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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 03/12/18--23:00: Jane Birkin
  • In the Swinging Sixties, shy, awkward-looking British actress Jane Birkin (1946) made a huge international splash as one of the nude models in Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966). In France she became the muse of singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, who wrote several of her albums, plus their explicitly erotic duet Je t'aime... moi non plus. Later she worked with such respected film directors as Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda and Jacques Doillon, and won several acting awards.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by V, Paris, no. 95022. Photo: Bernard Leloup / Salut. Promotion card for the Fontana album Ex fan des sixties.

    Jane Birkin
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 33102.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard. Photo: Phonogram/Raymond Bounon. Publicity still for the record Baby alone in Baylone (1983).

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by Éditions Damilla, Paris, no. 95022. Photo: R. Melloul / SYGMA.

    A mythical and passionate Paris love story

    Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London in 1946. Her mother, Judy Campbell, was an English stage actress, and her father, David Birkin, was a Royal Navy lieutenant-commander, who had worked on clandestine operations as navigator with the French Resistance. Her brother is the screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin. She was educated at Upper Chine School, Isle of Wight, and then went to Kensington Academy in London.

    At 17, she first went on stage in Graham Greene's 1964 production Carving a Statue. A year later she was chosen to play in the musical comedy Passion Flower Hotel with music by John Barry (composer of the James Bond theme). They met and married shortly afterwards. Their daughter Kate Barry, now a photographer, was born in 1967.

    Jane emerged in the Swinging London scene of the 1960s. First she appeared uncredited as a girl on a motorbike in the comedy The Knack …and How to Get It (Richard Lester, 1965) starring Rita Tushingham. Then she attracted attention with a brief scene as a nude, blonde model in Blowup (1966), Michelangelo Antonioni's scandalous masterpiece that received the Palme d'or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

    In 1968, Birkin played a fantasy-like model in the psychedelic picture Wonderwall (Joe Massot, 1968). That same year, she auditioned in France for the lead female role in Slogan (Pierre Grimblat, 1969) with pop star Serge Gainsbourg, who was still grieving after his break up with Brigitte Bardot. Jane barely spoke French, and Gainsbourg gave her a rough time. When she burst into tears, mixing private sadness about John Barry and the film part, he disapproved, but he recognised that she cried well in front of the camera. Jane got the part, and a mythical and passionate Paris love story began.

    Birkin performed with Gainsbourg on the film's theme song, La chanson de slogan— the first of many collaborations between the two. They became inseparable and a living legend when they recorded the duet Je t'aime... moi non plus (I love you... me neither), a song Gainsbourg originally had written for Brigitte Bardot. The song's fame is partly a result of its salacious lyrics, sung by Gainsbourg and Birkin to a background of passionate whispering and moaning from Birkin, concluding in her simulated orgasm. Censorship in several countries went wild, the Vatican condemned the immoral nature of the song, and in Great Britain the BBC refused to play the original, and did their own orchestral version. The record benefited from all the free publicity and rocketed straight to the top of the charts, selling a million copies in a matter of months.

    Jane Birkin in Slogan (1969)
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 448. Photo: publicity still for Slogan (Pierre Grimblat, 1969).

    Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
    French card. With Serge Gainsbourg.

    Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
    French autograph card. With Serge Gainsbourg.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by Éditions Damilla, Paris, no. 95023. Photo: Dominique Issermann / SYGMA.

    Cute But Stupid

    At the Côte d'Azur, Jane Birkin played in the thriller La Piscine/The Swimming Pool (Jacques Deray, 1969) in which she was seduced by Alain Delon. Then she went with Serge Gainsbourg to Yugoslavia to play in the adventure film Romansa konjokradice/Romance of a horse thief (Abraham Polonsky, 1971) starring Yul Brynner.

    In 1971 her daughter, the actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg was born. Birkin took a break from acting, but returned as the lover of Brigitte Bardot (in her final film role) in Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme.../Don Juan 73 (Roger Vadim, 1973). Her first solo album, Di Doo Dah, was also released in 1973. The title song became another chart hit.

    In the cinema Birkin played 'cute but stupid' roles in box office hits as La moutarde me monte au nez/Lucky Pierre (Claude Zidi, 1974) and La course à l’échalotte/The Wild Goose Chase (Claude Zidi, 1975), two popular comedies starring Pierre Richard. She proved herself as a film actress in Le Mouton enragé/Love at the Top (Michel Deville, 1974) starring Romy Schneider, and the highly dramatic Sept morts sur ordonnance/Seven Deaths by Prescription (Jacques Rouffio, 1975) opposite Michel Piccoli.

    In 1975, she also appeared with Joe Dallesandro in Gainsbourg's daring directorial début Je t'aime... moi non plus (Serge Gainsbourg, 1976). The film created a stir for its frank examination of sexual ambiguity and the controversial sex scenes. For her performance as an androgynous looking teenager she was nominated for a Best Actress César Award.

    In the meantime, her second album Lolita go home (1975) came out, on which she sang Philippe Labro's lyrics set to Gainsbourg's music. Three years later, her Ex-fan des sixties (1978) was released.

    Birkin starred in a series of mainstream films such as L'Animal/Stuntwoman (Claude Zidi, 1977) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, and the Agatha Christie films Death on the Nile (John Guillermin, 1978) and Evil Under the Sun (Guy Hamilton, 1982), with Peter Ustinov as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. In the arthouse production Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung/Egon Schiele: Excess and Punishment (Herbert Vesely, 1980), she appeared as the mistress of Austrian artist Egon Schiele, played by Mathieu Carrière.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by Ëditions du Désastre, Boulogne, no. PK 2, 1982. Photo: Peter Knapp, 1980.

    Jane Birkin
    Swiss postcard by Musée de l'Elysée/News Productions, Baulmes, no. 55594. Photo: Laurence Sudre.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by Editions Marion-Valentine, Paris, no. N-177. Photo: Dominique Issermann. Caption: Jane Birkin 1981.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard by Editions Marion-Valentine, Paris, no. N-176. Photo: Dominique Issermann. Caption: Jane Birkin 1983.

    The Very Best of Her

    Serge Gainsbourg had plunged into several major bouts of alcoholism and depression, resulting in all-night partying and scandals, and in 1980 Jane Birkin left him. The couple remained on good terms though. Birkin starred as Anne in La fille prodigue/The Prodigal Daughter (Jacques Doillon, 1981).

    Jacques Doillon proved to be her dream of a director, who imposed his own personal style of drama, and brought out the very best of her. She went to live with him, and in 1982 she had her third daughter Lou Doillon. She also appeared as Alma opposite Maruschka Detmers in his La pirate/The Pirate (Jacques Doillon, 1984), for which she was nominated for a César Award.

    This work led to an invitation from theatre director Patrice Chéreau to star on stage in La Fausse suivante (The False Servant) by Pierre de Marivaux. Gainsbourg, suffering from the separation, wrote Baby alone in Babylone for her. The record won the Charles Cross award and became a gold record. She began to appear frequently on stage in plays and concerts in France, Japan, the U.K. and then the U.S.

    Film director Jacques Rivette collaborated with her in L'amour par terre/Love on the Ground (Jacques Rivette, 1983) starring Geraldine Chaplin, and La Belle Noiseuse/The Beautiful Troublemaker (Jacques Rivette, 1991) with Michel Piccoli and Emmanuelle Béart. Again Birkin was nominated for the César for best supporting actress, for both films.

    She created a sensation as star and screenwriter of director Agnès Varda's Kung Fu Master (1987), in which she played a 40-year-old woman carrying on a torrid affair with a 15-year-old boy, played by Mathieu Demy, Varda's son. The following year, Varda expressed her admiration for Birkin with the feature-length documentary Jane B. par Agnes V (Agnès Varda, 1988).

    Birkin’s work in Dust (Marion Hänsel, 1985) with Trevor Howard, and Daddy Nostalgie (Bertrand Tavernier, 1990) opposite Dirk Bogarde also earned her the praise and respect of international critics. Additionally, she appeared in Merchant Ivory's A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (James Ivory, 1998) and Merci Docteur Rey (Andrew Litvack, 2002) with Dianne Wiest, while the end title song of Le Divorce (James Ivory, 2003) featured her singing L'Anamour, composed by Serge Gainsbourg.

    In 1990 Serge Gainsbourg dedicated a new album to her: Amours des feintes. It was to be his last. He died in 1991. A year later Birkin won the Female Artist of the Year award at the 1992 Victoires de la Musique. In 1993 she separated from Jacques Doillon. In the following years she devoted herself to her family and to her humanitarian work with Amnesty International on immigrant welfare and AIDS issues. Birkin visited Bosnia, Rwanda and Palestine, often working with children.

    In 2001, she was awarded the OBE in Great Britain. She has also been awarded the French Ordre national du Mérite in 2004. Jane Birkin continues to make films, theatre and music. She collaborated with such artists as Bryan Ferry, Manu Chao, Françoise Hardy, Rufus Wainwright, and Les Negresses Vertes on albums as Rendez-Vous (2004) and Fictions (2006). The self-penned Enfants d'Hiver arrived in 2008.

    In 2006, Birkin played the title role in Elektra, directed by Philippe Calvario in France. At the Cannes Film Festival 2007, she presented a film, both as a director and actor: Boxes (2007) with Michel Piccoli, Geraldine Chaplin, and her daughter Lou Doillon.

    She also appeared in Si tu meurs, je te tue/If you die, I’ll kill you (Hiner Saleem, 2011) with Jonathan Zaccaï, and La femme et le TGV/The Railroad Lady (2016), a short film directed by Swiss filmmaker Timo von Gunten. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. In a 2017 interview, Birkin stated that La femme et le TGV would be her final acting performance, and that she had no plans to return to acting.

    In March 2017, Jane Birkin released Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique, a collection of songs Serge Gainsbourg had written for her during and after their relationship, reworked with full orchestral arrangements.

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard, no. C 4477.

    Jane Birkin
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Jane. B par Agnes V. (Agnes Varda, 1987).

    Jane Birkin
    French postcard in the Signes du Zodiaque series by Editions F. Nugeron, no. 13 - Sagittaire (Sagittarius).

    Trailer Wonderwall (1968). Source: Our Man in Havana (YouTube).

    Trailer Slogan (1969). Source: 7173Productions (YouTube).

    Jane Birkin sings Quoi (1995). Source: bcbauer (YouTube).

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), John Bush (AllMusic), RFI Musique, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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    The German silent cinema knew many popular detective films like the Joe Deebs serial or the Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Another example is Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) with Leopoldine Konstantin, Harry Liedtke, Gertrude Welcker and Heinrich Peer as the sleuth Harry Reep.

    Harry Liedtke in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2023. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) with Harry Liedtke and Leopoldine Konstantin.

    Heinrich Peer in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2024. Photo: Union Film. Heinrich Peer in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917).

    Heinrich Peer in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2025. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) with Heinrich Peer.

    Stolen money in a secret drawer

    The plot of Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) deals with bank director Kendall (Harry Liedtke). To satisfy the needs of his girlfriend, the art maecenas and performer Celestine (Leopoldine Konstantin), Kendall steals from his bank's safe money which his father-in-law had invested in his business.

    The known detective Harry Reep (Heinrich Peer) is hired to investigate the theft. When the banker's wife's brother lends another big sum to keep the bank going, this sum is stolen too. Harry, disguised as bank manager, is suspected himself but then finds Kendall shot.

    Harry later drives with the empty bank cassette in his car but is held up by Celestine who with a trick steals the empty cassette. Reep pursues Celestine by car but she manages to escape.

    Later in the theatre where Celestine performs, he fights and conquers her. He discovers the cassette had a secret drawer and is filled with the stolen money. Celestine kills herself and Reep finds a suicide letter by Kendall, who committed suicide out of remorse.

    Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer was shot mid-1917 and shown in Austria from August 1917. German censorship forbid the film for the duration of the war, so it was released there from late 1918 onwards.

    "Not only does this film work have an interesting criminal theme as subject, the technique is brilliant, state-of-the-art, and the acting is exemplary. Rarely does one find such a perfectly harmonious interplay as is the case in this picture. Harry Liedtke, a reckless man who becomes a criminal, is as excellent as Heinrich Peer as the detective. A special attraction, however, is the well-known actress Leopoldine Konstantin ... In addition to all these advantages, it should be mentioned that a eye keen on sensation also gets his money's worth." (Neu Kino-Rundschau, 25 August 1917)

    Harry Liedtke in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2026. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) with Harry Liedtke.

    Gertrude Welcker in Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2027. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Eine Nacht in der Stahlkammer/A Night in the Steel Chamber (Felix Basch, 1917) with Gertrude Welcker (on the postcard written as Gertrude Welker).

    Heinrich Peer
    Heinrich Peer. German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin. no. 5296. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin, 1916.

