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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 08/16/15--22:00: Lilian Harvey, Part 2
  • Today we present you the second part of our tribute to Ufa's biggest star of the 1930s: British born actress and singer Lilian Harvey (1906-1968). With Willy Fritsch she formed the 'Dream Team of the European Cinema'. The international success of Der Kongress Tanzt/The Congress Dances led Harvey to Hollywood.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6277/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin / Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6278/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder / Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6752/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7140/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7142/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Egbert Barten.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7682/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Fox.


    Before going to Hollywood, Lilian Harvey first appeared in the British romance The Only Girl (Friedrich Hollaender, 1934) with Charles Boyer.

    Her Hollywood debut for 20th Century Fox was the film operetta My Lips Betray (John G. Blystone, 1933) with John Boles. Of this film now only rests an incomplete print. It was held back in favour of Harvey's second outing, My Weakness (David Butler, 1933) with Lew Ayres, which, despite its title, was considered a stronger effort.

    At AllMovie, Hal Erickson writes: "Clearly inspired by the Lubitsch and Clair musical semi-fantasies then in vogue, My Weakness is replete with rhyming dialogue, talking animals, and even a singing statue of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. The Buddy G. DeSylva-Leo Robin-Richard Whiting score is largely unmemorable save for Gather Lip Rouge While You May, which deserves a gold star for the title alone."

    Her last musical for Fox was I Am Suzanne (Rowland V. Lee, 1933). Hal Erickson writes about this film: "International musical-comedy favorite Lillian Harvey is as delightful as ever in the bizarre romantic tunefest I Am Suzanne. In a plotline curiously similar to the much-later Lili, Harvey is cast as Suzanne, a crippled dancer in love with young, self-involved puppeteer Tony (Gene Raymond), who finds it easier to talk to his wooden-headed creations than to human beings. (...) Rowland V. Lee's direction of I Am Suzanne is almost as Germanically symbolic as his later handling of Universal's Tower of London and Son of Frankenstein."

    Then she appeared for Columbia Pictures in the romantic comedy Let's Live Tonight (Victor Schertzinger, 1935), co-starring Tullio Carminati.

    In 1935 she returned to Europe. In Great Britain she starred in the musical Invitation to the Waltz (Paul Merzbach, 1935), and then she returned to Germany to be with her lover, director Paul Martin.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7679/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Fox. Publicity still for My Lips Betray (John G. Blystone, 1933).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7679/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Fox. Publicity still for My Lips Betray (John G. Blystone, 1933).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8001/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8000/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8431/2, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox. Publicity still for I am Suzanne! (Rowland V. Lee, 1933).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8690/1,1933-1934. Photo: Fox.


    Lilian Harvey returned to the Ufa studios in Schwarze Rosen/Black Roses (Paul Martin, 1935). It was again filmed in three languages: German, French and English.

    But not everything was the same as before her years in Hollywood. In her absence, the Nazi regime had come to power in Germany and the Gestapo found out that she still made invitations to her Jewish colleagues.

    She came under observation, but she nevertheless made successful Ufa-films such as the screwball comedy Glückskinder/Lucky Kids (Paul Martin, 1936) with Willy Fritsch, the historical musical Fanny Eisler (Paul Martin, 1937) with Willy Birgel, and the comedy Frau am Steuer/Woman at the Wheel (Paul Martin, 1939) again with Willy Fritsch.

    When Harvey helped the choreographer Jens Keith to escape to Switzerland this led to an interrogation by the Gestapo. A great part of her fortune that was invested in real estate was confiscated by the Nazis, and Harvey left Germany.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8581/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox (20th Century Fox).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8581/3, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox (20th Century Fox).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8321/2,1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8227/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9791/2,1934-1935. Photo: Ufa.

    Volunteer Nurse

    In France, Lilian Harvey made her last two films, Sérénade/Schubert's Serenade (Jean Boyer, 1940) with Bernard Lancret as composer Franz Schubert, and Miquette (Jean Boyer, 1940) with Lucien Baroux.

    After the occupation of southern France she emigrated again, now to Los Angeles to work as a volunteer nurse. Since she had done performances for French troop care the Nazi regime withdraw her German citizenship in 1943.

    Her former directors and co-workers like Michael Curtiz and Billy Wilder remained social contacts, but her stigma of having been Ufa's biggest star kept her from reigniting her film career.

    After the war, Harvey returned to Paris. In the following years, she travelled as a singer through Scandinavia and Egypt. In 1949, she returned to Germany and performed on stage.

    From 1953 to 1957, she was married to Danish theatre agent Hartvig Valeur-Larsen. She received war reparations in the early 1960s, and she lived on the Riviera. Eventually her secretary Else-Pitty Wirth became her partner.

    Lilian Harvey died of liver failure in 1968 in Juan-les-Pins, France.

    In 2009 Quentin Tarantino revived one of Lilian Harvey's greatest songs in his film Inglourious Basterds (2009). The hilarious Ich wollt' ich wär ein Huhn (I would like to be a chicken) written by Hans Fritz Beckmann and Peter Kreuder, can be heard on the soundtrack of the film. Harvey sang it with Willy Fritsch in Glückskinder/Lucky Kids (Paul Martin, 1936).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 567. Photo: Ufa.

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 628. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Egbert Barten.

    Lilian Harvey
    Dutch postcard, no. 646. Photo: Fox.

    Lilian Harvey
    British collectors card by Godfrey Phillips and Associated Companies' Cigarettes, no. 20. Photo: British International Pictures (B.I.P.) Publicity still for Invitation to the Waltz (Paul Merzbach, 1935).

    Lilian Harvey sings Guten Tag, Liebes Glück (1939) with images of Schwarze Rosen (Paul Martin, 1935). Source: Raiwons (YouTube).

    Clip of Ich wollt' ich wär' ein Huhn from Glückskinder/Lucky Kids (Paul Martin, 1936). Source: Sittichfan (YouTube).

    Lilian Harvey sings Si j'étais un homme (If I were A Man) in Miquette (Jean Boyer, 1940).

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Mayes (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/17/15--22:00: Léontine Massart
  • Léontine Massart (1885-1980) was a French stage and screen actress of Belgian origin. She peaked in French silent film of the early 1910s.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard bt Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: X.

    Muse or fetish

    Léontine Massart was born in Brussels in 1885. She was the sister of Mary Massart, who would marry and become the muse of French film director René Plaisetty. Mary acted in his films between 1918 and 1922.

    Stage director and actor Firmin Gémier discovered Léontine Massart in Brussels where she was acting with an amateur theatre company. She joined him in Paris where in 1909 she acted in his direction of Master Bob, gagnant du Derby by Henry de Brisay and Marcel Lauras.

    From 1909 she also acted at the companies of the Théâtre de l'Ambigu and the Théâtre Antoine.

    Parallel she ran a career as silent film actress, in particular in many films directed by Camille de Morlhon whose muse or fetish she was for several years. From 1912 Massart exclusively focused on film acting, though she did direct one play during the First World War: Bravo (1916).

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard. Photo Pathé.

    Joan of Arc

    In 1908 Léontine Massart made her cinema debut in Albert Capellani’s Jeanne d’Arc/La vie de Jeanne d’Arc, right away playing the title role. After this production at Pathé Frères she became a regular Pathé actress, acting in countless shorts by the company of the Red Rooster.

    Her repertory included historical and biblical dramas, such as Le tyran de Jérusalem (Camille de Morlhon, 1910) after Tasso, Le siège de Calais (Henri Andréani, 1911), Le jugement de Salomon (Henri Andréani, 1912), Le fils prodigue (Camille de Morlhon, 1912), Don Quichotte (Camille de Morlhon, 1913), La reine Margot (Henri Desfontaines, 1914) – in which she had the title role again, and Christophe Colomb (Gérard Bourgeois 1916) – in which she played Queen Isabella.

    Massart also performed in modern dramas such as Par l’enfant (Camille de Morlhon, 1909), Le violon de grand-père (Michel Carré, 1911), L’envieuse (Albert Capellani, 1911), La fille des chiffoniers (Georges Monca, 1912), La broyeuse de coeurs (Camille de Morlhon, 1913) and Sacrifice surhumain (Camille de Morlhon, 1914).

    She also figured in several comedies and farces such as some of the Rigadin comedies with the actor Prince such as Rigadin veut dormir tranquille (Georges Monca, 1910) and Le voile du bonheur (Albert Capellani, 1910), after a play by Georges Clemenceau, who is more famous as politician and whose only artistic work this was.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard by Pathé Frères. Photo: X.

    The end of a steady career

    While Léontine Massart had a quite steady career in the 1910s up to the 1919 drama Le calvaire d’une reine by René Leprince and Ferdinand Zecca, she only performed in one film in the 1920s.

    She only played in Mon p’tit (René Plaisetty, 1925) starring Arlette MarchalIt was also her last film.

    By then, she was 40. All in all Massart had acted in well over 40 films, both short and feature-length, and almost 20 of these were directed by Camille De Morlhon.

    Important male partners of Massart in these years were Henry Krauss, Henri Etievant, Pierre Magnier, Jean Kemm, Paul Capellani, Jean Dax, Firmin Gémier, and in particular Paul Franck.

    Léontine Massart died in Paris in 1980 at the high age of 95 years.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard, no. 4. Photo: Manuel.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard. Photo: Pathé.

    Sources: Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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    Good-looking and muscular American actor Gordon Scott (1926–2007) is best known as the eleventh Tarzan. He portrayed Tarzan in five films from 1955 to 1960. Then Scott moved to Italy, where he became a popular star of the Peplum film genre, the sword-and-sandal epics. As the Peplum faded, Scott starred in Spaghetti Westerns and Eurospy films.

    Gordon Scott in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west (1964)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 68. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965). Caption: "In einem Zweikampf auf Leben und Tod hat Buffalo Bill, der berühmteste Held des Wilden Westens, seinen gefährlichsten Feind bezwungen. Der edle Kämpfer schenkt seinem Gegner das Leben. Die Indianer selbst sollen seine Strafe bestimmen." (In a duel to the death, Buffalo Bill, the famous hero of the Wild West, has defeated his most dangerous enemy. The noble warrior gives his opponent his life. The Indians themselves have to determine his punishment.)

    Handsome features, muscular physique, and imposing height

    Gordon Scott was born Gordon Merrill Werschkul in Portland, Oregon, in 1926. He was one of nine children of advertising man Stanley Werschkul and his wife Alice. He was raised in Oregon and studied Physical Education at the University of Oregon for one semester.

    Upon leaving school, he joined the U.S. Army in 1944. He served as a drill sergeant and military policeman, and specialized in close order drill, judo and hand-to-hand combat. After his honourable discharge in 1947 he took on a variety of jobs, including fireman, cowboy, and farm-machinery salesman. In 1953 he was working as a lifeguard at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas when he was spotted by Hollywood agents, Ed and Walter Mayers. They were impressed by his handsome features, muscular physique, and imposing height.

    Scott then beat out 200 contestants to replace Lex Barker as Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous jungle hero Tarzan. Film producer Sol Lesser offered him a 7 year contract, a loin cloth and a new last name. Reportedly, ‘Werschkul’ sounded too much like ‘Weissmuller’. So as Gordon Scott, he debuted in the low-budget Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle (Harold D. Schuster, 1955).

    It led to a romance with co-star Vera Miles, who became his wife in 1956. They divorced in 1959. Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle was followed by Tarzan and the Lost Safari (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1957), the first Tarzan film in colour. It was filmed in Nairobi, British East Africa. In his early Tarzan films, Scott played the character as unworldly and inarticulate, in the mold of Johnny Weissmuller.

    In 1958, Sol Lesser sold Scott's contract to Sy Weintraub. The new producer took his star to Paramount Pictures and, fueled by bigger production budgets, made two of the most successful Tarzan films, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (John Guillermin, 1959) with Anthony Quayle and Sean Connery, and Tarzan the Magnificent (Robert Day, 1960) with Jock Mahoney. In these later films, Scott played a Tarzan who was educated and spoke perfect English, as in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. Gordon Scott was the only actor to play Tarzan in both styles.

    Gordon Scott
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, no. I 411. Photo: RKO. Publicity still for Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (Harold D. Schuster, 1955).

