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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.

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  • 07/10/18--22:00: Genia Nikolaieva
  • Russian-born ballet dancer and actress Genia Nikolaieva (1904–2001) worked in the Germany cinema during the 1930s. In 1938 she emigrated to the United States, where she became ‘one of the most beautiful studio secretaries for Warner Bros.

    Genia Nikolaiewa
    German postcard by Gabor Hirsch, Frankfurt. Photo: Gabor Hirsch. Collection: Didier Hanson. This card was in Nikolaieva's suitcase full of personal documents, including her passport. After her death, her friend and will curator sold it to Didier.

    Genia Nikolaieva
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7317/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Marion, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    The State Opera Six


    Genia Nikolaieva was born in St Petersburg, Russia in 1904. Her name is also written as Genia Nikolajeva, Eugenia Nikolajewa or Genia Nikolaiewa.

    Her parents moved to Berlin where she took ballet lessons. In 1920 she had her first professional dance performance. She continued her dance career at the Stadttheater Königsberg and she danced in the ensemble of Ernst Matráy, and with his company she gave guest performances in England and South America.

    She became one of the soloists at the Deutschen Staatsoper ballet (German State Opera Ballet) in Berlin. In 1930 she and five other soloists were dismissed by the director of ballet, the innovative choreographer and dance theoretic Rudolf von Laban, because they belonged to the ‘ballet camp’ and not to his ‘modern dance’ camp.

    The dismissed dancers, the ’State Opera Six’, generated much publicity in the press. They successfully appeared at dance evenings and variety shows with their popular and well-established repertoire.

    Nikolaieva also started a film career. Her film debut was in Zwei Krawatten/Two Neckties (Felix Basch, Richard Weichert, 1930) starring Olga Tschechova. She appeared in the slapstick comedy Schuetzenfest in Schilda/Festival of Riflemen in Schilda (Adolf Trotz, 1931) starring Siegfried Arno (aka Sig Arno).

    She played in another comedy Ein Toller Einfall/A Mad Idea (Kurt Gerron, 1932) which featured comic actor Max Adelbert and Willy Fritsch. She also had small parts in the crime drama Schuss im Morgengrauen/A Shot at Dawn (Alfred Zeisler, 1932) with Ery Bos, and the stylish farce Quick (Robert Siodmak, 1932) with Hans Albers and Lilian Harvey.

    In Das häßliche Mädchen/The ugly girl (Hermann Kosterlitz a.k.a. Henry Koster, 1933) she appeared with Dolly Haas and Max Hansen. It was the last film that Henry Koster directed in Berlin before having to leave due to Nazis. He left Berlin, having knocked out an SS officer, one day before filming was finished on the film. The Nazis removed his name from the credits and substituted the name of Hasse Preiss, the lyricist.

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

    Hans Albers, Paul Hörbiger, Paul Westermeier and Genia Nikolaiewa in Quick (1931)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 141/5, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Quick (Robert Siodmak, 1931) in which Hans Albers played the title role.

    'Northern'


    From 1933 on, Genia Nikolaieva found it difficult to continue working under the new Nazi regime because of the now asked Aryan certificate. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels spoke up for her and pinned the half-Jewess officially as ‘northern’.

    She played the female lead in 90 Minuten Aufenthalt/90 Minutes Stop (Harry Piel, 1934) starring Harry Piel, but mostly she played supporting parts such as in the comedies Das Einmaleins der Liebe/Love's Arithmetic (Carl Hoffmann) with Luise Ullrich, and Ein Ganzer Kerl/A Regular Fellow (Carl Boese, 1936) with Hermann Speelmans en Lien Deyers.

    She also appeared with the Swedish comedy team of Fy og Bi aka Pat & Patachon in the goofy comedy Blinde Passagiere/Stowaways (Fred Sauer, 1937).

    Her final European films were Meine Frau, die Perle/My Wife – the Pearl (Alwin Elling, 1937) with Ralph Arthur Roberts, and Unentschuldigte Stunde/The Unexcused Hour (E.W. Emo, 1937) with Hans Moser.

    In 1938 she emigrated to the United States. In Hollywood she only appeared in small parts in three films: Ride a Crooked Mile (Alfred E. Green, 1938), Adventure in Diamonds (George Fitzmaurice, 1940) with Isa Miranda, and The Lady Has Plans (Sidney Lanfield, 1942). IMDb writes that she then became ‘one of the most beautiful studio secretaries for Warner Bros’.

    Genia Nikolaieva died in 2001 in Los Angeles, US. She was 97.

    157 Genia Nikolaieva_Eckstein (Der Künstlerische Tänz. Das Tanzgenie der Russen; 157)
    German collectors card by Eckstein, no. 157. Photo: Jacobi. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Performing Arts).

    Genia Nikolaieva
    German collectors card by Eckstein-Halpaus, Dresden, Gruppe 4, no. 159. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Genia Nikolaiewa
    German collectors card in the Bunte Filmbilder series by Greiling-Zigaretten, Series no. 2, no. 358. Photo: Ufa / Ross Verlag.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Lilian Karina & Marion Kant (Hitler’s Dancers) and IMDb.

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  • 07/11/18--22:00: Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
  • Henny Porten starred in the German silent comedy Die Fahrt ins Blaue/The drive into the blue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919). Her co-star was Georg Alexander. The film was produced by Messter-film and Projektions-AG Union (PAGU) and was scripted by Hanns Kräly and cinematographed by Willy Gaebel.

    Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/1. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Georg Alexander in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919).

    Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/2. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Georg Alexander in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919).

    Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/3. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919).

    An alarm clock for her birthday


    In the silent German comedy Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919), Henny Porten plays Cashier Wanda Lossen, who gets an alarm clock and a lottery ticket for her birthday. The lottery's main award is a fancy touring car and 20,000 Marks.

    At the same time writer Dr. Erich Fuld (Georg Alexander) visits his new possession, an old castle. The next morning Wanda's new alarm doesn't go off, so in haste Wanda bumps onto Fuld on a street corner, who likes her and follows her.

    Wanda bursts into tears when her boss at the store, herr Paetz (Jakob Tiedtke), reprimands her, but Paetz then falls in love with her, promising her a life of luxury. Offended she waves the lottery ticket, telling him that soon she'll manage on her own.

    During a visit to Erich's castle with her friends, Erich jokingly manages to tie Wanda up to some old folter instrument. She offers her lottery ticket as ransom, but instead he steals her a kiss. Once freed she gives him a mighty slap in return.

    One day she hears she has won the lottery and that the car is just outside, but she gets the car only on the condition that she also overtakes a chauffeur for three months, until the car is ready. Of course Erich is the driver. After a party in an inn with her friends, Erich pretends a breakdown on the road back and goes for help.

    While he is away, masked bandits - Erich's servants, in fact - assault Wanda. Erich saves her and leads her with his car 'ins Blaue' (into the blue, meaning where chance will lead them).

    Die Fahrt ins Blaue/The drive into the blue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919) premiered on 21 November 1919 in the Mozartsaal Berlin. The film was distributed in Germany by Hansa Film Verleih and Universum Film (UFA).

    Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/4. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919).

    Henny Porten in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/5. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Georg Alexander in Die Fahrt ins Blaue (Rudolf Biebrach, 1919).

    Sources: Murnau-stiftung, IMDb and Wikipedia (Italian).

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  • 07/12/18--22:00: Antonella Lualdi
  • Italo-Greek Antonella Lualdi (1931) was the fascinating leading lady of many Italian and French films of the 1950s and 1960s. Since 1949 her luminescent beauty has graced over 90 films.

    Antonella Lualdi
    German postcard by Krüger/Ufa, no. 902/151. Photo: Fried Agency.

    Antonella Lualdi
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris (French licency holder for Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof), no. CK-159. Photo: Herbert Fried / Ufa.

    Antonella Lualdi
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/111. Photo: Farabola.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano (Milan), no. 62.

    Antonella Lualdi
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1032. Photo: Beauvarlet / D. Roger.

    Antonella Lualdi
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Corvisart, no. 1072. Photo: Noa.

    Franco Interlenghi


    Antonella Lualdi was born as Antonietta De Pascale in Beirut, Lebanon in 1931. She was the daughter of an Italian civil engineer and his Greek wife. She learned to speak Italian, French, Greek and a bit of Arabic.

    With her mother, her sister and her two brothers, Antonella went to live in Rome. At 17, she made her film debut in the musical Signorinella (Mario Mattoli, 1949).

    That same year, she appeared in Canzoni per le strade/Songs for the Road (Mario Landi, 1949). Immediately she was seen as a star of the same stature as Lucia Boséand Gina Lollobrigida.

    In the early 1950,s she appeared successfully in films like Ha fatto 13 (Carlo Manzoni, 1951), E Più Facile Che Un Camello/It is Easier for a Camel (Luigi Zampa, 1951) with Jean Gabin, La cieca di Sorrento/The Blind Woman from Sorrento (Giacomo Gentilomo, 1952), the comedy È arrivato l'accordatore/The Piano Tuner Has Arrived (Duilio Coletti, 1952), and Il cappotto/The Overcoat (Alberto Lattuada, 1952) - an adaptation of the classic Nicolas Gogol fable.

