maria/Lightning around Maria (Luis Trenker, 1957) again starring Marianne Hold, and Sein bester Freund/His Best Friend (Luis Trenker, 1962).

    By 1965 he had switched mainly to the documentary form, focusing upon the Austrian province of Tyrol. In 1966 he worked for TV with the ski champion Toni Sailerat the series Luftsprünge/Air jumps (1969-1970).

    He published his memories, Alles gut gegangen (Everything Went Well). In 1990 Luis Trenker died at the age of 97.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3879/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Trenkerfilm.

    Luis Trenker
    German postcard by Ross-Verlag. Photo: Binder. Collection: Egbert Barten.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Rudi Polt (IMDb), Luistrenker.com (German), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 03/17/15--23:00: Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V.
  • We restart our series on postcard publishers today with Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., located in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This family firm already started in 1859, and became nationally known with their greeting cards and topographic postcards. After WW II, Spanjersberg, also known as 'Sparo', published many popular postcards with European film stars like Brigitte Bardot and Romy Schneider. With the rise of television, Spanjersberg followed the trend with postcards of popular TV heroes.

    Brigitte Bardot
    Brigitte Bardot. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam.

    Romy Schneider
    Romy Schneider. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1020. Photo: Ufa (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof.

    Karlheinz Böhm
    Karlheinz Böhm. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam; licence holder of Ufa, Berlin, no. 1004. Photo: Ufa.

    Marion Michael
    Marion Michael. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1009. Photo: Ufa.

    Brigitte Bardot
    Brigitte Bardot. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam.

    British soldiers


    Gebr. Spanjersberg (in English 'Spanjersberg Bros' started to sell papers and postcards in 1839 in Rotterdam. The company grew rapidly and soon became one of the biggest postcard firms in the Netherlands.

    In 1913 the company moved to the Grote Kerkplein in the centre of Rotterdam. Spanjersberg was now known as both wholesaler and publisher.

    During the First World War many postcards were sent by British soldiers, who were stationed in a camp near Rotterdam At 14, Ronald Spanjersberg Sr. began to work in the family business.

    After the war, Agfa en Gevaert - the main suppliers of photo paper in the Netherlands - could only provide very little paper. But in the 1950s, millions of black and white photo cards were sold.

    Gina Lollobrigida
    Gina Lollobrigida. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, no. 354. Photo: Herbert Fried / Ufa. Publicity still for Notre Dame de Paris (Jean Delannoy, 1956).

    Walter Reyer, Romy Schneider
    Walter Reyer and Romy Schneider. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1060. Dutch licency holder for Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof. Photo: Ufa.

    Romy Schneider and Magda Schneider in Venice
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg. Photo: Ufa/Film-Foto. The photo was made during the shooting of Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin/Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1957).

    Alain Delon
    Alain Delon. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 1383. Photo: Unifrance Film / Ufa.

    Brigitte Bardot
    Brigitte Bardot. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (licence holder for the Netherlands of Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin-Tempelhof), no. 4640. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1962. Photo: Sam Lévin, 1956 / Ufa.

    Christian Wolff
    Christian Wolff. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3846. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Bavaria / Schorcht Film.

    Youth subculture


    During the 1950s, youth subculture became a new phenomenon all over Europe with the film Rock around the clock and teen idol Elvis Presley. Young stars like Romy Schneider, Horst Buchholz and Brigitte Bardot were the new films idols and almost every teenager bought their postcards.

    Gebr. Spanjersberg recognized the new trend and became the Dutch licence holder of the German film postcard publisher UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), located in Berlin-Tempelhof. Ufa also had licence holders in France, Belgium and other countries.

    In the early 1960s, the new teen idols were Conny Froboess in Germany, Cliff Richard in Britain, The Blue Diamonds in the Netherlands and Johnny Hallyday in France. A few years later. They were all surpassed by The Beatles and such other pop acts as The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and Nancy Sinatra.

    Another new phenomenon was television. In 1963 the British TV series Ivanhoe was very popular in the Netherlands. All Dutch children loved the brave knight, played by Roger Moore. The postcards of the series became bestsellers and offered Spanjersberg a new young public. Grandparents started to send children cards of other TV series like Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillies, Pipo de Clown and De Fabeltjeskrant.

    Johnny Hallyday
    Johnny Hallyday. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, no. 5871. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1962.

    Cliff Richard
    Cliff Richard. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam.

    Conny Froboess
    Conny Froboess. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by mail in 1962.

    The Beatles
    The Beatles. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg. Retail price: 20 cent.

    The Beach Boys
    The Beach Boys. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (SPARO).

    Nancy Sinatra
    Nancy Sinatra. Dutch postcard by Sparo (Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V.), Rotterdam.

    Cityscapes


    Gebr. Spanjersberg had a big hit in 1966 with a series of 360 postcards with old cityscapes of Rotterdam, printed using the original pre-war glass negatives. The price of the postcard was 50 cents. Of each card 4,000 to 5,000 pieces were sold. In total more than a million postcards. 180 cards of the series were reprinted in 1978.

    At that time, a new generation of the Spanjersberg family lead the firm. Ronald Spanjersberg Jr. was the business director and his younger John Spanjersberg was the artistic director. Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V. was by now the biggest publisher of greeting cards in the Netherlands with 72 co-operators. The company had moved from Rotterdam to Capelle aan den IJssel, a town situated on the eastern edge of Rotterdam.

    Today Spanjersberg is a part of Hallmark Cards Continental Europe BV, still situated in Capelle aan den IJssel. The head quarters of Hallmark are located in Kansas City.

    Roger Moore in Ivanhoe
    Roger Moore in Ivanhoe. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by Mail in 1963. Photo: still from the TV series Ivanhoe (1958-1959).

    Bonanza
    Bonanza with Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) and his sons Hoss (Dan Blocker), Adam (Pernell Roberts) and Little Joe (Michael Landon). Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Photo: National Broadcasting Company.

    Destiny Angel, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
    Destiny Angel in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 6. Photo: Century 21 Ltd., 1968.

    Pipo de Clown
    Cor Witsche in Pipo de Clown. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam / Voka, Arnhem.

    Herbert Joeks
    Herbert Joeks in Pipo de clown. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by mail in 1969.

    Fabeltjeskrant, Ed en Willem Bever
    Ed en Willem Bever in De Fabeltjeskrant. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Photo: M.M. Chanowksi Productions, 1969.

    This was the first post in a new series on film star postcard publishers. For earlier posts, see the links at right under the caption 'The Publishers'.

    Sources: several old newspaper articles in Delpher (Dutch).

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  • 03/18/15--23:00: Postcards from Poland
  • Last week, Joanna from Warsaw sent me a series of scans of vintage postcards from Poland. These included three cards with film star Zbyszko Sawan, who was a popular heartthrob in Poland during the late 1920s and early 1930s. There was also one of the famous stage actor and director Aleksander Zelwerowicz in a silent film with Sawan, and one of a Harry Cort, a mysterious prince from an old dynasty whose film career was cut short after a 'social scandal'. But besides the Polish cards, the collection of Joanna also contains beautiful Ross and Iris Verlag postcards of international stars of the late 1920s.

    Lily Damita
    Lily Damita. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 763. Photo: Manassé, Wien / Sascha. Collection: Joanna.

    Lya de Putti
    Lya de Putti. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3370/2, 1928-1929. Photo: (Roman) Freulich. Collection: Joanna.

    Autographs


    Joanna wrote me: "Some time ago my parents had been liquidated the house of my grandfather's brother. He was already widowed and had no children. Among other stuff there were several old postcards and photos.

    I think his wife was born and lived in Krakow or Lwow before marriage and I guess the film star postcards belonged to her. I doubt whether my uncle would collect autographs of film stars..."

    I asked Joanna which postcard her favourite is. Joanna: "I think I admire the card with... Vilma Banky. It is very nice and unique. She is here like a ballet dancer not like an actress."

    Willy Fritsch
    Willy Fritsch. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3288/4, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Joanna.

    Harry Cort
    Harry Cort. Polish postcard by Polonia, Krakow, no. 923.Collection: Joanna.

    Social Scandal


    Polish actor Harry Cort (1905-?) came from a royal dynasty. Cort was born Prince Stanisław Józef Gedyminowicz-Bielski in Trzeszczany near Zamosc, Russia (now Poland). Staś was born in the lineage of the Gediminids dynasty of monarchs in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, that reigned from the 14th to the 16th century.