    Gordon Scott
    German postcard by Kolibri/Friedrich W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2322. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Maciste contro il vampiro/Maciste Vs. the Vampire (Giacomo Gentilomo, 1961).

    Sword-and-sandal epics

    Fearing he would become typecast as Tarzan, Gordon Scott moved to Italy. There he became a popular star of the Peplum genre, the sword-and-sandal epics featuring handsome bodybuilders as various characters from Greek and Roman myth.

    Scott was an old training buddy of Hercules star Steve Reeves. Reeves had agreed to star in the Sergio Leone-penned saga Romolo e Remo/Duel of the Titans (Sergio Corbucci, 1961) about the two brothers of Roman Mythology, who founded Rome. The producer wanted Reeves to play both Romulus and Remus, but Reeves objected that the film would be more effective with another actor in the role of Remus. He recommended Gordon Scott, and the film co-starred Virna Lisi, Laura Solari, Massimo Girotti and Jacques Sernas. Scott was given the highest salary he had earned thus far for taking the role.

    Next followed Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan/Maciste at the Court of the Great Khan (Riccardo Freda, 1961), which re-used the sets, extras and Yoko Tani as a princess from Marco Polo (Piero Pierotti, Hugo Fregonese, 1961) and Freda's I mongoli/The Mongols (André De Toth, Leopoldo Savona, Riccardo Freda, 1961).

    Scott played Julius Caesar opposite Pascale Petit as Cleopatra in the historical drama Una regina per Cesare/A Queen for Caesar (Piero Pierotti, Victor Tourjansky, 1962) set in Egypt in 48 BC. Unlike other films about Caesar and Cleopatra, this film focuses entirely on the dynastic struggle within Egypt leading up to the arrival of Caesar, and in fact, we only see him in the closing scene of the film when he arrives at The Ptolemaic Palace in Alexandria. 20th Century Fox bought the rights for the film to keep it out of release lest it compete with their own Cleopatra, featuring Elizabeth Taylor. Scott also played Hercules in a couple of international co-productions during the mid-1960s.

    Gordon Scott and Virna Lisi in Romolo e Remo (1961)
    Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Romolo e Remo/Duel of the Titans (Sergio Corbucci, 1961).

    Gordon Scott
    Vintage postcard.

    Buffalo Bill

    As the Peplum genre faded, Gordon Scott starred in other genre films. His first Spaghetti Western was Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1964) with Jan Hendriks.

    He also starred in the Eurospy film Il Raggio infernale/Danger!! Death Ray (Gianfranco Baldanello, 1967), released at a time when the James Bond films, and spy films in general, were very popular internationally. His early military combat and martial arts training made it possible for him to do many of his own stunts.

    His final film appearance was in the Spaghetti Western Gli uomini dal passo pesante/The Tramplers (Albert Band, Mario Sequi, 1966-1968) with Joseph Cotten and Franco Nero. He left Italy, and never made another film. He was trailed by a reputation as a ladies' man who seldom paid his bills, according to a 1987 article in the Toronto Star. For the last two decades of his life, Scott was a popular guest at film conventions and autograph shows and sold knives.

    In 2007, Gordon Scott died, aged 80, in Baltimore, Maryland, of lingering complications from multiple heart surgeries earlier in the year. Adam Bernstein in his obituary in The Washington Post: “He lived with a series of obliging friends and ‘Tarzan’ fans, most recently in Baltimore. He had a troubled marriage to Miles, who apparently was under the impression that she was his first wife. She was his second or third, by varying accounts. He was seldom in contact with his surviving family, which includes a brother and two sisters. He had a son with Miles, and it's unclear how many other children he might have had. He was estranged from nearly everyone.”

    Scott was married three times. His first marriage was with Janice Mae Wynkoop, of Oakland, California. They met when he was a lifeguard at Lake Temescal, located in Oakland, California. The couple married in Reno, Nevada, in 1948, and had one child, Karen Judith Werschkul (1948), before divorcing in 1949. His second marriage was to a woman he met while they were both working at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. Gordon as a lifeguard and his wife as a PBX operator. They soon married and had a son, Eric, but the marriage ended once Gordon's acting career took off. With Vera Miles, he had one son, Michael (1957).

    Gordon Scott in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del Far West (1965)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 34. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965) with Gordon Douglas. Caption: "Buffalo Bill hat sich auf die Fährte des weissen Waffenhändlers gesetzt, der die Rothäute zum Kampf aufwiegelt. Furchtlos hält Bill eine Übermacht rauher Burschen in Schach." (Buffalo Bill has set himself at the trail of the white arms dealer who incites the redskins to fight. Fearless Bill holds a a superior force of rough boys at bay.)

    Gordon Scott in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del Far West (1965)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 43. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965) with Gordon Douglas. Caption: "Buffalo Bill begibt sich mit seinem Gefährten in die Höhle des Löwen. Als harmloser Gast horcht er in der Bar des Dunkelmannes Monroe herum, um zu erfahren wo die entführte Häuptlingstochter 'Mondstrahl' gefangen gehalten wird." (Buffalo Bill embarks with his companions in the lion's den. As harmless guest he listens around in the bar of the dark man Monroe to find out where 'Moonbeam', the chief's kidnapped daughter, is being held captive.)

    Gordon Scott in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del Far West (1965)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 46. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965). Caption: "Der erste Schurke, Big Sam, ist gefasst. Buffalo Bill hat bei ihm die Schiesseisen für die Rothäute gefunden. Big Sam gehört zu den Banditen, auf deren Konto die neunen Kämpfe zwischen Sioux und Weissen kommen." (The first villain, Big Sam is taken. Buffalo Bill has found at his place the firearms for the Redskins. Big Sam is one of the bandits, on whose account comes the new fighting between Sioux and whites.)

    Gordon Scott in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del Far West (1965)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 51. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965) with Gordon Douglas. Caption: "'Gelbe Hand' vom Stamm der Sioux sieht seine hinterhältigen Manöver durchschaut. Er holt zum letzten Schlag gegen Fort Adam aus. Die von einem weissen Verräter gelieferten Feuerwaffen, den Buffalo Bill erledigt hat, sollen den Rothäuten den Sieg erkämpfen." ('Yellow Hand' of the tribe of Sioux sees his sneaky maneuver comprehended. He brings out the final blow to Fort Adam. The firearms, delivered by a white traitor, who Buffalo Bill has done in, have to help the Redskins to a victory.)

    Gordon Scott and Mirko Ellis in Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del Far West (1965)
    German collectors card by J & M Serienbilder Produktion Saar, no. 67. Photo: Gloria Film. Publicity still for Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west/Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West (Mario Costa, 1965) with Mirko Ellis and Gordon Scott (at right). Caption: "Wieder beweist der feige Häuptling Gelbe Hand'' im atemberaubenden Zweikampf mit Buffalo Bill seine Heimtücke. Er schmettert den Tomahawk auf den waffenlosen Gegner und deshalb verachten ihn jetzt sogar die eigenen Stammesgenossen." (Again the cowardly chief Yellow Hand hows his maliciousness in a breathtaking duel with Buffalo Bill. He smashes the Tomahawk on his unarmed opponent and therefore even his own tribesmen now despise him.)

    Sources: Adam Bernstein (The Washington Post), Brian J. Walker (Brian’s Drive-In Theater), Bill Hillman (ERBzine), Mark Cerulli (Tarzan.cc), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/19/15--22:00: Claudio Ermelli
  • Italian film actor Claudio Ermelli (1892-1964) played bit parts and character roles in more than 115 films, from 1915 to 1962.

    Claudio Ermelli
    Italian postcard by ASER, Roma, no. 97. Photo: Pesce.

    Mad Animals

    Claudio Ermelli was born Ettore Foa in Turin, Italy in 1892. He was born into a family of Jewish origin. He followed in the footsteps of his physician father and joined the Faculty of Medicine. Then he interrupted his studies to pursue his true passion: the theatre and acting.

    In 1915 he made his film debut in a supporting part as a sacristan in the silent short Silvio e lo Stradivarius/Silvio and the stradivarius (Ugo Falena, 1915), produced by Film d'Arte Italiana. In the 1990s this touching melodrama about an orphan boy (actress Silvia Malinferni) who loses his favourite violin, was discovered in the archive of the Dutch Filmmuseum.

    After this film debut, Ermelli returned to the stage and became the manager of his own vaudeville company. After a long interval, he returned to the cinema in sound films like the comedy Zaganella e il cavaliere/Zaganella and the knight (Giorgio Mannini, Gustavo Serena, 1932) with Arturo Falconi and Marcella Albani, and Il dono del mattino/The gift of the morning (Enrico Guazzoni, 1932) with Germana Paolieri. In these films he always played character roles.

    Throughout the 1930s, Ermelli played supporting parts in films like the comedy L'antenato/The Ancestor (Guido Brignone, 1936), starring Antonio Gandusio and Paola Barbara, the successful historical drama Il dottor Antonio/Doctor Antonio (Enrico Guazzoni, 1937), and the comedy I fratelli Castiglioni/The Castiglioni Brothers (Corrado D'Errico, 1937), starring Camillo Pilotto and Amedeo Nazzari. He also appeared with Totò in the comedy Animali pazzi/Mad Animals (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1939).

    Although of Jewish origin, Ermelli never had problems, even after the racial laws of 1938. He continued playing supporting parts and small roles during the war years. Among his films were the drama La forza bruta/Brute Force (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia 1941) with Juan de Landa and Rossano Brazzi, the comedy L'elisir d'amore (Amleo Palermi, 1941) with Arturo Falconi, and the Totò comedy Due cuori fra le belve/Two hearts among the beasts (Giorgio Simonelli, 1943).

    The best known film of this period is Tosca (Jean Renoir, Carl Koch, 1941) in which Ermelli played the composer and director Paisiello, who despairs when Tosca (Imperio Argentina) repeatedly interrupts his repetitions for a royal performance.

    Claudio Ermelli
    Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scaramiglia Edizioni, Roma), no. 163. Photographer unknown.

    Claudio Ermelli
    Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scaramiglia Edizioni, Roma). Photo: Fotopan.

    Roman Holdiday

    After the war, Claudio Ermelli often appeared on stage productions by directors like Luchino Visconti, Luciano Mondolfo and Luigi Squarzina.

    On the screen he was seen in Sperduti nel buio/Lost in the Dark (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1947), which starred Vittorio De Sica. This Italian drama, based on a play by Roberto Bracco, was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival. In 1914, it had already been made into a now lost silent film by Nino Martoglio with sets designed by the futurist architect Virgilio Marchi and with Maria Carmi as one of the stars.

    One of Ermelli’s best known post-war films is the delicious romantic comedy Roman Holliday (William Wyler, 1953), with Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to see Rome on her own. She is guided by undercover journalist Gregory Peck. The film was shot at the Cinecittà studios and on location around Rome. Ermelli played Peck’s Italian neighbour Giovanni. Hilarious is the scene in which Peck lends some money to Hepburn for a taxi while Giovanni looks on, growing more and more convinced that he’s paying her for the night they spent together.

    Ermelli played another funny character role in the American romantic comedy It Started in Naples (Melville Shavelson, 1960) with Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, and an Italian cast. His last screen appearance was in the TV series Una tragedia Americana/An American Tragedy (Anton Giulio Majano, 1962) with Virna Lisi.

    Claudio Ermelli died in 1964 in Rome. He was 72.

    Claudio Ermelli
    Vintage photo.

    Source: Vittorio Martinelli (Il Cinema Muto Italiana 1915 II - Italian), AllMovie, Wikipedia (Italian and English) and IMDb.

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  • 08/20/15--22:00: Peter Alexander
  • Peter Alexander (1926-2011) was an Austrian film actor and schlager- and operetta singer. He became popular in the 1950s and 1960s with his numerous roles in German musical comedies.

    Peter Alexander (1926-2011)
    German postcard by ISV, no. H 142.

    Peter Alexander, Caterina Valente, Silvio Francesco
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 73. Photo: Lantin.

    Peter Alexander
    Belgian postcard by Edition H. Troukens, Hofstade, no. 1028. Photo: Ufa.


    Peter Alexander was born in 1926 as Peter Alexander Ferdinand Maximilian Neumayer in Vienna, Austria. During World War II, he was a member of the Luftwaffenhelfer and the Reichsarbeitsdienst before being drafted into the navy. In 1945, he was captured by the British and held as a prisoner-of-war.