    Source: Wikipedia (German).

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  • 03/14/18--23:00: Siegfried Rauch (1932-2018)
  • On 11 March 2018, popular German film and television actor Siegfried Rauch (1932) has died. In the 1970s, he appeared in several international films. He has been an actor for over 60 years, in approximately 200 productions, and remained active until his death. The 85-years-old Rauch died from injuries suffered when falling down stairs at a fire station near his home in Obersöchering near Munich.

    Siegfried Rauch
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg. Photo: Chris Nowotny, München.

    Siegfried Rauch
    German promotion card by Süd Golf, Wolfratshausen.

    Siegfried Rauch (1932-2018)
    German autograph card by Firma Grossmann, Reinbek bei Hamburg.

    Steve McQueen's rival

    Siegfried Rauch was born in Landsberg am Lech, Germany, in 1932. Rauch studied drama at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Additionally, he attended private drama lessons. Since 1958, he has performed at different theatres, beginning with Bremen (until 1962), and followed by Berlin, Munich and Hamburg.

    In 1956, he started his film career in the Heimatfilms Die Geierwally/Vulture Wally (Frantisek Cáp, 1956), starring Barbara Rütting and Carl Möhner, and Der Jäger von Fall/The Hunter of Fall (Gustav Ucicky, 1956), featuring Rudolf Lenz.

    During the 1960s, he appeared in European coproductions like the Eurospy film Kommissar X - Drei gelbe Katzen/Death is Nimble, Death is Quick (Rudolf Zehetgruber, Gianfranco Parolini, 1966), starring Tony Kendall and Brad Harris. It is the second of seven films, loosely based on the Kommissar X #73 detective novel from the Pabel Moewig publishing house.

    Another Eurospy film in which he played a supporting part was Mister Dynamit - Morgen küßt euch der Tod/Spy Today, Die Tomorrow (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1967) starring Lex Barker and Maria Perschy. Rauch also appeared in the thriller Im Banne des Unheimlichen/The Zombie Walks (Alfred Vohrer, 1968) starring Joachim Fuchsberger. It is part of the series of German screen adaptations of Edgar Wallace's thriller novels.

    In the 1970s Rauch often worked in Hollywood. He appeared opposite George C. Scott in the war epic Patton (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970) as Captain Steiger. The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture. In Le Mans (Lee H. Katzin, 1971), Rauch played the race driver Erich Stahler who is Steve McQueen's rival. Other Hollywood productions in which Rauch appeared were the war film The Eagle Has Landed (John Sturges, 1976) with Michael Caine, and Escape to Athena (George P. Cosmatos, 1979), starring Roger Moore and David Niven.

    In Samuel Fuller's World War II war film The Big Red One (1980), Rauch played a German army sergeant, the opposite of Lee Marvin's character, who experiences the same events as Marvin only from a German perspective.

    Mark Deming at AllMovie: “Unfortunately, Fuller was forced by his producers to work with a scaled-down budget, and he did not have final cut on the film; after his first rough cut ran nearly four-and-a-half hours, the studio took over editing on the project, and Fuller was vocally unhappy with the final results. In 2003, critic and film historian Richard Schickel initiated an effort to restore The Big Red One to a form that more closely resembled Fuller's original vision.“

    Schickel's reconstruction received enthusiastic reviews when it went into limited release in the fall of 2004.

    Siegfried Rauch
    German autograph card.

    Maria Schell and Siegfried Rauch in Die glückliche Familie (1987-1991)
    German autograph card. Publicity still for the TV series Die glückliche Familie/The Happy Family (1987-1991) with Maria Schell.

    Siegfried Rauch in Das Traumschiff (1997-2013)
    German autograph card by 2DF. Photo: ZDF / Dirk Bartling. Publicity still for the TV series Das Traumschiff/The Dream Boat (1997-2013).

    It Can't Always Be Caviar

    Siegfried Rauch continued to work in the German cinema and also on TV. He played in a new version of the Heimatfilm Der Jäger von Fall/The Hunter of Fall (Harald Reinl, 1974).

    His most famous leading act on German television was Thomas Lieven in the mini-series Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein/It Can't Always Be Caviar (Thomas Engel, 1977), based on the international bestseller by Johannes Mario Simmel. The series is unique for providing a little cooking show at the end of each episode. The book also includes recipes because Thomas Lieven is an accomplished amateur cook. The 13 episodes were very popular in Germany during the 1970s and 1980s, and have since attained cult-status.

    Rauch’s various other roles on television established his career as an actor in Germany. Since 1997, Rauch has continuously appeared in Das Traumschiff/The Dreamboat (1997-2013), one of the most-watched television series in Germany. He also appeared in other long-running hit-series like Die Landärztin/The Country Doctor (2006-2011), the Das Traumschiff spin-off Kreuzfahrt ins Glück/Cruise to Happiness (2007-2013) and Der Bergdoktor/Mountain Medic (2008-2016, 96 episodes).

    Internationally he appeared in films like the science fiction-horror film Contamination (Luigi Cozzi, 1980) starring Ian McCulloch, the action film Der Stein des Todes/Perahera, Death Stone (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1985) and another actioner Feuer, Eis und Dynamit/Fire, Ice and Dynamite (Willy Bogner, 1990), starring Roger Moore.

    Siegfried Rauch, also known as ‘Sigi’, died in 2018 as a result of a fall in his hometown of Untersochering, Bavaria. He was married to Karin and had two sons, Jakob and Benedikt, and one grandchild. Steve McQueen was the Godfather of his son Jakob.

    Trailer Kommissar X - Drei gelbe Katzen/Death is Nimble, Death is Quick (1966). Source: Italo-Cinema Trailer (YouTube).

    Trailer for Mister Dynamit - Morgen küßt euch der Tod/Spy Today, Die Tomorrow (1967). Source: Italo-Cinema Trailer (YouTube).

    Trailer Le Mans (1971). Source: Umbrella Entertainment (YouTube).

    Trailer The Big Red One (1980). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).

    Sources: Mark Deming (AllMovie), Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.

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  • 03/15/18--23:00: Cox
  • In Belgium a series of film star cards was published by Cox, an Import-Export firm. The series was produced in the 1950s and is remarkable because the cards have pictures at both sides. At the front is a colour picture of the star and the flipside shows a photo in black and white. Many of the stars were German, but there are also French, British and American artists in the series. In this post we show mainly the colour pictures, but also a few of the black and white sides.

    Paul Hubschmid

    Paul Hubschmid
    Paul Hubschmid. Belgian card by Cox, no. 4.

    Maximilian Schell
    Maximilian Schell. Belgian card by Cox, no. 7.

    Juliette Gréco
    Juliette Gréco. Belgian card by Cox, no. 10.

    Carlos Thompson
    Carlos Thompson. Belgian card by Cox, no. 18. Publicity still for Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1957).

    Corny Collins
    Corny Collins. Belgian card by Cox, no. 19.

    Belinda Lee

    Belinda Lee
    Belinda Lee. Belgian card by Cox, no. 20.

    Johanna von Koczian
    Johanna von Koczian. Belgian card by Cox, no. 23.

    Fred Bertelmann, Conny Froboess
    Fred Bertelmann and Conny Froboess. Belgian card by Cox, no. 25.

    James Mason

    James Mason
    James Mason. Belgian card by Cox, no. 29.

    Sonja Ziemann
    Sonja Ziemann. Belgian card by Cox, no. 33.

    Hardy Krüger
    Hardy Krüger. Belgian card by Cox, no. 35.

    William Holden
    William Holden. Belgian card by Cox, no. 36.

    Mylène Demongeot

    Mylène Demongeot
    Mylène Demongeot. Belgian card by Cox, no. 42.

    Dietmar Schönherr
    Dietmar Schönherr. Belgian postcard by Cox, no. 49.

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  • 03/16/18--23:00: Oleg Tabakov (1935-2018)
  • On 12 March 2018, Soviet and Russian actor Oleg Tabakov (1935) passed away. Tabakov performed in both classic and modern plays and was artistic director of the Moscow Art TheatreHis film career was equally impressive with roles as Count Nikita Rostov in Voyna i mir I/War and Peace (1966-1967) by Sergei Bondarchuk, and as the title figure in Oblomow (1981) by Nikita Mikhalkov. Tabakov was 82.

    Oleg Tabakov
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. A 11212. Photo: B. Vilenkina, G. Ter-Ovanesova.

    War and Peace

    Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov (Russian: Олег Павлович Табаков) was born in Saratov, USSR (now Saratovskaya oblast, Russia) in 1935. His father, Pavel Kongratevich, and his mother, Maria Andreevna Berezovskaya, were medical doctors in Saratov. His parents separated during the Second World War, and young Tabakov was brought up by his single mother and grandmother.

    Oleg attended the all-boys school in Saratov, and was active in the drama class. From 1950-1953 he studied acting at the Saratov House of Pioneers under the legendary acting coach Natalia Iosifivna Sukhostav. In 1953, Tabakov moved to Moscow and studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School.

    In 1957 he graduated from the school, and became one of the founding fathers of the Sovremennik Theatre. There he played leading roles in such productions as Goly Korol (Naked King), Tri Zhelaniya (Three Wishes), Obyknovennaya istoriya (Ordinary story) and other contemporary Russian plays. From 1970 till 1976 Tabakov was General Manager of Sovremennik, he promoted Galina Volchek to Principal Director of the company.

    He administrated the Sovremennik until 1982, when he moved to the Moscow Art Theatre, where he played Molière and Salieri for over 20 years. In 1986, Tabakov persuaded his students to form the Tabakov Studio attached to the Moscow Art Theatre. Several notable Russian actors including Yevgeny Mironov, Sergey Bezrukov, Vladimir Mashkov, Andrey Smolyakov and Alexandre Marine studied at the studio.

    Tabakov also spread his theatre's ideals abroad. His teaching credentials include workshops and productions at the Paris Conservatoire, the British American Drama Academy, Akademie Der Künst in Hamburg, the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna, Carnegie Mellon, The Juilliard School, New York University, Florida State University, The University of Delaware, and Harvard University.

    For his stage work he won several medals an honours. Tabakov's film career paralleled his theatrical career. He made his film debut as Sasha in the drama Sasha vstupayet v zhizn/Sasha Enters Life (Mikhail Shvejtser, 1957). Soon followed roles in the crime drama Ispytatelnyy Srok/The Probation (Vladimir Gerasimov, 1960) and the war drama Chistoe nebo/Clear Skies (Grigori Chukhrai, 1961) with Yevgeni Urbansky. He appeared in the role of Nikolai Rostov in Sergei Bondarchuk's Voyna i mir I/War and Peace (1966–1967),

    Oleg Tabakov
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 3744, 1963.

    Oleg Tabakov
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. A 07154.

    Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears

    Oleg Tabakov played the lead role in the comedy-drama Gori, gori, moya zvezda/Shine, Shine, My Star (Aleksandr Mitta, 1970). Then followed parts in popular TV series as Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny/Seventeen Instants of Spring (Tatyana Lioznova, 1973), starring Vyacheslav Tikhonov, and D'Artanyan i tri mushketyora/D'Artagnan and Three Musketeers (Georgi Yungvald-Khilkevich, 1978).

    An international success was Neokonchennaya pyesa dlya mekhanicheskogo pianino/An Unfinished Piece for a Piano Player (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1977). His later films include the Academy Award-winning Moskva slezam ne verit/Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears (Vladimir Menshov, 1980), the international art house hits Oblomov (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1981) and Oci ciornie/Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1986) starring Marcello Mastroianni.

    Tabakov also played in the mock slapstick Western Chelovek s bulvara Kaputsinov/A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines (Alla Surikova, 1987) about Mr Jonny First (Andei Mironov), who arrives in the Wild West to present the art of the Cinematograph. Over 40 million people in the USSR paid to see the feature.

    Tabakov has lend his distinctive, purr-like voice to a number of animated characters, including the talking cat Matroskin in the animation film Kanikuly v Prostokvashino/Three from Prostokvashino (Vladimir Popov, 1980) and its sequels. After the Matroskin role he dubbed the character of Garfield into Russian in the feature film Garfield (Peter Hewitt, 2004).

    During the 1990s, Oleg Tabakov was a strong supporter of democratic reforms and freedom in the new Russia. He made public speeches and was involved in many public events facilitating the cultural transformation of arts and theatres in Russia. He also continued to appear in films, such as in The Inner Circle (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 1991), about Stalin's private film projectionist from (Tom Hulce), the TV movie Stalin (Ivan Passer, 1992) with Robert Duvall, and Taking Sides (István Szabó, 2001) with Harvey Keitel.