    As Harry Cort, he had a short film career with starring roles in three silent films. His film debut was the adventure film 9:25. Przygoda jednej nocy/ 9:25. Adventure one night (Adam Augustynowicz, Ryszard Biske, 1929) in which he co-starred with Iza Norska. The film is now considered lost.

    The following year he played the male lead in the drama Halka (Konstanty Meglicki, 1930). Halka was played by Zorika Szymanska. Cort’s third and final film was the romantic comedy Karuzela zycia/Carousel of life (Boleslaw Micinski, 1930) in which he co-starred again with Iza Norska. This film also seems to be lost.

    With the advent of the era of sound films Harry Cort began an intensive study to learn singing and diction. In the early days of the sound era, films were recorded in various languages. Cort prepared to play in films spoken in Polish, German and French.

    With his knowledge of languages and contacts with Polish-born Hollywood star  Pola Negri, he wanted to play in foreign films. By the late 1930s he was involved in a ‘social scandal’ that shattered his plans for acting, according to the Polish website Nitrofilm.

    Probably he then went abroad. The fate of Harry Cort or Prince Gedyminowicz-Bielski is unknown.

    Vilma Banky
    Vilma Banky. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3482/2, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Collection: Joanna.

    Zbyszko Sawan and Aleksander Zelwerowicz in Huragan (1928)
    Polish postcard, no. 83. Photo: publicity still for Huragan/Hurricane (Joseph Lejtes, 1928) with Zbigniew or Zbyszko Sawan and Aleksander Zelwerowicz. Collection: Joanna.

    One of the Polish Righteous among the Nations


    Polish actor Zbigniew Sawan (1904–1984) starred both in silent and sound film, and was also a respected stage actor in his country. He also worked as a theatre director and manager.

    Aleksander Zelwerowicz (1877-1955) was a Polish actor, director, theatre president and a teacher. He received the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland's highest Orders. He is also one of the Polish Righteous among the Nations, recognized by Yad Vashem as non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination during the Holocaust.

    Joanna: "Zbyszko Sawan was popular, but I think that nowadays only people from the cinema branch know his name. When you ask contemporary Pole about him - no ne will reply I think... Zelwerowicz is a well known name but mostly because he is a patron of one of the best theatre schools in Poland."

    During World War II, Zelwerowicz was active for the Konrad Żegota Committee. This was a codename for the Council to Aid Jews (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom), an underground organization of Polish resistance in German-occupied Poland active from 1942 to 1945.

    It is estimated that about half of the Jews who survived the Holocaust in Poland (thus over 50,000) were aided in some shape or form by Żegota.

    In 1955, Aleksander Zelwerowicz died in Warsaw. He was 77. Since 1996, the Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy, the National Higher School of Theatre in Warsaw, is named after him.

    Untitled
    Marja Malicka and Zbyszko Sawan in Dzikuska (1928). Polish postcard by Edition Victoria. Photo: Lux. Publicity still for Dzikuska/Savage (Henryk Szaro, 1928). Collection: Joanna.

    Zbyszko Sawan
    Zbyszko Sawan. Polish postcard by Polonia, Krakow, no. 559. Photo: Van Dyck. Signature from 1928. Collection: Joanna.

    Film Amant


    Joanna wrote me a funny little story about how she discovered old film star postcards.

    "Once, many years ago I received a card from my favourite uncle by mail - it was an old postcard with Zbyszko Sawan's photo. My uncle had written several sentences for me on that 50-years old card and sent it by post!

    I was so surprised and it was funny that he sent such an old 'film amant' photo to a girl like me.

    Anyway, I can not find that one. But recently, when I was looking for something completely different among my father's old photos and letters I found my uncle's old postcards.

    I wanted to share them. When I googled 'old postcards + cinema + film stars', your www page was most interesting to me. So I sent the postcards to you :)."

    And we're so glad you did... Dzięki, Joanna!

    Liane Haid
    Liane Haid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1825/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin. Collection: Joanna.

    Greta Garbo and Conrad Nagel in The Mystrerious Lady (1928)
    Greta Garbo and Conrad Nagel in The Mysterious Lady (1928). German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3787/4, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Mysterious Lady (Fred Niblo, 1928). Collection: Joanna.

    Sources: Nitrofilm (Polish), Queer (Polish), Film Polski (Polish), Filmweb (Polish), Wikipedia (English and Polish), and IMDb.

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  • 03/19/15--23:00: Sally Ann Howes
  • English-American actress and singer Sally Ann Howes (1930) is best known for the role of Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). She had her first screen test offer on her 12th birthday and went on to star in several films before she turned 20. Her career on stage, screen and television would span over six decades.

    Sally Ann Howes
    Dutch postcard by Hemo. Photo: Eagle Lion.

    A leading musical comedy star


    Sally Ann Howes was born in St John's Wood, London in 1930. She was the daughter of British comedian/actor Bobby Howes and actress/singer Patricia Malone, and the granddaughter of Capt. J.A.E. Malone, London theatrical director of musicals. Her older brother, Peter Howes, is a professional musician and music professor. She was a show-business baby who lived a quiet, orderly childhood where she grew up with a nanny and was surrounded by a variety of pets and her parents' theatrical peers, including Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge, who had an adjoining house.

    During World War II, Howes moved to the family's country house in Essendon. Another family friend, an agent suggested the young Sally Ann for a role in a film. Two hundred young girls had already been screen tested for the drama Thursday's Child, written by Rodney Ackland, and his directorial debut. As a juvenile star whose fame wreaked havoc upon her family, Thursday's Child (Rodney Ackland, 1943) launched her career.

    A second film, The Halfway House (Basil Dearden, 1944), led to her being put under contract by Michael Balcon of Ealing Studios. This was followed by many other film roles as a child actress, including the multi-storied horror classic Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, 1945) with Sir Michael Redgrave, Pink String and Sealing Wax (Robert Hamer, 1946), Nicholas Nickleby (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947), My Sister and I (Harmot Huth, 1948) and Anna Karenina (Julien Duvivier, 1948), with Vivien Leigh.

    At the age of 18, the Rank Organization put her under a seven-year contract, and she went on to make such films as The History of Mr. Polly (Anthony Pelissier, 1949) with John Mills, and the Italian-British comedy Due mogli sono trope/ Honeymoon Deferred (Mario Camerini, 1950).

    Howes had begun taking singing lessons on the recommendation of a visiting teacher friend not only to bring out her natural talents but also in effort to lower her speaking voice which was quite high-pitched. While still in her teens, she made her first musical-comedy stage appearance in Fancy Free. At 20, she received her first starring stage role in Glasgow in the Sandy Wilson musical Caprice.

    It forced her to terminate her contract with Rank, with whom she'd been unhappy with the film roles and being on ‘loan out’. She was finding gainful employment in television and radio, including a starring role in a BBC TV version of Cinderella (1950). Howes was looking to flex her singing talent, something that both Balcon and Rank had overlooked. Caprice was followed by Bet Your Life with Julie Wilson.

    In 1953, she starred on the West End in the musical Paint Your Wagon with her father, Bobby Howes. The show ran for 18 months. It was followed by 148 performances in Summer Song, also on the West End, firmly establishing her as a leading musical comedy star. This was followed by her critically acclaimed performance in the stage drama, A Hatful of Rain. She mixed her theatre with television appearances and even modelling, commercials and product endorsements.

    Sally Ann Howes
    British autograph card.

    Sally Ann Howes
    German postcard by F.B.Z., no. 215. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Org.

    Broadway


    Sally Ann Howes became a popular celebrity in England, even appearing as a comic-strip character in TV Fun serial comics and annuals, as a young, wholesome teacher in the wild American west at a time when Western TV shows were very popular. She made incidental film appearances such as in The admirable Crichton (Lewis Gilbert, 1957) with Kenneth More.

    In 1958 she accepted the role of Eliza Doolittle in Broadway's My Fair Lady, taking over from Julie Andrews. The role had been offered to her three times previously, but film and stage commitments kept her from assuming the part. With the persistence of Lerner and Loewe, however, she accepted the third time, for a year's contract, but at a higher salary than Julie Andrews. She became an instant hit as a very fiery Eliza Doolittle.

    In January 1958, Howes married Tony-winning composer Richard Adler (The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees). The following December, she appeared on television in Adler's musical adaptation of O. Henry's short story, The Gift of the Magi.

    Adler and Bob Merrill collaborated on a musical version of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage so that Howes could play Mildred. She appeared on many TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show four times. Howes returned to Broadway in 1961 in the short run of Kwamina, another Adler musical.