    After the war he attended Vienna's Max Reinhardt Seminary until 1948 and then started a career as an actor. His first film appearance was an uncredited bit part in Der Engel mit der Posaune/The Angel with the Trumpet (Karl Hartl, 1948).

    In 1951 Alexander released his first record, Das machen nur die Beine von Dolores, which reached the hit parade. Till 1982 there would be another 40 Top 10 hits and he sold a total of 46 million records.

    From 1952 on he appeared as a singer in films like Verlorene Melodie/Vanished Melody (Eduard von Borsody, 1952), Salto Mortale (Viktor Tourjansky, 1953), and Die Große Starparade/The Big Star Parade (Paul Martin, 1954).

    In 1953 he won the contest Deutschen Musikwettbewerb in München (Munich) before Vico Torriani and Gerhard Wendland.

    The next year he starred with Caterina Valente and Silvio Francesco in the musical comedy Liebe, Tanz und 1000 Schlager/Love, Dance, and 1000 Songs (Paul Martin, 1955). The threesome appeared again in Bonjour Kathrin (Karl Anton, 1956).

    Caterina Valente, Silvio Francesco, Peter Alexander in Bonjour, Kathrin (1956)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 164, 1956. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: publicity still for Bonjour, Kathrin (Karl Anton, 1956) with Caterina Valente and Silvio Francesco.

    Peter Alexander (1926-2011)
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1222. Photo: Ufa.

    Peter Alexander and Bibi Johns in Wehe, wenn sie losgelassen (1958)
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 399. Photo: Arthur Grimm / CCC / Constantin. Publicity still for Wehe, wenn sie losgelassen/Beware when she is released (Géza von Cziffra, 1958).

    Ingrid Andree, Peter Alexander
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1218/459. Photo: UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof). This is obviously a publicity still for the comedy Schlag auf Schlag/Blow On Blow (Géza von Cziffra, 1959) which starred Peter Alexander, Wolfgang Wahl, Ralf Wolter, and Ingrid Andree.

    Count Bobby Pinelski

    In the following decades Peter Alexander made some 30 entertainment films, including Ein Mann muß nicht immer schön sein/A Man Doesn't Always Need to Be Handsome (Hans Quest, 1956), Münchhausen in Afrika (Werner Jacobs, 1958), Peter schießt den Vogel ab/Peter Shoots the Bird (Géza von Cziffra, 1959), the operetta film Im weißen Rößl/The White Horse Inn (Werner Jacobs, 1960), the fine Jaroslav Hasek adaptation Schwejks Flegeljahre/Schweik's Years of Indiscretion (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1963), and Hilfe, meine Braut klaut/Help, My Bride Steals (Werner Jacobs, 1964) opposite Conny Froboess.

    Günther Philipp was often his partner in these films. In the 1960s Peter Alexander also starred in the popular Count Bobby Pinelski films, like Die Abenteuer des Grafen Bobby/The Adventures of Count Bobby (Géza von Cziffra, 1961) with Vivi Bach, and the silly Luemmel-series, like Hurra, die Schule brennt/Hurrah, the School Is Burning (Werner Jacobs, 1969) with Dutch child star Heintje Simons.

    In 1969, Peter Alexander started a second career as a TV host, with the Peter Alexander Show. He is considered Austria`s most popular entertainer of the 1970s and 1980s. He was famous for his parodies, including Queen Elizabeth II, and the four leading characters of the TV series The Golden Girls.

    In 1952 Peter Alexander had married actress Hilde Haagen, who became his manager. The couple had two children, Susanne and Michael. Since the death of his wife in 2003, he has lived in his house in Vienna, completely retired from the public. His daughter, the artist Susanne Neumayer-Haidinger, passed away in 2009. Peter Alexander died in 2011, aged 84, in his native Vienna. He was survived by his son and two grandchildren.

    Trailer Kriminaltango (Géza von Cziffra, 1960). Source: Arild Rafalzik (YouTube).

    Schwejks Flegeljahre/Schweik's Years of Indiscretion (1963). Source: Fritz 51166 (YouTube).

    Trailer of Hilfe, meine Braut klaut (1964) with Conny Froboess and Peter Alexander. Source: Conny Froboess (YouTube).

    Trailer for Hauptsache Ferien (1972). Source: Rialto Film (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/21/15--22:00: Die Geyer-Wally (1921)
  • Henny Porten was one of the three brightest female stars of the silent Weimar cinema - the others were Asta Nielsen and Fern Andra. One of her success films was Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921), an atmospheric Alpine melodrama in which she played the free-spirited mountain girl Wally.

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/10. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 440/3. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten-Film). Henny Porten in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921).

    A difficult situation in a nest of vultures

    Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally is a 'bergfilm' (mountain film), a melodrama set in the Alps. It is based on a popular novel by Wilhelmine von Hillern.

    When farmer daughter Wally (Henny Porten) saves Bären-Joseph from a difficult situation in a nest of vultures (Geier in German), she earns the nickname of Geier-Wally.

    She falls in love with Bären-Joseph (Bear-Joseph - played by Wilhelm Dieterle a.k.a. Hollywood director William Dieterle) , but her father (Albert Steinrück) wants her to marry Der Gellner-Vincenz (Eugen Klöpfer).

    Moreover, Joseph seems to have a secret lover. Wally is outraged when she learns about this and Vincenz even wants to kill him. But in the end it turns out that the 'lover' is Joseph's daughter, born out of wedlock. Wally and Joseph can still marry...

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/1. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921). The second woman may be Maria Grimm-Einödshofer (Obermagd).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/2. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921). Albert Steinrück played her father, Stromminger. The second woman may be Maria Grimm-Einödshofer (Obermagd).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/3. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921). The man could be Julius Brandt (Klettenmeyer).

    A huge box-office hit

    Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally is a typical 'bergfilm' (mountain film), an atmospheric mountain melodrama set in the Alps. In fact it was filmed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria.

    Henny Porten was such a popular star at the time that she could produce the film herself. In 1919, Porten had founded her own film company, HPF (Henny Porten Film), which worked for Gloria-Film. The Ufa distributed the film.

    Her production company had attracted an accomplished and talented cast and crew. Die Geier-Wally was directed by Ewald André Dupont, who would go on to direct the classic Variété/Variety (1925) and the sets were designed by Paul Leni, who would later become a horrorfilm director for Universal. In 1921, Leni co-directed her also in Hintertreppe/Backstairs (Paul Leni, Leopold Jessner, 1921).

    Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally was a huge box-office hit and one of Porten's most successful films of the early 1920s. The story was also the basis of Alfredo Catalani's opera La Wally. In 1930 followed a silent Italian film version, La leggenda di Wally (Gian Orlando Vassallo, 1930) featuring Linda Pini.

    Sound versions included the Italian production La Wally (Guido Brignone, 1932) with Germana Paolieri, a second German version Die Geierwally (Hans Steinhoff, 1940) with Heidemarie Hatheyer, and a post-war version, riding the Heimatfilm wave Die Geierwally (Frantisek Cáp, 1956) with Barbara Rütting. Finally, Bavarian director Walter Bockmayer also made a spoof of the classic, Geierwally (1988).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/6. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921). Despite the fact that drama and romance dominate, the film has some witty scenes, sich as the one in which Wally rejects the marriage proposal by farmer Rosenbauer senior (Wilhelm Diegelmann) and his son Rosenbauer junior (Gerd Fricke).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/7. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally and Eugen Klöpfer as Vincenz in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/8. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally and Eugen Klöpfer as Vincenz in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921).

    Henny Porten in Die Geier-Wally
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 646/9. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten Film). Henny Porten as Wally in Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (E.A. Dupont, 1921).

    Die Geyer-Wally/Vulture Wally (1921). Source: Paul Greif (YouTube).

    Sources: Filmportal.de (German), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/22/15--22:00: Max Dearly
  • Max Dearly (1874-1943) was a French character actor, famous for his parts in French film classics of the 1930s. However, Dearly was above all an excellent actor in vaudeville and revues.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by Editions La Fayette, Paris, in the series Nos artistes dans leur loge, no. 140. Photo: Comoedia.

    Max Dearly by Cabrol
    French postcard by Publications J.P., Paris, no. 7. Illustration: Cabrol.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 626. Photo: Jacques Haik.

    Letting the audience have peals of laughter

    Max Dearly was born as Lucien Paul Marie-Joseph Rolland in Paris in 1874. He made his stage debut in 1891.

    Between ca. 1903 and the outbreak of the First World War, Max Dearly excelled at the Théâtre des Variétés in vaudeville and revues by Paul Gavault (Paris aux Variétés, 1903; La Revue du centenaire, 1907), Robert de Flers et Gaston Arman de Caillavet, Paul Gavault (Miquette et sa mère, 1906; Le Roi, 1908; Le Bois sacré, 1910), Alfred Capus (Un ange, 1910; Les Favorites, 1911) and others.

    Around 1906 Dearly also performed at the Moulin Rouge with the famous singer and dancer Mistinguett in a revue called La valse chaloupe (The Swinging, Swaying Waltz), in which Parisian low-life and the worlds of the ‘apaches’ was performed. Postcards but also work by the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen still testify of this.

    After the First World War Dearly alternated his work at the Théâtre des Variétés with other Parisian theatres such as Théâtre de Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés, Théâtre du Palais-Royal, Théâtre Edouard VII, and Théâtre Antoine. Popular was L'École des cocottes by Paul Armont and Marcel Gerbidon, in which Dearly had the lead both in 1920 and 1923, opposite later famous film actors like Raimu and Arletty.

    At his death in 1943, Léo Marchès wrote a posthumous tribute to Max Dearly for the newspaper Le Matin. Dearly was the last of the big band of the still existing Théâtre des Variétés, which between 1892 to 1914 attracted the whole of Paris, under the guidance of Fernand Samuel, 'Samuel the Magnificent', who at the boulevard Montmartre, had gathered a group that excelled both in comedy and operetta, e.g. Jeanne Gruat, Eve Lavallière, Lender, Dupuis, Albert Brasseur, Guy Gallois and his wife Germaine Gallois, Diéterle, and Max Dearly.

    Dearly was an important player amidst this gang. Words were attributed to him that not always originated from his performances, while he also invented adventures which people loved. While Marchès claimed his marriage with actress Jane Saint-Bonnet, also part of the troupe of Variétés, was a model of fidelity, this contrasts with Dearly’s previous reputation of womanizer, which was the cause of the break-up with his first wife, Isabelle-Eugénie Fusier, daughter of drama actor Léon Fusier, whom he married in 1911. She was 18, he 37. Already in February 1912 the marriage ended in divorce, as Dearly had to recognize his infidelities. He was sentenced to pay his ex 800 francs per month.

    When analysing comedy acting in France, literary and theatre critic Jules Lemaître wrote that three actors were absolutely outstanding, as they were able even unprepared to let the audience have peals of laughter because of their imagination and phantasy: Albert Brasseur, Galipaux et Max Dearly. About the same time, renowned stage wright Robert de Flers, claimed that Dearly was not just successful because of the plays De Flers and Caillavet had written: “It is his Dearly himself, you’ll notice it when seeing him act opposite others.”

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by F.A., Paris, no. 261. Photo: Félix.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard. Photo: Paul Boyer / Ruck. Caption: Qu'est-ce qu'il y a dans mon verre? Du Vin Désiles, parbleu!!! (What's that in my glass? Its is Désiles wine, parbleu!!!).

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 4. Photo: Sabourin.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard. Signed in 1932. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    The richest man on earth

    Before 1910, Max Dearly already acted in Film d’art films such as L’Empreinte (Henri Burguet, 1908) and Carmen (André Calmettes, 1908). But he had his real breakthrough as film actor with the arrival of sound cinema in France. His first part was in Azaïs (René Hervil, 1931), an adaptation of a play by Louis Verneuil and Georges Berr in which Dearly had performed in 1930 at the Théâtre Edouard VII.

    René Hervil had been a routiné of silent film directing in France, mainly comedy but also drama. After that followed leads in Coquecigrole (André Berthomieu, 1931), the film operetta Coups de roullis (Pierre de la Cour, 1932), and L’Amour et la veine (Monty Banks, 1932) – the French language version of Money for Nothing.

