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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 07/27/15--22:00: Clara Wieth
  • Clara Wieth (1883-1975), later known as Clara Pontoppidan, was a Danish actress who appeared in many masterpieces of the Scandinavian silent cinema. Later she became a noted stage actress in Denmark and appeared in a number of Danish sound films.

    Clara Wieth
    German postcard, no. 5556. Photo: Nordisk.

    Clara Wieth
    German postcard by Verleih Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 7494.

    The White Slave Trade


    Clara Wieth was born Clara Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1883. She was the daughter of merchant H. Rasmussen and his wife Caroline Brammer.

    From 1892 on, she attended the Ballet School of Det kongelige Teater (the Royal Theatre) in Copenhagen. Already in 1902, film pioneer Peter Elfelt filmed her there, doing a pas-de-deux. Clara started as a stage actress at Det kongelige Teater in 1901, after which engagements followed at the Dagmar Teatret (from 1905 on), Det Ny Teater (1908-1909)and Alexandra Teatret (1914-1917).

    In 1910 she made her film debut. From 1911 on she played in dramas and sensational films, directed by August Blom and produced by Nordisk Film. Her breakthrough was with Den hvide Slavehandels sidste offer/The Last Victim of the White Slave Trade (August Blom, 1911), in which Clara plays an innocent girl who falls in the hand of white slavers who force girls into prostitution. Nordisk Film stated that this film and other White Slave Trade dramas were made to expose the social dangers of white slavery, but audiences enjoyed the sensationalized melodrama and the exploitation of young women placed in compromising positions.

    A variation was Mormonens Offer/A Victim of the Mormons (August Blom, 1911), which was controversial for demonizing the Mormon religion. The film's box-office success is cited for initiating a decade of anti-Mormon propaganda films in America. It is the story of an attractive young woman (Clara Wieth) who is seduced and kidnapped by a Mormon missionary, then forced to accompany him to Utah to become one of his wives. The film became a hit, partly due to the popularity of its star, Valdemar Psilander, and partly due to the publicity from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' objections and its failed campaign to ban the film.

    Clara became one the most active and popular actresses of the Danish silent cinema. In Ekspeditricen/Expediency (August Blom, 1911) Wieth was a glove seller who fits a rich man (Carlo Wieth) tight glacé gloves in a gesture which shows the eroticism for which the Danish cinema was famous then. In Ved faengslets Port/Temptations of a Big City (August Blom, 1911) she is the daughter of a usurer who falls in love with a debt ridden playboy (Valdemar Psilander).

    As a matter of fact Wieth played several films with her husband Carlo Wieth in the male lead, but also several times opposite Psilander, the most popular Danish actor of the 1910s. Between 1911 and 1913 Clara Wieth was enormously active, playing in over 10 (short) films a year, not only with Blom, such as in Vampyrdanserinden/The Vampire Dancer (August Blom, 1912), but also with other prolific Danish directors like Eduard Schnedler-Sörensen and Holger-Madsen.

    Clara Wieth
    Czech postcard by Pressfoto, no. U 401/2 869. Photo: publicity still for Miraklet/The Miracle (Victor Sjöström, 1913).

    Clara Wieth and Olaf Fönss,in  Die Seuche
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 5002. Postcard for Laegen/Die Seuche/The Plague (Fritz Magnussen, 1918), with Olaf Fönss.

    Leaves From Satan's Book


    From 1913 on, Clara Wieth also played in films in Sweden. She worked with the famous Swedish director Victor Sjöström on such films as Miraklet/The Miracle (1913), Bra flicka reder sig själv/A Good Girl Keeps Herself in Good Order (1914), and Prästen/The Clergyman (1914).

    She also appeared in films by his compatriot Mauritz Stiller, including Pa livets ödevagar/On the Fateful Roads of Life (1913), and Bröderna/Brothers (1914) with Gunnar Tolnaes.

    Among her memorable performances in later years are her roles in the anti-war film Pax aeterna (Holger-Madsen, 1917); Carl Dreyer's Blade af Satans bog/Leaves from Satan's Book (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1919), the tale of Satan's (Helge Nissen) banishment from heaven; and Häxan/Witchcraft through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922), in which she played a nun.

    Häxan is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. The film was made as a documentary but contains dramatized sequences that are comparable to horror films. With Benjamin Christensen's meticulous recreation of medieval scenes and the lengthy production period, the film was the most expensive Scandinavian silent film ever made, costing nearly two million Swedish krona. Although it won acclaim in Denmark and Sweden, the film was banned in the United States and heavily censored in other countries for what were considered at that time graphic depictions of torture, nudity, and sexual perversion.

    In Dreyer's fairy tale story Der var engang/Once upon a time (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1922) she plays the female lead of the princess of Illyria in a variation on William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Clara Wieth's last role in a silent film was in the Icelandic film Hadda Padda (Guðmundur Kamban, Svend Methling, 1924).

    Clara Wieth
    German postcard by Verlag Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 137.

    Clara Wieth
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 5705.

    Prima Donna


    After her divorce of Carlo Wieth, she worked under the name of Clara Pontoppidan. For years she focused on stage acting, but she returned to the cinema when sound film had set in. In 1932, she appeared in the film Kirke og orgel/Church and Organ (George Schneevoigt, 1932). A year earlier she was awarded the Ingenio et Arti, a Danish medal awarded to prominent Danish and foreign scientists and artists.

    In the 1930s, she played some smaller parts in Danish films, directed by Svend Methling. She played leading roles as a prima donna in the stage drama Mens porten var lukket/While the Door Was Locked (Asbjørn Andersen, 1948) and in the romantic comedy Bruden fra Dragstrup/The Bride of Dragstrup (Annelise Reenberg, 1955).

    In 1958 she won the Bodil award for best female protagonist as the tragic mother in En kvinde er overflödig/A woman is superfluous (Gabriel Axel, 1957). Her last film performance was in the erotic comedy Takt og tone i himmelsengen/1001 Danish Delights (Sven Methling, 1972).

    Clara Wieth was married to actor Carlo Wieth from 1906 until their divorce in 1917. In 1920 she married doctor Pol Vilhelm Pontoppidan and they stayed together until his death in 1953. In 1975, she died in Copenhagen, at the age of 91. Between 1949 and 1963 Wieth had published her memoirs in four parts.

    Clara Wieth
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1513. Photo: Nordisk Film.


    Scene from Ved Fængslets Port/Temptations of a Big City (August Blom, 1911). Source Radio Santos (REM - YouTube).


    Trailer for Häxan/Witchcraft through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922). Source: Todo El Terror Del Mundo (YouTube).

    Sources: Danskefilm (Danish), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Fame came to Burt Lancaster (1913-1994) with his first film role, as the doomed Swede in Universal's The Killers (1946), but the former circus acrobat knew better than to leave his career in other hands. After less than two years in Hollywood, Lancaster formed his own production company and took the lead in such popular successes as the Technicolor swashbucklers The Flame and the Arrow (1950) and The Crimson Pirate (1952), and the Western Vera Cruz (1954). The athletic and handsome Lancaster remained a box office draw for 20 years, winning a 1961 Academy Award for playing the corrupt evangelist Elmer Gantry (1960). His best work through the next decades was often in European features like Luchino Visconti's Il gattopardo/The Leopard (1963) and Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Conversation Piece (1974), Novecento/1900 (1976) and Atlantic City (1980), which netted him an Oscar nomination.

    Burt Lancaster
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-156. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Burt Lancaster
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 338. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for I Walk Alone (Byron Haskin, 1948).

    Burt Lancaster
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, presented by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 246. Photo: Hal Wallis / Paramount, 1949.

    Acrobat, Nude Model and Singing Waiter


    Burton Stephen Lancaster was born in East Harlem in New York City in 1914. He was one of the five children of Elizabeth (Roberts) and James Henry Lancaster, a postal clerk at Manhattan's General Post Office. All of his grandparents were immigrants from Northern Ireland.

    Burt was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics. Lancaster was accepted into New York University with an athletic scholarship but subsequently dropped out.

    At the age of 19, Lancaster met Nick Cravat, with whom he continued to work throughout his life. Together they learned to act in local theatre productions and circus arts at Union Settlement, one of the city's oldest settlement houses. They formed the acrobat duo 'Lang and Cravat' and joined the Kay Brothers circus. In 1939, an injury forced Lancaster to give up the profession, with great regret.

    He supported himself working as a nude artists model by day and a singing waiter by night. In 1942, he joined the US army during WW II and performed with the Twenty-First Special Services Division, organized to follow the troops on the ground and provide USO entertainment to keep up morale. He served with General Mark Clark's Fifth Army in Italy from 1943–1945.

    After the war, he made his Broadway debut as Burton Lancaster in Harry Brown's wartime drama A Sound of Hunting, the source for the film Eight Iron Men (Edward Dmytryk, 1952). Though the production closed after 12 performances, Lancaster caught the eye of Hollywood agent Harold Hecht. Hecht provided Lancaster with an introduction to producer Hal Wallis.

    Lancaster's debut was the Film Noir The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946) opposite Ava Gardner. Siodmak and cinematographer Elwood Bredell employed stark chiaroscuro lighting to offset Lancaster's angular face and chiselled physique. It made him an instant Hollywood star at the age of 32.

    Burt Lancaster
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. W 304. Photo: International Pictures Corporation.

    Burt Lancaster
    British postcard in The People series by Show Parade Picture Service, London, no. P. 1038. Photo: Universal International.

    Burt Lancaster
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 399. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950).

    His own production company


    After his sensational debut, the tall, muscular Lancaster appeared in two more films the following year. He traded on his tough guy image in Jules Dassin's Brute Force (1947) and I Walk Alone (Byron Haskin, 1948). He reunited with Robert Siodmak for another excellent Film Noir, Criss Cross (1949). He varied the image slightly, playing Barbara Stanwyck's cheating husband in Sorry, Wrong Number (Anatole Litvak, 1948) and Edward G. Robinson's conscience-bound son in All My Sons (Irving Reis, 1948), a personal project for which he took a $50,000 salary cut. Lancaster was a self-taught actor who learned the business as he went along.

    Burt Lancaster impressed film audiences with his acrobatic prowess the Technicolor Swashbucklers The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950) and The Crimson Pirate (Robert Siodmak, 1952). The films became his first major box-office successes. His friend from his circus years, Nick Cravat, played a key supporting role in both films. Lancaster played one of his best remembered roles with Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953). Iconic is the scene in which he and Kerr make love on a Hawaiian beach amid the crashing waves. He was nominated for an Academy Award for this role. Lancaster won the 1960 Academy Award for Best Actor, a Golden Globe Award, and the New York Film Critics Award for his performance for playing the corrupt evangelist in Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks, 1960).

    In 1948, Burt Lancaster had set up his own production company with Harold Hecht and James Hill, to direct his career. Their production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, produced such films as the Oscar winner Marty (Paddy Chayefsky, 1955), Trapeze (Carol Reed, 1956), Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957), and Separate Tables (Delbert Mann, 1958). Lancaster realized a long-held dream and directed his own film, The Kentuckian (1955). Reviews were negative, however, and he did not return to the director's chair for another two decades. In 1965, United Artists made a settlement with Lancaster to end its association with Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, which had financially floundered in the late 1950s due to a few flops and exorbitant spending, and wound up operations in 1959.

    His films often reflected his liberal political beliefs. In 1947 he signed a letter deploring the anti-communist witch hunts in Hollywood, and he was nearly blacklisted due to his political beliefs. The FBI kept a file detailing his activities. In 1963, he was one of the Hollywood stars, who participated in Martin Luther King's March on Washington. Later, Lancaster appeared prominently on President Richard Nixon's 'List of Enemies' due to his support for Senator George McGovern in the 1972 presidential election. In 1985, Lancaster joined the fight against AIDS after his close friend, Rock Hudson, contracted the disease. He campaigned for Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.

    Burt Lancaster
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. D 79. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for The Crimson Pirate (Robert Siodmak, 1952).

    Burt Lancaster
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel Filmpostkarten-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. W 1552. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for South Sea Woman (Arthur Lubin, 1953).

    Burt Lancaster
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. T 828. Photo: Warner Bros.

    Heart Attack


    During the latter part of his career, Burt Lancaster left adventure and acrobatic films behind and portrayed more distinguished characters. This period brought him work on several European productions. Italian director Luchino Visconti wanted to cast Laurence Olivier in the title role of the Italian prince in Il gattopardo/The Leopard (1963) opposite Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, but his producer overruled him. The producer insisted on a box office star to justify the lavish production's high budget and essentially forced Visconti to accept Lancaster. Lancaster delivered one of the strongest performances of his career, and the film was a huge success in Europe. Visconti directed him again in Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Conversation piece (Luchino Visconti, 1974) with Silvana Mangano and Helmut Berger. In this film, Lancaster played a reclusive professor who is brought face to face with his latent homosexuality.

    Lancaster sought demanding roles, and if he liked a part or a director, he was prepared to work for much lower pay than he might have earned elsewhere. He even helped to finance movies whose artistic value he believed in. He also mentored directors such as Sydney Pollack and John Frankenheimer and appeared in several television films. He also appeared in European features like Novecento/1900 (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1976) as Robert De Niro's autocratic grandfather, and as an aging gangster in Atlantic City (Louis Malle, 1980), which earned him an Oscar nomination.

    He tried to raise financing for four years for Hector Babenco's film of Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), based on the novel by Manuel Puig, after Babenco gave him the novel in 1981 at the NY Film Critics Society Ceremony. Lancaster was to have played the role of Molina, the gay hairdresser who shares a cell with Valentin, a political prisoner. However, Lancaster had heart attacks in 1981 and 1983, and subsequently a quadruple-bypass operation, and at the age of 70, he was essentially uninsurable. The film was later made with William Hurt, who won a Best Actor Oscar as Molina.

    In the 1980s Burt Lancaster appeared as a supporting player in a number of films, such as an American general in the Italian war drama La pelle/The Skin (Liliana Cavani, 1981), an astronomy-obsessed Texas oilman in Bill Forsythe's wry comedy Local Hero (1983). Lancaster's last feature film was Field of Dreams (Phil Alden Robinson, 1989) with Kevin Costner.

    His acting career ended after he suffered a stroke in 1990 which left him partly paralyzed and largely unable to speak. At 80, Burt Lancaster died in his Century City apartment in Los Angeles in 1994, the very same year as his long-time friend and circus partner Nick Cravat.

    Lancaster was married three times. He was married to acrobat June Ernst from 1935 to 1946, and to Norma Anderson from 1946 to 1969. His third marriage, to Susan Martin, was from September 1990 until his death in 1994. He and his second wife Norma had five children: James Stephen 'Jimmy' (1946), William 'Billy'(1947), Susan Elizabeth (1949), Joanna Mari (1951) and Sighle (1954).

    Burt Lancaster
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 858. Photo: Columbia-Film. Publicity still for From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953).

    Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster
    Yugoslavian postcard by IOM, Beograd. Photo: Sedmo Silo. Publicity still for From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953) with Deborah Kerr.

    Burt Lancaster
    Dutch postcard by Takken, no, AX 1128. Photo: Paramount.

    Burt Lancaster
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, no. 957. Photo: Columbia C.E.I.A.D.

    Sources: Richard Harland Smith (TCM), Jason Ankeny (AlMovie), Tony Fontana (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/29/15--22:00: Ingrid Steeger
  • Sexy Ingrid Steeger (1947) is a German actress and comedian. She started her career in the soft sex films that were all the rage in Europe during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1973, she became famous as a Marilyn Monroe-like funny and delicious blonde in the TV comedy show Klimbim.

    Ingrid Steeger
    German autograph card by Bravo.

    The girl with the most cover shots


    Ingrid Steeger was born as Ingrid Anita Stengert in 1947 in Berlin. She was the third child of Kurt and Käthe Stengert. After school she worked as a secretary when she was discovered by photographer Frank Quade. Soon pinup photos of her appeared in numerous men's magazines, especially SEXY, where even today she is the girl with the most cover shots.

    She was elected Miss Filmfestival (Berlin 1968) and soon was into films herself. She appeared in the Edgar Wallace crime films Der Gorilla von Soho/Gorilla Gang (Alfred Vohrer, 1968) and Die Tote aus der Themse/Angels of Terror (Harald Philipp, 1971). The popularity of the Wallace series was waning and Steeger found more employ in a new, highly popular genre, sexploitation.

    Her first erotic comedy was Rat' mal, wer heut bei uns schläft...?/Guess Who's Sleeping with Us Tonight? (Alexis Neve, 1969) with Andrea Rau. Not wanting to use her real name, because her father objected, and not yet having decided on a stage name, her first film billed her as Ingrid Stengel.

    Next followed Ich - Ein Groupie/Me, a Groupie (Erwin C. Dietrich, 1970) in which she played the lead as a groupie travelling across Europe with rock bands and hippies. Christopher Underwood at IMDb: “Splendidly lurid sexploitation featuring a lovely Ingrid Steeger who wears sexy clothes now and again but not too often. A surprisingly large amount of time is spent over the preparation and administration of various drugs and the music and musicians authentic enough.”