    Oleg Tabakov was designated People's Actor of the USSR and Russia in the 1980s, and was decorated with the Order of Merit of Fatherland II degree, by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in 2005. During the 2012 Russian presidential election Tabakov was registered as a ‘Trusted Representative’ of Putin. In March 2014, he signed a letter in support of the position of Putin on Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

    His last films were the comedies Kukhnya v Parizhe/A Kitchen in Paris (Dmitriy Dyachenko, 2014) with Vincent Perez, and the sequel Kukhnya. Poslednyaya bitva/Kitchen. The Last Battle (Anton Fedotov, 2017).

    In November 2017, Oleg Tabakov was hospitalised with sepsis. In December, Tabakov's condition deteriorated sharply - he fell into a pre-coma condition. On 12 March 2018, he died of a heart attack at age 82. The farewell ceremony took place at the Moscow Art Theatre named after Chekhov's historical stage where Tabakov worked as a artistic director and plays director for many years.

    Oleg Tabakov was married twice. His first wife was actress Lyudmila Krylova (1960–1994) with whom he has two children. Their son Anton Tabakov is an actor and also a successful night-club owner in Moscow. Since 1994 Oleg Tabakov was married to actress Marina Zudina. The couple had two children, son Pavel (1996), and daughter Maria (2006).

    Oleg Tabakov and Elena Proklova in Gori, Gori, Moya Zvezda (1970)
    Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 1984. Publicity still for Gori, Gori, Moya Zvezda (Aleksandr Mitta, 1970) with Elena Proklova.

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

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  • 03/17/18--23:00: Ray Danton
  • American actor Ray Danton (1931-1992) was a handsome and smooth natured leading man who often played oily individuals in Hollywood film and TV series. He also worked in Europe where he directed some film too.

    Ray Danton
    Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, Milano, no. N. 139.

    A smooth but dangerous villain

    Ray Danton was born Raymond Caplan in New York in 1931. Raymond was the son of Myrtle (née Menkin) and Jack Caplan. Danton entered show business as a child radio actor on NBC radio's Let's Pretend show in 1943.

    Danton did many stage roles whilst attending the University of Pittsburgh. He was dramatically trained at Carnegie Tech and in 1950 went to London to appear on stage in the Tyrone Power production Mister Roberts. Danton's acting career was put on hold when he served in the United States Army infantry during the Korean War from 1951–1954.

    His on-screen debut was as a moody Native American opposite Victor Mature in Chief Crazy Horse (George Sherman, 1955), a biography of the famous Lakota Sioux war chief which was told entirely from the Indian viewpoint. He was contracted to Universal Pictures.

    He next played a supporting part as a smooth but dangerous villain in I'll Cry Tomorrow (Daniel Mann, 1955) starring Susan Hayward. For this part he won the Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer.

    At the set of his third film for Universal The Looters (Abner Biberman, 1955) he met his future wife Julie Adams. Danton guest-starred in many 1950s TV shows including Playhouse 90 (1956), Wagon Train (1957), and 77 Sunset Strip (1958), often as a gunslinger or a slippery criminal.

    Danton found plenty of demand for his talents and appeared in several minor films including the Film Noir The Night Runner (Abner Biberman,1957), the war film Tarawa Beachhead (Paul Wendkos, 1958), in which he starred with his wife, Julie Adams, and then as a serial rapist in The Beat Generation (Charles F. Haas, 1959) opposite Steve Cochran and Mamie van Doren.

    However, his most well remembered role was as the vicious prohibition gangster Jack Diamond in The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) also starring a young Warren Oates and directed by Budd Boetticher. Wikipedia: "Danton played his role using dynamic body language with his smooth persona fitting the character like a glove." Danton reprised his Legs Diamond role only a year later in the unrelated, and not as enjoyable Portrait of a Mobster (Joseph Pevney, 1961).

    Ray Danton
    British postcard in the Celebrity Autograph Series by Celebrity Publishers LTD., London, no. 2789. Photo: Universal-International. Publicity still for The Night Runner (Abner Biberman, 1957).

    Ray Danton
    Spanish postcard by Raker, no. 1126.

    Europe beckoned

    Cornering the market on playing shady characters, Ray Danton then portrayed troubled actor George Raft in The George Raft Story (Joseph M. Newman, 1961) with Jayne Mansfield, but he was back on the side of good in 1962 playing an Allied officer at the invasion of Normandy in The Longest Day (Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, 1962).

    Europe then beckoned for the virile Danton, and like many other young US actors in the early 1960s, he made several films in Italy and Spain between 1964 and 1969 with a mixture of success. These films included Sandokan alla riscossa/Sandokan Fights Back (Luigi Capuano, 1964) with Guy Madison, and the Europsy films Corrida pour un espion/Code Name: Jaguar (Maurice Labro, 1965) with Pascale Petit, and New York chiama Superdrago/Secret Agent Super Dragon (Giorgio Ferroni, 1966) with Marisa Mell and Margaret Lee.

    Danton returned to the USA in the early 1970s, but also ran his own production company in Barcelona, Spain. In Europe he directed the AIP production of Deathmaster (Ray Danton, 1972) starring Robert Quarry who was riding high on the success of the Count Yorga vampire films. Danton also co-directed La tumba de la isla maldita/Crypt of the Living Deads (Julio Salvador, Ray Danton, 1973) with Mark Damon.

    Later he became involved in television and directed episodes of some of the most popular TV series of the 1970s and 1980s, including Quincy M.E. (1976), The Incredible Hulk (1978), Magnum, P.I. (1980), Dynasty (1981), and Cagney & Lacey (1981). His final directorial work was an episode for the TV series Mike Hammer (1989).

    Ray Danton passed away in 1992 from kidney failure. He was only 61. He was divorced of his wife, Julie Adams, in 1978 (IMDb) or 1981 (Wikipedia). They had two sons, assistant director Steve Danton (1956) and editor Mitchell Danton (1962). His companion at the time of his death was actress Jeannie Austin, who was cast in a couple of TV episodes Ray directed, including Magnum, P.I. (1980).

    Trailer for The George Raft Story (Joseph M. Newman, 1961). Source: horrormovieshows (YouTube).

    Trailer for the EuroSpy adventure New York chiama Superdrago/Secret Agent Super Dragon (Giorgio Ferroni, 1966). Source: Night Of The Trailers (YouTube).

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/18/18--23:00: Renate Blume
  • German actress Renate Blume (1944) appeared in more than 70 films and television shows since 1964. Her film debut Der geteilte Himmel/Divided Heaven (Konrad Wolf, 1964) was an international success and later she co-starred in Easterns with Gojko Mitic and Dean Reed.

    Renate Blume
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 3538, 1966. Photo: DEFA / Schwarzer. Publicity still for Der geteilte Himmel/Divided Heaven (Konrad Wolf, 1964).

    Renate Blume
    Big East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 2/74, 1974. Photo: Linke.

    Renate Blume and Dean Reed
    With Dean Reed. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 43080.

    Divided Heaven

    Renate Blume was born in Bad Wildungen, Germany, in 1944. As a twelve-year-old she joined the Gret Palucca ballet school in Dresden. Although her parents wanted her to became a doctor, she secretly applied to the Academy for Performing Arts in Berlin.

    While still a student, she played her first leading role in the DEFA drama Der geteilte Himmel/Divided Heaven (Konrad Wolf, 1964). The East-German film, based on Christa Wolf's novel Divided Heaven (1963), is set in the period immediately before the Berlin Wall was built.

    Blume is Rita Seidel, who recalls the last two years, in which she fell in love with Manfred (Eberhard Esche), a chemist who is ten years older. As Manfred became disillusioned with his opportunities in East Germany, he moved to the West. Rita followed him there and tried to persuade him to return but soon realised he would never do it.

    The film became an international success, thanks in part to Blume’s naturalistic and honest performance. Although some of the characters are shown as overzealous in their support of the regime, for obvious reasons the nature of the East German dictatorship is never depicted or discussed. The Stasi, the all-pervasive secret police headed by the director's brother Markus Wolf, is not mentioned.

    The film was removed from circulation on several occasions in the following years, when the Socialist Unity Party of Germany decreed it, depending on the political situation In 1995, a group of historians and cinema researchers chose Der geteilte Himmel/Divided Heaven as one of the 100 most important German films ever made.

    Three years later she appeared in the two-part war film Die gefrorenen Blitze/Frozen Flashes (János Veiczi, 1967) which tells the history of the resistance movement in Peenemünde during the Second World War and its attempt to sabotage the V-2 program. Among the large cast were also Alfred Müller, Leon Niemczyk and Mikhail Ulyanov. From 1965 to 1970, Blume was a member of the Dresdner Staatstheater ensemble, where she continued giving guest performances until 1986.

    Renate Blume
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 2.159, 1964. Photo: DEFA / Schwarzer. Publicity still for Der geteilte Himmel/Divided Heaven (Konrad Wolf, 1964).

    Gojko Mitic and Renate Blume in Ulzana (1974)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 65/74, 1974. Photo: DEFA / Dassdorf. Publicity still for Ulzana (Gottfried Kolditz, 1974) with Gojko Mitic.


    In 1970, Renate Blume joined the East German television ensemble and acted in over 40 TV productions over the next 20 years. Although Blume regularly appeared on TV, she rarely worked in the cinema.

    In 1974, she co-starred in the Eastern Ulzana (Gottfried Kolditz, 1974), as the wife of Gojko Mitic,the chief of the Mimbrero tribe. It was followed by the comic Eastern Kit & Co. (Konrad Petzold, 1974) with Dean Reed, an American actor, singer and songwriter, living in East Germany.

    Blume appeared in Archiv des Todes/Archives of Death (1980). This 13-part East German war television series was set during World War II and also starred Gojko Mitic, Leon Niemczyk and Barbara Brylska.

    In the cinema, Blume appeared in the fantasy Der Prinz hinter den sieben Meeren/The Prince of the Seven Seas (Walter Beck, 1982). After the Wende, Blume played a supporting part in the family film Die Distel/The Thistle (Gernot Krää, 1992) with Katja Riemann. In between she appeared in popular TV series such as Polizeiruf 110/Police Call 110 (1978-1998).

    Since the Wall came down, she has taught performing arts, performed at theaters in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, and Munich, and acted in TV movies and TV series. In the cinema, she played a small part in the film Sternzeichen/Zodiac Sign (Peter Patzak, 2003) as the wife of Vadim Glowna. More recently she appeared in TV series such as Fünf Sterne/Five Stars (2005-2008) with Ralph Bauer, and Schloss Einstein (2008-2009) about students at a boarding school in Erfurt.

    From 1969 until 1975 Blume was married with film director Frank Beyer. Their son Alexander also became an actor. From 1974 till 1976 she lived together with Romanian actor Gojko Mitic. In 1981, she married Dean Reed, but he died in 1986.

    In 2007, Renate Blume was featured in Der Rote Elvis/The Red Elvis (2007), a German documentary about Reed’s life. Her most recent screen appearance was in the TV-Krimi Lindburgs Fall/Prime Time Crime (Franziska Meyer Price, 2011) with Fritz Wepper.

    Sources: DEFA Film Library, Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.

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  • 03/19/18--23:00: Luchino Visconti
  • Today, at the Royal Dutch institute in Rome, the presentation will take place of Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art, a monograph written by EFSP-contributor Ivo Blom and published by Sidestone Press. This study deals with the ways in which Luchino Visconti appropriated visual arts and the cinema of previous filmmakers in his own films. Whilst much has been written about literary and theatrical influences upon Visconti’s work – besides film maker, he was also a leading theatre and opera director – there has been a lot of speculation about but little hard corroboration of pictorial influences in his films. Ivo's book goes deeply into set and costume design and cinematography. For today's post, we did a selection of our postcards of Visconti's films and stage plays.

    Giuseppe Visconti's home theatre in Milan
    Italian postcard by Officine G. Ricordi e Co., Milano. Luchino Visconti (born 1906) was raised with theatre and staging from a very young age. His father, duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, staged his own stage plays. Under the pseudonym of Joseph von Jcsti (Von Jcsti is an anagram of Visconti), he directed plays at his home theatre in Palazzo Visconti in Milan. This is a postcard for the play Un po' d'amore (A Little Love), a revue in three acts. A lady named Teresa writes on the card, that it is the revue she saw last winter in Casa Visconti. This must have been Winter 1912-1913, as the card is dated 2 September 1913.

    Alida Valli in Senso (1954)
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 1683. Photo: publicity still for Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954) with Alida Valli. The picture was taken at Villa Godi Malinverni, Lugo di Vicenza, the first villa designed by Andrea Palladio. The murals were by painters from the School of Veronese.

    Alida Valli and Farley Granger in Senso (1954)
    Italian postcard by Rotocalco Dagnino, Torino. Photo: Lux Film. Alida Valli and Farley Granger as countess Livia Serpieri and Lt. Franz Mahler in Luchino Visconti's historical film Senso (1954). Visconti refers here to the famous romantic painting by Francesco Hayez, Il Bacio (The Kiss, 1859).