    In 1933 Dearly played the pharmacist Homais in Jean Renoir’s adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Memorable was also his part as the eccentric aristocrat Mr. Gillenormand, Marius’ grandfather in Les Misérables (Raymond Bernard, 1934). Dearly acted opposite Harry Baur as Jean Valjean, Jean Servais as Marius and Josseline Gaelas Cosette.

    Dearly was hilarious in René Clair’s Le Dernier Milliardaire/The Last Billionaire (1934) as Mr Banco, the richest man on earth, who basically becomes the dictator of Casinario, a fictional small European kingdom which is on the verge of going broke. While losing reason after a knock on the head, he orders the most stupid decretes which the people and elite of Casinario still accept as common sense.

    After Arlette et ses papas (Henry Roussel, 1934), Dearly played M. Maubert opposite Fernand Gravey and Mireille Balin in Richard Pottier’s Si j'étais le patron (1934). In 1935 he had the lead in Pottier’s Un oiseau rare, based on a novel by Erich Kästner, Three men in the snow, and scripted by Jacques Prévert. It is a comedy of changing trades between a master and a valet and winning a winter sports holiday. It co-starred Pierre Brasseur, Monique Rolland and Pierre Larquey.

    After Paris Camargue (Jack Forrester 1935), Dearly had again the lead as Ramiro Mendoza in La Vie Parisienne/Parisian Life (1936) by German émigré director Robert Siodmak a. It was scripted by Marcel Carné, Michel Carré, Emeric Pressburger and Benno Vigny and adapted from the operetta by Ludovic Halévy and Henri Meilhac. Dearly played a Brazilian business man who opposes his daughter’s (Concita Montenegro) marriage with a Parisian (Georges Rigaud). His father and a former operetta diva with whom he had had an affair with in the past, convert him to ‘Parisian Life’. A separate English-language version was also produced. The film was not a success, causing financial problems for the production company, Nero Film, run by the émigré producer Seymour Nebenzal.

    Then, Dearly played Blanchette Brunoy’s neglecting father in the comedy Claudine à l’école (Serge de Poligny, 1937), after Colette. After other secondary parts as in Le Train pour Venise (André Berthomieu, 1938) starring Louis Verneuil on whose play the film was based. Dearly had again a lead in Christian-Jaque’s Le Grand Élan (1939), about a real estate owner who wants to buy a bankrupt hotel for a low price. The film was released in Paris in December 1940, when the city was already occupied by the nazi’s.

    In the meantime Dearly had also acted in Sacha Guitry’s comedy Ils étaient neuf célibataires/Nine Bachelors (1939) in which foreign women threatened to be exiled marry for fake with old clochards. His last, supporting parts in film, Dearly played in Bécassine (Pierre Caron, 1940) and Le Club des soupirants (Maurice Gleize, 1941). Max Dearly died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1943 and lies buried at the cemetery of Montparnasse. Dearly was responsible for the foundation of the Gala de l'Union des artistes, founded in 1923 to help artists in trouble.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by A.N. Paris, no. 828. Photo: Jacques Haïk.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 970. Photo: Pathé Natan.

    Max Dearly
    French postcard by Editions Chantal, Paris, no. 570. Photo: Paramount.

    Sources: Léo Marchès (Hommage posthume à Max Dearly, Le Matin, 9 June 1943 - French), Du temps des cerises aux feuilles mortes (French), Wikipedia (French and English) and IMDb.

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  • 08/23/15--22:00: Vladimir Maksimov
  • Elegant Vladimir Maksimov (1880-1937) was one of the most popular film stars of the Russian empire. After the revolution he became known known for the Soviet films Skorb beskonechnaya/Infinite Sorrow (Aleksandr Panteleyev, 1922), Katsi katsistvis mgelia/Man Is Enemy (Ivane Perestiani, 1923) and Dekabristy/The Decembrists (Aleksandr Ivanovsky, 1927).

    Vladimir Maksimov
    Russian postcard. Sent by mail in Estonia in 1922.

    At Midnight in the Graveyard

    Vladimir Vasilievich Maksimov (Russian: Владимир Васильевич Максимов) was born in Moscow in the Russian Empire in 1880. His mother was a singing teacher.

    Maksimov started his stage career in 1904 at the Moscow Art Theatre under the direction of K. Stanislavsky and V. Nemirovich-Danchenko. Among his roles was Konstantin in The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. From 1906 to 1918, he performed at the Maly Theatre.

    In 1910 he made his film debut opposite Ivan Mozzhukin for the Khanzhonkov production company in V polnoch na kladbishche/At Midnight in the Graveyard (Vasily Goncharov, 1910). In this short silent horror film two men are betting about who is to visit a Paris cemetery at midnight. The visit turns out to be fatal.

    Next he played for Khanzhonkov in Oborona Sevastopolya/Defence of Sebastopol (Vasili Goncharov, Aleksandr Khanzhonkov, 1911), the first film ever shot by two cameras. Set in 1854-1855, in Sebastopol and Yalta during the Crimean War. Admirals Kornilov (Ivan Mozzhukin) and Nakhimov (Andrej Gromov) organize the defense during the siege of Sebastopol. Both admirals are killed during the battle, and the city of Sebastopol is taken by the alliance of British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops.

    The legendary feat of Sailor Koshka (N. Semyonov) was staged at original location. Veterans of the Crimean War of 1854-1855 took part in the film production. With 100 minutes, it was Russia's first full-length feature film. Oborona Sevastopolya/Defence of Sebastopol was premiered in 1911 at the Livadia, Yalta, palace for the Tsar Nicholas II, who was the main sponsor of this production.

    Vladimir Maksimov
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    The elegantly dressed, romantic lover

    Till the end of World War I, Vladimir Maksimov starred in many silent films, including the drama Anfisa (Yakov Protazanov, 1912), the German film Das Haus ohne Tür/The House without a Door (Stellan Rye, 1914) with Theodoor Loos, and Peterburgskiye trushchobi/Petersburg Slums (Petr Cardynin a.k.a. Pyotr Chardynin, Vladimir Gardin, Yakov Protazanov, 1915).

    Often playing the elegantly dressed, romantic lover, Maksimov became one of the most popular Russian actors of his era. In 1915 and 1917 he also directed some films.

    Maksimov was one of the stars in the cast of the silent drama Molchi, grust... molchi/Молчи, грусть...молчи/Be silent, sorrow ... be silent (Petr Cardynin a.k.a. Pyotr Chardynin, 1918) as Volyntsev, an artist, opposite Vera KholodnayaOssip Runitsch and Vitold Polonsky. This film consisted of two parts, but only the first part (44 minutes in length) survives.

    After the Russian revolution, Maksimov appeared in Soviet films like Skorb beskonechnaya/Infinite Sorrow (Aleksandr Panteleyev, 1922), Katsi katsistvis mgelia/Man Is Enemy (Ivane Perestiani, 1923) as Kraev, Slesar i kantsler/Locksmith and Chancellor (Vladimir Gardin, 1923) as the lawyer Frank Frey. His last part was as Alexander in Dekabristy/The Decembrists (Aleksandr Ivanovsky, 1927). From 1919 to 1924, he was also one of the organizers of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre.

    Since 1924, he taught at the Leningrad Institute of Performing Arts. In 1925, the Soviet Union honoured him as 'Artist of the State'. Vladimir Maksimov died in 1937 in Moscow, Soviet Union. He was 56 or 57 (the two Wikipedia sources differ about his age).

    Vladimir Maksimov, Vera Kholodnaya, Vitold Polonsky, Ivan Khudoleyev,  Ossip Runitsch, Petr Cardynin, Ivan Mozzhukin
    Russian postcard, no. 108. Collection: Didier Hanson. A Who is Who of the Russian silent cinema. In a circle from left: actor Vladimir Maksimov (with bear), actress Vera Kholodnaya, actor Vitold Polonsky, actor Ivan Khudoleyev, actor Ivan Mozzhukin, actor-director Petr Cardynin and actor Ossip Runitsch.

    Source: Wikipedia (French, Russian and English), and IMDb.

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  • 08/24/15--22:00: Marjorie Hume
  • Marjorie Hume (1900-1976) was a prolific and well-known actress in the British cinema of the 1920s, often playing aristocratic roles. She appeared in 40 films between 1917 and 1957.

    Marjorie Hume
    French postcard by Cinémagazine, no. 173. Photo: Navana.

    The Call of Youth

    Marjorie (also: Marjory) Hume was born in 1893 in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom, in 1893. (Wikipedia and IMDb both give a birth year of 1900, but according to The Hitchcock Zone her birth was registered Q1 1893.) She was the daughter of Captain Arthur Hume and Violet Margaret Isabel Hume.

    Maejorie started her film career with a small part in the Ellen Terry vehicle Her Greatest Performance (Fred Paul, 1917). In this crime film, Terry played a retired actress who poses as a dresser to scare a murderer into confessing and clearing her son.

    Immediately after this, Hume played the female lead - a girl - in the Doing his bit (Edwin J. Collins, 1917). In this comedy written by and starring the cross dressing star George Robey, Robey played an Army reject, who poses as a woman and becomes a nurse.

    This was followed by parts in the dramas The Red Pottage (Meyrick Milton, 1918) starring C. Aubrey Smith, The Swindler (Maurice Elvey, 1919), and Keeper of the Door (Maurice Elvey, 1919).

    Hume really peaked in the early 1920s with leading roles in the sports film The Scarlett Kiss (Fred Goodwins, 1920), the romance The Duchess of Seven Dials (Fred Paul, 1920), the drama Lady Tetley's Decree (Fred Paul, 1920), the Dutch-British romance Kitty Tailleur (Frank Richardson, 1921), and the drama Bluff (Geoffrey Mahlins, 1921).

    Then she played in two Anglo-American coproductions, The Call of Youth (Hugh Ford, 1921) and The Great Day (Hugh Ford, 1921). Both were made in collaboration with Famous Players-Lasky. Alfred Hitchcock is credited as the title designer for both films.

    Ellen Terry
    Ellen Terry. British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 151 I

    The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

    Marjorie Hume appeared in the drama Appearances (Donald Crisp, 1921; now considered a lost film), the fantasy mystery Silent Evidence (E.H. Calvert, 1922), and the Lord Byron biopic A Prince of Lovers (Charles Calvert, 1922).

    Then followed the historical drama Simone Evrard; or Deathless Devotion (Edwin Greenwood, 1923) and the adventure film M'Lord of the White Road (Arthur Rooke, 1923) starring Victor McLaglen.

    In France, she appeared in the melodrama Les deux gosses/Two Little Vagabonds (Louis Mercanton, 1924) with Carlyle Blackwell and Gabriel Signoret.

    Back in England, she starred in The Wonderful Wooing (Geoffrey Mahlins, 1925), The Squire of Long Hadley (Sinclair Hill, 1925) with Brian Aherne, and King of the Castle (Henry Edwards, 1925) again with Aherne.

    The following years, she made Thou Fool (Fred Paul, 1926) with Stewart Rome, The Island of Despair (Henry Edwards, 1926) with Matheson Lang, and One Colombo Night (Henry Edwards, 1926).

    Her last silent films were the comedy The Mariage Business (Leslie Hiscott, 1927) with Estelle Brody,Afterwards (Lawson Butt, 1928), and The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel (T. Hayes Hunter, 1928) with Matheson Lang.

    Marjorie Hume
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 130. Photo: Navana.

    The Curse of Frankenstein

    Marjorie Hume's first sound film was the drama Lord Richard in the Pantry (Walter Forde, 1930) starring Richard Cooper. In 1931 she played opposite former silent stars Stewart Rome and Warwick Ward in the crime film Deadlock (George King, 1931), followed by the crime film Betrayal (Reginald Fogwell, 1932), again with Rome in the male lead.

    Next came the Ralph Lynn comedy Up to the Neck (Jack Travers, 1933), the drama A Royal Demand (Gustav Mindzenti, 1933), a small part in the mystery film The White Lilac (Albert Parker, 1935), Cross Currents (Adrian Brunel, 1935), and the crime film Member of the Jury (Bernard Mainwaring, 1937).

