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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 07/20/13--23:00: Jean Murat
  • French actor Jean Murat (1888-1968) became a star as a handsome young soldier in silent films of the 1920s. Later, he appeared in such classic French films as La Kermesse Heroique (1935) and L'Eternel Retour (1943).

    Jean Murat
    French postcard by Viny, no. 48. Photo: C.F.C.

    Jean Murat
    French postcard, no. 56. Photo: Studio Rudolph.

    Handsome and Honourable Young Man
    Jean Murat was born in Périgueux in the Dordogne in 1888. He studied in Périgueux and Rennes, and also in Indochina. Murat started his career as a correspondent in Berlin for a French newspaper. After serving in the First World War as a news correspondent, he began an acting career. He made his first, uncredited film appearance in Mothers of Men (Edward José, 1921). His first major role was in Souvent Femme Varie/Forsaking All Others (Jean Legrand, 1923) opposite Claude France. He played supporting parts in the epic silent version of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen (Jacques Feyder, 1926) starring Raquel Meller, the drama La proie du vent/The Prey of the Wind (René Clair, 1927) with Charles Vanel, and the last (silent) film of Hollywood star Constance Talmadge, the society comedy Vénus (Louis Mercanton, 1929). Apart from the handsome and honourable young man roles he also played unsympathetic roles in films like La galerie des monstres/The Gallery of Monsters (Jaque Catelain, 1924) with Lois Moran. He also appeared in several German productions such as Valencia (Jaap Speyer, 1927) with María Dalbaicín and Oscar Marion, Heimweh/Homesick (Gennaro Righelli, 1927) starring Mady Christians, and Flucht aus der Hölle/Escape from Hell (Georg Asagaroff, 1928) with Fritz Alberti. A success was his role in the early talkie La Nuit est à Nous/The Night is Ours (Roger Lion, Henry Roussel, 1928) with Marie Bell. This Ufa production was an alternate language version of Die Nacht gehört uns/The Night is Ours (Carl Froelich, Henry Roussel, 1929) with Charlotte Ander and Hans Albers. The sound film allowed audiences to hear his beautiful deep voice. Another success was the Paramount production Un Trou dans le Muir/The Hole In the Wall (René Barberis, 1930) with Dolly Davis, based on a play by Yves Mirande. He also appeared opposite the Italian diva Francesca Bertini in La femme d'une nuit/Woman of One Night (Marcel L'Herbier, 1930).

    Jean Murat
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 187.

    Jean Murat
    French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle, Paris.

    Jean Murat
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Sélection, Paris, no. 647.

    Eternal Return
    Even in his forties, Jean Murat retained the youthful leading man looks that had vaulted him to stardom. In 1931 he married the gorgeous actress Annabella. Together they starred in films like Paris-Méditerranée/Companion Wanted (Joe May, 1932), Mademoiselle Josette, ma femme/Miss Josette, My Wife (André Berthomieu, 1933) and L'équipage/Flight into Darkness (Anatole Litvak, 1935). The pair divorced in 1938. Among Murat’s most famous roles were the Duke in La Kermesse Heroique/Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder, 1935) and Marc in L'Eternel Retour/Eternal Return (Jean Delannoy, 1943) starring Jean Marais. La Kermesse Heroique is set during the war between the Dutch and Spanish. A tiny village in Flanders is invaded by Spanish troops. The townsfolk have heard of Spanish cruelties in other towns, and decide to deflect the vanquishers with a lavish carnival. The award winning film was banned in Germany. Josef Goebbels caught on that director Jacques Feyder and scenarists Bernard Zimmer and Charles Spaak were drawing deliberate parallels between the Spanish and the then-burgeoning Nazis. At Films de France,James Travers writes: “This enduring classic of French cinema is often cited as director Jacques Feyder’s finest film and it certainly earned him great acclaim on its release in 1935.” L'Eternel Retour is a translation of the Tristan and Isolde legend into contemporary terms. According to Hal Erickson at AllMovie, “the dream-like quality of Eternal Return is due more to the input of screenwriter Jean Cocteau than director Delannoy. The film, with its mystical trappings and ethereal performances, can now be viewed as a precursor to Cocteau's own Beauty and the Beast.” James Travers at Films de France notes: “The result is an intensely moving film about love, jealousy and malice, captivating in its lyrical charm, yet haunting in its assessment of the worst in human nature.”

    Jean Murat
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3950/1, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists.

    Jean Murat, Käthe von Nagy
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7131/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa.

    Jean Murat
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8894/1, 1933-1934 Photo: Ufa.

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover
    From the 1940s on, Jean Murat became a bit old for the roles of handsome leading man, and he interpreted mainly supporting roles in such films as Bethsabée (Léonide Moguy, 1947) with Danielle Darrieuxand Georges Marchal. Murat's handful of English-languages appearances include On the Riviera (Walter Lang, 1951) with Danny Kaye and the MGM musical Rich, Young and Pretty (Norman Taurog, 1951) starring Jane Powell. Hal Erickson writes that “neither of which were worthy of his talents”. Among his better known French films were Si Versailles m’était conté/Royal Affairs in Versailles (Sacha Guitry, 1954), the Jean-Paul Sartre adaptation Huis Clos/No Exit (Jacqueline Audry, 1954) with Arletty, and L'Amant de Lady Chatterley/Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Marc Allégret, 1955) starring Danielle Darrieux and based on the famously forbidden novel by D.H. Lawrence. Successful were also Les Grandes Familles/The Great Families (Denys de la Patelliere, 1958), and Les Miserables (Jean-Paul Le Chanois, 1958), both starring Jean Gabin. James Travers describes Les Grandes Familles as “a pretty run-of the-mill drama concerned with a deadly feud between two cousins of a notoriously successful family dynasty.” Among his last films were the episode L’ Envie/Envy by Edouard Molinaro in the portmanteau Les Sept Péchés Capitaux/The Seven Mortal Sins (1962), and the Jayne Mansfield vehicle It Happened in Athens (Andrew Marton, 1962). Jean Murat died in 1968 by coronary thrombosis in Aix-en-Provence, France. He was 79. He and Annabella had a daughter.

    Jean Murat
    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 819. Photo: Studio Lorelle / Film Pathé-Natan.

    Jean Murat
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 17. Photo: Star.

    Scenes from L'Eternel Retour/Eternal Return (1943). Source: adhepe (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), James Travers (Films de France), Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

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  • 07/21/13--23:00: Painted by Tito Corbella
  • Tito Corbella (1885-1966) sure knew how to paint a woman sensuously! The Italian illustrator, commercial artist and painter portrayed several divas of the Italian cinema of the 1910s, and their portraits were used for very popular postcards.

    Francesca Bertini by Tito Corbella
    Francesca Bertini by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Ufficio Rev. Stampa, no.894, Milano, 25-5-1917.

    Pina Menichelli
    Pina Menichelli painted by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, no. 894, 25-5-1917.

    Lyda Borelli
    Lyda Borelli by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, no. 894, 25-5-1917.

    Massively Distributed Postcards
    Tito Corbella was born in Pontremoli, Italy in 1885 or 1886 (sources differ). He first studied Chemistry in Padua, then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice where he was a pupil of Guglielmo Ciardi and Ettore Tito. He remained working in Venice, using his wife as his inspiration for many of his works. Most of his subject matter was a sensual depiction of women and engaged couples. Corbella worked often in publicity, such as for Ricordi of Milan, but he also did non-commercial painting. Corbella painted the theatre and film stars of the 1910s, such as Lyda Borelli and Francesca Bertini. His depictions of them were massively distributed as postcards. During his life, Corbella created over 300 postcard designs, all of which were produced in Italy. He also designed several sets of propaganda postcards during WWI, but collectors prefer his glamorous ladies.

    Lina Cavalieri
    Lina Cavalieri by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, no. 894, Milano, 25-5-1917. Corbella painted the portrait after a photo in a kind of Paul Poiret fashion.

    Leda Gys
    Leda Gys by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard.

    Rita Hayworth Poster,
    In the 1920s and 1930s, Tiro Corbella designed many posters for INA (Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni). He also did film posters as for Tosca (Alfredo De Antoni , 1918) with Francesca Bertini, and the epic Fabiola (Alessandro Blasetti, 1949). A famous Corbella film poster is that of Rita Hayworth, which poor Antonio Ricci sticks to the wall in Bicycle Thieves/Ladri di biciclette (Vittorio De Sica, 1948), during which his bike is stolen. Tito Corbella died in 1966 in Rome.

    Hesperia by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, no. 229, Milano, 2-4-1917.

    Diana Karenne
    Diana Karenne by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, no. 894, Milano, 25-5-1917.

    Maria Jacobini
    Maria Jacobini by Tito Corbella. Italian postcard by Uff. Rev. Stampa, Milano, no. 891.

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  • 07/22/13--23:00: Rocco Granata
  • Rocco Granata (1938) is a Belgian-Italian singer and an occasional actor. In 1959, he had an international smash hit with the song Marina. He toured the world and even performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. A feature film entitled Marina was released in 1960, which set the stage for a string of German hits and Schlagerfilms.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4545. Publicity card for the monthly Juke Box.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard by Int. Filmpers (I.F.P.), no. WPS 22. Publicity card for the magazine Song Parade.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard.

    Rex Gildo, Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4687. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity still for the Schlagerfilm Marina (Paul Martin, 1960), which was distributed in Holland as Teenagers Schlager Parade. The girl between Rex Gildo and Rocco Granata is the female lead of the film, Italian actress Giorgia Moll.

    Manuela and Marina
    Rocco Granata was born in Figline Vegliaturo in the South of Italy in 1938. When he was ten years old his family left sunny Calabria for the cold Belgian mining district. At the age of fifteen his father allowed him to skip school and he started working as a mechanic in a Vespa-shop. During the weekends, Rocco toured Belgium with his band The International Quintet. First he only played accordion, but soon he also became the singer of the band. He started singing sentimental Italian ballads. One of these songs was especially loved by the dancing crowd: Manuela. In 1959 he released Manuela as a single, but instead the B-side, Marina, became an international smash hit. Marina hit #1 in Belgium as well as charts across Europe and in America. Over 40 years, the single would sell a recordedly one hundred million copies worldwide. It has been covered many times by artists such as Dalida, Dean Martin, Celia Cruz and Louis Armstrong. After the success of Marina, Rocco toured around the world, including dates at Carnegie Hall and the San Remo Festival. Granata sang and acted in a dozen German and Belgian films. His debut Marina (Paul Martin, 1960) set the stage for a string of German hit records such as Buona Notte Bambino in 1963. More Schlagerfilms followed, including Gauner-Serenade/Rogue Serenade (Thomas Engel, 1960), Hochzeit am Neusiedler See/Wedding at Lake Neusiedler (Rolf Olsen, 1963), and Ein Ferienbett mit 100 PS/A Holiday Sleeper with 100 HP (Wolfgang Becker, 1965) starring Vivi Bach.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard by gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 4862. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard, no. 1061.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam (Dutch licence holder of Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin), no. 4876, ca. 1961. Photo: Erwin Scheider / Ufa.

    Rocco Granata
    Vintage postcard.

    In the mid-sixties Rocco Granata became a successful record producer. He owned the music publishing company Granata Music Editions and his own record company Cardinal Records. He started producing for Belgian artists such as Marva, Louis Neefs and Miel Cools. Occasionally he acted in Belgian films like Jonny en Jessy/Johnny and Jessy (Wies Andersen, 1972) and Zware jongens/Tough Guys (Robbe de Hert, 1984). His song Buona Notte Bambino featured prominently at the soundtrack of the German arthouse film Händler der vier Jahreszeiten/The Merchant of the Four Seasons (1971), directed by the legendary Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In 1989, Granata commissioned a dance remix of Marina, which again topped the Belgian charts as well as those of Italy and Germany. He has appeared regularly on Belgian television, and served as a jury member for the 2002 Flemish preliminaries for The Eurovision Song Contest. In 2008 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Belgian music industry. He made cd's like Paisellu Miu (2007), and Ricominciamo (2010) with autobiographical songs full of longing and nostalgia, love and passion. Over the course of his career, Rocco Granata has released some 65 albums. Although he has sold many copies of his other songs (altogether he made it 9 times to the top 10 of the Belgian hitparades), the enormity of the success of Marina basically has reduced Rocco to a one-hit wonder. In 2011, Rocco Granata presented a new album, Rocco con Buscemi, with DJ Dirk Swartenbroekx, aka Buscemi. The single O Sarracino was a small hit and can be heard on the soundtrack of the Dutch comedy Valentino (Remy van Heugten, 2013). A motion picture about his life, Marina, will be released later this year. In the film directed by Stijn Coninx, Rocco Granata is played by Matteo Simoni (Rocco as teenager) and by Cristiaan Campagna (the young Rocco).

    Rocco Granata
    German postcard by Terra-Color, no. F 188.

    Rocco GranataRocco Granata
    Belgian collector's card, no. 10, and cut-out piece of a Dutch postcard.

