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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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    In the early 20th Century, dance became one of the most exciting performing arts. Les Ballets Russes, which performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America, would change global ballet forever. In Germany, Die Ausdruckstanz, the expressionistic dance, caused another revolution. Die Ausdruckstanz arose in 1900 as a protest against the artistic stagnation of classical ballet. This new dance was freer, natural and less rule-governed. It was strongly influenced by the passage of the expressionistic visual arts. Today twelve postcards from Didier Hanson's wonderful collection presenting innovating dancers who also performed in the silent cinema.

    Sent M'Ahesa
    Vintage postcard. Photo: Hanns Holdt. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Sent M'Ahesa (1883-1970) was a famous performer of the Ausdruckstanz, the German expressionist dance. She was born as Else von Carlsberg in Riga and moved to Berlin in 1905. Her dances referred to the Egyptian antiquity and were known all over Europe. She was also known for the German silent films Die entschleierte Maja/The Naked Maja (Ludwig Beck, 1917) and Haß/Hate (Manfred Noa, 1920).

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

    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.

    Lisa Kresse and Fritz Wolf Ferrari
    German postcard. Photo: Louise Germaine Krull, München. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Lisa Kresse was a dancer and actress, known for such silent films as Der Einäugige (Josef Coenen, 1916) with Carl Auen, Narr und Tod (Rudolf Stiaßny, 1920), Das Geheimnis des Buddha (Philipp Lothar Mayring, 1920) and Die Flammenfahrt des Pacific-Express (Philipp Lothar Mayring, 1921).

    Dancer Fritz Wolf-Ferrari (1899-1971) was the son of composer and opera director Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and soprano Clara Kilian. As Federico Wolf-Ferrari he became known as a stage director and manager.

    Ellen Petz
    German postcard by NPG, no. 426. Photo: Alex Binder. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    The actress and dancer Ellen Petz (1899-1970) was one of the main figures of the Ausdruckstanz in Germany. As a dancer Petz appeared on many stages. She belonged to the cofounders of the organisation Bund für Körperbildung e.V. 1917, which was dedicated to the dance. Ellen Petz also appeared in one silent film.

    Dorothea Albu in Mata Hari (1922)
    Vintage postcard. Publicity still for the stage production of Mata Hari (1922). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Dorothea Albu (1903-?) was one of the ballerinas of the Berlin State Opera ballet. In 1927, she danced in the film Mata Hari, die rote Tänzerin/Mata Hari: the Red Dancer (Friedrich Feher, 1927), featuring Magda Sonja.

    Rita Sacchetto
    German Postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3755. Photo: publicity still for the stage performance Siamesische Tanzphantasie. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    German actress and dancer Rita Sacchetto (1879-1959) was in the 1910s a star of the Danish Nordisk Film Company.

    Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 24/5. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit/Ways to Strength and Beauty (Nicholas Kaufmann, Wilhelm Prager, 1925). Pictured are members of the Tanzgruppe Mary Wigman performing Die Wanderung (The Hike). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1626/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa / Parufamet. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Before Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) started directing films, she worked as a dancer. On screen she became a star in the mountain films, directed by Arnold Fanck.

    Elena Smirnova
    Vintage postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Elena Aleksandrovna Smirnowa (1888-1934) was a famous Russian ballerina. She also appeared in the Russian silent cinema, most notably in Yevgeni Bauer's Child of the Big City (1914).

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

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

    Alexandra Balashova and Mikhail Mordkin
    Alexandra Bashova and Mikhail Mordkin. Russian postcard, no. 30. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Mikhail Mordkin (1880-1944) graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet School in 1899, and in the same year was appointed ballet master. He joined Diaghilev's ballet in 1909 as a leading dancer and was appointed its director in 1917. In 1918 he appeared in the film Aziade (Joseph Soiffer, 1918). He left Russia after the October Revolution, first working in Lithuania, and finally settling in the United States in 1924.

    Genia Nikolaieva
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7189/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Otto Kurt Vogelsang, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Russian-born ballet dancer and actress Genia Nikolaieva (1904–2001) danced in the ensemble of Ernst Matray, and with his company she gave guest performances in England and South America. She became one of the soloists at the Staatsoper ballet (State Opera Ballet) in Berlin and worked in the German cinema during the 1930s. In 1938 she emigrated to the United States, where she became ‘one of the most beautiful studio secretaries for Warner Bros’.

    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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  • 05/20/16--22:00: George Robey
  • George Robey (1869-1954) was an English comedian, singer and actor in musical theatre, who became known as one of the greatest music hall performers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a comedian, Robey mixed everyday situations and observations with comic absurdity. Apart from his music hall acts, he was a popular Christmas pantomime performer in the English provinces, where he excelled in the dame roles. He only had modest success in the cinema.

    George Robey
    British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series by Rotary Photo EC., no. 125 H.

    George Robey as The Prehistoric Man
    British postcard in the Philco Series by Rotary Photo EC., no. 3154 A. Photo: C. Ireland, Manchester. In 1902 Robey created the character The Prehistoric Man. He dressed as a caveman and spoke of modern political issues, often complaining about the government "slapping another pound of rock on his taxes". The character was received favourably by audiences, who found it easy to relate to his topical observations. That year he released The Prehistoric Man on a shellac disc using the early acoustic recording process.

    The Prime Minister of Mirth

    George Robey was born as George Edward Wade in London in 1869. He came from a middle-class family. His father, Charles Wade, was a civil engineer who spent much of his career on tramline design and construction. Robey's mother, Elizabeth Mary Wade née Keene, was a housewife.

    After schooling in England and Germany, and a series of office jobs, he made his debut on the London stage, at the age of 21, as the straight man to a comic hypnotist. He soon developed his own act and appeared at the Oxford Music Hall in 1890, where he earned favourable notices singing The Simple Pimple and He'll Get It Where He's Gone to Now.

    In 1892, Robey appeared in his first pantomime, Whittington Up-to-date in Brighton, which brought him to a wider audience. With Robey's popularity came an eagerness to differentiate himself from his music hall rivals, and so he devised a signature costume when appearing as himself: an oversized black coat fastened from the neck down with large, wooden buttons; black, unkempt, baggy trousers and a partially bald wig with black, whispery strands of unbrushed, dirty-looking hair that poked below a large, dishevelled top-hat. He applied thick white face paint and exaggerated the redness on his cheeks and nose with bright red make-up; his eye line and eyebrows were also enhanced with thick, black greasepaint. He held a short, misshaped, wooden walking stick, which was curved at the top.

    Robey later used the costume for his character, The Prime Minister of Mirth. The outfit helped Robey become instantly recognisable on the London music hall circuit. More provincial engagements followed in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, and he soon became a mainstay of the popular Christmas pantomime scene. By the start of the new century, Robey was a big name in pantomime, and he was able to choose his roles. Pantomime enjoyed wide popularity until the 1890s, but by the time Robey had reached his peak, interest in it was on the wane. A type of character he particularly enjoyed taking on was the pantomime dame, which historically was played by comedians from the music hall. Robey was inspired by the older comedians Herbert Campbell and Dan Leno, and, although post-dating them, he rivalled their eccentricity and popularity, earning the festive entertainment a new audience.

    Robey's music hall act matured in the first decade of the 1900s, and he undertook a number of foreign tours. He starred in the Royal Command Performance in 1912 and regularly entertained before aristocracy. Robey had made his film debut in 1900, according to IMDb. The short comedy The Rats (N.N., 1900) offered a brief glimpse of some of the greatest entertainers from the late Victorian and early Edwardian stage, including Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell and George Robey. In 1913, Robey appeared in two early sound shorts: And Very Nice Too (Walter R. Boots, 1913) and Good Queen Bess (Walter R. Boots, 1913), made in the Kinoplasticon process, where the film was synchronised with phonograph records.

    The next year, he tried to emulate his music hall colleagues Billy Merson and Charlie Austin, who had set up Homeland Films and found success with the Squibs series of films starring Betty Balfour. Robey met filmmakers from the Burns Film Company, who engaged him in a silent short entitled George Robey Turns Anarchist, in which he played a character who fails to blow up the Houses of Parliament. George Robey's Day Off (1919) showed the comedian acting out his daily domestic routines to comic effect, but the picture failed at the box office. Producers obviously did not know how best to apply Robey's stage talents to film. He continued to appear sporadically in film throughout the rest of his career, never achieving more than a modest amount of success.

    By the First World War, music hall entertainment had fallen out of favour with audiences. Revue appealed to wartime audiences, and Robey decided to capitalise on the medium's popularity. He achieved great success in The Bing Boys Are Here (1916). He was cast as Lucius Bing opposite Violet Loraine, who played his love interest Emma. The couple duetted in the show's signature song If You Were the Only Girl (In the World), which became an international success. Robey raised money for many war charities and was appointed a CBE in 1919. From 1918, he created sketches based on his Prime Minister of Mirth character and used a costume he had designed in the 1890s as a basis for the character's attire.

    George Robey
    British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series by Rotary Photo EC., no. 125 H.

    George Robey and family
    British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series by Rotary Photo EC., no. 4134 B. Mr. and Mrs. George Robey, Master Teddie& Miss Eileen Robey.

    Sancho Panza

    George Robey starred in the revue Round in Fifty in 1922, which earned him still wider notice. He returned to the cinema a further four times during 1923. The first two films were written with the intention of showcasing his pantomime talents: One Arabian Night (Sinclair Hall, 1923) was a reworking of Aladdin and co-starred Lionelle Howard and Edward O'Neill. In Harlequinade (A.E. Coleby, 1923) visited the roots of pantomime.

    One of Robey's more notable film roles was Sancho Panza in Don Quixote (Maurice Elvey, 1923), for which he received a fee of £700 a week. The amount of time he spent working away from home led to the breakdown of his marriage, and he separated from Ethel in 1923. With the exception of his performances in revue and pantomime, he appeared as his Prime Minister of Mirth character in all the other entertainment media including variety, music hall and radio.

    In the late 1920s Robey wrote and starred in two Phonofilm sound-on-film productions, Safety First (Hugh Croise, 1928) and Mrs. Mephistopheles (Hugh Croise, 1929). In 1932 Robey appeared in his first sound film, The Temperance Fête (Graham Cutts, 1932). It was followed by Marry Me (Wilhelm Thiele, 1932), starring German actress Renate Müller, which was one of the most successful musical films of his career. The film tells the story of a sound recordist in a gramophone company who romances a colleague when she becomes the family housekeeper.

    Robey continued to perform in variety theatre in the inter-war years and, in 1932, he starred in Helen!, his first straight theatre role. His appearance brought him to the attention of many influential directors, including Sydney Carroll, who signed him to appear on stage as Falstaff in Henry IV, Part 1 in 1935, a role that he later repeated in Laurence Olivier's film, Henry V (1944).

    Robey starred opposite Fritz Kortner and Anna May Wong in a film version of the hit musical Chu Chin Chow (Walter Forde, 1934). The New York Times called him "a lovable and laughable Ali Baba". In the summer of 1938 Robey appeared in the film A Girl Must Live (Carol Reed, 1939) in which he played the role of Horace Blount. A journalist for The Times opined that Robey's performance as an elderly furrier, the love interest of both Margaret Lockwood and Lilli Palmer, was "a perfect study in bewildered embarrassment".

    During the Second World War, Robey raised money for charities and promoted recruitment into the forces. Robey starred in the film Salute John Citizen (Maurice Elvey, 1942), co-starring Edward Rigby and Stanley Holloway, about the effects that the war had on a normal British family. A further four films followed in 1943, one of which promoted war propaganda while the other two displayed the popular medium of cine-variety.

    By the 1950s, his health had deteriorated, and he entered into semi-retirement. George Robey was knighted a few months before his death at his home in Saltdean, East Sussex, in 1954. He was 85. Robey was married twice. In 1898, Robey married his first wife, the Australian-born musical theatre actress Ethel Hayden. Ethel accompanied him on his tours and frequently starred alongside him. They had two children, son Edward (1900) and daughter Eileen. After his divorce from Ethel in 1938, he married Blanche Littler, who was more than two decades his junior.

    Violet Lorraine and George Robey sing If You Were The Only Girl In The World (1916). Source: gihiuh fvjjojo (YouTube).

    George Robey and Thelma Tuson sing Any Time is Kissing Time in Chu Chin Chow (1934). Source:

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/21/16--22:00: Gisela May
  • German actress and singer Gisela May (1924) is the first lady of the political song and a German national treasure. She is famous for her work at Bertolt Brecht's theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble. She is a diseuse (singing actress) in the tradition established by Lotte Lenya and Marlene Dietrich, and expert interpreter of the work of Brecht, Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Kurt Tucholsky, and Jacques Brel. She appeared in several DEFA productions and a few international films.

    Gisela May
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1684 1962. Photo: Georg Meyer-Hanno.

    Gisela May
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 3318, 1968. Photo: Winkler.

    A Hidden Gem

    Gisela May was born, in Wetzlar, Germany, in 1924. She was the daughter of author Ferdinand May and actress Käte May. Between 1942 and 1944, May studied at the drama school in Leipzig.

    She was employed for nine years at various theatres, including the State Theatre of Schwerin and the State Theatre in Halle. Starting in 1951, she performed at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Max Reinhardt's former workplace, where she played a variety of roles.

    In 1962, May moved to Bertolt Brecht's theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble, and stayed for 30 years. While there she played a variety of roles in Brecht’s plays, including Madame Cabet in Die Tage der Commune/The Days of the Commune, Mrs Peachum in Die Dreigroschenoper/The Threepenny Opera, Mrs Kopecka in Schweyk im Zweiten Weltkrieg/Schweik in the Second World War, and as Mother Courage in Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder/Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children, her most famous role, which she played for 13 years.