    During the shooting of I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953), she met her future husband, Franco Interlenghi.

    Together they starred in several productions like Non c'è amore più grande (Giorgio Bianchi, 1955), Gli innamorati/Wild Love (Mauro Bolognini, 1955), which was feted at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and Padri e figli/Fathers and Sons (Mario Monicelli, 1957).

    Without her husband, she appeared opposite Marcello Mastroianni in the controversial Cronache di poveri amanti/Chronicle of Poor Lovers (Carlo Lizzani, 1954), La notte brava/The Big Night (Mauro Bolognini, 1959), I delfini/The Dauphins (Francesco Maselli, 1960) starring Claudia Cardinale, and Il disordine/Disorder (Franco Brusati, 1962) with Alida Valli.

    Antonella Lualdi
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 493. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Big Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano.

    Franco Interlenghi and Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1234. Photo: Italy's News Photos. With Franco Interlenghi.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, no. 550. Photo: Dear Film.

    Antonella Lualdi in Via Margutta (1960)
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1736. Photo: Cineriz. Publicity still for Via Margutta/Run with the Devil (Mario Camerini, 1960).

    Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by Bromostampa, no. 6.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 2800. Photo: Dear Film / C.I.F.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Yugoslavian postcard by NPO, no. G21.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Yugoslavian postcard by 3K, no. 3840.

    Antonella Lualdi
    Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, no. 539.

    Antonella Lualdi
    West-German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 1155. Photo: Unitalia-Film / Dial.

    Arthouse and Sword and Sandal Epics


    Antonella Lualdi appeared also in many French films, including Adorable créatures (Christian-Jaque, 1952) with Daniel Gélin, the successful Stendhal adaptation Le Rouge et le Noir/The Red and the Black (Claude Autant-Lara, 1954) starring Gérard Philipe, the Film-Noir Mefiez-Vous Fillettes/Look Out Girls (Yves Allégret, 1957), Une Vie/A Life (Alexandre Astruc, 1958) based on a novel by Guy De Mauppasant, and Á Double Tour/Web of Passion (1959), a tale of murder and a dysfunctional family by Nouvelle Vague director Claude Chabrol.

    In the 1960s she was seen in arthouse productions like Se permettete parliamo di donne/Let's Talk About Women (Ettore Scola, 1964) with Vittorio Gassman, Comizi d'amore (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1965), and Made in Italy (Nanni Loy, 1965).

    But she also starred in Sword and Sandal epics like Arrivano i Titani/The Titans (Duccio Tessari, 1961), I cento cavalieri/Hundred Horsemen (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1964), and Columna/The Column (Mircea Dragan, 1968) with Richard Johnson and the legendary Amedeo Nazzari.

    From the 1970s on, her films were less interesting with the exception of Vincent, François, Paul et les Autres/Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others (Claude Sautet, 1974). For a while she worked as an assistant director.

    In 1992 she made a come-back on TV as Lucia Cordier, the wife of the protagonist (Pierre Mondy) of the crime series Les Cordier, juge et flic, which was broadcasted for 13 seasons till 2005. Her role was continued in the series Commissaire Cordier (2005-2008).

    Antonella Lualdi and Franco Interlenghi separated in 1972, but later came back together. Interlenghi passed away in 2015. They had two daughters, Stella Interlenghi and actress Antonella Interlenghi.

    Antonella Lualdi in Le rouge et le noir
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. Photo: Antonella Lualdi in Le rouge et le noir (Claude Autant-Lara, 1954).

    Antonella Lualdi
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 836, 1959.

    Antonella Lualdi and Domenico Modugno in Appuntamento a Ischia (1960)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. Photo: Antonella Lualdi and Domenico Modugno in Appuntamento a Ischia (Mario Mattoli, 1960).

    Antonella Lualdi in Surcouf, l'eroe dei sette mari (1966)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2815, 1967. Photo: publicity still for Surcouf, l'eroe dei sette mari/The Sea Pirate (Sergio Bergonzelli, Roy Rowland, 1966).

    Antonella Lualdi in Columna (1968)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 248/70. Photo: publicity still for Columna/Trajan's Column (Mircea Dragan, 1968).

    Antonella Lualdi in Columna (1968)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 20/71. Photo: publicity still for Columna/The Column (Mircea Dragan, 1968).

    Richard Johnson and Antonella Lualdi in Columna (1968)
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 92. Photo: publicity still for Columna/Trajan's Column (Mircea Dragan, 1968) with Richard Johnson.

    Antonella Lualdi in Les Cordier, juge et flic (1992-2005)
    French postcard in the series 'Les Cordier, juge et flic - Le collection officielle' by U.M.K. Collections, 2004. Photo: Corbis. Publicity still for Les Cordier, juge et flic/The Cordiers, Judge and Cop (1992-2005) with Antonella Lualdi as Lucia Cordier.

    Sources: Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Notre Cinema (French), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 07/13/18--22:00: Photo by Studio Harcourt
  • From 1934 on, Studio Harcourt in Paris immortalised some of the greatest figures of the 20th century. The French dream factory produced 1,500 iconic black and-white photographs of film stars as Gérard Philippe, Simone Signoret and Michèle Morgan, and singers as Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet and Juliette Gréco.

    Juliette Greco
    Juliette Gréco. French postcard by Editions du Globe (EDUG), no. 191. Photo: Studio Harcourt, Paris.

    Daniel Gelin
    Daniel Gelin. French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 156. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Gilbert Bécaud
    Gilbert Bécaud. French postcard by Editions du Globe (EDUG), no. 250. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Louis Jourdan
    Louis Jourdan. French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 39. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Damia
    Damia. French postcard by S.E.R.P., no. 48. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Brigitte Bardot
    Brigitte Bardot. French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 338. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Serge Lifar
    Serge Lifar. French postcard, no. 146. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Hello!


    Cosette Harcourt founded Studio Harcourt in 1934, at a time when prestigious photo studios like Nadar closed for lack of clients. The new studio, located in a mansion on avenue Iéna, in the 16th arrondissement, was financed by the French publishers Jacques and Jean Lacroix, and Robert Ricci, son of Nina Ricci.

    Cosette Harcourt a.k.a. Germaine Hirschefeld (1900–1976) was a photographer who had worked in the studio of the brothers Manuel. The original concept was to photograph for Lacroix’s publications Hello! for the French intelligentsia.

    The change in direction came when Cosette Harcourt started to specialise in black-and-white glamour photography of figures from French cinema and culture. Harcourt photographed celebrities like Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, and Coco Chanel.

    She always used 24 x 30 cm prints immediately recognisable for their distinctive style and lighting. This typical Harcourt style consists in a photo taken at close distance to the subject in its best light, generally creating a halo of light and dark, on a gray-to-black background.

    At his blog, Belgian photographer-teacher Herman Huys writes that the studio uses only Tungsten lighting: “Each part of the body or the face is illuminated separately by a light with a power of 500watt. Each light have also barn doors, so the photographer can manipulate the beam of light, a small part is lighted.”

    Reflectors lower the contrast in the shadows. The attitude of the subject is personal, often wearing a slight smile, but somehow the Harcourt photos always feel a little staged. The Harcourt logo is featured prominently in the lower right-hand (sometimes left-hand) corner on every print and postcard.

    Saint-Granier
    Saint-Granier. French postcard by Erpé. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Charles Trenet
    Charles Trenet. German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. A 3194, 1941-1944. Photo: Harcourt-Schostal.

    Marika Rökk
    Marika Rökk. French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 65. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Annie Ducaux
    Annie Ducaux. French postcard by GREFF, S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 16. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Odette Joyeux
    Odette Joyeux. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 46. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Simone Signoret
    Simone Signoret. French postcard by Editions O.P., no. 19. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Yves Montand
    Yves Montand. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 11. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    German and American Officers


    The Harcourt style was inspired by the lighting effects which cinematographer Henri Alekan used in black & white films of Jean Cocteau and other great French directors of the 1930s and 1940s.

    Around the time of World War II, Cosette Harcourt who was Jewish, married one of the Lacroix brothers. Together they created a magazine, called Stars, to serve as an outlet for studio photos.

    During the occupation the German officers and many members of the regime of Vichy visited the studios, just as the Americans did after the French Liberation.

    After the war, Harcourt regained its momentum with the photography of stars like Jean Gabin, Gérard Philipe, Anouk Aimée, Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon. The studio continued the tradition that made it successful initially and having your photo taken at Harcourt a few times during your life became standard for the French elite.

    In the 1960s with the rise of the Nouvelle Vague and the dawn of a realist, anti glamorous aesthetic the studio’s peak was over. Clients demanded to be photographed at home, on location, away from anywhere that resembled a conventional studio. With the innovation of the flash, the magic and mystery of the studio disappeared. And nobody wanted black and white portraits anymore.

    After the death of Cosette Harcourt in 1976, the ownership of the studio changed several times. In 2000, under the leadership of Jack Lang, the French state bought the photos of Studio Harcourt from between 1934 to 1991: about 5 million negatives of 550,000 persons and 1,500 celebrities. The collection is distributed by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN).