    In 1962, she starred in a short revival of the musical Brigadoon at the New York City Opera and received a Tony nomination, the first performer to be nominated for a revival performance. In 1964 she starred on Broadway opposite Robert Alda and Steve Lawrence in the energetic What Makes Sammy Run?, which lasted for over 500 performances. A TV version of Brigadoon (1966) with Howes, Robert Goulet and Peter Falk won six Emmy Awards.

    Sally Ann Howes
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. W 377. Photo: J Arthur Rank Organisation.

    Sally Ann Howes
    Dutch postcard. Photo: Eagle Lion.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


    In 1967, Sally Ann Howes began the 14 months film shoot of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Ken Hughes, 1968). In the children's fantasy musical she starred opposite Dick van Dyke as Truly Scrumptious, the lovely and charming daughter of a confectionery magnate. The film became a fondly remembered hit.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang did not, however, restart her film career. In addition, musicals were now failing at the box office and that avenue was closed to her. As a result, she returned almost exclusively to the musical stage, appearing in only a few more films/TV productions.

    In the 1970s, she toured Britain with The King and I and later the USA with The Sound of Music. After her debut with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera in 1972 with The Sound of Music she returned to Britain to star in the stage drama, Lover, which was written specifically for her.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, she began to cross over from standard musicals to operettas. She performed two summers with the Kenley Players in Blossom Time and The Great Waltz, and she later added Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow and then two seasons of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the New York City Opera. She also added the role of Gertrude in Hamlet to her repertoire.

    In 1990, she debuted her one-woman show, From This Moment On at the Edinburgh Festival and at a benefit for the Long Island AIDS Association at the John Drew Theatre in Easthampton, New York. Her last film was the 1992 miniseries Judith Krantz's Secrets. That marked her 50th year in film.

    Recent projects include her narrations of Cubby Broccoli, The Man Behind Bond (2000) for the DVD release of Diamonds Are Forever, The Making of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Musical (2002), and her appearance in the documentary After They Were Famous - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2004).

    Sally Ann Howes is now semi-retired, although she still hosts events or performs two or three times per year. She was married four times. Her first marriage was to H. Maxwell Coker. Howes adopted second husband Richard Adler's two sons, Andrew and Broadway Lyricist Christopher, after the death of his first wife (1964). They divorced in 1966. Then she was shortly married to Andrew Morgan Maree. Since the early 1970s, she has been married to Douglas Rae. She is a naturalized US citizen and resides in New York.


    Trailer Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).


    Trailer Death Ship (Alvin Rakoff, 1980). Howes had a supporting part in this Canadian-British horror film about a Nazi torture ship which has sailed the seas for years, luring unsuspecting sailors aboard and killing them off one by one. Source: Nucleusfilms (youTube).

    Sources: Jenny Arata (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 03/20/15--23:00: Les amants de Vérone (1949)
  • Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers Of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) is a French film loosely based on the William Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet. The film, starring the young Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani as the two star-crossed lovers, was a joint project of screenwriter Jacques Prevert and director Andre Cayatte and became a great international success. It was released in France and Italy in 1949, then internationally in 1951. The series of sepia collectors cards in this post must date from the same period.

    Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani.

    Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949).

    Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949).

    Stand ins


    The story of Les amants de Vérone is set in post war Italy.

    The two lovers are Angelo (Serge Reggiani), a young glass-blower from the island of Murano, and Georgia Maglia (Anouk Aimée), the pretty daughter of a Fascist nobleman who no longer enjoys the power he had during the war.

    Angelo and Georgia meet when they become stand-ins for the stars of a film version of Romeo and Juliet being shot on location in Venice.

    They fall in love and their affair parallels the Shakespeare tragedy. Their romance is challenged not by modern-day counterparts to the Montagues and the Capulets, but by the lovers’ own heightened sensitivities to their social differences.

    Another difficulty is the scheming of Rafaële (Pierre Brasseur), the Magia family's ruthless consigliere.

    In the end, Angelo is killed and Georgia dies at his side.

    Anouk Aimée in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Anouk Aimée.

    Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Anouk Aimee and Serge Reggiani.

    Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949).

    Caressing the two star-crossed lovers’ faces


    Anouk Aimee was only 17 when she starred in Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers Of Verona (1949), and she was already on her way to enticing audiences with the mystifying grace with which she filled the screen.

    Martine Carol played Bettina Verdi, the star of the film version of Romeo and Juliet, Louis Salou interpreted Ettore Maglia, the fascist magistrate, and Marcel Dalio was his brother, Amedeo Maglia.

    At AllMovie, Hal Erickson writes that “Following the worldwide success of Lovers of Verona (...), director Andre Cayatte was given what one historian has described as 'carte blanche' in the French film industry; put simply, the man could do no wrong.“

    One of the strong points of the film is that it was shot in Italy. In 1951, Bosley Crowther wrote a critical review in the New York Times in 1951, but he concludes: “However, as we say, the scenery — the beauty of Verona and the Venetian canals — is beautiful and exciting. That is always something to see.”

    Another highlight is the atmospheric cinematography: Henri Alekan's camera seems to caress the two star-crossed lovers’ faces. It surely helped to make Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani two of the most enduring stars of the European cinema.

    Serge Reggiani and Anouk Aimée in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Anouk Aimée and Serge Reggiani.

    Marianne Oswald, Marcel Dalio, Serge Reggiani and Pierre Brasseur in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Serge Reggiani and with Marianne Oswald and Marcel Dalio at left and at right Pierre Brasseur.

    Serge Reggiani in Les amants de Vérone (1949)
    French collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Les amants de Vérone/The Lovers of Verona (André Cayatte, 1949) with Serge Reggiani.

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Bosley Crowther (The New York Times), TV Guide, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/21/15--23:00: Claude Dauphin
  • French actor Claude Dauphin (1903-1978) played in more than 130 films and TV-series between 1930 and 1978. As the charming and elegant Frenchman he also appeared in several Hollywood productions.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 86. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé, Paris.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by EPC (Editions et Publications Cinématographiques), no. 43.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 86. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé, Paris.

    The World Will Shake


    Claude Dauphin was born as Claude Marie Eugène Legrand in Corbeil-Essonnes, France, in 1903. He was born into a family of French music hall entertainers. His father was Maurice Étienne Legrand, a poet who wrote under the name of Franc-Nohain, and who was the librettist for Maurice Ravel's opera L'heure espagnole. His brother would become the actor Jean Nohain.

    Claude made his own entree into the theatrical world as a set designer. The prematurely greying Dauphin turned to acting in the late 1920s, and he made his stage debut in a play by Tristan Bernard. His first film appearance was in the comedy drama La Fortune/The Fortune (Jean Hémard, 1931) opposite Alice Tissot.

    During the 1930s, he appeared in several not very remarkable films, including La fille du regiment/The girl of the regiment (Pierre Billon, Carl Lamac, 1933) with Anny Ondra, La route heureuse/The Happy Road (Georges Lacombe, 1935) starring Edwige Feuillère, Faisons un rêve.../Let Us Do a Dream (Sacha Guitry, 1936) and Entree des Artistes/Artists Entrance (Marc Allégret, 1938) with Louis Jouvet.

    He had his breakthrough in the science fiction film Le monde tremblera/The World Will Shake (Richard Pottier, 1939) based on a screenplay by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Dauphin played the lead role of Jean Durand, a young scientist who has invented a machine that can tell you how many years, days, hours and minutes you have left to live. Clouzot's touch can be felt in the scientist character: from the first sequence we know he is a very cynical man, in spite of his nice looks: he tries to use a prostitute as a guinea pig to test the machine.

    Next, Dauphin played in the Jean Anouilh adaptation Cavalcade D'Amour/Love Cavalcade (Raymond Bernard, 1940) three leading parts (Léandre, Hubert and Georges) in three romances occurring within the walls of the Chateau de Champs. In the romantic comedy Battement De Coeur/Heart Throbs (Henri Decoin, 1940) he starred as Pierre opposite Danielle Darrieux. At AllMovie, Hal Erickson writes: “Dauphin nearly always managed to elevate his material with his shameless scene-stealing and Boulevardier charm.”

    At dawn, the day after the end of the filming of La belle aventure/Twilight (Marc Allégret, 1942) with Micheline Presle and Louis Jourdan, he embarked aboard a British submarine in Nice bound for Great Britain. La belle aventure was banned in 1943 by the German Occupation authorities because Dauphin had by then joined the F.F.L. (French Liberation Forces). In Great Britain he starred opposite Michael Wilding and Lilli Palmer in English without Tears/Her Man Gilbey (Harold French, 1943).