    A huge box office hit in the European cinemas was the sex report film Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten/Schoolgirl Report Part 1: What Parents Don't Think Is Possible (Ernst Hofbauer, 1970). The film is a pseudo-documentary loosely based on the non-fictional book Schulmädchen-Report by sexologist Günther Hunold, published the same year. The book presented interviews with twelve teenage girls on their sexual lives. Schulmädchen-Report topped the German cinema charts for weeks in 1970 and became the first in a series that would last thirteen titles until 1980.

    Steeger appeared in part 4 and 5, Schulmädchen-Report 4 – Was Eltern oft verzweifeln läßt/Schoolgirl Report Part 4: What Drives Parents to Despair (Ernst Hofbauer, 1972) and Schulmädchen-Report 5 – Was Eltern wirklich wissen sollten/Schoolgirl Report Part 5: What All Parents Should Know (Walter Boos, Ernst Hofbauer, 1973), but also in several variations like Ehemänner-Report/Freedom for Love (Harald Philipp, 1971), Hochzeitsnacht-Report/Wedding Night Report (Hubert Frank, 1972), Krankenschwestern-Report/Nurses Report (Walter Boos, 1972) and Hausfrauenreport international/Housewives on the Job (Ernst Hofbauer, 1973).

    Ingrid Steeger
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/400.

    Ingrid Steeger
    German postcard by Krüger.

    Ingrid Steeger
    French postcard by Editions Chapeau, Nantes / S.P.A.D.E.M., Paris, 1974, printed in Italy by Cecami. Captions: "Le travail c'est la santé!... Hum! Rien faire, c'est la conserver!... D'ac!" and at the flipside "En vacances".

    Ingrid Steeger
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/399. Sent by mail from France to Germany in 1971.

    Ingrid Steeger
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/400.

    Klimbim


    In between all these soft sex films, Ingrid Steeger also played parts in TV-films and series like in an episode of the popular Krimi series Der Kommissar/The Police Inspector (1973) with Erik Ode and Fritz Wepper.

    She had her breakthrough when she starred as Gabi Klimbim in the TV comedy show Klimbim (1973-1979), a German version of the American show Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. She proved to be an excellent comedienne. Steeger was a huge success as the Marilyn Monroe-like funny and sexy blonde, who often went topless. The series, created by Michael Pfleghar, was a huge hit, and the sex was one of the reasons. It was rather unusual and daring for a prime time terrestrial TV programme.

    Stefan Kahrs at IMDb: “Another invention was to use a sitcom element in the show, the Klimbim family. This sitcom within the show could perhaps be described as a cross between the Bundy family in Married... with Children and the students in The Young Ones (1982). In other words, you watched in a mixture of amusement and horror, certainly relieved that nobody like that would live anywhere near you. Although the characters in that sitcom were all outrageous caricatures, it still gave the show's regulars plenty of opportunity to show off their comedic skills.”

    Steeger won several TV awards, including the Goldene Kamera by TV magazine Hörzu in 1977, the Bravo Otto in gold in 1978 (voted by the readers of Germany's biggest teen magazine Bravo) and the Bambi award in 1990. With Iris Berben, she also co-starred in the TV miniseries Zwei himmlische Töchter/Two heavenly daughters (Michael Pfleghar, 1978) as two nightclub dancers who inherit a 1930s airplane. Then she flopped badly with a third series directed by Pfleghar, Susi (Michael Pfleghar, 1980-1981).

    She went to France to live with her French actor-friend Jean-Paul Zehnacker, who had co-starred with her in Susi. But they soon separated. Ingrid returned to Germany to become a mature, serious actress, in the vein of her idols Shirley MacLaine or Goldie Hawn, but the public wouldn't let her. Guest appearances in many German TV series followed.

    She also played in a few films, such as André schafft sie alle/Andre Handles Them All (Peter Fratzscher, 1985) with Franco Nero, and Paul is dead (Hendrik Handloegten, 2000) about the urban legend that Paul McCartney died early and the public had not been informed at all. Her most recent film is Goldene Zeiten/Golden Times (Peter Tworwarth, 2006) starring Dirk Benedict.

    In recent years she has concentrated on theatre and played mostly in boulevard comedies. She also wrote her memoirs, Und find es wunderbar: Mein Leben (And find it wonderful – my life). Steeger was married twice, first to cameraman Lothar E. Stickelbrucks (1973–1975) and later to Red Indian Dakota Tom LaBlanc (1992–1995). Today Ingrid Steeger lives in Munich with her dachshund Eliza Doolittle.

    Ingrid Steeger
    German promotion card by Bastei Lübbe for Ingrid Steeger's autobiography Und find es wunderbar: Mein Leben. Photo: Olivier Favre.

    Sources: Ulrich Lobjinski (IMDb), Stefan Kahrs (IMDb), Christopher Underwood (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/30/15--22:00: Werner Fuetterer
  • At 18, German actor Werner Fuetterer (1907-1991) was discovered to play the young lover in a series of silent films. For more than four decades he went on to work as a supporting actor in nearly 100 films.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1507/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Hans Natge.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1718/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Hans Natge.

    Werner Fuetterer
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5382. Photo: M. v. Bucovich / Atelier K. Schenker, Berlin.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1925/1, 1927-1928. Photo: M. v. Bucovich / Atelier K. Schenker, Berlin.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3655/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Europäische Film-Production.

    Archangel Michael


    Werner Fueterer grew up in Guatamala, where his father managed a hacienda. In 1919 the family returned to Germany and went to live in Lübeck. In 1924 Werner started to study acting at the Berliner Schauspielschulr.

    He left the school prematurely in 1925 when he got a surprising offer for a role in the Swedish film Flygande holländaren/The Flying Dutchman (Karin Swanström, 1925). Soon he became quite popular as a young lover in the German silent cinema of the 1920s.

    He appeared in successful films like Kreuzer Emden/Cruiser Emden (Louis Ralph, 1926) and Die Brüder Schellenberg/The Brothers Schellenberg (Karl Grune, 1926), with Conrad Veidt and Lil Dagover.

    His best knownrole in this period was that of archangel Michael in the Goethe adaptation Faust – eine deutsche Volkssage/Faust: A German Folk Legend (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, 1926). The film became a worldwide success, but Fuetterer was merely offered supporting roles afterwards.

    He appeared in films like Die keusche Susanne/The Innocent Susanne (Richard Eichberg, 1926), Du sollst nicht stehlen/Thou Art Not Steal (Victor Janson, 1928), and Das Mädel mit der Peitsche/The Girl With The Whip (Carl Lamac, 1929) with Anny Ondra.

    Werner Fuetterer, Dorothea Wieck
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 61/2, 1926. Photo: Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG (Emelka). Publicity still for Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren/I Lost My Heart in Heidelberg (Arthur Bergen, 1926) with Dorothea Wieck.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4050/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin / Europäische Film-Production. Publicity still for Morgenröte/Dawnings (Wolfgang Neff, Burton George, 1929).

    Werner Fuetterer
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5193.

    Werner Fuetterer, Dina Gralla
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5363. Photo: Hugo Engel-Film. Publicity still for Das Girl von der Revue/The Girl of the Revue (Richard Eichberg, 1928) with Dina Gralla.

    Lilian Ellis and Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5025/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Hegewald-Film. Publicity still for Wiener Herzen/Viennese Hearts (Fred Sauer, 1930) with Lilian Ellis, a late silent film and a German-Austrian-Czech coproduction.

    Betty Amann, Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5325/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Silva-Film. Publicity still for O alte Burschenherrlichkeit/Oh Those Glorious Old Student Days (Rolf Randolf, 1930) with Betty Amann.

    Best Friend


    Smoothly Werner Fuetterer continued his career into the sound era with roles opposite Anny Ondrain Die Grausame Freundin/The Cruel Girl Friend (Carl Lamac, 1932) and Die Tochter des Regiments/The Regiment's Daughter (1933).

    Other examples of his popular early sound films were Nacht der Versuchung/Night of Temptation (Léo Lasko, Robert Wohlmuth, 1932) with Elga Brink, and Einmal eine große Dame sein/To Be a Grand Lady Once (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1934) starring Käthe von Nagy.

    In the 1930s and 1940s he was often cast as the best friend of the leading man like in the Heinz Rühmann comedies Der Mustergatte/Model Husband (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1937) and Ich vertraue Dir meine Frau an/I Trust To You My Wife (Kurt Hoffmann, 1940). He became established as a popular film actor and also worked in the theatre.

    From 1937 till 1939 he toured through the USA. After World War II he continued his career without a problem. His films included the comedies Es geschehen noch Wunder/Miracles Still Happen (Willi Forst, 1951) and Das kann jedem passieren/This Can Happen To Everybody (Paul Verhoeven, 1952) starring Heinz Rühmann, the circus drama Salto Mortale (Viktor Tourjansky, 1953), Des Teufels General/The Devil's General (Helmut Käutner, 1955), and Liebling der Götter/Sweetheart of the Gods (Gottfried Reinhardt, 1960), a bio pic of film star Renate Müller.

    For many years Werner Fuetterer was chairman of the Film Actor’s Union in Germany. From 1957 on he lived in Spain, where he managed a camping and a bungalow parc. His last supporting part was in the adventure film Mister Dynamit - morgen küßt Euch der Tod/Die Slowly, You'll Enjoy It More (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1967) starring Lex Barker. In 1991 Werner Fuetterer died in Benidorm.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3655/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Europäische Film Production.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3655/1, 1928-1929. Photo Europäische Film Production.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4068/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4851/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Tauber Tonfilm G.m.b.H / Emelka. Publicity still for Ich glaub nie mehr an eine Frau/Never Trust a Woman (Max Reichmann, 1930).

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Ross Verlag. Photo: Atelier Balasz, Berlin. (The edges of this card were cut off. We've photoshopped them for this scan).

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, Berlin, no. A 3701/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Terra.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. 3930/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Star-Foto-Atelier / Tobis.

    Werner Fuetterer
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 838. Photo: T. von Mindszenty / Deutsche London Film. Still for Keine Angst vor grossen Tieren/Don't Fear Big Animals (Ulrich Erfurth, 1953).

    Sources: Wikipedia, Thomas Staedeli, and IMDb.

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    The French silent film serial Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) is based on one of the most famous French novels in the 19th century. This serial novel by Eugène Sue was published in a French newspaper in 90 parts from 1842 to 1843. Novel and film delve in the seediest parts of Paris and have a sinister-looking gallery of unforgettable characters, including Monsieur Pipelet, La Chouette (the Owl), Le Maître d'école (the Schoolmaster) and Le Chourineur.

    Huguette Duflos
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Huguette Duflos as Fleur-de-Marie in Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922).

    Yvonne Sergyl in Les Mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Yvonne Sergyl as Louise Morel.

    Great compassion for the lower classes


    The hero of the novel and the film is the mysterious and distinguished Rodolphe, disguised as a Parisian worker but in fact the Grand Duke of Gerolstein, a fictional kingdom of Germany. Rodolphe can speak in argot, is extremely strong and a good fighter.

    Yet Rodolphe also shows great compassion for the lower classes, good judgement, and a brilliant mind. He can navigate all layers of society in order to understand their problems, and to understand how the different social classes are linked. Rodolphe is accompanied by his friends Sir Walter Murph, an Englishman, and David, a gifted black doctor, formerly a slave.

    The first figures they meet are Le Chourineur and La Goualeuse. Rodolphe saves La Goualeuse from Le Chourineur's brutality, and saves Le Chourineur from himself, knowing that the man still has some good in him. La Goualeuse is a prostitute, and Le Chourineur is a former butcher who has served 15 years in prison for murder.

    Both characters are grateful for Rodolphe's assistance, as are many other characters in the novel. At the end, Rodolphe goes back to Gerolstein to take on the role to which he was destined by birth.

    Vermoyal in Les Mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Paul Vermoyal as Le Notaire Ferrand (the Notary Ferrand).

    Jeanne Bérangère in Les mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Jeanne Bérangère as La Chouette (the Owl).

    City Mysteries genre


    The original novel was very long, in some editions over 1000 pages. But Les Mystères de Paris was an instant success, and singlehandedly increased the circulation of the newspaper Journal des débats.

    Eugène Sue was the first author to bring together so many characters from different levels of society within one novel, and thus his book was popular with readers from all classes. He showed how vice was not the only cause of suffering, but also caused by inhumane social conditions.

    Les Mystères de Paris is melodramatic depicting a world where good and evil are clearly distinct. The novel was partly inspired by the Memoirs (1828) of the French criminal and criminalist Eugène François Vidocq, and by the works of James Fenimore Cooper: Sue took the plot structure of the Natty Bumppo novels and moved them to the city where buildings replaced trees and underworld gangs replaced Indians.

    Les Mystères de Paris paved the way for Victor Hugo's Les misérables and founded the ‘City mysteries’ genre, that explored the ‘mysteries and miseries’ of cities, like Les Mystères de Marseille by Émile Zola, Les Mystères de Londres by Paul Féval, and Les Nouveaux Mystères de Paris (featuring Nestor Burma) by Léo Malet. In America, Ned Buntline wrote The Mysteries and Miseries of New York in 1848.

     In 1988, Michael Chabon paid tribute to the genre with The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

    Gilbert Dalleu in Les Mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Gilbert Dalleu as Le Maître d'école (the School Teacher).

    Andrée Lionel in Les Mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Andrée Lionel as Sarah MacGrégor.

    Doing Sue's extravaganza justice


    Les Mystères de Paris has been adapted several times for the stage and for the cinema. The first film adaptation, Les mystères de Paris (1909) was a short silent film by Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset for Éclair. Camille Bardou, who would return in the 1922 version, was in the cast.

    The next adaptation, Les mystères de Paris/Mysteries of Paris (1912), was made by Albert Cappellani for Pathé Frères. His brother Paul Capellani starred as Rodolphe.

    In Italy, Gustavo Serena directed and starred in a four-part serial, Parigi misteriosa (1917) for Caesar Film. The same year, another Italian film company, Megale Film, produced a competitive version, Il ventre di Parigi (Ubaldo Maria Del Colle, 1917).

    In 1920 followed a little known American version, The Mysteries of Paris (1920), directed by Ed Cornell for the Hub Cinemagraph Company of Boston. Two years later came another American version, Secrets of Paris (Kenneth S. Webb, 1922), with Lew Cody as King Rudolph and Montagu Love as the Schoolmaster.

    That same year the film serial Les mystères de Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) was produced in France. The 12 episodes were written by André-Paul Antoine and director Charles Burguet. This serial had a stellar cast. Georges Lannes starred as Rodolphe. He was surrounded by such well known stars as Huguette Duflos as Fleur-de-Marie, Suzanne Bianchetti as Marquise d'Harville, Gaston Modot, Charles Lamy and the young Pierre Fresnay.

    Then, Henry Rollan played Rodolphe in the first sound version, Les mystères de Paris (Félix Gandéra, 1935). In Jacques de Baroncelli's version of 1943 Marcel Herrand played Rodolphe. In 1957 followed an Italian-French coproduction, I misteri di Parigi (Fernando Cerchio, 1957) with Frank Villard as Rodolpho. There were also TV versions, such as Les mystères de Paris (Marcel Cravenne, 1961) with Jacques Dacqmine.

    The best known sound film version is the French-Italian Swashbuckler Les Mystères de Paris (André Hunebelle, 1962), starring Jean Marais. Hunebelle's treatment keeps from Eugène Sue nothing but the proper nouns. Db du monteil writes at IMDb that the film has “a muddled screenplay, even more far-fetched than Sue's mammoth work.”

    The most recent adaptation was the six-episode miniseries Les mystères de Paris (André Michel, 1980), a French-German coproduction with Sigmar Solbach as Rodolph. Db du Monteil: “Although its running time is six hours and it's got a fine score, this made-for-TV work does not really succeed in recreating Sue's world. It's too clean, much too clean, the seediest parts of Paris are anything but Dantesque. A good thing was to use a German actor to play Rodolphe but it's not enough. I'm still waiting for the director who will do Sue's extravaganza justice.”

    Charles Lamy in Les mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Charles Lamy as M. Pipelet.

    Camille Bardou in Les mystères de Paris (1922)
    French postcard by Edition des Studios-Rahma, Paris. Photo: Rhama. Publicity still for Les Mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Camille Bardou as Le Courineur.

    Sources: db du Monteil (IMDb), AllMovie, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/01/15--22:00: Blandine Ebinger
  • Blandine Ebinger (1899-1993) was a German cabaret singer and actress. Author Erich Kästner described her as “This lisping, scrawny person with the big, severe eyes is a master of the tragic-grotesque.” Her cinema career continued for seventy (70!) years. Her more than 90 film roles were once bigger, once smaller, but all her characters distinguished through her impressive acting.

    Blandine Ebinger
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1826. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Blandine Ebinger
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6578/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Nini and Carry Hess, Frankfurt a/M.

    Star of the Berlin Cabaret Scene


    Blandine Ebinger was born as Blandine Loeser into an acting family in 1899. Her mother was the actress Margarete Wezel and her father was the pianist Gustaf Loeser.

    She started her stage career at the age of eight at the Leipziger Schauspielhaus and was regularly engaged as a child actress. In 1913 followed works at the Trianon-Theater, in 1916 at the Residenz-Theater.