    Rocco Granata
    Dutch postcard.

    Clip of Rocco Granata performing Marina (1959 version). Source: Imj 22 (YouTube).

    Clip of O Sarracino. Source: Mostiko2 (YouTube).

    Sources: RoccoGranata.be, The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives, Wikipedia and IMDb.


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  • 07/23/13--23:00: Paola Barbara
  • Paola Barbara (1912-1989) was an Italian actress who acted in over 60 films, but also worked on stage and for television. She is best known for the film La peccatrice/The Sinner (1940) by Amleto Palermi.

    Paola Barbara
    Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scaramaglia Edizioni Roma). Photo: Ghergo.

    Jealous Courtesan
    Paola Barbara was born Paola Proto in Rome, in 1912. From the late 1930s to the late 1940s she was one the most popular and prolific actresses in Italy. Occasionally she used the pseudonym Paulien Baards (baard is Dutch for beard, barba is Italian for beard). Barbara’s career stated with a small part in Campo di maggio/100 Days of Napoleon  (Giovacchino Forzano, 1935) and quickly became successful. In the comedy Ammazzoni bianche/White Amazons  (Gennaro Righelli, 1936), Barbara had the lead, opposite Sandro Ruffini and Doris Duranti. In the late 1930s Barbara also founded her own stage company, Gizzi-Barbara-Annicelli. In the mid-1930s she was active at the Pisorno studios at Tirrenia, near Livorno. From the late 1930s on she mainly worked in Rome, e.g. at the Scalera studios. Barbara acted in many comedies by Guido Brignone, Mario Mattoli, Amleto Palermi and Giacomo Gentilomo, but also in dramas by Marco Elter and Raffaele Matarazzo. In the adventure and spy story Lotte nell’ombra/Battles in the Shadow (Domenico Gambino, 1939), she co-starred with Antonio Centa and Silvana Jacchino. In Il ponte dei sospiri/The bridge of sighs (Mario Bonnard, 1940), a remake of a period piece set in Venice, Barbara was the courtesan Imperiale, who out of jealousy falsely accuses her ex-lover Rolando Candiano (Otello Toso) of having murdered her husband. Already in 1921 there had been a silent version of Il ponte dei sospiri/The bridge of sighs (Domenico Gaido, 1924), with Luciano Albertini as Rolando and Antonietta Calderari as his jealous and vengeful ex.

    Paola Barbara
    Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milan, 1936-XV.

    A First, Modest Step Towards Italian Neorealism
    Paola Barbara’s best and most acclaimed part was the lead in Amleto Palermi’s film La peccatrice/The Sinner (1940). It tells the story of a naive provincial town girl whose hypocrite lover (Gino Cervi) has promised to marry her but dumps her when she is pregnant. Out of shame she runs away from home, loses her child and becomes nanny to a farmer’s family in another provincial town. There a new lover (Vittorio De Sica) treats her meanly, when he knows of her past, so runs away again. Moved to the city she is forced to become a prostitute. The death of another prostitute from the same brothel makes her realize the low depths of her life, so she returns to her mother in the countryside. There she meets the man who started all her misery, menaces him with a knife and expresses all her bitterness. Relieved, she leaves the inn. La peccatrice was already shot in 1938 but only released in Italy in September 1940, after being shown at the Venice film festival. Afterwards it has been interpreted as a first, modest step towards Italian neorealism. The film was shot at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the Roman film academy, with sets by Antonio Valente, who taught scenography at the academy (1936-1968) and had also been the architect of the new building (opened 1940).

    Paola Barbara
    Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Florence, no. 20680. Photo: Venturini.

    In Madrid
    Paola Barbara married director Primo Zeglio, who directed her in nine films. In 1943 they fled to Spain because of the war in Italy and stayed there until c. 1947. In Madrid Zeglio first directed Barbara in Febbre/Fever (1943), and Accadde a Damasco/It Happened in Dasmascus (1943). Later Barbara also acted in various films by Spanish directors, such as Luis Marquina, Carlos Arevalos, Juan de Orduna, Rafael Gil, and Florian Rey. During their stay in Madrid, Barbara had the possibility to work on dubbing American films by 20th Century Fox, destined for the Italian market once the war would be over. She collaborated on the dubbing with Italian actors who were in Spain as well to act in Italo-Spanish productions, such as Emilio Cigoli, Anita Farra, Felice Romano, Nerio Bernardi, and Franco Coop. Films she helped dubbing were How Green Was My Valley, Charley’s Aunt, Suspect, The Sign of Zorro and The Shadow of a Doubt. Until 1949 Barbara alternated acting in Italy with films shot in Spain. Zeglio continued to direct her in several Italian productions, such as the epic Nerone e Messalina/Nero and the Burning of Rome (1953), in which she played Nero’s mother Agrippina opposite Gino Cervi as Nero and Yvonne Sanson as Messalina. While her parts were still substantial in the 1950s, slowly they became less prominent in the 1960s. This was even so in the films by her husband, such as the western I quattri inesorabili/The Relentless Four (1965), starring Adam West. She returned to the stage in the 1950s with her company Barbara-Tamberlani-Villa, and was succesful in plays such as ...poi venne l'alba (then came the dawn ...) (1956) and Processo di secondo instanza (1967). The last film parts of Barbara were e.g. in Sidney Lumet’s psychological drama The Appointment (1969) starring Omar Sharif, the western A Man Called Sledge (Vic Morrow, 1971) starring James Garner, and Irene, Irene (Peter Del Monte, 1975), starring Alain Cuny. Paola Barbara died in Anguillara Sabazia, in 1989. She was 77.

    Paola Barbara
    Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Albora, Milano, no. 1950. Photo: Pesce.

    Sources: Wikipedia (Italian, German and English), and IMDb.

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  • 07/24/13--23:00: Eleuterio Rodolfi
  • Eleuterio Rodolfi (1876-1933) was an Italian actor, director and scriptwriter, who was highly active in the Italian silent cinema.

    Eleuterio Rodolfi
    Italian postcard.

    Often Hinting At Forbidden Fruits And Voyeurism
    Eleuterio Rodolfi aka Rodolfo Rodolfi was born in Bologna in 1876. He was the son of Giuseppe Rodolfi (1827-1885), a famous stage actor in the 19th century. He debuted on stage as 'generico giovane' (generic young actor) with the company of Francesco Garzes. He then moved to other important theatre companies, such as the one of Ermete Novelli. There he met Adele Mosso, who worked as 'seconda donna' (second woman) in the company. They married in 1895. In 1911 he moved over to cinema and was hired by the Ambrosio film company of Turin, where he became both actor and director. For Ambrosio, Rodolfi acted in some 95 films of which some 80 ones were directed and scripted by himself. Many of these were comedies interpreted by Rodolfi together with actress Gigetta Morano, with the two acting and becoming known as ‘Gigetta’ and ‘Rodolfi’. In contrast to the previous anarchist farces by Cretinetti and others focused on speed and havoc, entitled as ‘comiche’ in Italian, the comedies with Gigetta and Rodolfi were true ‘commedie’, so more situational, boulevardier, less speedy, and often hinting at forbidden fruits and voyeurism. In the risqué comedy L'acqua miracolosa/The miraculous water (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1914) Gigetta’s husband deplores that in their flat he hears children everywhere (the set is built up like a doll’s house) but he cannot get any. The family doctor (Rodolfi) has a secret affair with Gigetta. He advises the wife to go the wondrous wells – where she meets no other than the doctor. In the end everybody is happy: the husband has become father of twins, and the wife lifts a glass in which we see a little doctor. Often in their comedies Morano and Rodolfi played together with a third actor, the portly little bourgeois Camillo De Riso. He frequently played Morano’s father, as in Un successo diplomatico/A diplomatic success (1913) and L’oca alla Colbert/Duck à la Colbert (1913).

    Helena Makowska in La Gioconda
    Helena Makowska in La Gioconda (1916). Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3654, Censura S. Prefetti, Terni, 18-4-1917. Photo: Ambrosio. Caption: 'The model Gioconda Danti.'

    Mercedes Brignone, La Gioconda
    Mercedes Brignone in La Gioconda (1916). Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3660, Censura S. Prefetti, Terni, 18-4-1917. Photo: Ambrosio.

    The Last Days of Pompeii
    Eleuterio Rodolfi also acted in and directed historical films, such as the super-production Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei/The Last Days of Pompeii (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1913), based on Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s famous novel and a worldwide success. The film starred Fernanda Negri Pouget as the blind girl Nydia, Ubaldo Stefani as Glaucus and Antonio Crisanti as Arbaces. Despite what IMDb writes, Mario Caserini had nothing to do with the film. The Turinese company Pasquali made a competing version at the same time, so competition was fierce. Moreover, in recent times the Ambrosio version is often confused with the later silent version of 1926, directed by Carmine Gallone and Amleto Palermi, and starring Victor Varconi, Maria Corda and Bernhard Goetzke, as Glaucus, Nydia and Arbaces. Among Rodolfi's films in the mid-1910s for Ambrosio were a few with the Polish actress turned Italian diva Elena/ Helena Makowska, such as Eva nemica (Giuseppe Pinto, Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916), and the D’Annunzio adaptations La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916) and Fiaccola sotto il moggio/Light under a bushel (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916).

    Ruggero Ruggeri in Amleto
    Ruggero Ruggeri in Amleto/Hamlet (1917). Italian postcard. Caption: Horatio and Marcellus tell Hamlet of their vision of the ghost. Hamlet responds (Shakespeare's words): 'Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve, I'll visit you.'

    Mercedes Brignone in Amleto
    Mercedes Brignone in Amleto/Hamlet (1917). Italian postcard. Caption: Polonius says to Queen Gertrude (Mercedes Brignone) and King Claudius (Armand Pouget): 'Your noble son is mad. Mad call I it' (Shakespeare).

    In 1916 Eleuterio Rodolfi also started at Jupiter Film, where he shot some seven dramas – of which just one survives: Ah! Le donne!/Ah! Women! (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916), with Rodolfi, Armand Pouget and Mercedes Brignone. In 1917 he founded his own film company Rodolfi Film, with which he made films like the Shakespeare adaptation Amleto/Hamlet (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917), starring Ruggero Ruggeri, ‘monstre sacré’ of the Italian Belle Epoque, and also with Elena/ Helena Makowska as Ofelia, Pouget as the King, and Mercedes Brignone as the Queen. In the early 1920s Rodolfi did various films with Mercedes Brignone, Lola Visconti Brignone and Armand Pouget. Rodolfi’s company ceased activity around 1922, after which he did one last production for the Fert Pittaluga company: Maciste e il nipote d’America/Maciste and the grandson of America (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1924), a film in a completely different genre, and starring Bartolomeo Pagano and Diomira Jacobini, plus Pauline Polaire, Alberto Collo, Oreste Bilancia, and Mercedes Brignone. After that he withdrew from the set and returned to the stage. In the late 1920s he withdrew from the stage as well. The last years of his life Eleuterio Rodolfi spent in the city of a Brescia, where he committed suicide in 1933.

    Ruggero Ruggeri as Hamlet/ Amleto
    Italian postcard, no. 8067. Photo: Ruggero Ruggeri as Hamlet, either on stage or in the film Amleto/Hamlet (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917).

    Sources: Aldo Bernardini/Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano), Marianne Lewinsky/Chiara Caranti (Rodolfi e Gigetta: coppia in commedia), Wikipedia (Italian), and IMDb.

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    French actress Bernadette Lafont (1938-2013) died Thursday aged 74. She appeared in several classics of the Nouvelle Vague. Original and full of contradictions, she was both sexy and rather plain, brassy and quite serious, a mixture of intellect, sensuality and humour.

    Bernadette Lafont
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1076, offered by Les Carbones Kores 'Carboplane'. Photo: Noa.

    The Right Place at the Right Time
    Bernadette Paule Anne Lafont was born in in Nîmes in the South of France in 1938. She was the daughter of a pharmacist and his wife. As a teenager, she started her career as a dancer. She entered the Opéra de Nîmes where she fell in love with her future husband, the handsome actor Gérard Blain.

    In Paris she met the young critic and aspiring film director François Truffaut, who offered her a role in his second short film, shot in Nîmes. So she made her screen debut in Les Mistons/The Mischief Makers (Francois Truffaut, 1957) opposite Gérard Blain. It was a comedy about five kids, who spy on two lovers during a hot summer day. It turned out to be that she was in the right place at the right time to catch the Nouvelle Vague movement, the new wave of filmmakers that would revolutionize the cinema.

    She starred particularly in films by Truffaut and by Claude Chabrol. Her first feature and still one of her best-known films is Le Beau Serge/Bitter Reunion (Claude Chabrol, 1958) with Gérard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy. (She had married Blain the year before but they would divorce a year later.) Many Nouvelle Vague films followed.