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard, no. 557. Photo: Studio Piaz, Paris.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Edition Cinémagazine, no. 2113.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by O.P., Paris, no. 88. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by E.C. (Europe Cinema), Paris, no. 13. Photo: C.A.L.F.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Editions Chantal, Paris, no. 557. Photo: X...

    That Most Important Thing: Love


    Back in France, Claude Dauphin played Cyrano de Bergerac (Fernand Rivers, 1945). IMDb user mla195 writes: “Overall this is an average post-war French production with minimal settings are inexistent cinematography, except some fine and well taken cartoons accompanying Cyrano's description of his space travels. It nevertheless remains pleasant to watch thanks to the magic of the play and the outstanding performance of Claude Dauphin in Cyrano.”

    Dauphin also worked again with Micheline Presle and Louis Jourdan in Félicie Nanteuil (Yves Allégret, 1945). In 1950 he made his Hollywood debut in the crime drama Deported (Robert Siodmak, 1950) starring Jeff Chandler. In 1952 he was the film partner both of Doris Day in April in Paris (David Butler, 1952), and of Claire Bloomin Innocents in Paris (Gordon Parry, 1952).

    In France he starred opposite Simone Signoret in Casque d’Or/Golden Helmet (Jacques Becker, 1952). The following year he appeared in Le Plaisir/House of Pleasure (Max Ophüls, 1952) based on three stories by Guy de Maupassant. Broadway audiences were regaled by Dauphin in the original stage version of The Happy Time. Dauphin co-starred with Louis Jourdan in the European-filmed TV series Paris Precinct (1953-1955) about two Paris police detectives, one older and more experienced and one young and eager, who track down criminals and solve crimes. His later television work included several sparkling guest appearance on the American late-night Merv Griffin Show.

    In the cinema he was seen in the adaptation of Graham Greene's prophetic novel about US foreign policy failure in pre-war Indochina, The Quiet American (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1958) starring Audie Murphy. His films of the 1960s include the first film directed by Costa-Gravas, Compartiment Tueurs/The Sleeping Car Murders (1965), the all-star war epic Paris Brule-t-il?/Is Paris Burning? (René Clement, 1966), the romantic comedy Two for the Road (Stanley Donen, 1966) starring Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn, and the science fiction send-up Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1968) featuring Jane Fonda as a interstellar representative of the united Earth government.

    Dauphin continued to play in interesting films. He appeared in L’Important c’est d’aimer/That Most Important Thing: Love (Andrzej Zulawski, 1975) starring Romy Schneider. Yuri German writes at All Movie: “Set in a world of losers and futile talents, this dark and moody drama depicts love as the only source of salvation. Memorable performances and skillful direction make this film a powerful experience.”

    The next year, Dauphin appeared again with Schneider in the psychological drama Mado (Claude Sautet, 1976). That same year director Roman Polanski cast him in his psychological thriller The Tenant (1976). Another highlight was his reunion with Simone Signoret in La Vie devant soi/Madame Rosa (Moshe Mizrahi, 1977) based on a novel by Emile Ajar (better known as Romaine Gary). Dauphin's last film was the TV production Les Miserables (Glenn Jordan, 1979).

    Claude Dauphin died in 1978 in Paris of intestinal occlusion. He was married three times, to the actresses Rosine Deréan, Maria Mauban, and Norma Eberhardt. With Mauban he had a son, actor Jean-Claude Dauphin (1948). He was also the father of Antonia Dauphin, from his relationship with Ruda Michelle.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by SERP, Paris, no. 5. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Greff Editeur, Paris, no. 104. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 86. Photo: Erpe, Nice.

    Claude Dauphin
    French postcard, no. 153.


    Doris Day and Claude Dauphin in April in Paris (1952). Source: Mary StMatthew (YouTube).


    Trailer for Barbarella (1968). Source: LudBrown (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Yuri German (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 03/22/15--23:00: Carl de Vogt
  • German actor Carl de Vogt (1885-1970) was a forerunner of Indiana Jones in the silent adventure films of Fritz Lang. He appeared in more than 100 films. De Vogt was also a popular singer and made several records in the 1920s.

    Lil Dagover and Carl de Vogt in Die Spinnen
    German photocard for the album Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst. Teil I. Der stumme Film (Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Altona-Bahrenfeld 1935). Photo: Lil Dagover and Carl de Vogt in Die Spinnen/The Spiders (1919-1920).

    Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (1917)
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3143. Publicity still of Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917). Ahasver is a three-part film on the story of the Wandering Jew Ahasver (De Vogt), who is condemned to bring misfortune.

    Carl de Vogt and Johannes Riemann in Ahasver
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3146. Photo: Carl de Vogt and Johannes Riemann in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).

    Carl de Vogt in Ahasver
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3144. Photo: Deutsche Bioscop-Gesellschaft (DBG). Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).

    Kara Ben Nemsi


    Carl de Vogt was born in Köln (Cologne), Germany, in 1885.

    He attended the acting school in his hometown, and then started his career as a stage actor. His earliest known film was Schwert und Herd (1916).

    In the following years De Vogt became a popular star, in particular in adventure films.

    Well-known are his contributions to four early films of Fritz Lang in which he was a kind of Indiana Jones avant la lettre: Halbblut/The Half-Caste (1919), Der Herr der Liebe/Master of Love (1919) and the two-part Die Spinnen/The Spiders (1919-1920), opposite Lil Dagover and Ressel Orla.

    In the Karl May adaptation Die Teufelsanbeter/The Devil Worshippers (Marie Luise Droop, 1920) he appeared as Kara Ben Nemsi opposite Béla Lugosi. He married film actress Claire Lotto with whom he played together several times.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 3141. Photo: Deutsche Bioscop-Gesellschaft.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 6260. Photo: Kühn & Hitz, Baden-Baden.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 9188.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, no. 9179.

    Popular Singer


    In the early 1920s, Carl de Vogt became an even bigger star, because of his successful performances in such films as Die Todeskarawane/Caravan of Death (Josef Stein, 1920) - again as Kara Ben Nemsi, the two-part Die Schatzkammer im See/The Treasure Room in the Sea (Hans Werckmeister, 1921), Der Herr der Bestien/The Master of the Beasts (Ernst Wendt, 1921), Die Tigerin/The Tigress (Ernst Wendt, 1922), and as Hektor in Helena/Helen of Troy (Manfred Noa, 1924).

    Next to acting he was also a popular singer and he made several records in the 1920s. His biggest hit was Der Fremdenlegionär (The Foreign Legionnaire).

    From the 1930s to the 1950s he continued to play in dozens of films, but his real glory days were over and his parts got smaller and smaller.

    His last film was the Bryce Edgar Wallace krimi Der Würger von Schloß Blackmoor/The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle (Harald Reinl, 1963). Carl de Vogt died in Berlin in 1970. He had a son with Claire Lotto, Karl Franz de Vogt (1917).

    Carl de Vogt
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 650. Photo: Residenz-Atelier, Wien (Vienna).

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 266/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3279/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Suse Byk, Berlin.

    Carl de Vogt
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4846/1, 1929-1930.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 03/23/15--23:00: Jole Ferrari
  • Italian starlet Jole Ferrari had a short career playing supporting parts in the Italian cinema of the 1930s and 1940s. Among her film are Alessandro Blasetti's Un'avventura di Salvator Rosa (1939), the opera adaptation L'elisir d'amore (1941) and the historical drama Luisa Sanfelice (1942).

    Jole Ferrari
    Italian postcard by ASER, no. 147. Photo: Luxardo.

    Robin Hood, Neapolitan Style


    In 1939, Jole Ferrari started her film career with a small part in the Swashbuckler Un' avventura di Salvator Rosa/An Adventure of Salvator Rosa (Alessandro Blasetti, 1939) starring Gino Cervi and Luise Ferida.

    Gerald A. De Luca at IMDb: "Salvatore Rosa was a versatile poet and painter of landscapes and battles. His romantic life is the inspiration for this fictional tale of the masked hero, 'The Ant', Rosa's alter-ego, a friend and defender of the poor citizens of the Naples area who are oppressed by the evil viceroy. This is "Robin Hood, Neapolitan Style", and great fun."

    Ferrari had another small part in Ricchezza senza domain/Wealth and no tomorrow (Ferdinando Maria Poggioli, 1940) with Lamberto Picasso, Paola Borboni and Doris Duranti.

    She had a big supporting part in I pirati del golfo/Pirates of the Bay (Romolo Marcellini, 1940) opposite Andrea Checchi.