    In 2007, Studio Harcourt was bought by Francis Dagnan with Catherine Renard at the helm. Its tradition has been reinstated: there are no star photographers and all employees work for Studio Harcourt. The studio is now located at 6, rue de Lota near the Porte Dauphine. Having your photo taken at Harcourt in a 2 hour session costs from 1,995 Euros.

    Edwige Feuillère
    Edwige Feuillère. French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 12. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Madeleine Robinson
    Madeleine Robinson. French postcard by SERP, no. 128. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Alain Cuny
    Alain Cuny. French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 252. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Gérard Philipe
    Gérard Philipe. French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 31. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Michèle Morgan
    Michèle Morgan. French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), no. 66. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Dominique Wilms
    Dominique Wilms. French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), no. 233. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Anouk Aimée
    Anouk Aimée. French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 702. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Sources: Margaret Kemp (Bonjour Paris), Sascha Lehnartz (Welt online - German), Herman Huys, Studio-Harcourt.eu, and Wikipedia.

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    Egbert Barten of the Geoffrey Donaldson Institute lent me some cigarette cards he recently acquired, to share with you. Earlier we did some posts on cigarette cards by Ross Verlag in Berlin, but these very small cards (ca. 6.5 x 3.5 cm or 2.6 x 1.2 inches) were all produced in the 1930s by various tobacco firms in Great Britain to be included in cigarette packs.

    Charles Laughton
    Charles Laughton. British cigarette card in the Film Favourites series by Carreras LTD, Arcadia Works, London, no. 28. Photo: Mayflower Pictures. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Leslie Howard
    Leslie Howard. British cigarette card in the Second Film Stars series by John Player & Sons, no. 26. Photo: Radio. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Ray Milland
    Ray Milland. British cigarette card in the Third Film Stars series by John Player & Sons, no. 30. Photo: Paramount. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Paul Muni
    Paul Muni. British cigarette card in the Third Film Stars series by John Player & Sons, no. 32. Photo: Warner - First National. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Sonja Henie
    Sonja Henie. British cigarette card in the Film & Stage Beauties series by Carreras LTD, Arcadia Works, London, no. 16. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Jean Darling
    Jean Darling. British cigarette card in the Film & Stage Beauties series by Carreras LTD, Arcadia Works, London, no. 34. Photo: Murray Korman. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Our Gang Darling


    Jean Darling (1922-2015) was an American child actress who was a regular in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1927-1929. As an adult, she performed on Broadway. The Film & Stage Beauties series above was a series of 54 real photographs issued with Carreras cigarettes. A Carreras slip-in album was obtainable from all tobacconists. The price was One Penny, and the albums for the other series had the same price. The Stars of Screen & Stage series below consisted of 48 cards.

    Wheeler and Woolsey
    Wheeler & Woolsey. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 6. Photo: Radio. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Ginger Rogers
    Ginger Rogers. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 14. Photo: Radio. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Elisabeth Bergner in The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)
    Elisabeth Bergner. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 17. Photo: London Films. Publicity still for The Rise of Catherine the Great (Paul Czinner, 1934). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 24. Photo: Paramount. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Maureen O'Sullivan
    Maureen O'Sullivan. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 25. Photo: M.G.M. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    The Houston Sisters
    The Houston Sisters. British cigarette card in the Stars of Screen & Stage series by Park Drive Cigarettes, Gallaher Ltd., London & Belfast, no. 43. Photo: M.G.M. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Sibling Rivalry


    Scottish sisters Renee Houston (1902-1980) and Billie Houston (1906-1972) were the daughters of a liquor salesman, James Gribbon, who, with his wife, Elizabeth Houston, later formed a variety song-and-dance act. The sisters formed their own music hall double act as the 'Houston Sisters', also known as 'The Irresistibles'. Their comedy was based on sibling rivalry and Scottish working-class life and in 1926 they appeared before the Kind and Queen at the Royal Command Performance. After World War II, Renee appeared in middle-aged roles in many British films as tough mothers and assorted harridans. She also appeared as comic support in several instalments of the Carry On series.

    Sources: IMDb and cigarette cards.

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  • 07/15/18--22:00: Enrique Rivero
  • Enrique Rivero (1906-1954) was a Chilean actor, who peaked in late 1920s and early 1930s French cinema. He was for a time seen as the Valentino of the European cinema and became famous for his lead in Jean Cocteau's Le sang d'un poète/The Blood of a Poet (1930).

    Enrique Rivero in Le tournoi dans la cité (1928)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 207. Photo: publicity still for Le tournoi dans la cité/The Tournament (Jean Renoir, 1928), with Enrique (de) Rivero as Henri de Rogier. The film was scripted by Henry Dupuis-Mazuel. Sets by Robert Mallet-Stevens, costumes by George Barbier and exteriors shot at Carcassonne.

    The new Rudolph Valentino


    Enrique Rivero was born Enrique Riveros in San Fernando, Chile, in 1906. He was the eldest son of prominent businessman Enrique Riveros and Mrs. Hortensia Fernández Prado.

    He travelled to Paris in 1922 to study agronomy, but against his family's wishes he soon became part of the art world and the historical avant-garde film that dominated the European scene and Paris. He mingled with a.o. Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, Coco Chanel, Luis Buñuel, Lee Miller and the Viscount de Noailles.

    From 1925, Riveros worked as supporting actor or as lead in over 15 films, credited as Enrique de Rivero or Enrique Rivero. His first films were Mon curé chez les pauvres/My Priest among the Poor (Donatien, 1925), Mon frère Jacques/My brother Jacques (Marcel Manchez, 1926) starring Dolly Davis, and Le chemineau/The trench (Maurice Kéroul, Georges Monca, 1926) starring Henri Baudin.

    He appeared in two Swedish films Ungdom/Youth (Ragnar Hyltén-Cavallius, 1927) starring Ivan Hedqvist, and Spökbaronen/Ghost Baron (Gustaf Edgren, 1927) starring Fridolf Rhudin, and in the German-Swedish production Majestät schneidet Bubiköpfe/Majesty cuts bobble heads (Ragnar Hyltén-Cavallius, 1928) opposite Hans Junkermann.

    Jean Renoir directed him in two late silent films, the costume drama Le tournoi dans la cite/The Tournament (1928) and the adventure film Le bled/The Bled (1929), in which he co-starred with Jackie Monnier. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Rivero's fame and success were so bright, that he continuously appeared on European film magazine covers, considered as the new Rudolph Valentino.

    Enrique Rivero
    French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 629. Photo: Paramount.

    Enrique Rivero
    Belgian postcard by Kivou, Vilvoorde. Photo: Paramount.

    Attempts on his life and jealousy affairs


    In 1930, Enrique Rivero appeared as the protagonist of Le sang d'un poète/The Blood of a Poet (1930), the first film by French artist Jean Cocteau, and considered one of the highlights of surrealist cinema. Because of its presumed blasphemous content and because of the riot over L'Age d'or by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, the film was only released in 1932.

    Todd Kristel at AllMovie: "Inspired by the myth of Orpheus and details from Jean Cocteau's own life, The Blood of a Poet is a fascinating, but somewhat confusing look at the struggle to create art. (...) the movie is unusual because Cocteau wanted to express his ideas in a creative way and not simply because he wanted to confuse people."

    In the first part of the film an artist (Rivero) sketches a face of which the mouth starts moving; rubbing the mouth it sticks to his hand, and later on to an armless female statue (Lee Miller). Incited by the statue come to life, he passes a mirror and enters a magic world, looking through various keyholes. In the end he returns, smashes the statue, his ambiguous muse, and becomes a statue himself.

    Rivero also acted in two early sound films by Alberto Cavalcanti in the Paramount studios in Joinville. The first was Dans une île perdue/On a lost Island (1931) with Danièle Parola, an alternative language version of Dangerous Paradise (William Wellman, 1930) with Nancy Carroll and Richard Arlen. The other was À mi-chemin du ciel/Halfway Up the Sky (1931) with Janine Merrey, an alternative language version of Half Way to Heaven (George Abbott, 1929) with Chrales 'Buddy' Rogers.

    Among his other films were the Spanish-French coproduction La bodega/Wine Cellars (Benito Perojo, 1930), with the actress and singer Concha Piquer, Nicole et sa vertu/Nicole and her Virtue (Rene Hervil, 1932), starring Alice Cocéa, and the drama Le picador/The Picador (Lucien Jaquelux, 1932).

    Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Enrique Riveros returned to Chile for unknown reasons, leaving behind fame, fortune, and a wife and daughter. Swedish Wikipedia suggests he was involved in attempts on his life because of private jealousy affairs.

    In Chile, Enrique Riveros led a quiet life, worked on a couple of film projects and starred under his birthname in the thriller El hombre que se llevaron/The man who took (Jorge 'Coke' Delano, 1946). For his role of defendant Alberto, Rivero received the award for Best National Film Actor.

    Enrique Riveros died in 1954, all too soon - and all too soon forgotten.





    Three gifs from Le sang d'un poète/The Blood of a Poet (1930). Source: GIPHY.

    Sources: AllMovie, Wikipedia (English and Swedish), and IMDb.

