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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 04/29/16--22:00: Nelly Corradi
  • Beautiful Nelly Corradi (1914–1968) was an Italian opera singer and actress.She made her film debut in Max Ophüls’s La signora di tutti (1934) and had her biggest successes after the war with opera films like Lucia di Lammermoor (1946).

    Nelly Corradi
    Italian postcard by ASER, no. 137. Photo: De Antonis.

    Everybody's Woman


    Nelly or Nelli Corradi was born in Parma, Italy, in 1914.

    She studied to become a lyrical soprano at the the Conservatory of Parma. After graduating, she started to perform in operas.

    In 1934 famous director Max Ophüls spotted her for the cinema and she made her film debut with a supporting part in his La signora di tutti/Everybody's Woman (Max Ophüls, 1934) starring Isa Miranda. It is the only film Max Ophüls made in Italy. The film was a success and made Isa Miranda a star.

    Soon followed also leading parts for Corradi in such films as the drama Luci sommerse/Dimmed Lights (Adelqui Migliar, 1934) with Fosco Giacchetti, and Il torrente/The creek (Marco Elter, 1938) with Camillo Pilotto.

    She married director Marco Elter and also appeared in his Shakespeare adaptation Dente per dente/Measure for Measure (1943). Elter died in 1945.

    Nelly Corradi in La Signora di tutti (1934)
    Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, no. 1934-XII. Photo: Novella-Film. Publicity still for La signora di tutti/Everybody's Woman (Max Ophüls, 1934) with Nelly Corradi, Lamberto Picasso and Maria Puccini. Caption: Film prescelta per la II Biennale Cinematograficia di Venezia. (Film selected for the second Venice Film Festival).

    Enrico Benfer and Nelly Corradi in La Signora di tutti (1934)
    Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, no. 1934-XII. Photo: Novella-Film. Publicity still for La signora di tutti/Everybody's Woman (Max Ophüls, 1934) with Enrico Benfer and Nelly Corradi.

    Lucia di Lammermoor


    Nelly Corradi is probably best known for her post-war starring parts in opera films like Lucia di Lammermoor (Piero Ballerini, 1946).

    Fisher L Forrest at IMDb: “This is a very cinematic rendition of the Donizetti favorite featuring beautiful people, beautifully photographed, in beautiful settings. One may cavil that the atmosphere seems more Italian than Scottish, despite a few jaunty feathers in a bonnet or two and Normanno sporting a kilt and tartan plaid. But, what the heck! It is after all an Italian opera. Nelly Corradi is likely the most beautiful Lucia one is likely ever to see on screen or stage. Moreover, she is a consummate actress.”

    The success of the film soon lead to other opera films like L'elisir d'amore/Elixir of Love (Mario Costa, 1947), Il barbiere di Siviglia/Barber of Seville (Mario Costa, 1947) with Tito Schippa, La signora dalle camelie/The Lost One (Carmine Gallone, 1947) and La forza del destino/The Force of Destiny (Carmine Gallone, 1950).

    She portrayed Margherita (Gretchen) in La leggenda di Faust/Faust (Carmine Gallone, 1950) and played an opera singer in Puccini (Carmine Gallone, 1953), featuring Gabriele Ferzetti. Her final film was Gli orizzonti del sole/The horizons of the sun (Giovanni Paolucci, 1955).

    Nelly Corradi died in 1968 in Rome, Italy.

    Nelly Corradi
    Italian postcard by ASER, no. 173. Photo: De Antonis.

    Nelly Corradi
    Italian postcard by ASER, no. 170. Photo: De Antonis.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 04/30/16--22:00: Leslie Caron
  • French film actress and dancer Leslie Caron (1931) was one of the most famous Hollywood stars in the 1950s. She is best known for the waif-like gamines in the classic musicals An American in Paris (1951), Lili (1953), and Gigi (1958). Since the 1960s, she is also working in the European cinema. Both onscreen and off she always shows effortless class and grace.

    Leslie Caron
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/34. Photo: Sam Lévin. Photo: publicity still for Gigi (Vincente Minnelli, 1958).

    Leslie Caron
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/35. Photo: Sam Lévin. Photo: publicity still for Gigi (Vincente Minnelli, 1958).

    Leslie Caron
    German postcard by ISV, Amsterdam, no. B 17. Photo: publicity still for Gigi (Vincente Minnelli, 1958).

    Overnight Sensation


    Leslie Claire Margaret Caron was born in the Paris suburb Boulogne-sur-Seine, (now Boulogne-Billancourt), France, in 1931. She was the daughter of Claude Caron, a French chemist, and Margaret Caron-Petit.

    Her mother was an American dancer who briefly made it to Broadway. She had given up her career for marriage, and eventually took her own life. Her father's family was well-to-do, and in her memoir Thank Heaven... (2010), Caron describes her childhood as idyllic, divided between a townhouse in the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine—with butler, chef, governess, chauffeur and maids—and a country estate in the Pyrenees.

    Her mother introduced Leslie to ballet at the age of 10. The Nazi occupation of France forced her to flee to Cannes, but she returned after the war, and by the age of 16, she started her career as a ballet dancer at Roland Petit's Ballet des Champs-Élyées, a new company that was the toast of Paris.

    In 1948, she became an overnight sensation as a stunning Sphinx in La Rencontre (The Encounter), David Lichine's experimental and acrobatic ballet about Oedipus and the Sphinx.

    Gene Kelly saw her performance, and two years later he cast her to appear opposite him as a ballerina ingénue in An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951). The role initially was to be danced by Cyd Charisse, but she was pregnant. So Leslie Caron could dance her way into millions of hearts of filmgoers. Her magical performance and elfin charm led to a long-term MGM contract and a string of memorable films.

    Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly in An American in Paris (1951)
    Vintage autograph card. Photo: publicity still for An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) with Gene Kelly.

    Leslie Caron, Moira Shearer and Maria Tallchief
    With Maria Tallchief and Moira Shearer. Vintage card no. 535. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Leslie Caron
    Dutch postcard by DRC, no. F 109. Photo: MGM.

    Leslie Caron
    Dutch postcard by Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, no. 628. Photo: M.G.M.

    Leslie Caron
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 363. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    A French Lady in Hollywood


    Hollywood made excellent use of Leslie Caron's ballet training and endearingly girlish screen persona. She proved a perfect partner for Fred Astaire in 20th Century-Fox's Daddy Long Legs (Jean Negulesco, 1955), and an ideal Cinderella in The Glass Slipper (Charles Walters, 1955).

    Her greatest hits were the musicals Lili (Charles Walters, 1953) as a naive country girl who falls for a self-pitying puppeteer (Mel Ferrer), and Gigi (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) in which she enchantingly incarnated Colette's heroine, a young girl trained by her aunt (Isabel Jeans) and grandmother (Hermione Gingold) to become the mistress of wealthy young Gaston (Louis Jourdan).

    Filmed on location in Paris, Gigi won several Oscars, including Best Picture. For Lili, Caron earned her first Academy Award nomination and as well a BAFTA (the British Academy award) nomination.

    Both films remain enduring classics decades after their release. They helped to cement Caron's status as one of the select performers who came to fame as part of the Hollywood musical's heydays.

    At the end of the 1950s, the heydays of the MGM musicals were over though, and Caron found screen musicals physically taxing. So she had begun to study acting, and Gigi would be her last musical.

    Leslie Caron
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 517. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

    Leslie Caron
    Vintage postcard. Photo: MGM.

    Leslie Caron
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 595. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Leslie Caron
    Italian postcard by Zincografica, Firenze. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Lili (Charles Walters, 1953).

    Leslie Caron
    Dutch postcard by Uitgeverij Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, Serie KF 8. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    The Ultimate Latin Lover


    Leslie Caron projected considerable warmth and charm in such straight dramas as Fanny (Joshua Logan, 1961) opposite Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer and Horst Buchholz, and Father Goose (Ralph Nelson, 1964) with Cary Grant.

    In 1963 she received a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for the British drama The L-Shaped Room (Bryan Forbes, 1962). In this lovingly observed small-scale drama, she was excellent as an unmarried expectant mother awaiting an abortion who gathers strength from her odd roommates.

    In the late 1960s and 1970s, her Hollywood star faded somewhat, and she worked in such European films as the Italian comedy Il padre di famiglia/The Head of the Family (Nanni Loy, 1967) starring Nino Manfredi, the French comedy L’homme qui aimait les femmes/The Man Who Loved Women (Francois Truffaut, 1977), Guerriers et Captives/Warriors and Prisoners (Edgardo Cozinsky, 1989) with Dominique Sanda, and Damage (Louis Malle, 1992) as Juliette Binoche's mother.

    In the biopic Valentino (Ken Russell, 1977) she played silent-screen legend Alla Nazimova opposite Rudolf Nureyev as the ultimate Latin lover.

    Leslie Caron
    British Greetings postcard, no. A. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

    Leslie Caron
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 584. Photo: International Press/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Publicity still for Lili (Charles Walters, 1953).

    Leslie Caron
    Small vintage card. Publicity still for Lili (Charles Walters, 1953).

    Leslie Caron in Gigi (1958)
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 662. Photo: Sam Lévin. Publicity still for Gigi (Vincente Minelli, 1958).

    Leslie Caron
    Belgian postcard by D.R.C. Holland, no. 3286. Licency holder for Ufa. Photo: Baron Studios / Ufa.

    Emmy Award


    Leslie Caron is one of the few stars from the classic era of MGM musicals who is still active in film. Among her more recent films were Chocolat (Lasse Hallström, 2000) with Juliette Binoche, and Le Divorce (2003), director James Ivory's final co-production with longtime partner Ismail Merchant, as Naomi Watts' aristocratic mother, a grande dame who remains steely and imperious in the face of her daughter's mounting tragedies.

    In 2007, her guest role as a long-silenced rape victim in the TV series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit earned her a Primetime Emmy Award. In 2010, she played Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, with Greta Scacchi and Lambert Wilson.

    Caron was married three times. In 1951 she married the American George Hormel II, a grandson of the founder of the famous Spam meat-packing company. It was a foolish starter's marriage and they divorced in 1954. Her second husband was British theatre director Peter Hall. They met in 1956 when he directed her in the stage version of Gigi. They married the same year and had two children, TV producer Christopher John Hall (1957) and former actress and PR agent Jennifer Caron Hall (1962).

    In 1963, Caron had an affair with Warren Beatty. When she and Hall divorced in 1965, Beatty was named as a co-respondent and was ordered by the London court to pay the costs of the trial. In 1969, Caron married Michael Laughlin, best known as producer of the road movie Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971). They divorced in 1980. Caron was also romantically linked to Dutch television actor Robert Wolders from 1994 to 1995.

    Her current partner is (assistant) director Paul C. Magwood, who had directed her in the crime film Chandler (Paul Magwood, 1971) starring Warren Oates. In semi-retirement from films, Leslie Caron owned and operated a bed and breakfast in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, till 2010. The late French president François Mitterrand personally presented her with the Légion d'Honneur.

    In her candid memoir Thank Heaven... (2010) she writes with verve and style about her husbands and lovers, her inspiring directors and celebrity friends, the insider life of the studio star system, triumphs on screen and stage, depression and recovery. She also states that she became an American citizen, like her mother, in time to vote for Barack Obama for President. Her most recent screen appearance was a guest starring role in the popular French TV series Jo (2013) with Jean Reno. Leslie Caron lives on the left bank of Paris.

    Leslie Caron
    Vintage card.

    Leslie Caron
    Italian postcard in the Artisti di Sempre series by Ed. ris. Rotalfoto S.p.A., Milano, no. 343.


    Trailer for An American in Paris (1951). Source: Warner Bros. Worldwide (YouTube).