    She had more supporting parts in L'elisir d'amore/The Elixir of Love (Amleto Palermi, 1941), based on the comic opera by Gaetano Donizetti, and in La famiglia Brambilla in vacanza/Brambilla family on vacation (Carl Boese, 1941) with dreamboat Massimo Girotti.

    Jole Ferrari
    Italian postcard by ASER, no. 152. Photo: Luxardo.

    Jole Ferrari
    Italian postcard by Rotante, no. 0024. Photo: Luxardo.

    Princess Clementina


    Her final film role was as the principessa Clementina in the historical drama film Luisa Sanfelice (Leo Menardi, 1942) featuring Laura Solari and also starring Massimo Serato and Osvaldo Valenti.

    The film is an adaptation of a novel by Alexandre Dumas based on the story of Luisa Sanfelice (1764-1800) an Italian aristocrat executed in Naples by Ferdinand I for supporting a Republican attempt to overthrow him during the French Revolutionary Wars.

    Luisa Sanfelice was made at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome. One of the film's screenwriters was Vittorio Mussolini, the son of dictator Benito Mussolini, who was heavily involved in the Italian film industry.

    We could not find more about Jole Ferrari at the net. If you have more information, please let us know.

    Andrea Checchi
    Andrea Checchi. Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scararamaglia Edizioni Roma).

    Massimo Girotti
    Massimo Girotti. Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scaramaglia Ed. Roma), no. 223. Photo: Ciolfi.

    Sources: Gerald A. De Luca (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/24/15--23:00: Iris Verlag
  • What Ross Verlag meant for Germany, Iris Verlag did for Austria. Iris was a very popular and internationally known publishing company specialized in film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920s and 1930s. Unfortunately we could obtain just a tiny bit of information about this interesting Austrian company.

    Mae Murray, John Gilbert
    Mae Murray and John Gilbert in The Merry Widow. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 559. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Film. Publicity still for The Merry Widow (Erich von Stroheim, 1925).

    Ramon Novarro and Claire McDowell in Ben-Hur
    Ramon Novarro and Claire McDowell in Ben-Hur. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 715/4. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo, 1925).

    Clive Brook and Billie Dove
    Clive Brook and Billie Dove in Yellow Lily. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5416. Photo: Verleih Philipp & Co. / First National. Publicity still for Yellow Lily (Alexander Korda, 1928).

    Richard Barthelmess
    Richard Barthelmess. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5737. Photo: Hugo Engel Film / Warner Bros.

    Sepia


    A big difference between Ross Verlag and Iris-Verlag is the fact that Iris was just producing one special postcard format (14 x 9 cm). Iris didn't publish any scene cards in a series like Ross did or any luxury cards, art sheets or miniature cards.

    Early Iris cards came out in a sepia brown tone. A few years later, at the beginning of the 1930s, the production of all following cards was handled in another quality which reminded more of a black/white motive.


    Julius von Szöreghy
    Julius von Szöreghy. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 592. Photo: Allianz Film.

    Lily Damita
    Lily Damita. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 980. Photo: Sascha-Film.

    Jack Trevor
    Jack Trevor. Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5006. Photo: Sascha.

    Ruth Weyher
    Ruth Weyher. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5059. Photo: Manassé, Wien.

    Ita Rina
    Ita Rina. Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5118. Photo: Kiesel, Berlin.

    Josephine Baker
    Josephine Baker. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5293. Photo: Walery, Paris.

    Confusion


    Iris-Verlag published its cards in vertical and in horizontal formats. The listing of the different card numbers is a little bit uncommon. You can see the numbers on the lower left card edge or the right one or even within the photograph itself on the left or right side.

    To make the confusion complete, Iris placed the numbers even on the reverse side of the cards, beginning from number 5954 till the end of the whole production. From that number on you can also see the addition 'Amag' above 'Iris' and the individual card number.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    Bernhard Goetzke. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 677/2. Photo: Verleih E. Weil & Co.

    Vivian Gibson
    Vivian Gibson. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 998. Photo: Emelka.

    Elisabeth Bergner
    Elisabeth Bergner. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5689. Photo: Poetic Film / Lux-Film Verleih.

    Marianne Winkelstern
    Marianne Winkelstern. Austrian postcard by Iris, no. 6514. Photo: Lux Film Verleih.

    Jan Kiepura
    Jan Kiepura. Austrian Postcard by Iris Verlag. Photo: Lux Film / Cine-Allianz. Still from Das Lied einer Nacht (Anatole Litvak, 1932).

    Colorized Cards


    On the front side of the cards you can always read the name of the pictured persons and the origin where the photograph does come from. A copyright index is not given.

    In the same manner as Ross Verlag did, Iris-Verlag produced some colorized cards as well. The handling was similar to Ross.

    This was all the info we could find at the net, thanks to these enthusiastic contributors of the wonderful site Garbo Forever. Do you know more? Please share!

    Emil Jannings
    Emil Jannings. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 970. Photo: Verleih Philipp & Co.

    Greta Nissen
    Greta Nissen. German postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5035. Photo: Autrey / Fox.

    Jaque Catelain
    Jaque Catelain. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 824. Photo: Isabey, Paris.

    Reginald Denny
    Reginald Denny. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag.

    Vilma Banky
    Vilma Banky. Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 975. Photo: Halasz, Budapest.

    This was the second post in a new series on film star postcard publishers. For earlier posts, see the links at right under the caption 'The Publishers'. Next Wednesday: the British phenomenon of Picturegoer.

    Source: Garbo Forever. See also our Iris-Verlag album at Flickr.

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  • 03/25/15--23:00: Claus Wilcke
  • German actor Claus Wilcke (1931) appeared in more than 20 films, but is best known for his roles in the German TV shows Percy Stuart (1969), and I.O.B. Spezialauftrag (1980). He has also dubbed many American actors including Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty for cinema and TV.

    Claus Wilcke
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 4488. Photo: Ufa / Erwin Schneider.

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 588. Photo: Interwest / Europa / Reuter. Publicity still for Meine 99 Bräute/My 99 Brides (Alfred Vohrer, 1958).

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri / Friedrich W. Sander Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 3138. Photo: Electrola / Jung.

    Suburb Playboy


    Claus Wilcke was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1931. He had a classic acting training and graduated, trained for stunts in London and played many sports such as fencing and riding. For four year he worked for the Bremer Theater.

    In 1958 the attractive young actor made his cinema debut as a suburb playboy in Meine 99 Bräute/My 99 brides (Alfred Vohrer, 1958).

    This first leading role was followed by smaller roles in a series of well-made crime dramas: Verbrechen nach Schulschluß/The Young Go Wild (Alfred Vohrer, 1959), the biographical Die Wahrheit über Rosemarie/The Truth about Rosemarie (Rudolf Jugert, 1959) with Belinda Lee as the legendary call-girl, Am Tag, als der Regen kam/The Day the Rains Came (Gerd Oswald, 1959) with Mario Adorf,Lampenfieber/Lamp Fever (Kurt Hoffmann, 1960) and Via Mala (Paul May, 1961) starring Gert Fröbe and Joachim Hansen.

    He played another lead role opposite Hannelore Elsner in Das Mädchen mit den schmalen Hüften/The girl with the slim hips (Johannes Kai, 1961).

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden /Westf., no. 1222. Photo: Kolibri / Filipp.

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 650. Photo: Kolibri / Erwin Schneider.

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 692. Photo: Kolibri / Erwin Schneider.

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 375. Photo: Interwest / Europa / Ringpress / Vogelmann. Publicity still for Meine 99 Bräute/My 99 brides (Alfred Vohrer, 1958).

    Dynamic millionaire detective


    During the 1960s, the German cinema was in a crisis and Claus Wilcke – like many other German film actors – focused on stage and television.

    He guest-starred in episodes of Krimi series like Das Kriminalmuseum/The Criminal Museum (1963), John Klings Abenteuer/John Kling (1965), and Kommissar Brahm/Commissionar Brahm (1967) starring Paul Klinger.

    In 1969 he was cast for the title role in the Krimi series Percy Stuart (1969-1972). The role of the dynamic millionaire detective made him incredibly popular in Germany. Nearly all of his stunts were done by himself because the insurance companies back then didn't hinder him.

    Later he played roles in numerous other German TV shows, including the Krimi I.O.B. Spezialauftrag/I.O.B. special order (1980-1981) and on theatre stages all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria. More than 600 times, he played in the comedy Irma la Douce.

    He was also a very sought-after voice-over actor. He was the German voice of Elvis Presley, Omar Sharif (in Lawrence von Arabien/Lawrence of Arabia), George Hamilton and Warren Beatty.