    She also worked as a ‘diseuse’ with Austrian composer Hanns Eisler on a programme with chansons, political songs and poems. Later she appeared on the Berlin stage in the musicals Hallo Dolly!/Hello Dolly and Cabaret.

    Since 1951, Gisela May appeared in dozens of East-German films and TV productions. She made her film debut in the drama Das Beil von Wandsbek/The Axe of Wandsbek (Falk Harnack, 1951), starring Erwin Geschonneck and Käthe Braun. At IMDb, all the reviewers consider this film as a hidden gem. Reviewer Hasosch: “I consider Dr. Falk Harnack's "Das Beil Von Wandsbek", together with "Obchod Na Korze/The Shop On Main Street" by Jan Kadar, and "Der Verlorene" by and with Peter Lorre as a Triptychon of the best World War II movies. (...) This movie belongs without doubt to the greatest rediscoveries in film history. After having watched it, you will not be the same anymore.”

    Other interesting DEFA productions with May are the crime film Treffpunkt Aimée/Meeting Point Aimée (Horst Reinecke, 1956), the forbidden film Die Schönste/The Most Beautiful (Walter Beck, 1957/2002) with Manfred Krug, and Eine alte Liebe/An Old Love (Frank Beyer, 1959), in which she played her first leading part in the cinema.

    Gisela May
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 329/182, 1956. Photo: DEFA / Kroiss.

    Gisela May
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 214/56, 1956. Photo: Georg Meyer-Hanno.

    The times are changing

    During the 1960s and and 1970s, Gisela May mostly worked for television and the stage. Among her few film appearances was Fleur Lafontaine (Horst Seemann, 1978), in which she played the mother of the title figure played by Angelica Domröse. She also appeared in the Hungarian film Csak egy mozi/Just a movie (Pal Sandor, 1985) with Jean-Pierre Léaud.

    Gisela May won many awards for her work during the GDR period, but also afterwards. In 1991 she got the Deutscher Filmpreis in Gold (major German Film Award) for her role as Maika in the film Die Hallo-Sisters (Ottokar Runze, 1990). She shared the award with her co-stars in the film, Harald Juhnke and Ilse Werner. They play a run-down former radio producer and two quarrelsome 1950s stars who try their comeback on nationwide television.

    Later films include the Greek production O Tzonys Keln, kyria mou/Johnny Keln, Madam (Thanassis Scroubelos, 1991) and the French-German drama Le silence du Coeur/The silence of the heart (Pierre Aknine, 1994) with Claude Piéplu.

    Since 1992, May has free-lanced, often working at Berlin's Renaissance Theatre. May was able to pursue her career as a diseuse on an international basis, touring through Europe, Australia and the United States. She also appeared in 65 episodes of the TV Krimi-comedy Adelheid und ihre Mörder (1993-2007) featuring Evelyn Hamman. Since 2000, she regularly performs the show Gisela May singt und spricht Kurt Weill at the Berliner Ensemble.

    In 2002 she was awarded with the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit), the only federal decoration of Germany. That year, she also published her memoir Es wechseln die Zeiten (The times are changing). She also held master classes and workshops in German on Brechtian theatre and cabaret performance. From 1956 till 1965 Gisela May was married to journalist Georg Honigmann and later she lived together with Wolfgang Harich. Today, she lives in a senior home, but she is still active and incidentally performs on stage.

    Gisela May
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1777, 1962. Photo: Georg Meyer-Hanno.

    Gisela May sings Seeräuberjenny/Pirate Jenny from Die Dreigroschenoper/The Threepenny Opera. Source: Vaimusic (YouTube).

    Sources: Uncle Dave Lewis (AllMusic), Gisela May homepage (German), Akademie der Künste (German), Marian Buijs (De Volkskrant - Dutch), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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  • 05/22/16--22:00: Hannes Jaenicke
  • German actor Hannes Jaenicke (1960) has played in hundreds of films and TV productions, both in Germany and the USA. His best known film is probably the elevator thriller Abwärts/Out of Order (Carl Schenkel, 1984).

    Hannes Jaenicke in Knockin' on Heaven's Door (1997)
    German autograph card. Photo: publicity still for Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Thomas Jahn, 1997).

    An elevator as an allegory

    Hannes Jaenicke was born in Frankfurt am Main, West-Germany (now Germany), in 1960. He is the son of biochemist Rainer Jaenicke and musician Agatha Calvelli-Adorno. Soon after he was born, his family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They remained there until he was ten years old.

    Hannes studied acting at the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna from 1979 to 1982. He also studied at the London School of Modern Dance and worked as a dancer in the musical My Fair Lady. Between 1980 and 1989, he played 16 leading roles in different theatre productions at Burgtheater Wien, Volkstheater Wien, Schauspiel Bonn, Freie Volksbühne Berlin, Schauspiel Köln, and Festspiele Salzburg.

    His first major film was the provocative thriller Abwärts/Out of Order (Carl Schenkel, 1984), about four very different people (also Götz George, Wolfgang Kieling and Renée Soutendijk) who get trapped in an elevator of an office tower. The stuck elevator served as an allegory for modern German society, and the film was received favourably by both audience and critics.

    Two years later Jaenicke appeared in the drama Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg/Rosa Luxemburg (Margarethe von Trotta, 1986), featuring Barbara Sukowa. Luxemburg was a leader of both the German and Polish Socialist parties who advocated an anti-colonialist and pacifist stance on the issues of her day. The film and Sukowa both won the 1986 German Film Award for, and Sukowa also won the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actress Award for her performance.

    Hannes Jaenicke reunited with director Carl Schenkel for Zwei Frauen/Silence like Glass (Carl Schenkel, 1989), which was made in Germany, but set in America. The film featured an American cast including Jami Gertz and George Peppard, with all English dialogue.

    Hannes Jaenicke
    German autograph card.

    Two terminal and drunken patients on a road trip

    In the 1990s, Jaenicke started to work internationally. He co-starred with an American cast in the German film Die Tigerin/The Tigress (Karin Howard, 1992). The film portrays Berlin in the 1920s and features a charismatic con-artist and his girlfriend (James Remar and Valentina Vargas) who devise a diabolic plot to con a wealthy American (George Peppard) but they end up entangled in a game of seduction and vendetta.

    Jaenicke played a supporting part in the German criminal comedy Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Thomas Jahn, 1997) starring Til Schweiger and Jan Josef Liefers as two terminal patients, who leave their hospital beds, drunk and in pyjamas, and steal a Mercedes convertible for one last trip to the sea.

    That year, he also appeared in another popular road movie, Bandits (Katja von Garnier, 1997), starring Katja Riemann. Both Germans films were big box office hits in Germany but less successful abroad.

    In between these interesting films, Jaenicke mostly had to appear in mediocre TV films. So he decided to try his luck in Hollywood, where he appeared in several B-films and TV series.

    His American work included the action crime thriller The White Raven (Jakub Z. Rucinski, Andrew Stevens, 1998 starring Ron Silver, the black comedy/drama Five Aces (David Michael O'Neill, 1999) with Charlie Sheen, and the crime thriller Restraining Order (Lee H. Katzin, 1999) starring Eric Roberts.

    Hannes Jaenicke
    German autograph card by Hannes Jaenicke Internationaler Fanclub, Lossburg.

    A Hollywood career going nowhere

    Hannes Jaenicke continued his wobbly Hollywood adventure with supporting roles in the action film Lost Treasure (Jay Andrews, 2003) starring Stephen Baldwin, and the action comedy Blast (Anthony Hickox, 2004).

    Obviously, Jaenicke’s Hollywood career went nowhere, and he returned to Germany, where he could play leading roles in TV films. Incidentally, he appears in interesting German films like Waffenstillstand/Ceasefire (Lancelot von Naso, 2009) with Matthias Habich and Thekla Reuten, and Einfach die Wahrheit/Simply the truth (Vivian Naefe, 2013).

    On television, Jaenicke reprised his role of widowed ex-soldier and triple father Harald Westphal from the successful TV film Allein unter Töchtern/General Dad (Oliver Schmitz, 2007) for the sequels Allein unter Schülern/Alone among students (Oliver Schmitz, 2009), Allein unter Müttern/Alone among mothers (Oliver Schmitz, 2011), Allein unter Nachbarn/Alone among neighbours (Oliver Schmitz, 2012) and Allein unter Ärzten/Alone among doctors (Oliver Schmitz, 2014).

    Jaenicke wrote and produced the documentary Ihr seid Helden!/You are heroes! (Eva Gfirtner, Elisa Weiland, 2014) in which he met doctors in crisis areas. He is a passionate environmentalist and made TV documentaries about the life of endangered species such as orangutans, polar bears and sharks.

    From 199 till 2001 Hannes Jaenicke was married to Nicole. He was formerly engaged to actress Tina Bordihn. Hannes Jaenicke lives in Cologne and Los Angeles. IMDb mentions various new films with Jaenicke in production, including the German buddy-comedy Männertag/Men’s Day (Holger Haase, 2016).

    German trailer for Abwärts/Out of Order (Carl Schenkel, 1984). Source: MrSubkulturTV (YouTube).

    Trailer Restraining Order (1999). Source: The Actionmaster (YouTube).

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

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  • 05/23/16--22:00: Livio Pavanelli
  • Italian actor Livio Pavanelli (1881-1958) was a star of the Italian and in particular the German silent cinema. He also worked in Italian sound cinema as actor and production manager. And he directed four Italian films, in the silent and the sound era.

    Livio Pavanelli
    Italian postcard by La Rotofotografia, no. 83. Photo: Rinoscimento Film.

    Xenia Desni and Livio Pavanelli in Küssen ist keine Sünd'
    Austrian photo by Willinger, Wien. From Tatiana. Xenia Desni and Livio Pavanelli in the German silent film Die letzte Einquartierung aka Küssen ist keine Sünd'/Kissing is no sin (Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926).

    Livio Pavanelli
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5154. Photo: Aafa / Lux Film Verleih.

    Livio Pavanelli
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5311. Photo: Aafa Film / Lux-Film-Verleih.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1769/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Willinger, Wien (Vienna).


    Livio Cesare Pavanelli was born in Copparo, Italy in 1881. He was member of a big family of farmers and merchants from the Ferrara area. His father Andrea was also a notable patriot in the Italian Risorgimento. As a consequence of financial disasters in the family he moved with his parents to Bologna where he visited the technical school. During his adolescence he wandered around Italy, eager for excitement. When in Venice in 1898, he fell in love with the stage while assisting a show of wandering artists. He performed with various companies like that of Antonio Gandusio, and in 1902 the Venetian company of Emilio Zago. He then shifted to the company of Gustavo Salvini and Ermete Zacconi, before reaching Eleonora Duse’s company with whom he stayed for 9 years, accompanying her at her foreign tours as well.

    In the early 1910s he performed leads in various films, starting in a series of short silent films with Pina Fabbri including Il delitto della via di Nizza (Henri Etievant, 1913) and Il romanzo di due vite/The novel of two lives (Attilio Fabbri, 1913). From 1914 on he starred in a series of films with Hesperia like L’ereditiera/The heiress (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914) and L’agguato/The trap (Guglielmo Zorzi, 1915); with Mercedes Brignone like Il re dell’Atlantico/The king of the Atlantic (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914) and Mezzanotte/Midnight (Augusto Genina, 1915); and with Gianna Terribili-Gonzales.

    In 1916-1917 Pavanelli didn’t appear in a film, but in 1918 he was back in business. He starred opposite Francesca Bertini in various parts of the series I sette peccati capitali/The seven capital sins (Camillo De Riso a.o., 1918), La piovra/The Octopus (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1919) and Anima allegra/Happy soul (Roberto Roberti, 1919). He also appeared opposite another diva, Lyda Borelli, in Carnevalesca/Carnival (Amleto Palermi, 1918) and Una notte a Calcutta/A Night in Calcutta (Mario Caserini, 1918). In 1918 he also played Saint Sebastian in Enrico Guazzoni’s epic Fabiola (1918), with Elena Sangro in the title role, and he had a part in the propagandist fake biopic of Francesca Bertini: Mariute (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1918), starring the diva herself.

    In those years, Thea Pavanelli aka Thea played with Pavanelli in La reginetta Isotta/The queen Isotta (1918), based on a story by Honoré de Balzac. Reportedly she was his wife, but no additional information is available about this. In the following years, Pavanelli became a superstar of the Italian silent cinema. He was the star of epic films like Il sacco di Roma/The Sack of Rome (Enrico Guazzoni, Giulio Aristide Sartorio, 1920), but he also appeared in a long list of diva films with Pina Menichelli such as La storia di una donna/A Woman's Story (Eugenio Perego, 1920), La verità nuda/Woman Against Woman (Telemaco Ruggeri, 1921), L’età critica/The critical age (Amleto Palermi, 1921), La seconda moglie/The second wife (Amleto Palermi, 1922), and La biondina/The Blonde (Amleto Palermi, 1923).

    Other actresses opposite whom Pavanelli acted in the early 1920s were Tilde Kassay, Diomira Jacobini, and Cecyl Tryan. In Saitra la ribelle/Saitra the rebel (Amleto Palermi, 1924), Coiffeur pour dames/Ladies' hairdresser (Amleto Palermi, 1924) and Vedi Napoli, poi muori/You see Naples and then you die (Eugenio Perego, 1924), Pavanelli played opposite Leda Gys. He also played the lead of Turiddu opposite Tina Xeo as Santuzza in the adaptation of Giovanni Verga’s story and Pietro Mascagni’s opera Cavalleria rusticana/Rustic Chivalry (Mario Gargiulo, 1924).