    Farley Granger in Senso (1954)
    Italian postcard by Bromostampa, Milano, no. 7. Photo: Publicity still of Farley Granger in Senso (1954).

    Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell in Le notti bianche (1957)
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3486. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Marcello Mastroianni andMaria Schell.

    Jean Marais in Le notti bianche (1957)
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2141. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Film. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Jean Marais.

    Jean Marais and Maria Schell in Le notti bianche (1957)
    Photocard. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Jean Marais and Maria Schell.

    Alain Delon
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, 1967. retail price: 0,20 MDN.Photo: publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960), featuring Alain Delon as Rocco.

    Annie Girardot in Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1960)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1696, 1962. Photo: publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and his brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) withAnnie Girardotas Nadia.

    Alain Delon in Rocco e i suoi Fratelli (1960)
    Spanish postcard by Archivo Bermejo, no. 7363. Photo: Radio Films, 1961. Publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) with Alain Delon.

    Alain Delon
    French postcard by the Bibliothèque Nationale Paris/Imp. Bussière A.G., Paris, 1990. Photo: Roger Pic. Alain Delonin the play Dommage qu'elle soit une p.../Its a pity she's a whore, written by John Ford and directed by Luchino Visconti (1961) in Paris.

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

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

    Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
    Vintage card. Photo: publicity still for Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) with Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.

    Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
    Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) with Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.

    Alain Delon in Il Gattopardo
    Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: Alain Delon as Tancredi Falconieri in Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963).

    Morte a Venezia/ Death in Venice
    Dutch postcard, using an original poster of Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice, for a Dutch rerelease of the film. Photo: Björn Andresen and Dirk Bogarde in Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1972).

    Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art

    Where does the visual splendour of Visconti’s films come from? In  the first part of his Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art, Ivo Blom tells how visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography) served in set and costume design (e.g. as props and as sources of inspiration). The second part of the book focuses on (deep) staging, framing, mobile framing and mirroring.

    The book is based on extensive archival research, interviews with Visconti’s collaborators and secondary literature, and is richly illustrated with pictures obtained from museums, photo services and films.

    Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art will be released as paperback and hardback, and will also appear in Open Access. Highly recommended!

    Sources: Ivo Blom (personal blog) and Sidestone Press.

    Ivo, good luck today!

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  • 03/20/18--23:00: Die Richterin (1917)
  • In the silent German melodrama Die Richterin/The Judge (Paul von Woringen, 1917), Lotte Neumann stars as a young woman who brings tragedy to her fiance and herself by being a moral judge. Neumann produced the film herself for her own company. The postcard series was published by the well-known Berlin firm Photochemie.

    Lotte Neumann in Die Richterin
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no K. 2092. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film. Publicity still for Die Richterin/The Judge (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

    Lotte Neumann in Die Richterin
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no K. 2093. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film. Publicity still for Die Richterin/The Judge (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

    A Moral Bride of Yore

    Fritz Rönninger (Carl Clewing) owns a large printing works. One day, the businessman falls in love with his neighbour's daughter (Lotte Neumann), who was brought up in strict order by her father (Magnus Stifter).

    Fritz turns out to be a kind and sincere candidate for her favour, and so one day the girl agrees to his request to marry him. Since Fritz does not want to go into marriage with a lie, he admits her a misstep, but one which took place a long time ago: in his youth he had once falsified a check and went to jail.

    The strict paternal principles of custom and morality have turned Rönninger's future bride into a moral judge, and so she lets the upcoming marriage burst at the last moment.

    Deeply saddened, Rönniger decides to give up his previous life completely. He sells his company and goes to Monaco with his new lover. There he leads a licentious life, probably only to numb his painful loss.

    When he is finally broke, Fritz kills himself. In his farewell letter he blames his 'moral' bride of yore on his downfall. She had 'judged' him with her unforgiving morals. As she reads the letter, she realises her injustice towards Rönninger and also takes her life, by drowning herself.

    Die Richterin was produced by Lotte Neumann herself and shot at the Mutoskop studio in Berlin-Lankwitz. It was the fourth part the Lotte Neumann-serie. The script was by Hans Land, pseudonym of Hugo Landsberger.

    In October 1917 it was presented to the German Board of Censorship and quite soon after it was released. IMDb dates the film in 1918 because of the premiere of the film in Hungary on 28 January 1918.

    Lotte Neumann in Die Richterin
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no K. 2094. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film. Publicity still for Die Richterin/The Judge (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

    Lotte Neumann in Die Richterin 5
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no K. 2095. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film. Publicity still for Die Richterin/The Judge (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

    Sources: Wikipedia (German), The German Early Cinema DatabaseFilmportal.de and IMDb.

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  • 03/21/18--23:00: John Mills
  • Sir John Mills (1908-2005) was one of the most popular and beloved English actors. The Oscar-winner appeared in more than 120 films and TV films in a career stretching over eight decades. He often played people who are not at all exceptional, but become heroes because of their decency, bravery and good judgement. 

    John Mills
    British postcard by Real Photograph, no. 177. Photo: London Films.

    John Mills in The Way to the Stars (1945)
    British autograph card. Photo: publicity still for The Way to the Stars (Anthony Asquith, 1945).

    John Mills and Juliet Mills in the studio
    British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. F.S. 18. Caption: John Mills with his small daughter 'Bunch' in the studio. The picture was taken during the shooting of Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946). At the time, Juliet (or Bunch) must have been four years old. Juliet Mills is the elder sister of Hayley.

    Hayley Mills and John Mills in The Chalk Garden (1964)
    Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 264. Publicity still for The Chalk Garden (Ronald Neame, 1964).

    Juvenile Lead

    Sir John Mills, CBE was born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills in the seaside resort North Elmham, England, in 1908. He was  the son of Edith (Baker), a theatre box office manager, and Lewis Mills, a mathematics teacher. It was the stage world, rather than his father's academic milieu, which most attracted the young Mills.

    After a job as a clerk in a corn merchant's office, Mills moved to London, where he enrolled at Zelia Raye's Dancing School. He started his professional career in 1929 as a chorus boy in the revue The Five O'clock Girl at the London Hippodrome. He followed this with a cabaret act.Making as many contacts as possible, Mills was able to secure work on the legitimate stage.

    Mills got a job with a theatrical company that toured India, China and the Far East performing a number of plays. Noël Coward saw him appear in a production of Journey's End in Singapore and wrote Mills a letter of introduction to use back in London. On his return Mills starred in The 1931 Revue, Coward's Cavalcade (1931) and the Noël Coward revue Words and Music (1932).

    His film debut was in the quota quickie The Midshipmaid (Albert de Courville, 1932), a comedy with musical interludes starring Jessie Matthews. The following years, he learned his craft in such 'quota quickies', low-cost, quickly-accomplished films commissioned by American distributors active in the UK or by British cinema owners  to satisfy the quota requirements.

    Next Mills was a juvenile lead in the mystery The Ghost Camera (Bernard Vorhaus, 1933) with Henry Kendall and Ida Lupino. Wikipedia: "Despite being made quickly on a low budget, the film has come to be considered as one of the most successful Quota quickies made during the Thirties."

    He then played lead roles in the musical Charing Cross Road (Albert de Courville, 1935), Brown on Resolution (Walter Forde, 1935) with Betty Balfour, Tudor Rose (Robert Stevenson, 1936) starring Cedric Hardwicke and Nova Pilbeam, and The Green Cockatoo (William Cameron Menzies, 1937).

    He did Aren't Men Beasts? (1936) on stage and worked for Hollywood director Raoul Walsh in O.H.M.S. (1937). His Hollywood debut was in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Sam Wood, 1939) with Robert Donat, but he refused the American studios' entreaties to sign a contract and returned to England.

    John Mills joined the army in 1939 but occasionally made films on leave, such as the comedy  Old Bill and Son (Ian Dalrymple, 1940) and the war film Cottage to Let (Anthony Asquith, 1941) with Leslie Banks. He also appeared in the classic In Which We Serve (Noel Coward, David Lean, 1942).

    He relished acting in films and the cinema made him an internationally renowned star. His climb to stardom began when he had the lead role in We Dive at Dawn (Anthony Asquith, 1943), a film about submariners. He was top billed in This Happy Breed (David Lean, 1944), directed by  from a Noël Coward play. The film was a big hit and director David Lean would go on to direct Mills in some of his most memorable performances.

    John Mills
    British Postcard, no. F. S. 23. Publicity photo for Scott of the Antarctic (1948).

    John Mills
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. W 443. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation Ltd.

    John Mills
    British postcard.

    John Mills
    Belgian collectors card by Merbotex, no. 67. Photo: Gaumont Eagle-Lion.

    Traditionally British Heroes

    After the war, John Mills took the lead in Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946). It was the third biggest hit at the British box office this year and Mills was voted the sixth most popular star. Subsequently he had another big hit as Captain Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (Charles Frend, 1948). It was the fourth most watched film of the year in Britain and Mills was the eighth biggest star.

    Over the next decade he made his career playing other traditionally British heroes and became particularly associated with war dramas, such as The Colditz Story (Guy Hamilton, 1954), Above Us the Waves (Ralph Thomas, 1955) with John Gregson and Donald Sinden, and Ice Cold in Alex (J. Lee Thompson, 1958). He is credited with playing more military roles than any other star. In 31 of his films, almost a third of his whole cinematic output, he portrayed soldiers, usually officers.

    David Lean directed Mills in a memorable performance in the romantic comedy Hobson's Choice (1954) with Charles Laughton. Other significant films in which he appeared include War and Peace (King Vidor, 1956), The Chalk Garden (Ronald Neame, 1964), King Rat (Bryan Forbes, 1965), and Oklahoma Crude (Stanley Kramer, 1973).

    With his daughter Hayley Mills he also appeared in Tiger Bay (J. Lee Thompson, 1959) and The Family Way (Roy Boulting, 1966) and had a cameo in her Disney hit The Parent Trap (David Swift, 1961). In 1966, Mills directed Sky West and Crooked (aka Gypsy Girl), which starred Hayley and was written by his wife, Mary Hayley Bell.

    As he aged, his proclivity for well-written roles enabled him to make a seamless transition from a lead to character lead to character actor. For his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (David Lean, 1970) — a complete departure from his usual style — he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

    For Richard Attenborough, Mills played in Young Winston (1972) and Gandhi (1982), with Ben Kinsley. Among his last films were Bean (Mel Smith, 1997) starring Rowan AtkinsonBright Young Things (Stephen Fry, 2003) and Lights2 (Marcus Dillistone, 2005), his final film appearance as a tramp.

    Altogether he appeared in over 120 films. Jon C. Hopwood at IMDb: "No male star of English cinema enjoyed such a long and rewarding career as a star while appearing predominantly in English films. As an actor, Mills chose his roles on the basis of the quality of the script rather than its propriety as a 'star' turn. Because of this, he played roles that were more akin to character parts". Mills was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 1960 and was knighted in 1976.

    His first wife was the actress Aileen Raymond, (1932-1941). After their divorce, he married the dramatist Mary Hayley Bell. Their marriage, on 16 January 1941, lasted for 64 years, until his death in 2005. He was 97. Mills and Bell had two daughters, actresses Juliet andHayley Mills and one son, Jonathan Mills, a screenwriter. His grandson is Crispian Mills, the lead singer of the pop group Kula Shaker. John Mills' life, both off screen and on, was summed up  in his autobiography Up in the Clouds, Gentlemen, Please (1980).

    John Mills
    British autograph card.

    John Mills
    British postcard.

    John Mills
    British postcard, no. W 211.

    John Mills
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. D 131. Photo: British Lion.

    Sources: Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    On 21 March 2018, Stefania Sandrelli (1946) received the special prize at the 62nd edition of the David di Donatello awards, the Italian equivalent of the Oscars. She received the statuette by TV host Carlo Conti, and according to Italian media she was moved, almost to tears. The sensual, vivacious and very talented Italian actress is famous for her roles in the Commedia all'Italiana. She was 15 years old when she had her breakthrough opposite Marcello Mastroianni in the Oscar winning comedy Divorzio all'italiana/Divorce, Italian Style (1961). Later she also played dramatic roles in Italian classics like Ettore Scola's C'eravamo tanto amati, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s Il Conformista/The Conformist (1970) and Novecento/1900 (1976).

    Special David di Donatello Award for Stefania Sandrelli
    Italian postcard by Alterocca, Terni, no. 64121. Photo: A. Frontoni. Publicity still for La Bella di Lodi/The Beauty of Lodi (Mario Missiroli, 1963).