    At the age of 17 she made her film debut in Der zehnte Pavillon der Zitadelle/The Tenth Pavillion of the Citadel (Danny Kaden, 1917). She also had a role in the debut film of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Der Knabe in Blau/Emerald of Death (F.W. Murnau, 1919), now considered as lost.

    As a teenager she already sang in Berlin cabarets like Café Größenwahn and Cabaret Schall und Rauch. There she met her first husband, Friedrich Hollaender, who composed the song cycle Lieder eines armen Mädchens (Songs of a Poor Girl) for her. In the 1920s she became with her performances in clubs like Kabarett der Komiker one of the biggest stars of the cabaret scene of Berlin. With her songs and ballads she was the voice for the social misery of the Weimar period.

    She also acted in several films like the Harry Liedtke serial Der Mann ohne Namen/The Man Without a Name (Georg Jacoby, 1921), Die Ratten/The rats (Hanns Kobe, 1921), Sie und die Drei/She and the Three (Ewald André Dupont, 1922), Mysterien eines Frisiersalons/The Mysteries of a Hairdresser's Shop (Bertolt Brecht, Erich Engel, 1923), Kopf hoch, Charly!/Heads Up, Charley (Willi Wolff, 1926), Violantha (Carl Froelich, 1928) starring Henny Porten, Unheimliche Geschichten/The Living Dead (Richard Oswald, 1932) and the Hans Fallada adaptation Kleiner Mann - was nun?/Little Man What Now (Fritz Wendhausen, 1933) starring Hermann Thimig.

    404 Blandine Ebinger_Ramses (Filmbilder 3; 404)
    Collectors Card by Ramses Filmbilder. Photo: Majestic Film / Ross. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona.

    276 Blandine Ebinger_Constantin (Gold Film Bilder 2; 276)
    Collectors Card by Gold Film Bilder. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona.

    Hard Times in Nazi-Germany and in Hollywood


    In 1933 Blandine Ebinger took over the Tingel-Tangel-Theater. Blandine and Friedrich Hollaender ended their marriage before he emigrated to the United States because of the increasingly hostile environment for Jewish citizens in the early 1930s. Blandine nevertheless faced discrimination as a result of the marriage, much of which was directed at their half-Jewish daughter, Philine.

    In the first years after the Nazis came into power she performed only smaller film roles in productions like Die Liebe siegt/Love Conquers (Georg Zoch, 1934) and Der Berg ruft/The Mountain Calls (Luis Trenker, 1937). Blandine performed in anti-Nazi cabarets in Munich and Zurich and moved in 1937 to the USA. She had a hard time in Hollywood and was given only minor parts such as an uncredited part in Prison Ship (Arthur Dreifuss, 1945) with Nina Foch.

    In 1946 she returned to Europe and after performing in Zürich she went back to Berlin in 1948. The first years she lived in the DDR and made four DEFA-films, including Affaire Blum/The Affair Blum (Erich Engel, 1948), Epilog: Das Geheimnis der Orplid/Epilogue (Helmut Käutner, 1950) and the satire Der Untertan/The Underdog (Wolfgang Staudte, 1951).

    In the 1950s she acted in West German film productions like Verrat an Deutschland/betrayal of Germany (Veit Harlan, 1955) starring Kristina Söderbaum, the comedy Vatertag/Father's Day (Hans Richter, 1955), the Hollywood production Fräulein (Henry Koster, 1958) with Mel Ferrer, the Romy Schneider remake of Mädchen in Uniform/Girls in Uniform (Géza von Radványi, 1958) and Und das am Montagmorgen/And That on Monday Morning (Luigi Comencini, 1959) with O.W. Fischer.

    In 1961 she was awarded the Filmband in Gold for the best female supporting role in Der letzte Zeuge/The Last Witness (Wolfgang Staudte, 1960). But for all she was a stage performer. Between 1974 and 1982 she once more sang her chansons in Paris, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and other cities. With those chanson evenings she kept the spirit of the Berlin cabarets of the 1920s awake.

    In 1983 she was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Germany's Cross of Merit) and the Filmband in Gold for her work in the German cinema. In her eighties she still played small parts in films and on TV, as in Wir – zwei/We Two (Ulrich Schamoni, 1970) and Der Teufel kam aus Akasawa/The Devil Came from Akasava (Jesus Franco, 1971) with Fred Williams. Her last TV performance was in 1988.

    Blandine Ebinger died in 1993 in Berlin. She was 94 years old. Her second husband was the publisher Dr. Helwig Hassenpflug.

    Blandine Ebinger
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK. 4571. Photo: CCC / NF-Film / Arthur Grimm. Publicity still for ... Und das am Montagmorgen/And That on Monday Morning (Luigi Comencini, 1959).

    ebinger, blandine (lady abigail kingsley)
    Photo from Der Teufel kam aus Akasawa/The Devil Came from Akasava (Jesus Franco, 1971). Collection: The Wild Eye (Flickr).

    Sources: Helwig Hassenpflug (Blandine-Ebinger.de) (German),
    Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Defa-sternstunden (German), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/02/15--22:00: Franco Nero
  • Blue-eyed Italian actor Franco Nero (1941) was discovered by legendary director John Huston. His best known role is the coffin-dragging gunfighter in one of the best Spaghetti Westerns, Django (1966). Nero appeared in masterpieces of European directors like Luis Bunuel, Sergei Bondarchuk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but he was also great as the villain opposite Bruce Willis in the Hollywood blockbuster Die Hard 2 (1990).

    Franco Nero
    Small Romanian card by Cooperativa Fotografia.

    Franco Nero
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: Publicity still of Franco Nero in Texas, Adios/Goodbye, Texas (Ferdinando Baldi, 1967). In Germany the film was presented as Django 2 or Django, der Rächer, though it was not a sequel to the box office hit Django (1966).

    Franco Nero
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 211/70, 1970. Retail price: 0,20 M. Photo: publicity still for L'uomo, l'orgoglio, la vendetta/Man, Pride & Vengeance (Luigi Bazzoni, 1968).

    Franco Nero
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 108/71, 1971.

    Franco Nero
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 28/77.

    An Angel of Death


    Franco Nero was born Francesco Sparanero in San Lazzaro in the Province of Parma, Italy, in 1941. He grew up in Bedonia, a northern Italian provincial town as the son of a strict police sergeant.

    Nero studied briefly at the Economy and Trade faculty of Milan University, before leaving to study at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. During that time, he was also appearing in fotoromanzi, the popular Italian photo-novels.

    His film debut was an appearance in Pelle viva/Living Skin (Giuseppe Fina, 1962). He then played bit parts in such comedies as La ragazza in prestito/Engagement Italiano (Alfredo Giannetti, 1964) with Rossano Brazzi, and La Celestina P... R.../Celestial Maid at Your Service (Carlo Lizzani, 1965) with Assia Noris.

    A year later, Nero’s handsome face was noticed by John Huston who chose him for the role of Abel in the extravagant production La bibbia/The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966).

    But his breakthrough was the role of the lonely gunfighter, dragging a coffin behind him through a muddy and featureless landscape, in Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966). The coffin, his dark coat, and the mystique around Django make him appear like an angel of death.

    Buzz McClain
    at AllMovie: "When the Italian movie studios saw Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1965) making dollars by the fistful they began rolling out Spaghetti Westerns by the conestoga load. One of the earliest efforts is still one of the genre's best, Sergio Corbucci's Django, a spare, hard-bitten, mean-spirited shot of pure adrenaline that counts Quentin Tarantino as one of its cult members (he stole the ear-cutting torture scene for Reservoir Dogs)."

    That year Nero starred in a total of eight films, including the Spaghetti Westerns Texas, addio/Adios, Texas (Ferdinando Baldi, 1966) and Tempo di massacro/The Brute and the Beast (Lucio Fulci, 1966).

    Nero made his Hollywood debut as Sir Lancelot in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loew’s musical Camelot (Joshua Logan, 1967). During the filming he met actress Vanessa Redgrave, who became his long-time partner. But the film was a disaster. Alexandre Paquin at FilmCritic.com: "Franco Nero's casting was a mistake, as his poor English leads him to talk slowly, and he does not seem to know how to sound realistic in English. In spite of his good looks, he looks completely out of place in this production, and even physically, his performance looks exaggerated."

    A lack of proficiency in English tended to limit his Hollywood roles, although he would appear in more English language films including The Virgin and the Gypsy (Christopher Miles, 1970) and Force 10 from Navarone (Guy Hamilton, 1978) starring Harrison Ford.

    Franco Nero
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Franco Nero and Jennifer O'Neil in Gente di rispetto (1975)
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Gente di rispetto/The Flower in His Mouth (Luigi Zampa, 1975) with Jennifer O'Neill.

    Franco Nero
    Russian postcard, no. 109/76, 1976. Price: 5 Kop. Photo: N. Slezingera.

    Franco Nero
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Agin. Publicity photo for La Salamandra/The Salamander (1982).

    Franco Nero
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Django Lives!


    Handsome Franco Nero appeared opposite the equally beautiful Claudia Cardinale in the mafia film Il giorno della civetta/The Day and the Owl (Damiano Damiani, 1968). In the late 1960s and during the 1970s, Nero often appeared in such political thrillers, which criticized the Italian justice system.

    Then he played with Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel's masterpiece Tristana (1970). In the war drama Bitka na Neretvi/The Battle of Neretva (Veljko Bulajic, 1969) he starred with Yul Brynner and Russian actor-director Sergei Bondarchuk. Later, Bondarchuk cast Nero for the role of famous American reporter John Reed in the two-part epic Krasnye kolokola II/Red Bells (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1982).

    Although Franco Nero was often typecast as the hero in Italian action films he also attempted an impressive range of non-heroic or psychologically complex characters. He starred as a strict and possibly psychotic young officer in Marcia trionfale/Victory March (Marco Bellocchio, 1976), as a white ninja in Enter the Ninja (Menahem Golan, 1981) and as a gay lieutenant in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle (1982) in love with the sailor Querelle (Brad Davis) - a compelling performance.

    At the beginning of the 1980s, Nero also began producing, writing and directing. He both wrote and starred in Jonathan degli Orsi/Jonathan of the Bears (Enzo G. Castellari, 1984). In 1990 he played terrorist General Esperanza, opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2 (Renny Harlin, 1990). Nero starred in Hungarian director Gábor Koltay's Honfoglalás/The Conquest (1996), and subsequently in his Sacra Corona/Holy Crown (Gábor Koltay, 2001).

    During his career, Nero appeared in over 150 films, and in between he participated in various theatrical events. He also works for charitable organizations. Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave separated for many years, during which they both had relationships with other people. In 1987, while filming in Cartagena, Colombia, he was involved in an affair with Mauricia Mena and fathered a son named Franquito.

    Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave reunited and married in 2006. Their son Carlo Gabriel Sparanero (1969) is a screenwriter and director, known professionally as Carlo Nero. Franco and Vanessa were directed by their son in Uninvited (1999). They also appeared together in the romantic comedy Letters to Juliet (Gary Winick, 2001).

    Recent films with Franco Nero are the horror film The Rite (Mikael Håfström, 2011) with Anthony Hopkins and Cars 2 (John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, 2011) in which he voiced Uncle Topolino. And Nero made a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012). He is expected to return as Django in Django Lives (Joe D'Augustine, 2015) and opposite other veteran Spaghetti Western stars like John Saxon, Bud Spencer and Tomas Milian in Keoma Unchained (2016) by Enzo G. Castellari.

    Franco Nero
    Russian postcard, no. 758.

    Tina Aumont and Franco Nero in L'uomo, l'orgoglio e la vendetta (1967)
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for L'uomo, l'orgoglio, la vendetta/Man, Pride & Vengeance (Luigi Bazzoni, 1967) with Tina Aumont.

    Franco Nero
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for L'uomo, l'orgoglio, la vendetta/Man, Pride & Vengeance (Luigi Bazzoni, 1967).


    Trailer Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966). Source: PickOfTheFlicks Tony (YouTube).


    Trailer Keoma (Enzo G. Castellari, 1976). Source: Moloch (YouTube).


    French trailer for Querelle (RaINER Werner Fassbinder, 1982). Source: Gaumont (YouTube).


    Trailer Die Hard II (Renny Harlin, 1990). Source: Forever Cinematic Trailers (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Buzz McClain (AllMovie), Tzvetislav Samardjiev (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/03/15--22:00: Senta Berger
  • Beautiful Austrian actress Senta Berger (1941) received many awards for her work in theatre, film and television, including a Golden Globe Award and a Goldene Kamera. She played in several European co-productions and appeared as a sex bomb in some Hollywood movies of the 1960s. Berger also worked as a producer of the internationally acclaimed films directed by her husband, Michael Verhoeven, and she is a bestselling author.

    Senta Berger
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Senta Berger and Tom Tryon in The Glory Guys (1965)
    Italian postcard. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for The Glory Guys (Arnold Laven, 1965) with Tom Tryon.

    Senta Berger
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Senta Berger
    Autograph card.

    Not Just Another European Sex Bomb


    Senta Berger was born in Vienna, Austria in 1941 as the daughter of Therese Jany, a teacher, and Josef Berger, a musician. She first appeared on stage at the age of four, where her father accompanied his daughter's singing on the piano. At the age of five she started ballet lessons, but Senta was asked to leave at 14 because she had ‘developed’ too much.

    She then took private acting lessons and appeared as an extra in the comedy Du bist die Richtige/You Are The Right One (Erich Engel, Josef von Báky, 1955) starring Curd Jürgens. In 1957, she won her first small role in Die unentschuldigte Stunde/The Unexcused Hour (1957), one of the last films directed by legendary actor-director Willi Forst.

    She applied for the Max Reinhardt Seminar, a famous acting school in Vienna, but she was expelled shortly afterwards after accepting a small role in the film The Journey/Die Reise (Anatole Litvak, 1959) without permission. Only 17, she became the youngest member of the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna in 1958, and played a role in Luigi Pirandello’s Enrico IV.

    Film producer Arthur Brauner offered her a role opposite German superstar Heinz Rühmann in the deft satire Der brave Soldat Schweijk/The Good Soldier Schweijk (Axel von Ambesser, 1960). Brauner signed her a contract for several films, and cast her in Schlagerfilms like O sole mio (Paul Martin, 1960) and Adieu, Lebewohl, Goodbye (1961).

    She soon got tired of them, but Maria Brauner, the producer’s wife, helped her to get a part next to O.W. Fischer and Eva Bartokin the thrillers Es muß nicht immer Kaviar sein/Operation Caviar (Geza von Radvanyi, 1961) and Diesmal muß es Kaviar sein/This time it has to be caviar (Geza von Radvanyi, 1961). These spy thrillers, based on the novels by Johannes Mario Simmel, meant her breakthrough.

    Berger became a staple in European co-productions like Sherlock Holmes und das Halsband des Todes/Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (Terence Fisher, Frank Winterstein, 1962) starring Christopher Lee, and Kali-Yug, la Dea della Vendetta/Vengeance of Kali (Mario Camerini, 1963) with Lex Barker.

    On invitation of Richard Widmark, with whom she had appeared in the cold war adventure film The Secret Ways (Phil Karlson, 1961), she went to Hollywood. There she appeared in the anti-war drama The Victors (Carl Foreman, 1963) and in The Waltz King (Steve Previn, 1963), a two-parter in the TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Though an actress of more than average talent, Berger was regarded as just another European sex bomb by most Hollywood publicity flacks. She was offered a five-year-contract by a major Hollywood studio, but she decided to return to Germany.

    Senta Berger
    German postcard by Friedrich-W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf. (Kolibri Foto-karte), no. 2347.

    Senta Berger
    Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, Milano, no. 251.

    Senta Berger
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1813. Photo: A. Grimm / Gloria Film. Publicity still for Frauenarzt Dr. Sibelius/Dr. Sibelius (Rudolf Jugert, 1962).

    Rousing Entertainment


    During the shooting of the comedy Jacky und Jenny/Jacky and Jenny (Victor Vicas, 1964), Senta Berger met Michael Verhoeven, son of the German film director Paul Verhoeven (not the Dutch Paul Verhoeven). They started their own film production company Sentana-Filmproduktion in 1965 and married the following year.

    Berger continued to develop her international career and played with such stars as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and Yul Brynner. She appeared in numerous Euro-spy films such as the Italian crime comedy Operazione San Gennaro/Operation San Gennaro (Dino Risi, 1966), the British comedy Our Man in Marrakech (Don Sharp, 1966) with Tony Randall, and the French thriller Peau d’Espion/To Commit a Murder (Edouard Molinaro, 1967) with Louis Jourdan.

    One of her best known Hollywood movies is the Western Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah, 1965) with Charlton Heston. At the Celluloid Heroes blog Paul McElligott writes: “Major Dundee is one of Sam Peckinpah’s early works, a highly stylized Western that fits perfectly the outsized performances of its stars, Charlton Heston and Richard Harris. Neither the story, the dialogue or the acting can be called realistic, but it is what it claims to be, a rousing entertainment.”

    In Cast a Giant Shadow (Melville Shavelson, 1966) with Kirk Douglas, she played the role of Magda, a soldier in the Israeli army during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. That same year she was also a German schoolteacher involved in neo-Nazi activity opposite Max von Sydow and George Segal in the spy film The Quiller Memorandum (Michael Anderson, 1966).