    Livio Pavanelli
    Italian postcard. by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 5. Photo: Pinto, Roma.

    Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 262. Pina Menichelli and Livio Pavanelli in La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

    Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano. Pina Menichelli, Livio Pavanelli and Orietta Claudi in the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

    Livio Pavanelli and Xenia Desni
    Italian postcard, No. 67?. Photo: Aafa Film. Perhaps for the film German silent film Die letzte Einquartierung aka Küssen ist keine Sünd'/Kissing is no sin (Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926) with Livio Pavanelli and Xenia Desni.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no 6126. Photo: T. De Virgiliis.

    Weimar Cinema

    In 1924, there was a serious crisis in the Italian cinema. Livio Pavanelli moved to Austria first and then to Germany, where he could continue his successful career. He performed opposite many female stars of the Weimar cinema, such as Lee Parry in Die schönste Frau der Welt/The Most Beautiful Woman of the World (Richard Eichberg, 1924), Fern Andra in Die Liebe is der Frauen Macht/Love is the Women's Power (Erich Engel, Georg Bluen, 1924), Liane Haid in Ich liebe dich!/I Love You (Paul L. Stein, 1924), Im weissen Rössl/The White Horse Inn (Richard Oswald, 1926), and Als ich wieder kam (1926); and Ossi Oswaldain Niniche (1924).

    Other films were Der Ritt in die Sonne/The ride in the sun (Georg Jacoby, 1926), Das Gasthaus zur Ehe/The Marriage Guesthouse (Georg Jacoby, 1926), and Mein Freund der Chauffeur/My Friend the Chauffeur (Erich Waschneck, 1926) with Hans Albers. In 1926 Pavanelli played in various boulevard comedies: he had the male lead as the industrial Franz Kaltenbach in Familie Schimeck/Wiener Herzen/The Schimeck Family (Alfred Halm, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926) opposite Olga Tschechova, and also the male lead in Der lachende Ehemann/The Laughing Husband (Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926) with Elisabeth Pinajeff as his wife.

    1926 was Pavanelli’s most prolific year. The next year, films with Mary Nolan, Mady Christians and Xenia Desni followed, but also parts in the Henny Porten drama Die grosse Pause/The big break (Carl Froehlich, 1927). He returned temporarily to Italy to play Florette in the adaptation of the popular boulevard comedy Florette e Patapon/Florette and Patapon (Amleto Palermi, 1927), with French actor Marcel Lévesque as Patapon.

    In 1928 followed parts in the Lya de Putticomedy Charlott etwas verrückt/Charlott a bit crazy (Adolf E. Licho, 1928), the Spanish-German production Herzen ohne Ziel/Corazones sin rumbo/Hearts Without Soul (Benito Perojo, Gustav Ucicky, 1928), the Italo-German coproduction Scampolo (Augusto Genina, 1928), and the Ossi Oswalda vehicle Das Haus ohne Männer/The House Without Men (Rolf Randolf, 1928).

    Pavanelli played the lead in Liebfraumilch (Carl Froehlich, 1929) and Sir Henry Baskerville in Der Hund von Baskerville/The Hound of the Baskervilles (Richard Oswald, 1929). Even in 1930 Pavanelli continued to play in German films, such as Freiheit in Fesseln/Freedom in chains (Carl Heinz Wolff, 1930), starring Fritz Kampers and Vivian Gibson, and Ehestreik/Marriage strike (Carl Boese, 1930), with Georg Alexander and Maria Paudler.

    Ossi Oswalda and Livio Pavanelli in Niniche (1925)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 685/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Westi Film. Publicity still for Niniche (Victor Janson, 1925) with Ossi Oswalda.

    Livio Pavanelli in Mademoiselle Josette ma femme (1926)
    French postcard by Europe, no. 198. Photo: Société des Cinéromans. Livio Pavanelli in Fräulein Josette - meine Frau (Gaston Ravel, 1926), starring Dolly Davis and Pavanelli. Its French release title was Mademoiselle Josette ma femme. It was based on a play by Robert Charvay.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1598/1,1927-1928 . Photo Willinger, Vienna. Livio Pavanelli in the German silent film Die letzte Einquartierung aka Küssen ist keine Sünd' (Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926), starring Xenia Desni.

    Livio Pavanelli and Lya de Putti in Charlott etwas verrückt (1928)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3221/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Phoebus-Film AG. Livio Pavanelli and Lya de Putti in the German silent film Charlott ertwas verrückt/Charlott a little crazy (Adolf E. Licho, 1929).

    Livio Pavanelli
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 602. Photo: Aafa Film / Sascha Film.

    Producer, Scriptwriter and Director

    When sound cinema was there to stay, Livio Pavanelli returned to Italy. He first played opposite former silent star Maria Jacobini in the film Perché no?/Why Not? (Amleto Palermi, 1930), an Italian language version of The Lady Lies (Hobart Henley, 1929), shot in the Paramount studios in Paris. Pavanelli next had a part in the German sound film Liebeskommando/Love's Command (Geza von Bolvary, 1931) with Dolly Haas.

    Then he returned to Italy, where he acted in films like Pergolesi (Guido Brignone, 1932) with Elio Steiner in the title role, and L’ultimo dei Bergerac/The last of the Bergeracs (Gennaro Righelli, 1933). However, his star had declined. Pavanelli had one last film performance in Germany in the film Frühlingsmärchen/Spring Fairy Tale (Carl Froehlich, 1934), in which he appropriately played a singing master from Milan.

    According to Wikipedia Pavanelli played both in the Italian and the German version of Max Neufeld’s La canzone del sole/Das Lied der Sonne/The Song of the Sun (1934), starring Vittorio De Sica. He also performed in Gustav Machaty’s Italian production Ballerine/Ballerinas (1936).

    In the 1930s Pavanelli also became producer, scriptwriter and director. Wikipedia claims that one of his productions was opera singer Tito Schipa’s success film Vivere/To Live (Guido Brignone, 1937), while IMDb lists Pavanelli not as producer but as production manager or unit manager for 10 different films between 1939 and 1954. He often worked thus for director Guido Brignone such as La mia canzone al vento (Guido Brignone, 1939) and Romanzo di un giovane povero/The novel of a poor young man (Guido Brignone, 1942), but also for the postwar epic Messalina/The Affairs of Messalina (Carmine Gallone, 1951). In 1939 Pavanelli was also scriptwriter for La mia canzone al vento/My Song to the Wind.

    In 1941 he directed his sole sound feature Solitudine/Loneliness, starring Carola Höhn. In the silent era, Pavanelli had already directed three films: Silvio Pellico (1915), La complice muta/The Mute Accomplice (1920), and Madonnina (1921). Livio Pavanelli’s last film as an actor was L’altra/The Other (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1947), in which he played a French impresario. After that he continued to work only as production or unit manager. His last job was production management of the epic Cortigiana di Babilonia/The Queen of Babylon (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1954), starring Rhonda Fleming. Livio Pavanelli died at the hospital San Giovanni in Rome in 1958. He was 76.

    Livio Pavanelli
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 744. Photo: Atelier Willinger.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3222/1, 1928-1929.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4070/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4070/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

    Livio Pavanelli
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4484/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

    Livio Pavanelli in Pergolesi
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 5. Livio Pavanelli as Nicola d'Arcangeli in Pergolesi (Guido Brignone, 1932).

    Livio Pavanelli, Carlo Lombardi and Dria Paola in Pergolesi
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 57. Photo: Cines-Pittaluga. Livio Pavanelli, Carlo Lombardi and Dria Paola in Pergolesi (Guido Brignone, 1932). Bystanders gossip while Nicola d'Arcangeli (Livio Pavanelli) introduces his sister Maria (Dria Paola) to the man he has selected for her, the aristocrat Raniero di Tor Delfina (Carlo Lombardi). She is in love with Pergolesi (Elio Steiner), though, whom the brother considers too low in class.

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

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  • 05/24/16--22:00: Le Grand bleu (1988)
  • Le Grand bleu/The Big Blue (Luc Besson, 1988) is a beautiful and serene French film. Jean-Marc Barr plays French diver Jacques Mayol, alongside Rosanna Arquette and Jean Reno. Le Grand bleu became the most financially successful film in France in the 1980s.

    Jean-Marc Barr in Le Grand Bleu (1988)
    French postcard by Ciné Passion, no. GB 7. Photo: publicity still for Le Grand Bleu (Luc Besson, 1988) with Jean-Marc Barr.

    Eternal Heaven

    Le Grand bleu/The Big Blue (1988) is a fictionalised and dramatised story of the friendship and sporting rivalry between two leading contemporary champion free divers in the 20th century: Jacques Mayol (played by Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo Maiorca (renamed to Enzo Molinari and played by Jean Reno), and Mayol's fictionalised relationship with his girlfriend Johana Baker (played by Rosanna Arquette).

    The film covers their childhood in 1960s Greece to their deaths in a 1980s Sicilian diving competition. Jacques and Enzo are fascinated by the sea but for different reasons. If Reno devotes all his energies to diving so as to an access to success and glory, the sea is more than this for Jacques.

    For Jacques the ocean is a place of athletic competition, an ideal place for rest and entertaining where dolphins are his real and sole friends, and finally it's his eternal heaven. He was born with it, he swears by it and the sea will lead him to his death.

    Mayol's and Maiorca's story was heavily adapted for cinema. In real life Mayol lived from 1927 to 2001 and Maiorca retired from diving to politics in the 1980s. Both set no-limits category deep diving records below 100 metres, and Mayol was indeed involved in scientific research into human aquatic potential, but neither reached 400 feet (122 metres) as portrayed in the film, and they were not direct competitors. Mayol himself was a screenwriter for the film.

    Jean Reno in Le Grand Bleu
    French postcard by Ciné Passion, no. GB 4. Photo: publicity still for Le Grand bleu (Luc Besson, 1988) with Jean Reno.

    Jean Reno and Sergio Castellitto in Le Grand Bleu (1988)
    French postcard by Ciné Passion, no. GB 1. Photo: publicity still for Le Grand bleu (Luc Besson, 1988) with Jean Reno and Sergio Castellitto.

    Le Look

    Luc Besson was initially unsure of whom to cast in the main role of Jacques Mayol. He initially offered the role to Christopher Lambert and Mickey Rourke and even considered himself for the role until someone suggested Jean-Marc Barr. Besson has a cameo appearance as one of the divers in the film.

    Le Grand bleu/The Big Blue meant Besson's international breakthrough. It's a key-film which divided the French public between those who saw the film only as a tedious documentary about the ocean and those who acclaimed this as passionate filmmaking.

    The film is one of the finest examples of the Cinéma du look visual style if the 1980s. Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Leos Carax are the main directors of 'le look'. Their films had a slick, gorgeous visual style and a focus on young, alienated characters.

    Le Grand bleu/The Big Blue is a cult-classic in the diving fraternity. It was nominated for several César Awards and won César Award for Best Music Written for a Film (Eric Serra) and Best Sound in 1989. The film also won France's National Academy of Cinema's Academy Award in 1989.

    Besson's film also became one of France's biggest box office hits. It sold 9,193,873 tickets in France alone, and played in French theatres for a year. While popular in Europe, an adaptation for US release was a commercial failure in that country.

    DB Dumonteil at IMDb: "Le Grand bleu also ranks among the movies that you must watch rather than telling it. Of course, there isn't almost any plot, dialogues are short and rare but the pictures are gorgeous enough to create an entrancing climate supported by Eric Serra's mesmerising music.

    Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette and Luc Besson at the set of Le Grand Bleu (1988)
    French postcard by Especially for you, Ref. 30. Photo: publicity still for Le Grand bleu (Luc Besson, 1988). Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette and Luc Besson at the set.

    Jean Reno with director and cast Le Grand Bleu in Cannes
    French postcard by News Productions, Beaulmes, no 56063. Photo: Eric Coiffier. Director and cast of Le Grand bleu (Luc Besson, 1988) at the Festival de Cannes, 1988. With in the front row from left to right: Marc DuretJean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, Luc Besson, Sergio Castellitto and Andréas Voutsinas. In the back: Jean Reno.

    Sources: DB Dumonteil (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/25/16--22:00: Leni Riefenstahl
  • Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) was the notorious director of Triumph des Willens (1935), a fascinating propaganda documentary about Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, commissioned by the Nazi government. Before she started directing films, she worked as a dancer and on screen she became a star in the mountain films, directed by Arnold Fanck.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1626/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa / Parufamet. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4803/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin. Collection: Egbert Barten.

    The Perfect German Female

    Helene Bertha Amalie 'Leni' Riefenstahl was born in Berlin, German Empire in 1902. Her family was Lutheran Protestant and she had a brother, Heinz, who was killed on the Eastern Front in World War II.

    Her father, Alfred Theodor Paul Riefenstahl, owned a successful heating and ventilation company and wanted his daughter to follow him into the business world. Leni was athletic, and at the age of twelve joined a gymnastic and swim club. Without her father's knowledge, she enrolled in dance and ballet classes at the Grimm-Reiter Dance School in Berlin in 1918, where she quickly became a star pupil.

    Riefenstahl later also studied dance with Jutta Klamt, Eugenie Eduardova and Mary Wigman. She became well known for her self-styled interpretive dancing skills. She travelled across Europe with Max Reinhardt in a show funded by Jewish producer Harry Sokal. She appeared with Wigman in the documentary Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit - Ein Film über moderne Körperkultur/The Way to Strength and Health: a film of modern body culture (Nicholas Kaufmann, Wilhelm Prager, 1925), an artifact of the Naturist fad that swept Germany at this time.