    Stefania Sandrelli
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Divorce, Italian Style

    Stefania Sandrelli was born in Viareggio, Tuscany, into a middle-class family, in 1946. She was the daughter of Florida and Otello Sandrelli, owners of a well known pension in Viareggio. Her father died when Stefania was eight years old. She has a brother, Sergio, seven years older, who had a successful music career and died in 2013.

    At a young age she learned to play the accordion, and studied ballet. In 1960 Sandrelli won the Miss Cinema Viareggio beauty contest. Next she was the cover girl of the magazine Le Ore and made her cinema debut in Gioventù di note/Youth at night (Mario Sequi, 1961) with Samy Frey and Magali Noël. Her second role was as a confidence trickster and petty thief in the war film Il federale/The Fascist (Luciano Salce, 1961), starring Ugo Tognazzi.

    Her film career was definitively launched when she appeared as Marcello Mastroianni's seductive, young cousin, Angela in Divorzio all'italiana/Divorce, Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961). The film won an Oscar for Best Original Script. With director Pietro Germi she later worked three more times: in the dark satire of Sicilian social customs and honour laws Sedotta e abbandonata/Seduced and Abandoned (1963), the comedy L'immorale/The Immoralist (1967) featuring Ugo Tognazzi, and Alfredo, Alfredo (1970) with Dustin Hoffman.

    Stefania Sandrelli became in a short time a protagonist of the Commedia all'italiana. She was excellent as a lonely, sickly country woman trying to survive in a hostile post-WW II city in Io la conoscevo bene/I Knew Her Well (Antonio Pietrangeli's, 1965) with Mario Adorf. In France, she appeared in the box office hit Tendre Voyou/Tender Scoundrel (Jean Becker, 1966), starring Jean Paul Belmondo. For her role in L'amante di Gramigna/The Bandit (Carlo Lizzani, 1969), Sandrelli was awarded as Best Actress at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

    Throughout the 1970s, Sandrelli continued to be one of the stars of the Commedia all'italiana. She appeared in Mario Monicelli's Brancaleone alle crociate/Brancaleone at the Crusades (1970) with Vittorio Gassman and Adolfo Celi, in Ettore Scola's C'eravamo tanto amati/We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) with Gassman and Nino Manfredi, and in the satirical comedy-drama L'ingorgo - Una storia impossibile/Traffic Jam (Luigi Comencini, 1979). She also starred in several dramatic films, such as Delitto d'amore/Somewhere Beyond Love (Luigi Comencini, 1974) with Giuliano Gemma.

    Sandrelli worked several times with prolific director Bernardo Bertolucci, and starred in his dramas Partner (1968) opposite Pierre Clémenti, Il Conformista/The Conformist (1970) as the wife of Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Novecento/1900 (1976), as the wife of Gérard Dépardieu. She also played in French productions, such as Les Magiciens'/Death Rite (Claude Chabrol, 1976) with Franco Nero, and the crime-thriller Police Python 357/The Case Against Ferro (Alain Corneau, 1976) starring Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. In 1980 she won the Nastro d'Argento for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Ettore Scola's La terrazzo/The terrace (1980).

    Stefania Sandrelli and Marcello Mastroianni in Divorzio all'italiana (1961)
    Small Czech collectors card by Pressfoto, Praha (Prague), 1965, no. S 83/6. Publicity still for Divorzio all'italiana/Divorce, Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961) with Marcello Mastroianni.

    Stefania Sandrelli
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

    Stefania Sandrelli
    Italian postcard by Il Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino.

    The Key

    After some less successful films, Stefania Sandrelli relaunched her career with the erotic film La chiave/The Key (Tinto Brass, 1983), based on the novel Kagi by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. The film caused some scandal because of the explicit nude scenes in which Sandrelli was involved and obtained a great commercial success. In the wake of the success of La Chiave, she played in a brief series of successful erotic films. She also continued to appear in dramas like Segreti segreti/Secrets Secrets (Giuseppe Bertolucci, 1985) and the courtroom drama Mamma Ebe/Mother Ebe (Carlo Lizzani, 1985).

    One of her best films of this decade was the comedy Speriamo che sia femmina/Let's Hope It's a Girl (Mario Monicelli, 1986), starring Liv Ullman and Catherine Deneuve. For this film Sandrelli was awarded with a David di Donatello for Best Supporting Actress. The film also won the David di Donatello for Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Producer, Best Editing and Best Script. Another award winning film was La famiglia/The Family (Ettore Scola, 1987) in which she starred with Vittorio Gassman, Fanny Ardant and Philippe Noiret.

    Sandrelli was nominated to the Nastro Argento (Silver Ribbon award) for Best Actress for her role in the historical comedy-drama Secondo Ponzio Pilato (Luigi Magni, 1987), an ironic reinterpretation of the history, starring Nino Manfredias Pontius Pilate. She won again a David di Donatello for Best Actress for the drama Mignon è partita/Mignon Has Come to Stay (Francesca Archibugi, 1988). The film won another four David di Donatello awards. A popular success was the comedy Il piccolo diavolo/The Little Devil (1988) directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. She also starred opposite Giancarlo Giannini and Emmanuelle Seigner in the drama Il male oscuro/Dark Illness (Mario Monicelli, 1990).

    In the following decade, the Italian film industry got into a crisis and Italian films in general were less prolific than they used to be. Sandrelli appeared in TV series and in international productions like the romantic drama Die Rückkehr/The African Woman (Margarethe von Trotta, 1990) with Barbara Sukowa and Samy Frey, the Spanish comedy/drama Jamón Jamón/Ham, Ham (Bigas Luna, 1992), starring Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, and the Argentine-American drama De amor y de sombras/Of Love and Shadows (Betty Kaplan, 1994), based on the novel by Isabel Allende and starring Antonio Banderasand Jennifer Connelly.

    She played a supporting part in Bertolucci’s Io ballo da sola/Stealing Beauty (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1996) starring Liv Tyler and Joseph Fiennes. That year she also appeared in the comedy-drama Ninfa plebea/The Nymph (Lina Wertmüller, 1996) with Raoul Bova. She won another the Nastro d'Argento for Best Supporting Actress for the Commedia all'italiana La cena/The Dinner (Ettore Scola, 1998). In Portugal, she appeared in Um Filme Falado/A Talking Picture (2003), written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira, and starring Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich. She continues to appear in films and TV series and her most recent film is the comedy A casa tutti bene/There's No Place Like Home (Gabriele Muccino, 2018).

    In 2005 she received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival, and in 2012 she received the title of Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Stefania Sandrelli had a long and tempestuous relationship with Italian singer-songwriter Gino Paoli, since she was 16. Their daughter Amanda Sandrelli, born in 1964, is also an actress. From 1972 till 1976, she was married to Italian athlete and entrepreneur Nicky Pende with whom she also has a son, Vito (1973). Their marriage ended when Sandrelli had a short affair on the set of Novecento/1900 (1976) with her co-star Gérard Dépardieu. Since 1983, she's the longtime companion of director Giovanni Soldati.

    Sandrelli has a passion for wine, and in 1993, she started a partnership with Distilleria Bottega to produce her signature wine ‘Acino d'Oro, Chianti Classico DOCG’ commercially. She also continues to act. More recently, she starred in La passione (Carlo Mazzacurati, 2010), a Commedia all'Italiana which was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and in the TV series Una grande famiglia/The Family (2012-2015). At IMDb, Manutwo writes: “Stefania Sandrelli represents one of the few actresses who are able to age gracefully and still get interesting roles. She is still regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Italy and she is still able to charm the audience with her sweet smile and sparkling eyes.”

    Trailer Divorzio all'italiana/Divorce, Italian Style (1961). Source: ClassicCinemaLovers (YouTube).

    Trailer Delitto d'amore/Somewhere Beyond Love (1974). Source: Film&Clips (YouTube).

    Sources: Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Biografieonline.it (Italian), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/23/18--23:00: Fotocelere
  • Several of the postcards of the divas of the Italian silent cinema were published by a company in Torino (Turin), Fotocelere. From 1908 on, Fotocelere published thousands of postcards in a wide range of genres This post focuses on Fotocelere's early postcards of the Italian divas of the 1910's and early 1920s.

    Pina Menichelli
    Pina Menichelli. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Ileana Leonidoff
    Ileana Leonidoff. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Thea. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Diana Karenne
    Diana Karenne. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Linda Moglia
    Linda Moglia. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Italia Almirante Manzini
    Italia Almirante Manzini. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Fernanda Negri Pouget
    Fernanda Negri Pouget. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

    Compagnia Fotocelere

    Fotocelere (Compagnia Fotocelere) was a photography studio and graphic art and silver bromide photograph printing company in Torino, Turin, Italy.

    It was founded in 1908 by Mariano De Sperati (Desperati) at via Madama Cristina, 26. He also founded a similar company in Turin, L'Argentografica.

    In 1910, De Sperati went into partnership with Angelo Campassi at via Marocchetti, 4 to produce commercial photographic art and silver bromide postcards, which between 1917 and 1942 were published under the name Fotocelere di A. Campassi, when Campassi was sole owner of the company.

    In 1917, after returning from fighting in the First World War, De Sperati revived the L'Argentografica business and began to print postcards.

    Fotocelere di A. Campassi published real photograph postcards in a wide range of genres, especially views of Italian cities, which were taken by a number of photographers.

    Linda Moglia
    Linda Moglia. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 80.

    Elena Sangro
    Elena Sangro. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 109.

    Yvonne de Fleuriel
    Yvonne de Fleuriel. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 125.

    Helena Makowska
    Helena Makowska. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 127.

    Helena Makowska
    Helena Makowska. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 128.

    Anna Fougez
    Anna Fougez. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, no. 135.

    Lyda Borelli
    Lyda Borelli. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 207. Photo: Badodi, Milano.

    Francesca Bertini
    Francesca Bertini. Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 324.

    Source: Dumbarton Oaks.

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  • 03/24/18--18:00: Lys Assia (1924-2018)
  • Yesterday, Saturday 24 March 2018, Swiss singer and actress Lys Assia has passed away. She was the winner of the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. The sparkling and beautiful grande dame of the German Schlager appeared as a singer in several films of the 1950s. Lys Assia was 94.

    Lys Assia
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2428. Photo: Teldec.

    Lys Assia
    German card by LYSassia.de. Publicity card for the album Sehnsucht nach dir. Photo: Gerd Nolte.

    Legendary Venues

    Lys Assia was born as Rosa Mina Schärer in Rupperswil in the canton Aargau, Switzerland, in 1924 (some sources indicate she was born in Berne in 1926).

    She studied at a conservatory and at the art academy of Zurich. At 16, she started her career as a dancer at Zurich's Corso-Palast.

    In 1940, she appeared with the Riva-Ballett for the French army, and in Nice she stood in for a female singer. People who heard her singing liked it so much that she decided for a career in front of the microphone.

    In 1942 she had her first record contract with His Master’s Voice. She had her breakthrough in Germany in 1950 with the hit song O mein Papa (O My Father) from the operetta Feuerwerk (Fire Works) by Paul Burkhard.

    Other well known songs of her were Moulin Rouge (1953), Schwedenmädel (Swedish Girl) (1954), Jolie Jacqueline (1955), Arrivederci Roma (1956), Was kann schöner sein (What Can Be More Beautiful?) (1956), Deine Liebe (Your Love) (1957) and Mi casa su casa (1957).

    She sang in such legendary venues as the Tivoli in Copenhagen, the Olympia in Paris, the Plaza in New York and the Tropicana in Cuba.

    On screen she appeared as a Schlager singer in German films like Palace Hotel (Emil Berna, Leonard Steckel, 1952) with Paul Hubschmid, Illusion in Moll/Illusion in a Minor Key (Rudolf Jugert, 1952) starring Hildegard Knef, Schlagerparade/Hit Parade (Erik Ode, 1953), Ein Mann Vergißt die Liebe/A Man Forgets Love (Volker von Collande, 1955) and Die Beine von Dolores/Dolores' Legs (Géza von Cziffra, 1957) with Germaine Damar.

    In the Italian classic Le Notti Bianchi/White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957 - yes, we think every Visconti film is a classic 😊) with Marcello Mastroianni, she sang the song Scusami (Excuse Me).

    Lys Assia (1924-2018)
    German promotion card by Decca.

    Lys Assia
    German card by Telefunken Schallplatten. Photo: Teldec / Haenchen.

    Lys Assia
    German card by Telefunken Schallplatten. Photo: Teldec / Haenchen.

    Posing Nude

    Lys Assia was the winner of the very first Grand Prix d'Eurovision de la chanson/Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. She sang the songs Das alte Karussell (The Old Carousel) and Refrain for Switzerland.

    She had also been in the German national final of that year. For Switzerland she returned to the contest in 1957, finishing eighth with L'enfant que j'étais (The Child I Was), and in 1958, finishing second with Giorgio.