    Trailer for Lili (1953). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).


    Trailer for Gigi (1958). Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Jean Bond Rafferty (France Today), Louette Harding (Daily Mail), TCM, NNDB, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 05/01/16--22:00: Karina Bell
  • Charming Danish actress Karina Bell (1898-1979) was the most popular female star of the Nordisk Film Kompagni in the 1920s. The blond and slim actress was the beauty ideal of her generation. She also appeared in silent German and Swedish films. In later life she became the CEO of a Danish brewery.

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1624/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Nordisk Film. Publicity still for Klovnen/The Clown (A.W. Sandberg, 1926).

    Karina Bell
    Yugoslavian postcard by Edit. Cakovic, Zagreb, no. 3747/1. Photo: Mosinger Film. Publicity still for Klovnen/The Clown (A.W. Sandberg, 1926).

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1278/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Nordisk Film / Deutsch-Nordische Film-Union. Publicity still for Maharadjahens yndlingshustru III/The Maharaja's Favourite Wife III (A.W. Sandberg, 1926).

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3747/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Terrra Film. Publicity still for Revolutionshochzeit/The Last Night (A.W. Sandberg, 1928).

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2094/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Nordisk


    Karina Bell was born Karina Parkov in Hellerup, Denmark, in 1898. She was the daughter of Hans Peter Hansen and Anette Marie Nielsen. She followed lessons at the ballet school of Emilie Walbom and at age 21, she made her stage debut with the leading role in Tornerose (Sleeping Beauty) (1919) at Det nye Teater (The New Theater).

    Soon her first film appearance followed in Blade af Satans Bog/Leaves from Satan's Book (1919, released in 1921) by the now legendary director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Next she appeared in the Swedish production En ung mans väg/A young man's road (Carl Barcklind, 1919) opposite Philip Bech.

    Bell also played in Benjamin Christensen’s presumed lost film Helgeninderne/Helge Indians (1921) and in his famous fictionalized documentary Häxan/Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922), showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.

    Her breakthrough was the Charles Dickens adaptation David Copperfield (A.W. Sandberg, 1922). Anders Wilhelm Sandberg was between 1916 and 1926 the leading director at the Nordisk studio. Karina Bell would star in a string of 15 films by Sandberg.

    Together they would also make for Nordisk Paa Slaget 12/Twelve O'Clock (1923), Den Sidste dans/The Last Dance (1923), the comedy Kaerlighedsoen/Love Island (1924) with Gunnar Tolnaes, and Wienerbarnet (1924).

    She also played the title role in another Dickens adaptation Lille Dorrit/Little Dorrit (A.W. Sandberg, 1924), with Frederik Jensen. Other films by Sandberg were Kan kvinder fejle?/Can women fail? (1924), Morænen/Moraine (1924), Min Ven Privatdetektiven/My Friend, the Private Detective (1924), Fra Piazza del Popolo/Mists of the Past (1925), and Maharajahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharadjah's Favourite Wife (1926).

    Their last film for Nordisk was a remake of Sandberg's first success Klovnen/The Clown (1926), in which Karina Bell costarred with Gösta Ekman. Due to their lack of financial support to the production of Klovnen, Sandberg broke with Nordisk and he finished the film with his own funds. The film would become Karina Bell's international breakthrough.

    Karina Bell in Kan Kvinder fejle
    Danish postcard by Eneret, no. 629. Photo: publicity still for Kan Kvinder fejle/Can women fail? (A.W. Sandberg, 1924). This romantic comedy was partly shot in Liguria, Italy. Director A.W. Sandberg told the newspapers the film crew started filming in Trieste and at Lake Garda, but as in two days two and a half meters of snow fell, forcing the crew to withdraw to Verona and Venice. As winter still chased the crew, they moved on to Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. Here they got finally the weather they wanted, and the images were recorded under a scorching sun in 30-35 degree heat, according to Sandberg. After their return from Italym the crew shot interior shots in Valby, where among other things a set was built that envisioned 'a wealthy home'. To make the interior as compelling as possible, Sandberg almost emptied his apartment at Nørregade to provide props, such as chairs with embroidery made by his wife Elsa Fröhlich, paintings of snowy landscapes made by his father-in-law Thaulow, and an old dresser with bronze female statues by sculptor Jean René Gauguin, son of painter Paul Gauguin.

    Karina Bell
    Finnish postcard by Kortcentralem, Korttikeskus, 1925. Karina Bell is written as Kaarina Bell.

    Diomira Jacobini and Gösta Ekman in Revolutionsbryllup
    Danish postcard by Alex. Vincent's Kunstforlag, Eneret, no. 254. Photo: publicity still for Revolutionsbryllup/The Last Night (A.W. Sandberg, 1927). This was a German-Danish dramatization of Sophus Michaëlis' play Revolutionshochzeit (Revolutionary Wedding), with Gösta Ekman, Karina Bell, and Diomira Jacobini. The film was produced by Terra-Filmkunst.

    Gösta Ekman and Karina Bell in Klovnen (1926)
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 949. Photo: Nordisk Film / Lux Film Verleih. Publicity still for Klovnen/The Clown (A.W. Sandberg, 1926) with Gösta Ekman.

    Karina Bell
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 589. Photo: Lux-Film.

    Berlin


    In 1926, Karina Bell followed A.W. Sandberg when he left for Berlin. In Germany she starred in Eheskandal in Hause Fromont jun. und Risler sen./Wedding Scandal in the House of Fromont Jr. and Risler Sr. (A.W. Sandberg, 1927) with Lucy Doraine, Nora Gregor and Fred Louis Lerch.

    In the period piece Revolutionshochzeit/The Last Night (A.W. Sandberg, 1928), she co-starred with Diomiro Jacobini, Gösta Ekman and Fritz Kortner.

    She also starred in Phantome des Glücks/Phantoms of Happiness (Reinhold Schünzel, 1929). She played a dancer opposite Michael Chekhov and Gaston Modot. The film was originally made as a silent, then re-released in 1930 with an added soundtrack.

    After the arrival of the sound film, she returned to Denmark. She performed in theatres in Copenhagen and Oslo, and she made two sound films: Nyhavn 17/New Harbour 17 (George Schneevoigt, 1933) and one last film with A.W. Sandberg, the comedy 5 raske piger/Five Healthy Girls (1933).

    In 1934 she married Knud P. Parkov, director of the Wiibroes Bryggeri (Wiibroes beer brewery), and gave up her stage and film career. When her husband died in 1949 she took over as CEO at Wiibroes under the name Karen Gudrun Louise Parkov.

    Karina Bell died in Denmark in 1979, at the age of 80.

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2094/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3167/1, 1927-1928. Photo: DEFU.

    Karina Bell
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3094/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

    Karina Bell
    German Postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8103/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Palladium-film.

    Sources: Danish Film Institute (Danish), Den danske film database (Danish), Wikipedia (Swedish and English) and IMDb.

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  • 05/02/16--22:00: Margaret Leahy
  • Margaret Leahy (1902–1967) was a British actress. After winning a beauty contest, Leahy went on to make only one film in her very short-lived film career.

    Margaret Leahy
    British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. 5.76. 3. Caption: "The Daily Sketch girl. Adopted by Miss Norma Talmadge."

    The most ravishing girl in England


    Margaret Leahy was born in London, Great Britain, in 1902. At 18 years of age, she set up a costume shop in Brixton, England designing women's clothing and modelling her designs for interested buyers.

    In 1922, a starring role in a major Hollywood film was offered by the Daily Sketch newspaper in a grand and widely publicised film star competition. The genesis of the idea came from the American company First National Pictures, with their two leading stars, Norma and Constance Talmadge. Joe Schenck, chairman of First National and Norma Talmadge's husband, probably proposed the idea, but at the encouragement of Sir Edward Hulton, the owner of the popular newspapers the Daily Sketch and the Evening Standard.

    The competition was to find a British actress to play second lead in Norma Talmadge's forthcoming film Within The Law. Norma and Constance Talmadge themselves would come to Stoll Film Studios (where the screen tests were to be made) and select the winner. The contestants reputably numbered nearly 80,000 and the competition resulted in three girls thought suitable: Katherine Campbell, the French Agnès Souret and Leahy.

    Norma Talmadge stated that Leahy was "the most ravishing girl in England" and had "a perfect film face ... splendid eyes, a supple body, and convincing expressions ... her features are so perfect, and her character so distinctive!" Prior to depart to Hollywood, Leahy toured several major cities in Europe and was greeted with hundreds of cheering fans and photographers as the new film star that was about to be born.

    In November of 1922, Margaret Leahy sailed on the 'Aquitania' for America. She arrived in New York on 3 December and was greeted by a huge crowd which included Norma and Constance Talmadge, director D.W. Griffith, Mae Murray and Marion Davies. After a short stay in New York, Leahy boarded the train for Hollywood with the Talmadges. When she arrived in Hollywood she was met by Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.

    Everyone in Britain was anxious to know how she got on. Postcards of her were put on sale, and the Daily Sketch commissioned her to dictate a diary of her experiences. She began working with director Frank Lloyd who was going to make her a 'star.' Although it was said by her publicity that the young beauty queen had acted in English and French films in Europe, this proved to be highly untrue. Lloyd had her dismissed from Within the Law (1923). The silent film was supposed to be Leahy's big film debut, but director Lloyd claimed that the actress could do nothing that an actress was supposed to be able to do. The part of Aggie Lynch in Within The Law went to American actress Eileen Percy.

    Margaret Leahy
    British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. 5.76. 6. Caption: "The Daily Sketch girl. Adopted by Miss Norma Talmadge."

    WAMPAS Baby Star


    In 1923, Margaret Leahy was selected as one of thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars. The WAMPAS Baby Stars was a promotional campaign sponsored by the United States Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers, which honoured 13 young actresses each year whom they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. The campaign ran from 1922 to 1934.

    Leahy was probably selected due to the help of producer Joseph Schenck, who had signed a three-year contract with the girl. Following this, Schenck believed it did not take much for an actress to be a comedian, and handed Margaret over to his brother-in-law Buster Keaton to appear in his next comedy, the silent feature Three Ages (Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton, 1923).

    Film historian Luke Mc Kernan writes about the film at BusterKeaton.com: "A comic history of love in prehistoric, Roman and modern times, it has Keaton fighting his rival, Wallace Beery, over a girl [Leahy] and winning her against the odds each time. Allegedly parodying Intolerance, it is really three sketches strung together rather than a true feature, but it is still highly amusing (especially in the Stone Age sequence) and boasts some breathtaking stunts."

    Leahy's only film did absolutely nothing to improve her already crumbling film career. After the film finished shooting, there were no attempts to put her in any other films as she was labelled as being untalented and incapable of learning how to act. In the press, Leahy's role was not given much attention, and she never acted again. She went so far as to sue Joseph Schenck for $50,000 for breach of contract and injured feelings.

    Leahy chose to remain in California and get married, instead of returning to England. She later became an interior decorator for Bullock's department store, going by the name of Marion Meade. She grew to despise the movie industry and burnt all her scrapbooks. In 1967, Margaret Leahy apparently committed suicide in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 64.

    Margaret Leahy
    British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. 5.77. 1. Caption: "The Daily Sketch girl. Adopted by Miss Norma Talmadge."

    Sources: Luke McKernan (Buster Keaton.com), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/03/16--22:00: If... (1968)
  • The British film If... (1968), produced and directed by Lindsay Anderson, and starring Malcolm McDowell in his film debut, was a highly acclaimed but controversial drama. It paints a black picture of the British school system and, by extension, English society. Today we post a series of cards published for the British DVD release of the film in 2007.

    Malcolm McDowell in If... (1968)
    British postcard by Paramount Pictures for the DVD release (2007), no. GI101327PK. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Publicity still for If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) with Malcolm McDowell.