    Riefenstahl began to suffer foot injuries that led to knee surgery, which threatened her dance career. A poster for the mountain film Der Berg des Schicksals/The Mountain of Destiny (Arnold Fanck, 1924) inspired her to move into film acting. She got in touch with director Arnold Fanck, who was the pioneer of the mountain film genre.

    Riefenstahl persuaded Fanck to feature her in his next film, Der heilige Berg/The Holy Mountain (Arnold Fanck, 1926) with Luis Trenker and Frieda Richard. The film cost 1.5 million Reichsmarks to produce, and was released during the 1926 Christmas season. Der heilige Berg/The Holy Mountain was popular in Berlin, where sold out performances extended its premiere run for five weeks. The film was also screened in Britain, France and US and was the first international success of its director

    Between 1926 and 1931, Leni Riefenstahl starred in five successful films. First she made Der Große Sprung/The Great Leap (Arnold Fanck, 1927) and Das Schicksal derer von Habsburg/Fate of the House of Habsburg (Rolf Raffé, 1928). The film that brought Riefenstahl into the limelight was Fanck's Die Weisse Hölle vom Piz Palü/The White Hell of Piz Palü (Arnold Fanck, G. W. Pabst, 1929) with Gustav Diessl. Her fame spread to countries outside Germany. Her next two films were Stürme über dem Mont Blanc/Storm Over Mont Blanc (Arnold Fanck, 1930) with Sepp Rist, and Der Weisse Rausch/The White Ecstasy (Arnold Fanck, 1931).

    From Arnold Fanck, she had learned acting but also film editing techniques. His use of cinematic technique - filters, special film stock, slow motion - to endow magnificent natural scenery with dramatic stature - provided her with key elements of her towering visual style and fostered her technical skill.

    Leni Riefenstahl decided to try to produce and direct her own film. It was called Das Blaue Licht/The Blue Light (1932), co-written by Carl Mayer and Béla Balázs. In the film, Riefenstahl played an innocent peasant girl in the Tyrolean mountains who is hated and cast out by the villagers because they think she is diabolic. She is protected by a secret cave of blue crystals. With the blue light, she lures young men to their deaths. The film attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler, who saw talent in Riefenstahl and arranged a meeting. He believed Riefenstahl epitomised the perfect German female.

    Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 24/5. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit/Ways to Strength and Beauty (1925, Nicholas Kaufmann, Wilhelm Prager). Pictured are members of the Tanzgruppe Mary Wigman performing Die Wanderung (The Hike). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    Spanish postcard, no. C-23. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü//The White Hell of Piz Palü (Arnold Fanck, G. W. Pabst, 1929).

    Leni Riefenstahl and Sepp Rist in Stürme über dem Mont Blanc (1930)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5679/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Aafa-Film. Publicity still for Stürme über dem Mont Blanc/Storm Over Mont Blanc (Arnold Fanck, 1930) with Sepp Rist.

    A friendly relationship with Hitler

    In 1933, Leni Riefenstahl appeared in the American-German co-productions SOS Eisberg (Arnold Fanck, 1933; German version) and SOS Iceberg (Tay Garnett, 1933; US version). The two versions were filmed simultaneously in English and German and produced and distributed by Universal Studios. Riefenstahl co-starred with Gustav Diessl and Ernst Udet in S.O.S. Eisberg, and with Gibson Gowland and Rod La Rocque in S.O.S. Iceberg. Her part in SOS Iceberg would be her only English language role in film.

    Riefenstahl heard Nazi Party (NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler speak at the Berlin Sportpalast in 1932 and by her own account, she was mesmerised by his talent as a public speaker. After meeting Hitler, Riefenstahl was offered the opportunity to direct Der Sieg des Glaubens/The Victory of Faith (1933), an hour-long propaganda film about the fifth Nuremberg Rally in 1933. Riefenstahl agreed to direct the movie. She and Hitler got on well, forming a friendly relationship. The propaganda film was funded entirely by the NSDAP.

    Impressed with Riefenstahl's work, Hitler asked her to film Triumph des Willens/Triumph of the Will (1935), a new propaganda film about the the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. More than 700,000 Nazi supporters attended the rally. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by Nazi leaders at the Congress, including Adolf Hitler,Rudolf Hess, and Julius Streicher, interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel troops and public reaction.

    Riefenstahl's techniques — such as moving cameras, aerial photography, the use of long focus lenses to create a distorted perspective, and the revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography — made Triumph des Willens/Triumph of the Will a prominent example of propaganda in film history.

    Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries. Despite allegedly vowing not to make any more films about the Nazi Party, Riefenstahl made the 28-minute Tag der Freiheit: Unsere WehrmachtDay of Freedom: Our Armed Forces (1935) about the German Army.

    Hitler then invited Riefenstahl to film the 1936 Summer Olympics scheduled to be held in Berlin. She visited Greece to take footage of the route of the inaugural torch relay and the games' original site at Olympia, where she was aided by Greek photographer Nelly's. This material became the two-part Olympia (Festival Of Nations/ Festival Of Beauty) (1938), a hugely successful film which has since been widely noted for its technical and aesthetic achievements.

    Riefenstahl began work on the opera film Tiefland/Lowlands. On Hitler's direct order, the German government paid her seven million Reichsmarks in compensation. Sinti and Roma people from the Marzahn detention camp near Berlin were compelled to work as extras. Almost to the end of her life, despite overwhelming evidence that the concentration camp occupants had been forced to work on the film unpaid, Riefenstahl continued to maintain all the film extras survived and that she had met several of them after the war.

    In October 1944 the production of Tiefland moved to Barrandov Studios in Prague for interior filming. Lavish sets made these shots some of the most costly of the film. The film was not edited and released until almost ten years later. Tiefland would be her last feature film.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard. Photo: Karl Schenker. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1814/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Karl Schenker. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leni Riefenstahl
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3168/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Fellow Traveller

    In 1945, after the war, Leni Riefenstahl was arrested  at her chalet in Kitzbühel in the Tyrol by US soldiers. Throughout 1945 to 1948, she was held by various Allied-controlled prison camps across Germany. She was also under house arrest for a period of time. She had never been a Nazi party member and was cleared of active involvement by a de-Nazification tribunal. She was declared a Mitläufer or fellow traveller, which disbarred her from ever seeking public office.

    During the 1950s and 1960s, she tried many times to make more films, but was met with resistance, public protests and sharp criticism. Triumph des Willens and her other work for the Nazis had significantly damaged her career and reputation. Despite her protests to the contrary, Riefenstahl was considered an intricate part of the Third Reich's propaganda machine.

    In the 1960s, Riefenstahl discovered Africa and reinvented herself as a still photographer. She published two photo books on the Nuba tribes, The Nuba and The Nuba of Kau. In 1968, she began a lifelong companionship with her cameraman Horst Kettner. She was 60 and he was 20. He assisted her with her photographs.

    She also photographed the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. In 1978, Riefenstahl published a book of her sub-aquatic photographs called Korallengärten (Coral Gardens), followed by the 1990 book Wunder unter Wasser (Wonder under Water). Riefenstahl also released the autobiography A Memoir (1995).

    Leni Riefenstahl died of cancer in 2003 in Pöcking, Germany at the age of 101. She was buried at Munich Waldfriedhof. Riefenstahl was married twice. From 1944 till 1947, she was married to Peter Jacob. Shortly before her death, she married her longtime companion Horst Kettner.

    German trailer for Der Weisse Rausch/The White Ecstasy (1931). Source: FREERIDE FILMFESTIVAL (YouTube).

    German trailer for Das Blaue Licht/The Blue Light (1932). Source: Filmportal (YouTube).

    Trailer Olympia. Source: Jesse Abdenour (YouTube).

    Clip from Tiefland/Lowlands (1954). Source: Канал пользователя samoslav01 (YouTube).

    Sources: Richard Falcon (The Guardian), Rainer Rother (Leni Riefenstahl: The Seduction of Genius), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    La Roue Tourne is a French association that supports actors in need and many of the French stars on EFSP were helped by this organisation after their heydays. La Roue Tourne (the wheel turns) was founded by actor Paul Azaïs in 1957 and from the beginning the intention is that artists help other artists in need. Artists who need access to legal, social, medical and financial assistance or who live in solitude. Many film stars support the association and La Roue Tourne is promoted with their postcards. EFSP salutes this act of solidarity.

    Paul Azaïs
    Paul Azaïs. French postcard, no. 528.

    Bourvil. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris, no. 1095.

    Charles Aznavour
    Charles Aznavour. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Annie Cordy
    Annie Cordy. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Paul Meurisse
    Paul Meurisse. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Sacha Distel
    Sacha Distel. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris. Autographed in 1970.

    Roger Moore
    Roger Moore. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Daniel Guichard
    Daniel Guichard. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Marlène Jobert
    Marlène Jobert. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Alain Souchon
    Alain Souchon. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Pierre Richard
    Pierre Richard. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Michel Galabru (1922-2016)
    Michel Galabru. French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

    Source: Wikipedia (French).

    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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  • 05/27/16--22:00: Helmut Griem
  • Handsome and suave German actor Helmut Griem (1932-2004) had a long standing career as stage actor but he is also known for his international film and television work. He is best remembered for the classic musical Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972). As the elegant, fabulously decadent baron Max he has trysts with both Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) and Brian Roberts (Michael York).

    Helmut Griem
    German postcard with autograph.

    The Damned

    Helmut Griem was born in Hamburg in 1932. He planned to be a journalist, but, after studying literature, science and philosophy, he developed an interest in acting, and made his stage début with a role in N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker (1956).

    Throughout his career Griem would be primarily a stage actor, appearing at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Staatliche Schauspielbühnen in Berlin, the Munich Kammerspiele, and finally in the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, also in Munich.

    He started playing in films in 1960. His debut was Fabrik der Offiziere/The Factory of SS Officers (Frank Wisbar, 1960) with Horst Frank.

    The next year he appeared in Bis zum Ende aller Tage/Girl from Hong Kong (Franz Peter Wirth, 1961), Barbara - Wild wie das Meer/Barbara (Frank Wisbar, 1961) with Harriet Andersson, and the comedy Der Traum von Lieschen Müller/The Dream of Lieschen Mueller (Helmut Käutner, 1961) featuring Sonja Ziemann. That year he won the Bambi Award,  the oldest media award in Germany. In 1976 he would win his second Bambi.

    In the following years he played in European productions such as the Italian war film Oggi a Berlino/East Zone, West Zone (Piero Vivarelli, 1962) and the French production À cause, à cause d'une femme/Because, Because of a Woman (Michel Deville, 1963) starring Jacques Charrier and Mylène Demongeot.

    In 1969 Griem had his international breakthrough as the sexy, seductive and thoroughly power hungry SS officer Aschenbach in Visconti's La caduta degli dei/The Damned (Luchino Visconti, 1969). This film about the dramatic collapse of a wealthy, industrialist family during the reign of the Third Reich, starred Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Charlotte Rampling and Helmut Berger. Three years later Griem appeared again opposite Berger in Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1972) about the mad and tragic king of Bavaria.

    Helmut Griem and Akiko Wakabayashi in Bis zum Ende aller Tage (1961)
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag. Photo: Bavaria / NERO / NDF / Lilo. Publicity still for Bis zum Ende aller Tage/Girl from Hong Kong (Franz Peter Wirth, 1961) with Akiko Wakabayashi.

    Bisexual Baron

    Helmut Griem's most famous role is the rich, bisexual Baron Maximilian von Heune in the Oscar winning Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972). Reviewing Cabaret in Monthly Film Bulletin, John Russell Taylor noted: "Helmut Griem as Max manages just the right ironical throwaway charm and erotic confidence to convince us that he could have captivated both sexes with equal ease."

    He also played memorable parts opposite Brian Keith in The McKenzie Break (Lamont Johnson, 1970), opposite Senta Berger in Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass/Morals of Ruth Halbfass (Volker Schlöndorff, 1972), opposite Hanna Schygulla in Ansichten eines Clowns/The Clown (Voytech Jasny, 1975), opposite Jacques Perrin in Il deserto dei tartari/The Desert of the Tartars (Valerio Zurlini, 1976), and opposite Romy Schneider in La passante de Sans-Souci/The Passerby (Jacques Rouffio, 1982).

    In these films Griem represented the archetypal arrogant, duplicitous and sometimes downright ruthless German. One of his biggest international films was Voyage of the Damned (Stuart Rosenberg, 1976), the true story of a ship full of Jewish refugees from Germany who are refused entry to a succession of foreign ports, just months before the outbreak of war.

    In the early 1980s he also appeared in small but interesting German films, including Malou (Janine Meerapfel, 1981), Stachel im Fleisch/A Thorn in the Flesh (Heidi Genée, 1981), and the biography Caspar David Friedrich - Grenzen der Zeit/Boundaries of Time: Caspar David Friedrich (Ulrich Schamoni, 1986).

    On TV he appeared in the mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1980) and starred in the NBC series Peter the Great (Marvin J. Chomsky, Lawrence Schiller, 1986), portraying the formidable Tsar's lifelong friend and 'right hand' Alexander Menshikov, alongside Maximilian Schell.

    Griem stopped acting in film in the late 1980s but continued to appear on German television and on stage. In the theatre he also worked as a director of such plays as Entertaining Mr. Sloane (by Joe Orton), Long Day's Journey into Night (Eugene O'Neill), and Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller) in which he also played Willy Loman himself. His last film was Brennendes Herz/Burning Heart (Peter Patzak, 1995) with Dominique Sandaand Werner Herzog.

    Helmut Griem died in 2004 in a hospital in Munich, Germany. He was 72.