    Incidentally he appeared in feature films. He played a lead in the comedy Halt die Luft an alter Gauner - Der Stockfisch und das Stinktier/Hold the air for the old rascals - The stockfish and the skunk (Günter Goldhammer, Peter Harlos, 1976).

    More recently, he had a cameo appearance in Iron Sky (Timo Vuorensola, 2012), a sci-fi comedy about Nazis from the moon. He played the white-bearded Russian representative at the international conference who repeatedly laughs at the fictitious President of the United States until he gets angry and throws a shoe at her.

    Claus Wilcke was married three times. His current wife is Beate Eckhardt. He has two children, the actors Nicolas Böll and Alexandra Wilcke.

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard. Photo: Optagon / Hamburgische Film- und Fernseh Produktion / ZDF. Publicity still for the TV series Percy Stuart (1969).

    Claus Wilcke
    German postcard by Electrola, no. 1. Photo: Peter Michaelis, Hamburg.

    Claus Wilcke
    German autograph card. Photo: Tele-Optagon.


    Trailer for Percy Stuart (1969-1972). Source: ARDVideo (YouTube).

    Sources: Stephanie D’heil (Steffi-Line), Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.

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  • 03/26/15--23:00: De Wama's
  • De Wama's was a Dutch comedy duo consisting of Wim van Wageningen (1918-1986) and Dick de Maat (1917-1980). The duo was popular in Dutch variety shows in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Together and solo, they were often seen on TV and also in Dutch films. In 1973 De Wama's parted.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard. Photo: Decca.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard, no. 1 62 D 724. Photo: Decca.

    Need for light entertainment


    Wim van Wageningen (1918-1986) and Dick de Maat (1917-1980) met in the army after mobilization. In 1940 they decided to become artists and form a duo. As a name for the new duo they chose ‘De Wama's’, the first two letters of their surnames, Van Wageningen and De Maat. They took on the stage names Wim Wama and Dick Wama.

    After the war De Wama's continued as professional artists. They took advantage of the need for light entertainment that arose after 1945.

    In the late 40s they wrote the song Naar de TT Race (To the TT race) on the motorcycling event Dutch TT in the city of Assen. It became a hit. Other famous songs from that period are Hotsjek and Ping en Pong (1955, Ping and Pong), about two ping pong playing Chinese.

    Their occasional performances in the popular radio show De bonte dinsdagavondtrein (The colourful Tuesday Night Train) made them nationally known. As a result, they were much sought after artists on the gig circuit, where they became famous for their practical jokes, both on and off stage. Wim did a great Popeye imitation and Dick made fun of the Swedish diva Zarah Leander with a silk shawl and a cigarette pipe.

    From the 1960s on, the popularity of vaudeville diminished and thus the popularity of De Wama's. They were not very innovative and in contrast to another popular duo, De Mounties, De Wama’s were little seen on television.

    In the 1960s they had success with parodies of famous hit songs. Their covers include Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin and Laila by Die Regento Stars, both in 1960. Their Dutch version of Kriminal tango, which was a hit in West Germany for the Hazy Osterwald Sextett, made the Dutch charts in 1960. In 1962 the Wama's pulled again the charts by responding to the twist craze. They built Franz Liszt's Liebestraum into the Liebestraum twist.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard, no. 5 60 D 24. Photo: Decca.

    Hadjememaar


    Around Carnival 1971 the Wama's had their final hit with A Ha, Dat Is Marie (Aha that is Marie), a cover of the French song La petit Marie by Jean Marie Mourou& Nicolas Péridès. Then De Wama's focused on theatre.

    In 1971 they played small roles in the play Liefde is Hadjememaar (Love is Hadjememaar) of the Amsterdam Volkstoneel, led by Beppie Nooij. Here it appeared that Wim Wama had good acting skills.

    In March 1973, De Wama's parted, but they retained their stage names, Wim Wama and Dick Wama.

    Wim Wama had in the 1970s and 1980s success as an actor, both in the theatre, on TV and in films. He was also a voice actor for several foreign animated series. He spoke the voices of Jerom and Krimson in the puppet series Suske en Wiske/Spike and Suzy (1975) and he performed in radio plays including the popular series De Brekers (The Breakers) with Piet Römer.

    His films include the war drama Pastorale 1943 (Wim Verstappen, 1978), the thriller De schorpioen/The Scorpion (Ben Verbong, 1984) and the prostitution drama Gebroken spiegels/Broken mirrors (Marleen Gorris, 1984).

    He had his biggest stage role in 1984 with the part of hobo, street musician and local politician Hadjememaar in the remake of the play Liefde is Hadjememaar (Love is Hadjememaar) from 1971. In 1986, he would star in the play In Holland staat een huis (In Holland there is a house), but he was seriously ill that year. At the age of 67, he died from cancer in 1986.

    Dick Wama had an alcohol addiction and was as an actor much less successful than Wim. Later he also landed in a wheelchair after a car accident. He died in 1980 at the age of 63 in Amsterdam from a stomach haemorrhage.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard, no. D 1196. Photo: Decca.

    De Wama's
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam (Sparo).


    De Wama's perform Kriminal Tango. Source: Creepingyves (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia (Dutch) and IMDb.

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  • 03/27/15--23:00: Die Nibelungen (1966)
  • The West German fantasy film Die Nibelungen (Harald Reinl, 1966) was released in two parts, Siegfried and Kriemhilds Rache (Kriemhild's Revenge). The film, produced by Artur Brauner, starred Uwe Beyer, Karin Dor and Herbert Lom. The two films were a remake of the silent classic Die Nibelungen (Fritz Lang, 1924), which was in turn based on the Middle High German epic poem Das Nibelungenlied.

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 2. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1966) with Uwe Beyer as Siegfried and Benno Hoffmann as Mime.

    Caption: "Siegfried, der Sohn des Königs der Niederlande, zog aus, um Ruhm zu ernten. In der Schmiede von Mime schmiedet er eigenhändig sein Schwert Nothung. Eifersüchtig auf Siegfrieds Stärke, will des Schmieds Geselle ihn töten, doch Siegfried kommt ihn zuvor und steckt ihn nieder. Die Probe ergibt, dass Siegfrieds Schwert, durch Blut eines Alben erkaltet, härter als Eisen ist und ihn unsiegbar machen wird."
    (Siegfried, son of the King of the Netherlands moved out, in order to reap fame. In the smithy of Mime, he personally forges his sword Excalibur. Jealous of Siegfried's strength, the blacksmith apprentice wants to kill him, but Siegfried comes before him and puts him down. The test shows that Siegfried's sword cooled by a blood of a dwarf is harder than iron and make him invincible).

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 3. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1966) with Uwe Beyer as Siegfried.

    Caption: "Seiner Stärke bewusst, zieht Siegfried aus, um Abenteuer zu bestehen. Vor allem will er sich des Schatzes der Nibelungen bemächtigen, der von dem feuerspeienden Drachen Fafnir gehütet wird. Nach hartem Kampf gelingt es ihm das Untier zu töten. Als er von seinem Blute kostet, versteht er die Stimmen der Vögel, die ihm raten, sich im Blute des Drachen zu baden, auf dass er unverwundbar werde. Während des Bades fällt ein Lindenblatt zwischen seinen Schultern. An dieser Stelle wird er verwundbar bleiben. Der Weg zur Höhle, wo der Schatz verborgen sein soll, ist nun frei, jedoch stehen ihm noch weitere Gefahren bevor."
    (Conscious of his strength, Siegfried takes off to challenge adventure. Above all, he wants to take possession of the treasure of the Nibelungen, which is guarded by the fire-breathing dragon Fafnir. After a fierce battle, he manages to kill the monster. When he tastes of his blood, he understands the voices of the birds that advise him to bathe in the blood of the dragon, so that he may be invulnerable. During the bath a linden leaf falls between his shoulders. At this point, he will remain vulnerable. The path to the cave where the treasure should be hidden, is now free, but he finds himself facing further threats.)

    Invulnerable and invisible


    Siegfried von Xanten defeats the dragon Fafnir, and becomes invulnerable by bathing in the beast's blood. He then wins a net of invisibility and the legendary Treasure of the Nibelungen from the dwarf Alberich.

    Siegfried falls in love with Kriemhild, sister of King Gunther of Burgund. However, Gunther will not allow Siegfried to marry her until he has helped Gunther to win a wife himself.

    They travel to Iceland where Siegfried helps Gunther to defeat and win Queen Brunhild. They return to the Burgundian court at Worms and both weddings take place.