    With Chabrol she also made À double tour/Leda (Claude Chabrol, 1959) starring Madeleine Robinson, Les bonnes femmes/The Good Time Girls (Claude Chabrol, 1960) with Stéphane Audran, and Les godelureaux/Wise Guys (Claude Chabrol, 1961). She appeared in Truffaut’s comedy Tire-au-flanc 62/The Army Game (Claude de Givray, François Truffaut, 1960), and was the feisty heroine of Truffaut’s Une belle fille comme moi/A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (François Truffaut, 1972).

    For Louis Malle she did a supporting part in his comedy Le voleur/The Thief of Paris (Louis Malle, 1967) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, and for Jacques Rivette she joined the cast of Out 1, noli me tangere/Out 1 (Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman, 1971) and Out 1: Spectre (Jacques Rivette, 1974). Finally, she played the role of Marie, one third of the trio of lovers in La Maman et la Putain/The Mother and the Whore (Jean Eustache, 1973), considered by some critics as the last film of the Nouvelle Vague.

    Bernadette Lafont
    French postcard by Editions Borde, Paris, no. 124. Photo: Morel.

    Gérard Blain
    Gérard Blain. French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 62. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Jean-Claude Brialy
    Jean-Claude Brialy. French postcard by E.D.U.G., nr. 67. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Always A Strong Presence
    A well-known film with Bernadette Lafont is La Fiancée du Pirate/A Very Curious Girl (Nelly Kaplan, 1969). The success of this film about violence against women renewed her career after a difficult period. She was seen in Les stances à Sophie/Sophie’s Ways (Moshé Mizrahi, 1971), the crime drama Zig Zig (László Szabó, 1975) with Catherine Deneuve, and had a small part as the cellmate of Isabelle Huppert in Violette Nozière (Claude Chabrol, 1978).

    In Italy she appeared in the comedy Il Ladrone/The Thief (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1980). In a 1997 New York Times article, Katherine Knorr writes: “Lafont has in a tumultuous life done a bit of everything, from television movies to the stage, never quite the megastar but always a strong presence, smart and messed up all at the same time”.

    In the 1980s she appeared in Chabrol’s crime films Inspecteur Lavardin/Inspector Lavardin (Claude Chabrol, 1986) featuring Jean Poiret, and Masques/Masks (Claude Chabrol, 1987) with Philippe Noiret. She also played in Les saisons du plaisir/The Pleasure Seasons (1988) and other comedies of Jean-Pierre Mocky.

    Lafont won the César Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for L'Effrontée/Charlotte and Lulu (Claude Miller, 1985) starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. The energetic Lafont created in 1990 an audio visual workshop to help young actors develop their creativity. She is the co-founder and on the committee that awards the Glace Gervais and an accompanying 100,000 franc prize to works competing in the Cannes Film Festival ‘Un certain Regard’ category. The award was designed to help bolster the budding careers of filmmakers.

    Her later films include Généalogies d'un crime/Genealogies of a Crime (Raul Ruiz, 1997) with Catherine Deneuve, and the comedy Ripoux 3/Part-Time Cops (Claude Zidi, 2003) with Philippe Noiret. In May 2007, she chaired the jury for the fifth edition of the Award for Education presented at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

    After her divorce from Blain in 1959, Bernadette Lafont had married the Hungarian sculptor Diourka Medveczky. Although the marriage was difficult and ended in a divorce, there were three children: actress Élisabeth Lafont, David Lafont and the late actress Pauline Lafont, who died in the summer of 1988 under tragic circumstances. She went for a walk near the family property in the Cevennes and never returned. For many weeks, police searched and the popular press went on a feeding frenzy. When Pauline's body was finally found, it became clear she had fallen down in a rough, lonely terrain.

    Lafont published her autobiography in 1997, an event heralded by a grand star-studded gala in Paris. For her long service to the French motion picture industry, she was given an Honorary César Award in 2003. She was made Officier de la Légion d'honneur (Officer of the Legion of Honour) in 2009. Bernadette Lafont  had been hospitalised in her home town of Nimes on Monday after falling ill and died early Thursday 25 July, the hospital said in a statement.

    Trailer for La Fiancée du Pirate/A Very Curious Girl (1969). Source: Fedesartorio (YouTube).

    Trailer for Une belle fille comme moi/A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (1972). Source: Heroxmasox (YouTube).

    Bernadette Lafont listens to Edith Piaf's Les amants de Paris in La maman et la putain/The Mother and the Whore (1973). Source: Nostalgist (YouTube).

    Sources: Katherine Knorr (New York Times), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), France 24, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 07/26/13--23:00: Odile Versois
  • Delicately beautiful French actress Odile Versois (1930-1980) was the older sister of Marina Vlady. She appeared in some 50 European film and television productions between 1948 and 1980.

    Odile Versois
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 138. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Odile Versois
    French postcard by Noyer, no. 1296.

    Petit Rat
    Odile Versois was born Etiennette (according to some sources Tatiana or Katiana) De Poliakoff-Baidarov in Paris in 1930. Her father was Russian-born opera singer Vladimir de Poliakoff and her mother ballerina Militza Evgueïevna de Poliakoff née Envold. She was the second of four Poliakoff sisters, all of whom became renown actresses in their own right: Marina Vlady, Hélène Vallier and Olga Baïdar-Poliakoff. Like her siblings, she started acting at a young age, but she began her career as a ‘petit rat’ (child ballerina) with the Corps de Ballet of the Opéra de Paris under the name of Tania Baydarova. At the age of 18, she subsequently turned to film acting. She proved a natural with a major debut in Les dernières vacances/The Last Vacation (Roger Leenhardt, 1948). Set in the sunny south of France, this devilish drama chronicles the romantic entanglements between two vacationing families. For her role she was awarded with the Prix Suzanne-Bianchetti for the best young actress. She then did an audition for An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951), but her long-time friend Leslie Caron obtained the role. During a vacation in England Versois was hired to play a role in the British film Into the Blue (Herbert Wilcox, 1951) opposite Michael Wilding. In the following decade the serene, light-haired Versois continued to provide charm to such British films as A Day to Remember (Ralph Thomas, 1953), Chance Meeting/ Young Lovers (Anthony Asquith, 1954), the comedy To Paris with Love (Robert Hamer, 1955) with Alec Guinness, Checkpoint (Richard Thomas, 1956), and the dark action thriller Room 43/Passport to Shame (Alvin Rakoff, 1958) starring Eddie Constantine, Diana Dors and Herbert Lom. But she also undertook leading lady parts in several Italian, German and French films. Hal Erickson at AllMovie mentions her role as 13th century Francesca de Rimini in Paolo e Francesca/Paolo and Francesca (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1953) as “one of her more flamboyant assignments”. At IMDb, Gary Brumburgh writes that “she moved audiences most with her portrayals of fragile, often tragic heroines in romantic dramas” such as Bel amour/Beautiful Love (Francois Campaux, 1951), Domenica (Maurice Cloche, 1952), Grand gala (Francois Campaux, 1952) and Herscher ohne Krone/King in Shadow (Harald Braun, 1958) starring Horst Buchholz. In the successful suspense melodrama Toi, le venin/Nude in a White Car (Robert Hossein, 1958), she co-starred with director-writer Hossein and her sister Marina Vlady - known for her sultry roles.

    Odile Versois
    German postcard by ISV, no. D 6. Photo: Farabola.

    Odile Versois
    Mexican Collectors card, no. 283.

    An Ultimate and Moving Appearance
    In the 1960s Odile Versois matured in crime dramas and lively costume films, notably in the murder mystery Le rendez-vous (Jean Delannoy, 1961) starring George Sanders, the swashbuckler Cartouche/Swords of Blood (Philippe de Broca, 1962) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a 18th century French bandit chief, and the erotic period piece Benjamin (Michel Deville, 1968) featuring Pierre Clémenti. She also worked on the French, Belgian, Swiss and North African stages. Dogged by ill health, she was seen less frequently into the 1970s. On television, she lend some touching performances, particularly in the British mini-series A Place in the Sun (1972), the family drama Églantine (Jean-Claude Brialy, 1972) and Le confessional des penitents noirs (Alain Boudet, 1977). Her last film was Le Crabe-Tambour/The Crab Drum (Pierre Schoendoerffer, 1977) starring Jacques Perrin. This portrait of an eccentric but courageous warrior involved in the Indochinese and Algerian wars, won several French film industry awards. French magazine Première called her performance “une ultime et émouvante apparition” (an ultimate and moving appearance). Versois was married and divorced twice. First to actor Jacques Dacqmine, and in 1953 to Count François Pozzo di Borgo, with whom she had four children: Barbara (1954), Charles-André (1955), Alexandre (1957) and Vanina (1964). Her last role was in an episode of the French TV series Julien Fontanes, magistrate (Guy-André Lefranc, 1980) starring Jacques Morel. In 1980, Odile Versois passed away of cancer in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a week after her 50th birthday. Gary Brumburgh ends his bio at IMDb thus: “a gentle, beautiful soul [had] gone before her time”.

    Odile Versois
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 1862. Photo: Huster / Bavaria / Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Herrscher ohne Krone/King in Shadow (Harald Braun, 1957).

    Odile Versois
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FL 3374. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Huster / Bavaria-Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Herrscher ohne Krone/King in Shadow (Harald Braun, 1957).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), CinéMémorial, Premiere.fr, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/27/13--23:00: Maxwell Reed
  • Tall, dark and handsome Maxwell Reed (1919-1974) was a British actor who was trained at the Rank's ‘charm school’. During the late 1940s, he became a teen idol in Britain, and he would be Joan Collins’ first husband.

    Maxwell Reed
    British postcard by A Real Photograph, no. F.S. 53.

    Powerful Physical Presence
    Maxwell Reed was born in Larne, Northern Ireland in 1919. He worked several years as a merchant seaman, and appeared on stage in Ireland. Then Reed moved to London and was auditioned and signed by the Rank Organisation. He became part of their ‘Company of Youth’ (or 'Charm School'). In 1946 he started his film career with an uncredited part in the British film The Years Between (Compton Bennett, 1946) starring Michael Redgrave. He was 27 at the time. A big part followed in the melodrama The Brothers (David MacDonald, 1947), with Patricia Roc. Dave Pyke at BritMovie: “The Brothers is a good, old fashioned melodrama, enhanced by the wonderful Scottish scenery and a sexy performance from Roc. Reed gives a surprisingly confident performance and works well with Roc. His powerful physical presence is also evident as he strides among the hills and enjoys an epic fist fight with a rival for Roc’s affections.” Reed also played supporting parts in the thriller Dear Murderer (Arthur Crabtree, 1947) featuring Eric Portman, and the crime drama Night Beat (Harold Huth, 1947) starring Anne Crawford. At the time he was the heartthrob of many schoolgirls. Daughter of Darkness (Lance Comfort, 1948) featured Siobhan McKenna as the UK’s first onscreen female serial killer, Emily Beaudine. Reed played her first victim. His second film of 1948 is Daybreak (Compton Bennett, 1948), a dark and gloomy drama which is laden with heavy rain and passion. He had his first lead in Blackout (Robert S. Baker, 1950) as a man suffering from temporary blindness who accidentally walks into a house where a murder has just occurred. Dave Pyke: “Smartly written by John Gilling and smoothly directed by Baker, Blackout is almost like a dry run for The Saint, with Reed portraying Pelly as a wise cracking charmer with a nose for trouble. It is an extremely likeable performance and Reed looks fabulous, it’s just a shame he didn’t get more roles of this type.”

    Maxwell Reed
    British autograph card.

    Maxwell Reed
    British autograph card.

    The Wild Man of British Cinema
    Maxwell Reed rotated between leads in B films and supporting roles in major productions. He became known as a ‘hellraiser’ and was dubbed ‘The Wild Man of British Cinema’ by the newspapers. Unclear is why. On screen, he was excellent as a killer in The Dark Man (Jeffrey Dell, 1951). He played a motorcycle daredevil in There Is Another Sun (Lewis Gilbert, 1951) and a boxer in The Square Ring (Basil Dearden, Michael Relph, 1953). He hoped he could repeat the recent Hollywood success of Stewart Granger in Universal’s swashbuckling romance The Flame of Araby (Charles Lamont, 1951) but the film was not a success. In 1952, he married Joan Collins whose first husband he was. The marriage ended in divorce in 1956 and in her 1978 autobiography Past Imperfect, Collins claimed that the divorce was a result of Reed's alleged attempt to sell her to an Arab sheik. Reed’s family strongly objected to Collins’ accusations and managed to get her to withdraw some of them from later editions of the book. In Italy Reed played in the epic Helen of Troy (Robert Wise, 1956) featuring Rossana Podestà, and then drifted to the US. There he was a guest star on many TV shows such as Bonanza (1961), Perry Mason (1964) and Daniel Boone (1966). He also appeared incidentally in films, including The Notorious Landlady (Richard Quine, 1962) with Kim Novak, and the horror film Picture Mommy Dead (Bert I. Gordon, 1966). His last screen role was in the British TV series Sherlock Holmes (1968) with Peter Cushing. In 1974, Maxwell Reed died from cancer, aged 55.