    Trailer of The Damned (Luchino Visconti, 1969). Source: troz2000 (YouTube).

    Trailer of The McKenzie Break (Lamont Johnson, 1970). Source: MovieZoneAustralia (YouTube).

    Trailer of Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972). Source: Warnervod (YouTube).

    Trailer of Il deserto dei tartari/The Desert of the Tartars (Valerio Zurlini, 1976). Source: Danios 12345 (YouTube).

    Sources: Tom Vallance (The Independent), Brian Pendreigh (The Herald), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/28/16--22:00: Eva von Berne
  • At 17, Austrian actress Eva von Berne (1910-2010) was spotted in Vienna by MGM's second in command Irving Thalberg and introduced in Hollywood as 'the next Garbo'. However, she was not. After playing the ingenue in the apparently lost silent drama The Masks of the Devil (1928) directed by Victor Sjöström, she returned to Europe. Here she made a few more films. At 20, Eva von Berne was dead for Hollywood, but she lived happily on for 80 more years.

    Eva von Berne
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3859/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Actress Eva Von Berne (1910-2010)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4348/1/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Dutchfan33 (Flickr).

    The Quest for Another Garbo

    Eva von Berne was born Genofeva Plentzner von Scharneck in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary (now Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1910. Eva fled with her family to Vienna following the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

    In Vienna she worked as a teenage model. In the quest to discover 'another Garbo,' M.G.M. production chief Irving Thalberg and his actress wife, Norma Shearer, saw a picture in a newspaper of Eva while on a belated honeymoon to Europe, specifically Vienna in late 1927 - early 1928.

    The 17-year-old Plentzner was signed to a contract and arrived in New York in July 1928. She spoke only a couple of words of English, but was the beneficiary of extra publicity by the studio's press department who feared a repeat of their overlooking a potential star in the way they had done with Garbo.

    She was renamed Eva von Berne. Unfortunately, the completely untrained Miss von Berne was not prepared for the requirements and pressures of movie stardom. Her greatest fault was being 20 pounds overweight, causing her debut movie opposite M.G.M.'s top male star, John Gilbert, to be delayed while considering whether to replace the 17 year old actress or not.

    The cast and crew liked Miss von Berne and vowed to help her during a forced recess in the filming, and have her underweight and skilled enough to resume her ingenue role. She completed Masks of the Devil (Victor Sjöström, 1928) but the damage had already been done.

    Eva von Berne with Raquel Torres (front) and Josephine Dunn (right). Sourve: Amy Jeanne (Flickr).

    Picture of John Gilbert and Eva von Berne in The Masks of the Devil (1928). Source: Alice Japan (Flickr).

    Tragedy was no stranger

    Her reviews for Masks of the Devil were respectable, but after no more than six months in the USA, Eva von Berne was sent back to Europe. As 'an American movie star', she was cast in a number of German films.

    In Somnambul/The Somnambulist (Adolf Trotz, 1929), she appeared opposite Fritz Kortnerand Veit Harlan. Other films were Flucht in die Fremdenlegion/The Legionaire (Louis Ralph, 1929) with Hans Stüwe, the mountain film Der Ruf des Nordens/The Call of the North (Nunzio Malasomma, Mario Bonnard, 1929) with Luis Trenker, and Trust der Diebe/Trust of Thieves (Erich Schönfelder, 1929).

    Von Berne gave up on film when the switch to sound was about to take place. In 1930, Hubert Voight, a publicist with M.G.M. erroneously released news of Von Berne's death. This notice was picked up in a number of American newspapers. In a 1980s article in the magazine Sight and Sound, Hubert Voight repeated his belief that Eva von Berne had passed, when in fact, she was very much alive.

    After 1930, Von Berne returned to Vienna, where she attended an art school. Eva later worked as an executive in window display for a Vienna department store. During World War II, she fled to Salzburg to be with her family. Eva married Helmut Krauss, a former major of the Austrian army, and became a sculptress. Her work was shown in galleries in several Austrian cities. In a telephone interview with German film journalist Toni Schieck in 2006, Von Berne said she believed it was fortunate that the world thought she was dead because she didn't have to deal with autograph hunters.

    Radkins at IMDb: "It is impossible to determine the quality of Miss von Berne's acting skills as Masks of the Devil is a lost film. Tragedy was no stranger to its cast though, as it included John Gilbert who was (one way or another) a casualty of sound and Alma Rubens, an actress reputed to have health issues emanating from a drug dependency."

    Eva von Berne died of natural causes in 2010 in Hédervár, Hungary. She was 100.

    Tribute to Eva von Berne. Music: The Blue Morris 6 - The Blonde On My Tail. Source: SpyMomentsBack (YouTube).

    Sources: Radkins (IMDb), Andre Soares (Alt Film Guide), and IMDb.

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  • 05/29/16--22:00: Stewart Rome
  • Stewart Rome (1886-1965) was a British actor of the silent screen. In the 1910s he was often paired with Alma Taylor and Chrissie White. In 1915 he was voted second only to Chaplin in a Pictures magazine popularity poll. In a big court case he was granted the rights to his stage name after being sued by his former producer Cecil M. Hepworth in 1919.

    Stewart Rome
    French postcard by Cinémagazine, no. 215.


    Stewart Rome was born in Newbury, England in 1886. His birthname was Wernham Ryott Gifford according to Wikipedia, while Sandra Brennan at AllMovie and the IMDb list him as Septimus Wernham Ryott. Wernham Ryott was the name under which he wrote the script of The Man From India (1914).

    Ryott studied to be a civil engineer, but instead went on the stage. After performing in Australia, he returned to the UK in 1912 and joined the Hepworth company in 1913. Hepworth renamed him Stewart Rome, and when he left Hepworth, after WW1 service, to join Broadwest he was forced to sue to keep the name.

    At Hepworth, Rome played in dramas, crime films and comedies that were often directed by Frank Wilson, but also by Warwick Buckland or by producer Cecil Hepworth himself. From 1914 on, Rome often starred opposite Alma Taylor, Chrissie Whiteand Violet Hopson, three female Hepworth regulars by then, while Lionelle Howard was often his male co-actor. Rome mostly had the male lead himself.

    In the year 1914 Rome was already highly active, playing in some 30 short and medium-length films, such as the Charles Dickens adaptation The Chimes (Thomas Bentley, 1914), with Hopson and Warwick Buckland co-acting. In 1915 he repeated this amazing productivity with some 28 films. In addition to many short films, Rome also did several features like The Baby on the Barge (Cecil Hepworth, 1915), The Incorruptible Crown (Frank Wilson, 1915), Sweet Lavender (Cecil Hepworth, 1915), As the Sun Went Down (Frank Wilson, 1915), Barnaby Rudge (Thomas Bentley, Cecil Hepworth, 1915), and The Bottle (Cecil Hepworth, 1915).

    He wrote the scripts for the films The Shepherd of Souls (Frank Wilson, 1915) and Coward! (Frank Wilson, 1915) in which he also impersonated a role. As Rome did less and less shorts, the number of his films decreased in the following years, but still he managed to play in 12 films in 1916. Among these films are Trelawny of the Wells (1916), Iris (1916), Annie Laurie (1916), and Coming Thro’ the Rye (1916), all directed by Cecil Hepworth and costarring Alma Taylor.

    In 1917 Rome’s performances slowed down to 6 films. He made The Cobweb (Cecil Hepworth, 1917) and The American Heiress (Cecil Hepworth, 1917) with Alma Taylor, but he also appeared in films with Chrissie White as the female lead, such as The Eternal Triangle (Frank Wilson, 1917). In 1918 Stewart Rome only did only two films for Hepworth, probably because of the law case between Hepworth and Rome.

    In 1919 he started to play with Violet Hopson in a string of dramas for his new studio. The first was probably the sports drama The Gentleman Rider (Walter West, 1919), which was followed by Snow in the Desert, A Great Coup, A Daughter of Eve, The Romance of a Movie Star, The Case of Lady Camber, Her Son, The Imperfect Lover, and When Greek Meets Greek. These films were almost all directed by Walter West for the company Broadwest and later for Walter West Productions, and almost all co-starring Violet Hopson. Incidentally Rome worked with other directors, such as Einar Bruun, or other co-leads such as Fabienne Fabrèges.

    Stewart Rome
    British postcard in the Lilywhite Photographic Series, no. C.M. 146. Photo: Broadwest.

    Stewart Rome
    British postcard. Photo: Broadwest.

    Detective William Voss

    In the Encyclopedia of British Film, Anthony Slide characterises Stewart Rome as 'A slightly aloof and aristocratic-looking leading man'. In 1923 Rome went to work more international. He played in The Prodigal Son (A.E. Coleby, 1923), which was shot in Iceland and was based on a novel by Hall Caine.

    In the same year he played Desmarets in the French Honoré de Balzac adaptation Ferragus (Gaston Ravel, 1923), opposite René Navarre in the title role. And he performed in the British-German coproduction Im Schatten der Moschee/In the Shadow of the Mosque (Walter R. Hall, 1923), produced by John Hagenbeck-Film.

    In 1924 he was reunited with West and Hopson in the sports drama The Stirrup Cup Sensation (Walter West, 1924), he played opposite Mary Odette in Nets of Destiny (Arthur Rooke, 1924), opposite Betty Balfourin Réveille (George Pearson, 1924), and opposite Fay Compton and Lillian Hall-Davis in The Eleventh Commandment (George A. Cooper, 1924). Anthony Slide writes in the Encyclopedia of British Film: "He is memorable as the shell-shocked veteran in George Pearson's Reveille (1924), but is obviously too old to remain an acceptable leading man."

    In 1925-1927 Rome went international again, playing detective William Voss in the Anglo-German co-production Vater Voss/Father Voss (Max Mack, 1925). After one film in Britain with Marjorie Hume: Thou Fool (Fred Paul, 1926), Rome tried his luck in Hollywood, playing in one American film: The Silver Treasure (Rowland V. Lee, 1926) starring George O’Brien.

    Rome didn’t stay long in Hollywood. In 1927 he was back in Europe, in Berlin, to perform in three Elga Brink vehicles Die Frau ohne Nahmen/The Nameless Woman (1927), Liebe im Rausch/Intoxicated Love (1927), and Die Jagd nach der Braut/Bride Chase (1926), all directed by Georg Jacoby.

    In the late 1920s Rome continued to play the male leads in several British films, in particular thrillers based on Edgar Wallace such as The Man Who Changed His Name (A.V. Bramble, 1928) or on Agatha Christie such as The Passing of Mr. Quin (Julius Hagen, Leslie S. Hiscott, 1928).

    Stewart Rome
    British postcard in the Pictures' Portrait Gallery by Pictures Ltd., London, no. 59. Photo: Broadwest Films Ltd.

    Stewart Rome
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 53. Photo: Vandamm.

    Dr. Goodfellow

    Stewart Rome smoothly made the passage from silent to sound. Already in 1929 he played the lead in Dark Red Roses (Sinclair Hill, 1929), made for British Sound Film productions.

    In the same year he played in the German production Der rote Kreis/The Red Circle (1929), which director Friedrich Zelnik first released as a silent film, but later had sound dubbed in using the British De Forest Phonofilm sound-on-film system – the Germans weren’t that far yet with sound cinema. It starred Zelnik’s wife and star Lya Mara, but also other renowned German and Austrian actors like Fred Louis Lerch, Hans Albers and Otto Wallburg. The film was again based on an Edgar Wallace story.

    Rome also played in an Austrian-German film: Hingabe/The Woman at the Cross (Guido Brignone, 1929), which was still shot and released as a silent film. It starred Marcella Albani.

    Until the late 1930s Stewart Rome continued to play in some 20 to 25 films, as a kindly character actor. These films ranged from crime films like Deadlock (Maurice Elvey, 1931) and Rynox (Michael Powell, 1932) to light musical comedies like Temptation (Max Neufeld, 1934), and from sports dramas like Kissing Cup's Race (Castleton Knight, 1930) to war dramas like Lest We Forget (John Baxter, 1934). Instead of Alma Taylor and Violet Hopson, his leading ladies were now Madeleine Carroll and Frances Day.

    Towards the war years, Rome’s roles became smaller. He continued to play small parts in British cinema until 1950. In 1942, Rome began appearing for Rank as Dr Goodfellow in a series of inspirational shorts, 'A Sunday Thought for the Coming Week', roundly jeered at by audiences. His final role was a supporting part in the crime comedy Let's Have a Murder (John E. Blakeley, 1950).

    In 1965 Stewart Rome died in his birthplace Newbury in England, at age 79. He was married to Grace Miller.

    Stewart Rome- Cinema Stars Cigarette Card
    British cigarette card by Ringer's Cigarettes. Collection: Rescued by Rover (Flickr).

    Stewart Rome
    British postcard.

    Sources: Anthony Slide (Encyclopedia of British Film), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), BFI, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 05/30/16--22:00: Hannelore Elsner
  • Grand German actress Hannelore Elsner (1942) started her film career in quickly forgotten light entertainment films, but in later years she starred in films by interesting directors like Edgar Reitz, István Szabó, Dani Levy and Uli Edel. She is best known for her roles in popular TV series such as Die Schwarzwaldklinik/The Black Forest Hospital (1987-1988) and the detective series Die Kommissarin/The Inspectoress (1994-2006).

    Hannelore Elsner
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg. Photo: Constantin / Rialto / Vogelmann. Publicity still for Zum Teufel mit der Penne - Die Lümmel von der ersten Bank, 2. Teil/To hell with the pen - The clown of the first bank, Part 2 (Werner Jacobs, 1968).