    She was married twice, from 1953 till 1957 to the Swiss businessman Henry Kunz, and from 1963 till 1995 to the Danish general-consul and hotel mogul Oskar Pedersen.

    In 1964 she retired from show business and moved with her husband to Denmark. They opened hotels in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan and South America.

    After her husband’s death, she returned to Germany and renewed her singing career. In 2007, at age 83, she appeared at the annual German-language television song contest Grand Prix der Volksmusik, performing Sag Mir Wo Wohnen die Engel (Tell Me Where the Angels Live) with her 18-year-old duet partner, Beatrice Egli.

    That same year, she also posed nude for the Swiss magazine Annabelle, for a feature titled Beauty with Age.

    Her last album was Refrain des Lebens (2008) on which she sang new songs and new versions of old hits like Oh mein Papa and Refrain. At the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow she handed Alexander Rybak the winner’s trophy.

    In September 2011, Assia entered her song C'était ma vie written by Ralph Siegel and Jean Paul Cara into the Swiss national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song, however, only came eighth in a closely fought national selection. She attended the event in Baku as a guest of honour.

    In 2012, Assia entered the Swiss National Final Die grosse Entscheidungs Show to represent Switzerland in Malmö at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 with the song All In Your Head featuring the hip-hop band New Jack.

    She stayed a lifelong fan of the European Song Contest. Lys Assia died on 24 March 2018 at Zürich's Zollikerberg Hospital.

    Lys Assia sings Refrain at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Source: EurovisionTurkey09 (YouTube).

    Music video of a recent version of O Mein Papa by Lys Assia. Source: Bersoli (YouTube).

    Sources: Dave Thompson (AllMusic), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 03/25/18--22:00: Ronald Colman
  • Elegant British actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958) was a top box office draw in Hollywood films as the archetypal English gentleman throughout the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. ‘The man with the velvet voice’ was nominated for four Academy awards. In 1948 he finally won the Oscar for his splendid portrayal of a tormented actor in A Double Life.

    Ronald Colman

    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1684/1, 1927-1928. Photo: United Artists.

    Ronald Colman in Two Lovers (1928)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1684/2, 1927-1928. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for Two Lovers (Fred Niblo, 1928).

    Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1795/1, 1927-1928. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Winning of Barbara Worth (Henry King, 1926)  with Vilma Bánky.

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2079/2, 1927-1928. Photo: United Artists.

    Ronald Colman in The Rescue (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3667/1, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Rescue (Herbert Brenon, 1929).

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4779/1, 1929-1930. Photo: United Artists.

    Decorated, discharged and depressed

    Ronald Charles Colman was born in 1891 in Richmond, England. He was the fifth of six children of silk importer Charles Colman and his wife Marjory Read Fraser.

    Ronald was educated at a boarding school in Littlehampton, where he discovered he enjoyed acting. When Ronald was 16 his father died by pneumonia, putting an end to the boy's plans to attend Cambridge and become an engineer. He went to work as a shipping clerk at the British Steamship Company.

    He also became a well-known amateur actor, and was a member of the West Middlesex Dramatic Society (1908-1909). In 1909, he joined the London Scottish Regiment, an army territorial force, and at the outbreak of World War I he was sent to France. Colman took part in the first Battle of Ypres and was severely wounded at the battle at Messines in Belgium. The shrapnel wounds he took to his legs invalided him out of active service.

    In May 1915, decorated, discharged and depressed, he returned home with a limp that he would attempt to hide throughout the rest of his acting career. He tried to enter the consular service, but a chance encounter got him a small role in the London play The Maharanee of Arakan (1916). He dropped other plans and concentrated on the theatre.

    Producers soon noted the young actor with his striking good looks, rich voice and rare dignity, and Colman was rewarded with a succession of increasingly prominent parts. He worked with stage greats Gladys Cooper and Gerald du Maurier.

    He made extra money appearing in films like the two-reel silent comedy The Live Wire (Cecil Hepworth, 1917). The set was an old house, the budget was negligible, and Colman doubled as the leading character and prop man. The film was never released though.

    Other silent British films were The Snow of the Desert (Walter West, 1919) with Violet Hopson and Stewart Rome, and The Black Spider (William Humphrey, 1920) with Mary Clare. The negatives of all Colman's early British films have probably been destroyed during the 1941 London Blitz.

    After a brief courtship, he married actress Thelma Raye in 1919. The marriage was in trouble almost from the beginning. The two separated in 1923 but were not divorced until 1934.

    Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3375/3, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for Two Lovers (Fred Niblo, 1928) with Vilma Bánky.

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3377/1, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists.

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3377/4, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Ronald Colman in Two Lovers (Fred Niblo 1928).

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4431/1, 1929-1930. Photo: United Artists.

    Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4431/2, 1929-1930. Photo: United Artists.

    Romantic Tearjerker

    In 1920 Ronald Colman set out for New York in hopes of finding greater fortune there than in war-depressed England. His American film debut was in the tawdry melodrama Handcuffs or Kisses? (George Archainbaud, 1920). He toured with Robert Warwick in The Dauntless Three, and subsequently toured with Fay Bainter in East is West.

    After two years of impoverishment, he was cast in the Broadway hit play La Tendresse (1922). Director Henry King spotted him and cast him as Lillian Gish's leading man in The White Sister (Henry King, 1923), filmed in Italy. The romantic tear-jerker was wildly popular and Colman was quickly proclaimed a new film star.

    This success led to a contract with prominent independent film producer Samuel Goldwyn, and in the following ten years he became a very popular silent film star in both romantic and adventure films.

    Among his most successful films for Goldwyn were The Dark Angel (George Fitzmaurice, 1925) with Hungarian actress Vilma Bánky, Stella Dallas (Henry King, 1926), the Oscar Wilde adaptation Lady Windermere's Fan (Ernst Lubitsch, 1925) and The Winning of Barbara Worth (Henry King, 1926) with Gary Cooper.

    Colman's dark hair and eyes and his athletic and riding ability led reviewers to describe him as a ‘Valentino type’. He was often cast in similar, exotic roles. The film that cemented this position as a top star was Beau Geste (Herbert Brenon, 1926), Paramount's biggest hit of 1926.

    It was the rousing tale of three brothers (Colman, Neil Hamilton and Ralph Forbes), who join the Foreign Legion to escape the law. Beau Geste was full of mystery, desert action, intrigue and above all, brotherly loyalty. Colman's gentlemanly courage and quiet strength were showcased to perfection in the role of the oldest brother, Beau. The film is still referred to as possibly the greatest Foreign Legion film ever produced.

    Towards the end of the silents era Colman was teamed again with Vilma Bánky under Samuel Goldwyn. The two would make a total of five films together and their popularity rivalled that of Greta Garbo& John Gilbert.

    Vilma Banky & Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2082/3, 1927-1928. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Magic Flame (Henry King 1927) with Vilma Bánky.

    Vilma Banky, Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3375/1, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for Two Lovers (Fred Niblo, 1928) with Vilma Bánky.

    Vilma Banky and Ronald Colman in Two Lovers
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3375/4, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Ronald Colman and Vilma Bánky in Two Lovers (Fred Niblo, 1928). Someone scribbled the original Dutch release title on the postcard: Onder Alva's Bewind (Under Alva's Regime).

    Ronald Colman in The Rescue (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3667/1, 1928-1929. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Rescue (Herbert Brenon, 1929).

    Lily Damita, Ronald Colman
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4029/1, 1929-1930. Photo: United Artists. Ronald Colman and Lily Damita in The Rescue (Herbert Brenon, 1929).

    Sophisticated Thoughtful Characters of Integrity

    Although Ronald Colman was a huge success in silent films, with the coming of sound, his extraordinarily beautiful speaking voice made him even more important to the film industry. His first major talkie success was in 1930, when he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for two roles - Condemned (Wesley Ruggles, 1929) with Lily Damita, and Bulldog Drummond (F. Richard Jones, 1929) with Joan Bennett.

    Thereafter he played a number of sophisticated, noble characters with enormous aplomb such as Clive of India (Richard Boleslawski, 1935) with Colin Clive, but he also swashbuckled expertly when called to do so in films like The Prisoner of Zenda (John Cromwell, 1937) with Madeleine Carroll.

    A falling out with Goldwyn in 1934 prompted Colman to avoid long-term contracts for the rest of his career. He became one of just a handful of top stars to successfully freelance, picking and choosing his assignments and studios.

    His notable films included the Charles Dickens adaptation A Tale of Two Cities (Jack Conway, 1935), the poetic classic Lost Horizon (Frank Capra, 1937), and If I Were King (Frank Lloyd, 1938) with Basil Rathbone as vagabond poet Francois Villon.

    During the war he made two of his very best films - Talk of the Town (George Stevens, 1942) with Cary Grant and Jean Arthur, and the romantic tearjerker Random Harvest (Mervyn LeRoy, 1942), as an amnesiac victim, co-starring with the luminousGreer Garson.

    For his role in A Double Life (George Cukor, 1947), an actor playing Othello who comes to identify with the character, he won both the Golden Globefor Best Actor in 1947 and the Best Actor Oscar in 1948.

    Colman made many guest appearances on The Jack Benny Program on the radio, alongside his second wife, British stage and screen actress Benita Hume. Their comedy work as Benny's next-door neighbours led to their own radio comedy The Halls of Ivy from 1950 to 1952, and then on television from 1954 to 1955.

    Incidentally he appeared in films, such as in the romantic comedy Champagne for Caesar (Richard Whorf, 1950), and his final film The Story of Mankind (Irwin Allen, 1957) with Hedy Lamarr. Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "a laughably wretched extravaganza from which Colman managed to emerge with his dignity and reputation intact."

    Ronald Colman died in 1958, aged 67, from a lung infection in Santa Barbara, California. He was survived by Benita Hume, and their daughter Juliet Benita Colman (1944). In 1975, Juliet published the biography Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person.

    Ronald Colman
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 259.

    Ronald Colman
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 406.

    Ronald Colman in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)
    French postcard by Europe, no. 212. Photo: publicity still for The Winning of Barbara Worth (Henry King, 1926).

    Ronald Colman
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 202.

    Ronald Colman
    British Valentine's postcard in the Famous Film Stars Series, no. 7123 I.

    Ronald Colman and Juliet Compton in The Masquerader
    British postcard in the Filmshots series by Film Weekly. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Masquerader (Richard Wallace, 1933) with Juliet Compton.

    Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt in Lost Horizon (1937)
    Italian postcard by Vecchioni & Guadagno, Roma. Photo: Columbia EIA. Publicity still for Lost Horizon (Frank Capra, 1937) with Jane Wyatt.

    Ronald Colman, Greer Garson
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois-D'Haine, Serie C, no. C. 170. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Random Harvest (1942) with Greer Garson.

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

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Jim Beaver (IMDb), Julie Stowe (The Ronald Colman Pages), Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/26/18--22:00: Anita Dorris
  • Beautiful German leading lady Anita Dorris (1903-1993) started as a stage actress in 1921, after which some 15 silent films followed. Dorris was beloved in the late 1920s and smoothly made the passage to sound. In 1930, she married Austrian film director E. W. Emo and withdrew from the cinema. Her daughter, Maria Emo, would also become a well known stage and film actress.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5030/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Vienna.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5030/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Vienna.

    Anita Dorris
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5395. Photo: Atelier Manassé.

    Anita Dorris
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5403. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Wien.

    Anita Dorris
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5488. Photo: Atelier Manassé.

    Film actress by accident

    Anita Dorris was born Anita Dorothea Schmidt in 1903 in Lübeck, Germany. She was the daughter of Ernst Schmidt, the owner of a printing company.

    In 1921, because of her acquaintance with Anton Kohl, Anita got her first engagement as a stage actress at the Stadttheater Eger. She moved on to theatres in the cities of Pilsen and Franzensbad, and from 1923 till 1925 she worked in Prague.

    Her film career started by accident. She acted for a friendly cameraman who wanted to apply for a job with director Friedrich Zelnik (aka Frederic Zelnik) with a sample of his skill. However, Zelnik didn't pay attention to the work of the cameraman but was enthusiastic about the acting by Schmidt.

    He engaged her for his film Die Mühle von Sanssouci/The Mill of Sanssouci (Siegfried Philippi, Friedrich Zelnik, 1926), and Anita Schmidt changed her name into Anita Dorris. In her film debut she appeared with the stars Otto Gebühr and Olga Tschechova, and soon some 15 more silent films followed.

    She worked on three films with Dutch director Jaap Speyer: Liebeshandel/Love Affair (1927), Bigamie/Bigamy (1927) and Die Sache mit Schorrsiegel/The Schorsiegel Case (1928).

    According to Thomas Staedeli at Cyranos, her most impressive performance was Trilby in the drama Svengali (Gennaro Righelli, 1927) opposite Paul Wegenerin the title role.