    Daring and unpredictable in content and form


    In If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968), rebellious students at an old established private school in England plan a violent revolt against their repressive environment.

    The film centres on a small group of non-conformists led by Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell in his first screen role). Seeing the powers-that-be as humourless, bureaucratic, and needlessly restrictive, Mick and his cohorts (including Richard Warwick and David Wood) indulge in small acts of rebellion, including sneaking into town to romance a local waitress (Christine Noonan). Their actions are discovered and punished with harsh beatings, leading the students to plot revenge.

    Judd Blaise at AllMovie: "This effort culminates in the film's most famous sequence, a surrealistic depiction of a bloody uprising by the students against the adult world. Daring and unpredictable in content and form, If... mixes colour and black-and-white cinematography as easily as it mingles satire with dark fantasy."

    If... is often compared to the French classic Zéro de conduite (Jean Vigo, 1933), which also featured surrealistic boarding-school rebellion. According to Wikipedia, Anderson acknowledged an influence, and described how he arranged a viewing of Zéro de conduite with his screenwriters, David Sherwin and John Howlett.

    If.... (1968)
    British postcard by Paramount Pictures for the DVD release (2007), no. GI101327PK. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Publicity still for If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) with Hugh Thomas, Robert Swann, Ben Aris, Arthur Lowe and Mary MacLeod.

    Christine Noonan in If.... (1968)
    British postcard by Paramount Pictures for the DVD release (2007), no. GI101327PK. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Publicity still for If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) with Christine Noonan.

    Power to Shock


    The film's ambiguous attitude toward violence was fairly controversial in 1968. If... became a success among younger, counter-culture audiences who appreciated the audacious shock tactics and embraced the satirical, anti-establishment message. The film received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations and won the Palme d'Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.

    Rebecca Flint Marx at AllMovie: "the film still has the power to shock, not so much because of its sex and violence (fairly tame by today's standards) but because of the manner in which they are presented. Resembling a landlocked Lord of the Flies, If... remains most startling for its depiction of savagery, on the part of both society (represented by the school and its authorities) and the young men it produces. It is a casual, offhand savagery, seemingly as much a part of British society as tea and scones. Lindsay Anderson's ambiguous approach to the film's violence is consistent with the film's blackly satirical tone, mirroring the aim being taken at societies across the world at the time by their dissatisfied youth."

    If... has become a high point in the cinema of youth rebellion. His role earned Malcolm McDowell the part of Alex in the classic A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971). Director Lindsay Anderson and McDowell later collaborated on O Lucky Man! (1973), Look Back in Anger (1980), and Britannia Hospital (1982).

    Shawn Taber at IMDb about If...: "This is one of the greatest films ever made, period! I've seen it at least 10 times, and it still manages to captivate me."

    If... (1968)
    British postcard by Paramount Pictures for the DVD release (2007), no. GI101327PK. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Publicity still for If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968).

    If.... (1968)
    British postcard by Paramount Pictures for the DVD release (2007), no. GI101327PK. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Poster for If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968).

    Sources: Rebecca Flint Marx (AllMovie), Judd Blaise (AllMovie), Shawn Taber (IMDb),  Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/04/16--22:00: Elena Lunda
  • Elena Lunda (1901-1947) was an Italian actress who acted in some 35 silent Italian and German films. She was briefly married to actor Alfredo Bertone.

    Elena Lunda
    Italian/Romanian postcard by Fotocelere / Edition SARPIC, Bucarest.

    Antagonist of Francesca Berini


    Elena Lunda was born in 1901 in Palermo, Sicily. She debuted at a young age at the film company Do.Re.Mi. by Lucio D'Ambra in 1919. Her first film there was Passa il drama il Lilliput/Skip the drama in Lilliput (Lucio D'Ambra, 1919), with Romano Calo’.

    Soon she shifted to the Cines company for various films. She acted in all kinds of modest film productions in the early 1920s, in which she often had the lead. She was the antagonist of Francesca Bertini in La sfinge/The Sphinx (Roberto Roberti, 1920), Anima selvaggia/Wild Soul (dir. unknown, 1920), Fatale bellezza/Fatal Beauty (Gaston Ravel, 1922) and Oltre la legge/Beyond the law (Gaston Ravel, 1923).

    She also appeared opposite Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie/The Second Wife (Amleto Palermi, 1922) and Occupati d’Amelia/Take Care of Amelia (Telemaco Ruggeri, 1925), and opposite Carmen Boni in Il riscatto/The Redemption (Guglielmo Zorzi, 1924).

    When the crisis in the Italian film industry started, she moved to Germany. There she played from 1923 in films with often Italian leads, such as Bohème - Künstlerliebe/La Boheme (Gennaro Righelli, 1923), starring Maria Jacobini as Mimi and Lunda as Musette.

    With Angelo Ferrari she acted in Der Racher von Davos/The Avenger of Davos (1924), and with Luciano Albertini in the circus drama Der Mann auf dem Kometen/The Man on the Comet (Alfred Halm, 1925).

    Elena Lunda
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano. Photo: Fontana, no. 489.

    Elena Lunda
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 876.

    Opposite Maciste


    Elena Lunda also appeared in the German films Frauen, die nicht lieben dürfen/Women who may not love (Geza von Bolvary, 1925) with Olaf Fjord, Frauen, die man of nicht grüsst/Women You Rarely Greet (Frederic Zelnik, 1925) with Lya Mara, Der Liebeskäfig/The Love Trap (Erich Schönflder, Richard Eichberg, 1925) with Johannes Riemann, Die Assmanns/The Assmanns (Arthur Bergen, 1925) with Grete Reinwald, and Der Ritt in die Sonne/The ride in the sun (Georg Jacoby, 1927) with Livio Pavanelli.

    After these German films Lunda returned to Italy to act in films by producer Stefano Pittaluga. First she appeared in Il gigante delle Dolomiti/The Giant of the Dolomites (Guido Brignone, 1927), starring Bartolomeo Pagano as Maciste, this time a mountain guide in the Alps.

    After the short I martiri d’Italia/The martyrs of Italy (1927), Lunda acted in Gli ultimi zar/The Last Tsars (Baldassarre Negroni, 1928), with again Pagano as Maciste. Her last performance was in La compagnia dei matti/Company and the Crazy (Mario Almirante, 1928), in which a young Vittorio De Sica had a part.

    Lunda retired after the death of her husband, actor Alfredo Bertone. The couple had done quite a few films together, including La casa in rovina/The ruined house (Amleto Palermi, 1920), Don Carlos (Giulio Antamoro, 1921) and La seconda moglie/The Second Wife (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

    Elena Lunda died in 1947 in Rome, only 46. She and Alfredo Bertone had two daughters.

    Elena Lunda
    Italian postcard, no. 286.

    Sources: Wikipedia (English and Italian) and IMDb.

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    In the 1940s, Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman became one of Hollywood's brightest stars. Whether acting the role of saint or sinner, Bergman found in her characters the extremes of her own devoted and passionate nature. When she fell in love with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, she fell from grace and American authorities branded her "an apostle of degradation". Today twelve collectors cards of two her best roles -  as 'sinner' Alicia in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946) and as Jeanne d'Arc in Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948). And was Bergman herself a sinner or a saint? Neither, she was a modern Swedish woman and a terrific actress.

    Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946).

    Ingrid Bergman and Louis Calhern in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) with Louis Calhern (moustache).

    Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) with Cary Grant.

    Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Leopoldine Konstantin in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) with Claude Rains and Leopoldine Konstantin.

    Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) with Claude Rains.

    Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) with Cary Grant.

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card, no. 6. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card, no. 18. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

    Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
    German collectors card, no. 15. Photo: RKO Radio Film. Publicity still for Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948).

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


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  • 05/06/16--22:00: Gertrud Kückelmann
  • Gertrud Kückelmann (1929-1979) was a German stage and film actress and was the German voice for Shirley MacLaine and other Hollywood stars.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 798. Photo: Capitol Film / Prisma / Arthur Grimm. Publicity still for Die Stärkere/The Stronger (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1953).

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1380. Photo: Rolf Lantin.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by F.J. Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 414. Photo: Neue Emelka / Zeyn / Schorcht. Publicity still for Der Kaplan von San Lorenzo/The chaplain of San Lorenzo (Gustav Ucicky, 1953).

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 225/370, 1957. Photo: DEFA / Kilian. Publicity still for Spielbank-Affäre/Casino Affair (Arthur Pohl, 1957).

    Fruit Without Love


    Gertrud Christine Franziska Kückelmann was born in 1929 in München (Munich), Germany. Kückelmann was the daughter of the physician Wilhelm Heinrich Ludwig Kückelmann and actress Anna Kückelmann-Guba.

    Gertrud spent her school years in Munich and was initially trained as a dancer. At 12, she was a ballet student at the Bavarian State Opera and at 16, she appeared in Gestiefelten Kater (Puss in Boots). She studied singing, began acting classes and in 1949 she signed a long-term contract at the Münchner Kammerspiele.

    She made her film debut in the fairytale film Hans im Glück/Hans in Luck (Peter Hamel, 1949) with Gunnar Möller. For her second film role in Rausch einer Nacht/One Night's Intoxication (Eduard von Borsody, 1950), she was awarded with the Bundesfilmpreis (German Film Award) as Best Young Actress.

    After that, she was typecast in roles of ‘fragile girls’, and was hardly offered different parts. One of her better films was the comedy Musik bei Nacht/Music by Night (Kurt Hoffmann, 1953) with Paul Hubschmid and Curd Jürgens.

    In 1956 she appeared in Frucht ohne Liebe/Fruit Without Love (Ulrich Erfurth, 1956), a Problemfilm (a melodrama with a social problem) on the subject of artificial insemination. The film caused quite a scandal in Germany when it premiered. The churches protested against the film and Kückelmann was also criticised.

    When new film roles failed to materialise in West Germany, she made a film for the East German DEFA studio: Spielbank-Affäre/Casino Affair (Arthur Pohl, 1957) with Jan Hendriks. It would be her last film for a long time.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 564. Photo: Witt / Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Ei Herz spielt falsch/A Heart's Foul Play (Rudolf Jugert, 1953).

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 626. Photo: Helios / Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Musik bei Nacht/Music by Night (Kurt Hoffmann, 1953).

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 673. Photo: Helios / Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Musik bei Nacht/Music by Night (Kurt Hoffmann, 1953).

    Gertrud Kückelmann in Der Engel mit dem Flammenschwert (1954)
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 1129. Photo: Omega / NF / Brünjes. Publicity still for Der Engel mit dem Flammenschwert/The angel with the flaming sword (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1954).

    Longtime Love Affair


    Gertrud Kückelmann had a longtime love affair with the actor Oskar Werner. They had met at the set of the Austrian film Mozart (Karl Hartl, 1955) in which Werner starred as the composer and Kückelmann played his wife Constanze. The two often worked together.

    Kückelmann also worked as a voice actress. She was e.g. the German voice of Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960) and The Children's Hour (William Wyler, 1961), of Jane Fonda in A Doll's House (Joseph Losey, 1969), and of Charlotte Rampling in The Damned (Luchino Visconti, 1969).

    She also appeared in about 100 radio plays and read some fairy tales recordings. In 1968 she married television director Fritz Schuster, but the marriage ended in a divorce in 1971. In 1969, her contract with the Münchner Kammerspiele was ended and in 1970 Kückelmann worked for several months as a nurse.

    In 1975 she returned to the cinema in the film Die Angst ist ein zweiter Schatten/Fear Is a Second Shadow, directed by her brother Norbert Kückelmann. It was her final feature film. However, she took part in several television productions and till the end of her life Kückelmann performed on stage. She gave numerous guest performances throughout the German-speaking countries. She both played in classic and modern plays.