    Hannelore Elsner in ...aber Jonny! (1973)
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg. Photo: Constantin / Vogelmann. Publicity still for ...aber Jonny!/...But Johnny! (Alfred Weidenmann, 1973).


    Hannelore Elsner was born Hannelore Elstner in 1942 in Burghausen, Bavaria. Her father, an engineer, died when she was eight years old. She lost her brother, who was three years older, during a World War II air raid.

    In 1959, she made her screen debut in the Heimatfilm Alt Heidelberg/Old Heidelberg (Ernst Marischka, 1959) starring Christian Wolff. That year she also played small parts in Immer die Mädchen/Always the girls (Fritz Rémond Jr., 1959), with Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff, and Freddy unter fremden Sternen/Freddy under foreign stars (Wolfgang Schleif, 1959), featuring Schlager singer Freddy Quinn.

    She had her first starring role in Das Mädchen mit den schmalen Hüften/Yusha (Johannes Kai, 1961) opposite Claus Wilcke. After finishing drama school in her hometown Burghausen in 1962, she worked in theatres in Berlin and München.

    During the 1960s she continued to play in several light entertainment films, including the comedy Zur Hölle mit den Paukern/To hell with the drummers (Werner Jacobs, 1968). It was the first entry into the seven part Die Lümmel von der ersten Bank/The clown of the first bank series of comedy films starring Hansi Kraus and Theo Lingen. Elsner also appeared in the sports comedy Willi wird das Kind schon schaukeln/Willi Manages The Whole Thing (Werner Jacobs, 1972). It was the final entry into a four film series with Heinz Erhardt as Willi.

    She also played in more serious films like Die Reise nach Wien/Trip to Vienna (Edgar Reitz, 1973), in which she co-starred with Elke Sommer and Mario Adorf. During the closing months of the Second World War, two small-town German women discover some money in an attic and decide to spend it on a trip to Vienna. Interesting was also the Italian adventure film Il ritorno di Zanna Bianca/Challenge to White Fang (Lucio Fulci, 1974) starring Franco Nero. It is the only official sequel to the box office hit Zanna Bianca/White Fang (Lucio Fulci, 1973).

    From then on, she appeared in arthouse films like Berlinger (Alf Brustellin, Bernhard Sinkel, 1975), featuring Martin Benrath, the comedy Bomber & Paganini (Nicos Perakis, 1976) with Mario Adorf, and Grete Minde (Heidi Genée, 1977), based on the novel by Theodor Fontane and featuring Katerina Jacob.

    For Der Schneider von Ulm/The Tailor from Ulm (1979), she reunited with director Edgar Reitz, who became famous for his TV series Heimat, in which Elsner also had a role. Der Schneider von Ulm tells the true story of a German pioneer aviator, Albrecht Berblinger (Tilo Prückner), in the late 18th century.

    Hannelore Elsner
    German autograph card. Photo: Ruth Kappus.

    Hannelore Elsner
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg. Photo: Karin Rocholl, Hamburg.

    First Krimi with a Female Lead

    During the 1980s and 1990s, Hannelore Elsner starred in several films but also in many popular TV series such as Die Schwarzwaldklinik/The Black Forest Hospital (1987-1988). In 1980, she starred in the cold-war melodrama Der grüne Vogel/The green bird (1980) by acclaimed director István Szabó.

    Her other films included the Swiss drama Mann ohne Gedächtnis/Man Without Memory (Kurt Gloor, 1984), the drama Marie Ward - Zwischen Galgen und Glorie/Marie Ward: Between gallows and glory (Angelika Weber, 1985), and the British crime film Parker (Jim Goddard, 1985) starring Bryan Brown.

    She became well known in Germany and other German speaking countries for her role in the German detective series Die Kommissarin/The Inspectoress (1994-2006). The series, which takes place in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is notable as being the first, and as one of the most successful, Krimi series with a female lead character. She played the lead character Inspector Lea Sommer in 66 episodes. Sommer is divorced with custody of her teenage son, Daniel. She is looking forward to a new relationship with her new boyfriend, Jonathan. Although Lea and Jonathan telephone each other frequently, he is never seen or heard on screen. Sommer was originally paired with Nick Siegel (Til Schweiger), but in a 1996 episode, Siegel was shot to death by an escaping criminal.

    Elsner’s later films include Die Unberührbare/No Place to Go (Oskar Roehler, 2000) with Vadim Glowna, and Alles auf Zucker!/Go for Zucker (Dani Levy, 2004). This ironic comedy about modern Jewish identity in present-day Germany can be seen as part of the ´Ossi-Wessi´ confrontation within Germany. Henry Hübchen stars as Jaecki Zucker, and Elsner co-stars as his mother.

    She then co-starred in the drama Kirschblüten – Hanami/Cherry Blossoms (Doris Dörrie, 2008), which tells the story of Rudi (Elmar Wepper): terminally ill, he travels to Japan after the sudden death of his wife Trudi (Elsner) – in order to make up for missed opportunities in life. Elsner also played German rapper Bushido’s mother in the biographical film Zeiten ändern dich/Times change you (Uli Edel, 2008), starring Bushido himself. Recently, she appeared in Hin und weg/Tour de Force (Christian Zübert, 2014), a powerful drama about euthanasia starring Florian David Fitz, and Hannas schlafende Hunde/Hanna’s sleeping dogs (Andreas Gruber, 2016).

    Hannelore Elsner’s longtime companion is Professor Günter Blamberger. She was previously married to actor Gerd Vespermann (1964-1966) and Uwe Carstensen (1993-2000). She has a son, Dominik (1981), from a relationship with director Dieter Wedel.

    Trailer Die endlose Nacht - Nebel über Tempelhof (1963). Source: Arild Rafalzik (YouTube).

    Trailer for Il ritorno di Zanna Bianca/Challenge to White Fang (1974). Source: Italo-Cinema Trailer (YouTube).

    German trailer for Auf das Leben/To Life! (2014). Source: Berlin & Beyond Film Festival (YouTube).

    German trailer for Hannas schlafende Hunde/Hanna’s sleeping dogs (2016). Source: Vipmagazin (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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    Henny Porten (1890-1960) was one of the three most famous divas of the early German silent cinema. She produced many of her own films, but started her career at film pioneer Oskar Messter's studio Messter-Film. A fine example is the drama Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall/The Dynasty of von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) in which she co-starred with German actor Bruno Decarli.

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/2. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Henny Porten.

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/3. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Henny Porten and Heinz Burkart (right).

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/5. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Henny Porten and Rudolf Biebrach.

    Love is Bigger than Revenge

    Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall/The Dynasty of von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) narrates of Magdalena von Ringwall (Henny Porten) and her brother Arpad (Kurt Vespermann), who are the last descendants of the Ringwall family.

    Arpad is murdered but the culprit cannot be found. Magdalena meets a man, Vormund (Bruno Decarli), and falls in love with him, unknowing that he his Arpad's murderer. When she is finally informed, her love is bigger than her call for revenge.

    Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall was produced by Messter (Film)Projektion in Berlin in a series called, Seltsame Menschen (Strange people).

    The crew for the film is interesting. Robert Wiene, the director of the classic wrote the script. Cameraman was Karl Freund and the sets were designed by Jack Winter and Ludwig Kainer. Supporting actors in the cast were Frida Richard, Heinz Burkart and director Rudolf Biebrach.

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/6. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Kurt Vespermann and Henny Porten.

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/7. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/8. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Henny Porten and Bruno Decarli.

    Henny Porten in Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 525/10. Photo: Messter-Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Das Geschlecht derer von Ringwall (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) with Henny Porten and Bruno Decarli.

    Source: Wikipedia (German), The German Early Cinema Database, Filmportal.de and IMDb.

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  • 06/01/16--22:00: Sybil Smolowa
  • Austrian-Czech actress and dancer Sybil Smolova (1900-?) was a star of the German and Swedish silent cinema of the 1910s and 1920s. She started as a dancer in Riga and Warsaw and the moved to Berlin. Her final film was the lesbian themed Anna und Elisabeth/Anna and Elisabeth (1933).

    Sybil Smolova
    German postcard by NPG. no. 432. Photo: Alex Binder. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    In Shame

    Sybil Smolowa (or Sybill Smolowa, Sibyl Smolova and Sybil Smolova) was born in 1900 in Prague, then part of Austria-Hungary (Thomas Staedeli mentions Sweden as her birth country), but not much more is known about her private life. Her career began in the cities of Riga and Warsaw where she worked as a dancer.

    In Warsaw, Smolowa appeared for the first time for the film camera at the Sphinx Film studio. Actor-director Friedrich Zelnik spotted her there and brought the young girl to Berlin to appear opposite him in the film Seelen, die sich nachts begegnen/Souls who meet at night (Eugen Illés, 1915), produced by the Danish studio Atlantik. Smolowa played a rich girl that gets 'in shame' (pregnant). Happily she meets a student (Zelnik) who takes care of her and learns her to love.

    The following year, she appeared opposite Eduard von Winterstein in the drama Werner Krafft (Carl Froelich, 1916). Among her films were the Swedish drama I mörkrets bojor/In the Fetters of Darkness (Georg af Klercker, 1917), Im Schatten des Glücks/In the shadow of happiness (Robert Leffler, 1919) with Hans Adalbert Schlettow, and the two-partner Kinder der Finsternis/Children of Darkness (Ewald André Dupont, 1922) with Grit Hegesa and Hans Mierendorff.

    Her final film was the lesbian themed drama Anna und Elisabeth/Anna and Elisabeth (Frank Wisbar, 1933) with Dorothea Wieck and Hertha Thiele. It would remain her only sound film. Sybil Smolowa retired from the film industry and disappeared from the public view.

    Sybil Smolowa
    German postcard by NPG, no. 935. Photo: Elli Lisser, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Sybil Smolova
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. 2296. Photo: Zander & Labisch, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

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

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    We found this British card published at the height of the popularity of Marlene Dietrich. A multiview postcard about her screen lovers. It must be published around 1932 cause the card contains stills from her early American films, all directed by Josef von Sternberg. So, we liked the idea and today, EFSP publishes 12 dazzling postcards with Marlene Dietrich and the guys she loved in her films for von Sternberg and other directors.

    Marlene Dietrich and her Screen Lovers
    Marlene Dietrich and her Screen Lovers. British postcard. Photos: publicity stills from 1, 3, 4. Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) with Gary Cooper, 2, 8, 10, 11. Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg, 1931) with Victor McLaglen, 7. Der blaue Engel/The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) with Emil Jannings, 9, 12. Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932) with Clive Brook.

    Emil Jannings and Marlene Dietrich in Der blaue Engel (1930)
    German collectors card. Photo: Super film. Publicity still for Der blaue Engel/The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) with Emil Jannings.

    Hans Albers and Marlene Dietrich in Der blaue Engel (1930)
    German collectors card. Photo: Super film. Publicity still for Der blaue Engel/The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) with Hans Albers.

    Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in Morocco
    Belgian postcard Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) with Gary Cooper.

    Marlene Dietrich and Clive Brook in Shanghai Express (1932)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6379/2. Photo: Paramount. Marlene Dietrich as Shanghai Lily and Clive Brook as 'Doc' Harvey in Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932).

    Dickie Moore RIP (1925-2015)
    Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 327, ca. 1932. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still of Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall and Dickie Moore in Blonde Venus (Josef von Sternberg, 1932).

    Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7790/1. Photo: Paramount. Real-life lovers Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier at a Paramount set. Dietrich is dressed as the peasant girl from the beginning of The Song of Songs (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933). Chevalier wears what looks like a bathrobe, so he might just have been busy on another Paramount set at the same time. In the film A Bedtime Story (Norman Taurog, 1933) he wears the same shoes.

    Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne and Lionel Atwill in The Song of Songs
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 183/4. Photo: Paramount. Brian Aherne (Richard), Lionel Atwill (baron von Merzbach) and Marlene Dietrich (Lily) in The Song of Songs (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933).

    Marlene Dietrich and Gavin Gordon in The Scarlet Empress (1934)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8709/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934) with Gavin Gordon.

    Marlene Dietrich
    British-Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 351. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934) with Marlene Dietrich as Catherine the Great, the notorious empress of Russia.

    Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat in Knight Without Armour
    British postcard by Art Photo Postcard, no. 125. Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat in the London Films production Knight Without Armour (Jacques Feyder, 1937) with Robert Donat.

    Marlene Dietrich and Ronald Colman in Kismet
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C 156. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Kismet (William Dieterle, 1944) with Ronald Colman.

    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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  • 06/03/16--22:00: Marianne Faithfull
  • British singer and actress Marianne Faithfull (1946) started her career in the 1960s with sweet, melancholy folk-pop. Her personal life was turbulent and years of drug and alcohol abuse followed. But few stars reinvented themselves as successfully as Faithfull. In addition to her music career, Faithfull had a career as an inventive, creative actress in theatre, television and film.

    Marianne Faithfull
    French postcard by Publistar, no. 1200. Photo: Roger Kasparian.

    As Tears Go By

    Marian Evelyn Faithfull was born in 1946 (some sources say 1949) in Hampstead, London. Her father, Major Robert Glynn Faithfull, was a British Army officer and professor of Italian Literature at Bedford College of London University. Her mother was styled as Eva von Sacher-Masoch, Baroness Erisso and was originally from Vienna. The family of Sacher-Masoch had secretly opposed the Nazi regime in Vienna. Glynn Faithfull's work as an Intelligence Officer for the British Army brought him into contact with the family, and he thus met Eva. Faithfull's maternal great great uncle was Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the 19th century Austrian nobleman whose erotic novel, Venus in Furs, spawned the word ‘masochism’.