    Joan Collins
    Joan Collins. British postcard by L.D. LTD., London in the Film Star Autograph Portrait Series, no. 60. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation.

    Rossana Podestà
    Rossana Podestà. Dutch postcard by Editions P.I., no. 662. Publicity still for Helen of Troy (1956).

    Sources: Dave Pyke (BritMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 07/28/13--23:00: Al Bano
  • Italian pop singer Al Bano (1943) is also known as an opera tenor, as an actor and as a winemaker. For about 30 years, he formed Italy`s most popular singing duo with his ex-wife, Romina Power. They performed twice at the Eurovision Song Contest and numerous times at the Sanremo Music Festival.

    Al Bano
    Italian postcard by Grafiche Biondetti (GB), Verona, no. 54.

    Romina Power
    Al Bano was born Albano Carrisi in the town of Cellino San Marco in Southern Italy in 1943.His mother Iolanda Ottino named him Albano because, when he was born, his father Carmelo Carrisi was fighting in Albania for the Royal Italian Army during World War II. He has one brother, Franco Carrisi (Kocis). Al Bano made his debut as a singer in 1966, at the Festival delle Rose. Two years later, he won at the Disco per l'Estate song competition, with Pensando a te in 1968. He recorded some major hits such as La siepe and Nel sole at that time. Nel sole sold 600,000 copies in Italy within three months of release, and eventually over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc in July 1968. During that time he also started a musical collaboration with Romina Power, the daughter of the film stars Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. Al Bano had met Romina Power during the production of the Musicarello (Italian teen musical) Nel sole/The World's Gold (Aldo Grimaldi, 1967), named after his hit song. They also co-starred in Pensando a te/Thinking of you (Aldo Grimaldi, 1969), Il suo nome è Donna Rosa/Her name is Donna Rosa (Ettore Maria Fizzarotti, 1969) and Mezzanotte d'amore/Midnight Love (Ettore Maria Fizzarotti, 1970). In total, the couple shot seven films, based on their songs, between 1967 and 1983. They married in 1970 and recorded the duet album Storia di due innamorati (1970). They sang as the duo Al Bano & Romina Power for almost thirty years; their work has been especially popular in Italy, Austria, France, Spain, Romania and Germany. In 1975, the couple released their first album as a duo, Dialogo, which was followed by numerous others. Many of them were also released in Spanish versions. In 1976, they took part in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song We'll Live It All Again. In 1982, the duo broke an Italian record with four songs on the Italian hit parade at the same time. The same year, they participated in the Sanremo Music Festival with the song Felicità and finished second. The song became widely popular, over 6 million copies of the single were sold and in 1985 they received a German Golden Globe for it. In 1983, they made their final Musicarello together, Champagne in paradiso (Aldo Grimaldi, 1983), with Edmund Purdom and written by Al Bano They won first prize in the Sanremo Music Festival 1984 singing Ci sarà and again took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 1985 with Magic Oh Magic. Both their Eurovision entries placed 7th. Other hits include: Nostalgia canaglia (awarded 3rd prize at Festival di Sanremo 1987), Libertà (1987) and Cara Terra mia (third at the Sanremo Music Festival).

    Romina Power
    Romina Power. Italian postcard. Photo: RCA.

    Al Bano
    Italian promotion card by EMI / Grafica Galiati, Milano. Photo: EMI.

    Passion For Opera
    In 1991, Al Bano and Romina Power again participated in the Sanremo Music Festival, this time with the song Oggi sposi. In the same year, they celebrated 25 years of their joint artistic careers with an anthology which included their most popular songs, Le più belle canzoni (in Italy) and Vincerai – Their Greatest Hits (in Europe). They also wrote their autobiography and released a video, both entitled Autoritratto dalla A alla R. After their daughter Ylenia Carrisi disappeared in January 1994 in New Orleans, Al Bano and Romina cancelled all of their concerts and dedicated all their time to the search for their daughter. Police efforts yielded no results. Al Bano returned to his solo career in 1996 with the pop song È la mia vita. Besides for pop music, he has a great passion for opera. During, his career, he has released several opera albums as a tenor. In 1997 he recorded the album Concerto Classico, which went double platinum in a short time. He also performed in place of Luciano Pavarotti alongside two other renowned tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras. In 1997, he played in the music video of Herşeye Rağmen (Nonetheless), by Turkish singer Sima (Sima Sarıkaya). His pop hit È la mia vita was followed by Verso il sole (1997) and Ancora in volo (1999). In 1999, Al Bano announced the separation of Romina and him in an open letter to the weekly magazine Oggi. He explained reasons for their break-up, related to the disappearance of their eldest. In 2000, Al Bano returned to the Eurovision stage, providing backing vocals for the Swiss entry (performed in Italian) La vita cos'è? by Jane Bogaert. This song placed 20th out of 24. On 16 October 2001, Carrisi was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In 2005, he starred in the Italian reality show L'isola dei Famosi (Italian version of Celebrity Survivor) with his daughter, Romina Carrisi. It introduced him to a new generation of fans. Al Bano returned to Sanremo in 2007, where he sang Nel perdono which came in second place. He still tours all over the world. He is a constant on Italian television and has a large number of fans who follow his career very closely. To date Al Bano has sold 165 million albums around the world. Al Bano and Romina Power have a son, Yari Marco (1973), and three daughters Ylenia Maria (1970), Cristel Chiara (1985) (starred in the Reality TV show La Fattoria, an Italian version of The Farm) and Romina Iolanda (1987). He has one daughter and one son from ex-girlfriend and journalist Loredana Lecciso, Jasmine Caterina (2001) and Albano Giovanni (2002). He still lives in his birthplace, Cellino San Marco. And about his ‘nameplace’: he has visited Albania a number of times. Al Bano was there for a concert in 1989 and has been enjoying great popularity there.

    Al Bano e Romina Power sing Ci Sara' at Sanremo in 1984. Source: Seradimusica (YouTube).

    Al Bano & Romina Power sing Felicita (New Version). Source: Dimitar Gunchev (YouTube).

    Al Bano sings Tu Per Sempre. Source: ROssOnera (YouTube).

    Sources: Evan C. Gutierrez (AllMusic), Al Bano Carrisi Official Web Site, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/29/13--23:00: Campari
  • Campari is a dark red-coloured apertivo, introduced in Italy in the 1860s by Gaspare Campari. A bitter, which is obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit (including chinotto and cascarilla) in alcohol and water. In 1904, Campari's first production plant was opened in Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan, Italy. Under the direction of Davide Campari, Gaspare's son, the company began to export the beverage, first to Nice in the heart of the French Riviera, then overseas. Visual representation has been the cornerstone of brand Campari since the late 1880s. In the 1920s, a French postcard campaign with stars of the French silent cinema linked Campari to Paris. Recently Campari had print and television collaborations with film stars like Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba and Benicio del Toro.

    Gaby Morlay, publicity for Campari
    Gaby Morlay. French postcard. Photo G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "L'esprit léger, le coeur content, Campari donne du montant." (The spirit is light, the heart is satisfied, Camparigivesthe amount.)

    Gabriel Signoret, Campari
    Gabriel Signoret. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "One ne connait vraiment Paris que lorsqu'on boit un Campari." (One only really knows Paris when drinking a Campari).

    Dranem. French postcard. Photo Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Quand Paris est la ville lumière, Campari est le Roi des Amers." (IfParisisthe City of Light, Campariis the King ofBitters.)

    Dolly Davis, publicity for Campari
    Dolly Davis. French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Si Paris vous attire, Campari vous retient." (IfParisattractsyou, Campari holds you back.)

    André Roanne. publicity for Campari
    André Roanne. French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Qui dit Campari, dit appétit!" (Who saysCampari, saysappetite!)

    Marie Glory, publicity for Campari
    Marie Glory. French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "J'aimais un Campari... plusieurs!" (I would like 'Campari'... several!)

    Victor Boucher
    Victor Boucher. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Un homme averti qui boit du Campari en vaut trois!!!" (An informedman drinkingCampari is worththree!!!)

    Victor Francen
    Victor Francen. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Buvez du 'Campari', si vous êtes morose! Vous verrez aussitôt la vie en rose!" (Drink 'Campari', if you are depressed! Youimmediatelysee lifein pink!)

    Jules Berry, publicity for Campari
    Jules Berry. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Ma concierge ne sait pas où je suis... je bois du Campari à Paris, à l'étranger, au cercle. Je n'ai plus un moment pour rentrer chez moi." (Myconcierge doesnotknow where I am...I drinkCampari in Paris, abroad, at the club.I do not havetimetogo home anymore.)

    Jeanne Helbling, publicity for Campari
    Jeanne Helbling. French postcard for Campari. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Un Campari, c'est un peu de Paris." (A Campari is like a bit of Paris).

    Maria Falconetti. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Á Campari le délicieux aperitif" (To Campari, the delicious aperitif).

    Mona Goya
    Mona Goya. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "J'ai deux amours Paris et Campari." (I have two loves, Paris and Campari.)

    Pauley ad for Campari
    Pauley. French postcard for Campari. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Dès que je bois du Campari, Oh! mes amis, quel appetit!" (Ever since I drink Campari, oh my friends, what an appetite!).

    Vera Sergine
    Vera Sergine. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Campari! Le seul que je boive!" (Campari! The only one I drink!)

    Vera Sergine
    Vera Sergine. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Campari! Le seul que je boive!" (Campari! The only one I drink!)

    Maud Loty promoting Campari
    Maud Loty. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "A midi la vie en rose dans un verre de Campari." (At noon, 'la vie en rose' in a glass of Campari.)

    Maud Loty promoting Campari
    Maud Loty. French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "A midi la vie en rose dans un verre de Campari." (At noon, 'la vie en rose' in a glass of Campari.)

    Maurice Chevalier promoting Campari
    Maurice Chevalier. French postcard. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "L'appetit vient en buvant, quand on boit du Campari." (When drinking Campari, the appetite comes.)

    Maurice Chevalier
    Maurice Chevalier. French postcard. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "L'appetit vient en buvant, quand on boit du Campari." (When drinking Campari, the appetite comes.)

    Georges Milton pub Campari
    Georges Milton. French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Au travers d'un Campari, Tout est gai, tout est joli." (With a Campari, all is gay, all is nice).

    Marcelle Chantal, publicity for Campari
    Marcelle Chantal. French postcard. Photo: Studio Lorelle. Caption: "Paris sans Campari, n'est pas Paris." (Paris without Campari isn't Paris.)

    Sources: Tonique and Wikipedia.

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  • 07/30/13--23:00: Maria Grazia Buccella
  • Sexy Italian film Actress Maria Grazia Buccella (1940) was a former glamour model and Miss Italy contestant (1959). She was the busty and a bit dizzy beauty in many Italian comedies of the 1960s and 1970s.

    Maria Grazia Buccella
    Yugoslavian postcard by Cik Razglednica. Photo: publicity still for Sissignore (Ugo Tognazzi, 1968).

    Miss Universe
    Maria Grazia Buccella was born in Milan, Italy in 1940. At 11, she made her film debut with a bit role in the French-Italian crime drama Le cap de l'espérance/The Cape of Hope (Raymond Bernard, 1951), starring Edwige Feuillère. At 17 she was chosen as Miss Venezia Tridentina. In 1959, she was one of the contestants of the Miss Italy contest. She represented Italy at the Miss Europe contest, where she came in third, and at the Miss Universe contest. After that she started to play small parts in films again. Her first bigger role was in the comedy Fontana di Trevi/Fountain of Trevi (Carlo Campogalliani, 1960) with Claudio Villa. In the following years, she played big roles in forgettable comedies and a small part in Il boom/The Boom (Vittorio De Sica, 1963) starring Alberto Sordi. Other films were Cover Girls (José Bénazéraf, 1964) with Giorgia Moll, and Menage all'italiana/Menage Italian Style (Franco Indovina, 1965) with Ugo Tognazzi. She screentested for the role of Domino Derval in the James Bond film Thunderball (Terence Young, 1965), but the role eventually went to French actress, Claudine Auger. That year, she appeared in the Italian film Il Gaucho/The Gaucho (Dino Risi, 1965) which co-starred Vittorio Gassman. She appeared with Gassman again in the comedy Una vergine per il principe/A Maiden for a Prince (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1966) and in the action comedy L'armata Brancaleone/For Love and Gold (Mario Monicelli, 1966). That year, she also played the beauty Miss Okra in the Peter Sellers film Caccia alla volpe/After the Fox (Vittorio De Sica, 1966).

    Source: Las Desperadas.