    Even after surgery for cancer in 1978, she returned once again to the theatre. Her last engagement was at the Berner Stadttheater, but then she was already too ill to perform. In 1979, Gertrud Kückelmann jumped out of a window of the apartment of her brother in Munich. She was 50.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German leaflet. This leaflet contains three pictures and three pages with info on Kückelman and her films.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German leaflet. This leaflet contains three pictures and three pages with info on Kückelmann and her films. Photo: Grimm / Capitol / Prisma.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    German leaflet. This leaflet contains three pictures and three pages with info on Kückelmann and her films. Photo: Grimm / Capitol / Prisma.

    Jan Hendriks, Gertrud Kückelmann
    East-German postcard by VEB DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme, Potsdam-Babelsberg, no. 78, 1957, retail price: 0,15 DM. Photo: DEFA / Kilian. Publicity still for Spielbank-Affäre (Arthur Pohl, 1957) with Jan Hendriks.

    Jan Hendriks, Gertrud Kuckelmann
    East-German postcard by VEB DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme, Potsdam-Babelsberg, no. 78, 1957, retail price: 0,15 DM. Photo: DEFA / Kilian. Publicity still for Spielbank-Affäre (Arthur Pohl, 1957) with Jan Hendriks.

    Gertrud Kückelmann and Peter Passetti, Spielbank-Affäre (1957)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 17/279, 1957. Photo: DEFA / Kilian. Publicity still for Spielbank-Affäre/Casino Affair (Arthur Pohl, 1957) with Peter Pasetti.

    Gertrud Kückelmann
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 213/236, 1956. Photo: DEFA / Kilian. Publicity still for Spielbank-Affäre/Casino Affair (Arthur Pohl, 1957).

    Sources: Luise F. Pusch (FemBio – German), Otto Striebel (Gertrud Kückelmann Gedenkseite – German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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  • 05/07/16--22:00: Marga Barbu
  • Marga Barbu also known as Margareta-Yvonne Barbu (1929-2009) was a Romanian stage and film actress. She became a star with the historical adventure film Haiducii/Outlaws (Dinu Cocea, 1966) and appeared in many Romanian features and TV films of the 1960s and 1970s.

    Marga Barbu
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2701, 1966. Publicity still for Haiducii/The Outlaws (Dinu Cocea, 1966).

    A Page of modern Romanian history


    Marga Barbu was born as Margareta-Yvonne Butuc in 1929 in Ocna Şugatag, Romania. When she was 14, her family moved to Romania’s capital, Bucharest. Marga’s first great love was dancing and she would have done anything to follow her mother’s footsteps, who had been a ballerina in Vienna.

    Marga was hired by the Romanian Opera, but the medical test relevealed she had a heart condition, which made her drop the idea of a dance career. After following various classes in acting, dance and philosophy, she ultimately choose for acting. In 1950 she graduated from the Theatre Institute in Bucharest.

    She made her film debut in Nepotii gornistului/The Bugler's Grandsons (Dinu Negreanu, 1953), with her later husband Constantin Codrescu and Iurie Darie. In the following years, she appeared in Romanian films like Rasare soarele/The Sun Rises (Dinu Negreanu, 1954) again with Codrescu and Darie, and the war film Vultur 101/Eagle 101 (Andrei Calarasu, 1957) with Ion Besoiu.

    After an intermission of several years, she returned to the cinema with Procesul alb/White Trial (Iulian Mihu, 1965), written by her then husband Eugen Barbu. She is especially known in Romania for her role as Anita in the historical adventure film Haiducii/Outlaws (Dinu Cocea, 1966) and its many sequels. As IMDb-reviewer Armand writes: “Almost remarkable theatrical, admirable work for its period, mixture of adventure story and romance using a page of modern Romanian history (...) with Marga Barbu in a role which defines her career.”

    She had other successes with the comedy La portile pamîntului/At the Gates of the Earth (Geo Saizescu, 1966) with George Constantin and with Dragostea începe vinery/Love Begins on Friday (Virgil Calotescu, 1972).

    Marga Barbu
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 196/71, 1971.

    Marga Barbu and Florin Piersic
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 71/72, 1972. Publicity still for Zestrea domnitei Ralu/The Dowry of Lady Ralu (Dinu Cocea, 1972) with Florin Piersic.

    A Robin Hood-like outlaw in Romania 


    One of Marga Barbu’s best known films is the crime film Ultimul cartuş/The Last Bullet (1973), directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu. The cast included other well known Romanian stars like Amza Pellea, Ion Besoiu and Jean Constantin.

    She also starred in Tatal risipitor/The Podrigal Father (Adrian Petringenaru, 1974) with Toma Caragiu. Another success that lead to several sequels was Trandafirul galben/The Yellow Rose (Doru Nastase, 1982) about a Robin Hood-like outlaw in Romania of the 1800s, in which she starred as Agata Slatineanu.

    Twice, for her roles in Bietul Ioanide/Poor Ioanide (Dan Pita, 1980) and in Domnisoara Aurica/Miss Aurica (Serban Marinescu, 1986), she was awarded the ACIN Best Actress award (Romania’s most prestigious film award). Her last film was Lacrima cerului/Tear of Heaven (Adrian Istratescu Lener, 1989).

    Besides her impressive career in the cinema, Barbu was also a noted stage actress. From 1952 until her retirement in 1993 she worked for the Nottara Theatre. Her favourite role in the theatre was Cleopatra in the play Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare. She was also a beloved comedienne.

    In 2004, President Ion Iliescu decorated her with the National Order for Faithful Service in the rank of Knight. Marga Barbu died in 2009 in Bucharest, Romania, at the age of 80. She was married three times. Her first husband was a textile engineer in Ploiesti. She then married actor Constantin Codrescu. Finally, she was married for over 30 years with writer Eugen Barbu.

    Marga Barbu
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 74/69, 1969. Photo: Balinski.

    Marga Barbu
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 141/69, 1969.

    Sources: Wikipedia (Romanian and English) and IMDb.

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  • 05/08/16--22:00: Leda Gys
  • Versatile actress Leda Gys (1892-1957) was the only Italian diva who never played vamp roles and the only one whose career lasted until the advent of sound films. She starred in some 80 dramas, comedies, action thrillers and even westerns of the Italian and Spanish silent cinema. Her claim to fame came with the film Christus (1916), shot in Egypt and Palestine, where Gys performed the Madonna.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano (Milan), no. 722.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 711.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. G. Vettori, Bologna, no. 303.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Edit. Soc. Anon. It. Bettini, Roma, no. 112.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 956.

    Madonna


    Leda Gys was born as Giselda Ilardi in Roma (Rome), Italy, in 1892.

    Her lover, the Roman poet Carlo Alberto Trilussa introduced young Giselda to the Cines film studios in 1912. He also gave her her artist's name Leda Gys, by anagrammatising her Christian name, Giselda. Her film debut was the short silent Cines drama Fior d'amore e fior di morte/Flower of Love and Flower of Death (1912) with Amleto Novelli.

    Gys quickly rose to leads in films like L'histoire d'un Pierrot/Pierrot the Prodigal (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914) with Francesca Bertini, L'amazzone mascherata/The Masked Amazon (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914) again with Bertini and with Emilio Ghione, La marcia nuziale/The Wedding March (Carmine Gallone, 1915) with Lyda Borelli, Maschera di mistero/Mask of Mystery (Mario Caserini, 1915) and La morta del lago/A Fatal Fascination (Enrico Guazzoni, 1915) with Pina Menichelli.

    Italian-American film historian Angela Dalle Vacche writes in the Encyclopedia Of Early Cinema: "Working for both Cines and its branch Celio, between 1913 and 1914, she sharpened her skills in some two dozen short—or medium-length films directed by Enrico Guazzoni and others. It was then that Gys began to develop a personal screen type based on American stars, combining the girl-next-door innocence of Mary Pickford and the suffering pathos of Lilian Gish."

    Leda Gys
    Vintage postcard, no. 523A, sent by mail from Belgium to the Netherlands in 1928.

    Leda Gys
    Vintage Italian postcard.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 564.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. Romeo Biagi, Bologna, no. 652.

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard by Ed. Vettori, Bologna, no. 402 bis. Photo: Foto Pinto, Roma.

    Neapolitan Dramas and Comedies


    The versatile Leda Gys appeared in all kind of genres: drama, comedy, action thrillers and even westerns. Often she played pathetic roles of the romantic and innocent young woman, victim of loose mothers, unfaithful husbands, adventurers etc.

    Her claim to fame came with Christus/Christ (Giulio Antamoro, 1916), a religious epic shot in Egypt and Palestine. Gys performed the Madonna and Alberto Pasquali appeared as Jesus Christ.

    Various films in Spain followed, such as Flor de otoño/Autumn Flowers (Mario Caserini, 1916) with Maria Caserini, which lead to the belief afterwards that she was a Spanish actress.

    From the late 1910s on, Gys performed in the Neapolitan dramas and comedies, produced by the Neapolitan producer and Gys' husband Gustavo Lombardo. Lombardo was inspired by American cinema and transposed the American modern style to Italian cinema, thus mixing Gys's characters with sentiment or wit.

    These films like I figli di nessuno/Nobody's Children (Ubaldo Maria del Colle, 1921) and Napoli è una canzone/Naples is a Song (Eugenio Perego, 1927), appealed to Italian emigrants in North and South America thanks to their shots of Naples and surroundings, their references to Neapolitan regional theatre and their intertitles in Neapolitan dialect.

    Leda Gys and Mario Bonard in La pantomima della morte (1915)
    French postcard, no. 7467. Photo: publicity still for La pantomima della morte/The pantomime of death (Mario Caserini, 1915) with Mario Bonard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Christus (1916) Pietà
    French postcard by J. Mayer, graveur, Paris. Photo: Films Primior, Paris. The Pietà with Jesus (Alberto Pasquali) and Mary (Leda Gys), from the silent epic Christus (Giulio Antamoro, 1916).

    Leda Gys
    Italian postcard. Unknown editor. Leda Gys as protagonist of the film Treno di lusso (Mario Bonnard, 1917).

    Leda Gys in La Bohème
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 300. Photo: Leda Gys as Mimì in La Bohème (Amleto Palermi, 1917).

    Leda Gys in Santarellina
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 322. Photo: Leda Gys in Santarellina (Eugenio Perego, 1923).

    Diva Dolorosa


    Throughout the 1920s Leda Gys did light-hearted romantic comedies directed by Eugenio Perego.

    She also worked in France, where she made Esclave/Slave (Georges Monca, Rose Pansini, 1922) with the young Charles Boyer.

    In 1929 she appeared in her last films, the Titanus productions Mi chiamano Mimì Rondine/Rondine (Eugenio Perego, 1929) with Adele Farulli, and La signorina Chicchiricchì/Miss Chicchiricchì (Eugenio Perego, 1929) with Silvio Orsini.

    Just before the advent of the sound film, she withdrew from the cinema to take care of her son, Goffredo Lombardo. In the post-war years Goffredo would be the producer of Titanus Film, the company founded by his father Gustavo Lombardo in 1908.

    Leda Gys died in Rome in 1957. She was 65. In 1999, Gys was one of the divas of the silent Italian cinema, who were featured by Peter Delpeut in his beautiful compilation film Diva Dolorosa .

    Leda Gys in Mia moglie si è fidanzata (1921)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci Editore, Milano, no. 309. Photo: publicity still for Mia moglie si è fidanzata/My wife got engaged (Gero Zambuto, 1921).

    Silvio Orsini and Leda Gys in Santareilina (1923)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 303. Photo: publicity still for Santarellina (Eugenio Perego, 1923) with Silvio Orsini.