    Faithfull began her singing career in 1964, landing her first gigs as a folk music performer in coffeehouses. In early 1964 she attended a Rolling Stones launch party with art dealer John Dunbar while she was still in school. She met Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, who discovered her. He coaxed her into a recording career and she had a big hit in both Britain and the U.S. with her debut single, the Jagger/Richards composition As Tears Go By (1964).

    A series of successful singles followed. Faithfull married John Dunbar in 1965 and later that year she gave birth to their son, Nicholas. She left her husband in 1966 to live with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger. The couple became part of the hip Swinging London scene. This highly publicised romantic relationship and her extraordinary beauty made her a 1960s icon.

    Making headlines, Faithfull was caught in 1967 police raid of Keith Richard's home wearing nothing but a fur rug. Jagger and Richards faced drug charges as a result of the raid, and the incident damaged Faithfull's public image. In 1967 she made her professional stage debut in an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, at the Royal Court Theatre, London, co-starring with Glenda Jackson.

    She appeared in several prolific films at the time. She played herself in Jean-Luc Godard's film Made in U.S.A. (1966). She also acted in I'll Never Forget What's'isname (Michael Winner, 1967) alongside Oliver Reed and Orson Welles. In the French television film Anna (Pierre Koralnik, 1967), starring Anna Karina and Jean-Claude Brialy, Faithfull sang Serge Gainsbourg's Hier ou Demain. She also appeared as a leather-clad motorcyclist in the French film La Motocyclette/Girl on a Motorcycle (Jack Cardiff, 1968) opposite Alain Delon.

    The following year, she played Lilith in the short film Lucifer Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1972) and in Hamlet (Tony Richardson, 1969) as Ophelia opposite Nicol Williamson's title character and Anthony Hopkins as Claudius. In 1969, she also recorded the compelling single Sister Morphine, which she co-wrote. Sister Morphine is also featured on The Rolling Stones'Sticky Fingers album. In 1970, Faithfull split up with Jagger. She lost custody of her son in that same year, which led to her attempting suicide.

    Marianne Faithfull
    American postcard.

    Broken English

    During the 1970s, Marianne Faithfull developed a serious drug habit, and recorded only two little-noticed studio albums. For a couple of years, she was homeless in London's Soho district and hospitalised several times. In 1979, she pulled off an astonishing comeback with the album Broken English.

    Her voice, roughed up by time and hard living, had lowered a good octave since the mid-1960s. The emotionally expressive and captivating album incorporated elements of punk with modern dance music and earned her widespread praise. Richie Unterberger at AllMusic: “After allowing herself to be framed as a demure chanteuse by songwriters and arrangers throughout most of her career, Faithfull had found her own voice, and suddenly sounded more relevant and contemporary than most of the stars she had rubbed shoulders with in the 1960s.”

    Her recordings in the 1980s and 1990s were sporadic and erratic. In 1987, Faithfull again reinvented herself, this time as a jazz and blues singer, on Strange Weather. The album, produced by Hal Willner, included a new recording of her greatest hit, As Tears Go By. It was her triumph of the decade.

    When Roger Waters assembled an all-star cast of musicians to perform the rock opera The Wall live in Berlin in July 1990, Faithfull played the part of Pink's overprotective mother. Her musical career rebounded for the third time during the early 1990s with the live album Blazing Away, which featured Faithfull revisiting songs she had performed over the course of her career. In 1994, she published her self-titled autobiography; the biography As Tears Go By by Mark Hodkinson is an objective and thorough account of her life and times.

    She returned to the screen in the British action crime drama film Shopping (Paul W. S. Anderson, 1994) about a group of British teenagers who indulge in joyriding and ramraiding. The film stars Jude Law in his first major role. She appeared in the Irish coming-of-age drama Moondance (Dagmar Hirtz, 1995) and also provided the vocals for the song Madam George written by Van Morrison, who wrote the lyrics for the songs included in the soundtrack. Then she played in the British psychodrama Crimetime (George Sluizer, 1996) starring Stephen Baldwin and Pete Postlethwaite.

    On stage, Faithfull performed in The Threepenny Opera (1991) at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, playing Pirate Jenny. Her interpretation of the music led to a new album, Twentieth Century Blues (1996), which focused on the music of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht as well as Noël Coward, followed in 1998 by a recording of The Seven Deadly Sins, with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. A hugely successful concert and cabaret tour accompanied by Paul Trueblood at the piano, culminated in the filming, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, of the DVD Marianne Faithfull Sings Kurt Weill.

    Marianne Faithfull
    Italian postcard.

    Marianne Faithfull
    Italian postcard by Edizione diesse.

    Both God and the Devil

    In 2001 Marianne Faithfull appeared in the films Far From China (C,S. Leigh, 2001) with Lambert Wilson, and Intimacy (Patrice Chéreau, 2001) with Mark Rylance. Intimacy won the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bear for Best Actress (Kerry Fox) at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001. In 2004, Faithful featured in the French film Nord-Plage (José Hayot, 2004).

    Faithfull has played both God and the Devil. She appeared as God in two guest appearances in the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1996-2001) opposite friend Jennifer Saunders, with another close friend, Anita Pallenberg, playing the Devil. In 2004 and 2005, she played the Devil in William Burroughs' and Tom Waits' musical, The Black Rider, directed by Robert Wilson.

    She returned to recording in 2002 with Kissin' Time, an eclectic collection of songwriting collaborations with Beck, Damon Albarn, and Billy Corrigan of the Smashing Pumpkins. In 2004, Before the Poison was released. This album continued in the vein of its predecessor, with songwriting and production contributions from PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Jon Brion, and Albarn.

    In the cinema, Faithfull appeared as Empress Maria Theresa in the biopic, Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006). That year she also could be seen in Gus van Sant’s segment of the anthology film Paris, je t'aime/Paris, I love you (2006). She starred in the film Irina Palm (Sam Garbarski, 2007) as Maggie, a 50-year-old widow who becomes a sex worker to pay for medical treatment for her ill grandson. She received a Best Actress nomination for her role at the European Film Awards, but Helen Mirren won for The Queen.

    Faithfull and Dan Willner reunited for the albums Easy Come Easy Go (2008) and Horses and High Heels (2011). In 2011 Faithfull was awarded the Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France's highest cultural honours. Faithfull had supporting roles in the films Faces in the Crowd (Julien Magnat, 2011) starring Milla Jovovich, and Belle du Seigneur (Glenio Bonder, 2013) with Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

    In 2012, she also appeared in a production of Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins at the Linz State Theater in Austria, and in 2013 she appeared at the Yoko Ono-curated Meltdown Festival in duet with guitarist Bill Frisell. Faithfull's recording career resumed in late 2013 when she began writing and recording with a host of friends old and new, and for the first time, writing her own lyrics to each song. Her collaborators included Brian Eno, Adrian Utley, Roger Waters, Anna Calvi, and Steve Earle. Give My Love to London was released in the fall of 2014. She started a 12-month 50th anniversary tour at the end of 2014.

    Marianne Faitfull was married three times. After her marriage to John Dumbar, she married Ben Brierly (1979-1986). In 1988, she finally married writer and actor Giorgio Della Terza, but they divorced in 1991. She is now a grandmother of two and lives in Ireland.

    Marianne Faithfull sings As Tears Go By in Hullabaloo London (1965), introduced by Brian Epstein. Source: lovehongdou3458 (YouTube).

    Trailer for La Motocyclette/Girl on a Motorcycle (1968). Source: iCandyTV (YouTube).

    Marianne Faithfull sings The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan. Source: flock you (YouTube).

    Trailer Irina Palm (2007). Source: Soda Pictures (YouTube).

    Sources: Richie Unterberger (AllMusic), Biography.com, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/04/16--22:00: María Félix
  • Energetic, fiery femme fatale María Félix (1914–2002) was an icon of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. She was considered one of the most beautiful film actresses of her time, and one of the erotic myths of the Spanish-language cinema. Her career included 47 films made in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy and Argentina.

    Maria Felix
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 272. Photo: Manderfilm, Roma. Publicity still for Maclovia (Emilio Fernández, 1948).

    Maria Felix
    French postcard by Editions P.I., offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 576. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Maria Felix
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 189. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    The number one enemy of the Mexican family morals

    Maria de los Angeles Felix Güereña was born in Álamos, México in 1914. She was the daughter of Bernardo Félix Flores, military officer and secretary of Hacienda, and Josefina Güereña Rosas. She and her eleven siblings spent her childhood in Álamos. The family lived with dignity, despite not being rich. As a young girl, Maria enjoyed games for boys, was an accomplished horse rider and had a strong personality.

    When María was a teenager, her beauty soon began to attract attention. She was crowned Queen of the Beauty at the University of Guadalajara. After a brief romance with Enrique Álvarez Alatorre, a salesman for the cosmetics firm Max Factor, the couple married in 1931. In 1935, María gave birth to her only child, Enrique Quique, but the marriage was unsuccessful and the couple divorced in 1937. After her divorce, María returned to Guadalajara with her family, where she was the subject of gossip and rumours due to her status as a divorcee.

    María decided to move to Mexico City with her son. There she was spotted by film director Fernando Palacios. She was offered the female lead role in El Peñón de las Ánimas/The Rock of Souls (Miguel Zacarías, 1943) opposite the popular Mexican actor and singer Jorge Negrete. The plot is loosely based on the Shakespeare drama Romeo and Juliet, transferred to the early 20th Century rural areas of Mexico. In her second film, Maria Eugenia (Felipe Gregorio Castillo, 1943), María was miscast in a role out of her temperamental film personality.

    Maria Felix became known as La Doña for her femme fatale role in Doña Bárbara (Fernando de Fuentes, Miguel M. Delgado, 1943), based in the same name novel of the Venezuelan writer Romulo Gallegos. Doña Barbara tells the story of a Venezuelan woman, raped in her youth, who runs her ranch despotically while dressed in men's clothes and dabbles in witchcraft. To the end of her life, Félix was referred to as Doña Barbara, and her subsequent roles built on the image.

    It was also the start of her major collaborations with Mexican film director Fernando de Fuentes. Félix and de Fuentes filmed together another two films: La Mujer sin Alma/Woman Without a Soul (Fernando de Fuentes, 1944) and La Devoradora/Devouring (Fernando de Fuentes, 1946). With these films, María became "the number one enemy of the Mexican family morals". Maria also played out-of-type dramatic roles of great intensity in the sophisticated films El monje blanco/White monk (Julio Bracho, 1945) and Vértigo/Vertigo (Antonio Momplet, 1946).

    Maria Felix in Les héros sont fatigués (1955)
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Temnpelhof, no. FK 1932. Photo: Roger Corbeau / CCC / Terra / Cila / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Les héros sont fatigués/Heroes and Sinners (Yves Ciampi, 1955).

    Maria Felix
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1068. Photo: ENIC.

    Paris' most notorious dance

    Maria Félix made three successful films under the direction of the famous Mexican film director Emilio Fernandez. These were the delightful comedy Enamorada/In Love (1946), Rio Escondido/ Hidden River (1947) and Maclovia (1948). The relationship between María and Fernandez was cordial and smooth, despite the strong and famous temperament of the film director. In Enamorada, María finds her perfect film partner, actor Pedro Armendáriz.

    The films of María with Fernandez and his team (writer Mauricio Magdaleno, photographer Gabriel Figueroa and Armendáriz) were successfully shown at several international film festivals. Maria also worked with Roberto Gavaldón, another director who showcased some of her best performances. Their first collaboration was in La diosa arrodillada/The Kneeling Goddess (Roberto Gavaldón, 1947) with Arturo de Córdova.

    Thanks to these films, María's became internationally known and she started a second film career in Europe. In 1948 she was contracted by the Spanish film producer Cesreo Gonzalez. María debuted in the European cinema with Mare Nostrum (Rafael Gil, 1948) opposite Fernando Rey. In 1950, she made two more films with Gil, Una mujer cualquiera/Any Woman (Rafael Gil, 1950) with Antonio Vilar, and La noche del sábado/Saturday Night (Rafael Gil, 1950).

    Then she filmed the French-Spanish production La Couronne Noire/Black Crown (Luis Saslavsky, 1951) based on a story by Jean Cocteau. She debuted in Italy with Incantesimo Tragico/Tragic Spell (Mario Sequi, 1951) opposite Rossano Brazzi. In the same year, she filmed Messalina (Carmine Gallone, 1951), with Georges Marchal. At the time, it was the most expensive film of the Italian cinema.

    In Argentina, Maria appeared in La pasión desnuda/Naked Passion (Luis César Amadori, 1952) at the side of Carlos Thompson. She returned to Mexico to film Camelia (Cesáreo González, 1952) and she married her former co-star Jorge Negrete. Together, they filmed El rapto/The rapture (Emilio Fernández, 1954). It would be the last film of Negrete, who died in December 1953.

    After the death of her husband, María returned to Europe. In France she made the films La Belle Otero (Richard Pottier, 1954), and Les Heros sont Fatigues/The Heroes Are Tired (Yves Ciampi, 1955), alongside Yves Montand. However, her most important film in this period is French Cancan (Jean Renoir, 1954) with the legendary Jean Gabin. It chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance. Her latest film shot entirely in Europe, was the Spanish production Faustina (José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1957) with Fernando Fernán-Gómez and Fernando Rey.

    Maria Felix
    Russian postcard. Photo: Unifrance Film.

    Maria Felix
    Yugoslavian postcard by ZK, no. 2064.

    Jean Gabin and Maria Félix in French Cancan (1954)
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, Dutch licency holder for Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Templehof, no. 1501. Photo: Serge Beauvarlet / Franco London Film, Paris. Publicity still for French Cancan (Jean Renoir, 1954) with Jean Gabin.