    In 1968, Maria Grazia Buccella won a Silver Ribbon award at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists for Best Supporting Actress in the film Ti ho sposato per allegria/I Married You for Fun (Luciano Salce, 1967). She had the female lead in the American Western Villa Rides (Buzz Kulik, 1968) starring Yul Brynner as Pancho Villa. In the situation comedy Sissignore (Ugo Tognazzi, 1968) her co-star and director was Ugo Tognazzi. And she was one of the beautiful women around the young Giacomo Casanova (Leonard Whiting) in Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova, veneziano/Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and Adolescence (Luigi Comencini, 1969). During the 1970s, she played in genre films, such as the Spaghetti Western La collera del vento/ The Wind's Anger (Mario Camus, 1970) starring Terence Hill. In Il provincial/The Provincial (Luciano Salce, 1971), she played a callgirl who seduces provincial Gianni Morandi. After an interval in her career, she featured on the cover of Playmen magazine in November 1976, and a year later she appeared in the Italian Playboy. But her following films were only minor comedies. Buccella recorded some songs like Ballo del Popo (The dance of Poo, 1978) which she performed in revealing dresses on Italian TV shows. She virtually retired from film in 1979 although she made two small appearances in the 1980s. Her final appearance was in the film Hotel Otello (Andrea Biagini, Leonardo Scucchi, 2000). For years, she was the girlfriend of film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori.

    Maria Grazia Buccella does a striptease in Canzoni in... bikini/Songs in Bikini (Giuseppe Vari, 1963). Source: fardonrocknroll (YouTube).

    Scenes from Ti ho sposato per allegria/I Married You for Fun (Luciano Salce, 1967). Source: afirelnd (YouTube).

    Source: Las Desperadas (Italian), Wikipedia (Italian and English) and IMDb.

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  • 07/31/13--23:00: Marisol
  • Marisol (1948) was a Spanish child star of the 1960s. When she became an adult she stayed a popular actress and singer under her real name, Pepa Flores.

    Dutch postcard.

    Spanish postcard by Ediciones TarjeFher, no. 112, 1964. Photo: Juan Gyenes / Manuel J. Goyanes.

    Spanish postcard by Ediciones TarjeFher / Ediciones Mandolina, no. 126, 1964. Photo: Manuel J. Goyanes.

    Maria Josefa Flores González was born in Málaga, Spain in 1948. She has an older sister, Victoria, and a younger brother, Enrique. From early on, she demonstrated a great love for singing and traditional flamenco dance. She was discovered by her future producer Manuel J. Goyanes on Spanish Television in the show Coros y Danzas de Málaga/Songs and Dances of Malaga in 1959. Her cinema debut as Marisol was in the musical Un rayo de luz/A Ray of Light (Luis Lucia, 1960). She became an international sensation, from Spain to Japan. She won the Best Child Actress award at the Venice Film Festivalin 1960. In the following decade she starred in a dozen musical comedy-dramas. She also made records, did concerts and TV shows. The title song of her third film, Tómbola/Lottery (Luis Lucia, 1962), became a Spanish classic. Other of her film vehicles were Marisol rumbo a Río/Marisol Is Bound For Rio (Fernando Palacios, 1963), a Spanish variation on The Parent Trap with Marisol playing both the poor teenager from Madrid as well as her estranged sister in Rio De Janeiro, and La nueva Cenicienta/The New Cinderella (George Sherman, 1964) with Robert Conrad and Fernando Rey. Mel Ferrer directed her in Cabriola/Everyday Is A Holiday (1965) where she sang one of her most beautiful songs: Cabriola. The child star became a stunning beauty and in 1967 she starred as a grown-up opposite Jean-Claude Pascal in Las 4 bodas de Marisol/The Four Weddings of Marisol (Luis Lucia, 1967) as a film star with man trouble. She continued to make popular films, including Carola de día, Carola de noche/Carola during day and night (Jaime de Armiñán, 1969), a Spanish variation on Roman Holiday about a princess, who secretly goes out by night to find out how Spaniards live. That year she married with Carlos Goyanes, the son of her discoverer.

    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 5060. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity still for Ha llegado un angel/An Angel Has Appeared (Luis Lucia, 1961).

    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 5220. Photo: Hafbo.

    Marisol, Jean Claude Pascal
    Marisol and Jean-Claude Pascal. Spanish postcard by Postal OscarColor, S.A., Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 702.

    A Living Myth
    Marisol started to appear in more serious films. She played the titel character in the thriller La corrupción de Chris Miller/The Corruption of Chris Miller (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1973) opposite Jean Seberg. She also appeared in Bardem's (the uncle of awarded Spanish actor Javier Bardem) El poder del deseo/The Power of Desire (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1975) opposite British actor Murray Head and in Los días del pasado/The Days of the Past (Mario Camus, 1978) with flamenco dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades. She was awarded the Best Actress prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for her role in the latter film. In 1982 she married Antonio Gades in Cuba. The best man to their wedding was Fidel Castro. She acted with Gades in Bodas de sangre/Blood Wedding (Carlos Saura, 1981) based on Federico García Lorca's revenge play, and Carmen (Carlos Saura, 1983). She worked then under the name Pepa Flores. She appeared in the title role of the Spanish national television series Mariana Pineda in 1984, in which she played a Liberal Party's hero. In 1985, when she was still at the height of her career, she left show business. Her last film was the political film Caso cerrado/Case Closed (Juan Caño Arecha, 1985) with in a small role the young Antonio Banderas. She returned to her homeland, Malaga. She received many invitations to return and requests for TV interviews, but she declined all of them. In 1986 she and Gades divorced. They have three daughters: Maria, Tamara, and Celia. Her daughter Maria Esteve is now a well known actress in Spain, and her youngest daughter, Celia, is a pop flamenco singer. Pepa Flores still lives in Málaga with her partner Máximo Stecchiny and works as a humanitarian activist. Twentyfive years after her retirement, she is 'un mito', a living myth in Spain. Last year she was the subject of a TV miniseries, Marisol (Manuel Palacios, 2009).

    Marisol sings Tengo el corazon contento in a 1968 TV show. Source: seductor25 (YouTube).

    Tribute to Marisol with Tómbola a.o. Source: producionesgallago (YouTube).

    Sources: Miguel A. Andrade (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/01/13--23:00: Tina Aumont
  • Although lovely and tragic Tina Aumont (1946–2006) was born in Hollywood, she mostly filmed in her country of adoption, Italy. With her dark and soulful eyes she became a flamboyant, rebellious star of the Italian cinema in the 1960s and 1970s. Her remarkable career took a downturn, when she was banned from Italy for drug possession. During her career, Aumont starred in more than forty films, ranging from international big productions and Italian films by directors like Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci, to French art films and underground cinema.

    Tina Aumont
    Yugoslavian postcard by Cik Razglednica.

    The Summer Of '68
    Maria Christina Aumont was born in Hollywood, US, in 1946. She was the daughter of French Jewish actor Jean-Pierre Aumont and Dominican actress Maria Montez, who were both Hollywood stars at the time. Jean Cocteau wrote a poem for her birth ‘La Fille aux étoiles’ and Marlene Dietrich sang lullabies while cradling her. Her mother died when Tina was only 5. Later she said about her mother in an interview: “I regret not to remember her clearly, because I was too little when she died. Even though I have a living mental image of her, which I attribute to, while years were passing, her remembrance was always close to me through the conversations with my father, my aunts, my uncle François, well, from my whole family.” During her teen years and the first years of her youth, Tina lived simultaneously with her paternal uncle and his wife and with her father, who made a new home. Five years after Maria Montez death, Jean-Pierre got married again with the Italian actress Marisa Pavan, twin-sister of Pier Angeli. The relationship between Tina and Marisa wasn't good. In 1963, the 17-years-old Tina married actor and film director Christian Marquand, a friend of her father. She made her debut as Tina Marquand in the spy spoof Modesty Blaise (Joseph Losey, 1966) starring Monica Vitti. In France she also made La Curée/The Game is Over (Roger Vadim, 1966) starring Jane Fonda. In Italy, she appeared in the comedy Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario?/Pardon, Are You for or Against? (Alberto Sordi, 1966). In Hollywood, she played Lonetta, the Indian maiden, opposite Dean Martin and Alain Delon in the comic Western Texas Across the River (Michael Gordon, 1967). Aumont divorced Christian Marquand in 1967, and a year later, she met artist and painter Frederic Pardo. They fell in love and went to live together in Rome. They separated in the 1970s. In Rome, she appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Il sosia/Partner (1968) with Pierre Clémenti. Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “Bernardo Bertolucci was obviously influenced by the films of Jean-Luc Godard and the worldwide political upheavals of 1968 while assembling his feature-film Partner. This unorthodox adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Double studiously avoids traditional linear storytelling and exposition techniques.” She played Circe in Satyricon/The Degenerates (1969), not the masterpiece directed by Federico Fellini, but a version by Gian Luigi Polidoro. Polidoro registered the title Satyricon for his film first. Fellini fought to use the title for his film but lost the case. He named his film Fellini – Satyricon (1969). Aumont also appeared in Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova Veneziano/Giacomo Casanova: Childhood And Adolescence (Luigi Comencini, 1969) with Leonard Whiting as Casanova, the avant-garde underground film Necropolis (Franco Brocani, 1970), and the political drama Metello (Mauro Bolognini, 1970). In France she played in the art film La lit de la vierge/The Virgin's Bed (Philippe Garrel, 1969). Nathan Southern at AllMovie: “Garrel and his cast and crew shot La lit in the summer of '68 (reportedly under the influence of acid and without a script), just a few months after the bouleversement of the riots. In that picture, the filmmakers adapt the Biblical story of Jesus very loosely and non-narratively, using Christ as a metaphoric symbol of the late '60s protest movement - the ‘ultimate hippie.’ The picture also reflects the filmmakers' self-mythologies of existing and functioning as a ‘religious sect.’”

    Catherine Deneuve
    Catherine Deneuve. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    343 Notorious Women
    Tina Aumont played her first lead role in L'Urlo/The Howl (Tinto Brass, 1970) in which Brass explored the changing mood of the Swinging Sixties. Tina played a student activist whose politics move even further to the left after she's raped by police officers. In 1971 Aumont made headlines, when she and other ‘notorious women’ signed the Manifeste des 343 salopes in favor of the decriminalization of abortion. The 343 women who signed the manifesto claimed to have an abortion and that, consequently, they risked criminal prosecution that could reach the imprisonment. During the 1970s, Aumont starred in some prolific Italian productions like the courtroom drama Fatti di gente perbene/The Murri Affair (Mauro Bolognini, 1974) with Catherine Deneuve, the political thriller Cadaveri eccellenti/Illustrious Corpses (Francesco Rosi, 1975), and the scandalous success Salon Kitty (Tinto Brass, 1975), a shocking but stylish tale of decadence in the Third Reich, inspired by a true story. Brass later said she was the most beautiful woman with whom he'd ever worked. She also worked with Federico Fellini at Il Casanova di Fellini/Fellini's Casanova (1976) featuring Donald Sutherland as the famous lover, and with Roberto Rossellini at Il messia/The Messiah (1975). Besides these prestigious productions, she also starred in many genre films. Examples are the Spaghetti Western L'uomo, l'orgoglio, la vendetta/ Man: His Pride and His Vengeance (Luigi Bazzoni, 1968) starring Franco Nero, and the Giallo I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale/Torso (Sergio Martino,1973). She appeared in the Italian-American production A Matter of Time/Nina (Vincente Minnelli, 1976) with Liza Minnelli and Ingrid Bergman. Tina's flamboyant career took a downturn in the late 1970s, when she was banned from Italy for drug possession. Gio Clairval at her blog Kosmochlor:“To all her films, she brought her magnetic, compelling presence. But Tina loved the needle, and little by little her contracts dwindled to nothing. The French television tried to lure her back into acting, but she seldom kept up with the schedule, and when the dressers prepared her for a scene, they could see the needle holes constellating her arms.” In the cinema she appeared in the experimental silent film Rebelote (Jacques Richard, 1983) with Jean-Pierre Léaud. Her scenes in Sale comme un ange/Dirty Like an Angel (Catherine Breillat, 1991) were deleted. In 2000 she retired from film work, because she suffered a pulmonary embolism. Her final film appearance was in La mécanique des femmes/ The Mechanics of Women (Jérôme de Missolz, 2000) In 2006, Tina Aumont died in of a respiratory insufficiency in her home in Port-Vendres, France. She was 60. She is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, in the same grave as her mother's.

     Trailer Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976). Source: Danios12345 (). 

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Nathan Southern (AllMovie), Gio Clairval (Kosmochlor), Love Luna (Child of the Moon), Vivian Pérez and Luisa Peguero (MariaMontez.org), Anti Star Tina, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 08/02/13--23:00: Edith Jéhanne
  • French actress Edith Jéhanne (1902-?) is known for two classic silent films, Le Joueur d'échecs/The Chess player (Raymond Bernard, 1927) and Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney/The Love of Jeanne Ney (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1927). After that, she would make only three more films. What finished her promising film career?

    Édith Jéhanne in Le joueur d'échecs
    French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 421. Photo: publicity still for Le joueur d'échecs/The Chess Player (1927).