    A curio is the short film Vienna (1967) directed by Orson Welles. In the film Welles is wandering through Vienna, remembering The Third Man and then, aided by Berger and Mickey Rooney, he suddenly stumbles into a spy satire which is, according to the IMDb reviewer, “simply hilariously funny”. In 1967, Berger acted also in the pilot for the American television TV series It Takes a Thief (1968) starring Robert Wagner. She reprised her role in the series in 1969, in an episode in which her character was killed off.

    Senta Berger
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. 5086. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Terb Agency.

    Senta Berger
    German postcard by ISV, no. H 127.

    Senta Berger
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for The Ambushers (Henry Levin, 1967).

    Senta Berger
    East-German postcard by VEB-Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3045, 1968. Photo: G.B. Poletto and Peter Basch.

    Being Taken Seriously


    In 1970 Senta Berger appeared in the Italian caveman spoof Quando le Donne Avevano la Coda/When Women Had Tails (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1970), which was a surprising box-office hit in Italy. Her participation in this banal sex-comedy lead Hal Erickson at AllMovie to the conclusion that “by 1970, Senta Berger evidently gave up any hopes of being taken seriously.”

    That year though, she also starred for the first time in a film produced by her own company and directed by her husband, Wer im Glashaus liebt/He Who Loves in a Glass House (Michael Verhoeven, 1970). Two years later she featured in Volker Schlöndorff’s Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass/Morals of Ruth Halbfass (Volker Schlöndorff, 1972) followed by the leading role in Der scharlachrote Buchstabe/The Scarlet Letter (Wim Wenders, 1973).

    And in Italy she appeared in several films for high quality directors such as Roma Bene (Carlo Lizzani, 1971), L'Amante dell'orsa maggiore/The Smugglers (Valentino Orsini, 1972), Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca/Hospitals: The White Mafia (Luigi Zampa, 1973) and the Giallo L'Uomo Senza Memoria/Puzzle (Duccio Tessari, 1974) opposite Luc Merenda.

    Following the birth of her two sons, Simon (1972) and Luca (1979), Berger returned to theatre work. She played at the famous Burgtheater in Vienna, at the Thaliatheater in Hamburg and at the Schillertheater in Berlin. Between 1974 and 1982, she played the Buhlschaft in the play Jedermann (Everyman) at the Salzburg Festival with Curd Jürgens and later Maximilian Schell in the title role. She also co-starred with Schell and James Coburn in the war film Cross of Iron (Sam Peckinpah, 1977).

    Senta Berger
    German postcard by Krüger/Ufa, no. 902/128. Photo: Terb Agency/Ufa.

    Senta Berger and Ron Ely
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 137/76, 1976. Photo: publicity still for MitGift/Killing Me Softly (Michael Verhoeven, 1976) with Ron Ely.

    Senta Berger
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 582.

    Smart, Sexy and Honest


    In 1985, Senta Berger started a comeback in front of German-speaking TV audiences in the popular, ironic mini-series Kir Royal (Helmut Dietl,1985-1986), about a Munich gossip reporter and the city’s legendary high society circles. Further serial hits followed, like Die schnelle Gerdi/The Fast Gerti (Michael Verhoeven, 1989), where she played a Munich cab driver. In the same year, she also started a career as a singer of Chansons.

    Berger continued to work in Italy and appeared opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Le Due Vite di Mattia Pascal/The Two Lives of Mattia Pascal (Mario Monicelli, 1985), based on a Luigi Pirandello story.

    Berger and Verhoeven produced acclaimed and internationally successful films including Die weiße Rose/The White Rose (Michael Verhoeven, 1982) and Das schreckliche Mädchen/The Terrible Girl (Michael Verhoeven, 1990), both starring Lena Stolze.

    During the 1990s Berger was mostly seen as smart, sexy and honest women on TV. In 1991 she played an acclaimed role in the marriage drama Sie und Er/She and He (Frank Beyer, 1991). Series followed like Lilli Lottofee (Michael Verhoeven, 1992) and Ärzte/Doctors (1994-1996). Then she played parts in Sandra Nettelbeck‘s film debut Mammamia (1998), Bin ich schön?/Am I Beautiful (Doris Dörrie, 1998) and the TV film Trennungsfieber/Divorce Fever (Manfred Stelzer, 2000).

    Since February 2003, Berger has been president of the German Film Academy, which seeks to advance the new generation of actors and actresses in Germany and Europe. The Academy will decide the assignment of the German Film Awards in the future. 2005 saw her in the cinemas in Einmal so wie ich will/For Once As I Want It (Vivian Naefe, 2005) opposite Götz George, as a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. She finds love on holiday, but turns her back on the relationship.

    In the spring of 2006, Berger's autobiography was published in Germany: Ich habe ja gewußt, daß ich fliegen kann (I Knew That I Could Fly). It became a bestseller. Among her memories of Hollywood are a less-than-subtle attempt by Darryl Zanuck to get her on his casting couch, and being called ‘You German pig’ on her first day on the set of Major Dundee by a gaffer whose wife had lost her family in Auschwitz.

    Senta Berger is still married to Michael Verhoeven and their sons Simon and Luca Verhoeven are both actors now. She lives in Grünwald near Munich, Germany. Recently she worked for the screen in the TV mini-series Four Seasons (Giles Foster, 2008) with Tom Conti and Michael York, the film Ruhm/Fame (Isabel Kleefeld, 2011) and the comedy Altersglühen - Speed Dating für Senioren/Old glow - Speeddating for Seniors (Jan Georg Schütte, 2014) with Mario Adorf.


    Trailer for The Quiller Memorandum (1966). Source: Night of the Trailers (YouTube).


    Trailer for Quando le Donne Avevano la Coda/When Women Had Tails (1970). Source: Sleaze-O-Rama (YouTube).


    Trailer for L'Uomo Senza Memoria/Puzzle (1974). Source: xploited cinema (YouTube).


    Trailer for Altersglühen - Speed Dating für Senioren/Old glow - Speeddating for Seniors (2014). Source: ZYXDvD (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Paul McElligott (Celluloid Heroes), Lenin Imports, The Wild Eye, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    American film actress Faye Dunaway (1941) is a classic beauty with high cheekbones and a husky resonant voice. She had her breakthrough as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and became one of Hollywood's biggest stars of the 1970s with Chinatown (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Network (1976), for which she won the Oscar. She also played in several European films.

    Faye Dunaway
    American postcard by Coral-Lee, Rancho Cordova, Ca., Personality #22, 1978. Photo: Douglas Kirkland.

    Faye Dunaway
    Autograph card.

    Pop culture juggernaut


    Dorothy Faye Dunaway was born on a farm in Bascom, Florida in 1941, the daughter of Grace April (Smith), a housewife, and John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., an army officer. After high school she majored in education at the University of Florida, but switched to theatre arts and transferred to Boston University, earning her degree in 1962.

    In 1962, at the age of 21, she took acting classes at the American National Theater and Academy. She did four plays on Broadway over the next three years. Her first screen appearance was on the short-lived TV drama series Seaway (1965).

    Dunaway's first film appearance was in The Happening (Elliot Silverstein, 1967), which starred Anthony Quinn. That role was followed by a supporting role in the drama Hurry Sundown (Otto Preminger, 1967), co-starring Michael Caine and Jane Fonda. While she had difficulties with Preminger, her performance was well-received and she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best New Star of the Year.

    Then she skyrocketed to fame as the bank robber Bonnie Parker in the pop culture juggernaut Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967), with Warren Beatty. The film, though controversial, was a smash hit, and elevated Dunaway to stardom. For her part Dunaway earned her first Academy Award nomination. She lost to Katherine Hepburn, but won the BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer.

    From then on she was in demand everywhere, holding her own against Steve McQueen in the caper film The Thomas Crown Affair (Norman Jewison, 1968). The film was immensely popular, and was famed for a scene where Dunaway and McQueen play a chess game and silently engage in heavy seduction of each other across the board.

    She then took on a role in the Italian film, Amanti/A Place for Lovers (Vittorio De Sica, 1968). Dunaway played a terminally ill fashion designer who has a doomed romance with an Italian race car driver (Marcello Mastroianni). Dunaway and Mastroianni fell in love in reality too and had a two-year-affair.

    Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde
    Dutch postcard. Photo: publicity still for Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) with Warren Beatty.

    Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
    Dutch postcard. Photo: publicity still for Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) with Warren Beatty.

    A shadowy femme fatale


    Faye Dunaway had another success with the villainous role of Milady de Winter in an all-star adaptation of Alexandre Dumas'The Three Musketeers, starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Raquel Welch, and Dunaway. After filming, the makers decided to split the film into two parts: The Three Musketeers (Richard Lester, 1973) and The Four Musketeers (Richard Lester, 1974). Critics and audiences alike praised the film for its action and its comic tone, and it was the first in a line of successful projects for Dunaway.

    Roman Polanski offered Dunaway the lead role of Evelyn Mulwray in his mystery neo-noir Chinatown (1974). Mulwray is a shadowy femme fatale who knows more than she is willing to let Detective J.J. Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson) know. The film made back its budget almost five times, and received 11 Academy Award nominations. Dunaway received a second Best Actress nomination, and also received a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA nomination.

    Dunaway's next project was the all-star disaster epic The Towering Inferno (John Guillermin, 1974). She played the role of Paul Newman's girlfriend, who is trapped in a burning skyscraper along with several other hundred people. The film became the highest grossing film of the year, further cementing Dunaway as a top actress in Hollywood.

    It was also in 1974 that Dunaway married Peter Wolf, who was the lead singer of the rock group The J. Geils Band. In 1975, Dunaway joined Robert Redford in the political thriller Three Days of the Condor (Sydney Pollack, 1975). A significant critical and commercial success, the film continues to be praised. Dunaway's performance was very well regarded.

    In 1976 she finally won the Oscar for the satire Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976) as the scheming TV executive Diana Christensen, a ruthless woman who will do anything for higher ratings. She returned to the screen in Eyes of Laura Mars (John Carpenter, 1978), a thriller about a fashion photographer who sees visions of a killer murdering people.

    Faye Dunaway
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 33132. Photo: publicity still for The Arrangement (Elia Kazan, 1969).

    Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (1981)
    Italian postcard by TV Film. Photo: publicity still for Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981) with Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Mara Hobel as little Christina Crawford.

    Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke in Barfly (1987)
    French postcard by Editions La Malibran, Paris, no. MC 29, 1989. Photo: Collection Cinéma Couleur. Publicity still for Barfly (Barbet Schroeder, 1987) with Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway.

    No wire hangers, ever!


    Faye Dunaway's tour de force as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981) marked her last chapter as a top tier actress. The film is an adaptation of Christina Crawford's controversial memoirs, Mommie Dearest. Christina Crawford's book had depicted her adopted mother as an abusive tyrant, who only adopted her four children to promote her career, and it made quite a stir as the first celebrity tell-all book. Though the film was poorly received by the critics at the time, Dunaway's performance received mixed reviews. The film was later seen as a camp classic. The American Film Institute named Dunaways' interpretation to be one of the greatest villainous characters in cinema history and the infamous line, "No wire hangers, ever!" to be one of the most memorable film quotes of all time.

    After a remake of The Wicked Lady (Michael Winner, 1983), Dunaway played another villain in the superhero film, Supergirl (Jeannot Szwarc, 1984). Both films flopped.

    A late career highlight came with the critically acclaimed drama Barfly (Barbet Schroeder, 1987), a semi-autobiography of poet/author Charles Bukowski (played by Mickey Rourke) during the time he spent drinking heavily in Los Angeles. From then on she appeared in several independent films. She appeared with Joe Mantegna and Ornella Muti in Wait Until Spring, Bandini (Dominique Deruddere, 1989) and with Robert Duvall and Natasha Richardson in The Handmaid's Tale (Volker Schlöndorff, 1990).

    Then followed the sequel to Chinatown (1974), The Two Jakes (1990), directed by and starring Jack Nicholson. The film was not a box office or critical success. She starred alongside Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis in Serbian director Emir Kusturica's surreal comedy-drama Arizona Dream (1993). Dunaway also appeared with Depp and Marlon Brando in the romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco (Jeremy Leven, 1995). A hit at the box office, the film was praised for its romance and the performances of the three main characters.

    She returned to the stage in 1996, playing famed opera singer Maria Callas in the Tony Award winning play Master Class by Terrence McNally. Dunaway toured the play through the United States. Dunaway was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Supporting Actress for her part in the crime thriller Albino Alligator (Kevin Spacey, 1997) with Matt Dillon. In 1998, she starred with Angelina Jolie in Gia (Michael Christofer, 1998), about the tragic life of model Gia Marie Carangi, which would win Dunaway a third Golden Globe and win Jolie both a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

    Faye Dunaway played a small part in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (John McTiernan, 1999) with Pierce Brosnan. In 2002, she played Ian Somerhalder's mother in The Rules of Attraction (Roger Avary, 2002), based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. She continues to act, mostly in B-films and European films like the campy British horror film Flick (David Howard, 2008) and the Polish thriller Balladyna/The Bait (Dariusz Zawiślak, 2009).

    After her divorce from Peter Wolf in 1979, Faye Dunaway was married from 1983 till 1987 to British photographer Terry O'Neill. She and O'Neill have one child, Liam O'Neill (1980). In 2003, despite Dunaway's earlier claims that she had given birth to Liam, Terry claimed that Liam was adopted.


    Trailer for Amanti/A Place for Lovers (1968). Source: annalovesfilm (YouTube).


    Trailer for The Three Musketeers (1973). Source: TheTrailerGal (YouTube).


    Trailer for Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1989). Source: Ximon NL (YouTube).


    Trailer for Flick (2008). Source: Zombie101trailers (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/05/15--22:00: Mady Christians
  • Austrian-born stage actress Mady Christians (1892-1951) was a star of the German silent cinema and appeared in Austrian, French, British and Hollywood films too.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1715. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser. Berlin-Wilm., no. 436. Photo: Zander & Labisch.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 754/2, 1925-1926. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1548/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Mady Christians
    German card by Ross Verlag, no. 3603/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    The Man Without a Name


    Mady Christians was born as Marguerita Maria Christians in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria) in 1892. She was the daughter of opera singer Bertha Klein and actor Rudolph Christians. When her father took over a German-speaking theater in New York in 1912, the whole family went to the USA, where Mady made her film debut in Audrey (Robert G. Vignola, 1916) as Margarete Christians.

    Because of World War I, Mady and her mother returned mother to Europe and she studied in Berlin with Max Reinhardt. She worked as a stage actress, but soon she was monopolized by the new cinema world.

    She played leads in silent films like Die fremde Frau/The Strange Woman (Hubert Moest, 1917) with Hedda Vernon,Nachtschatten/Night Shadows (Friedrich Zelnik aka Frederic Zelnik, 1918), and Die Gesunkenen/The Down-and-outs (Fred Sauer, 1919). Her breakthrough was her part in the serial Der Mann ohne Namen/The Man Without A Name (Georg Jacoby, 1921) with Harry Liedtke as the thief Peter Voss.

    In the following years she appeared in several classics of the Weimar cinema such as Das Weib des Pharao/Pharoah's Wife (Ernst Lubitsch, 1922), Ein Glas Wasser/One Glass of Water (Ludwig Berger, 1923), Die Finanzen des Großherzogs/Finances of the Grand Duke (F.W. Murnau, 1924), Michael (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1924), Ein Walzertraum/The Waltz Dream (Ludwig Berger, 1925) and in the two-part costume drama Königin Luise/Queen Louise (Karl Grune, 1927-1928).

    In 1928 she founded with director Ludwig Berger the Länder-Film Company in Berlin, but the company was already finished by 1931. She acted in the British production The Runaway Princess (Anthony Asquith, Fritz Wendhausen, 1929) and in the French Mon coeur incognito/My Heart is Incognito (André-Paul Antoine, Manfred Noa, 1930) opposite Jean Angelo, an alternative language version of Leutnant warst Du einst bei deinen Husaren (Manfred Noa, 1930) with Gustav Diessl. The German sound film offered her only little work, but she did appear in Das Schicksal der Renate Langen/The Fate of Renate Langen (Rudolf Walther-Fein, 1931) and Friederike/Frederica (Fritz Friedmann-Frederich, 1932).

    Mady Christians & Willy Fritsch in Ein Walzertraum
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 48/1. Mady Christians and Willy Fritsch in the Ufa-film Ein Walzertraum (Ludwig Berger, 1925).

    Hans Adalbert Schlettow and Mady Christians in Die Jugend der Königin Luise (1927)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 88/4. Photo: Terra Film. Publicity still for Königin Luise, 1. Teil - Die Jugend der Königin Luise/Queen Louise (Karl Grune, 1927) with Hans Adalbert Schlettow.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5384/2, 1930-1931. Photo: AAFA Film. Publicity still for Leutnant warst Du einst bei deinen Husaren/Lieutenant were you once with your Hussar (Manfred Noa, 1930).

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5384/1, 1930-1931. Photo: AAFA Film. Publicity still for Leutnant warst Du einst bei deinen Husaren/Lieutenant were you once with your Hussar (Manfred Noa, 1930).