    Causing a huge scandal at her husband's funeral

    María Félix returned to Mexico in 1955. This period of her career was characterised by films inspired by the Mexican Revolution. This cycle began with La Escondida/The Hidden One (Roberto Gavaldón, 1955). In this film, as well as in Canasta de cuentos mexicanos/Basket of Mexican Tales (Julio Bracho, 1955) and Café Colón (Benito Alazraki, 1958), she worked again with Pedro Armendáriz. In Tizoc (Ismael Rodríguez, 1956) she starred with the popular Mexican actor and singer Pedro Infante. However, the film was not liked by the actress, despite its international success.

    Eventually she filmed Flor de mayo/Beyond All Limits (Roberto Gavaldón, 1957) with Jack Palance, and La Cucaracha (Ismael Rodríguez, 1959), alternating with Dolores del Río, another celebrated Mexican film star with a career in Hollywood. In 1959 she performed in the Spanish-Mexican co-production Sonatas directed by Juan Antonio Bardem and the French-Mexican co-production La Fievre Monte El Pao, directed by Luis Buñuel and starring Gérard Philipe.

    In the 1960s María's presence in the cinema was limited to only a few films. The most prominent were Juana Gallo/The Guns of Juana Gallo (Miguel Zacarías, 1960) with Jorge Mistral, La bandida/The Bandit (Roberto Rodríguez, 1962), Amor y sexo/Sapho '63 (Luis Alcoriza, 1963) - the only film where she could be seen partially nude, and La Valentina (Rogelio A. González, 1966). In 1970 she made her last film, La Generala/The general (Juan Ibáñez, 1971). The Mexican historical telenovela La Constitucion/The Constitution (Ernesto Alonso, 1971) was her last professional acting job.

    Later, Maria attempted to return to the cinema twice. First, in 1982, with the film Toñaa Machetes, and again in 1986 with Insolito resplandor. Neither projects crystallised, and María never reappeared in film. Her autobiography, Todas mis guerras, was published in 1993.

    María Félix was married four times. Her first marriage (1931–1938) was with the cosmetics sales agent Enrique Alvarez Alatorre, who is the father of her only son, actor Enrique Álvarez Félix. Enrique died in 1999 of a heart attack. Her second marriage (1945–1947) was with the famous Mexican composer Agustín Lara. María was a fan of Lara since her adolescence. Lara immortalized María in a huge number of songs, but his excessive jealousy ended their relationship in 1947. After her second divorce, Maria had romances with the Mexican aviation entrepreneur Jorge Pasquel, the Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín and the Argentine actor Carlos Thompson. In 1953, when María returned to Mexico after her stay in Europe and Argentina, she was reunited with the actor and singer Jorge Negrete, and the couple married in 1953. Unfortunately. Negrete was already ill when the marriage took place. Negrete died eleven months after at a hospital in Los Angeles, California, while María was in Europe shooting La Belle Otero.

    María's appearance at his funeral dressed in trousers, caused a huge scandal, which led María to take refuge in Europe. Her fourth marriage (1956–1974), was with the Romanian-born, French banker Alexander Berger. Berger died in 1974 as a result of lung cancer just months after the death of the mother of Marìa, which plunged her into a deep depression. Her last romantic relationship was the Russian-French painter Antoine Tzapoff. Until the end of her life she maintained that she wanted to return to acting, but nothing ever materialised. Maria Felix died in her sleep on 8 April 2002, the day she turned 88.

    Clips from Doña Bárbara (1943). Source: jeseden (YouTube).

    Trailer for French Cancan (1954). Source: BFI Trailers (YouTube).

    Scene with María Félix and Jack Palance in Flor de Mayo (1957). Sorry, no subtitles. Source: karlos habibi (YouTube).

    Sources: Sheila Whitaker (The Guardian), Maximiliano Maza (IMDb), Encyclopædia Britannica, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/05/16--22:00: Corry Brokken (1932-2016)
  • On 31 May 2016, legendary Dutch singer Corry Brokken (1932-2016) has passed away. She represented the Netherlands three times at the Eurovision Song Contest, and was the winner in 1957. She also worked several years as a television presenter in the Netherlands and in Germany, but she appeared only once in a film. In later life she became a judge.

    Corry Brokken (1932-2016)
    Dutch autograph card. Photo: Ger Dijkstra.

    Corry Brokken
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (SPARO), no. 1074. Photo: Phonogram.

    Winner Eurovision Song Contest

    Cornelia Maria Brokken was born in Breda, Netherlands in 1932. In 1952 she made her Dutch radio debut with the song I Apologize. Two years later Corry (sometimes written as Corrie) Brokken made her first record, De Autoscooter-Boogie.

    In 1956 she represented the Netherlands for the first time at the Eurovision Song Contest. Her song Voorgoed Voorbij/Over For Good did not win. That year the results of the jury were secret; only the winner was announced.

    The following year she won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Net als Toen/Like It Used To Be. The melody was composed by Guus Jansen and the lyrics were written by Willy van Hemert.

    And in 1958 she represented the Netherlands again with Heel de Wereld/The Whole World, but this time she came no further than a shared last - 9th - place with Luxembourg.

    As noted by John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, Corry is the only singer ever to have finished both first and last in the contest.

    In 1958 she also appeared as a singer in the film Jenny (Willy van Hemert, 1958). It was the first Dutch feature in colour, and the only theatrical film by Van Hemert, who, besides as a song composer, would have a long and illustrious career as a TV director. His daughter, Ellen van Hemert, appeared in the title role of the film.

    Corry Brokken (1932-2016)
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5625. On the photo Corry Brokken with her only child, daughter Nancy, born in 1959.

    Corry Brokken (1932-2016)
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5616.

    Song About a Prostitute

    In 1960 Corry Brokken had a #1-hit in the Netherlands with the song Milord, which is internationally known in the Edith Piaf version. The song text about a prostitute was quite shocking for the then still conservative Dutch public.

    In the 1960s, Brokken performed in the renowned variety show Sleeswijk Revue alongside the popular comic duo Snip en Snap (Willy Walden and Piet Muijselaar).

    Between 1961 and 1972 Corry Brokken presented TV shows on Dutch television. During this period she regularly recorded her songs, including fine and successful Dutch interpretations of songs by Charles Aznavour, including the hits Mijn ideaal/My Ideal (1962) and La Mamma (1964).

    The German versions of her hits were also popular in West-Germany. Between 1967 and 1970 she presented for the German TV station ARD shows like Varietézauber (Variety Magic) with such guests as Gilbert Bécaud, Caterina Valente and Hildegard Knef.

    Corry continued to make records into the 1970s, and in 1976 she returned to the the Eurovision Song Contest when she hosted the show in The Hague.

    That same year she started to study Law. Later she became an attorney and in 1988 she was installed as a judge in the city of 's-Hertogenbosch.

    Corry Brokken
    Dutch postcard by uitgeverij SYBA, Enkhuizen, no. 3. It was used for promotional purposes by Corry Brokken's record company, Philips. Photo: Arje Plas.

    Corry Brokken
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by mail in 1964.


    In 1996 Corry Brokken made a comeback as a singer. In 1997 she announced the results of the Dutch vote at the Eurovision Song Contest.

    She made the new cd Nooit gedacht (Never thought) and promoted it in a few TV shows. Since the cd was not a big success, she started to write her memoirs, Wat mij betreft (As for me). The book was a success and was reprinted four times in a short period. She also wrote a weekly column for the women's weekly Margriet.

    In 2006 she was the guest star of the cabaret group Purper in their show Purper 100, and a dvd was presented with the highlights of her TV-shows: Een avondje uit met Corry Brokken/An Evening's Entertainment With Corry Brokken.

    In 2009 she also published her second memoirs, Toegift (Encore), and she had a guest appearance in the popular TV sitcom Kinderen geen bezwaar/Children, No Problem (2009).

    Corry Brokken was married three times. From 1956 on, her first husband was jazz musician Cees See, with whom she had daughter Nancy (1959). From 1968 till 1976 Brokken was married to variety show producer René Sleeswijk. In 1978 she married lawyer Jan Meijerink.

    Corry Brokken died on 31 May 30 2016 at the age of 83. She was twice awarded the prestigious Edison award for her music, in 1963 and 1995.

    Corry Brokken sings Net als Toen/Like It Used To Be at the European Song Contest 1957. Source: God Kveld Norge and Oslo! (YouTube).

    Clip from Jenny (1958). Source: M Torringa (YouTube). Corry Brokken sings Weet je nog?

    Corry Brokken sings La Mama. Source: Pietg (YouTube).

    A clip from 1965 played very well on a television from 1955. You see Corry Brokken and The Shepherds performing Down By the River Side. Source: jssheep (YouTube).

    Corry Brokken sings Net als Toen/Like It Used To Be in 1999. Source: senzate81 (YouTube).

    Sources: AD.nl (Dutch), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 06/06/16--22:00: Marie Bizet
  • French singer and actress Marie Bizet (1905-1998) appeared in a dozen films between 1937 and 1989. She was better known for her performances in Vaudeville.

    Marie Bizet
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 79. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Douglas Sirk

    Marie Bizet was born Germaine Marie Madeleine Prévost in 1905 in Paris, France.

    In 1936 she played in the stage operetta Ignace with Fernandel with whom she sang the duet Redis-le me.

    The following year, she made her film debut in the Ufa production La chanson du souvenir/The song of remembrance (1937), directed by Serge de Poligny and German director Detlef Sierck, who later became known in Hollywood as Douglas Sirk.

    She then appeared opposite Tino Rossi in the musical Lumières de Paris/Lights of Paris (Richard Pottier, 1938) and opposite Guy Berry in Chantons quand même/Sing anyway (Piere Caron, 1940).

    In Vaudeville she had success with the songs L' Hotel des Trois Canards and Rythme et Swing.

    Marie Bizet
    French postcard, no. 84. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Marie Bizet
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 151. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Gilbert Bécaud

    During the 1940s Marie Bizet appeared in handful of films, including Faut ce qu'il faut/Should you need (René Pujol, 1946) and the comedy Les trois cousines/The three cousins (Jacques Daniel-Norman, 1947) with Rellysand Andrex.

    In Italy, she played in I due derelitti/The two derelicts (Flavio Calzavara, 1951), starring Massimo Serrato.

    In the early 1950s she performed on stage accompanied by pianist Gilbert Bécaud who also composed song for her.

    In Her final feature film was Paris Music Hall (Stany Cordier 1957), starring Charles Aznavour.

    In 1980, she celebrated her 75th anniversary by giving a recital at the Saint-Martin theatre. In the 1980s she appeared in such TV films as Les soeurs du Nord/The Sisters of the North (Joël Santoni, 1989) with Alexandra Stewart.

    Marie Bizet died in 1998 in Couilly-Pont-aux-Dames, France. She was 93.

    Marie Bizet sings J'y vas t'y, j'y vas t'y pas. Source: Jean Marbach (YouTube).

    Marie Bizet sings Rythme et Swing. Source: Jean Florenzano (YouTube).

    Sources: AllMusic,Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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  • 06/07/16--22:00: Veritas Vincit (1919)
  • Veritas vincit (1919) is a prestigious silent film on the victory of truth through the ages. The monumental, three-part film was shot during the last months of the First World War and premiered on 4 April 1919 in Berlin. The 'Prunkfilm' was directed by Joe May and produced by his company May Film. His wife Mia May, one of the first divas of the German cinema, was the star of the film. Today in EFSP a film special on Veritas Vincit with postcards produced by Rotophot, the precursor of Ross Verlag, in their Film Sterne (Film Star) series.

    Mia May and Johannes Riemann in Veritas vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566 b. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Johannes Riemann in the German silent epic Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

    Mia May in Veritas Vincit (1919)
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566/1. Photo: May-Film. Publicity still for Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm. Szenenbild aus dem I. Teil. Helena, die Tochter des Flavius. (Helena, Flavius' daughter).

    Veritas Vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566/2. Photo: May-Film. Publicity still for Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Szenenbild aus dem I. Teil, Der Triumpfzug (A scene from the First Part, The triumphal procession).

    Mia May in Veritas vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/3. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Magnus Stifter in Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Die Brautnacht des Decius (Decius' Wedding Night).

    Truth Conquers

    Veritas Vincit (Joe May, 1919) was the first of the German Monumental-Filme (film epics). It was a film in three episodes, set in Roman Antiquity in the time of Decius, the Middle Ages and modern times.

    The stars were Johannes Riemann and Joe May's wife Mia May, who both acted in all three episodes. The general theme was the triumph of truth over lies through the ages.

    In the first two historical episodes, the untruthful antagonists sign their tragic destinies because of their insincerity's, causing fate to take a tragic turn. But in modern times truth conquers at last. The last part takes place at a small European court shortly before the First World War and finally, Mia has learned from her predecessors. By being sincere she saves her love and conquers prejudice.

    If you watch the postcards, really remarkable are the giant sets for the film. They were designed by Paul Leni, who later worked in Hollywood as the director of classic horror films in Hollywood like The Man Who Laughs (1927) and The Cat and the Canary (1928). The cinematography was done by Max Lutze.

    Johannes Riemann in Veritas Vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/4. Photo: May Film. Johannes Riemann as Ritter Lutz von Ehrenfried in Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

    Mia May and Johannes Riemann in Veritas vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/5. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Johannes Riemann in the second part of Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Das Stelldichein (The rendez-vous).

    Mia May in Veritas vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/6. Photo: May Film. Mia May in Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Die Busse (The Penitence).

    Mia May in Veritas vincit
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/8. Photo: May Film. Mia May in the first part of Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

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

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