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  • 07/16/18--23:00: Ingrid Lutz
  • Ingrid Lutz (1924) is a retired German actress, who played spirited supporting roles in dozens of films between 1943 and 1959.

    Ingrid Lutz
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3962/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa.

    Ingrid Lutz
    German collectors card by Lux.

    Ingrid Lutz
    Dutch postcard by 't Sticht, Utrecht, no. 1434.

    Ingrid Lutz
    Dutch postcard, no. AX 1276.

    A troubled production


    Ingrid Marga Irene Lutz was born in 1924 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf.

    She was the daughter of a dance teacher. Ingrid already danced in the children's ballet when she began her dance education at the Deutsche Oper, the German Opera House in Berlin. Later she took acting lessons.

    At the age of 19, she got her first film roles. She played a little part in the comedy Ich vertraue Dir meine Frau/I Entrust My Wife to You (Kurt Hoffmann, 1943), starring Heinz Rühmann.

    In 1944 she already played a leading role in the UFA production Junge Herzen/Young Hearts (Boleslaw Barlog, 1944) as student Lindy opposite Harald Holberg.

    She also appeared in the comedy Sag' die Wahrheit/Tell the Truth (Helmut Weiss, 1946) starring Gustav Fröhlich, Mady Rahl, and Ingeborg von Kusserow. The film had a troubled production, and was originally filming in the final days of the Nazi era with Heinz Rühmann and his wife Hertha Feiler in the lead roles.

    Production was halted when Soviet forces took control of the Tempelhof Studios during the Battle of Berlin. The film was then remade in the British sector of Berlin with different leads but using substantial amounts of footage already shot during the previous production.

    Ingrid Lutz in Die verschleierte Maja (1951)
    West-German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 565. Photo: Lilo / Pontus Film. Publicity still for Die verschleierte Maja/The Veiled Lady (Géza von Cziffra, 1951).

    Ingrid Lutz in Hurra - ein Junge! (1953)
    West-German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 675. Photo: Berolina / Constantin / Wesel. Publicity still for Hurra - ein Junge!/Hurrah, a Boy! (Ernst Marischka, Georg Jacoby, 1953).

    Ingrid Lutz in Die vertagte Hochzeitsnacht (1953)
    West-German postcard by Kunst und Bild, no. A 845. Photo: Ariston / NF. Publicity still for Die vertagte Hochzeitsnacht/The adjourned wedding night (Karl Georg Külb, 1953).

    Science-Fiction film


    After the war, Ingrid Lutz toured with the orchestra of Michael Jary, who also composed songs for her. Her most famous number was Das Ist Nichts für Kleine Mädchen (That's not for little girls), which she recited along with Rudolf Platte. She also sang songs together with Bully Buhlan.

    In addition to her stage work, Lutz made a considerable number of films during the 1950s. She often was the spirited supporting actress in comedies, who could also dance and sing.

    In Das kann jedem passieren/This can happen to anyone (Paul Verhoeven, 1952), she played showgirl Rita opposite Heinz Rühmann as a respectable husband in need of an explanation.

    Other films were the romantic drama Bis wir uns wiedersehn/Until We Meet Again (Gustav Ucicky, 1952) starring Maria Schell and O.W. Fischer, the comedy Hurra - ein Junge!/Hooray, It's a Boy! (Ernst Marischka, Georg Jacoby, 1953) starring Walter Müller and Theo Lingen, and the comedy Ich und meine Schwiegersöhne/Me and My Sons-in-law (Georg Jacoby, 1956), starring Grethe Weiser.

    Her final film was the Science-Fiction film Zurück aus dem Weltall/Moonwolf (Georges Friedland, 1959) with Carl Möhner.

    Ingrid Lutz married three times. She first married society doctor Wolfgang Wohlgemuth. After her third marriage to a textile merchant, she retired to private life.

    Ingrid Lutz in Tante Jutta aus Kalkutta (1953)
    West-German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin. Photo: Ariston / Brünjes / NF Film. Publicity still for Tante Jutta aus Kalkutta/Aunt Jutta from Calcutta (Karl Georg Külb, 1953).

    Ingrid Lutz in Du mein stilles Tal  (1955)
    West-German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 1622. Photo: CCC / Gloria / Arthur Grimm. Publicity still for Du mein stilles Tal/You my quiet valley (Leonard Steckel, 1955).

    Ingrid Lutz in Du mein stilles Tal (1955)
    West-German postcard by Kunst und Bild, no. A 553. Photo: Gaza Studio, Berlin. Publicity still for Du mein stilles Tal/You my quiet valley (Leonard Steckel, 1955).

    Ingrid Lutz in Du mein stilles Tal (1955)
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. T 629. Photo: CCC / Gloria-Film / Grimm. Publicity still for Du mein stilles Tal/You my quiet valley (Leonard Steckel, 1955).

    Sources: Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.

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  • 07/17/18--22:00: Mara Lane
  • British-Austrian actress Mara Lane (1930) was considered one of the most beautiful models in Great Britain during the early 1950s. She appeared in more than 30 English and German language films of the 1950s and early 1960s, but she seems forgotten now.

    Mara Lane
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 968. Photo: ENIC.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/58.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.bH., Minden-Westf., no. 1828.

    Cover Model


    Mara Lane was born as Dorothy Lane Bolton in 1930, in Vienna, Austria. Her mother was Russian-born pianist Olga Mironova and her English father Briton John Bolton worked in Vienna for an American oil firm. Her father later died in a car crash in the U.S.

    Her younger sister, Jacelyn Olga, later became known as actress Jackie Lane (aka Jocelyn Lane).

    In Vienna Mara trained for the Viennese ballet, but her family left Austria and in 1942 they arrived aboard the Jutlandia in New York from Copenhagen, Denmark. In New York she attended high school.

    In 1950, she moved to London, England, to study dress design. She is soon spotted by a talent scout in a restaurant.

    In the early 1950s, Mara became a glamorous and very popular cover model in Great Britain. The Elizabeth Taylor-like beauty was soon also discovered for the cinema.

    In 1951, she made her film debut as a cafe singer in Hell Is Sold Out (Michael Anderson, 1951) starring Mai Zetterling.

    Other small roles followed in the comedy Treasure Hunt (John Paddy Carstairs, 1952) and in the comedy-drama Something Money Can't Buy (Pat Jackson, 1952) starring Patricia Roc.

    Her first bigger part was in Decameron Nights (Hugo Fregonese, 1953), a rather dull adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s bawdy novel.

    Mara Lane
    Dutch postcard by P. Moorlag, Heerlen, Sort. 13/6.

    Mara Lane
    Dutch postcard by P. Moorlag, Heerlen, Sort. 15/6.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by ISV, Sort. 16/6.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/68. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-308. Photo: Joe Niczky / UFA.

    Sultry Femme Fatale


    Later that year, she went to Hollywood, like her sister Jackie would do a few years later. There she was a popular and often photographed starlet.

    Howard Hughes’ RKO signed her for a Hollywood contract. She played a supporting part in the comedy Susan Slept Here (Frank Tashlin, 1954) and starred as a sultry femme fatale in Angela (Edoardo Anton, Dennis O'Keefe, 1954).

    While filming Angela (Edoardo Anton, Dennis O'Keefe, 1954) in Italy she caught the eye of wealthy Italian prince Alessandro 'Dado' Ruspoli. Reportedly, he tried to get his passport back so that he could travel to Switzerland to divorce his Princess Francesca and marry Mara. However, a wedding never occurred.

    Filmschauspeieler aus aller Welt
    German postcard by Kunst und Film Verlag H. Lukow, Hannover, no. L2/1042. Caption: Filmschauspieler aus aller Welt (Film actors from around the world). Mara Lane in the middle below.

    Mara Lane in Bonsoir Paris (1956)
    West-German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2318. Photo: Melodie / Deutsche London (DLF) / Heil. Publicity still for Bonsoir Paris/Good Evening Paris (Ralph Baum, 1956).

    Mara Lane
    Dutch-Belgian postcard by DRC Holland, no. 3673. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF / Herzog Film / Ufa.

    Mara Lane in Monpti (1957)
    West-German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3674. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / NDF / Herzog Film. Publicity still for Monpti/Love from Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957).

    Mara Lane
    German postcard, no. 961.

    Sexy Eye Candy

    In 1954, Mara Lane returned to Europe to reprise her film career here. She appeared in Italy in La grande avventura/The Great Adventure (Mario Pisu, 1954) with Gino Cervi, and Le avventure di Giacomo Casanova/Sins of Casanova (Steno, 1955).

    Lane was mainly cast as sexy eye candy in European comedies like the the French comedy Bonsoir Paris (Ralph Baum, 1956) with Dany Robin, and the German comedy Der Fremdenführer von Lissabon/The Guide of Lisbon (Hans Deppe, 1956) starring Vico Torriani.

    One of her better films was Monpti/Love From Paris (Helmut Käutner, 1957), in which she supported Romy Schneider and Horst Buchholz.

    After that she appeared in more than a dozen European B-films, including German comedies, Italian Peplums and a Spanish drama, but all of no interest.

    In 1961, she married petrol millionair William Dugger from San Antonio, Texas, in a civil ceremony in London. She left him after three years.