    Histoire d'un Pierrot (Baldassarre Negroni, 1913). Source: Enrico Giacovelli (YouTube).


    Christus (Giulio Antammoro, 1916). Source: The Great Classics (YouTube).


    Clip from Diva Dolorosa (1999). Source: TheStat01 (YouTube). NB. The clip is without Leda Gys.

    Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Le dive del silenzio), Angela Dalle Vacche (Encyclopedia Of Early Cinema), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 05/09/16--22:00: Dominique Wilms
  • Belgian actress Dominique Wilms (1930) was the glamorous and sexy femme fatale of many French action films of the 1950s and 1960s, often opposite Eddie Constantine. Many of these ‘Euro Noirs’ are B-films with a strong cult and trash factor.

    Dominique Wilms
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 233. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Dominique Wilms
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 28G. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

    Dominique Wilms
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 396. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

    Ruthless vamp and calculating luxury bitch


    Dominique Wilms was born Claudine Maria Célina Wilmes in Montignies-sur-Sambre, Belgium, in 1930. Wilms studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and subsequently, she became a model.

    Director Edmond T. Gréville discovered her and recommended her to his younger colleague Bernard Borderie for the femme fatale role in the action film La môme vert de gris/Poison Ivy (Bernard Borderie, 1953), based on a novel by Peter Cheney. It became a sensational success and her breakthrough.

    La môme vert de gris would be the first of a popular series of French action films starring Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution, the two-fisted FBI agent created by novelist Peter Cheney. Lemmy Caution can be seen as the precursor of James Bond.

    At IMDb, reviewer Kuciak writes: “The book was written in 1937, this movie made in 1953, the birth of James Bond in Casino Royale. Like Bond, he flirts with the secretary before going to see his boss, he drinks whiskey, were as Bond drinks Martinis. He does not bed women, but he finds any way he can kiss a woman. Even the ending, where he is with a woman, will remind one of James Bond Films, as they are in no hurry to meet up with the police. What was more striking was that this film almost appeared to be a rehearsal for Thunderball.”

    Eddie Constantine and Wilms were reunited in the third Lemmy Caution adventure, Les Femmes s'en balancent/Dames Don’t Care (Bernard Borderie, 1954). In this outing, Lemmy is on the trail of a counterfeiting gang and somehow or other, the mission requires him to dally with such beauties as Wilms and Nadia Gray, who may or may not be mixed up in a blackmail scheme.

    Dominique Wilms became the French equivalent of Veronica Lake, the blonde star of the American Film Noir. She would play the ruthless vamp and calculating luxury bitch in Euro Noirs again and again.

    Dominique Wilms
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 21G. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

    Dominique Wilms
    Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Dominique Wilms
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 394. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    A Potential Death Trap


    A big hit on the European film festival circuit was the thriller Les Assassins Du Dimanche/Every Second Counts (Alex Joffe, 1957). A garage mechanic (Jean-Marc Thibault) returns a car to its owner on a Sunday morning, but unbeknownst to him the steering mechanism has not been properly tightened. When the mechanic realises that the car is a potential death trap, he desperately tries to contact the owner.

    Wilms appeared again opposite Constantine in Le Grand Bluff/The Big Bluff (Patrice Dally, 1957). In La rivière des 3 jonques/The River of Three Junks (André Pergament, 1957), Jean Gaven was her leading man. The two co-stars would marry later that same year. The next year they starred together again in Les aventuriers du Mékong/Adventures in Indochina (Jean Bastia, 1958).

    Suggested by author Françoise Sagan, Otto Preminger chose Wilms for the part of Elsa in the film adaptation of Sagan’s bestseller Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger, 1957), but she refused because she had to stay for six months in the USA to perfect her English. The role was ultimately played by Mylène Demongeot.

    Thus Wilms continued to appear in French action films and comedies. In the 1960s, when the roles in French detective films dried up, she appeared also in German and Italian films. Again opposite Eddie Constantine, she starred in the German-French production Bomben auf Monte Carlo/Bombs on Monte Carlo (Georg Jacoby, 1960).

    Wilms played a showgirl who marries a farmer (Antonio Cifariello) in the Argentinian-Italian western Questo Amore Ai Confini Del Mondo/This Love at the End of the World (Giuseppe Maria Scotese, 1960). In 1963 she was Queen Astrid in the Peplum (epic Italian costume drama) Giulio Cesare, il conquistatore delle Gallie/Caesar the Conqueror (Amerigo Anton, Tanio Boccia, 1963) with Rik Battaglia and Cameron Mitchell as Julius Caesar.

    In the French-Italian spy film Banco à Bangkok (pour OSS 117)/Shadow of Evil (André Hunebelle, 1964) she co-starred with Kerwin Matthews and Pier Angeli. She also played in television films and series.

    Finally, she left the cinema and devoted herself to her first love: painting. She studied art history at the Ecole du Louvre for four years. Another hobby is the restoration of art objects. Her husband, Jean Gavenpassed away in 2014.


    Scene from La môme vert de gris/Poison Ivy (1953). Sorry, no subtitles. Source: Classic movies library (YouTube).


    Original French trailer for Banco à Bangkok (pour OSS 117)/Shadow of Evil (1964). Sorry, no subtitles. Source: Gaumont (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Kuciak (IMDb), Wikipedia (English, German, French) and IMDb.

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  • 05/10/16--22:00: Isabelle Huppert
  • Today is the opening night of the 69th Festival de Cannes. In the official selection is the new film by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, Elle (2016). How I am looking forward to see this thriller! French actress Isabelle Huppert (1953) plays a top exec for a video-game company who turns the tables after being violated in a home invasion. The versatile Huppert appeared in more than 90 film and television productions since 1971.

    Isabelle Huppert
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Isabelle Huppert
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Isabelle Huppert
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Casually Poisoning Her Parents


    Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert was born in Paris in 1953 (some sources say 1955). She is the youngest of five daughters of Annick Beau, a teacher of English, and Raymond Huppert, a safe manufacturer.

    At age 13, she announced her intention to be an actor, and was encouraged by her mother. She studied at the Versailles Conservatoire and later attended the CNSAD (National Conservatory of Dramatic Art of Paris).

    Huppert made her film debut in Faustine et le bel été/Faustine and the Beautiful Summer (Nina Companeez, 1972). Five years later, she already had appeared in 15 films and had worked with major directors. She played Romy Schneider's younger sister in César et Rosalie/Cesar and Rosalie (Claude Sautet, 1972).

    In Bertrand Blier’s road movie Les valseuses/Going Places (1974), she played a bored teenager who runs off with three young vagabonds (Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere and Miou-Miou). For director Otto Preminger, Huppert made her English-language debut in Rosebud (1975) starring Peter O’Toole.

    Her international breakthrough came with her guileless performance as a simple, provincial girl destroyed by a summer romance with a middle-class student in La Dentelliere/The Lacemaker (Claude Goretta, 1977). For this unforgettable portrayal she was awarded with both a BAFTA award (British Academy Award) and a David di Donatello (the Italian Oscar).

    At the next Cannes film festival, she won the Best Actress award for Violette Nozière (Claude Chabrol, 1978). In this true story, she portrayed a woman who scandalized France in 1933 by casually poisoning her parents. She tied the award with Jill Clayburgh.

    Marie-France Pisier, Isabelle Huppert and Isabelle Adjani in Les soeurs Brontë
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Les soeurs Brontë/The Bronte Sisters (André Téchniné, 1979) with Marie-France Pisier as Charlotte Bronte, Isabelle Huppert as Anne Bronte, and Isabelle Adjani as Emily Brontë.

    Dominique Sanda, Isabelle Huppert
    Dominique Sanda and Isabelle Huppert. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Publicity still for Les ailes de la colombe/The Wings of the Dove (Benoît Jacquot, 1981).

    Legendary Disaster


    Isabelle Huppert made her American film debut in the blockbuster Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980), which proved to be a legendary disaster at the box office.

    In France she continued to explore enigmatic and emotionally distant characters, such as an upper-class woman who is physically attracted by a young vagabond (Gérard Depardieu) in Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1980), a prostitute in Sauve qui peut (la vie)/Slow Motion (Jean-Luc Godard, 1980), the mistress of Philippe Noiret’s character in Coup de torchon/Clean Slate (Bertrand Tavernier, 1981) and a Jewish refugee in Coup de foudre/Entre nous (Diane Kurys, 1983).

    She used her influence to help non-commercial projects get off the ground, like Joseph Losey's La Truite/The Trout (1982) and sister Caroline Huppert's Signé Charlotte/Sincerely, Charlotte (1984).

    For her role in Une Affaire de Femmes/Story of Women (Claude Chabrol, 1988), she received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice film festival. This time, she tied with Shirley MacLaine. She won the Volpi Cup again for her role in La Cérémonie (Claude Chabrol, 1995) as a shy but manic and homicidal post-office mistress in a French village. This time she tied the award with her co-star in that film, Sandrine Bonnaire. For La Cérémonie, she also won her only César award.

    The offspring of her cinematic relationship with director Claude Chabrol also includes the widely acclaimed literary adaptation Madame Bovary (1991), the crime comedy Rien ne va plus/The Swindle (1997), and the thriller Merci pour le chocolat/Thanks for the Chocolate (2000).

    Stuart Jeffries in The Observer about their cooperation: “Huppert has excelled in the spiteful, the nasty, the unpleasant and - regularly - the murderous. More than that, she carries herself with imperious intelligence, and thus seems to be self-conscious about her own wickedness. No doubt that is why Chabrol has cast her so often. He's interested in guilt, manipulativeness and shame - all of which she loves portraying.”

    Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Loulou
    French postcard by Editions La Malibran, Nancy, in the collection Cinéma Couleur, no. MC 39. Publicity still for Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1979) with Gérard Depardieu.

    Isabelle Huppert
    French postcard, no. 222.

    Isabelle Huppert
    French postcard by Humour a la Carte, Paris, no. ST-159.


    Greeted With A Mixture Of Boos And Applause


    In 2001, Isabelle Huppert started a new interesting collaboration with Austrian film director Michael Haneke. In La Pianiste/The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001), an adaptation of the novel by Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, she played a sexually repressed and self-destructive piano teacher, who embarks on a dark journey into sadomasochism. Regarded as one of her most impressive turns, her performance won the 2001 acting prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The film also took the Grand Prix (second prize) and was greeted with a mixture of boos and applause, provoking the main debate of the festival.

    Huppert continued to work hard. In 2002, the entire cast of the popular black comedy 8 femmes/8 Women (François Ozon, 2002), also including Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux and Fanny Ardant, was voted Best Actress at the European Film Awards. The same cast won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, at the 2002 Berlin film festival.

    Then Huppert was back at the set with Haneke for the disturbing Le temps du loup/The Time of the Wolf (Michael Haneke, 2003) with Béatrice Dalle. In Ma mere/My Mother (Christophe Honoré, 2004) based on a novel by George Bataille, Huppert starred as an attractive middle-aged mother who has an incestuous relationship with her teenage son (Louis Garrel).

    Since Heaven's Gate, Huppert only made a few more American movies. In The Bedroom Window (Curtis Hanson, 1987) she played Steve Guttenberg’s mistress, and in Amateur (Hal Hartley, 1994) a former nun writing porn. In I [Heart] Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004) she portrayed author Catherine Vauban, nemesis of existential detectives Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin.

    At the 2005 Venice film festival, Huppert received a special Lion for her role in Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau, 2005). The following year, she reunited with Claude Chabrol for L'ivresse du pouvoir/The Comedy of Power (2006). On the Paris stage, she appeared as the suicidal Hedda Gabler, in Henrik Ibsen's play.