    Otto Wallburg and Mady Christians in Der Schwarze Husar (1932)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 152/3 Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Der Schwarze Husar/The Black Hussar (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1932) with Otto Wallburg.

    I Remember Mama


    After the assumption of power by the Nazis in 1933, Mady Christians emigrated to the United States. The following decades she shuttled between Hollywood and Broadway.

    In Hollywood she starred in The Only Girl (Frederick Hollander/Friedrich Holländer, 1934) with Charles Boyer. She appeared in several popular pictures like A Wicked Woman (Charles Brabin, 1934), Escapade (Robert Z. Leonard, 1935) with William Powell, Come and Get It (Howard Hawks a.o., 1936), Seventh Heaven (Henry King, 1937) with James Stewart, and Tender Comrade (Edward Dmytryk, 1943) with Ginger Rogers.

    In films she tended to play supporting character parts, while on stage she continued to find leading roles. On Broadway, she originated the title role in the play I Remember Mama (1944). In 1945 she became a drama teacher at the Columbia University.

    Her last movie roles were in Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) and All My Sons (Irving Reis, 1948) based on the play by Arthur Miller, in which she co-starred with Burt Lancaster and Edward G. Robinson.

    In 1950 she was blacklisted after being labelled a communist sympathizer during the McCarthy-era ‘witch trials’. Mady Christians died in 1951 in Norwalk, Connecticut, from a cerebral haemorrhage.

    Mady Christians
    French postcard by Europe, no. 52. Photo: Aafa.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6067/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 609 (Ross Luxus Series). Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 7201/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa.

    Mady Christians
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7532/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Hisa-Film. Publicity still for Manolescu, der Fürst der Diebe/Manolescu, the King of Thieves (Georg C. Klaren, Willi Wolff, 1933).

    Source: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Denny Jackson (IMDb), AllMovie, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/06/15--22:00: Romy Schneider
  • Romy Schneider (1938-1982) was one of the most beautiful and intelligent actors of her generation. More than 30 years after her death she still has an immense popular appeal, especially in Europe.

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 45. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF.

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

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by Ufa, no. CK-204. Photo: Vogelmann / Ufa.

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by W.S. Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 19. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF.

    Romy Schneider
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Romy Schneider
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Les choses de la vie/The Things of Life (Claude Sautet, 1970).

    Rosemarie


    Romy Schneider was born Rosemarie Magdalena Albach in Vienna, Austria, in 1938. She was almost predestined to become an actress, because her family included many successful actors such as her grandmother Rosa Albach-Retty, her Austrian father Wolf Albach-Rettyand her German mother Magda Schneider.

    After her parents' divorce in 1945, her mother took charge of Romy and her brother Wolfi (Wolfgang). Romy attended a school in Berchtesgaden, and Pensionnat Goldsteinin Salzburg.

    At the age of 15, she made her film debut. It was an important supporting part in Wenn der weisse Flieder wieder blüht/When the White Lilacs Bloom Again (Hans Deppe, 1953) starring Willy Fritsch and her mother, Magda Schneider. Magda went on to supervise her young daughter's career, and she would often appear alongside Romy.

    Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard.

    Romy Schneider and Magda Schneider in Sissi - Die junge Kaiserin (1956)
    Dutch postcard by Takken, no. 3092. Photo: Filmex NV. Publicity still for Sissi - Die junge Kaiserin/Sissi: The Young Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1956) with Magda Schneider.

    Romy Schneider & Karlheinz Böhm
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 1980. Photo: Filmex N.V. With Karl Heinz Böhm.

    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) with Magda Schneider.

    Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm
    Dutch postcard by N.V. Int. Filmpers (I.F.P.), Amsterdam, no. 1027. With Karl Heinz Böhm.

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3451. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF / Herzog-Film.

    Sissi


    Romy Schneider portrayed a royal for the first time in her next film, Mädchenjahre einer Königin/The Story of Vickie (Ernst Marischka, 1954). She played the young, soon-to-be Queen Victoria opposite Adrian Hoven as her beloved Prince Albert.

    She also appeared in the musical Feuerwerk/Fireworks (Kurt Hoffmann, 1954) with Lilli Palmer, and Der Lezte mann/The Last Man (Harald Braun, 1954), an all-talking remake of the 1924 silent classic by F.W. Murnau. Hans Albers tried to replace Emil Jannings (but failed).

    Instant stardom came with her portrayal of Empress Elisabeth of Austriain Sissi (Ernst Marischka, 1955). Her incredibly charming performance is the heart of this wildly successful film. The cast also included Karl Heinz Böhm as the young emperor Franz Joseph, Vilma Degischer as his mother, Archduchess Sophie, Gustav Knuth as Sissi's father Duke Max, and Magda Schneider as his wife Duchess Ludovika.

    Romy Schneider shines as the young princess. Millions of cinemagoers fell in love with her gorgeous smile and her sweet manners.

    In the following years she appeared in two equally successful sequels, Sissi - Die junge Kaiserin/Sissi: The Young Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1956) and Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin/Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1957). Schneider had become the darling of the European public.

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3454. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Robinson soll nicht sterben/The Legend of Robinson Crusoe (Josef von Báky, 1957).

    Horst Buchholz, Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by I.F.P. (Drukkerij Uitg. Int. Filmpers), Amsterdam, no. 1092. Photo: publicity still for Robinson soll nicht sterben/The Legend of Robinson Crusoe (Josef von Báky, 1957) with Horst Buchholz.

    Romy Schneider & Horst Buchcholz
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 1022. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Monpti/Love from Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957) with Horst Buchholz.

    Romy Schneider, Horst Buchholz
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 3179. Photo still with Romy Schneider and Horst Buchholz in Monpti/Love from Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957) with Horst Buchholz.

    Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3175. Photo: Filmex NV. Publicity still for Monpti/Love From Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957).

    Romy Schneider, Alain Delon
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2638. Photo: Safra / Gloria-Film / Vogelmann. Publicity still for Christine (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958) with Alain Delon.

    Monpti


    After Sissi Romy Schneider soon became nauseated by the saccharine ‘nice girl’ image. She desperately wanted to act in less stereotypical films.

    She teamed up with Horst Buchholzin Robinson Soll nicht sterben/The Girl and the Legend (Josef von Báky, 1957) which dealt with Daniel Defoe's childhood. She and Buchholz were then Germany's biggest stars, and the next year they starred again together in the love story Monpti/Love From Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957).

    At AllMovie, Hal Erickson writes: "What starts as a light-hearted romp unexpectedly deepens into tragedy. The film is narrated by a wry, all-knowing Parisian who, at closer inspection, turns out to be director Helmut Kautner."

    During the shooting of Christine (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958) she fell in love with her co-star, Alain Delon, Romy left Germany to join her handsome fiancé in Paris.

    Alain Delon, Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3922. Photo: N.V. Meteor Film, Amsterdam/Spava-Play Art Prod. Still from Christine (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958) with Alain Delon.

    Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in Christine
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht. Photo: NV Meteor Film. Publicity still for Christine (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958) with Alain Delon.

    Alain Delon, Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 1207, ca. 1959. Photo: Ufa/Film-foto. This happy picture was shot at the engagement party of Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.

    Romy Schneider and Alain Delon
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. FK 4457. Photo: UFA. This happy picture was shot at the engagement party of Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.

    Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1204/559. Photo: Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), Berlin-Tempelhof. Caption: "Gay picture of Romy Schneider during her engagement party." With her brother Wolfi.

    Luchino Visconti


    Romy Schneider stayed in Paris and would have a hugely successful film career in France. But first she had to continue making films in the German film industry. She had refused Ernst Marischka to play in the fourth part of Sissi, and different films were created for her in the lead in order to keep her 'home'.

    While Alain Delon was having his international breakthrough with the excellent thriller Plein Soleil/Purple Noon (René Clément, 1960) and the incredibly beautiful Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960), Schneider was forced to appear in mediocre German-French productions like Ein Engel auf Erden/An Angel on Wheels (Géza von Radványi, 1959), Die schöne Lügnerin/The Beautiful Liar (Axel von Ambesser, 1959), the Sissi-like costume romance, Katia/Adorable Sinner (Robert Siodmak, 1959) with Curd Jürgens, and the worst of these films, Die Halbzarte/Eva (Rolf Thiele, 1959) with Carlos Thompson.

    Then Delon introduced her to Luchino Visconti. Visconti offered Schneider her first theatre engagement, in John Ford's stage play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. Despite having to act in French, she won audience and critical acclaim.

    Visconti directed her again in the segment Il lavoro (The Work) of the episodic film Boccaccio '70 (1962). At IMDb, Ubaldo Martinez writes: "The one thing I remembered about Bocaccio '70 was Romy Schneider getting dressed in front of a mirror, in front of us. The film in his 4 segments has much more, but nothing better than Romy Schneider in the Visconti segment. She is exquisite of course but in Visconti's hands she is superlative. Visconti, like George Cukor, knew how to guide actresses to their best."

    Schneider had also gained the interest of Orson Welleswho directed her in his excellent Le procès/The Trial (1962), based on the novel by Franz Kafka.

    Paul Dahlke and Romy Schneider in Kitty und die grosse Welt
    Dutch postcard. Photo: publicity still for Kitty und die grosse Welt/Kitty and the Great Big World (Alfred Weidenmann, 1956) with Paul Dahlke.

    Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3651. Photo by UFA, Berlin. Publicity still for Scampolo (Alfred Weidenmann, 1958), filmed on location at Ischia Island, Naples and Campania in Italy.

    Romy Schneider, Mädchen in Uniform
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht (printed by 't Sticht), no. AX 3879, posted by mail in 1959. Photo: Grimm / C.C.C. / Gloria. Publicity still for Mädchen in Uniform/Girls in Uniform (Géza von Radványi, 1958).

    Romy Schneider, Carlos Thompson
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (Dutch licency holder fot Ufa), no. 1179. Photo:Ufa/Film-foto. Publicity still for Die Halbzarte/Eva (Rolf Thiele, 1959) with Carlos Thompson.

    Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Uitgeverij Takken, Utrecht, no. 3942.

    Hollywood


    Although Romy Schneider and Alain Delon lived together for five years, they never married. James Travers at Films de France writes that "Delon had been having an affair with another woman, Nathalie Barthélemy, whom he chose to marry on learning she was pregnant with his child. Although the separation was painful (Delon couldn’t bring himself to face Romy at their parting; he just left her a note saying goodbye), the two actors later renewed their friendship and remained on the best of terms, with Delon dispensing both moral and financial support during periods of crisis."

    Schneider then had a brief stint in Hollywood including appearances in the war film The Victors (Carl Foreman, 1963) and the comedy What’s New Pussycat? (Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge, 1965) with Peter Sellers. Schneider returned to France.

    She had a starring role in L’Enfer/Inferno (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1964), although the film was aborted when Clouzot suffered a fatal heart attack. Recently the film has been restored and was finally shown in cinemas over the world.

    In La Voleuse/The Thief (Jean Chapot, 1966), she appeared for the first time alongside Michel Piccoli, who would become one of her closest friends. By this time, Romy had married, to the theatre director Harry Meyen, and had given birth to a son, David.

    Scheider had remained friends with Delon and they appeared together in some excellent films, including La Piscine/The Swimming Pool (Jacques Deray, 1968) and The Assassination of Trotsky (Joseph Losey, 1972). She also worked again with Visconti. She featured in Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1972) about the life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (Helmut Berger), as a much more complex, mature, even bitter and cold Elisabeth of Austria. She erased any trace of the sweet Sissi character.

    Schneider's leading role in the harsh but beautiful L'important c'est d'aimer/The Main Thing Is to Love (Andrzej Zulawski, 1974) garnered her the first César Award. At AllMovie, Yuri German writes about the film: "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 skilful direction make this film a powerful experience."

    Romy Schneider
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1086. Photo: Sam Lévin. Publicity still for Boccaccio '70. She appeared in the episode Il lavoro (The Job), directed by Luchino Visconti. She is wearing a Coco Chanel's tailleur.

    Romy Schneider in Boccaccio '70
    Dutch postcard. Photo: HAFBO. Romy Schneider dressed in Chanel in the episode Il lavoro/ The Job (1961) by Luchino Visconti, part of the episodefilm Boccaccio '70.

    Thomas Milian & Romy Schneider in Boccaccio 70
    Publicity still used in Germany, distributed by Rank, mark of the German censor FSK. Thomas Milian& Romy Schneider in Luchino Visconti's episode Il Lavoro in the episode film Boccaccio 70 (1962). Milian plays a bored aristocrat, caught in a scandal with callgirls. Schneider plays his rich and equally bored Austrian wife, who tries to seduce her husband and make him pay for love just like he did with his callgirls. It works, but leaves the woman with bitterness. The set of the film was terribly costly because of all the authentic, valuable objects present.

    Romy Schneider
    German postcard by Poster XXL. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Romy Schneider
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 284. Photo: Sam Levin.

    Claude Sautet


    Romy Schneider appeared with her good friend Michel Piccoli in Les choses de la vie/The Things of Life (Claude Sautet, 1970). Claude Sautet was so taken with her that he gave her substantial roles in four subsequent films: Max et les ferrailleurs/Max and the Junkmen (1971), César et Rosalie/César and Rosalie (1972), Mado (1976), and Une histoire simple/A Simple Story (1978). It was for her moving portrayal of an independent woman in the latter film that Romy won her second César in 1979.

    With these films she had created a new persona: the modern sexually liberated woman. In La mort en direct/Death Watch (Bertrand Tavernier, 1980) with Harvey Keitel, she played a dying woman whose last days are watched on national television via a camera implanted in the brain of a journalist.

    Her last film was La Passante du Sans-Souci/The Passerby (Jacques Rouffio, 1982) with Michel Piccoli and Helmut Griem.

    Romy Schneider suffered the hardest blow of her life when her 14-year-old son David was impaled on a fence in 1981. She never managed to recover from this loss and died a year later. Although it was suggested she committed suicide caused by an overdose of sleeping pills, she was declared to have died from cardiac arrest. Alain Delonarranged for David to be buried in the same grave as his mother.

    Romy Schneider
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 70. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Romy Schneider
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Romy Schneider
    French postcard by Editions F. Nugeron, no. Star 41. Publicity still for Max et les ferrailleurs/Max and the Junkmen (Claude Sautet, 1971).

    Romy Schneider & Yves Montand in Clair de femme
    French postcard by Editions Nugeron in the Star Series, no. 58. Photo: publicity still for Clair de femme/Womanlight (Costa Gravas, 1979) with Yves Montand.


    Trailer of Sissi (1955). Source: UweundPiaFan (YouTube).


    Trailer of The Trial (1962). Source: Danios12345 (YouTube).


    Scene from La Piscine/The Pool (1969). Source: Poolvideochannel (YouTube).


    Italian trailer of Ludwig (1972). Source: CG Entertainment (YouTube).


    Trailer L'important c'est d'aimer/The Main Thing Is to Love (1974). Source: Fury (YouTube).

    Sources: James Travers (Films de France), Yuri German (AllMovie), Ubaldo Martinez (IMDb), Ulrike Sieglohr (Filmreference.com), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/07/15--22:00: Frate Francesco (1927)
  • Frate Francesco/The Passion of St. Francis (1927) aka Santo Francesco was the third Italian film on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. St. Francis, or Santo Francesco in Italian, was played by Alberto Pasquali, and the film was directed by Giulio Antamoro.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 557. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Alberto Pasquali as St. Francis.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 563. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Alberto Pasquali as St. Francis. Caption: 'Francis renounces all his earthly goods and dedicates himself to God.'

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 560. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Romuald Joubé as Monaldo di Sassorosso.

    Elena Baranowitch as Monna Pica in Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 558. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco aka Santo Francesco (Giuliano Antamoro, 1927) with Elena Baranowitch as Monna Pica.

    Euna De Rasi as Agnese in Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 561. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco aka Santo Francesco (Giuliano Antamoro, 1927) with Euna De Rasi as Agnese.

    Alfredo Robert (Pietro di Bernardone) in Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 562. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco aka Santo Francesco (Giuliano Antamoro, 1927) with Alfredo Robert as Pietro di Bernardone.

    Alfredo Robert in Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard for Frate Francesco aka Santo Francesco (Giuliano Antamoro, 1927) with Alfredo Robert as Pietro di Bernardone.

    Ambitious project


    Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) was the third Italian silent film on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, after Il poverello di Assisi (Enrico Guazzoni, 1911) and Frate Sole (Mario Corsi, Ugo Falena, 1918). In addition, the poet Guido Gozzano had written a film script in 1916 and Adolfo Padovan had tried in vain his luck at Milano Films in the early 1910s.

    Antamoro's Francis had been an ambitious project: in budget, in length, and in scope. Several scriptwriters were attracted while the famous Francescan, Professor Dane Jörgensen wrote the first script version. Instead of the idyllic countryside in Falena's version, Antamoro focused on characters, extending the storyline with all kinds of antagonists like Monaldo di Sassorosso and Myria di Leros who get ample time and space.

    The film is also full of symbolism: Francis is presented as the new Christ, standing before the Crucifix. His mother holds a wounded man as in Mary's Pietà. The narrative's parable is that of a weak man who overcomes and mediates in conflicts, only thanks to his belief.