    From the late 1930s to the early 1950s Marjorie Hume did not perform in film. After the war she returned in small parts, as the landlady in the spy story The Limping Man (Cy Endfield, Charles de la Tour, 1953) starring Lloyd Bridges, and as Lady Redscarfe in the comedy Children Galore (Terence Fisher, 1955).

    Marjorie Hume's last film role was an uncredited part as the Mother in the successful Hammer production The Curse of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher, 1957) starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

    In 1976, Marjorie Hume died in Oxshott, United Kingdom. She was married to Eric Lindsey.

    Ralph Lynn
    Ralph Lynn. British postcard, no. 174. Photo: Capitol Films.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), The Hitchcock Zone, Getty Images, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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    Some Hollywood stars were much more popular in Europe than at home. A fabulous example is sweet Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967), one of Hollywood's original platinum blonde bombshells. Although most of her American films did not do much at the European box offices, Jayne herself was a sensation whenever she came to Europe to promote her films. During the 1960s when Hollywood had lost its interest in her, Jayne continued to appear cheerfully in several European films.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by ISV, no. A 60. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Publicity still for The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956).

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Centfox. Publicity still for The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956).

    Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield
    With Mickey Hargitey. Dutch postcard by Uitgeverij Takken, no. 3674. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

    Bill Ramsey, Jayne Mansfield
    With Bill Ramsey. German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/219. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood (credited on the postcard). Possibly made for Heimweh nach St. Pauli (Werner Jacobs, 1963) in which Mansfield and Ramsey played supporting parts. However, IMDb credits Lothar Winkler as the stills photographer of this Schlager film in which Mansfield sings the classic Snicksnack Snucklechen.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Shocking The Nation

    In 1957 Jayne Mansfield did a legendary promotional visit to the Netherlands. The film she promoted, Kiss Them for Me (Stanley Donen, 1957), was quickly forgotten, but forty years later her visit was dearly remembered with an exhibition, a book and a TV documentary.

    Obviously, Jayne shocked the nation while showing her voluptuous figure in a tight sweater and doing her interviews with her lisp, breathless voice. During her visit, photographers went wild. With the photo and film coverage you can easily reconstruct now her complete trip. And with all the cameras around her, Jayne kept on smiling and posing.

    We can see her glorious entrance at the stairs of the KLM airplane, Jayne drinking champagne from a wooden clog, posing on a table at the offices of the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, surrounded by dozens of marines on a war ship, at the premiere of her film in cinemas in Amsterdam and The Hague, interviewed on TV by Dutch celebrity Wim Sonneveld, kissing DOS goal keeper and one time film star Frans de Munck before a soccer match, posing sweetly in a Volendam costume, and finally Jayne waving from the airplane that flew her to another country, her next stop of the promo tour.

    Jayne was a phenomenon - all over Europe.

    10-10-1957_14730a Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield, Arriving at Schiphol, 10 October 1957. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF. Collection: IISG, Amsterdam (Flickr).

    10-10-1957_14730b Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne with her dog Powderpuff, Press Conference at Schiphol, 10 October 1957. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF. Collection: IISG, Amsterdam (Flickr).

    10-10-1957_14731_01a Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield visits the offices of De Telegraaf, 10 October 1957. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF. Collection: IISG, Amsterdam (Flickr).

    10-10-1957_14731_02c Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield visits the printers of De Telegraaf, 10 October 1957. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF. Collection: IISG, Amsterdam (Flickr).

    10-10-1957_14731_01b Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield on the editors table during her visit at the De Telegraaf, 10 October 1957. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF. Collection: IISG, Amsterdam (Flickr).

    Prominent, Problematic Breasts

    Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1933. She was the only child of Herbert William, a successful attorney of German ancestry, and Vera Jeffrey Palmer of English descent. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, Mansfield won several beauty contests. However her prominent breasts were considered problematic, and led to her losing her first professional assignment—an advertising campaign for General Electric.

    A natural brunette, Mansfield had her hair bleached and coloured platinum blonde when she moved to Los Angeles. She posed nude for the February 1955 issue of Playboy, modelling in pyjamas raised so that the bottoms of her breasts showed. This helped launch Mansfield's career, and that year, she became a major Broadway star as Marilyn Monroe-like actress Rita Marlowe in the Broadway version of George Axelrod's play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

    This role won her a contract at 20th Century Fox. The following year, she reprised the role in the film version, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin, 1957), with Tony Randall, and became a major Hollywood star. She showcased her comedic skills in The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956), and her dramatic assets in The Wayward Bus (Victor Vicas, 1957) opposite Joan Collins.

    Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “Despite good dramatic performances in such films as The Wayward Bus (1957), Kiss Them for Me (1957), and The Burglar (1957), Mansfield was forever typed as a parody Marilyn Monroe.” By the late 1950s, with the decrease of the demand for big-breasted blonde bombshells and the increase in the negative backlash against her over-publicity, she became a box-office has-been.

    Jayne Mansfield
    Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, no. 3.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by ISV, Sort IV/6.

    Jayne Mansfield
    Big German postcard by ISV, no. PX 5.

    Jayne Mansfield
    French postcard by Huit, Paris / ISV, no. D 25. Photo: Film-Press.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by ISV, no. A 60. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Publicity still for The Girl Can't Help It.

    Bernard of Hollywood

    While Hollywood studios lost interest in her, Jayne Mansfield’s film career continued in Europe with films in United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Greece. 20th Century Fox loaned her out for the British neo-noir thriller Too Hot to Handle/Playgirl After Dark (Terence Young, 1960). Jayne played a nightclub dancer opposite Leo Genn, Karlheinz Böhm and Christopher Lee. In Britain, she also appeared The Challenge/It Takes a Thief (John Gilling, 1960) with Anthony Quayle and Carl Möhner.

    Hollywood then sent her to Italy for Gli amori di Ercole/The Loves of Hercules (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1960) opposite muscleman and husband Mickey Hargitey. Bruce Eder at AllMovie: “a fairly lavishly produced but otherwise relatively undistinguished sword-and-sandal adventure.”

    After her contract with 20th Century Fox ended, she made in Germany Heimweh nach St. Pauli/Homesick for St. Pauli (Werner Jacobs, 1963) starring Schlager star Freddy Quinn, and Einer frisst den anderen/Dog Eat Dog (Gustav Gavrin, 1964).

    Mark Deming at AllMovie describes the latter as an “offbeat but stylish crime drama”. At the time, she was photographed in Germany by legendary glamour photographer Bernard of Hollywood (a.k.a. Bruno Bernard) , which resulted in a series of very sexy and popular postcards. Jayne moved on to Italy for the comedies L'Amore Primitivo/Primitive Love (Luigi Scattini, 1964), and Panic Button (George Sherman, Giuliano Carnimeo, 1964) with Maurice Chevalier.

    During the 1960s, Mansfield remained a highly visible celebrity, through her publicity antics and her daring performances in international nightclubs. In early 1967, she filmed her last screen role: a cameo in A Guide for the Married Man (Gene Kelly, 1967), a comedy starring Walter Matthau.

    Mansfield had taken her professional name from her first husband, public relations professional Paul Mansfield, with whom she married in 1950 at age 16, and with whom she had a daughter. She was the mother of three children from her second marriage to actor–bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay (1958-1964). She married her third husband, Italian-born film director Matt Cimber/Matteo Ottaviano in 1964, and separated from him in 1966. Mansfield and Cimber had a son.

    In 1967, while driving to a club engagement in New Orleans, Jayne Mansfield died in a car accident. She was only 34 years old at the time. Her fourth child, Mariska Hargitay, would later become a well-known TV actress.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Jayne Mansfield
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/78. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Herman Selier (De terugkeer van Jayne Mansfield in Nederland) (Dutch), Joel Nickerson (IMDb), Mark Deming (AllMovie), Bruce Eder (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/26/15--22:00: Ressel Orla
  • Dark-haired and wide-eyed Ressel Orla (1889-1931) was a popular actress of the German silent cinema who peaked in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The now mostly forgotten star appeared in some of the early films by Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 481/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 481/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 481/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

    Madonna-like Face

    Ressel Orla was born Therese Ochs in Bozen (Bolzano) in Austria-Hungary (now Italy) in 1889.

    In 1907 she began her stage career at the Metropoltheater in Hannover, Germany, and continued to play there in other theatres. In 1910 she moved to Düsseldorf, in 1912 to Bad Nenndorf, and finally to Berlin, where she played at the Residenztheater.

    Here Walter Turszinsky discovered her and engaged her for the film comedy Die Firma heiratet/The Perfect Thirty-Six (Carl Wilhelm, 1914), for which Turszinsky had written the script. Her co-star was Ernst Lubitsch.

    With no offers coming in for stage work, she continued film work with much success. Orla played in two other film comedies with Lubitsch either as actor or director, Die Stolz der Firma/The Pride of the Firm (Carl Wilhelm, 1914) and Blindekuh/Blind Cow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1915).

    With her dark hair, her wide eyes and her Madonna-like face, Orla conquered German audiences and became a star in the late 1910s. In 1918 she impersonated her first dramatic film role in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918). It was the first film of her own Ressel Orla film series for the Decla company of producer Erich Pommer.

    Another of these films was Fritz Lang's first film direction Halbblut/The Half-Caste (1919). Earlier, Lang had been the scriptwritter for Orla's film Die Frauen des Josias Grafenreuth/The Women of Josef Grafenreuth (Otto Rippert, 1918). Her most important role was that of the dangerous and deadly Lio Sha, leader of a secret society of criminals in Lang's two-part adventure Die Spinnen/Spiders (Fritz Lang, 1919-1920) starring Carl de Vogt as a brave explorer.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Verlag W.J. Morlins / Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 9010/2. Photo: Karl Schenker.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Verlag W.J. Morlins / Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 9010/3. Photo: Karl Schenker.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 92/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Terrible Illness

    In the early 1920s, Ressel Orla made several films with director Carl Wilhelm, including Die Sippschaft/The Tribe (1920), Die Augen der Welt/The Eyes of the World (Carl Wilhelm, 1920) with Conrad Veidt, and Anständige Fraue/Decent Women (Carl Wilhelm, 1921).

    After that the expressive and beautiful Orla appeared in a whole series of films with director Leo Lasko such as Satansketten/Satan's chains (Leo Lasko, 1921), Pariserinnen/Parisians (Leo Lasko, 1921) with Xenia Desni, Lebenshunger/Lust for Life (Leo Lasko, 1921), and Die Lou vom Montmartre/Lou of Montmartre (Leo Lasko, 1921).

    Other films in which she was the female protagonist were a.o. Monte Carlo (Fred Sauer, 1921), Die Wölfin/The She-Wolf (Rolf Brunner, 1921), Frau Schlange/Mrs. Snake (Eugen Holstein, 1923), and Frauen die den Weg verloren/Women Who Lost the Way (Bruno Rahn, 1926) with Oscar Marion.

    Apart from these starring roles, Orla more and more had to share the female parts, with such actresses as Carola Toelle, Lya Mara, Henny Porten, Aud Egede Nissen, Claire Rommer, and Grit Haid. All through the 1920s Ressel Orla performed in many films, though less frequent in the second half of the decade.

    Her last film role was a small part in Lockendes Gift/Tempting Poison (Fred Sauer, 1929) with Paul Richter. In 1929 a terrible illness prevented her to continue performing and eventually the illness killed her, in 1931 in Berlin. At the time of her death, she had fallen on hard times, was no longer acting, and was barely forty.

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

    Ressel Orla
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 548/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Decla. Publicity still for Das Glück der Frau Beate/The luck of the Mrs. Beate (Alwin Neuss, Otto Rippert, 1918).

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmhistoriker.deFilmportal.de, Wikipedia (German), and IMDd.

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  • 08/27/15--22:00: Elina Bystritskaya
  • Actress Elina Bystritskaya (1928) was one of the most beautiful women of the Soviet cinema. Her most famous role is Aksinya in the epic film version of Mikhail Sholokhov's novel Tikhiy Don/And Quiet Flows the Don (1957-1958) by Sergei Gerasimov.

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Russian postcard, 1966.

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Russian postcard.

    Socialist Realist Film

    Elina Avraamovna Bystritskaya was born in 1928 in Kiev, Soviet Union (now: Ukrain). Her father, Avraam Petrovich Bystritsky, was a notable medical doctor in Kiev, and her mother, Esther Isaakovna, worked as a medical administrator.