    In 1965 Mara Lane retired. Her films are mostly forgotten now, but her pin-up pictures are still popular on the net.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by ISV, Sort. 17/6.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/406. Photo: Erwin Schneider.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by ISV, Sort. 14/6.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F-80. Photo: Klaus Collignon / UFA.

    Mara Lane
    German postcard by UFA, no. CK-200. Photo: Klaus Collignon / UFA.

    Sources: Celine Colassin (La saga des etoiles filantes - French), Glamour Girls of the Silver ScreenWikipedia and IMDb.

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    My friend Didier Hanson sent me this wonderful postcard, he recently acquired. I love it very much. The picture is a still of one films by Yevgeni Bauer, who directed more than seventy silent films in the four years before the Russian Revolution of 1917. Film critic Kenneth Turan writes in his book on the director: "Bauer's films have been justly called the work of the greatest director you've never heard of."Nabat/The Alarm (1917) was one of the last films Bauer made before he died of pneumonia in a hospital in Yalta, only 52 years old. Star of the film is actress and ballet dancer Vera Karalli of whom Didier Hanson has sent me several postcards in the past. So today a special post on Didier's cards of La Karalli.

    Vera Karalli a.o. in Nabat (1917)
    Russian postcard, no. 200. Photo: publicity still of Zoya Barantsevich, Vera Karalli, Vladimir Strizhevsky and Vjacheslav Svoboda in Nabat/The Alarm (Yevgeni Bauer, 1917). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Photo: publicity still for Krizantemy/Chrysanthemums (Pyotr Chardynin, 1914). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli in Eunice and Petronius
    Russian postcard, 1916. Collection: Didier Hanson. Eunice and Petronius (1915) was a ballet by choreographer Alexander Alexeyevich Gorsky, produced by the Russian Imperial Ballet.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian Postcard, no. 91, 1917. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vitold Polonsky, Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson. Photo: publicity still for Vozmezdie/Retribution (Yevgeni Bauer, 1916) with  Vitold Polonsky.

    Lidya F. Ryndina, Vera Karalli and Vitold Polonsky in Vozmezdie (1916)
    Russian Postcard, no. 152. Collection: Didier Hanson. Photo: publicity still for Vozmezdie/Retribution (Yevgeni Bauer, 1916) with Lidya F. Ryndina, Vera Karalli and Vitold Polonsky.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard, 1916. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli, 1917
    Russian postcard, 1917. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Karalli
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Sources: Kenneth Turan (LA Times), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/19/18--22:00: Ewa Krzyzewska
  • Polish actress Ewa Krzyzewska (1939–2003) was a beautiful and fascinating star of the East-European cinema in the 1960s. Her most famous film was also her debut, Andrzej Wajda’s masterpiece Popiól i diament/Ashes and Diamonds (1958).

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2530, 1966. Retail price: 0,15 MDN. Photo: Balinski.

    Ewa Krzyzewska in Popiól i diament (1958)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1807, 1963. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: publicity still for Popiól i diament/Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajda, 1958).

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 3164, 1968. Photo: Nasterowska.

    Atomic War Bride


    Ewa Krzyzewska was born as Anna Ewa Krzyżewska-Kwiatkowska in Warszawie (Warsaw), Poland in 1939. Her father was the poet Julius Krzyżewski.

    She studied acting at the Państwowe wyższe szkoły teatralne (PWST), the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Krakow. During her first year at the PWST she worked on the film Kalosze szczęścia/Lucky Boots (Antoni Bohdziewicz, 1958).

    She was noticed by Janusz Morgenstern, assistant to director Andrzej Wajda. Wajda invited her to play the role of the attractive barmaid Krystyna Rozbicki in his now classic war drama Popiól i diament/Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajda, 1958).

    Popiól i diament, based on the 1948 novel by Polish writer Jerzy Andrzejewski, completed Wajda's war films trilogy, following Pokolenie/A Generation (1954) and Kanal/Sewer (1956).

    At AllMovie, Hal Erickson wrote in a now deleted review: “Like most of Polish director Andrzej Wajda's best films, Ashes and Diamonds draws on his personal experiences in the Resistance during World War II. Zbigniew Cybulski, the director's favorite leading man, plays a young underground fighter told to kill a Communist leader on the last day of the war. This blend of idealism and defeatism won numerous awards and brought Wajda international acclaim”.

    In 1960 Krzyzewska graduated from the PWST. That year she played a part in the Yugoslavian Science Fiction film Rat/Atomic War Bride (Veljko Bulajic, 1960) about the horrors of the atomic weapon era.

    During the early 1960s, she played leading parts in such Polish films as the drama Zaduszki/All Soul’s Day (Tadeusz Konwicki, 1961), the thriller Zbrodniarz i panna/The Criminal and the Lady (Janusz Nasfeter, 1963) again opposite Zbigniew Cybulski, and Zvony pre bosých/ The knell of the tramps (Stanislav Barabas, 1965).

    In the Rumanian fantasy-comedy Faust XX (Ion Popescu-Gopo, 1966), she was She-Devil Margueritte, a nightclub singer, who entertains Faust (Emil Botta) and his young assistant (Iurie Darie) in the gateway to Hell.

    That year she also played a small but memorable role of a beautiful Jewish girl in the historical drama Faraon/Pharaoh (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1966) with Jerzy Zelnik as Ramses XIII, and she appeared in the adventure drama Zejscie do piekla/The Descent to Hell (Zbigniew Kuzminski, 1966).

    Ewa Krzyzewska in Zbrodniarz i panna (1963)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1968, 1963. Photo: publicity still for Zbrodniarz i panna/The Criminal and the Lady (Janusz Nasfeter, 1963).

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2163, 1964. Retail price: 0,20 MDN.

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2716, 1966. Retail price: 0,20 MDN.

    A Classic Femme Fatale


    The introvert Ewa Kryzewska did not like to talk about herself and seldom gave interviews. Therefore she had for many filmgoers a fascinating, mysterious air. In the busy years 1962 - 1967, Krzyzewska was also working on stage for the Teatru Dramatycznego (Warsaw Dramatic Theatre).

    But then there was an hiatus in her film and stage career. In 1971 she returned to the cinema in a small role in the drama Akcja 'Brutus'/Operation 'Brutus' (Jerzy Passendorfer, 1971).

    That year she also appeared in the romantic comedy Dzieciol/Woodpecker (Jerzy Gruza, 1971) and in East-Germany she played the lead role in Liebeserklärung an G.T./ Declaration of love to G.T. (Horst Seemann, 1971). She also reunited with director Tadeusz Konwicki for the drama Jak daleko stad, jak blisko/How Far, How Near (1972).

    Her final film was Zazdrosc i medycyna/Jealousy and medicine (Janusz Majewski, 1973). She played a beautiful, but unfaithful wife of a wealthy entrepreneur (Mariusz Dmochowski)which seemed written especially for her. The film was an acclaimed screen adaptation of a 1930s novel by Michael Choromanski and its heroine was a classic femme fatale, disturbingly and sensually performed by Krzyzewski.

    After this sensational turn, Krzyzewska suddenly retired from acting and left Poland with her husband, diplomat Boleslaw Kwiatkowski, a specialist in international law. They lived in several countries, including Syria, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, and Tanzania.

    She worked for a short while as the head of the Radio Library at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In the US she also worked as a beautician, fashion designer, and real estate agent. Later the couple moved to Spain.

    In 2003, Ewa Krzyzewska died of the injuries sustained in a car crash in southern Spain. Her husband died on the spot of the car crash. She herself died two days later in a hospital. Ewa Krzyzewska was only 64.

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2717, 1966.

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 37/71. Retail price: 0,20 M. Photo: Linke.

    Ewa Krzyzewska
    Bulgarian postcard, no. H-3042-A, 1974.

    Sources: Hal Erickson (DixClassico),  AllMovie, Filmweb.pl (Polish), Wikipedia (Polish) and IMDb.

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  • 07/20/18--22:00: Photo by Atelier Binder
  • From the late 1920s through the 1930s, Atelier Binder was the largest photo studio in Europe. The star photos of this Berlin studio can be found on countless Ross Verlag postcards. Founder was Alexander ‘Alex’ Binder (1888–1929).

    Sascha Gura
    Sascha Gura. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 294/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder/Decla.

    Lya de Putti
    Lya de Putti. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1028/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Lilian Harvey
    Lilian Harvey. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3759/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Lucy Doraine
    Lucy Doraine. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3438/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Greta Garbo
    Greta Garbo. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3542/1, 1928-29. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Louise Brooks
    Louise Brooks. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4252/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    The Mecca of the European Film Industry


    Alexander Binder was born in Alexandria in 1888. The photographer was Jewish and probably of Swiss origin.

    He studied engineering, but interrupted his studies prematurely. From 1908 to 1910 he attended the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Photographie, Chemie, Lichtdruck und Gravüre (Teaching and Research Institute of Photography, chemicals, light pressure and engraving) in Munich and then went to Berlin.

    There he opened in 1913 his first photo studio, Atelier für Bildmäßige Porträt Photographie in a room in the Motzstraße. Two years later he moved his studio to Kurfürstendamm 225, in a posh shopping and entertainment area in the centre of Berlin.