    Still, not all critics liked the film at its release and some accused it of being too static and therefore uncinematic. Moreover, the film came out in a year that most Italian film people had lost hope to revive its national cinema and many had fled to Berlin to pursue their careers in Germany.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 557. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'La Porziuncola'. Near this chapel dating from the 4th century, Frances and his followers built huts. Later it would be the basis of the first Francescan convent and would be incorporated in the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 563. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Alberto Pasquali as St. Francis. Caption: 'Pietro di Bernardone (Alfredo Robert) reproaches Frances (Pasquali) his dissolute life.'

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 564. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Alberto Pasquali as Francesco and Enta Droubetzkoy aka Elena Baranowitch as Francesco's mother Monna Pica.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 565. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'Francis and a poor man.'

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 566. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'After the battle. Monna Pica (Enta Droubetzkoy) and a wounded man.'

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 567. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'Frances has invited the poor to follow him to his father's house.' In the middle Alberto Pasquali as Frances and Enta Droubetzkoy as his mother.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 569. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'Chiara degli Scifi (Bice Jany) admires the piety of Francesco (Alberto Pasquali).'

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 572. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927) with Monaldo di Sassorosso (Romuald Joubé) and Myria di Leros (Donatella Gemmò).

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 573. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'The conversion of Sassorosso.' Visible are Alberto Pasquali as St. Francis and Romuald Joubé as Sassorosso.

    Santo Francesco
    Italian postcard by ICSA, no. 574. Photo: publicity still for Frate Francesco (Giulio Antamoro, 1927). Caption: 'The Death of God's Little Poor Man'.

    Sources: Elena Mosconi (L'impressione del film, 2006), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 08/08/15--22:00: Peter Kraus
  • German singer and actor Peter Kraus (1939) was one of the first artists to bring Rock & Roll to Germany. In the late 1950s, he was known as ‘The German Elvis’ and with his female counterpart, Conny Froboess, he formed the Dream Couple of many European teenagers. The popular teen idol made several Schlagerfilms, but only two of them co-starred 'Die Conny und der Peter' together.

    Peter Kraus
    Belgian postcard by S. Best, Antwerpen (licency holder for Belgium for Ufa).

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F-159. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1965. Photo: Bayer.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-206. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-250. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F-159. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1965. Photo: Bayer.

    First Rock & Roll Teen Star


    Peter Kraus was born as Peter Siegfried Krausnecker in 1939 in München (Munich), Germany. He was the son of the Austrian born director and cabaret artist Fred Kraus. Peter spent his youth alternating in Munich, Vienna and Salzburg where his father owned a small theatre.

    Peter had already singing and acting lessons during his school years. His first film was the excellent Das fliegende Klassenzimmer/The Flying Classroom (Kurt Hoffmann, 1954) based on the famous children's novel of the same name by Erich Kästner.

    In the following years Peter would play in several other films like Die Freundin meines Mannes/The Girlfriend of My Husband (Axel von Ambesser, 1957), Die Frühreifen/The Prematures (Josef von Baky, 1957) with Heidi Brühl, and Der Pauker/The Crammer (Axel von Ambesser, 1958) starring Heinz Rühmann.

    In 1956, Kraus made his first single, a cover version of Little Richard's Tutti Frutti . When the German music industry discovered that Rock & Roll was a big seller even with German lyrics, they marketed him as an Elvis copy. At first Kraus was indeed heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, but soon he managed to find his own style.

    Peter Kraus became – like his colleague Ted Herold– one of Germany's most popular singers and teen idols. His lanky and nonchalant attitude was a big hit with teens. Between 1957 and 1964 he scored 36 hits, including Susi Rock (1957), Sugar Baby (1958) and Tiger (1959). In the first four years after his debut he recorded 36 hits and sold more than 12 million records. During his whole career 'The German Elvis' would sell over 17 million records.

    Peter Kraus
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4445. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity still for Die Frühreifen/The precocious (Josef von Báky, 1957).

    Peter Kraus, Conny Froboess
    Dutch postcard, no. 761, with Conny Froboess.

    Peter Kraus and Fred Kraus
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf, no. 834. Photo: Alfa / Melodie / Gloria-Film / Arthur Grimm. Publicity still for Melodie und Rhythmus/Melody and Rhythms (John Olden, 1959) with Fred Kraus.

    Conny Froboess, Peter Krauss
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4489. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity Still for Conny und Peter machen Musik (1960) with Conny Froboess.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden, Westfalen, no. 582. Photo: Lothar Winkler. Publicity card for Polydor Schalip, that anounces the singles Sugar Baby/Ich denk' an dich and Come on and Swing/Du passt so gut zu mir.

    The 'nice boy from next door'


    Peter Kraus performed his hit songs in several Schlagerfilms. In retrospect it is remarkable that he appeared in only two Schlagerfilms with his female counterpart Conny Froboess - in the big hits Wenn die Conny mit dem Peter/When Conny and Peter Do It Together (Fritz Umgelter, 1958) and Conny und Peter machen Musik/Conny and Peter Make Music (Werner Jacobs, 1960). They were considered the ‘dream couple’ of the German entertainment industry in the late 1950s.

    As the 'nice boy from next door', he appeared in many silly teenager comedies, including Alle lieben Peter/Everybody Loves Peter (Wolfgang Becker, 1959) opposite Christine Kaufmann, and Melodie und Rhythmus/Melody and Rhythm (John Olden, 1959) opposite Margit Saad.

    His real father, Fred Kraus played his father in Melodie und Rhythmus/Melody and Rhythm . In this Schlagerfilm Kraus appeared with Jörg Maria Berg as the The James Brothers. Under this pseudonym the duo recorded such German cover versions as Wenn (When)(1958), Cowboy Billy (1959), Rote Rosen (Pretty Blue Eyes)(1960), Die jungen Jahre (Endless Sleep)(1960) and Hätt' ich einen Hammer (If I Had A Hammer)(1964).

    Peter Kraus, Margit Saad
    German postcard by ISV, no. H 43, ca. 1960. Peter Kraus and Margit Saad in Melodie und Rhythmus (1959).

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by ISV, no. H 48.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by ISV, no. E 18. Photo: Constantin / Grimm.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-181. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard by Terra-Colour, no. F-178.

    New Trends


    Peter Kraus changed his music with new trends and toured through Europe and the USA with his schlagers like Schwarze Rose Rosemarie (Black Rose Marie) (1961) and such blues songs as Silvermoon and Sweety (1962).

    In the cinema he appeared with Willy Fritschin Was macht Papa denn in Italien?/But What's Daddy Doing in Italy? (Hans-Dieter Schwarze, 1961), and he co-starred with the former iceskating champions Marika Kiliusand Hans-Jürgen Bäumlerin Die Große Kür/The Great Skating Kür (Franz Antel, 1964).

    Since then he worked mainly for television. He made many TV musicals and even had his own TV show, Herzlichst Ihr Peter Kraus, but he also worked as a record producer, script writer and TV director. After 26 years he finally made a third film with Conny, nowCornelia Froboess, the crime drama Der Sommer des Samurai/The Summer of the Samurai (Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, 1985).

    Since then Peter Kraus keeps on touring and making such records as Rock ’n Roll is Back (2004). That year he also published the biography Keine Zeit zum Altwerden – I love Rock'n Roll (No Time To Become Old), written with Erich J. Lejeune. In 1990 he had already produced the memoirs Wop-baba-lu-ba – mein ver-rocktes Leben.

    In the cinema he was last seen in a small part in the comedy West End (Markus Mischkowski, Kai-Maria Steinkühler, 2001). He received an Amadeus Austrian Music Award (2004) and an ECHO Award (2006) for his lifetime achievements. He is also a successful painter, whose work has been exhibited in Switzerland.

    In 1969 Peter Kraus married Ingrid Nieuweboer, a former model. She brought her daughter Gaby into the marriage, whom Kraus adopted later on. In 1973 their son Mike (Michael) was born. Gaby died in her late thirties from breast cancer. Peter and Ingrid Kraus live in Tessin at Lake Lugano in Switzerland.

    Peter Kraus
    German postcard with autograph.


    Peter Kraus sings Sensationell in Melodie und Rhythmus/Melody and Rhythm (1959). Source: Fritz 51210 (YouTube).


    Conny Froboess and Peter Kraus sing Sag' Mir Was Du Denkst in Conny und Peter machen Musik/Conny and Peter Make Music (1960). Source: Fritz 5140 (YouTube).


    Peter Kraus sings Lass kein Mädchen lange warten in Wenn man baden geht auf Teneriffa (1964). Source: Fritz 51213 (YouTube). Dubschiwadub, Dubschiwadub, Dubschiwadub dubudubi...


    Medley of Peter Kraus' biggest hits, sung in 2008. Source: Fritz 51210 (YouTube).

    Sources: PeterKraus.de (German), Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-line - German), Marisa Brown
    (AllMusic), IMDb and Wikipedia.

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  • 08/09/15--22:00: Eva May
  • Austrian actress Eva May (1902-1924) was the daughter of film star Mia May and producer Joe May. It was only natural that she would follow suit. She became ‘everybody’s darling’ but in 1924 she committed suicide.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 203/4. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Ring-Film.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 269/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass / Ring-Film.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 310/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass / Ring-Film.

    Everybody's darling


    Eva May was born as Eva Maria Mandl in 1902 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria). She was the daughter of the film director Joe May and his wife, film star Mia May. Eva was very often in her father's studio and caught the acting bug very early.

    In 1914 she acted for the first time in a Stuart Webbs-Detective film called Stuart Webbs: Die geheimnisvolle Villa/The Black Triangle (Joe May, 1914). Ernst Reicher played Webbs and in the cast were also Werner Krauss, Max Landa and Mia May

    From 1918 she worked exclusively for the Ring-Film GmbH, managed by Manfred Liebenau, working as a director under the nom de plume of Erik Lund. They married when she was only 16. She appeared in films like Erträumtes/Something dreamed (Adolf Gartner, 1918) with Olga Engl, Sadja (Adolf Gärtner, Erik Lund, 1918) with Hans Albers, and Die Braut des Entmündigten/The bride of the incapacitated (Erik Lund, 1919) with Hermann Thimig.

    Liebenau and May created their own Eva-May-Serial for which Eva also wrote the scripts. She was treated kindly by the press and rose to ‘Jedermanns Liebling’ because of her nice roles.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 269/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass / Ring-Film.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 654/4. Photo: Ring-Film. Eva May in Erträumtes/Something dreamed (Adolf Gartner, 1918).

    Eva May in Die verwunschene Prinzessin
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 608/1. Photo: Ring-Film. Eva May (left) in Die verwunschene Prinzessin/The enchanted princess (Erik Lund, 1919).

    Eva May in Die Braut des Entmündigten
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 623/3. Photo: Ring-Film. Eva May in the German silent film Die Braut des Entmündigten/The bride of the incapacitated (Erik Lund, 1919). The man on the right is Hermann Thimig.

    Eva May in Das törichte Herz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 625/2. Photo: Ring-Film. Eva May in Das törichte Herz/The foolish heart (Erik Lund, 1919). The man on the right is probably Hermann Thimig.

    Gun shot


    After 1920 Eva May worked again together with her father in films like Die Legende von der heiligen Simplicia/The Legend of Holy Simplicity (Joe May, 1920) with Alfred Gerasch, and Junge Mama/Young Mama (Uwe Jens Krafft, Joe May, 1921) with Victor Varconi. Privately Eva May was regarded as very difficult and sometimes freakish, according to Thomas Staedeli at Cyranos.

    She played for other popular directors like Karl Grune in Der Graf von Charolais/The Count of Charolais (1922) featuring Wilhelm Dieterle, and Max Mack in Die Fledermaus/The Bat (1923) opposite Lya De Putti. She starred with Alfred Abel in Scheine des Todes/Certificates of death (1923) directed by her second husband, Lothar Mendes.

    May also appeared in successful films like Alt Heidelberg/Old Heidelberg (Hans Behrendt, 1923) opposite Paul Hartmann, and Paganini (Heinz Goldberg, 1923) starring Conrad Veidt. Her third marriage to director Manfred Noa ended after a short time.

    As a result of her lifestyle, temper and method of working there were more and more quarrels between her and het father, Joe May. In the night of the 9th to 10th September 1924 Eva May brought her life to an end with a gun shot. She was only 22.

    It had not been the first attempted suicide. One year earlier Eva had cut open her arteries, after film worker Rudolf Sieber broke off their engagement and married Marlene Dietrich. She was given medical treatment in time to save her life.

    Eva May's last film was Der Geheime Agent/The Secret Agent (Erich Schönfelder, 1924) with Lucie Höflich and Karl Lamac. All together Eva had appeared in around 30 films. Her mother Mia May was so devastated by her daughter's suicide that she finished her career and never acted again. Joe May retired from directing in 1944.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 432/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 461/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 398/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder / May Film.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 461/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Eva May
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 563/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Riess.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Jessica Keaton (Silence is Platinum), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/10/15--22:00: Pascale Audret
  • Charming French actress Pascale Audret (1936-2000) starred in over 25 films between 1955 and 1968, but her success never crossed over internationally. One of her most high profile films was La Fayette (1961) opposite Orson Welles. Her daughter Julie Dreyfus was a co–star of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (2003) and Inglourious Bastards (2009).

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by M.D., Paris, no. 15. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1029. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 15. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, Milano, no. N. 119.

    Triumph


    Pascale Audret was born as Pascale Aiguionne Louise Jacqueline Marie Auffray in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, in 1936. She was the daughter of Henry Auffray, an industrialist, and Amyelle de Caubios d'Andiran, a musician, second cousin of the French author François Mauriac. Her brothers were singer Hugues Aufray, nicknamed ‘the French Bob Dylan’ during the 1960s, and author Jean-Paul Auffray.

    Spending her childhood in Madrid in Spain, Audret studied classical dance. She appeared as a dancer in the stage operetta À la Jamaïque (To Jamaica) by Francis Lopez and then worked at the famous cabaret of Jacques Canetti, Les trois baudets (The Three Donkeys). There she was discovered by Roger Pierre, and at the age of 18, she made her film debut in Les deux font la paire/Two Makes a Pair (André Berthomieu, 1954) starring Jean Richard.

    The next years she appeared in such films as Futures vedettes/Joy of Living (Marc Allégret, 1955) with Jean Marais, the film noir Œil pour œil/An Eye for an Eye (André Cayatte, 1956) with Curd Jürgens, and L'Eau vive/Girl and the River (François Villiers, 1958).

    On stage she starred in 1956 in the first French production of Le Journal d'Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank). It was a triumph for the charming young actress. After meeting her first husband Roger Coggio she went to work at the Théâtre des Mathurins and appeared in such plays as Le Journal d'un fou (The Diary of a Madman) by Nicolas Gogol, Patate (Spud) by Marcel Achard, and Six personnages en quête d'auteur (Six Characters in Search of an Author) by Luigi Pirandello.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 788. Photo: Studio Vauclair.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 724. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 670. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 898. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4143. Photo: City Film. Publicity still for Bal de Nuit/Night Dance Hall (Maurice Cloche, 1959).

    Hit Songs


    One of Pascale Audret’s most high profile films is the big-budget historical drama La Fayette/Lafayette (Jean Dréville, 1961) in which she appeared opposite Orson Welles. It is the colorful story of a Frenchman (Michel LeRoyer) who fought to liberate the American colonies from British rule.

    The following year she starred in Donnez-moi Dix Hommes Desesperes/Give Me Ten Desperate Men (Pierre Zimmer, 1962), which was entered into the 12th Berlin International Film Festival. The films tells imaginary events on a kibbutz in Palestine, set in the period just before Israel gained its status as an independent nation.

    In 1963 Audret appeared in the crime drama Le glaive et la balance/The Sword and the Balance (André Cayatte, 1963) starring Antony Perkins, and the brutal and purposefully harsh satire Les Carabiniers/The Soldiers (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963).

    Audret also worked as a singer with such hits as Dis-moi qui jadis (Say to me who formerly) in 1968 and La môme Anita (The Kid Anita) in 1969. Despite her success in the cinema and her hit songs, this success never crossed over internationally. Her career in film, television, stage and music stayed in France.

    Pascale Audret was married twice, first to actor-director Roger Coggio and later to music producer Francis Dreyfus (1965-1973). It was her second marriage that produced her daughter Julie. After the birth of her daughter in 1966, she put her career on the back burner.

    During the 1970s she worked for TV, and also appeared in the films Le Fantôme de la liberté/The Phantom of Liberty (Luis Bunuel, 1974) and L'Amant de poche/Lover Boy (Bernard Queysanne, 1977). Her last film was the comedy Dieu que les femmes sont amoureuses/Oh God, Women Are So Loving (Michel Cheyko, Magali Clément, 1994) with Mathieu Carrière.

    In 2000, Pascale Audret died in a road accident in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, aged 63. She was in the passenger seat of a car being driven by actor Rémy Kirch, who was also killed in the car crash. Her daughter Julie Dreyfus is an actress now, who co-starred as Sofie Fatale in Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003) and as Francesca Mondino in Inglourious Bastards (Quentin Tarantino, 2009).

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 177. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Pascale Audret
    French postcard by St Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.