    However, jealousy and envy cause frictions at the court. Intrigues eventually result in Hagen of Tronje killing Siegfried during a hunt.

    In part 2, Kriemhild marries Etzel, king of the huns, in order to gain revenge for the murder of her husband. The Burgundians, led by Gunther and Hagen, follow an invitation after Kriemhild gives birth to Ortileb, and travel to Etzel's hall.

    There they are attacked by the huns. Hagen kills Ortileb in the fight. There is a great slaughter and Gunther is killed. Finally Kriemhild kills Hagen and is then killed herself.

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 5. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1966) with Uwe Beyer as Siegfried and Karin Dor as Brunhild.

    Caption: "Es erfordert viel Mut, den Feuergürtel, der Burg Isenstein ergibt, zu durchbrechen. In der Burg findet Siegfried die schlafende Königin. Als er ihr den Ring an den Finger steckt, erwacht Brunhild wieder zum Leben. Der Bann ist gebrochen. Brunhild zeigt Siegfried ihr schönes Land und bittet ihn zu bleiben. Er aber will hinaus in die Welt, um Reiche zu erobern und Ruhm zu ernten. Zusammen mit Alberich gelangt Siegfried nach Worms, der stolzen Burg der Burgunder-Könige."
    (It requires a lot of courage to break the ring of fire, which surrounds the castle Isenstein. In the castle Siegfried finds the sleeping queen. As he puts the ring on her finger, Brunhild comes back to life. The spell is broken. Brunhild shows Siegfried her beautiful country and asks him to stay. But he wants out to conquer the empires and become famous. Together with Alberich, Siegfried arrives in Worms, the proud castle of the Kings of Burgundy.)

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 6. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1966) with Uwe Beyer as Siegfried and Rolf Henniger as King Gunther.

    Caption: "In Worms wird Siegfried von König Gunther willkommen geheissen. Als er Kriemhild, Gunthers Schwester, erblickt, verliebt er sich in sie. Gleichzeitig bringen Boten die nachricht zu König Gunther, dass die Sachsen ins Burgunderland eingefallen seien. Siegfried erklärt sich sofort bereit, mit Hagen und den anderen Recken König Gunthers dem Feind entgegen zu eilen. Im Zweikampf besiegt Siegfried den König der Sachsen, unterwirft ihn und bringt ihn zu König Gunther. In Worms schwört dann der Sachsenkönig dem König von Burgund aufs Schwert ewige Treue."
    (In Worms, Siegfried is welcomed by King Gunther. When he sees Kriemhild, Gunther's sister, he falls in love with her. At the same time, messengers bring the message to King Gunther, that the Saxons have invaded the Burgundy country. Siegfried immediately declares his willingness, with Hagen and the other knights to rush against King Gunther's enemy. In a duel Siegfried defeats the King of Saxony, subjects him and brings him to King Gunther. In Worms, the Saxon king then swears on his sword eternal fidelity to the king of Burgundy.)

    Very old Germanic myths


    The original source for the story was the Middle High German epic poem Das Nibelungenlied, likely written around the year 1200. This in turn was based on motifs from even older Germanic myths.

    Although a new screenplay was written by Harald G. Petersson, Ladislas Fodor and director Harald Reinl, in many respects it followed the earlier version fairly closely.

    In the late 1950s, German producer Artur Brauner had wanted Fritz Lang to remake his own silent film Die Nibelungen (1924) and had already informed the press that the project would go ahead.

    However, in the fall of 1959, Lang energetically resisted this proposal, pointing out that it could be interpreted as Lang "not having anything new to say and being forced to fall back on successes of the past". Lang ended up making three films for Brauner that were in fact referencing his own past (Der Tiger von Eschnapur/The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959), Das indische Grabmal/The Indian Tomb (1959) and Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse/The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)).

    It took another six years for Brauner to find the right director for his Nibelungen project. Harald Reinl had been the commercially most successful director of the 1950s and 1960s in Germany. But it was the vast box office success of his three Winnetou films -Der Schatz im Silbersee/The Treasure of the Silver Lake (1962), Winnetou - 1. Teil/Winnetou (1963), and Winnetou - 2. Teil/Winnetou: Last of the Renegades (1964) - that convinced Brauner that Reinl was the right man for the job.

    Brauner wanted a disciplined worker who would respect budgets even without constant direct control by the producer, who could deal with large numbers of extras and who had experience shooting in Yugoslavia. Reinl also was fond of impressive landscape shots and, in conjunction with a symphonic music score, these were supposed to add gravitas to the story.

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 12. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1967) with Siegfried Wischnewski as Hagen and Skip Martin as Alberich.

    Caption: "Sturm umtost die Burg von Worms. Alberich, dem König von Xanten ergeben, und Hagen, der treue Ritter König Günthers, ahnen das kommende Unheil. Daraufhin schwört Hagen von Tronje mit erhobenem Schwert, jeden zu töten, der die Ehre seines Königs verlezt."
    (Storm rages around the castle of Worms. Alberich, loyal to the king of Xanten, and Hagen, the faithful knight of king Gunther, suspect the coming disaster. Then Hagen swears with upraised sword to kill anyone who violates the honour of his king.)

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 13. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1967) with Maria Marlow as Kriemhild and Karin Dor as Brunhild.

    Caption: "Beim Kirchgang begegnen sich die Königinnen Kriemhild und Brunhild. Von Eifersucht geplagt, wirft Kriemhild der Königin von Burgund vor, dass nicht ihr Bruder Gunther, sondern Siegfried Brunhild besiegt hätte. Als Beweis zeigt sie Brunhild deren Zaubergürtel. Die Königinnen trennen sich in Zorn und Hass."
    (When going to the church, the queens Kriemhild and Brunhild encounter. From jealousy plagued Kriemhild tells the Queen of Burgundy that not her brother Gunther but Siegfried has defeated Brunhild. As proof, she points Brunhild the magic belt. The queens separate in anger and hatred.)

    The most expensive post-war film in West Germany


    Die Nibelungen was produced by Artur Brauner's CCC Filmkunst in cooperation with Belgrad-based Avala Film. Both parts were shot back-to-back between 20 April and 20 October 1966. Locations included what was then Yugoslavia (today's Serbia: Sremska Rača, Smederevo fortress and Slovenia: Postojna Cave) as well as Iceland, and Spain (Ciudad Encantada and Cuenca).

    Interiors were shot at CCC-Studios in Berlin-Spandau and at the Avala-Studios in Belgrad. To save on costs, the large-scale sets (the court at Worms and Etzel's Hall) were constructed in the Belgrad studios. However, this was the limit of the cooperation with Avala and the total cost of Die Nibelungen reportedly came to 8 million DM, which would have made it the most expensive post-war film in West Germany at the time.

    According to a survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute prior to shooting, 35% of participants wanted to see a film about the hero Siegfried, but he had to be blonde and played by an unknown actor. Uwe Beyer, an olympic hammer thrower (Bronze medalist in 1964) was selected to play Siegfried. He had no prior acting experience and was dubbed by Thomas Danneberg in postproduction.

    Siegfried, the first part of Die Nibelungen premiered on 13 December 1966 at Mathäser-Filmpalast in Munich. Kriemhilds Rache followed on 16 February 1967. Both were released by Constantin Film.

    The films were very successful commercially. Siegfried was awarded the 'Goldene Leinwand' (Golden Screen) in 1967 for more than 3 million tickets sold within 18 months in West Germany. Critics were unimpressed, however.

    In 1976, the film was re-released as a single film of 110 minutes length, also titled Die Nibelungen. It was released again in 1982 under the title Das Schwert der Nibelungen.

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 14. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1967) with Maria Marlow as Kriemhild and Siegfried Wischnewski as Hagen.

    Caption: "Nun hält Hagen von Tronje seine Stunde für gekommen. Er hasst Siegfried weil der Unruhe und Streit an den Hof von Burgund gebracht hat. Hagen redet Kriemhild ein, er wollte Siegfried vor jeder Gefahr beschützen. Sie müsse Ihm dazu genau die Stelle an Siegfrieds Körper bezeichnen wo Ihm beim Batt in Drachenblut ein Lindenblatt verwundbar bleiben liess. Kriemhild vertraut Hagen und bereut dies später bitter."
    (Now Hagen von Tronje considers his hour has come. He hates Siegfried because of the unrest and dispute he has brought to the court of Burgundy. Hagen persuades Kriemhild that he wants to protect Siegfried from any danger. She must designate to him the exact spot on Siegfried's body where a lime leaf remained him vulnerable when he bathed in the dragon's blood. Kriemhild trusts Hagen and later regrets this bitterly.)