    He soon became one of the leading photographers of Berlin. Binder created advertising and portrait photography. His focus was primarily on celebrity and fashion photography.

    Binder’s photos were exhibited in 1921 at the first Annual Exhibition of Photography at the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Berlin. In 1925-1926 he had an exhibition in London.

    Berlin was at the time the Mecca of the European film industry. Binder photographed all the stars of the German silent cinema, including Conrad Veidt,Lilian Harvey, Leni Riefenstahl, the Italian Carmen Boni, the Dutch Truus van Aalten and the Hungarian Lya de Putti.

    During the filming of Die Freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (G.W. Pabst, 1925), he also portrayed the young Greta Garbo. His photographs appeared in the monthly photo and film magazine Die Linse, and in many other magazines.

    Ludwig Trautmann
    Ludwig Trautmann. German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1596. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Reinhold Schünzel
    Reinhold Schünzel. German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1838. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Luciano Albertini
    Luciano Albertini. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1815/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin. On this postcard Albertini wears the attire for the film Rinaldo Rinaldini (Max Obal, 1927).

    Vladimir Gajdarov
    Vladimir Gajdarov. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1978/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Walter Slezak
    Walter Slezak. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3443/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Deported to Theresienstadt


    Alexander Binder’s photos were also used for the popular star postcards, published by Ross Verlag and Photochemie. These photos have the signature ‘Alex Binder Photogr. Atelier’, ‘Alex Binder, Berlin’ or ‘Phot. A. Binder, Berlin’. Many photographs also contained the signature tie in the photo.

    Since 1921 Alex Binder had his own logo ties: his signature inscribed in a rhombus. He signed with the tie or as ‘A. Binder’. These ties stopped to appear in 1929. Alexander Binder had suddenly died in February 1929 in Berlin.

    During the late 1920s his studio had been 'the largest photo studio in Europe ...'. Mark Goffee writes on his great Ross Cards website that Binder's death date is interesting, and wonders how Ross cards could appear with photos of Atelier Binder until 1937.

    German Wikipedia describes how after Binder’s death, his studio was moved to the Kurfürstendamm 205 in 1929. The business name was changed into Atelier Binder, under which name new photographs were published.

    The photographer was probably Hubs Floeter (1910-1974), who was employed at the studio as first operator until 1938. The owners of the studio were now Binder's widow, Mrs. Binder-Allemann and their two daughters.

    Manager was the Jewish Elisabeth Baroness von Stengel, who was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, writes Wikipedia. It also cites other sources that claim that Stengel was deported in 1938 and died in 1978 in Ascona.

    However, in 1938, the Nazi Labour Inspectorate closed the studio. Aryan photographer Karl Ludwig Haenchen then moved in and continued to make celebrity portraits, which also were published on star postcards by publishers as Film-Foto-Verlag. After World War II, the Hasse und Wiese company took over the studio in 1948 or 1949.

    Lilian Ellis
    Lilian Ellis. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4766/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Lily Damita
    Lily Damita. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4767/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Camilla Horn
    Camilla Horn. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4845/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Truus van Aalten
    Truus van Aalten. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6584/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

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

    Dorothea Wieck
    Dorothea Wieck. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6846/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Sources: Mark Goffee (Ross Cards), Deutsche Fotothek (German), and Wikipedia (German and Dutch).

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  • 07/21/18--22:00: Georges Charlia
  • French actor Georges Charlia (1894–1984) played in 22 silent and sound films. He worked with such famous directors of the French avant-garde cinema as Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein and Alberto Cavalcanti.

    Georges Charlia
    French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, no. 103. photo: Studio Rahma.

    Georges Charlia
    French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, no. 188. photo: Atelier Böhm.

    Sweet-natured Sailor


    Georges Charlia was born as Georges Charliat in Paris, France in 1894.

    He made his film debut in Germaine Dulac’s silent film Gossette (1923) with Régine Bouet. Then followed a part in another classic of the silent cinema, La belle Nivernaise/The Beauty from Nivernais (Jean Epstein, 1924) with Blanche Montel.

    Charlia also played the lead in Epstein’s La goutte de sang/The drop of blood (Jean Epstein, Maurice Mariaud, 1924). The film was started by Jean Epstein, but Maurice Mariaud took it over and modified the project.

    In the Guy de Maupassant adaptation Pierre et Jean/Pierre and Jean (Donatien, 1924), he appeared with Lucienne Legrand.

    Le train sans yeux/Train Without Eyes (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1927) was a Louis Delluc adaptation in which he co-starred with Hans Mierendorff, Gina Manès and Hanni Weisse.

    He also appeared in Alberto Cavalcanti’s drama En rade/Sea Fever (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1928). At AllMovie, Hal Erickson reviews: “Catherine Hessling, better known to film enthusiasts for her work in the early Jean Renoir silents, stars as a seaport barmaid who falls in love with sweet-natured sailor Georges Charlia. When Charlia unaccountably disappears one day, Hessling is plunged into the depths of melancholia. Her sad story is counterpointed with the bizarre behavior of the local laundress' lazy, near-moronic son (Philippe Heriat), who dreams of a life at sea. Although well photographed on genuine locations, Sea Fever proved confusing to many non-French filmgoers.”

    Charlia starred in a few German films, including Ritter der nacht/Knights of the Night (Max Reichmann, 1928) co-starring La Jana.

    In that same year he also played in the drama L'équipage/Last Flight (Maurice Tourneur, 1928) starring Charles Vanel.

    One of his last silent films was Prix de beauté/Beauty Prize (Augusto Genina, 1930) in which he was the lover and murderer of Louise Brooks.

    Georges Charlia
    French postcard by J.R.P.R., Paris, no. 429. Photo: Studio Lorelle.

    Louise Brooks
    Louise Brooks. French postcard by Europe, no. 599. Photo: Néro Film.

    Trapped in a Cave


    George Charlia made the transition to sound film with Vacances/Holidays (Robert Boudrioz, 1931) with Florelle and Lucien Gallas.

    He reunited with Gina Manès to co-star in L'ensorcellement de Séville/The Charm of Seville (Benito Perojo, 1931), Pax/Peace (Francisco Elías, 1932) and L'amour qu'il faut aux femmes/The love which is necessary to women (Adolf Trotz, 1933).

    In Germany, Charlia played a supporting part in the classic anti-war drama Kameradschaft/Comradeship (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1931). Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “Kameradschaft is set in a mining community on the French/German frontier, where several French miners are trapped in a cave-in. Their only hope for rescue lies in a long-abandoned underground tunnel, buried since the First World War. Ignoring the ethnic and political differences that have long separated the two countries, a group of German miners pick their way through the old tunnel to save the entombed Frenchmen. (…) Ironically, the German public, whose decency and humanity is celebrated in Kameradschaft, tended to avoid the film.”

    Charlia's last films were the Belgian-Dutch coproduction Jeunes filles en liberté/Young Girls in Freedom (Fritz Kramp, 1933), and L'enfant de ma soeur/The Child of my Sister (Henry Wulschleger, 1933).

    Why his film career stopped then after only ten years is not clear. Wasn’t his voice sound proof? Did he loose his interest for the cinema after the silent avant-garde cinema had dwindled away?

    We only know that Georges Charlia died in 1984, in his hometown Paris. He was 89.


    Scene from Prix de beauté/Beauty Prize (1930). Source: TheStat01 (YouTube).

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

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  • 07/22/18--22:00: Ann Smyrner
  • Danish actress Ann Smyrner (1934-2016) was the glamorous star of more than 50 European B-films of the 1950s and 1960s. The blonde sex bomb spent most of her screen career in Germany. After appearing in several sex comedies, she retired and started to study theology.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by WS Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 118. Photo: Hansa-Film.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden-Westf., no. 2909. Photo: Hansa-Film / Deutsche Film-Hansa. Publicity still for Von allen geliebt/Of All Loved (Paul Verhoeven, 1957).

    Ann Smyrner
    Belgian postcard by Cox, no. 43.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Templehof, no. S. A. 2. Photo: Friedrich Aschenbroich / Hansa-Film / Günter Matern.

    The Best BAD Movie Ever Made


    Hanne Smyrner was born in 1934 in Frederiksborg, Denmark. Her father, Poul Smyrner, was one of the leading actors of the Det Kongelige Teater (The Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen) and had an acting school in Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark. Her mother, Gerd Henriette Poulsen, was a concert singer.

    Hanne attended the acting school in Aarhus in 1955 and 1956 and started her career in the Theatre of Aarhus. At 22, she went to Munich. In Germany, she made her film debut in Von Allen Geliebt/Of All Loved (Paul Verhoeven, 1957) with Magda Schneider and Johannes Heesters. It was filmed at the Bendestorf studios near Hamburg.

    That same year, she was chosen among a thousand girls to play the title role opposite Adrian Hoven in the crime comedy Lilli - ein Mädchen aus der Großstadt/Lilli – a Girl from the Big City (Hermann Leitner, 1958), based on a comic strip from the boulevard daily Bild. She was presented as a blonde sex bomb in this film, and that image stuck with her.