    Pascale Audret and her brother Hugues Aufray sing Lisandre (ça fait peur aux oiseaux). Source: tontonmichel (YouTube).


    Trailer for Le Fantôme de la liberté/The Phantom of Liberty (1974). Source: AajShubkoo (YouTube).

    Sources: Céline Colassin (CinéArtistes - French), CineMemorial (French), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was signed to a contract by MGM in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She became one of Hollywood's leading stars and was considered one of the most beautiful women of her day. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953). She appeared in several high-profile films from the 1950s to 1970s, both in Hollywood and Europe. She continued to act regularly until 1986, four years before her death at the age of 67.

    Ava Gardner
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C 234. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for East Side, West Side (Mervyn LeRoy, 1949).

    Ava Gardner
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 224.

    Ava Gardner
    Italian postcard by B.F.F. (Casa Edit. Ballerini & Fratini), Milano, no. 2659. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Show Boat (George Sidney, 1951).

    She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!


    Ava Lavinia Gardner was born in 1922 near the farming community of Smithfield, North Carolina, USA. She was the youngest of seven children of Mary Elizabeth ‘Molly’ (Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner, poor cotton and tobacco farmers. While the children were still young, the Gardners lost their property, forcing Jonas Gardner to work at a sawmill and Molly to begin working as a cook and housekeeper at a dormitory for teachers at the nearby Brogden School.

    When Gardner was seven years old, the family decided to try their luck in Newport News, Virginia, where Molly Gardner found work managing a boarding house for the city's many ship workers. While in Newport News, Gardner's father became ill and died from bronchitis in 1938, when Ava was 15 years old. After Jonas Gardner's death, the family moved to Rock Ridge near Wilson, North Carolina, where Mollie Gardner ran another boarding house for teachers.

    Gardner attended high school in Rock Ridge and she graduated from there in 1939. She then attended secretarial classes at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson for about a year. Gardner was visiting her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941 when Beatrice's husband Larry Tarr, a professional photographer, offered to take her portrait. He was so pleased with the results that he displayed the finished product in the front window of his Tarr Photography Studio on Fifth Avenue.

    The Tarrs send her picture to MGM and Ava was interviewed at MGM's New York office by Al Altman, head of MGM's New York talent department. With cameras rolling, he directed the eighteen-year-old to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase. He did not attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for him to understand her. Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, however, sent a telegram to Al: "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!"

    Ava was offered a standard contract by MGM, and left school for Hollywood in 1941 with her sister Beatrice accompanying her. MGM's first order of business was to provide her a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them. Soon after her arrival in Los Angeles, Gardner met fellow MGM contract player Mickey Rooney. They married in 1942, when she was 19 years old and he was 21. Largely due to Rooney's serial adultery, Gardner divorced him in 1943, but agreed not to reveal the cause so as not to affect his career. Gardner's second marriage was brief as well, to jazz musician and bandleader Artie Shaw, from 1945 to 1946.

    Till then, she had appeared in 17 film roles, but mainly one-line bits or little better. She had her first bigger role in the B-film Whistle Stop (Léonide Moguy 1946) starring George Raft. Then, MGM loaned her to Universal for the Film Noir The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946), based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. Her performance as an incredibly beautiful femme fatale opposite Burt Lancaster became her breakthrough. The Killers became a smash hit and Gardner was an instant star.

    Ava Gardner
    French postcard by Editions P.I., La Garenne-Colombes, no. 208, 1950. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Ava Gardner
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 881. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1954).

    Ava Gardner
    Vintage collector's card. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1954).

    A fan of bullfighting and bullfighters


    Ava Gardner became more and more prominent with her next films, including The Hucksters (Jack Conway, 1947) with Clark Gable, the musical Show Boat (George Sidney, 1951) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Henry King, 1952).

    In 1951, Frank Sinatra left his wife, Nancy, for Gardner and their subsequent marriage, her third and last, made headlines. The tumultuous marriage ended in 1957, but Gardner remained good friends with Sinatra for the remainder of her life. She would later say in her autobiography Ava: My Story, that he was the love of her life.

    In 1953, Ava was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (John Ford, 1953). She appeared in several more high-profile films during the 1950s, including The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1954), Bhowani Junction (George Cukor, 1956), and The Sun Also Rises (Henry King, 1957).

    After Gardner divorced Sinatra in 1957, she headed for Spain, where she began a friendship with writer Ernest Hemingway, the author of The Sun Also Rises. Several years earlier, Hemingway had successfully urged producer Darryl F. Zanuck to cast Gardner in The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), which adapted several of his short stories. Her friendship with Hemingway led to her becoming a fan of bullfighting and bullfighters, such as Luis Miguel Dominguín, who became her lover.

    Most of her subsequent films were outside the US. In 1963, Gardner was billed between Charlton Heston and David Niven in the historical epic 55 Days at Peking (Nicholas Ray, 1963), which was set in China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The following year, she played her last great leading role as Maxine Faulk in the critically acclaimed The Night of the Iguana (John Huston, 1964). The film, based upon a Tennessee Williams play, starred Richard Burton as an atheist clergyman and Deborah Kerr as a gentle artist traveling with her aged poet grandfather. Gardner was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe award for her hearty performance in this signature role. Gardner next appeared again with Burt Lancaster in Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964), a fascinating thriller based on a script by Rod Sterling about an attempted military takeover of the US government.

    In 1968, tax trouble in Spain prompted her to move to London. There she underwent an elective hysterectomy to allay her worries of contracting the uterine cancer that had claimed the life of her own mother. That year, she made what some consider to be one of her Empress Elisabeth of Austria opposite James Mason as Emperor Franz Joseph I.

    She appeared in a number of disaster films throughout the 1970s, notably Earthquake (Mark Robson, 1974) with Charlton Heston, the Italian-British disaster-thriller The Cassandra Crossing (George Pan Cosmatos, 1976) with Richard Harris and Sophia Loren, and the Canadian film City on Fire (Alvin Rakoff, 1979). She appeared briefly as legendary actress Lillie Langtry at the end of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (John Huston, 1972) featuring Paul Newman, and in the American/Soviet fantasy film The Blue Bird (George Cukor, 1976). Her last film was Regina Roma (Jean-Yves Prate, 1982), with Anthony Quinn and Anna Karina.

    In the 1980s Ava Gardner acted primarily on television, including the mini-series remake of The Long, Hot Summer (Stuart Cooper, 1985), based on the novel by William Faulkner. She continued to act regularly until 1986, when two strokes left her partially paralyzed and bedridden. Four years later, Ava Gardner died of pneumonia at the age of 67, at her London home, where she had lived since 1968.

    Ava Gardner
    Italian postcard in the series Artisti di Sempre by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 299.

    Ava Gardner
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 48.

    Ava Gardner
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 126.

    Ava Gardner
    German postcard by ISV, no. D 4. Photo: Civiani.

    Ava Gardner
    Italian postcard by Rotalcolor (Rotalfoto), Milano (Milan), no. 13.

    Sources: Rod Crawford (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Yesterday, there was mail from Spain. My friend, collector Didier Hanson sent me scans of his newest acquisitions. For this post I have selected 12 Russian and one Croatian postcards from stars of the pre-Soviet era. Enjoy these rare and wonderful cards, produced for that new and exciting phenomenon, the cinema of the Russian Empire, and for those legendary giants of the Russian stage of a century ago...

    Vera Kholodnaya
    Vera Kholodnaya. Russian postcard, no. 77. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Vera Karalli. Russian Postcard, no. 91, 1917. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ossip Runitsch
    Ossip Runitsch. Russian postcard, 1917. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Kholodnaya
    Vera Kholodnaya. Russian postcard, no. 2. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Lidia Ryndina, Vera Karalli and Vitold Polonsky in Vozmezdie (1916)
    Lidia Ryndina, Vera Karalli and Vitold Polonsky in Vozmezdie (1916). Russian Postcard, no. 152. Collection: Didier Hanson. Photo: publicity still for Vozmezdie/Retribution (Yevgeni Bauer, 1916).

    Vladimir Maksimov
    Vladimir Maksimov. Russian postcard, no. 78. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Nathalie Kovanko and Jaque Catelaine
    Croatian postcard by Mosinger Film, Zagreb. Collection: Didier Hanson. Jaque Catelain and Nathalie Kovanko played together in Le prince charmant/Prince Charming (Viktor Tourjansky, 1925).

    Maxim Gorky and Feodor Chaliapin
    Maxim Gorky and Feodor Chaliapin. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Konstantin Stanislavski
    Konstantin Stanislavski. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    The Jewish violonist Leibke
    The character of the Jewish violonist Leibke in the play Anathema by Leonid Andreyev. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Raphael Adelheim
    Russian postcard, no. 310. Collection: Didier Hanson. Raphael Adelheim was one of the great actors of the Russian theatre, known for his Shakespeare interpretations. The Jewish actor also played in the silent biopic Leya Lifshitz (Ladislaw Starewicz, 1917). In 1938, he was named People's artist of the republic.

    Vasili Kachalov in The Brothers Karamazov
    Vasily Kachalov as Ivan in the play The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vasili Kachalov in In Life's Clutches (1911)
    Vasily Kachalov in the play In Life's Clutches (1911) by Knut Hamsun. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Earlier posts about the collection of Didier Hanson were Rare postcards from the Cinema of the Russian Empire and New rare postcards from the Cinema of the Russian Empire. Thanks, Didier!

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  • 08/13/15--22:00: Gaby André
  • French actress Gaby André (1920-1972) was a film star during World War II, who later became the mother of another gorgeous French film star, Carole André.

    Gaby André
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 19. Sent by mail in 1944. Photo: Ch. Vandamme / Les Mirages.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 195. Photo: Roger Carlet.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Greff Editeur, Paris, no. 114. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard, no. 102. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by SERP, Paris, no. 18. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Angel of the Night


    Gaby André or Gaby Andreu was born as Gabrielle Louise Mathilde Andreu in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, in 1920.

    Her film debut was a bit part in Hélène (Jean Benoît-Lévy, Marie Epstein, 1936), based on a novel by Vicky Baum and starring Madeleine Renaud. More small parts followed for the beautiful young actress in Entrée des artistes/The Curtain Rises (Marc Allégret, 1938) with screen legend Louis Jouvet, Le drame de Shanghaï/The Shanghai Drama (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1938) again with Jouvet, and La fin du jour/The End of the Day (Julien Duvivier, 1939), an excellent drama about an old people's home for actors.

    Her first leading roles were in the limited shown Départ à zéro (Maurice Cloche, 1941-1943) and La maison des sept jeunes filles/The House of the Seven Young Girls (Albert Valentin, 1942), based on a novel by Georges Siménon.

    More films followed like the comedy Adémaï bandit d'honneur (Gilles Grangier, 1943) with Noël-Noël, Un seul amour/Secrets of a Ballerina (Pierre Blanchar, 1943), and L’Ange de la nuit/Angel of the Night (André Berthomieu, 1944), starring Jean-Louis Barrault.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 110. Photo: Le Studio.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 11. Photo: Cinéma de France.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 198. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 631, presented by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane'. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Gaby Andreu
    Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit, no. 2893. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Prima di sera/Before nightfall (Piero Tellini, 1954).

    Gaby Andreu
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 131. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Prima di sera/Before nightfall (Piero Tellini, 1954).

    Dreadful Comedy


    After the war there was a hiatus in the career of Gaby André. In 1947 she married the American industrialist Eli Smith and they had a daughter, the later actress Carole André. In 1950 she was seen in American films like the comedy Please Believe Me (Norman Taurog, 1950) with Deborah Kerr, and the gangster film Highway 301 (Andrew L. Stone, 1950) starring Steve Cochran.

    She returned to France, where she co-starred with Fernandel in the comedy Boniface somnambule/The Sleepwalker (Maurice Labro, 1951). The following years she was seen in international films like The Green Glove (Rudolph Maté, 1952) with Glenn Ford, and Prima di sera/Before the evening (Piero Tellini, 1953), with Paolo Stoppa.

    She stayed in Italy for the rest of her life. Among her Italian films were the biopic Giuseppe Verdi/The Life and Music of Giuseppe Verdi (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1953), Donatella (Mario Monicelli, 1956), and the sword and sandal epic La vendetta di Ercole/Goliath and the Dragon (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1960).

    Incidentally she appeared in French films like the actioner Incognito (Patrice Dally, 1958) with Eddie Constantine. She played a computer expert in the British Science-Fiction film The Strange World of Planet X/The Cosmic Monsters (Gilbert Gunn, 1958) and a research scientist in the Italian adventure La Granda Caccia/East of Kilimanjaro (Arnold Belgard, Eduardo Capolino, 1957-1959).

    Together with her daughter Carole André she starred in Togli le gambe dal parabrezza/You remove the legs from the windscreen (Massimo Franciosa, 1969). Gaby’s final role was in the dreadful comedy Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You (Rodney Amateau, 1970), the defunct sequel to What’s new Pussycat? (Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge, 1965). Script writer Woody Allen disowns both movies, though.

    Gaby André died of cancer in 1972 in Rome, at the age of 52.

    Gaby André
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milan, no. 813. Photo: Dear Film.

    Gaby André
    French postcard by Editions du Globe.

    Gaby Andreu
    French postcard, no. 113. Photo: Gaumont.

    Gaby André
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 935. Photo: publicity still for Giuseppe Verdi (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1953), featuring Pierre Cressoy as Verdi.

    Gaby Andreu, Pierre Cressoy
    German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 934, 1958. Photo: publicity still for Giuseppe Verdi (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1953) featuring Pierre Cressoy as Verdi.

    Sources: AllMovie, Cinemémorial (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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  • 08/14/15--22:00: Der Schut (1964)
  • Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) is the first film adaptation in the 1960s of the oriental novels by best-selling 19th century German writer Karl May. These adventure novels set in the Orient and Middle East and feature Kara Ben Nemsi who travels throughout the Ottoman empire, alongside his friend and servant Hadschi Halef Omar. In Der Schut, Lex Barker stars as Kara Ben Nemsi and Ralf Wolter plays Halef. German-born Hollywood director Robert Siodmak, famous for the Burt Lancaster classics The Killers (1946) and The Crimson Pirate (1952), directed the picture on location in Yugoslavia.

    Marie Versini in Der Schut
    German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 921. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Gloria / Schnelle. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Shoot (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Marie Versini as Tschita.

    Der Schut  (1964) with Dieter Borsche, Chris Howland and Lex Barker
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 2. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Dieter Borsche, Chris Howland and Lex Barker. Caption: "Mister Kara, wie gut, dass ich Euch treffe. Euer Freund Galingré wurde von den Banditen des Schut überfallen und entführt. Ein gewisser Nirwan besuchte mich an Bord meiner Jacht und erzählte mir davon.'- 'Unter diesen Umständen kann ich natürlich nicht mit Euch nach Egypten reisen, Sir David, das werdet Ihr verstehen. Ich werde nach Ostromdscha reiten, wo die Frau meines entführten Freundes lebt... Ich muss den Schut finden!'- " (Mister Kara, so good that I meet you. Your friend Galingré was attacked and kidnapped by bandits of the Yellow One. A certain Nirwan visited me on board of my yacht and told me about it .'- 'In these circumstances, I can not travel with you to Egypt of course, Sir David, which will you understand. I will ride to Strumnitza where my kidnapped friend's wife lives ... I need to find the Yellow One'! -)

    Der Schut (1964) with Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 7. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964). Caption: "Keine Angst, guter Mann. Wir sind Freunde von Dir. Mein Sihdi, der berühmte Kara ben Nemsi und ich werden alles tun, um diesen Schurken, den Schut, zu fangen." (Do not worry, my good man. We are friends of yours. My Sidi, the famous Kara ben Nemsi and I will do everything possible to catch these rogues, the Schut.)

    Der Schut (1964) with Renato Baldini
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 9. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Renato Baldini. Caption: "'Hier Barud, nimm mein Messer!' - 'Ja, so geht's besser! Sollte jetzt Jemand lust haben, uns zu verfolgen, dann braucht er nur über diese Brücke zu kommen!' - " (Barud, take my knife! '- 'Yes, now it gets better! If someone should like to persecute us, then he just needs to come across the bridge!)

    Der Schut (1964) with Friedrich von Ledebur
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 13. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Friedrich von Ledebur. Caption: "Ich habe solche Angst vor dem Heiligen Mübarek, er wird zornig sein, weil ich mit euch spreche und seine Raben werden ihn sagen, was ich euch erzählt habe... Dass er die Leute vor euch gewarnt hat...!" (I am so afraid of the Holy Mübarek, he will be angry that I speak to you, and his ravens will tell him what I told you ... That he warned the people for you ...!)

    Der Schut (1964) with Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 15. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964). Caption: "Am Abend im Hause Galingré: 'Halef, ich werde dem Mübarek einen Streich spielen. Deshalb musstest du mir Wismut und Quecksilber besorgen. Daraus mache ich Kugeln, die genau aussehen wie Bleikugeln, aber beim Schiessen zerfallen. Nun lade ich das Gewehr immer abwechselnd mit einer Kugel aus Blei und mit einer falschen...'" (In the evening at home Galingré: "Halef, I will play a trick on the Mübarek. Therefore, you had to get me bismuth and mercury. From this I'll make bullets that look like lead bullets, but disintegrate during firing. Now I'll load the gun alternately with a bullet made of lead and a fake one ...")