    Dorris also played Friederike of Prussia in both Die Jugend der Königin Luise/Königin Luise I/Queen Louise and Königin Luise II (Karl Grune, 1927), based on screenplays by Ludwig Berger.

    Anita Dorris and Paul Wegener in Svengali (1927)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden Deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 135, group 43. Photo: Terra Film. Publicity still for Svengali (Gennaro Righelli, 1927) with Paul Wegener.

    Mady Christians in Die Jugend der Königin Luise (1927)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 88/1. Photo: Terra Film. Mady Christians, Anita Dorris and Hans Mierendorff in Die Jugend der Königin Luise/Königin Luise I (Karl Grüne, 1927).

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4194/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Ernst Sandau, Berlin.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4597/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Kiesel, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5112/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Hasse Film.

    The first German sound film

    Anita Dorris was beloved in the late silent film era and with her stage-trained voice, she smoothly made the passage to sound film.

    In 1929, she appeared in the first German sound film, the short Mein Traum wär ein Mädel/My Dream Was a Girl (E.W. Emo, 1929) with Rudolf Platte.

    She also costarred in the prestigious German-Swedish coproduction Mach die Welt ein Paradies/Make the World a Paradise for me (Paul Merzbach, 1930), opposite Swedish actor Gösta Ekman, the star from F.W. Murnau's Faust.

    That same year 1930, however, her promising film career came abrupt to an end. She married film director E.W. Emo and she retired from the cinema at his request.

    Her final film was Student sein, wenn die Veilchen blühen/Student Life in Marry Springtime (Heinz Paul, 1931) with Fred Louis Lerch.

    Ever since 1939, Anita Dorris lived in Vienna, where she died in 1993. Her daughter, Maria Emo (1936), would become a well known stage and film actress in the 1950s.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3107/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4242/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Sandau, Berlin.

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4821/1, 1929-1930. Photo: M. von Bucovich (Atelier K. Schenker).

    Anita Dorris
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5601/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Werner-Film-Verleih.

    Anita Dorris
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 6031. Photo: Bear Film. Distr. / Danubio-Film.

    Anita Dorris
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 6142. Photo: Verleih Deutsche Tonfilme Leopold Barth & Co.

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

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  • 03/27/18--22:00: Halkas Gelöbnis (1918)
  • Lya Mara was the star in the German silent melodrama Halkas Gelöbnis/Halka's Vow (1918). Her co-star was the young Hans Albers, in his first film role. Alfred Halm directed the film under his regular pseudonym H. Fredall, while he also scripted the film. The postcards were published by the Berlin firm Photochemie.

    Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2273. Photo: Berliner Film-Manufaktur. Rudolf Lettinger (?) and Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (H. Fredall, 1918).

    Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2272. Photo: Berliner Film-Manufaktur. Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (H. Fredall, 1918).

    Eternal loyalty

    Before she was a big star as comedienne in the 1920s, Lya Mara did various dramatic films in the 1910s. An example is Halkas Gelöbnis, which was shot in the Autumn of 1917 and premiered in January 1918.

    Producer of the film was Mara's future husband, Friedrich Zelnik later known as Frederic Zelnik.

    Halkas Gelöbnis is situated somewhere and somewhen in Poland. Count Symon Barinowsky (Hans Albers) returns to his homestead and falls in love with his foster sister Halka (Lya Mara).

    His mother instead wants Symon to marry aristocracy, but before the statue of the Holy Virgin, Halka promises eternal loyalty to Symon. When Symon is away in Java, the countess notices Halka is courted by Dr. Piorkowsky (Erich Kaiser-Titz) and announces their engagement.

    Halka, devastated, writes Symon about his mother's plans and swears eternal loyalty to Symon. Even in her wedding night with the doctor, Halka remains true to Symon.

    That night Symon returns and the two men fight, until the old servant Jan (Rudolf Lettinger) comes between them and explains Halka is Symon's half-sister. Halka overhears this and collapses.

    Her husband takes care of her. Afterwards Halka's oath to Symon turns into another one, of eternal friendship.

    Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2271. Photo: Berliner Film-Manufaktur. Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (H. Fredall, 1918).

    Lya Mara in Halkas Gelöbnis (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2270. Photo: Berliner Film-Manufaktur. Lya Mara, Erich Kaiser-TitzHans Albers and Rudolf Lettinger in Halkas Gelöbnis (H. Fredall, 1918).

    Sources: Wikiwand and IMDb.

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  • 03/28/18--22:00: Stéphane Audran
  • On 27 March 2018, French film and television actress Stéphane Audran (1932-2018) passed away. The cool and aristocratic looking star was known for her performances in Oscar winning films such as Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972) and Babettes gæstebud/ Babette's Feast (1987). She appeared in many films by director and screenwriter Claude Chabrol, who was her husband for 16 years.

    Stéphane Audran
    Vintage Postcard by Ste. Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Ménage à Trois

    Stéphane Audran was born as Colette Suzanne Dacheville in Versailles, in 1932.

    She made her film debut in Le jeu de la nuit/The Game of the Night (Daniel Costelle, 1957). Her first major role was in Claude Chabrol's film Les Cousins/The Cousins (1959) starring Gérard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy.

    At the time she was married to actor Jean-Louis Trintignant. Audran and Chabrol started a relationship from which their son, the French actor Thomas Chabrol was born in 1963. A year later they married and she has since appeared in some 20 of Chabrol's films.

    Her films with Chabrol include Les Bonnes Femmes/The Good Time Girls (1960) with Bernadette Lafont, and L'oeil du malin/The Third Lover (1962) with Jacques Charrier.

    She first gained notice or her role in Les Biches (Claude Chabrol, 1968) as a rich lesbian who becomes involved in a ménage à trois. At the 18th Berlin International Film Festival, she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress for this role. The film also inaugurated a second golden era in the career of her husband - roughly 1968-1973.

    The spellbinding mysterious atmosphere of such films as the crime drama La Femme Infidèle/The Unfaithful Wife (1968), the thriller Le Boucher/The Butcher (1970), the thriller La rupture/The Breach (1970), the drama Juste Avant La Nuit/Just Before Nightfall (1971) and the crime drama Les noces rouges/Wedding in Blood (1973) starring Michel Piccoli, owes a lot to Audran.

    Stephane Audran and Philippe Noiret in Coup de Torchon (1981)
    Dutch collectors card in the Filmsterren: een Portret series by Edito Service S.A., 1992. Photo: Ciné-Plus. Publicity still for Coup de Torchon (Bertrand Tavernier, 1981) with Philippe Noiret.

    Stephane Audran in Babettes gaestebud (1987)
    Dutch collectors card in the Filmsterren: een Portret series by Edito Service S.A., 1992. Photo: K. Lagerfeld / Stills. Publicity still for Babettes gaestebud/Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987).

    Mysterious Cook

    Stéphane Audran appeared in the first film of Éric Rohmer, Signe du Lion/The Sign of Leo (1962) with Jess Hahn. She also played in La Peau de Torpedo/Children of Mata Hari (Jean Delannoy, 1970) with Klaus Kinski, Aussi loin que l'amour/As Far as Love Can Go (Frédéric Rossif, 1971) as the wife of Michel Duchaussoy, and in Orson WellesThe Other Side of the Wind (1972).

    The most celebrated of her non-Chabrol films was Luis Buñuel's Oscar-winning satire Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie/The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972). In 1974, Audran won the BAFTA Film Award in Great Britain for Best Actress for her parts in Avant La Nuit/Just Before Nightfall (Claude Chabrol, 1971) and Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie/The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972).

    In Vincent, François, Paul... et les autres/Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (Claude Sautet, 1974), she played Yves Montand’s wife. Among her English-language productions are American features like the comedy The Black Bird (David Giler, 1975) starring George Segal, and the crime comedy Silver Bears (Ivan Passer, 1978) with Michael Caine.

    Stéphane Audran won a César Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Violette Nozière (Claude Chabrol, 1978) featuring Isabelle Huppert. Audran played against-type  a drab, unhappy woman. Audran and Chabrol divorced in 1980.

    After their divorce, Audran continued her career on full speed. She worked with cult director Samuel Fuller on his war film The Big Red One (1980) starring Lee Marvin, and his crime drama Les voleurs de la nuit/Thieves After Dark (1984) with Bobby Di Cicco.

    She played the wife of a cop (Philippe Noiret) turned serial killer in Coup de torchon/Clean Slate (Bertrand Tavernier, 1981). Audran also appeared in international TV mini-series like Brideshead Revisited (Charles Sturridge, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1981) and Mistral's Daughter (Kevin Connor, Douglas Hickox, 1984).

    In France she appeared in the thriller Mortelle randonnée/Deadly Circuit (Claude Miller, 1983) starring Michel Serrault and Isabelle Adjani, and in Chabrol’s Le sang des autres/The Blood of Others (Claude Chabrol, 1984) starring Jodie Foster.

    After some less interesting films, she made a splash as the mysterious cook, Babette in Babettes gæstebud/Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987) based on the novel by Karen Blixen. She continued to appear in Claude Chabrol’s films such as in Betty (1992) with Marie Trintignant, and also worked in other international films and TV series. But her later work is not as remarkable as her films of the 1960s and 1970s.

    Her final film was the comedy-drama La fille de Monaco/The Girl from Monaco (Anne Fontaine, 2008) with Fabrice Luchini. Her son Thomas told the AFP news agency that his mother had died early on 27 March 2018, following a long illness. Stéphane Audran was 85.

    Scene from La Femme Infidèle (1968). Source: Seidrik (YouTube).

    Trailer Babette's Feast (1987). Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault (YouTube).

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

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  • 03/29/18--22:00: Rizzoli
  • During the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, Rizzoli in Milan was one of the most prominent publishers of film star postcards in Italy. Director was Angelo Rizzoli, who also was a film producer. For this post we selected 15 Rizzoli postcards of 13 Italian star actresses. Typical for these postcards are the monochrome colours and the strange numbering: e.g. 1938-XVI means published in 1938, the 16th year since the reign of Benito Mussolini started in 1922.

    Isa Miranda
    Isa Miranda. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1937-XV.

    Elsa De Giorgi
    Elsa De Giorgi. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, 1940. Photo: Venturini.

    Assia Noris
    Assia Noris. Italian postcard by Rizzoli E.C., Milano, 1938-XVI. Photo: Pesce.

    Dina Sassoli
    Dina Sassoli. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1942-XX. Photo: Scalera Film. Publicity still for Don Giovanni/Loves of Don Juan (Dino Falconi, 1942).

    Elsa Merlini
    Elsa Merlini. Italian postcard by Rizzoli & Co, Milano, 1936.

    Leda Gloria
    Leda Gloria. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1941. Sent by mail in 1943. Photo: Venturini.

    Leda Gloria
    Leda Gloria. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1942. Photo: Ghergo.

    Angelo Rizzoli

    Founder of Rizzoli was Milanese publisher and film producer Angelo Rizzoli (1889-1970). Orphaned at a young age and raised in poverty, he rose to prosperity. He apprenticed in the printer trade and later became an entrepreneur in his twenties.

    In 1927, he founded company A. Rizzoli & Co. (later RCS MediaGroup). In 1927 Rizzoli acquired Novella magazine, a bi-weekly primarily for women that reached a circulation of 130,000 copies, from Mondadori an independent publisher who specialised in books and magazines.

    He later added several new publications. In 1949 he began publishing books including both classics and popular novels. His firm became an Italian publishing empire. Rizzoli was amongst the first producers of daily newspapers within the relatively newly established nation of Italy.

    From 1934 he was also active as a film producer He had instant success with his production La signora di tutti/Everybody's Woman (Max Ophüls, 1934) starring Isa Miranda. For this film he also made a beautiful series of postcards. It was followed by the hit comedy Darò un milione/I'll Give a Million (Mario Camerini, 1935), starring Vittorio De Sica and Assia Noris.

    After the war, he produced Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960) and (1963), and Michelangelo Antonioni's Il deserto rosso (1964). He also produced the controversial documentaries Mondo cane/A Dog's Life (Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi, 1962) and Africa Addio/Africa Blood and Guts (Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi, 1966), as well as French films such as Une Parisienne (Michel Boisrond, 1957), starring Brigitte Bardot.

    A museum about Angelo Rizzoli's life and career is located at Villa Arbusto within the guest house of that place, at Lacco Ameno. Within this are held 500 photographic-records or evidence of his activities taken on-set during production. The museum also holds the Pithekoussai Archaeological Museum

    Alida Valli
    Alida Valli. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1939.

    Alida Valli
    Alida Valli. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1941. Photo: Venturini.

    Isa Pola
    Isa Pola. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1940. Photo: Pesce.

    Germana Paolieri
    Germana Paolieri. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano 1940. Photo: Ghergo.

    Maria Denis
    Maria Denis. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1936.