    Next she was the threat to the love interest of Caterina Valente in Hier bin ich, hier bleib' ich/Here I Am, Here I Stay (Werner Jacobs, 1959), a Schlagerfilm with a guest appearance of Bill Haley and His Comets.

    In 1960, she became the female lead in the American-Danish Monster film Reptilicus (Poul Bang, Sidney W. Pink, 1961), when actress Nora Hayden refused second billing and walked out on the production. This curious Fantasy film by American director Sidney W. Pink about the regeneration of a prehistoric reptile was shot in the botanical garden of Copenhagen. According to the reviewer at IMDb, Reptilicus is "without a doubt the best BAD movie ever made".

    Smyrner appeared in another Fantasy epic by Pink, Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962), starring John Agar. She played one of her better roles as a woman in love in the Austrian 'Sachtertorte'Romanze in Venedig/Romance in Venice (Eduard von Borsody, 1962) with Walter Reyer.

    Ann Smyrner in Von allen geliebt (1957)
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2686. Photo: Hansa-Film / Deutsche Film Hansa (DFH) / Lilo. Publicity still for Von allen geliebt/Of All Loved (Paul Verhoeven, 1957).

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2171. Photo: Hansa-Film / Deutsche Film Hansa (DFH) / Lilo. Publicity still for Von allen geliebt/Of All Loved (Paul Verhoeven, 1957).

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden-Westf., no. 423. Photo: Kolibri / Enzwieser.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 3308. Photo: Rapid/Union. Publicity still for Die Insel der Amazonen/Seven Daring Girls (Otto Meyer, 1960).

    Heiress of a fortune


    In 1963, Ann Smyrner started a much publicised affair with co-star Lex Barker while filming the adventure film Das Todesauge von Ceylon/Scarlet Eye (Gerd Oswald, Giovanni Roccardi, 1963). She again co-starred with Barker in the comedy Frühstück im Doppelbett/Breakfast in Bed (Axel von Ambesser, 1963) starring O.W. Fischer and Liselotte Pulver.

    In 1964, she became heiress to a 4-5 Million DM fortune. She was on location in South Africa for her first British film, the detective Victim Five (Robert Lynn, 1964) starring Lex Barker again.

    During the 1960s, she mostly appeared in mediocre B-films. Her credits include Die Schwarze Kobra/The Black Cobra (Rudolf Zehetgruber, 1963) with Adrian Hoven, the Edgar Wallace mystery Das Siebente Opfer/The Racetrack Murders (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1964) with Hansjörg Felmy, and the action film Kommissar X - Drei gelbe Katzen/Death Is Nimble, Death Is Quick (Rudolf Zehetgruber, 1966) starring Tony Kendall and Brad Harris.

    Internationally, she appeared in the French historic adventureAngélique et le roi/Angelique and the King (Bernard Borderie, 1966) starring Michèle Mercier, the Polish Sci-Fi film Kiedy milosc byla zbrodnia/Rassenschande: When Love Was a Crime (Jan Rybkowski, 1968), and the Spaghetti Western Al di là della legge/The Good Die First (Giorgio Stegani, 1968) starring Lee Van Cleef.

    In 1968 she suffered a total breakdown on the Zurich-Rome express. Afterwards she was in a Danish hospital for six weeks.

    She quickly returned to the screen and appeared in sex comedies like Zu dumm zum.../Too Stupid to… (Henry van Lyck, 1971), and the cross-dressing farce Tante Trude aus Buxtehude/Aunt Trude from Buxtehude (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1971), a vehicle for TV star Rudi Carrell.

    Allegedly, she practiced witchcraft for 17 years until renouncing it in 1970. In 1972, Smyrner retired from the cinema and started to study theology. In the early 1990s she moved to Benalmadena, near Malaga, Spain, where she wrote articles and books about religious and esoteric subjects.

    In 2016, Ann Smyrner passed away in Benalmadena at the age of 81. Her longtime companion was Danish journalist Ole Hansen. Smyrner is interred in Aarhus, Denmark.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 3124. Photo: Brigitte Dittner / Deutsche Film Hansa (DFH). Publicity still for Himmel, Amor und Zwirn/Heaven, Cupid and Linen Thread (Ulrich Erfurth, 1960).

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. A 311. Photo: Hansa-Film / Relang.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1611. Photo: Story-Press / J. Clauss.

    Ann Smyrner
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenbrug, no. A 1611. Photo: Story / Press / J. Clauss.

    Ann Smyrner
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 1898, 1963. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Publicity still for Drei Liebesbriefe aus Tirol/Three Love Letters from Tirol (Werner Jacobs, 1962).

    Sources: Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

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    Last week, I did a post on a postcard from the Russian Empire which Didier Hanson had sent me. It showed a scene from Nabat/The Alarm (1917), one of the last films Yevgeni Bauer made. Star of the film was Vera Karalli, who had an interesting career in Western Europe after the revolution. Didier also mailed me this scan of another very old and rare Russian film star postcard, picturing Ivan Mozzhukhin and his black poodle. Mozzhukhin was the biggest star among the Russian actors who went West after the Revolution. Today a post on EFSP with Russian postcards of Ivan Mozzhukhin, all from the collection of Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard, 1917. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin in Kean
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard, no. 131. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin
    Russian postcard. Photo: Krauklis, Riga. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin, 1916
    Russian postcard, 1916. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukin
    Vintage postcard from the Russian Empire. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ivan Mozzhukhin and Nicolas Koline
    Ivan Mozzhukhin and Nicolas Koline. Vintage postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Vera Kholodnaya, Ivan Mozzhukhin and other actors of the Russian silent cinema
    Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson. A Who is Who of the Russian silent cinema. From left to right: Vitold Polonsky, Vladimir Maksimov, Vera Kholodnaya, Ossip Runitsch (in the back), Petr Cardynin, Ivan Khudoleyev, and Ivan Mozzhukin.

    For more postcards from the collection of Didier Hanson, check out our album at Flickr.

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  • 07/24/18--22:00: Zbigniew Sawan
  • Polish actor Zbigniew Sawan (1904–1984) starred both in silent and sound film, and was a respected stage actor in his country. He also worked as a theatre director and manager.

    Zbigniew Sawan
    Polish postcard by Polonia, Krakow, no. 907. Photo: Van Dyck.

    Zbyszko Sawan and Aleksander Zelwerowicz in Huragan (1928)
    Polish postcard, no. 83. Photo: publicity still for Huragan/Hurricane (Joseph Lejtes, 1928) with Aleksander Zelwerowicz. Collection: Joanna.

    Romantic Artist


    Zbigniew Sawan was born as Zbigniew Nowakowski in Voskresenovka, Russian Empire (now Russia) in 1904. He was the brother of the actress Jadwiga Boryta.

    After graduating from the Szkoły Dramatycznej (Drama School) in Warsaw, he made his stage debut at the Teatr im. Słowackiego in Krakow.

    In 1928 he played the leading role in the Polish-Austrian historical drama film Huragan/Hurricane (Joseph Lejtes, 1928).

    The following years he appeared in more silent Polish productions, including the romance Dzikuska/Savage (1928, Henryk Szaro), the drama Przedwiosnie/Early Spring (Henryk Szaro, 1928) and Policmajster Tagiejew/Police foreman Tagiejew (Juliusz Gardan, 1929).

    In these films the handsome actor often played jeune premier roles as the young student or the romantic artist. He was also credited as Zbyszko Sawan.

    Zbigniew Sawan
    Polish postcard by Victoria, no. 565. Photo: Lux. Publicity still for Dzikuska/Savage (1928).

    Zbigniew Sawan in Dzikuska (1928)
    Polish postcard by Polonia, Kraków, no. 705. Photo: Lux. Publicity still for Dzikuska/Savage (Henryk Szaro, 1928).

    Blacklisted


    In 1930, after the introduction of the sound film, Paramount contracted Zbigniew Sawan to appear in their French studio in Joinville to star in the drama Tajemnica lekarza (Ryszard Ordynski, 1930). This was an alternate language version of their production The Doctor's Secret (William C. De Mille, 1929) starring Ruth Chatterton and John Loder.

    Other early sound films were the romantic thriller Serce na ulicy/Heart on the Street (Juliusz Gardan, 1931) with Nora Ney, Uwiedziona/Seduced (Michal Waszynski, 1931) starring Maria Malicka, and Palac na kólkach/Palace on wheels (Ryszard Ordynski, 1932) with Igo Sym.

    After an interval he starred in two more films in the late 1930s, Ostatnia brygada/Last brigade (Michal Waszynski, 1938) with Maria Gorczynska, and Czarne diamenty/Black Diamonds (Jerzy Gabryelski, 1939).

    Then World War II finished his film career. As most of the actors who boycotted German-controlled theatres during the war, he had to find another way to make a living. He rejected offers to start working for the pro-Nazi UFA.

    Blacklisted, he was taken hostage (along with other Polish artists) by the Gestapo in 1941 and as a result of German retaliatory action for the Polish resistance assassination of the Nazi spy Igo Sym, his co-star from Palac na kólkach (1932). Sawan ended up in the Auschwitz concentration camp, but happily he survived.