    Young Elina worked as a medical nurse helping her parents in a Soviet military hospital during World War II. She was decorated by the Soviet State for her contribution.

    From 1948-1953 she attended the Kiev Theatrical Institute, graduating in 1953 as an actress.

    Two years later, she co-starred with the later director Sergei Bondarchukin Neokonchennaya povest/Unfinished Story (Fridrikh Ermler, 1955) an archetypal Socialist Realist film. With her role as a doctor in this film, she shot to fame in the Soviet Union.

    She was acclaimed as the Best Soviet actress of the year, and was a member of the Soviet delegation in Paris for the Week of Soviet Film there.

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 3975, 1962. Retail price: 8 kop.

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 4490, 1964. Retail price: 8 kop.

    The Russian equivalent of Gone with the Wind

    A year later, in 1956, Elina Bystritskaya was handpicked by writer Mikhail Sholokhov to co-star as Aksinya opposite Pyotr Glebov in the trilogy Tikhiy Don/And Quiet Flows the Don (Sergei Gerasimov, 1957-1958).

    The three-part, 330 minutes lasting, epic film was released in 1957 (parts 1 and 2) and 1958 (part 3). It was based on Sholokhov's classic novel on life at the Don river valley directly before and after the arrival of communism.

    Proud and red-blooded Don Cossack Grigori (Glebov) comes home from the First World War and has a crush on dark-haired Aksinya, but she is already married - an unhappy marriage. Angered by the adulterous affair, Grigori's parents arrange a marriage with a village bride, but even after being married, Grigori cannot stop seeing Aksinya.

    The tragedy is set against a background of great historic upheaval, including big battle scenes: the First World War, the Revolution and the Civil War, making it the Russian equivalent of Gone with the Wind.

    In 1958, Bystritskaya turned to theatre work in the Maly Theatre in Moscow, and her screen appearances grew sporadic. Her later films include Vsyo ostayotsya lyudyam/Everything Remains for the People (Georgi Natanson, 1963), and Bravye parni (Nikolai Zaseyev, 1993).

    In 1978 she was named People's Artist of the Year. She also taught acting at the Shchepkin school (Shchepkin Theatre School), and at the Soviet State Theatrical Institute (GITIS). Elina Bystritskaya lives in Moscow, Russia.

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Small Romanian collectors card.

    Elina Bystritskaya in Tikhiy Don (1957)
    Russian card. Photo: combination of publicity stills for Tikhiy Don/And Quiet Flows the Don (Aleksandr Gerasimov, 1957).

    Elina Bystritskaya
    Russian postcard, no. A 506112. Price: 75 Kop. Released in an edition of 40,000 postcards.

    Elina Bystritskaya in Tikhiy Don (1957)
    Russian postcard. Photo: compilation with still from Tikhiy Don/And Quiet Flows the Don (1957).

    Love scenes from Tikhiy Don/And Quiet Flows the Don (1957-1958).Source: Elfiya (YouTube).

    Sources: Steve Shelokhonov (IMDb), Russian Film Blogspot, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/28/15--22:00: Sangue romagnolo (1916)
  • Sangue romagnolo is one of the stories of Edmondo De Amicis's short stories volume Cuore (Heart, 1886). It was filmed in 1916 by Leopoldo Carlucci for the Turinese company Gloria and a series of postcards was produced. But mysteriously, Sangue romagnolo (1916) restored at the Cineteca Italiana seems to be a completely different film than our postcards suggest...

    Sangue romagnolo
    Italian postcard. Caption: Both thought they heard a scruffing of feet in the closet.

    Sangue romagnolo
    Italian postcard.Caption: He searched, smashed, threw open the drawers, messed anything in fury, and filled his pockets.

    A little mystery

    The Italian production company Film Artistica Gloria adapted in 1916 some stories from Edmondo De Amicis' popular book Cuore about the life of nine boys in a school class in the city of Turin. Earlier, we did a post on Dagli Appennini alle Ande/From the Apennines to the Andes (Umberto Paradisi, 1916).

    The book Cuore had been a great success because the characters of the stories were from various parts of Italy, giving a strong hint to the unity between the various regions of the Kingdom, both culturally as well as politically.

    In the short silent film Sangue romagnolo/Blood from the Romagna (Leopoldo Carlucci, 1916), Luigi Petrungaro plays Ferruccio, a boy from the Italian Romagna Region.

    One night young Ferruccio is mischievous but not really bad. Wrong companions extort money from him. He returns home late while his parents are away.

    Only his grandmother is at home who accuses him of 'killing her' with his bad friends. Suddenly they hear noise and discover two burglars. While one grabs the old woman by the throat, the other makes Ferruccio tell where the money is hidden.

    When leaving, one bandit loses his mask and the others recognize him as one of Ferruccio's mates. He wants to knive the woman but Ferruccio throws himself before him and receives the fatal knive wound.

    The Cineteca Italiana has preserved Sangue romagnolo (1916) and you can view the whole film at their website. Strangely enough it seems a totally diferent film: different setting, different actors. Were two versions made by Film Artistica Gloria? The postcards are definitively made for the Gloria production. Who can solve this little mystery?

    Sangue romagnolo
    Italian postcard. Caption: Damned woman, the thief shouted when recognized, you will die!

    Sangue romagnolo
    Italian postcard. Caption: With a most rapid move, Ferruccio threw himself in front of his grandmother and covered her with his body.

    Sangue romagnolo
    Italian postcard. Caption: Ferruccio! My child, my love! the old woman cried. But Ferruccio didn't answer anymore.

    In 1984, director Luigi Comencini remade Sangue romagnolo as an early silent film for his series Cuore/Heart for the RAI television. Source: Doncamillof (YouTube).

    Sources: Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 08/29/15--22:00: Samantha Eggar
  • Auburn-haired beauty Samantha Eggar (1939) is a gifted English film, television and voice actress. She played in several Hollywood movies, including the acclaimed psychological thriller The Collector (William Wyler, 1965), but somehow never managed to become a major star.

    Samantha Eggar
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    The Collector

    Samantha Eggar was born Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar in 1939 in Hampstead, London. Her parents were Ralph Eggar, a brigadier in the British Army, and his wife Muriel Eggar, of Dutch and Portuguese descent. Eggar was brought up as a Roman Catholic and educated at St Mary's Providence Convent in Surrey.

    While at boarding school, she was given the opportunity to thrive in the arts, in school plays, in musical concerts and poetry competitions. After graduating from art school, she was accepted at the Webber Douglas School for Drama in London. Before finishing the two-year program at Webber Douglas, she was offered the role of Lady Hamilton in a play written by photographer Cecil Beaton.

    She played in several Shakespearean companies and on television. While performing onstage at the Royal Court Theatre, film producer Betty Box spotted her. Box cast her in the film The Wild and the Willing (Ralph Thomas, 1962), a romantic drama about a group of students at university. She played a sluttish college coed opposite Ian McShane and John Hurt.

    After this film debut she played in Dr. Crippen (Robert Lynn, 1962) as Ethel Le Neve, Crippen's mistress. Donald Pleasence starred as the real-life Edwardian doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen who was hanged in 1910 for the murder of his wife. In 1963, Eggar played the title character in the episode Marcia of the TV series The Saint, featuring Roger Moore. After her appearance in The Saint, Eggar did not appear in television for ten years, instead focusing exclusively on feature films. In England she made the thriller Return from the Ashes (J. Lee Thompson, 1965) with Maximilian Schell, Ingrid Thulin and Herbert Lom.

    She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role of kidnap victim Miranda Grey opposite Terence Stamp in the American psychological thriller The Collector (William Wyler, 1965). Brendon Hanley at AllMovie: “The success of The Collector depends almost entirely on its two stars, Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, since scarcely anyone else is in the movie.” Eggar won a Golden Globe award for this performance and was also named Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

    Eggar then starred in the Cary Grant comedy Walk, Don't Run (Charles Walters, 1966), set in Tokyo during the Olympic Games in 1964. It was the last appearance by Grant in a feature film, and also director Walters last film. Her next Hollywood production was the musical Doctor Dolittle (Richard Fleischer, 1967) starring Rex Harrison. The film received generally mixed critical reviews, but through 20th Century Fox's intense lobbying, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won awards for Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects.

    Samantha Eggar The Collector 1965
    Publicity still for The Collector (William Wyler, 1965). Source: RetroGlamour Fan (Flickr).

    The Brood

    Samantha Eggar appeared opposite Richard Harris and Sean Connery in the American production The Molly Maguires (Martin Ritt, 1970). Set in late 19th century Northeastern Pennsylvania, this social drama tells the story of an undercover detective sent to a coal mining community to expose a secret society of Irish-American miners battling exploitation at the hand of the owners. Partly inspired by a true story, the film portrays the rebellious leader of the Molly Maguires and his will to achieve social justice. The film was considered a major box-office failure.

    Another commercial flop was the adventure film The Light at the Edge of the World (Kevin Billington, 1971), starring Yul Brynner and Kirk Douglas. The plot, adapted from Jules Verne's novel Le Phare du bout du monde (1905), involves piracy in the South Atlantic during the mid 19th century, with a theme of survival in extreme circumstances, and events centering on an isolated lighthouse.

    Next, she starred in the Italian Giallo L'etrusco uccide ancora/The Dead Are Alive (Armando Crispino, 1972) with Alex Cord and Nadja Tiller, and the American psychological thrille A Name for Evil (Bernard Girard, 1973) with Robert Culp. Eggar co-starred again with Yul Brynner in the television series Anna and the King (1972). She also starred in the episode The Cardboard House of the romantic anthology series Love Story (1973).

    Returning to the British Stage, she starred with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Firth in Arthur Schnitzler's The Lonely Road and reunited with John Hurt in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. In 1976, she co-starred with Peter Falk and Theodore Bikel in the Columbo episode The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case. That same year, she also appeared in the Sherlock Holmes film The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (Herbert Ross, 1976), playing the wife of Dr. Watson (Robert Duvall).

    A highlight in her later career is her volcanic performance in David Cronenberg's early masterpiece The Brood (1979). Art Hindle plays a man who tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's (Oliver Reed) therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife (Eggar). A series of brutal attacks committed by a brood of mutant children coincides with the husband's investigation. Brian J. Dillard at AllMovie: “Samantha Eggar's haughty, self-obsessed Nola, meanwhile, establishes the Cronenberg ice-queen archetype that Genevieve Bujold would fill so indelibly in Dead Ringers. Although hardly the most influential of the director's early and mid-period horror exercises, The Brood stands up as a fully realized study of modern discontent given terrifying shape.”

    Trailer for The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979). Source: Film&Clips (YouTube).

    Hercules’ mother

    During the next decades, the bulk of Samantha Eggar's screen work would be on television in series like Murder, She Wrote (1984) with Angela Lansbury, Magnum, P.I. (1984), Tales of the Unexpected (1985), Matlock (1990), and as the wife of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's brother Robert in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990).

    She also appeared as Maggie Gioberti in The Vintage Years (1981), the unaired pilot for the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest, but was replaced by Susan Sullivan when the series went into production.

    Her later films include the Canadian cult horror film Curtains (Richard Ciupka, 1983) about a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director's (John Vernon) remote mansion where they are auditioning for a film role, and the American superhero film The Phantom (Simon Wincer, 1996) featuring Billy Zane.

    In 1997, she provided the voice of Hera, Hercules’ mother, in Disney's animated musical fantasy Hercules (Ton Clements, John Musker, 1997). Eggar also had a role in the American science fiction thriller The Astronaut's Wife (Rand Ravich, 1999), which starred Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron.

    On TV, she appeared as Sarah Templeton, the wife of Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland), on the short-lived television series Commander in Chief, which starred Geena Davis.

    In 2000, she had a brief run in the American soap opera All My Children. Later she did guest-appearances in the TV series Cold Case (2003) and Mental (2009).

    Samantha Eggar was married to actor-director Tom Stern from 1964 till 1971. They have two children, Nicholas Stern, and Jenna Stern. Nicolas works in film production, and Jenna-Louise is an actress. Samantha Eggar has appeared in over 90 films and television series. She continues to work these days, as a member of California Artists Radio Theatre, as well as voicework and television appearances.