    Tormented by the Political Upheavals
    There's not much information on Edith Jéhanne at the net. IMDb mentions as her birth date 1902 and that she was a sister of Sylvia Grey, who also appeared in a few silent films. When or where Jéhanne died is not known, nor whether she was related to director Raymond Bernard with whom she made most of her films. She debuted in his sentimental comedy Triplepatte/Toddles (Raymond Bernard, 1922) based on a play by Bernard's father, Tristan Bernard. Next she performed in the adventure serial Rouletabille chez les bohemiens/Rouletabille Among the Bohemians (Henri Fescourt, 1923), opposite Gabriel de Gravone, Romuald Joubé and Joë Hamman. The following year she had a small part in Bernard's historical drama Le miracle des loups/Miracle of the Wolves (Raymond Bernard, 1924), an epic film about he struggle between Louis XI and Charles le Téméraire. 1927 was her peak year. Jéhanne got the lead in two major films. First in the Ufa production Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney/The Love Of Jeanne Ney (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1927), based on a story by Ilya Ehrenburg. Jéhanne plays Jeanne Ney, a woman tormented by the political upheavals of the period following the First World War. When the Red Army occupies Crimea, Jeanne's father, a French journalist, is killed. Jeanne's lover, the Bolshevik Andreas (Uno Henning), sends Jeanne to her family in Paris but he is preceded by the counterrevolutionary Khalibiev (Fritz Rasp), who murders Jeanne's uncle. Andreas is accused of the murder and Khalibiev proposes to marry Jeanne's blind cousin (Brigitte Helm). Director Pabst mixed here successfully a straight forward American film style with echoes of the Soviet montage style and German expressionism.

    Edith Jehanne
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4300/1, 1929-1930. Photo: D.L.S. / Rosenfeld-Film G.m.b.H.

    Edith Jehanne
    Dutch postcard for the Al Film Co., Batavia-Centrum (former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia), no. T. 93. Photo: R. Tomarig, Nice. Publicity still for Tarakanova (Raymond Bernard, 1930). This picture was also used for posters and magazine covers.

    Grand Spectacle
    Then, Edith Jehanne and Pierre Blanchar played the leads in Le joueur d'échecs/The Chess Player (Raymond Bernard, 1927), about 19th century Poland striving for independence. Polish freedom fighter Boleslas loves Sophie, while they are both active in the independence movement. She becomes attracted to Oblonoff, a young officer in charge of the Russian forces in Poland. When Boleslas is wounded during an insurrection at Vilmo, Sophie stays at his side. He is hidden in a chess-player mannequin that ends up at the court of the Russian Czarina Catherine II. He plays against her... The film was grand spectacle, using 35 decors including an enormous set for the Winter Palace. Hal Erickson describes at AllMovie the highlight of the film: "The film's dramatic highlight was one of the most astonishing sequences in all of French cinema: On the verge of madness because her beloved Polish army is being mercilessly slaughtered by the Russians, the heroine sits down at her piano and begins playing maniacally - whereupon she hallucinates that the Poles have won the battle and are marching homeward in triumph." However, after these major works, Edith Jéhanne only made three more films. In two she had the female lead: the psychological drama Le perroquet vert/The Green Parrot (Jean Milva, 1928) with Max Maxudian, and the late silent production Tarakanova (Raymond Bernard, 1930) with Olaf Fjord and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. In this film, she played an impostor who claims to be the heir to the Russian throne. When the Czarina (Paule Andral) sends her best aid to capture the girl, he falls in love with her. It was Bernard's last silent film, shot in 1929, but held back to add a soundtrack in 1930. Bernard considered it his best film, but no copy of the film ever showed up so we can't judge for ourselves. After that, Jéhanne only had a minor part in the early sound film Quand nous étions deux/When We Were Two (Léonce Perret, 1929), starring Alice Roberts and André Roanne. And then her promising film career stopped. Was the advent of sound film the reason? IMDb gives another explanation: "Raymond Bernard remembered Edith Jehanne died soon after the coming of the Talkies." But when, where, how?

    The highlight scene from Le joueur d'échecs (1927). Source: Skazibus (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Filmportal.de and IMDb.

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  • 08/03/13--23:00: Camillo De Riso
  • Camillo De Riso (1854-1924) was an Italian actor and director of the Italian stage and silent screen. He was famous for his comic acting and directing at the film companies Ambrosio, Gloria and Caesar.

    Camillo De Riso
    Italian postcard by Magazine Film - Corriere dei cinematografici, Napoli/Roma. Photo: L. Roseo & Co, Naples / Caesar Film.

    Fin de Siècle Pochades
    Camillo De Riso was born in Naples in 1854. He was the son of Alfonso De Riso, a stage actor who was most popular in the 19th century. Camillo started in the theatre company of his father in the early years of the 20th century, after which he created his own company together with Giuseppe Sichel and Giuseppe Brignone. In 1912 he was hired by Ambrosio Film in Turin, where he formed a successful trio with Gigetta Morano and Eleuterio Rodolfi, contributing with his rotund face, small size and generous look of bourgeois bonhomme. Examples are Un successo diplomatico and L’oca alla Colbert, both 1913 and both directed by Rodolfi. The films of the trio were often based on Italian and French fin de siecle pochades and grew in length over the years. In late 1913, De Riso started at the Gloria company. Here he created the gay epicure and shameless libertine character of ‘Camillo’, and directed himself in a series of comical shorts between 1913 and 1914. He also performed in feature films, a.o. as the theatre impresario Schaudard in Lyda Borelli’s debut film Ma l’amor mio non muore/Love Everlasting (Mario Caserini, 1913), and as the infortunate Giuliano Barbet in Florette e Patapon (Mario Caserini, 1913), an adaptation of the famous pochade by Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Véber. While De Riso also acted in epics and thrillers such as Caserini’s films Nerone e Agrippina/Nero and Agrippina (Mario Caserini, 1913) and Il treno degli spettri/The ghost train (Mario Caserini, 1913) starring Mario Bonnard, he more and more specialised in comedy. As the comedian, he played either the lead in comedies or the sidekick in dramas. At Gloria he was also director, starting with the comedies Somnambulismo/Sleepwalking (1913) and Romanticismo/Romance (1913), and stayed there until 1915. In 1914, De Riso shortly worked for the small Rome based company Latium Film, where he a.o. directed and acted in an adaptation of Émile Zola’s Nana (1914).

    Camillo De Riso
    Italian postcard by Magazine Film - Corriere dei cinematografici, Napoli/Roma. Photo: L. Roseo & Co, Naples / Caesar Film.

    A New Turn
    From 1915 on, Camillo De Riso’s career took a new turn, when he started working at the Roman Caesar Film company. Here he continued his Camillo comedies, well into the early 1920s. He also acted in a long series of films with diva Francesca Bertini. At Caesar, Bertini had a quite fixed cast around her, including De Riso, Gustavo Serena, Olga and Carlo Benetti, Alfredo De Antoni, and Giuseppe De Liguoro. The men of this group often also functioned as director as well, including De Riso. Titles include: La signora delle camelie/Lady of the Camellias (Gustavo Serena, 1915), La perla del cinema/The Cinema Star (Giuseppe De Liguoro, 1916), Baby l'indiavolata/My little baby (Giuseppe De Liguoro, 1916), Odette (Giuseppe De Liguoro, 1916), Andreina (Gustavo Serena, 1917), the series of I sette peccati capitali/The Seven Moral Sins (several directors, 1918-1919) for which De Riso directed the episode La gola/The throat (1918), Mariute (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1918), and Spiritismo/Spiritism (Camillo De Riso, 1919). De Riso also directed other popular actresses of the late 1910s such as Leda Gys (La principessa/The Princess, 1917, which he also scripted), Tilde Kassay (Niniche, 1918; I nostri buoni villici/Our goodvillagers, 1918; La figlia unica/Theonly child, 1919; Una donna funesta/Nanà, 1919), and Elena Lunda (Una donna, una mummia, un diplomatico/A woman, a mummy,a diplomat, 1920), but in the early 1920s De Riso mostly directed his own Camillo comical shorts, and he even did a parody of William Shakespeare’s Otello in 1920, which the press didn’t like. Memorable parts De Riso played in A San Francisco (Gustavo Serena, 1915), Don Giovanni (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1916), the Victorien Sardou adaptation Ferréol (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1916), and lastly, in Occupati d’Amelia/Occupied by Amelia (Telemaco Ruggeri, 1923), an adaptation of a famous Georges Feydeau boulevard comedy, starring Pina Menichelli and Marcel Levesque. Camillo De Riso contributed to over a 100 films, mostly comedies, and directed some 65 films, until his premature death in Rome in 1924.

    Gustavo Serena
    Italian postcard by by the Magazine Film, Naples/Rome. Photo: Caesar Film.

    Sources: Encyclopedia of Early Cinema, Wikipedia (Italian), and IMDb.

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  • 08/04/13--23:00: Rita Pavone
  • Rita Pavone (1945) was one of the biggest teenage stars in Europe during the 1960s, and one of the few Italian pop stars to gain a foothold in the American market. Pavone also starred in several 'Musicarellos'.

    Rita Pavone
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/380. Photo: Teldec / Winkler / RCA.

    Rita Pavone
    Italian postcard. Photo: RCA.

    New Teen Sounds
    Rita Pavone was born Turin, Italy in 1945. Mark Deming at AllMusic: “Her father, who worked at a Fiat auto plant, was a big fan of American musical stars, particularly Al Jolson, Judy Garland, and Gene Kelly, and young Rita shared his tastes, often singing along with his records and taking singing lessons when she wasn't busy with school or her part-time job ironing shirts. In 1959, Rita made her public debut as a singer, impersonating Al Jolson in a children's talent contest; by this time, rock & roll had made its way to the continent, and she became an immediate fan of the new teenage sounds. In 1960, Pavone landed her first professional gig, performing for soldiers at Italian NATO bases, and after initial attempts to score a record deal or nightclub engagement proved fruitless, Pavone got her big break in the fall of 1962." She participated in the first Festa degli Sconosciuti (Festival of the Unknowns), a song competition for amateur artists. She won the contest, which was organised by singer and record producer Teddy Reno. The two fell in love. Rita was 17 and Teddy was 19 years her senior and already married, and father of a baby boy. However, they would always stay together. Her first single La partita di pallone (The Ball Game) was an immediate smash. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Her album debut, simply titled Rita Pavone, made her a national star, and international attention soon followed. Her recording of Cuore (Heart) also sold a million copies in 1963, spending nine weeks at number one in Italy. In the summer of 1964 she had chart success in the United States with Remember Me, backed with Just Once More. Pavone sang at Carnegie Hall in New York city, and between 1964 and 1970, she was a frequent guest at the Ed Sullivan Show, the most popular variety show on American television. Pavone was also very successful in Europe. In the UK, RCA Victor issued two of her singles in quick succession in 1966 and 1967. Both were hits, Heart peaking at #27 and You Only You peaking at #21 in the UK Singles Chart. During this same period she appeared at the London Palladium. Spain would prove to be one of her biggest markets. In this country she scored a string of hits, both with ballads and rock songs and became a teen idol. Pavone recorded a total of thirteen albums. She mainly recorded for RCA until 1968, then she signed for a brief period with Ricordi which launched her vanity label, RitaLand. Eventually she returned to the label that had launched her, recording three more albums with RCA.

    Rita Pavone
    Dutch postcard by Muziek Parade, Hilversum, no. 6137.

    Rita Pavone
    German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 840. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Lothar Winkler.

    In Italy, Rita Pavone also worked as an actress, and during the 1960’s, she starred in six films. The first was the French comedy Clémentine Chérie (Pierre Chevalier, 1963), featuring France Anglade. The others were the Musicarellos (Italian teen musicals of 1950s and 1960s) Rita, la figlia Americana/Rita, the American daughter (Piero Vivarelli, 1965) with Totò, Rita la zanzara/Rita the Mosquito (Lina Wertmüller, 1966) with Giancarlo Giannini, Non stuzzicate la zanzara/Don't Sting the Mosquito (Lina Wertmüller, 1967) with Giulietta Masina as Rita’s mother, the musical Western Little Rita nel west/Rita of the West (Ferdinando Baldi, 1967) with Terence Hill, and La Feldmarescialla/The Crazy Kids of the War (Steno, 1968). In the two Zanzara films, directed by Lina Wertmüller, ´Little Rita´ played a music student in love with her professor, who unknown to her is living a double life as a rock & roll singer. With Wertmüller she also made Giornalino di Gianburrasca/Gian Burrasca's Diary (1964-1965). For this TV series, she also contributed several songs. Pavone’s film career targeted a teen audience and lacked great artistic value, but today her films are cult favourites in Italy. In 1968 Pavone finally married Teddy Reno in a church in Lugano, Switzerland. This event caused a scandal because Reno was still married to his first wife, Livia Protti, and in Italy there was no divorce law until 1970. They re-married each other in Italy in 1971. Later on she would participate in comedy films, such as 2 sul pianerottolo/Two on the landing (Mario Amendola, 1975). On TV, she participated in shows such as Alta Pressione (High Pressure) (1967), Stasera Rita (Tonight Rita) and the variety series Studio Uno (1968). In 1982, she appeared in Come Alice (Like Alice), which became a hit in Italian television. In the theatre, she played Maria in a celebrated production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. And her songs are on many film soundtracks. The main character in the Argentine film Nueve reinas/Nine Queens (Fabián Bielinsky, 2000) tries to remember a Pavone song throughout the film. The song Il Ballo Del Mattone (The Fool's Dance) plays as the credits run. In 2006, she announced her official retirement from show business. She was a Senate candidate in the Italian general election of 2006, for the centre-right list Per l'Italia nel Mondo (For Italy in the World) led by minister Mirko Tremaglia. Rita Pavone and her husband Teddy Reno now live in Ticino, Switzerland. They have two sons, Alessandro and Giorgio, both of whom have become involved in show business themselves, Alessandro as a radio show host and Giorgio as a rock singer.