    In 1994 she was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre national du Mérite and in 2005 she was promoted to Officier (Officer). She was also made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur in 1999 and was promoted to Officier (Officer) in 2009. With her spouse, director Ronnie Chammah, she has three children: actress Lolita Chammah (1983), Lorenzo Chammah (1986) and Angelo Chammah (1997). Huppert likes to keep her private life private though. Her work is her main issue in interviews.

    In 2012, two of her films competed for the Palme d'Or in Cannes: Amour/Love (Michael Haneke, 2012) and the South-Korean production Da-reun na-ra-e-seo/In Another Country (Sang-soo Hong, 2012). Her part as the daughter of Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in Amour also got her another César nomination.

    In Valley of Love (Guillaume Nicloux, 2015, she reunited with Gérard Depardieu. They play two famous actors who used to be a couple and had a son 25 years ago. They reunite after the son's death, and receive a letter asking them to visit five places at Death Valley, which will make the son reappear. Valley of Love was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. And now she is back in Cannes with Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016).


    French trailer La Dentelliere/The Lacemaker (1977). Source: Berny3000 (YouTube).


    Trailer Coup de torchon/Clean Slate (1981). Source: WorleyClarence (YouTube).


    Trailer Amour/Love (2012). Source: MovieclipsTrailers (YouTube).


    French trailer Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016). Source: cinémaniak (YouTube).

    Sources: Stuart Jeffries (The Observer), Rebecca Flint Marx (AllMovie), Yahoo! Movies, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    The German silent film Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe/Wondrous is the story of love (Leo Connard, 1918) is an Orientalist drama, produced by Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Producer Hella Moja is also the star of the film. She is a beautiful orphan, married to a prince. Because of jealousy, her husband abandons her. When she is about to commit suicide, he accepts her again. Other actors in the film were Ernst Hofmann, Marie Connard and the film's director, Leo Connard. Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe premiered in July 1918 at the Berlin movie palace Marmorhaus.

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/3. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/4. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/5. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/6. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/7. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/8. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (Leo Connard, 1918).

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    EFSP salutes the European Song Contest! Even down under, in Australia, they know it's a fabulous event. Tomorrow night the finals of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest take place in Stockholm, Sweden. EFSP presents postcards of twelve dazzling participants of the past.

    Lys Assia
    The winner of the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 was Swiss singer and actress Lys Assia (1924).
    German card by Telefunken Schallplatten. Photo: Teldec/Haenchen.

    André Claveau
    From the 1940s to the 1960s, André Claveau (1911–2003) was a popular singer and film actor in France. He won the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest with Dors, mon amour (Sleep, My Love).
    French postcard by O.P, Paris, no. 117. Photo: Le Studio.

    Teddy Scholten
    The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1959 was Dutch singer Teddy Scholten (1926-2010).
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 4000. Photo: 't Sticht, Utrecht.

    Gigliola Cinquetti
    At the age of 16, Italian singer Gigliola Cinquetti (1947) won Festival di Sanremo with Non ho l'età and with the same song she won the Eurovision Song Contest 1964 and scored her first international hit.
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 5908.

    Udo Jürgens (1934-2014)
    Udo Jürgens (1934-2014) was one of the biggest stars and entertainers in the German speaking countries. In 1966, he was the first Austrian winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with Merci, Chérie.
    German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. AX 7081. Photo: Ariola.

    Sandie Shaw
    British singer Sandie Shaw (1947) was 'the barefoot pop princess of the 1960s' after she had won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967. She was the first UK act to win!
    Italian postcard. Photo: Voce del Padrone.

    Massiel
    Spanish pop singer Massiel (1947) won the Eurovision Song Contest 1968 with the song La, la, la, beating Cliff Richard's Congratulations. Spanish postcard by Postal Oscar Color S.A., Barcelona, no. 782. Photo: H. Segui.

    Mary Hopkin
    Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin (1950) is best known for her 1968 UK number one single Those Were The Days, produced by Paul McCartney. She represented the United Kingdom in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest singing Knock, Knock Who's There?. Hopkin came second to All Kinds of Everything, performed by Irish singer Dana.
    British postcard by Valentine's Postcard Communication.

    Hearts of Soul
    Hearts of Soul was formed by three Dutch Indo sisters: Bianca, Stella and Patricia Maessen (1952-1996). In 1970, they sung Waterman as the entry of the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest. They ended seventh. Dutch promotion card by Basart Records International, Amsterdam. Photo: Wim Heiblom. The Hearts of Soul were dressed by Shubette of London.

    Vicky Leandros
    Vicky Leandros (1949) is a Greek singer with a long international career. In 1972, she achieved worldwide fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with the song, Après Toi, while representing Luxembourg.
    Big East-German card by VEB Lied der Zeit Musikverlag, Berlin, 1980. Photo: Hartmut Schorsch, Berlin.

    ABBA
    ABBA were the winners at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, giving Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and being the most successful group ever to take part in the tournament. Swedish postcard by Ultraförlaget A.B., Stockholm, no. 28 - 012. Photo: Torbjörn Calvero.

    Baccara
    Baccara was a female vocal duo formed in 1977 by Spanish artists Mayte Mateos (1951) and María Mendiola (1952). The pair rapidly achieved international success with their debut single Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, which reached number one across much of Europe. In 1978 the duo represented Luxembourg at the Eurovision Song Contest. They finished seventh with Parlez vous Français?
    German promotion card. Photo: RCA.

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


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  • 05/13/16--22:00: Ringo Starr
  • English musician, singer, songwriter and actor Ringo Starr (1940) gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals, such as for the hit Yellow Submarine. Starr played key roles in the Beatles' films and appeared in numerous others. After the break-up of The Beatles, Starr released several successful singles, including It Don’t Come Easy and Back Off Boogaloo.

    Ringo Starr
    Italian collectors card in the Dzuboks Pop Parada by Panini, Modena, no. 2, 1975.

    The Beatles
    Vintage postcard.

    Ringo Starr
    Vintage postcard.

    Ringo Starr
    American postcard by Coral-Lee, Rancho Cordova, Ca. in the CL/Personality series, no. 65. Photo: Fred Ward, 1981 / Black Star.

    The Beatles
    British Postcard by Fotofolio.

    Beatlemania


    Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool, England, in 1940. He was the only child of Elsie (née Gleave) and Richard Starkey, who both worked in a bakery.

    During childhood ‘Ritchie’ was twice afflicted by life-threatening illnesses. In 1953, he contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium, where he remained for two years. During his stay the medical staff encouraged their patients to join the hospital band. Ringo played percussion and grew increasingly interested in drumming.

    In 1955, he entered the workforce and did some odd jobs. He became a fervent admirer of the UK skiffle craze. In 1957, he cofounded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. It earned several prestigious local bookings before the skiffle craze faded in early 1958 as American rock and roll became popular in the UK.

    When The Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. About this time he adopted the stage name Ringo Starr. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes. Starr had performed with The Beatles during a few stand-in engagements while in Hamburg.

    In 1962, he joined The Beatles, replacing Pete Best. Ringo contributed to their first hit, Love Me Do, which reached the top of the US singles chart in 1962. Soon, he began receiving an amount of fan mail equal to that of the others, which helped to secure his position within the band. During 1963, The Beatles enjoyed increasing popularity in Britain. By the end of the year, the phenomenon known as Beatlemania had spread throughout the country, and by February 1964 The Beatles had become an international success, performing on The Ed Sullivan Show to a record 73 million viewers.

    When The Beatles made their film debut in A Hard Day's Night (Richard Lester, 1964), Starr garnered much praise from critics, who considered both his delivery of deadpan one-liners and his non-speaking scenes highlights of the film. He and the other Beatles were cumulatively nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer for their performances in A Hard Day's Night. Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “most of the comedy material went to Ringo, whose Chaplinesque demeanor and droll, deadpan dialogue delivery paid off in big laughs”

    After the release of The Beatles' second feature film, Help! (Richard Lester, 1965), Starr won a Melody Maker poll against his fellow Beatles for his performance as the central character in the film. In 1965, Starr married Maureen Cox, whom he had first met in 1962. By this time the stress and pressure that went along with Beatlemania had reached a peak for him. In August 1966, The Beatles released Revolver, their seventh UK LP. The album included the song Yellow Submarine, which was the only British number one single with Starr as the lead singer.

    Later that month and owing to the increasing pressures of touring, the Beatles gave their final concert. For The Beatles' seminal album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Starr sang lead vocals on the Lennon–McCartney composition With a Little Help from My Friends. Brian Epstein's death in August 1967 left The Beatles without management. The band began an ill-fated film project, Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles, 1967). Starr's growing interest in photography led to his billing as the film's Director of Photography, and his participation in the film's editing was matched only by McCartney.

    During the recording of the White Album in 1968, The Beatles’s collective group dynamic began to decay. Despite a temporary return to congenial relations during the completion of the White Album, production of The Beatles' fourth feature film, Let It Be (Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1970), and its accompanying LP, strained the already tenuous cohesion within the band.

    The Beatles
    Dutch postcard by Rembrandt N.V., Amsterdam. Sent by mail in 1964.

    The Beatles
    Dutch postcard.

    George Martin, the Fifth Beatle, dies aged 90
    Italian postcard by Gruppo Editoriale Lo Vecchio, Genova. Picture: cover for the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).

    George Martin, the Fifth Beatle, dies aged 90
    Italian postcard by Gruppo Editoriale Lo Vecchio, Genova. Photo: John Kelly. Publicity still for Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles, Bernard Knowles, 1967).

    George Martin, the Fifth Beatle, dies aged 90
    Italian postcard by Gruppo Editoriale Lo Vecchio, Genova. Picture: poster for The Yellow Submarine (George Dunning, 1968). George Martin was the musical director.

    Larry the Dwarf


    After the break-up of The Beatles in 1970, Ringo Starr played drums on John Lennon's album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), Yoko Ono's Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970), and on George Harrison's albums All Things Must Pass (1970), Living in the Material World (1973) and Dark Horse (1974). In 1971, Starr participated in the Concert for Bangladesh, organised by Harrison. They co-wrote the hit single It Don't Come Easy, which reached number four in both the US and the UK.

    Starr also acted in several films, including Candy (Christian Marquand, 1968), The Magic Christian (Joseph McGrath, 1969) with Peter Sellers, the Spaghetti Western Blindman (Ferdinando Baldi, 1971), and That'll Be the Day (Claude Whatham, 1973).

    In 1971, Ringo also starred as Larry the Dwarf in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels and was featured in fellow rock icon Harry Nilsson's animated film The Point! In 1972, he released his most successful UK single, Back Off Boogaloo, which peaked at number two. Having become friends with the English singer Marc Bolan, Starr made his directorial debut with the T. Rex documentary Born to Boogie (1972).

    In 1973, Ringo produced the bizarre horror movie spoof Son of Dracula (Freddie Francis, 1974), in which he co-starred with Harry Nilsson. Starr also released the successful singles Photograph (1973) and You're Sixteen (1974). Both were songs from his critically acclaimed album Ringo (1973), which was a top ten release in both the UK and the US. His next album Goodnight Vienna (1974) was also successful, and featured musical contributions from Lennon, Elton John and Harry Nilsson.

    In the following years, his musical career diminished, although he continued to record and remained a familiar celebrity presence. He played the pope in Ken Russell's film Lisztomania (1975), and one of Mae West’s husbands in Sextette (Ken Hughes, 1978). He also appeared as a guest at the Band's farewell concert in 1976, featured in Martin Scorsese’s documentary The Last Waltz (1978).

    During the 1980s, Ringo starred in films like Caveman (Carl Gottlieb, 1981) with future wife Barbara Bach and he played a fictionalised version of himself in Paul McCartney's Give My Regards to Broad Street (Peter Webb, 1984). After having a long period of troubles with alcohol, Ringo and Barbara Bach attended a rehabilitation clinic, and came back to the scene sober.