    Trailer for The Collector (William Wyler, 1965). Source: W. David Lindholm (YouTube).

    Trailer The Light At The Edge Of The World Trailer (Kevin Billington, 1971). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).

    Sources: SamanthaEggar.net, Brian McFarlane (Encyclopedia of British Film), Brendon Hanley (AllMovie), Brian J. Dillard (AllMovie), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), The Terror Trap, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/30/15--22:00: Anita Janousková
  • Hungarian actress Anita Janousková or Anita Janová (1907-1965) was one of the first stars of the Czech cinema. She appeared in more than a dozen Czech silent films during the late 1920s.

    Anita Janousková
    Czech postcard, no. 224. Photo: Ströminger, Vinohrady.

    A remarkably successful film career

    Anita Janousková was born in 1907 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary as Anna Janousková. Anita started her career in the theatre, but soon would have a remarkably successful film career in the silent Czech cinema.

    In 1926, she probably made her film debut with the lead role role of the young and ambitious Helenka, daughter of an old forester (Ferdinand Kaňkovský) in the romance Pohádka máje/May Fairy Tale (Karl Anton, 1926). It is a lyrical tale of the pure  romance between Anita's character and a fairly dissolute, but kind-hearted law student from Prague (Petr Dolan a.k.a. Jiri Voskovec).

    This debut was not a case of single luck. The following years, she played supporting parts like in the hilarious comedy Anicko, vrat se!/Anny, come back! (Theodor Pistek, 1927), featuring Anny Ondra and Carl Lamac. Her fair hair, cute face, sharp eyes and smiling lips made her a popular silent film star in Prague.

    Anita became the leading lady of Czech films like Sextánka (Josef Medeotti-Bohác, 1928), Filosofka Mája/Philosopher Maja (Oldrich Kmínek, 1928) and Andelíckárka/Abortionist (Oldrich Kmínek, 1930). In these films she was always credited as Anita Janová.

    In the early 1930s her film career halted. Her two sound films were failures. She married and retired completely. Between 1935 and 1945 she lived in the Slovak Republic.

    Twenty years after her last film, she returned to the screen. During the 1950s, she played several small roles in films like Mladá léta/Youthful Years (Václav Krska, 1953). In 1975, Anita Janousková, one of the first stars of the Czech cinema died forgotten and in seclusion in Prague. She was 67.

    Anna Janousková
    Vintage postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Source: Jarda "Kribi" Lopour (CSFD - Czech), and IMDb.

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  • 08/31/15--22:00: Mario Adorf
  • For over 55 years the Swiss actor Mario Adorf (1930) is a very active star of the European cinema, known for his Mediterranean looks, his dark oily frizzy hair and his imposing figure. He started as a talented newcomer in German films of the 1950s, he hammed his way through the 1960s as a villain in Euro-Westerns and action pictures, but he is now best known for his roles in some classics of the Junge Deutsche Film such as Die Blechtrommel/The Tin Drum (1978) and Lola (1981). He appeared in over 200 films and TV films.

    Mario Adorf
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. PK 4083. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Lars Looschen / Ufa.

    Mario Adorf
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 4745. Photo: Weisse / publicity / Roxy / Ufa.

    Mario Adorf
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 341. Photo: Erwin Schneider.

    An Ideal Villain

    Mario Adorf was born in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1930. He was the illegitimate son of Dr. Matteo Menniti, an Italian surgeon, and Alice Adorf, a German nurse. He grew up in his maternal grandfather's hometown, Mayen in the Eifel, Germany, where he was raised by his unmarried mother. He studied at the Universität Mainz and studied drama at the famous Otto-Falckenberg-Schule in München (Munich).

    He was still studying drama when he made his film debut as a German soldier in the first instalment of the war trilogy 08/15 (Paul May, 1954). It was a small part but it didn't go unnoticed and got him new roles in German films.

    He played a a starring part in Das Mädchen Rosemarie/The Girl Rosemary (Rolf Thiele, 1958) with Nadja Tiller. His most remarkable role of this period was Bruno Lüdke, the mentally defective serial killer in the masterpiece Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam/The Devil Strikes at Night (Robert Siodmak, 1957). It earned him his first award, the Bundesfilmpreis (German film award for outstanding young actor).

    Adorf became known in Europe, and particularly in Germany. His films included the psychological thriller Die Schachnovelle/Brainwashed (Gerd Oswald, 1960) with Curd Jürgens, and the popular Karl May Western Winnetou I/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963), in which he played Santer, the bad guy who shot Winnetou’s sister Ntscho-tschi (Marie Versini).

    In the early 1960s, Adorf moved to Rome. Spaghetti Western aficionados remember him probably best for his role as 'El Diablo' in Gli Specialisti /Drop Them or I'll Shoot (Sergio Corbucci, 1969) with Johnny Hallyday.

    He also appeared in such English language films as Major Dundee (Sam Peckinpah, 1965) and the Agatha Christie mystery Ten Little Indians (George Pollock, 1965). He later turned down a role as General Mapache in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, because he felt the character was too violent. It would be a decision he still deeply regrets.

    At IMDb, Guy Bellinger comments: “His Mediterranean looks, his rugged face, his dark oily frizzy hair and his volubility made him an ideal villain in European-made westerns, spy or mafia films. These films - made in the 1960’s - were mostly just commercial and Adorf hammed his parts but he did it so brilliantly that he alone made them watchable.”

    Mario Adorf, Winnetou I
    German postcard. Photo: Constantin. Still from Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963).

    Mario Adorf
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, no. 3930. Photo: Rialto / Constantin / Winkler. Publicity still for Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963).

    Mario Adorf, Thomas Fritsch, Marisa Mell in Der letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz (1964)
    Small Romanian collectors card by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Der letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz/The Last Ride to Santa Cruz (Rolf Olsen, 1964) with Thomas Fritsch and Marisa Mell.

    Mario Adorf
    German autograph card.

    The Young German Cinema

    From the 1970s on, the quality of his films improved and Mario Adorf could lend his remarkable acting talents to more ambitious works such as Il Delitto Matteotti/The Assassination of Matteoti (Florestano Vancini, 1973) in which he was a striking Benito Mussolini.

    Though he worked steadily through the decade, Adorf did not really come to prominence until he appeared in such major features of Der Junge Deutsche Film (The Young German Cinema) as Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum/The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, 1975 and Die Blechtrommel/The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff, 1979).

    Lucia Bozzola writes at AllMovieabout the latter film: “New German Cinema forefather Volker Schlöndorff's adaptation of The Tin Drum is a potent Fellini-esque epic of intuitive rebellion against a corrupt world. Shot on location in Poland, Germany, and France, the film mixes the palpable reality of ordinary life in prewar and World War II Danzig with the surreal, innocent perspective of stunted boy/man Oskar as he raises instinctive hell against the horrors he witnesses, first in his family and then as the Nazis take over his hometown. Reaching the heights of comedy in a chaotic Nazi rally and the depths of tragedy during the Danzig post-office siege, ”. It was one of the most financially successful German films of the 1970s and won the 1979 Oscar for Best Foreign Film and the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the 1979 Cannes Film festival.

    Mario Adorf also worked with Rainer Werner Fassbinder at Lola (1981) featuring Barbara Sukowa.

    On TV he played a small role in the BBC adaptation of John le Carré's Smiley's People (Simon Langton, 1982) as a German club owner. In Italy he was the main protagonist of the TV series Zu Gin  (1985), as well as of numerous films.

    Adorf worked with an impressive list of directors, including Wolfgang Staudte, Billy Wilder, John Frankenheimer, and Claude Chabrol. Likewise he served many a great author, either in the theatre (such as in William Shakespeare’s Othello, or in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire) or on the big or small screen (Heinrich Böll, Arthur Schnitzler, Henry Miller, Joseph Conrad, Maxim Gorky, Patrick Süskind).

    In the 1990s he changed his image and became the patriarch in such TV-films as Der grosse Bellheim/The Great Bellheim (Dieter Wedel, 1993). He also made appearances in international films, including Smilla's Sense of Snow (Bille August, 1997).

    In 1994, he started a singing career with his solo program Al Dente, and he wrote five novels, including the bestsellers Der Mäusetöter (The Mice Killer, 1992) and Der Dieb von Trastevere (The Thief of Trastevere, 1995). In 2005, he published Mit einer Nadel bloß (With just one needle), a memoir about his mother.

    In 1963, Adorf married Lis Verhoeven. The couple had a child, Stella, prior to their divorce. In 1985, he married Monique Faye, with whom he is still married. In 2000, he was honoured with the Bayerischer Filmpreis (Bavarian Film Awards Honorary Award), and a year later with the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz (Germany's Cross of merit).

    In his 80s now, Mario Adorf remains very active in German films, television, and theatre. His more recent pictures include Grapes of Hope (Tunc Okan, 2010) and the comedy Altersglühen - Speed Dating für Senioren/Old glow - Speeddating for Seniors (Jan Georg Schütte, 2014) in which he costarred with Senta Berger.

    German trailer for Winnetou I/Apache Gold (1963). Source: Rialto Film (YouTube).

    Trailer for Die Blechtrommel/The Tin Drum (1979). Source: DionysusCinema (YouTube).

    German trailer for Lola (1981). Source: Rialto Film (YouTube).

    Sources: Guy Bellinger (IMDb), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Lucia Bozzola (AllMovie), Tom B. (Westerns all Italiana), marioadorf.com (German), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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    Doris Dowling (1923-2004) was an American actress who had her breakthrough with Billy Wilder's film The Lost Weekend (1945). Between the late 1940s and early 1950s she acted in a few films in Europe, notably in Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe De Santis, 1949) and Orson Welles'Othello (1952).

    Doris Dowling in Riso Amaro (1949)
    Belgian postcard by Nieuwe Merksemsche Chocolaterie S.P.R.L., Merksem (Anvers). Photo: Lux Film, Rome. Publicity still for Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe de Santis, 1949).

    Sobering classic

    Doris R. Dowling was born in 1923 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Her older sister was actress Constance Dowling, who was born in 1920 and died relatively young in 1969.

    After some Broadway musical stage work as a chorine, Doris followed Constance to Hollywood and made about an equal representation. Gary Brumburgh at IMDb: "Doris started off auspiciously with the role of the barfly and drinking companion to fellow alcoholic Ray Milland in the sobering classic film The Lost Weekend (1945)." The film, directed by Billy Wilder whom she dated at the time, won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor. It was the first film to deal with the harrowing effects of alcoholism.

    Her first credited role led for Doris Dowling to a part as the wife of Alan Ladd in the The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall, 1946) also starring Veronica Lake. Linda Rasmussen at AllMovie: "This neat, fast-paced perfectly cast film noir reflects the hard-boiled, grim wit of the author of its screenplay, Raymond Chandler. Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) returns from the war to find his wife Helen (Doris Dowling) having a party and in the arms of another man. Johnny and Helen have a terrible fight, and later Helen is found dead. Johnny must prove his innocence."

    She then played the female lead in another Film Noir, The Crimson Key (Eugene Forde, 1947) with Kent Taylor. IMDb-reviewer Mozjoukine: "The second string cast meet the need with Dowling surprisingly glamorous. The small budget doesn't get in the way of a B movie slickness." She also had an uncredited part in Billy Wilder's The Emperor Waltz (1948).

    However, no other Hollywood offers followed, Doris decided to leave for Europe, as her sister had done. Constance Dowling had become tired of Hollywood typecasting, and had found a more liberating venue for her talents in the Italian cinema.

    174 Doris Dowling_Greiling (Film Stars der Welt C; 174)
    Small collectors card by Greiling in the series Film Stars der Welt, no. C. 174. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona @ Flickr. See his Film Stars der Welt album.

    Dark, earthy beauty

    With her soulful eyes and her dark, earthy beauty, Doris Dowling managed to revive her career in post-war Italy where Neo-Realism had changed the history of the cinema. Films like Roma città aperta/Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945) and Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) had taken the world by storm, stunned audiences and won awards all over. The themes of the Neorealist film dramas reflected the realities of the Second World War. Dowling found a part as one of the four protagonists of one of the later successes of this film movement, Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe De Santis, 1949).