    Rita Pavone
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 369. Photo: G. Neuvecelle.

    Rita Pavone sings Datemi un Martello (If I Had a Hammer) on a Rai TV Show. Source: Charassita (YouTube).

    Rita Pavone sings Il plip in Rita, la figlia Americana/Rita, the American daughter (1965). Source: Paolo Bruzzone (YouTube).

    Sources: Mark Deming (AllMusic), Small Wonder (Official Rita Pavone website), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife (Robert Dinesen, Svend Gade, 1917) was a Danish orientalist melodrama produced by the Nordisk studio. The stars were Gunnar Tolnaes and Lily Jacobson. The film was so popular that it had a Danish sequel in 1919, again with Tolnaes and Jacobson, and a German sequel in 1921.

    Lilly Jacobson and Gunnar Tolnaes in Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 2992. Photo: Nordisk. Gunnar Tolnaes and Lilly Jacobson in Die Lieblingsfrau des Maharadscha/Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife (1917).

    Gunnar Tolnaes
    The Danish film industry was an international super power in the 1910s and the Nordisk productions were the most successful of them all - especially in Germany. The studio heads at Nordisk hoped that Norwegian-born actor silent film star Gunnar Tolnaes would become as popular as their biggest star, Valdemar Psilander. Tolnaes had his most famous performance for Nordisk in Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife (Robert Dinesen, Svend Gade, 1917). He played an Indian prince, and Lily Jacobson played his love interest, the Danish Elly von Langen.

    In 1913, Tolnaes started his film career for the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern AB in Stockholm and worked there with legendary director Victor Sjöström. They made the silent dramas Halvblod/Half Breed (Victor Sjöström, 1913) with Karin Molander, Gatans barn/Children of the Streets (Victor Sjöström, 1914) starring Lili Beck, and En av de många/One of the Many (Victor Sjöström, 1915). He also worked with the other great director of the silent Swedish cinema, Mauritz Stiller.

    Then Tolnaes moved to Denmark, where he was offered a contract at the Nordisk studio. He was immediately successful with Doktor X/Doctor X (1915) directed by Robert Dinesen. He had an impressive career in Denmark in such films as the science fiction film Himmelskibet/400 Million Miles From Earth  (Holger-Madsen, 1918) and of course Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife and its sequel.

    Gunnar Tolnaes
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 2995. Photo: Nordisk.

    Gunnar Tolnaes, Lilly Jacobson
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin. Photo: Nordisk.

    Gunnar Tolnaes
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 3003. Photo: Nordisk.

    Lilly Jacobsson
    In 1916 Nordisk was looking for a new female star. Swedish actress Lilly Jacobson was chosen from hundreds of competitors and became the leading actress in Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife.

    Jacobsson had already starred in Swedish and Danish silent films by such directors as Eric Malmberg, Mauritz Stiller and Holger-Madsen. In Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru she performed as Elly von Langen who enters the harem of an Indian Maharaja. In the following years, Jacobsson played in various Danish films, mostly directed by Holger-Madsen. These films include the science fiction-film Himmelskibet/400 Million Miles From Earth (Holger-Madsen, 1918) starring Nils Asther, Folkets ven/Friend of the People (Holger-Madsen, 1918), and Mod Lyset/Towards the Light (Holger-Madsen, 1918) starring Asta Nielsen.

    She played a cold, partying woman who neglects religion, but later on repents and becomes the wife of a preacher man (Alf Blütecher) who takes care of the poor. The film eventually resulted in Jacobson playing Ophelia in Asta’s famous production of Hamlet (Svend Gade, Heinz Schall, 1921), in which Nielsen played the title role herself. In 1919 Lilly Jacobson married director Corbett Edwards in Odense (Denmark), which ended her film career.

    Lilly Jacobson
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 3009. Photo: Nordisk.

    Lilly Jacobson
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 3008. Photo: Nordisk.

    Lilly Jacobson
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.1475. Photo: Nordisk.

    German Version
    At IMDb,"I give this movie credit for several genuine surprises: it sets up a very obviously formulaic plot, and then contradicts the formula several times. Quite a few movies from this period (both European and American) depicted exotic foreigners as swarthy villains, keen on defiling white women. I was intrigued that the maharajah in this movie seems to be all set to fit neatly into that stereotype, but then turns out to be a virtuous character (by his own culture's rules) who's meant to receive the audience's sympathy. The photography and art direction are superb, and the editing is impressive."

    Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru/The Maharaja’s Favourite Wife was so popular that  Nordisk made a sequel: Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru II/The Maharaja's Favourite Wife II (August Blom, 1919). It features a different set of characters. In 1921 the German studio PAGU would produce another sequel Die Lieblingsfrau des Maharadschas - 3. Teil/The Maharajah's Favourite Wife III (Max Mack, 1921) in which Aud Egede Nissen replaced Jacobson.

    Die Lieblingsfrau des Maharadscha  was Tolnaes' first German film. He then alternated acting in German films with acting in Danish films, until the end of the silent era. Most of his Danish films in the 1920s were directed by A.W. Sandberg.

    Gunnar Tolnaes & Lilly Jacobson
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K1919. Photo: Nordisk.

    Gunnar Tolnaes
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 3004. Photo: Nordisk.

    Gunnar Tolnaes
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K 1917. Photo: Nordisk.

    Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb

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  • 08/06/13--23:00: Dranem
  • Dranem (1869-1935) was a French comic singer, music hall, stage and film actor. He started film career with silent shorts for Pathé Frères and played in a series of early sound films by Alice Guy. In the early 1930s he returned to the cinema for screen roles featuring his popular singing routines.

    French postcard. Photo: Studio G.L. Manuel Frères. Caption: "Quand Paris est la ville lumière, Campari est le Roi des Amers." (When Paris is the capital of light, Campari is the king of the bitters.)

    Leading Music Hall Entertainer
    Dranem or Armand Dranem was born Armand Ménard in Paris, in 1869. He began working as an apprentice jeweller in a local shop before embarking on a career in entertainment. Adopting the singular stage name of Dranem, an anagram of Menard, he made his debut performance in 1894 at the Concert de l'Epqoue. In 1895, he performed with fellow newcomers Félix Mayol and Max Dearly in the Concert Parisien from where he went on to become a leading music hall entertainer in his own comic absurdist genre. In 1899, he was signed to perform at the famous Eldorado Club where he appeared regularly for the next twenty years. Dranem's comedic singing routine brought a loyal following and his work made him a very wealthy man. In 1910 he purchased the Château de Ris in the town of Ris-Orangis, south of Paris. He established a charitable foundation to operate the large building as a senior citizens home for retired performers. On the grounds, a bandstand and an open-air theatre provided entertainment. His Dranem Foundation continued to operate until the year 2000 and the property remains a government operated retirement home open to all members of the public. During World War I, Dranem continued his benevolence by performing for the troops at music halls and for wounded soldiers at military hospitals.

    French postcard by F.C. & Cie., no. 121. Photo: Paul Darly.

    French postcard. Photo: Paul Darly.

    Pathé Silents
    Active in variety shows, café-concerts, and as a performer in operettas, Dranem also acted and sang in live theatre and in film. According to Alison McMahan, Dranem already acted in 1900 in the Pathé Frères silent Ma Tante/My Aunt, though Laurent Mannoni in Encyclopedia of Early Cinema dates this film as 1903. According to Mannoni, Pathé launched his film career in 1901 with Le salut de Dranem/Dranem's Salute to the Audience (Ferdinand Zecca, 1901), followed by several silent shorts by Pathé. These shorts showed sometimes Dranem in drag, and often as the title character as well. Mannoni mentions: Histoire grivoise racontée par une concierge/Saucy Story as Told by the Concierge (1902), Ma Tante/My Aunt (Ferdinand Zecca, 1903), Le mitron/The Baker's Boy (Ferdinand Zecca, 1904), Le rêve de Dranem/Dranem's Dream (Ferdinand Zecca, 1905) to Le tondeur galant/The Gallant Shearer (1912). McMahan also mentions Man Eating Pomegranates (1903). IMDb also lists Les souliers de Dranem/Dranem's Shoes (Ferdinand Zecca, 1908), Dranem fait ressemeler ses ribouis (1910), Le mariage de Dranem/Dranem's Marriage (Ferdinand Zecca, 1912) and Dranem sténo-dactyle/Dranem as shorthand dactyle (1912), and the Molière adaptation Le médecin malgré lui/The doctor in spite of himself (1913). In 1905, Dranem performed in a series of 11 early sound films, 'phonoscènes'. They were produced by Gaumont and directed by Alice Guy. The titles were Allumeur Marche/Lighter-on, Le trou de mon quai/My Quay's Hole, Valsons, V'la retameur/V'la the tinker, Les p'tits pois/Little Peas, L'enfant du cordonnier/The child of a shoemaker, Etre légume/Being vegetable, Le cucurbitacée/Cucurbit, Le boléro cosmopolite/The cosmopolitan bolero, Bonsoir, M'sieurs, dames/Good evening ladies and Gentlemen, Le Vrai Jiu-jitsu/Dranem Performs 'The True Jiu-Jitsu', and Five O'Clock Tea.

    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 79. Photo: Paramount.

    A Misfortunate Ostrich Breeder
    Alison MacMahan writes, "Dranem was a very energetic performer, moving around the entire stage, combining whole body language with pantomime and caricature. Although he wore the same 'bum' or 'clown' costume in each of his films, he had a different prop (a bucket, a poncho, a vegetable) in each one." In the 1920s, Dranem only acted in two films. He had a small part in La clé de voute/The keystone (Roger Lion, 1925) with Gina Palerme, but he played the lead in the late silent comedy J'ai l'noir/Le suicide Dranem (Max de Rieux, 1929), in which Dranem is a misfortunate ostrich breeder. The advent of synchronized sound film in the late 1920s made Dranem much in demand for screen roles featuring his singing routines. In the 1930s he played in some 13 films. In several he played the lead, such as La poule/The Hen (René Guissart, 1932) with Arlette Marchal, and Ah! Quelle gare!/Ah! What a station! (René Guissart, 1933), or at least as the main male antagonist. He acted in sound film until his death. Dranem died in Paris in 1935 at the age of sixty-six and was buried at the Château de Ris.

    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 740. Photo: Paramount.

    Sources: Alison McMahan, Alice Guy-Blaché. Lost Visionary of the Cinema, Laurent Mannoni, Encyclopedia of Early Cinema, Wikipedia (English and French), and IMDb. See also Dranem-alice-guy.blogspot.nl/, which shows the film Le Vrai Jiu-Jitsu.

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  • 08/07/13--23:00: Vince Taylor
  • British ‘Rebel Rocker’ Vince Taylor (1939-1991) was successful - especially in France - during the late 1950s and early 1960s. His trademark was his black leather stage gear and his large Joan of Arc medallion. Taylor’s dynamic on-stage performances can be seen in several films. His reckless lifestyle including acid, speed, and alcohol, quickly took its toll. ‘The black demon of rock’ fell into obscurity, but later he became a cult hero and his 1958 B-side Brand New Cadillac is now a rock and roll classic.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by E.D.U.G.. no. 231. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Vince Taylor
    Belgian postcard by SB (S. Best, Antwerpen).