    Der Schut  (1964) with Lex Barker, Ralph Wolter and Friedrich von Ledebur
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 16. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Lex Barker, Ralf Wolter and Friedrich von Ledebur. Caption: "Der heilige Mübarek stellt sich seinem Gegner, Kara Ben Nemsi. "Dieser blonde Giaur soll dafür bestraft werden, dass er einen heiligen Raben erschossen hat. Es ist Allahs Wille!" - Ihr lügt, Mübarek. Es ist nicht Allah's sondern dein Wille. Du fürchtest dich von mir, weil ich ein grösserer Zauberer bin als du. Ich will es dir beweisen. Hier ist ein Gewehr, das genauer und besser schiesst als jedes andere. Wenn du mich mit einer einzigen Kugel treffen kannst, dann soll es dir gehören, Mübarek. Halef, zeig ihm das Gewehr und wie man damit feuert." (The Holy Mübarek faces his opponent, Kara Ben Nemsi. "This blonde Giaur will be punished because he shot a sacred raven. It is the will of Allah!" - You lie, Mübarek. It is not God's will but yours. You're afraid of me because I am a greater magician than you. I want to prove it to you. Here is a gun that shoots more accurate and better than any other. If you can meet with a single bullet, then it should belong to you, Mübarek. Halef, show him the rifle and how to fire it.)

    Heroic Kara Ben Nemsi


    The secretive 'Schut' or 'The Yellow One' (Rik Battaglia) is a bandit king who terrorizes a whole region in the land of the Skipetars - modern Albanians, one of the few Balkan people who adopted the Turkish Muslim faith. He controls the land in the disguise of the wealthy Persian carpet merchant Nirwan.

    The Schut holds an English aristocrat and a French merchant for a ransom, then he also abducts the beautiful Tschita (Marie Versini), Kara's friend Omar's fiancée. The corrupt police force does not take any action against him.

    Heroic Kara Ben Nemsi (the Turkish-Arabic name means 'black(bearded) German') tries to find the Schut's hiding-place in the mountains and free the prisoners. But the Schut has many rogues and assassins under his command who make this search long and dangerous.

    After unmasking the Mübarek, a local phony 'magician', and dealing with some other ruffians and corruption, Kara Ben Nemsi and Lord Lindsay (Dieter Borsche) with his butler Archie (Chris Howland) set out to finish The Schut off.

    Der Schut (1964) with Friedrich von Ledebur
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 17. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964). Caption: "Seht ihr, was hinter der Maske dieses Heiligen steckt? Halif hat ihm den Mantel heruntergerissen und hervor kam das zerfetzte Kleid des angeblich lahmen und taubstummen Bettlers Busra. Er war stets überall und nirgends - trotz seiner kranken Beine. Nicht die Raben haben den Mübarek alles erzählt, sondern er selbst hörte was über ihn gesprochen wurde." (Do you see what's behind the mask of this saint? Halif has torn down his coat and forth came the tattered dress of the supposedly lame and deaf-mute beggar Busra. He was always everywhere and nowhere - despite his ill legs. Not the Ravens have told the Mübarek everything, but he could hear himself what was being said about him.)

    Marianne Hold and Lex Barker in Der Schut (1964)
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 29. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Marianne Hold and Lex Barker. Caption: "Wie froh bin ich, dass Ihnen nichts passiert ist, Mister Kara. Ich hörte die Schüsse..." - "Wie Sie sehen, ist mit diesem Mübarek alles gut gegangen, Madame Galingré. Fein dass Sie die Pferde mitgebracht haben. Da können Omar, Halef und Ich gleich die Verfolgung des Schut aufnehmen." ("How glad I am that nothing happened to you, Mister Kara (Lex Barker). I heard the shots ...." - "As you can see, everything went well with this Mübarek, Madame Galingré (Marianne Hold). Fine that you brought the horses. Omar, Halef and I can immediately do on with the persecution of The Yellow One.")

    Der Schut (1964) with Lex Barker, Ralf Wolter and Marianne Hold
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 31. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Lex Barker, Ralf Wolter and Marianne Hold. Caption: "Das vollbeladene Floss. Ein gutes Angriffsziel für die sich in den Felsen versteckt haltenden Banditen." (The fully loaded raft. A good target for the bandits, who are hiding between the rocks.)

    Der Schut (1964) with Dusan Janicijevic
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 36. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Dusan Janicijevic. Caption: "Zum letzten Mal! Wo ist meine Braut Tschita? Wohin hast du sie geschleppt?" (For the last time! Where is my bride Tschita? Where did you drag her?)

    Der Schut (1964) with Lex Barker and Marianne Hold
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 37. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Lex Barker and Marianne Hold. Caption: "Damit Madame Galingré sich von den Strapazen des Überfalls erholen kann, wird eine kurze Rast eingelegt. Erst am nächsten Morgen soll die Suche nach dem Schut fortgezetst werden." (A short break is inserted, so Madame Galingré can recover from the rigors of the raid. The next morning the search for the Yellow One will be continued.)

    Der Schut (1964) with Ralf Wolter
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 39. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Ralf Wolter. Caption: "Man hat Halef in die Schluchthütte gerissen und ihn dort gefesselt. 'Wo halt sich Kara auf? Rede... oder!' - Aber Halef schweigt und widersteht alle Drohungen und Schlägen." (They have pulled Halef into the canyon lodge and tied him up there. 'Where is Kara holding on? Speak... or! '- But Halef remains silent and resists all threats and beatings.)

    Karl May's Oriental Cycle


    Der Schut was not the first adaptation of the Oriental novels with Kara Ben Nemsi by Karl May. In 1920, May's friends Marie Luise Droop and her husband Adolf Droop among others founded in cooperation with the Karl May Press the production company Ustad-Film.

    They produced three silent films: Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses/On the Brink of Paradise (Josef Stein, 1920), Die Todeskarawane/Caravan of Death (Josef Stein, 1920) and Die Teufelsanbeter/The Devil Worshippers (Marie Luise Droop, 1920), all starring Carl de Vogt as Kara Ben Nemsi. These three films are believed to be lost. Due to the low success Ustad-Film went bankrupt in the following year.

    The first sound film was Durch die Wüste/Through the Desert (J.A. Hübler-Kahla, 1936). Kara Ben Nemsi was played by Fred Raupach.

    The German-Spanish Die Sklavenkarawane/Caravan of Slaves (Georg Marischka, Ramón Torrado, 1958) and its sequel Der Löwe von Babylon/The Lion of Babylon (Johannes Kai, Ramón Torrado, 1959) were the first colour films. In the first film, Kara Ben Nemsi was played by Viktor Staal and in the second by Helmuth Schneider. In both films Halef was played by Georg Thomalla and Sir David Lindsay by Theo Lingen.

    Famous is the Karl May film wave from 1962–1968, which was one of the most successful German film series ever. Most of these films were made separately by the two competitors Horst Wendlandt and Artur Brauner.

    Most of the 17 films of this series were Westerns starring Pierre Brice as Winnetou, beginning with Der Schatz im Silbersee/The Treasure of the Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1962).

    Three of the films were based on the Orient cycle. After Der Schut followed Durchs wilde Kurdistan/Wild Kurdistan (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1965) and Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen/Kingdom of the Silver Lion (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1965). In all three films Lex Barker starred as Kara Ben Nemsi.

    Der Schut (1964) with Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 40. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter. Caption: "Kara der seinen treuen Diener plötzlich vermisste, ist seinen Spuren nachgegangen und konnte ihn noch rechtzeitig aus den Klauen der Banditen befreien. Jeder einzelner wird jetzt von Kara mit seinem gefürchteten Bärentöter aufs Korn genommen." (Kara, who suddenly missed his faithful servant, has followed in his footsteps, and could free him in time from the clutches of the bandits. Kara now takes each bandit on the grain with his dreaded bear hunter.)

    Der Schut, Dieter Borsche, Chris Howland
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 43. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Dieter Borsche and Chris Howland. Caption: "'Well, Archibald, was nun?' fragt Sir Lindsay seinen Butler, als sie der Schut unversehends in einer Felsenhöhle, die sich unter seinem Palast befindet, gefangensetzt." ('Archibald now what?', Sir Lindsay (Dieter Borsche) asks his butler (Chris Howland), when The Shoot enexpectedly captures them in a cave, which is located beneath his palace." )

    Der Schut  (1964) with Dieter Borsche and Chris Howland
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 44. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Dieter Borsche and Chris Howland. Caption: "Der Lord sowie sein Diener lassen sich durch die Situation nicht erschüttern. Archie halt in seinem Wunderkoffer alles bereit, um seinem Lord den Aufenthalt in der Felsenhöhle so angenehm wie möglich zu machen." (The Lord and his servant won't be shaken by the situation. Archie has in his magical suitcase everything ready to make his Lord's stay in the cave as pleasant as possible.)

    Der Schut (1964) with Ralf Wolter and Marianne Hold
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 46. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964) with Ralf Wolter and Marianne Hold. Caption: "Durch eine List gelingt es dem treuen Diener Halef mit Hilfe von türkischen Soldaten seinen geliebten Herrn, Kara Ben Nemsi, aus den Händen des Schut zu befreien, der ihn gefangenhält." (By a ruse and with the help of Turkish soldiers, the faithful servant Halef can free his beloved Lord, Kara Ben Nemsi, from the hands of the Yellow One, who has imprisoned him.)

    Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter in Der Schut (1964)
    German postcard by Heinerle Karl-May-Postkarten, no. 48. Photo: CCC / Gloria. Publicity still for Der Schut/The Yellow One (Robert Siodmak, 1964). Caption: "Die Abschiedsstunde schlägt. Kara will in seine Heimat zurückkehren. Traurig sagt Halef seinem beliebten Herrn 'Good-bye'. 'Sihdi, wir werden uns wiedersehen, wenn der Sohn von Rih das Licht der Welt erblickt hat!'" (The Farewell Bell Tolls. Kara wants to return to his homeland. Sad Halef says his beloved Lord "Good-bye". "Sidi, we 'll meet again, when the son of Rih has seen the light of day!")

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/15/15--22:00: Lilian Harvey, Part 1
  • Ufa's biggest star of the 1930s was British born German actress and singer Lilian Harvey (1906-1968). With Willy Fritsch she formed the 'Dream Team of the European Cinema'. Today a post about Harvey's rise to fame in the silent cinema and about her greatest success with the early sound operetta Der Kongress Tanzt/The Congress Dances (1931). Tomorrow follows Part 2 about her later triumphs and failures during the Third Reich.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3759/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin. Ross Verlag.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard. Ross Verlag, no. 4143/3, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for the silent film Du sollst nicht stehlen/Thou Shalt Not Steal (Victor Janson, 1928).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4538/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5312/3, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    Dutch postcard by N.V. De Faam, Breda. Photo: Ufa.

    Dream Team


    Lilian Harvey was born Helene Lilian Muriel Pape in Hornsey (North London), Great Britain, in 1906. Her mother was English and her father was a German businessman, and when Lilian was eight they moved to Berlin.

    At the beginning of World War I the family found itself in Magdeburg, and they were unwilling and unable to return to England. She spent much of WW I with an aunt in Solothurn in Switzerland. After the war she returned to Germany. She studied ballet at the Staatsoper Berlin in 1923 and worked in theatre revues. She assumed her grandmother's maiden name (Harvey) as her professional surname.

    In 1924, Harvey received her first screen role as the young Jewish girl Ruth in the silent film Der Fluch/The Curse (Robert Land, 1925). Director-producer Richard Eichberg signed her on, and under his direction she played her first leading roles in Leidenschaft/Passion (Richard Eichberg, 1925) with Otto Gebühr, and Liebe und Trompetenblasen/Love and Trumpet Blows (Richard Eichberg, 1925) opposite Harry Liedtke.

    A year later she acted for the first time with Willy Fritsch, in Die keusche Susanne/The Innocent Susanne (Richard Eichberg, 1926) - an anticipation of the future 'Dream Team of the European Cinema'.

    Harvey appeared in the following years in such silent films as Die tolle Lola/Fabulous Lola (Richard Eichberg, 1927), Eine Nacht in London/A Night in London (Lupu Pick, 1928), and Adieu, Mascotte (Wilhelm Thiele, 1929) with Harry Halm.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1928/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3759/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4025/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4039/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4539/3, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

    The Sweetest Girl


    After many roles in silent films, Lilian Harvey was able to pursue a successful acting career during the initial sound film era of the early 1930s.

    Because of her training as a singer and a dancer Ufa found great use for her in light operettas.

    In the hit Liebeswalzer/The Love Waltz (Wilhelm Thiele, 1930) she starred with 'sunny boy'Willy Fritsch, and they became the 'dream couple' of the German cinema. Fritsch sang in the film the song Du bist das süßeste Mädel der Welt, a nd the press now dubbed Harvey the 'Sweetest Girl of the World'.

    Together Harvey and Fritsch would make eleven box office hits, including Hokuspokus/Hocuspocus (Gustav Ucicky, 1930), Die Drei von der Tankstelle/Three Good Friends (Wilhelm Thiele, 1930), and Ein blonder Traum/A Blonde Dream (Paul Martin, 1932).

    Lilian Harvey and Harry Liedtke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1394/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Hameister - Eichberg Film G.m.b.H. Publicity still for Liebe und Trompetenblasen/Love and Trumpet Blows (Richard Eichberg, 1925) with Harry Liedtke. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Lilian Harvey and Igo Sym in Adieu Mascotte (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4593/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Adieu Mascotte (Wilhelm Thiele, 1929) with Igo Sym.

    Lilian Harvey in Adieu Mascotte
    German collectors card in the series Sammelwert 'Der Stumme Film' by Ross Verlag, no. 10. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Adieu Mascotte (Wilhelm Thiele, 1929).

    Willy Fritsch and Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5510/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa. Could be a publicity still for the early sound film Einbrecher/Burglar (Hanns Schwarz, 1930), in which Willy Fritsch is a burglar who gets an affair with a rich and neglected industrial's wife (Harvey).

    Lilian Harvey in Der Kongress Tanzt (1931)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 131/2. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Der Kongress tanzt/The Congress dances (Erik Charell, 1931).

    Willy Fritsch, Lilian Harvey and Willi Forst in Ein blonder Traum
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 143/3, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Ein blonder Traum/Happy Ever After (Paul Martin, 1932).

    Capricious and extravagant operetta


    The postcards above show Lilian Harvey as Vienna glove-sales-lady Christl in Der Kongress Tanzt/The Congress Dances (1931), the first and only German film of director Erik Charell. Charell used the Vienna congress as a background to the real story of Christl, who is causing an uproar because of her unconventional methods of advertising. She throws flower bouquets advertising her shop The Beautiful Shepherdess to all visiting dignitaries as they ride by in their coaches.

    This immensely successful film operetta is not only a classic of the early German sound film, showing all the capabilities of the Ufa, but it was also a promising start of a film career that was not to be realized: Charell had to leave Nazi-Germany and was unable to continue his career as a film director abroad.

    Der Kongress Tanzt is not a filmed operetta, but a real film operetta. The cast is great: next to Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch as Tsar Alexander of Russia, Conrad Veidt as the Machiavellan Prince Metternich, Lil Dagover as a glamorous countess, Paul Hörbigerand Otto Walburgare at their best.

    Der Kongress tanzt has elegance, wit, beautiful sets, and brilliant music. Lilian Harvey's song Das gibt's nur einmal became an evergreen. In this musical sequence the heroine rides in a carriage to the castle she has been given by the Tsar. The scene is filmed in long takes where the camera just tracks and tracks and tracks, through the village, through the market place, through the fields and then goes on as she walks into the house. A 10 minutes masterpiece in its own right.

    More than just direct, Erik Charell choreographed the film. Although the film stands on its own feet, the influence of Ernst Lubitsch is evident. Der Kongress tanzt got also English and French versions (as would be the case with her subsequent films). In those versions starred Lilian Harvey, but the crew and the rest of the cast were respectively British and French.

    These foreign versions were so popular that Lilian Harvey became famous outside of Germany too. At IMDb, Jan Onderwater writes: "Der Kongress tanzt may not be perfect technically, but this is a sensual, made with great fun, original, capricious and extravagant operetta. Some scenes are even a bit bizarre and fetishistic. (...) It is curious that the film was not banned by Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels until October 1937."

    Willy Fritsch, Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6704/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Hollaender / Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey, Henri Garat
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6739/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Le Chemin du Paradis/The Road to Paradise (Wilhelm Thiele, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1930).

    Lilian Harvey, Hans Albers in Quick
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 141/6. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Quick (Robert Siodmak, 1932) with Hans Albers. Collection: Egbert Barten.


    Willy Fritsch & Lilian Harvey in Die keusche Susanne (1926). Source: Sittichfan (YouTube).


    Final scene from Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1930). Source: Einliedgehtumdiewelt (YouTube).


    Lilian Harvey sings Das gibt's nur einmal (Just Once For All Time) in Der Kongress Tanzt (1931). Source: Zaychatina (YouTube).

    To be continued tomorrow.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Jan Onderwater (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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