    Starr maintained a high public profile through his narration of the popular children's series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (1984-1986), based on the books by the Reverend W. Awdry. In 1989, Starr was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his role as Mr. Conductor in the television series Shining Time Station (1989), a spin-off of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. Starr made a cameo appearance on The Simpsons episode Brush with Greatness (1991) and contributed an original song, You Never Know, to the soundtrack of the film Curly Sue (John Hughes, 1991).

    Since 1989, he has toured with twelve variations of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In 1994, Starr began a collaboration with the surviving former Beatles for the Beatles Anthology project. They recorded two new Beatles songs built around solo vocal and piano tapes recorded by Lennon and gave lengthy interviews about the Beatles' career.

    Ringo Starr and his first wife Maureen Cox had three children: Zak (1965), Jason (1967) and Lee (1970). Following Starr's repeated infidelities, the couple divorced in 1975. In 1980, while on the set of the film Caveman, Starr met actress Barbara Bach. They were married in 1981. Ringo Starr has seven grandchildren – one from Zak, three from Jason and three from Lee. Starr and Bach split their time between homes in England, Switzerland and Los Angeles.

    Ringo Starr in The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
    British postcard by The George Harrison Fund for Unicef / Apple. Photo: Barry Feinstein / Tom Wilkes / Alan Pariser / Apple Films. Publicity still for The Concert for Bangladesh (Saul Swimmer, 1972).


    Trailer A Hard Day's Night (1964). Source: JoBlo Movie Trailers (YouTube).


    Trailer The Magic Christian (1969). Source: Sixstring1965 (YouTube).


    Trailer Blindman (1971). Source: The Spaghetti Western Database (YouTube).


    Trailer 200 Motels (1971). Source: Sixstring1965 (YouTube).


    Trailer Caveman (1981). Source: Peg Mularz (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Steve Shelokhonov (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/14/16--22:00: Carlos Thompson
  • Handsome Carlos Thompson (1923-1990) was an Argentinian heartthrob of German-Swiss parentage. He started his career in Argentina playing leading roles on stage and in films. In the 1950s, he went to Hollywood and was typically cast as a European womaniser opposite such stars as Lana Turner and Yvonne De Carlo. He moved to Europe and appeared in a large number of German films. In the late 1960s, Thompson left acting to become a writer and TV producer.

    Carlos Thompson
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, no. D 511. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Carlos Thompson
    Austrian/German postcard by Verlag Hubmann (HDH), Wien / Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin, no. 7205 2. Photo: Joachim J. Jung / Ufa.

    Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 4298. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Ufa.

    Carlos Thompson
    Austrian postcard by Kellner, no. 958. Photo: Neue Terra. Publicity still for Zwischen Zeit und Ewigkeit/Between Time and Eternity (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1956).

    Carlos Thompson
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmverlag, Berlin, no. 1107, 1961. Photo: publicity still for Das Wirthaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958).

    The Most Popular Matinee Idol of Argentina


    Carlos Thompson was born as Juan Carlos Mundin-Schaffter in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1923. He was the son of German/Swiss immigrants.

    As a 16-year old, he started his film career with a small part in the Argentine production Y mañana serán hombres/Men of Tomorrow (Carlos F. Borcosque, 1939) a drama about teenage delinquents. The following year he played a handsome soldier in the film Fragata Sarmiento (Carlos F. Borcosque, 1940). Four years later he appeared in Viaje sin regreso/Journey of No Return (Pierre Chenal, 1944). On stage in Argentina he played leading roles in plays by Jean Giraudoux, Lope de Vega and Jean Anouilh.

    In 1950 he played the title figure in El crimen de Oribe/The Crime of Oribe (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, Leopoldo Torres Ríos, 1950). At IMDb, Eddie Lawrence writes that it is “one of the best movies of the so-called Golden Era (the 40s) of the Argentine cinema. It was very well directed by one of the best Argentine directors ever, Leopoldo Torres Rios who allowed his son, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson to co-direct the film along him. Based on a short story (not a novel) by Adolfo Bioy Casares, El perjurio de la nieve (The perjury of the snow), the film is a wonderful- and very dramatic and romantic - predecessor of the literary current later known as Magic Realism. Very well photographed in black and white, it had very good actors like Roberto Escalada and Carlos Thompson”.

    In 1951 Thompson played a demented murderer in El túnel/The tunnel (León Klimovsky, 1951), based on a controversial novel by Ernesto Sabato. By now Carlos was the most popular matinee idol of Argentina and he starred in several box office hits such as the drama La Pasion Desnuda/Naked Passion (Luis Cesar Amadori, 1952) opposite Mexican star Maria Felix.

    He went to Hollywood where he was typically cast as a European womaniser. His Hollywood films include the adventure film Fort Algiers (Lesley Selander, 1953) with Yvonne De Carlo, The Flame and the Flesh (Richard Brooks, 1954) with Lana Turner and Pier Angeli, Valley of the Kings (Robert Pirosh, 1954) with Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker, and Magic Fire (William Dieterle, 1955) in which he played Franz Liszt, opposite Valentina Cortese.

    Carlos Thompson
    Austrian postcard by Bild und Ton, Postkartenverlag P. Welzmann, Wien, no. 252.

    Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen no. 264. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm / CCC-Film.

    Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 135.

    Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1822. Photo: J. Clauss / Story-Press.

    Carlos Thompson and Lilli Palmer
    With Lilli Palmer. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 4061. Photo: Joachim C. Jung / Ufa.

    References to Bisexuality


    Carlos Thompson moved to Europe and appeared in the Spanish-British production Tormenta/Thunderstorm (Alfonso Acebal, John Guillermin, 1955-1956) as a fisherman who catches Linda Christian in his nets.

    On the set of the German drama Zwischen Zeit und Ewigkeit/Between Time and Eternity (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1956), Thompson met actress Lilli Palmer. Following her divorce from Rex Harrison in 1957, Thompson and Palmer married. The couple starred in two other international productions in the early 1960s, but Thompson also appeared in several German productions.

    Very successful was the romantic comedy Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958) in which he played a highway bandit who kidnaps Liselotte Pulver. Opposite Romy Schneider, he starred in the satire Die Halbzarte/Eva (Rolf Thiele, 1959).

    In Mexico, he starred in El último rebelled/The Last Rebel (Miguel Contreras Torres, 1958) opposite Ariadna Welter, the sister of Linda Christian. To English speakers he was chiefly known for his appearance as Carlos Varela in the British TV series The Sentimental Agent (1963). The series told the adventures of an Argentine businessman, owner of an import-export company seated in London. The character was first introduced in an episode of Man of the World, a 1961-62 series starring Craig Stevens as world-rambling photographer Michael Strait.

    Thompson’s forty-second and final film was the wartime comedy La vie de château/Chateau Life (Jean-Paul Rappeneau, 1965) with Catherine Deneuve. In the late 1960s, Thompson left acting to become a writer and TV producer. His first success on the European book market was The assassination of Winston Churchill (1969), a refutation of allegations by David Irving (Accident. The Death of General Sikorski, 1967) and the German playwright Rolf Hochhuth (Soldiers, premiered in the UK in 1968, London) that war time premier Winston Churchill had a part in the death of Polish General Władysław Sikorski, who perished in an air plane crash at Gibraltar on July 4, 1943, allegedly due to sabotage.

    Although references to him recorded in the diaries of Noel Coward suggest that he was bisexual, Carlos Thompson remained married to Lilli Palmer until her death in 1986. After her death, he returned to Buenos Aires. Four years later, Carlos Thompson committed suicide by a gunshot to his head. He was 67.

    Carlos Thompson in Franziska (1957)
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. FT 20. Photo: CCC / Gloria-Film / Grimm. Publicity still for Franziska (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1957).

    Carlos Thompson
    Belgian postcard by Cox, no. 18. Publicity still for Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958).

    Liselotte Pulver, Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2374. Photo: Witt / Constantin / Ringpress / Vogelmann.Publicity card for Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (1958) with Liselotte Pulver.

    Carlos Thompson, Sabine Sinjen
    German postcard by Ufa. Photo: Publicity still for Stefanie (Josef von Báky, 1958) with Sabine Sinjen.

    Carlos Thompson, Romy Schneider
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (Dutch licency holder for Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin-Tempelhof), no. 1180. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Die Halbzarte/Eva (Rolf Thiele, 1959).

    Carlos Thompson
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne Eickel, no. 268. Photo: Neue Terra / Europa / Meroth.

    Sources: Caroline Hanotte (CineArtistes) (French), Eddie Lawrence (IMDb), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 05/15/16--22:00: Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
  • On 1 May 2016, French actress Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016) passed away in Estepona, Costa del Sol, Spain. She was the last surviving cast member of the film classic Casablanca (1942). Lebeau also appeared in French, British, Spanish and Italian films. She was 92.

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 194. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Warner Bros


    Marie Madeleine Berthe LeBeau was born in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France, in 1923 (some sources say 1921).

    In her teens, she landed a tiny role in a play with Marcel Dalio, who was about 20 years her senior and struck by her beauty. They soon married. As Madeleine Lebeau she made her screen debut in the drama, Jeunes filles en détresse/Young Girls in Trouble (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1939).

    In 1940, she fled Nazi-occupied France with Dalio. They left Paris just hours ahead of the invading German army; Dalio’s image had been used in Nazi posters to identify Jewish-looking features. They made their way to Lisbon and, using what turned out to be forged Chilean visas, booked passage on a Portuguese cargo ship, the Quanza, that was taking more than 300 refugees to the west.

    The couple ended up in Hollywood. There, Lebeau appeared for Warner Bros. in such films as the romantic drama Hold Back the Dawn (Mitchell Leisen, 1941), starring Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland, and Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942) with Errol Flynn as the boxing champ James J. Corbett.

    With Marcel Dalio she appeared then in the classic Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942). Lebeau played Yvonne, Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine's spurned lover. In a famous scene, she tearfully shouts "Vive La France", after the clientele in Rick's Café sing La Marseillaise to drown out singing by German soldiers. Lebeau hoped Casablanca would catapult her to great demand in Hollywood. It did not.

    In 1942 the marriage with Dalio ended in a divorce. As a freelancer, she earned supporting roles in the French underground drama Paris After Dark (Léonide Moguy, 1943) with George Sanders and Philip Dorn, and the musical Music for Millions (Henry Koster, 1944), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946.

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    French autograph card.

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1431. Photo: publicity still for La Picara Molinera/The Miller's Saucy Wife (Léon Klimovsky, 1955).

    Fellini


    After the war, Madeleine Lebeau returned to Europe and appeared in 20 more films. These included Les Chouans/The Royalists (Henri Calef, 1947), the English drama Cage of Gold (Basil Dearden, 1950) starring Jean Simmons, and the comedy La Parisienne (Michel Boisrond, 1957), featuring Brigitte Bardot.

    Lebeau had a rare leading role in Dupont Barbès/Sins of Madeleine (Henri Lepage, 1951), about a prostitute who uses the ruse of pregnancy to end relationships with men, only to find one of her clients is delighted at the prospect of being a father.

    Her subsequent work includes the role of a temperamental French actress in Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963). During the 1960s, she also appeared in the Spaghetti Western Desafío en Río Bravo/Gunmen of the Rio Grande (Tulio Demicheli, 1964) with Guy Madison and Angélique, marquise des anges/Angélique (Bernard Borderie, 1964), the first of the Angélique cycle.

    Her film career ended by the late 1960s, and she remained in Rome. In 1988 she married Italian screenwriter Tullio Pinelli who had co-written 8 1/2. He passed away in 2009 at 100.