    Vince Taylor
    French card. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    The Play-Boys
    Vince Taylor was born as Brian Maurice Holden in a London suburb in 1939. He spent his early life in Isleworth, Middlesex as the youngest of five children. In 1946, when he was seven years old, the Holdens emigrated to America and settled in New Jersey where his father took work in a coal mine. Around 1955, his sister, Sheila, married Joe Singer (the later Barbera, of cartoon moguls Hanna-Barbera). It was then decided that the whole family would move to California. Brian went to Hollywood High and studied radio and weather reports. He also took flying lessons and got his pilot license. At age 18, impressed by the music of Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley, Taylor began to sing, mostly at amateur gigs. He was good looking, got a great voice and for him the most important was to be able to sing. Barbera, his brother-in-law, became his manager. When Barbera went to London on business he asked Taylor to join him. In London, Taylor went to a coffee bar on Old Compton Street in Soho, The 2I's Coffee Bar, where Tommy Steele was playing. There he met drummer Tony Meehan (later of The Shadows) and bass player Tex Makins. They formed a band called The Play-Boys. After some changes, the final line-up of The Play-Boys was: Bobbie Clarke (drums), John Vance (bass), Alain Le Claire (piano) and Tony Harvey (guitar), who changed on an off with Bob Steel. Whilst looking at a packet of Pall Mall cigarettes he noticed the phrase, 'In hoc signo vinces', and decided that his new stage name would be Vince Taylor (Brian very much liked the actor Robert Taylor). His first singles for Parlophone, I Like Love and Right Behind You Baby, were released in 1958, followed several months later by Pledgin' My Love b/w Brand New Cadillac. Parlophone wasn't very happy with the results of the records and decided to break the contract. Taylor moved to Palette Records and recorded I'll Be Your Hero b/w Jet Black Machine, which was released in 1960.

    Vince Taylor
    Vintage postcard, no. 25.

    Vince Taylor
    Vintage postcard, serie 6.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by Ets. Dagneaux & Cie., Lodelinsart, no.47.47. Presented by Twist - Chewing Gum.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1078. Photo: Noa.

    Black Leather Stage Gear
    Vince Taylor’s unpredictable personality, although dynamic on stage, caused several arguments within the band, and The Playboys fired Taylor and changed their name to The Bobbie Clarke Noise. The Noise was contracted to play at the Olympia in Paris in July 1961. The top of the bill was Wee Willie Harris. Despite his sacking Taylor remained friendly with the band and he asked if he could come to Paris too. Here he dressed up for the sound check in his trade mark black leather stage gear, and added a chain around his neck with a Joan of Arc medallion, which he had bought on arrival at Calais. (According to Jacques Mercier on his website on Vince Taylor, Taylor had found the gear “walking through the streets of London, he stopped dead in front of a winter sports shop window, a model dressed in black leather from head to toe, caught his eye. He bought the whole kit and wore it the same night on stage, increasing the reactions and enthusiasm of the public.”) Reportedly he gave such an extraordinary performance at the sound check in Paris, that the organizers decided to put Taylor at the top of the bill for both shows. As a result of these two shows, Eddie Barclay signed him to a six-year record deal on the Barclay label. During 1961 and 1962, Taylor toured Europe with Clarke's band, once again called Vince Taylor and his Playboys. Between gigs they recorded several EP’s and an album of 20 songs, at Barclay Studios in Paris; these songs included covers of Sweet Little Sixteen and Long Tall Sally. He also performed in such films as Le quatrième sexe/The Fourth Sex (Alphonse Gimeno, 1961), Paris je t'aime/Paris I Love You (Guy Pérol, 1962) and Universo di notte/Universe of the Night (Alessandro Jacovoni, 1962). By the end of 1962, Vince Taylor and The Playboys were the top of the bill at the Olympia. Sylvie Vartan was the opening act. Despite of an on-stage rapport with The Playboys, the off-stage relationship faltered: as a result, the band once more broke up. Taylor played several engagements backed by the English band The Echoes (who also backed Gene Vincent whenever he played the UK), but he still presented the band as The Playboys.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by E.D.U.G.. no. 218. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 212. Photo: Herman Léonard / Disques Barclay.

    Vince Taylor
    German postcard by ISV. no. H 90.

    Vince Taylor
    French postcard by E.D.U.G.. no. 232. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    The Immaculate Conception of British Rock and Roll
    In 1964, Vince Taylor released a new single Memphis Tennessee b/w A Shot of Rhythm and Blues on the Barclay label. A new highpoint was reached later that year when Taylor played as the opening act for The Rolling Stones on their first concert at the Olympia in Paris. Then things started to tumble into chaos as Taylor, his mind badly affected by a combination of drugs and alcohol, became increasingly erratic both on-stage and off. At an important concert in London Taylor declared he was the biblical prophet Matthew in front of a large audience. The band disbanded and Taylor joined a religious movement. Later, Clarke was involved in a comeback for his friend Taylor, a one month tour across France, billed as Vince Taylor and Bobbie Clarke backed by Les Rockers. More often than not, he was bafflingly incoherent and erratic on-stage. Eddie Barclay gave a new chance to Taylor who recorded again and performed intermittently throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, until his death. He also appeared in two films, Rebelote (Jacques Richard, 1983) with Jean-Jacques Léaud, and the Belgian comedy Max (Freddy Coppens, 1984). His song Brand New Cadillac has been covered by many other artists, such as The Renegades, The Shamrocks and The Clash on their 1979 album London Calling. Taylor was a major source of inspiration in 1972 for David Bowie's ZiggyStardust, the ‘Leper Messiah.’ Known as the Black Leather Rebel, Taylor may have been the first rocker to dress in head-to-toe cowhide. To the late Joe Strummer of The Clash, he was the immaculate conception of British rock and roll: "Before him there was nothing. He was a miracle." During his last years, Taylor lived in Switzerland and worked as an airplane mechanic. He purportedly said it was the happiest time of his life. At the age of 52, Vince Taylor died from cancer in 1991 in Lutry, Switzerland. He was buried in Lausanne, Switzerland. Taylor had a son, Ty Holden, who was in the indie band Crown of Thorns, managed by Miles Copeland. Ty Holden is now a DJ on the London underground dance scene.

    Vince Taylor
    Dutch postcard by gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (Sparo), no. 1010.

    Vince Taylor and the Play-Boys bring Shakin' All Over in 1960. Source: mjdropsey (YouTube).

    Vince Taylor sings Brand New Cadillac in 1979. Source: Dailymotion.

    Sources: Jacques Mercier (iFrance), Steve Leggett (All Music), James Sullivan (Spinner), Dik de Heer (BlackCat Rockabilly), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 08/08/13--23:00: Aud Egede Nissen
  • Norwegian film actress Aud Egede Nissen (1893-1974) was a star of the German silent cinema. During the 1910s, she produced dozens of her own films. In the 1930s she returned to Norway, where she appeared in some films but acted mainly on stage.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Verl. Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm, no. 5336. Photo: Becker & Maas, Berlin-W.

    The First Female Detective
    Aud Egede Nissen, aka Aud Richter, was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1893. She was the daughter of Norwegian politician Adam Egede-Nissen. Her four younger sisters and two younger brothers would become actors as well. She started her film career in the Danish film Scenens børn/Children of the Stage; or, When Love Speaks (Bjørn Bjørnson, 1913). This film is now believed to be lost.

    After four films in Denmark, mostly shorts, she moved to Germany in 1914 and debuted there with the Dania-Film production Um ein Weib/Because of a Woman (Carl Schönfeld, 1914). During the First World War, Nissen had an enormously productive career, changing from one company to another: from Nation Filmand the direction of Alfred Halm to Literaria Filmwith Georg Jacoby directing, from Luna Filmwith Fred Sauer (who also directed her for Salden Film) to Greenbaum Film with Max Mack. She played a.o. in the serial Homunculus (Otto Rippert, 1916) with Theodoor Loos.

    In 1916/1917 she founded her own production company where her husband Georg Alexanderdirected her in films with herself in the lead. She appeared in more than one film per month (!), including Ich heirate meine Puppe/I Married My Doll (1917), and Das Geheimnis der Briefmarke/The Secret of the Stamp (1917). Very popular was the Ada-van-Ehlers serial. Ada van Ehlers impersonated the first female detective.

    Slowly, Egede Nissen became more producer than actress in 1917-1918, though she also continued to act in her own films as well. Nissen’s last own production within this constant and long production line probably was 100.000 Dollars (1919), as always directed by Alexander, though still in 1921 the film Die Idee des Dr. Pax was released, which was a Nissen production as well.

    Aud Egede Nissen & Georg Alexander
    With Georg Alexander. German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 5074. Photo: Atelier B.J.G.

    Aud Egede Nissen, Paul Richter
    French postcard. Photo: Mon. Cawa-Film. Publicity still for <i>Pietro der Korsar/Peter the Pirate</i> (Arthur Robison, 1925).

    Paul Richter, Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1024/5, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Pietro der Korsar/Peter the Pirate (Arthur Robison, 1925).

    Paul Richter, Aud Egede Nissen, Pietro der Kosar
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 26/5, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Pietro der Korsar/Peter the Pirate (Arthur Robison, 1925).

    Paul Richter, Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1024/4, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Pietro der Korsar/Peter the Pirate (Arthur Robison, 1925).

    Lubitsch, Lang & Murnau
    Around 1920. Aud Egede Nissen shifted to performing in major productions. She was Sumurun’s (Pola Negri) servant Haidee in Ernst Lubitsch’s murderous exotic tale Sumurun (1920), the daughter of a merchant freed from Chinese bandits by a reporter in Schiffen und Menschen/Ships and People (Carl Boese, 1920), a female artist in the third sequel to Die Lieblingsfrau der Maharadscha/The Favorite Wife of the Maharadja (Max Mack, 1920), Jane Seymour in Lubitsch’ epic Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), and the dancer Cara Carozza, accomplice to evil hypnotist Mabuse, in Fritz Lang’s thriller Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler/Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1921/1922).

    In 1922 Nissen was Melanie Lubota, the sister of the main character (Alfred Abel) in F.W. Murnau’s Phantom/The Phantom. In 1923 she was the prostitute in the expressionist drama Die Strasse/The Street (Karl Grune, 1923). The story is about a man, who leaves his wife and humdrum life to seek the excitement of a Parisian street. He spends most of the story chasing after a prostitute thief, which eventually leads him to prison and despair. He then returns to his previous life. In Carlos un Elisabeth (Richard Oswald, 1923), Nissen played Princess Eboli opposite Conrad Veidt.

    Later she had the female leads in three realist films by Gerhard Lamprecht: Menschen untereinander (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1925), Die Verrufenen (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1925), and Schwester Veronika (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1925). Other films were the Dutch-German coproduction Droomkoninkje/Die vom Schicksal verfolgten/Little Dream King (Henk Kleinman, 1926), and Die Villa im Tiergarten/The Villa in the Zoo (Franz Osten, 1926).

    In such films as Pietro, der Korsar/Pietro the Cossack (Artur Robison, 1925), and Der König der Mittelsturmer/King Of The Centre-forward (1927) she appeared opposite her second husband, Paul Richter. The latter can be considered the first real German soccer feature. In her last silent film, Die Frau im Talar/The Woman in the Robe (Adolf Trotz, 1929), clearly designed for her, Aud Egede Nissen played a female prosecutor in a Norwegian (!) harbour town, who must judge the man she loves (Paul Richter) for a fraud committed by her own father out of despair.

    Aud Egede Nissen in Die lachende Seele
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 553/6. Photo: ENF. Aud Egede Nissen in the German silent film Die lachende Seele/The Laughing Soul (Georg Alexander, 1919).

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 206/2. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / ENF.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 206/3. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / ENF.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by NPG, no. 436. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard, no K. 216. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Back to Norway
    Aud Egede Nissen played roles in the German sound film Zwischen Nacht und Morgen/Between Night and Dawn (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1931) opposite Oscar Homolka, and the Danish film Eskimo (Georg Schnéevoigt, 1930), starring Mona Mårtenson. She broke up with Richter and went back to Norway in 1931.

    In Norway, her experience was appreciated and she became production leader for two films: En glad gutt (1932) and Syndere i sommersol (1934). She also played small parts in two films during the war years, Hansen og Hansen/Hansen and Hansen (Alfred Maurstad, 1941) and the romantic drama Trysil-Knut/ (Rasmus Breistein, 1942), starring Alfred Maurstad.

    During the 1930s Nissen debuted on the Norwegian stage, and played a large amount of roles in 1934-1935, including Hermione in The Winter's Tale (1934) and Gertrud in Hamlet (1935). In 1939 she debuted as theatre director with the play Ansikt til ansikt (Face to Face). In particular between 1955 and 1962 she directed many plays.

    Aud Egede Nissen died in Oslo, Norway, in 1974. From 1915 to 1924, she was married to actor-director Georg Alexander. She then married actor Paul Richter whom she divorced in 1931. Her son by Georg Alexander, named after his stepfather Georg Richter, also became an actor and producer. Since 1940 she was married to Dag Havrevold.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 385/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Curt Mayer, Wilmendorf / Adler-Film.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 173. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 476/1, 1919-1924. Photo: A. Eberth, Berlin.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1144/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Aud Egede Nissen
    German postcard. by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3534/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

    Short scene from Phantom/The Phantom (1922). Source: David Holm (YouTube).

    Aud Egede Nissen in the silent Norwegian-German crime film Bergenstoget plyndret inatt/Schneeschuhbanditen (Uwe Jenns Krafft, 1928) with Paul Richter. Source: Norskfilminstitutt (YouTube).

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

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