    Die Nibelungen (1966)
    German postcard, no. 15. Photo: CCC / Constantin Film. Publicity still for Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1967) with Uwe Beyer as Siegfried and Siegfried Wischnewski as Hagen.

    Caption: "Hagen überredet König Gunther, zu Siegfrieds Abschied einen Jagdausflug zu veranstalten. Unter dem Vorwand, Siegfried eine nahe gelegene Quelle zu zeigen, lockt Hagen mit des Königs wissen diesen von der Jagdgesellschaft weg. Als sich Siegfried, Erfrischung suchend, über die Quelle neigt, trifft ihn Hagens wohlgezielter Speer an der verwundbaren Stelle. Vergebens bäumt sich Siegfried noch einmal auf."
    (Hagen persuades King Gunther to organize a hunting trip as Siegfried's farewell. Under the pretext of showing Siegfried a nearby source, Hagen lures with the king know, him off the hunt. When Siegfried, searching for refreshment, leans over the source Hagen's well-aimed spear hits him on the vulnerable spot. In vain Siegfried rears up again.)


    Trailer Die Nibelungen, Teil 1 - Siegfried / Siegfried (Harald Reinl, 1966). Source: R6dw6C (YouTube).


    Trailer Die Nibelungen, Teil 2 - Kriemhilds Rache / Kriemhild's Revenge (Harald Reinl, 1966). Source: R6dw6C (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Collector Didier Hanson has sent me again scans of very old and rare Russian film postcards from 'Mother Russia'. On 12 October and 19 February we already posted Didier's postcards of such silent stars as Vera Kholodnaya, Vera Karalli, Nathalie Kovanko, Vitold Polonsky and Ivan Khudoleyev. So, I am delighted to present you another post on the artists of the Russian theatre and cinema from the times of the last Czar.

    Vladimir Strizhevsky and Lidiya F. Ryndina
    Vladimir Strizhevsky and Lidiya F. Ryndina. Russian postcard, no. 74. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian director an actor Vladimir Strizhevsky worked in Russia, Germany and France. In 1915, Strizhevsky started to act in silent Russian films like Sashka-Seminarist (Cheslav Sabinsky, 1915), and Teni grekha (Pyotr Chardynin, 1915) with Vera Karalli. With director Yevgeni Bauer he made Grif starogo bortsa/Griffon of an Old Warrior (Yevgeni Bauer, 1916) also with Karalli, Nabat/The Alarm (Yevgeni Bauer, 1917) and Revolyutsioner/Revolutionary (Yevgeni Bauer, 1917). In Zhizn trekh dney/A life of three days (Gromov, 1917) , his co-star was Lidiya F. Ryndina (1884-1957).

    Maxim Gorky, Feodor Chaliapin
    Maxim Gorky and Feodor Chaliapin. Russian postcard, no. 1213. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Maksim Gorky or Maxim Gorki was the pseudonym of Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov (1868-1936). The Russian short-story writer and novelist first attracted attention with his naturalistic and sympathetic stories of tramps and social outcasts and later wrote other stories, novels, and plays, including his famous Na dne/The Lower Depths (1902). Mat/Mother (1906) is probably the least successful of his novels, yet it has considerable interest as Gorky’s only long work devoted to the Russian revolutionary movement. It was made into a notable silent film by Vsevolod Pudovkin (1926).

    Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (Russian: Фёдор Ива́нович Шаля́пин) (1873–1938) was a Russian opera singer. The possessor of a large, deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form. His emigration from Russia in 1922, was painful. Soviet government stripped Chaliapin of all his titles and honours. He settled in Paris, France. There he performed at the Paris Opera, as well as at numerous private concerts for Sergei Diaghilev. His acting and singing was sensational. He made many sound recordings between the 1900 and 1938, of which the 1913 recordings of the Russian folk songs Vdol po Piterskoi and The Song of the Volga Boatmen are best known. The only sound film which shows his acting style is Don Quixote (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1933). Chaliapin collaborated with Maxim Gorky, who wrote and edited his memoirs, which he published in 1933.

    Aleksandr R. Artem
    Aleksandr R. Artem. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian actor A. R. Artem (1842–1914) came late, in his forties, to the theatre, after a career as a visual artist. He became one of the star actors of the Moscow Art Theatre (MXAT) where he was noted as a character actor in the plays by Chekov, Gurky and Turgenev. Anton Chekhov mentioned him as his favourite actor.

    Tatiana Pavlova
    Tatiana Pavlova. Italian postcard, no. 107. Photo: Ercole Massaglia, Torino. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian actress Tatiana (or Tatyana) Pavlova (1893-1975) first worked in the touring company of Pavel Orlenev and later in Moscow theatres. She made her Moscow debut in 1916 in the lead role of Fröken Julie/Miss Julie by August Strindberg. Following the revolution, she abandoned Moscow and worked in Paris, Odessa and Constantinople. In 1919 she went to Italy where she participated in silent films of the Ambrosio studio like La catena/The Chain (Alessandro Rosenfeld, Aleksandr Uralsky, 1920) with Ossip Runitsch. It was followed by other films by Rosenfeld and Uralsky, like L'Orchidea fatale (1920) again with Ossip Runitsch.

    Ossip Runitsch
    Ossip Runitsch. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian actor, producer and stage director Ossip Runitsch (1889-1947) was one of the biggest stars of Russian silent cinema and one of the first iconic figures of Russian cinematograph.

    Vitold Polonsky
    Vitold Polonsky. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vitold Polonsky (1879-1919) was one of the most popular actors in pre-Revolutionary Russian cinema.

    Vera Kholodnaya
    Vera Kholodnaya. Russian postcard, no. 147. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Kholodnaya (1893-1919) was the first star of the Russian silent cinema. Only 26, the ‘Queen of Screen’ died of the Spanish flu during the pandemic of 1919. Although she worked only three years for the cinema, she must have made between fifty and hundred short films. The Soviet authorities ordered to destroy many of the Kholodnaya features in 1924, and only five of her films still exist.

    Vera Karalli
    Vera Karalli. Russian postcard. Photo: publicity still for Krizantemy/Chrysanthemums (Pyotr Chardynin, 1914). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli(1889-1972) was a Russian ballet dancer, choreographer and actress in the early 20th century.

    A.N. Feona
    Aleksei Feona. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian actor A.N. Feona starred in A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, when Mme. Vera F. Komisarzhevskaya Repertory performed the famous play on Broadway in March 1908. During the 1920s, he played in two Soviet films, Poet i tsar/The Poet and the Czar (Vladimir Gardin, Yevgeni Chervyakov, 1927) and Kastus Kalinovskiy (Vladimir Gardin, 1928).

    Vasily Kachalov
    Vasily Kachalov. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian film and stage actor Vasily Kachalov (1875-1948) was one of Konstantin Stanislavsky's best known performers. He led the so-called Kachalov Group within the Moscow Art Theatre. He also appeared in four films.

    Ivan Moskvin and Vasily Kachalov in The Lower Depths (1902)
    Ivan Moskvin and Vasily Kachalov in The Lower Depths (1902). Russian postcard, no. 8572. Photo: publicity still for the Moscow Art Theatre production of The Lower Depths (1902) by Maxim Gorky, with Ivan Moskvin as Luka and Vasily Kachalov as the Baron. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vasily Kachalov as Hamlet
    Vasily Kachalov as Hamlet. Russian postcard. Photo: publicity still for The Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) production of Hamlet in 1911–1912. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Kachalov played Hamlet in the Symbolist production of 1911, created by two of the 20th century's most influential theatre practitioners—Konstantin Stanislavski and Edward Gordon Craig. Craig was an English theatre practitioner who had garnered interest for the symbolist and simplistic designs he brought to plays like Henrik Ibsen’s The Vikings at Helgeland. Konstantin Stanislavski was creating a world of theatre based upon realism, the internal complexities of the mind, and the rise of psychology. Their cooperation eventually gave birth to one of the most unique, polarizing, and impactful productions of all the twentieth century. Despite hostile reviews from the Russian press, the production attracted enthusiastic and unprecedented worldwide attention for the theatre, with reviews in Britain's The Times and in the French press that praised its unqualified success; the production placed the Moscow Art Theatre on the cultural map for Western Europe and it came to be regarded as a seminal event that influenced the subsequent history of production style in the theatre and revolutionised the staging of Shakespeare's plays in the 20th century. It became one of the most famous and passionately discussed productions in the history of the modern stage.

    Didier, thank you.

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