    In Bitter Rice, Dowling plays Francesca, a jewel thief who hides in a rice plantation and joins a band of illegal female workers. Then her partner-in-crime Walter (Vittorio Gassman) turns up. While Francesca repents her former life, Walter charms Silvana (Silvana Mangano) in becoming his new partner in crime, stealing from the workers. Soldier Marco (Raf Vallone) loves Silvana and tries to keep her on the right track but she finds him boring. Francesca instead loves Marco. A fight breaks out in a slaughterhouse, and while the men are both hurt, the women take over...

    Bitter Rice became one of the biggest world-wide box-office hits of Neo-Realism. Doris Dowling continued her Italian career with Alina (Giorgio Pastina, 1950) opposite Gina Lollobrigida, and the adventure film Cuori sul mare/Hearts at Sea (Giorgio Bianchi, 1950) with Jacques Sernas.

    She also appeared in Orson Welles' European production of Othello/The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952) playing the role of Bianca. Dan Jardine at AllMovie: " Welles put together a visually exciting accompaniment to the aural delight of Shakespeare's words. The black-and-white cinematography is sterling, while the aggressively angular shots keep the audience a little off-balance throughout."

    She returned to the US and theatre and television comprised much of her later work. She appeared on such popular TV shows as Bonanza (1959), Barnaby Jones (1973) and finally, The Dukes of Hazzard (1984). One of her later films was the cult thriller The Car (Elliot Silverstein, 1977). In 1973, she shared an Outer Critics Circle award for her performance in the all-star stage production of The Women on Broadway. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles theatre-based company Theater East.

    Doris Dowling died in Los Angeles in 2004. She married three times. From 1952 till 1956, she was wife #7 to band leader Artie Shaw, by whom she had a son, Jonathan Shaw, who became a famous tattoo artist. Second husband was Robert F. Blumofe (1956-1959) and her third was Leonard B. Kaufman (1960-2004; her death) with whom she had her second child.

    Doris Dowling and Raf Vallone in Riso amaro (Bitter Rice)
    Dutch postcard by Centrafilm, Dordrecht. Photo: Lux Film, Rome. Publicity still for Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe de Santis, 1949) with Raf Vallone.

    Trailer Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe de Santis, 1949). Source: CG Entertainment (YouTube).

    Sources: Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Linda Rasmussen (AllMovie), Dan Jardine (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 09/02/15--22:00: Lu Synd
  • German actress Lu Synd (1886-1978) appeared in numerous German silent films between 1916 and 1919. She also produced several films in which she starred.

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 1529. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1605. Photo: Nicola Perscheid, Berlin.

    Her Own Production Company

    Lu Synd was born as Pauline Müller in Konstanz, Germany, in 1886. She was the daughter of a factory owner. She trained as a dancer and performed a.o. in London.

    In 1914 she moved to Berlin where she was discovered by film director Richard Eichberg. He gave her her first role in Leben um das Leben/Live for Life (Richard Eichberg, 1916), an Eichberg production starring Ellen Richter.

    Lu Synd then launched her own production company Synd film, with which she made three films in a row. The first was Nächte des Grauens/A Night of Horror (1916), directed by Arthur Robison. Besides Synd it co-starred Werner Krauss, Emil Jannings, Hans Mierendorff and Lupu Pick, who would all become well-known actors and directors in the 1920s.

    Subsequent films by Synd Film were Die Frau mit den zwei Seelen/The Woman with the Two Souls (Heinrich von Korff, 1916) scripted by Robison; and Das nächste Weib/The Next Wife (Arthur Robison, 1916).

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1581. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2941. Photo: Ernst Schneider.

    Woman Victorious

    To Lu Synd's well-known films of the 1910s belong Unsichtbare Hände/Invisible Hands (William Kahn, 1917), the Joe Deebs detective film Europa postlagernd/Poste Restante Europe (E.A. Dupont, 1918) starring Max Landa, Ferdinand Lassalle (Rudolf Meinert, 1918) and Verlorene Töchter/Lost Daughters (William Kahn, 1918).

    Other titles were BZ-Maxe & Co. (Otto Rippert, 1916), Die vertauschte Braut/The Changed Bride (1916), Das Spiel vom Tode/The Play with Death (Alwin Neuss, 1917) with Käthe Haack, Der Weg der Erlösung/The Road to Salvation (Joseph Stein, 1918) starring Carl de Vogt, and Die Abenteuer des Kapitän Hansen/The Adventures of Captain Hansen (Harry Piel, 1918).

    Rudolf Meinert cast her in his biopic Ferdinand Lassalle, des Volkstribunen Glück und Ende/Ferdinand Lassalle, the tribunes of the people (1918) with Erich Kaiser-Titz as Ferdinand Lassalle, leader of the workers' movement.

    In 1919 Aruth Wartan and Lu Synd founded a new film company which produced films in which they starred together: Sündenlust/Desire for Sin (1919), directed by Joseph Delmont and Uwe Jens Krafft; and three films by Delmont: Die Rache des Bastards/The Bastard’s Revenge (1919), Margot de Plaisance (1919) and Der Bastard/The Bastard (1919). Until 1919 Synd was also married to Wartan.

    Lu Synd’s last films were Friedrich Feher’s Die letzte Stunde/The Last Hour (1920), and Rennbahnschieber/The Horse Track Slide (Uwe Jens Krafft, 1921), starring Synd and Wartan together again. Between 1919 and 1921 Synd was active in Milan, Italy. She was supposed to act in one Milanese production, La città di vetro/The City of Glass (Eduard Micheroux de Dillon, 1921-1923), but that didn’t happen.

    Afterwards Lu’s film career stopped and she concentrated on the stage. She was soon forgotten. Only in the war years she had two bit parts in the films Menschen im Sturm/People in Tempest (Fritz Peter Buch, 1941), staring Gustav Diessl and Olga Tschechowa, and the Marika Rökk film Hab’mich lieb/Love Me (Harald Braun, 1942). Lu Synd died in Berlin in 1978, at the age of 92.

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Ross-Verlag, Berlin, no. 226/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass.

    Lu Synd
    German postcard by Ross-Verlag, Berlin, no. 226/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass.

    Sources: Stephanie d'Heil (steffi-Line - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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  • 09/03/15--22:00: Rolf Hoppe
  • Stage and film actor Rolf Hoppe (1930) played villains in many DEFA films, produced in East-Germany.

    Rolf Hoppe
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 221/69. Photo: publicity still for Spur des Falken/Trail of the Falcon (Gottfried Kolditz, 1968).


    Rolf Hoppe was born in 1930 as son of a master baker in Ellrich, Thuringia, Germany. After his apprenticeship as a baker, he worked from 1945 to 1948, as a coachman.

    He then started an actors’ training in Erfurt and worked in the circus Aeros. He was later engaged at the Thalia Theater in Halle (Saale) and at the Young World Theatre in Leipzig. He acted at the Staatsschauspiel Dresden, the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, and the Salzburg Festival. He was internationally active in Switzerland, Italy, and China.

    From 1964 on, Rolf Hoppe often appeared in films produced by the DEFA, the state-owned film studio in the German Democratic Republic (East-Germany). One of his first films was the drama Der Frühling braucht Zeit/The Spring Takes Time (Günter Stahnke, 1966), which was banned by the Communist authorities shortly after it was released.

    He played villains in different ‘Osterns’ (Easterns - the typical Eastern Bloc countries' take on the Western). An example is Spur des Falken/Trail of the Falcon (Gottfried Kolditz, 1968), starring Gojko Miticas the Indian hero. He also appeared in other Mitic films, Weiße Wölfe/White Wolves (Konrad Petzold, Bosko Boskovic, 1969), one of the most popular DEFA films ever, and Tödlicher Irrtum/Fatal error (Konrad Petzold, 1970), also with Armin Müller-Stahl.

    Armin Mueller-Stahl, Rolf Hoppe and Bruno O'Ya in Tödlicher Irrtum (1970)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 65/70. Photo: DEFA / Blümel. Publicity still for Tödlicher Irrtum/Fatal Error (Konrad Petzold, 1970) with Armin Mueller-Stahland Bruno O'Ya.


    In 1971, Rolf Hoppe was awarded the National Prize of East Germany for artistic achievement. The following year, he appeared in the East-German Science Fiction film Eolomea (Herrmann Zschoche 1972) with Cox Habbema.

    One of his most notable roles was that of the Tábornagy (Hermann Göring) in Mephisto (István Szabó, 1981), a film adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer as Hendrik Höfgen. The film was awarded the 1981 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

    His later films include the crime film Ärztinnen/Woman Doctors (Horst Seemann, 1984), the drama Das Haus am Fluß/The House at the River (Roland Gräf, 1986) and the East German–Swiss drama Pestalozzis Berg/Pestalozzi's Mountain (Peter von Gunten, 1989) featuring Gian Maria Volonté. All three films were entered into editions of the Berlin International Film Festival.

    Hoppe had a supporting part in the satire Schtonk! (Helmut Dietl, 1992), a retelling of the hoax of the Hitler Diaries, starring Götz George. He also had a part in another German success of the 1990s, Comedian Harmonists/The Harmonists (Joseph Vilsmaier, 1997), about the popular German vocal group the Comedian Harmonists of the 1920s and 1930s.

    He then appeared in the Neo-Noir Palmetto (Volker Schlöndorff, 1998), based on the novel Just Another Sucker by James Hadley Chase. The film stars Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue and Gina Gershon. Also interesting is the Jewish comedy Alles auf Zucker!/Go for Zucker (Dani Levy, 2004). Director Dani Levy, himself Jewish, made an ironic comedy about modern Jewish identity in present-day Germany. It was critically acclaimed in Germany and won a number of awards.

    Hoppe also did a lot of TV work. He appeared in several Krimi series, including Tatort (1994-2003), Polizeiruf 110 (1996) and Donna Leon (2004). Rolf Hoppe lives in Weißig in Dresden. Since 1962, he is married with Friederike and they have two daughters, Josephine and Christine. Christine Hoppe (1968), is also an actress. Rolf and Friederike Hoppe reside in Weißig, a district of Dresden.

    German trailer for Spur des Falken/Trail of the Falcon (Gottfried Kolditz, 1968). Here named Brennende Zelte in den Schwarzen Bergen. Source: Spannick (YouTube).

    American trailer for Mephisto (István Szabó, 1981). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).

    Scene from Comedian Harmonists/The Harmonists (Joseph Vilsmaier, 1997). Source: lejukeboxer1 (YouTube).

    Sources: FilmZeit.de (German), DEFA-Sternstunden (German), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Today a post on a series of Ross Verlag postcards for the silent salon melodrama Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern/The destiny of Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919). The young aristocratic Carola of the title is played by Lotte Neumann, one of the most successful actresses in the early days of the German cinema.

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/1. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/2. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/3. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).


    Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern/The destiny of Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919) was adapted by Ludwig Wolff from the novel Der grosse Rachen (1915) by Olga Wohlbrück-Wendland.

    The melodramatic story tells about the destiny of a mother and daughter. Carola von Geldern's mother (Grete Ebinger) has an affair with a gambler and dies. Carola (Lotte Neumann) herself loves a benefactor. When she has caused an accident, he kills her.

    The postcards don't give a clear view of the story nor the timeline. They are focused on the star of the film, Lotte Neumann (1896-1977), who seems to play Carola in different phases of her life (in the last cards of the series, she plays a young girl with long tails). Neumann was not only a successful actress of the early German cinema, but she also worked as a screenwriter and a producer.

    Who's who on the postcards is not clear to us.The other cast members were little known actors like Rudolf Lettinger (the husband, Jack von Geldern), Eduard Rothauser (Von Glienen/Von Glidien), Martin Lübbert (Dr. Graebner), Margarete Ferida (Von Glidien's girlfriend), Paul Kaufmann (Dr. Ertzky) and Mrs. Klein-Rohden (housekeeper).

    Our sources differ about who is the director of the film. Possibly scriptwriter Ludwig Wolff was the (co-)director of the film, together with Carl Froelich. Cinematographer was Otto Tober, set designer Hans Sohnle.

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/4. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/5. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).

    Lotte Neumann in Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 631/6. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Das Schicksal der Carola von Geldern (Carl Froehlich, 1919).

    This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

    Sources: The German Early Cinema DatabaseFilmportal.de and IMDb.

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