    Her stepson, documentary filmmaker and mountaineer Carlo Alberto Pinelli broke the news that Lebeau had died after suffering a broken thigh bone.


    Scene from Casablanca (1942). Source: myyouyou111 (YouTube).


    Another scene from Casablanca (1942). Source: Manek Shergill (YouTube).

    Sources: Adam Bernstein (Washington Post), Tom B. (Westerns...All'Italiana!), BBC, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/16/16--22:00: Olga Desmond
  • Olga Desmond (1890-1964) was a German dancer and actress. Desmond was the 'heroine of living pictures' and became one of the first to promote nudity on the stage. From 1916 through 1919 she appeared in various films.

    Olga Desmond
    German postcard by Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no 1725. Photo: Ernst Schneider. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Call it Daring or Bold


    Olga Desmond was born Olga Antonie Sellin in Allenstein in East Prussia (now Olsztyn, Poland) 1n 1890. Desmond studied drama and earned her living as a model for artists and painters in Berlin.

    In 1907 she joined a group of artists and appeared as Venus during the group's nine-month tour at the London Pavilion where they put on 'plastic representations.' Her dance performances were derived from classical poses and pantomime. She was always dancing barefoot, pretty scandalous for that time, and became most famous for her nude dance performances with special stage make-up.

    Back in Berlin she co-founded the Association for Ideal Culture and gave shows called 'living pictures" in which she posed after the manner of ancient classical works of art. These so-called 'Evenings of Beauty' (Schönheitsabende) were prohibited on more than one occasion starting from 1908, because the actors usually posed nude or wearing only bodypaint. She became the 'heroine of living pictures' and she gave guest performances in Great Britain, Austria, USA and Russia.

    In St. Petersburg, Russia, Desmond became one of the first to promote nudity on the stage in the summer of 1908. Desmond’s 'Evenings of Beauty' quickly became the subject of a great debate in the Russian media. At least one of the representatives of official 'justice' wanted to haul Desmond into court for 'seduction.' Desmond herself persistently defended her right to appear naked. "Call it daring or bold, or however you want to describe my appearance on the stage, but this requires art, and it (art) is my only deity, before whom I bow and for which I am prepared to make all possible sacrifices," she told the Russian press, cited on Wikipedia.

    "I decided to break the centuries-old heavy chains, created by people themselves. When I go out on stage completely naked, I am not ashamed, I am not embarrassed, because I come out before the public just as I am, loving all that is beautiful and graceful. There was never a case when my appearance before the public evoked any cynical observations or dirty ideas." The authorities in St. Petersburg paid little attention to the explanations offered by the dancer from Berlin, and her first appearance in the imperial Russian capital was also her last: further shows were forbidden by the mayor.

    Sascha Naburgow Ballet Group
    German postcard by Gebr. Garloff, Magdeburg, no. 57270, ca. 1925. Collection: Didier Hanson. Caption: Sascha Naburgow in her performance Plastic Sculptures by famous masters.

    Scandalous also meant Well-known


    Olga Desmond was no less the subject of controversy in her own country. In 1909 her appearance in the Berlin Wintergarten was the cause of such a scandal that it became a subject of discussion even in the Prussian State Assembly. But 'scandalous' also meant 'well-known', and as a result of her renown, there were cosmetic products that carried her name.

    One of her performances was filmed in 1909, Hallo! Die grosse Revue: Der Schönheitsabend (1909). She travelled through Germany on numerous tours until 1914, when she married a Hungarian large-landowner, and went off with him to his estate.

    From 1915 through 1919 she appeared in various films including Nocturno (Heinrich Bolten-Baeckers, 1915), Seifenblasen/Soap Bubbles (Heinrich Bolten-Baeckers, 1916) with Carl Auen, Postkarten-Modell/Postcard model (Heinrich Bolten-Baeckers, 1917) with Leo Peukert, and Der Mut zur Sünde/Courage for sin (Heinrich Bolten-Baeckers, Robert Leffler, 1918) opposite the later well-known Hans Albers.

    In 1917 she separated from her husband and returned to the stage. Her first appearance in 1917 took place at the Theater der Königlichen Hochschule (Theatre of the Royal University) in Berlin. In the same year she appeared in a performance of Carmen in Cologne. She presented dance evenings and other things in Warsaw, Breslau (now Wrocław), and Kattowitz (now Katowice).

    Thereafter, she made fewer public appearances and from 1922 devoted herself entirely to teaching. Among her best-known students was Hertha Feist, who later became a member of the dance group of Rudolf von Laban. After the First World War she married her second husband, Georg Piek, a Jewish businessman with a studio for stage equipment, decorations, and special fabrics. After 1933 Piek left Germany.

    Olga Desmond continued to manage the business. After World War II, Desmond lived in the eastern part of Berlin. When the wall was built, she was unable to leave. In her late years, forgotten by the public, she worked as a cleaning woman. To make a living, she also sold vintage postcards and other memorabilia from her time as a renowned dancer. Olga Desmond died in 1964 in East-Berlin, GDR. She was 73.

    DESMOND, Olga_NPG; 1230
    German postcard by NPG, no. 1230. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).

    DESMOND, Olga_PG. 87-5
    German postcard by PG, no. 87-5. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).

    DESMOND, Olga_NPG. 1230
    German postcard by NPG, no. 1230. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).

    DESMOND, Olga_GG. 1443-1
    German postcard by GG, no. 1443-1. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).

    090 Olga Desmond_Gold Saba (Berühmte Tänzerinnen; 90)
    German collectors card by Gold Saba in the Series Berühmte Tänzerinnen, no. 90. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).

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

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  • 05/17/16--22:00: Idillio tragico (1922)
  • The Italian silent film Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922), based on the novel Idylle tragique (1896) by Paul Bourget. Star of this Medusa Film production was the beautiful Polish actress Helena (Elena) Makowska who was one of the divas of the Italian silent cinema in the 1910s.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: An aristocratic reception.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Start of the idyll between Ely and Oliviero.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Oliviero Duprat and Ely of Carlsberg in the first moments of their happiness.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Jealousy.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Ely's sadness after Oliviero has abandoned her.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: In order to take revenge on Oliviero, Ely tries to have Pierre d'Hautefeuille fall in love with her.

    The idyll that ends in blood


    In Idillio tragico the old archduke Henri François (Cav. Giuseppe Piemontesi) tries to prevent the marriage between his assistent Marcel Verdier (Tony Lekain) and the American lady Miss Marsh (Dolly Morgan), afraid to lose his assistent.

    His wife, baroness Eleonora/Ely/Elly von Carlsberg (Helena Makowska), however, helps the two young ones to crown their love. Tired of her husband's jealousy and insults, she starts an affair with Oliviero/Olivier Duprat (Guido Trento), attaché at the French Embassy, but in reality a cynic upstart who is soon maltreating Eleonora.

    Instead his friend Pierre d' Hautefeuille (Ferruccio Lado) truly falls in love with Elly. Olivier wants his friend to break with her but Pierre wants to see her one last time.

    The archduke, already sore because of the flight of his assistant, hears about his wife's infidelity and plans an ambush. When he notices a hitman is about to kill Pietro, Olivier shields his friend and dies. Elly and Pierre won't meet again. The idyll tragically ends in blood.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Aboard the "Sita".

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Jealousy and suspicions by Olivier.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Ely rejects Oliviero, as she has now fallen in love with Pietro di Hautefeuille.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: The archduke Francesco has in his hands the proof of his wife's infidelity.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Oliviero's death.

    Idillio tragico
    Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Idillio tragico (Gaston Ravel, 1922). Caption: Pietro finds the dying Oliviero.

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  • 05/18/16--22:00: Simone Renant
  • Beautiful French film and stage actress Simone Renant (1911–2004) appeared in 43 films between 1932 and 1980. The elegant blonde actress is best known for her roles in Quai des Orfèvres (1947) and the original French version of Dangerous Liasions, Les liaisons dangereuses (1959).

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by Editions P.I., La Garenne-Colombes, no. 84. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by Edit. P.I., no. 186, offered by Les Carbones Korès Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil, no. 10. Photo: Roger Richebé.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by E.C., Paris, no. 93. Photo: Roger Richebé.

    Seductive and Elegant


    Simone Renant was born Georgette Simone Alexine Buigny in Amiens, France, in 1911. She studied at the Conservatoire d'Amiens, then a part of the Conservatoire de Paris. There she won the First Prize.

    She made her stage debut at the théâtre du Vieux Colombier. The seductive and elegant Renant first appeared in the cinema with Léon Poirier in La Folle nuit/The Crazy Night (Robert Bibal, 1932).

    Director - and later husband - Christian-Jaque gave her her first bigger parts in L'Ecole des journalistes/School for Journalists (1936) with Armand Bernard, and Les Pirates du rail/The Railway Pirates (1937) with Charles Vanel and Erich von Stroheim.

    During the Second World War, Renant maintained her vedette status in roles at coquettish and mannered women in Elles étaient douze femmes/They Were Twelve Women (Georges Lacombe, 1940) with Gaby Morlay, and Lettres d'amour/Love Letters (Claude Autant-Lara, 1942) with François Périer.

    She also proved to be a charming and spirited comedienne in Romance à trois/Romance for Three (Roger Richebé, 1942), and Domino (Roger Richebé, 1943) both with Fernand Gravey, and in the romantic fantasy La Tentation de Barbizon/The Temptation of Barbizon (Jean Stelli, 1945) starring Daniel Gélin.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 70. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Simone Renant
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto-Verlag, no. FK 475. Photo: Sam Lévin, Paris.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 153. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

    Simone Renant
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 80. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Ambiguous and Melancholic Role


    Against her image Simone Renant played an ambiguous and melancholic role in the classic thriller Quai des Orfèvres/Quay of the Goldsmiths (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1947) opposite Suzy Delair. She plays the photographer Dora, who takes pictures of female models. In a subtle way Clouzot reveals us she's a lesbian. The police chief (Louis Jouvet) tells her: "You and me,WE are not lucky with women."

    Since that beautiful performance her film appearances became rarer. She was very active in the theatre, and also appeared, though less frequently, on television.

    In the cinema she appeared in Les liaisons dangereuses/Dangerous Liaisons (Roger Vadim, 1959) with Gérard Philipe and Jeanne Moreau, and she did a surprising turn as the owner of a gaming den in the Brazilian jungle in L'Homme de Rio/That Man from Rio (1963), starring Jean Paul Belmondo.

    Her last film role was that of Alain Delon's mother in the thriller Trois hommes à abattre/Three Men to Destroy (Jacques Deray, 1980). On TV she last appeared in Liberté-liberté/Freedom-Freedom (Alain Dhouailly, 1983) opposite Michael Lonsdale.

    In 2004, Simone Renant died after a long illness in Garches, France, aged 93. She had been married four times. She married and divorced actor Marcel Dalio(1929-1932), Charles Gombault (1933-1937), and film director Christian-Jaque (1938-1940). In 1945 she married film producer and actor Alexandre Mnouchkine. The pair had two children and stayed together till his death in 1993.


    Scene from La tentation de Barbizon (1946). Sorry, no subtitles. Source: FILMS CHRÉTIENS POUR TOUS (YouTube).


    Scene from Quai des Orfèvres/Quay of the Goldsmiths (1947). Source: LionsgateVOD (YouTube).


    French trailer of Les liaisons dangereuses/Dangerous Liaisons (1959). Source: Domi Gulminelli (YouTube).


    Simone Renant as Lola, a woman controlling a riverside village in the heart of the Amazon, in L'Homme de Rio/That Man from Rio (1963), starring Jean Paul Belmondo. Source: shinhoshi (YouTube).

    Sources: Ciné-Ressources (French), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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