    Silvana Jachino
    Silvana Jachino. Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1936.

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

    Carla Del Poggio
    Carla Del Poggio. Italian postcard by Ed. Rizzoli, Milano, 1941. Photo: Venturini.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 03/30/18--22:00: Franco Andrei
  • Italian actor Franco Andrei (1925) played the hunky Latin lover in German and Italian comedies of the 1950s. In the 1960s, he appeared as a secret agent in several Eurospy-films and in the TV series Mission: Impossible.

    Franco Andrei
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 440, 1957. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Standard-Film.

    Franco Andrei
    German postcard by Universum-Film AG (UFA/Film-Foto), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1144. Photo: Michaelis / Arian Film / Deutsche London Film (DLF). Publicity still for Tanz in der Sonne/Dance in the Sun (Géza von Cziffra, 1954)

    Franco Andrei
    German postcard by Universum-Film AG (UFA/Film-Foto), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1459. Photo: Arthur Grimm / CCC-Film / Allianz Film. Publicity still for Stern von Rio/Star from Rio (Kurt Neumann, 1955).

    Erich Schellow, Ingrid Andree and Franco Andrei in Drei vom Variété (1957)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 222, 1957. Photo: Standard-film, Wien. Publicity still for Drei vom Variété/Three from Variety (Kurt Neumann, 1954) with Erich Schellow and Ingrid Andree.

    Italian Lover

    Franco Andrei was born in Italy in 1925.

    He made his film debut in the early 1950s. In 1953, he appeared as the Italian lover of Maria Schell in the German comedy Tagebuch einer Verliebten/The Diary of a Married Woman (Josef von Báky, 1053) with O.W. Fischer as her husband. The film was based on one of the popular novels by Johannes Mario Simmel.

    Andrei played another Latin lover – this time a Spanish one - in the musical Tanz in der Sonne/Dance in the Sun (Géza von Cziffra, 1954) with French actress Cécile Aubry. He also appeared in the German crime drama Drei vom Varieté/Three from Variety (Kurt Neumann, 1954) with Ingrid Andree, and the German-Italian adventure film Stern von Rio/Star from Rio (Kurt Neumann, 1955) with Johannes Heesters.

    Andrei also appeared in Italian films, including the romantic adventure film La capinera del mulino/The Blackhead of the Mill (Angio Zane, 1956) with Marisa Belli, the melodrama Suprema confessione/Supreme Confession (Sergio Corbucci, 1957) starring Anna Maria Ferrero, and the musical Come te movi, te fulmino!/Move and I'll Shoot (Mario Mattoli, 1958) with Giovanna Ralli.

    He also played a supporting part in the French film Sait-on jamais.../No Sun in Venice (Roger Vadim, 1957) about a cute and amoral (and Vadim’s favourite type of) French girl (Francoise Arnoul) living in a sumptuous Venetian palazzo. Andrei was one of the handsome guys swarming around her.

    At IMDb, Hal Erickson writes: “Vadim’s second directorial project was Sait-On Jamais, which was released in English-speaking countries as Does One Ever Know and No Sun in Venice. Set in Italy, this romantic suspenser is inventively paced to the musical improvisations of the Modern Jazz Quartet.”

    Franco Andrei
    Italian postcard by Farrania. Photo: Luna Park.

    Franco Andrei
    Italian postcard by Farrania. Photo: Luna Park.

    Franco Andrei
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 1122. Photo: Deutsche London Film.

    Franco Andrei
    German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 859. Photo: Sohler / MAGNA / London-Film. Publicity still for Tagebuch einer Verliebten/The Diary of a Married Woman (Josef von Báky, 1953).

    Maria Schell and Franco Andrei in Tagebuch einer Verliebten (1953)
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. I 103. Photo: Sohler / Magna / London-Film. Publicity still for Tagebuch einer Verliebten/The Diary of a Married Woman (Josef von Báky, 1953) with Maria Schell.

    Secret Agent No. 3

    Franco Andrei continued his international film career in the 1960s, although his appearances became rarer.

    He was again the stereotypical Latin lover in the romantic comedy Schick deine Frau nicht nach Italien/Do Not Send Your Wife to Italy (Hans Grimm, 1960) starring Marianne Hold and Claus Biederstaedt.

    He had a supporting part in the American production The Big Show (James B. Clark, 1961), which was filmed on location in Munich, Germany. The film’s main claim to fame was that it was the last major production starring aqua diva Esther Williams.

    As Frank Andrews, Andrei played a secondary character in the Eurospy film Agente 3S3: Passaporto per l'inferno/Agent 3S3: Passport to Hell (Sergio Sollima, 1965). (The meaning of the codename Agent 3S3 is Secret Agent No. 3 of the 3rd Special Division). He returned in another Eurospy thriller by director Sollima, Requiem per un agente segreto/Requiem for a Secret Agent (Sergio Sollima, 1966) starring Stewart Granger.

    His best known film is probably the Sci-Fi horror film Terrore nello spazio/Planet of the Vampires (1965) by cult director Mario Bava. At IMDb, reviewer In-the-fade writes: “Mario Bava does it again. The crystal colours, eerie atmosphere and evocative visuals are downright dazzling and haunting in this low-budget Italian Sci-fi outing. Never have I been disappointed in these technical aspects while experiencing the master at work. Many have mentioned it and the influences / similarities to Ridley Scott's 'Alien (1979)' ultimately sticks out.”

    Robert Firsching at AllMovie adds: “This classic blend of science-fiction and horror belies its extremely low budget with buckets of atmosphere and some genuinely creepy setpieces. The story concerns the crews of two spaceships, who land on a foggy, seemingly deserted planet. What they don't know is that the planet was home to a race of vampiric aliens, who possess their minds, eventually rising from their strange, misty graves to seek human blood. Legendary director Mario Bava once again proves himself a master at atmospheric composition, using color, sound, and minimalistic sets in original and unnerving ways. Barry Sullivan stars”.

    On American TV, Franco Andrei could be seen in a guest role in the popular series Mission: Impossible (1967). After the crime film Supercolpo da 7 miliardi/The 1000 Carat Diamond (Bitto Albertini, 1967) with Brad Harris, Franco Andrei’s film career virtually ended.

    More than 20 years later followed his last screen credit for the German TV drama Der lange Sommer/The Long Summer (Jochen Richter, 1989).

    Franco Andrei
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden-Westf., no. 1112. Photo: Standard-film / Deutsche London / Lilo.

    Franco Andrei
    Austrian postcard by HDH Verlag (Verlag Hubmann), Vienna, no. 324. Photo: Union Film. Franco Andrei in Drei vom Variété/Three from Variety (Kurt Neumann, 1954).

    Franco Andrei in Tanz in der Sonne (1954)
    German card. Photo: Michaelis / Arion Film / Deutsche London Film. Publicity still for Tanz in der Sonne/Dancing in the sun (Géza von Cziffra, 1954).

    Cécile Aubry and Franco Andrei in Tanz in der Sonne (1954)
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1145. Photo: Michaelis / Arion Film / Deutsche London Film. Publicity still for Tanz in der Sonne/Dance in the Sun (Géza von Cziffra, 1954) with Cécile Aubry.

    Franco Andrei, Cecile Aubry
    German postcard, offered by Cinema Capitole, Luxenbourg. Publicity still for Tanz in der Sonne/Dance in the Sun (Géza von Cziffra, 1954) with Cécile Aubry.

    Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Robert Firsching (AllMovie), MYmovies.it (Italian), and IMDb.

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  • 03/31/18--22:00: Egon von Jordan
  • Handsome Austrian actor Egon von Jordan (1902-1978) appeared in 85 films between 1923 and 1974. The elegant gentleman was a star in German and Austrian silent films, but later he merely appeared in supporting and small roles, including as the Austrian prime minister in the very successful Sissi-trilogy.

    Egon von Jordan
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1944/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Rembrandt.

    Egon von Jordan
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2035/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Mahrenholz, Berlin.

    Perfect Gentleman

    Egon von Jordan was born Egon Leopold Christian Jordan in Schloss Dux, Austria-Hungary (now Duchcov, Czech Republic) in 1902.

    He studied law at the University of Vienna for four semesters and took private acting lessons with Josef Danegger. In 1921 he made his debut at the Volkstheater in Wien (Vienna).

    A year later he made his first film appearance in the silent film Das Gespenst auf Mortons Schloß/The ghost on Mortons castle (Hans Homma, 1922) with Grit Haid.

    A more prominent part followed in the Arthur Schnitzler adaptation Der junge Medardus/The Young Medardus (1923), directed by Michael Kertész, who later became famous in Hollywood as Michael Curtiz.

    From 1925 to 1930, von Jordan was committed at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, and in the 1930s he played in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien, and again at the Volkstheater.

    Meanwhile he also starred in such silent films as Man spielt nicht mit der Liebe/Don't Play with Love (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1926) with Lily Damita, and Die glühende Gasse/The glowing alley (Paul Sugar, 1927) starring Hans Albers. The elegant von Jordan appeared in these films as the perfect gentleman.

    After the introduction of the sound film, he went to Hollywood to star in three German language versions of MGM productions, Mordprozess Mary Dugan/The Mary Dugan Case (Arthur Robison, 1931) opposite Nora Gregor, Menschen hinter Gittern/Men behind bars (Pál Fejös, 1931) with Heinrich George, and Casanova wider willen/Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (Edward Brophy, 1931) with Françoise Rosay and Buster Keaton.

    Back in Europe he appeared opposite such popular stars as Joseph Schmidt in Ein stern fällt vom himmel/A Star Fell from Heaven (Max Neufeld, 1934) and Paula Wessely in Die ganz grossen Torheiten/The quite big follies (Carl Froelich, 1937).

    During the war years he refused to cooperate on Nazi propaganda films and appeared in Austrian light entertainment films such as Meine Tochter lebt in Wien/My Daughter Lives in Vienna (E.W. Emo, 1940) with Hans Moser, Wiener Blut/Vienna Blood (Willi Forst, 1942) and Musik in Salzburg/Music in Salzburg (Herbert Maisch, 1944) starring Willy Birgel.

    Egon von Jordan
    German postcard by Verl. Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 6381. Photo: Rembrandt, Berlin.

    Egon von Jordan
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3891/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Hanni Schwarz, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Councilors, Barons and Historical Figures

    After the war, Egon von Jordan appeared at many stages in Germany and Austria.

    In Italy he had a supporting part in the film Romanzo d'amore/All for love (Duilio Coletti, 1950) with Danielle Darrieux and Rossano Brazzi.

    Back in Austria, he appeared in the crime film Abenteuer in Wien/Adventures in Vienna (Emil E. Reinert, 1952) with Gustav Fröhlich.

    During the 1950s, he played councillors, barons and historical figures from the time of the Habsburg Empire in several Austrian films, including Eine Nacht in Venedig/A Night in Venice (Georg Wildhagen, 1953), Bel Ami (Louis Daquin, 1955) featuring Johannes Heesters, the operetta Gasparone (Karl Paryla, 1956) and Sebastian Kneipp (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1958) with Carl Wery.

    In Hab' ich nur Deine Liebe/Am I Just Your Love (Eduard von Borsody, 1953), he appeared as composer Jacques Offenbach.

    A triumph were the Sissi films, Sissi (Ernst Marischka, 1955), Sissi - die junge Kaiserin/Sissi: The Young Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1956) and Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin/Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1957), starring Romy Schneider.

    Von Jordan played the Prime Minister of Austria, Graf Arco in this popular trilogy. He and Schneider acted together again in the historical romance Katia/Adorable Sinner (Robert Siodmak, 1959), in which he played only a bit role.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, he appeared in the military satire Der brave Soldat Schwejk/The Good Soldier Schweik (Axel von Ambesser, 1960) featuring Heinz Rühmann, Stadt ohne Mitleid/Town Without Pity (Gottfried Reinhardt, 1961) with Kirk Douglas, the Johannes Mario Simmel adaptation Und Jimmy ging zum Regenbogen/And Jimmy Went to the Rainbow's Foot (Alfred Vohrer, 1971) with Horst Tappert, and the monumental biography Karl May (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1974), his final film.

    In these years he could also be seen in several television films and series. His last appearance was in the TV film Verurteilt 1910/Sentenced in 1910 (Jörg A. Eggers, 1974) as Emperor Franz Joseph.

    Egon von Jordan passed away anonymously in Vienna in 1978. He was 76.

    Egon von Jordan
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Atelier Oertel, Berlin.

    Egon von Jordan
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 6042. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1931, Egon von Jordan appeared in three alternative language versions of MGM productions, including the Buster Keaton comedy Casanova wider Willen (Edward Brophy, 1931), the German language version of Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (Edward Sedgwick, 1931).

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

    Sources: Philippe Pelletier (Ciné-Artistes - French), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.

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