    Zbigniew Sawan
    Polish postcard by Polonia, Kraków, no. 1403. Photo: Paramount-Film. Publicity still for Tajemnica Lekarza/The Doctor's Secret (Ryszard Ordynski, 1930).

    Zbigniew Sawan in Palac na kólkach (1932)
    Polish postcard by Polonia, Kraków, no. 111. Photo: Produkcja Orton / Muza-Film. Publicity still for Palac na kólkach/Palace on wheels (Ryszard Ordynski, 1932).

    Screen Come-Back


    After the war. Zbigniew Sawan started performing in Teatr Mały in Warsaw alongside his wife, the former film actress Lidia Wysocka, whom he had married in 1943. They later also performed together in Teatr Miniatura in Warsaw and Teatr Nowy.

    In 1947 they moved to the Polish Theatre in Szczecin, where Sawan would take the manager seat. The couple returned to Warsaw in 1949 and started working in Teatr Ludowy: Sawan again as the manager, while his wife started directing plays.

    More than 20 years after his last film, he made a screen come-back in Odwiedziny prezydenta/Visit of a President (Jan Batory, 1961) with Beata Tyszkiewicz. He also appeared in Andrzej Wajda’s Popioly/Ashes (1965) starring Daniel Olbrychski, and Katastrofa/Catastrophe (Sylwester Checinski, 1966) as the father of Marta Lipinska.

    During the 1970s, he played small parts in such films as Epilog norymberski/Nuremberg Epilogue (Jerzy Antczak, 1971), the war drama Akcja pod Arsenalem/Action at the Arsenal (Jan Lomnicki, 1978) and Aria dla atlety/Aria for an Athlete (Filip Bajon, 1979).

    His final film was the drama Klejnot wolnego sumienia/The Supreme Value of a Free Conscience (Grzegorz Królikiewicz, 1983). Later he only appeared as a priest in the Polish-British TV production Ceremonia pogrzebowa/Funeral Ceremony (Jacek Bromski, 1985).

    Zbigniew Sawan died in 1984 in Warszawa (Warsaw), Poland, at the age of 80. He was survived by his wife, Lidia Wysocka.

    Zbyszko Sawan
    Polish postcard by Polonia, Krakow, no. 559. Photo: Van Dyck. Signature from 1928. Collection: Joanne.

    Marja Malicka and Zbyszko Sawan in Dzikuska (1928)
    Polish postcard by Edition Victoria. Photo: Lux. Publicity still for Dzikuska/Savage (Henryk Szaro, 1928) with Marja Malicka. Collection: Joanna.

    Sources: Film Polski (Polish), Wikipedia (English and Polish) and IMDb.

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  • 07/25/18--22:00: Romeo and Juliet (1954)
  • The lavish British-Italian production Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, 1954) is one of the many film adaptations of William Shakespeare's famous play of the same name. It stars Laurence Harvey as Romeo and Susan Shentall as Juliet. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and several other awards.

    Laurence Harvey
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 551. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954) with Laurence Harvey.

    Susan Shentall and Norman Wooland in Romeo and Juliet (1954)
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 552. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954) with Susan Shentall and Norman Wooland.

    Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall in Romeo and Juliet (1954)
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 554. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954).

    Laurence Harvey in Romeo and Juliet (1954)
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 555. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954). Left stands the wounded Mercutio (Ubaldo Zollo) and right Laurence Harvey.

    Fallen into a hole in film history


    The Montagues and the Capulets are two families of Renaissance Italy. They have hated each other for years, but Romeo (Laurence Harvey), the son of one family and Julia (Susan Shentall), the daughter of the other, fall desperately in love. But the star-crossed lovers know that their families will never allow them to follow their hearts.

    Renato Castellani's film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1954) has somehow fallen into a hole in film history. Despite a handsome production with some worthy performances, it is overshadowed by Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968) with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, and even the Hollywood version, Romeo and Juliet (George Cukor, 1936) with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard.

    However, it was the first version of the movie to be shot (or partially shot) on location in Italy in colour. While the leads are not the proper juveniles that appeared in the 1966 version, Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall were closer to the ages of the characters than Howard and Shearer were.

    In the cast are also Flora Robson as the Nurse, Mervyn Johns as Friar Laurence, Bill Travers as Benvolio, Sebastian Cabot as Lord Capulet, and John Gielgud as the Chorus (Gielgud would reprise the role in the 1978 BBC version). Other parts were played by inexperienced Italian actors: Mercutio was played by an architect, Montague by a gondolier from Venice, and the Prince by novelist Ennio Flaiano.

    Castellani himself wrote the screen adaptation for his version. His film contains interpolated scenes intended to establish the class system and Catholicism of Renaissance Verona, and the nature of the feud. Exquisite is the cinematography by Robert Krasker, who was the cameraman for many historical super-productions.

    The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was named the best foreign film by the US National Board of Review, which also named Castellani as best director. Commercially response to the film was underwhelming though.

    Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall in Romeo and Juliet
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 556. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall in Romeo and Juliet (1954).

    Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall in Romeo and Juliet (1954)
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 557. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954). Caption: The Death scene from Romeo and Juliet. Right: Sebastian Cabot as Capulet. Behind the bodies of Romeo and Juliet stands Bill Travers as Benvolio.

    Laurence Harvey
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1322. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Publicity still for Romeo and Juliet (1954) with Laurence Harvey.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 07/26/18--22:00: Bernhard Goetzke
  • With his sharply featured face, high forehead and low-lying eyes, German film actor Bernhard Goetzke (1884–1964) was one of the impressive stars of the silent films of Fritz Lang. He appeared in 130 films between 1917 and 1961.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3009/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

    Die Nibelungen (1924)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 675/4. Photo: Decla-Ufa-Film. Caption: Kriemhild (Margarethe Schön) gives Volkert (Bernhard Goetzke) Siegfried's cloak. Still for Die Nibelungen, II: Kriemhilds Rache (Fritz Lang, 1924).

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 497/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Ernst Lubitsch


    Bernhard Goetzke was born in Danzig, Germany (now Gdańsk, Poland) in 1884.

    After a private training as an actor, he performed in theatres in Düsseldorf, Hagen, and Dresden. During the First World War, he went to Berlin. There he played on many stages and worked under the famous director Max Reinhardt.

    Goetzke started his film career in the 1910s. In 1917 he appeared with Conrad Veidt in the eerie dream-like Furcht/Fear (Robert Wiene, 1917).

    This was soon followed by leading roles in the mystery Die Japanerin/The Japanese Woman (Ewald André Dupont, 1919) opposite Ria Jende, Anita Jo (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1919) featuring Hanni Weisse, and Zwischen Tod und Leben/Between Life and Death (Arthur Wellin, 1919) with Alexander Moissi.

    Goetzke had a supporting part in the international box office hit Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) starring Pola Negri.

    A second highlight was Die Brüder Karamasoff/The Brothers Karamazov (Carl Froelich, 1921), the first film version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous novel. He played Iwan Karamazov, and Emil Jannings and Fritz Kortner as his (young and older) brother, the murderer Dimitri.

    Another huge success was the two-part adventure epic Das indische Grabmal/The Indian Tomb (Joe May, 1921), in which Goetzke appeared as a sinister Yogi opposite Olaf Fönss and Mia May. His sharply featured face, high forehead and low-lying eyes as well as his long, slim form made him one of the most impressive appearances of the silent cinema.

    Bernhard Goetzke in Die Nibelungen
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 672/4. Photo: Decla-Ufa-Film. Bernhard Goetzke as Volker von Alzey, the bard in Die Nibelungen (Fritz Lang, 1924). Costumes and sets of the film were inspired by Carl Otto Czeschka's book illustrations (1909) of Die Nibelungen.

    Bernhard Goetzke in Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (1926)
    German postcard by. Ross Verlag, no. 1347/1. Photo: Hisa Film-Vertrieb. Bernhard Goetzke as the evil Egyptian priest Arbaces in the silent epic Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei/ The Last Days of Pompeii (Carmine Gallone, Amleto Palermi, 1926).

    Bernhard Goetzke
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 677/2. Photo: Verleih E. Weil & Co.

    Alfred Hitchcock


    Bernhard Goetzke’s most notable film performance was his title role of Death in Fritz Lang’s Der müde Tod/Destiny (Fritz Lang, 1921). He worked again for Lang in Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler/Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (Fritz Lang, 1922) the first in Lang's series of thrillers around the criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse (Rudolph Klein Rogge).

    Goetzke also played Volker von Alzey, the Bard, in Lang‘s epic fantasy Die Nibelungen (Fritz Lang, 1924).

    Then he played the leading role of engineer Kramer in Gerhard Lamprecht‘s social drama Die Verrufenen/Slums of Berlin (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1925) with Aud Egede Nissen, and he also starred in the sequel Die Unehelichen/Children of No Importance (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1926).

    In that same year Alfred Hitchcock directed him in the leading role of his romantic thriller The Mountain Eagle (1926), which was shot in München (Munich). He played a Kentucky shopkeeper in love with a teacher (Nita Naldi). When she refuses him, he accuses her from molesting his mentally ill son. Hitchcock also wrote the drama Die Prinzessin und der Geiger/The Blackguard (Graham Cutts, 1925) with Goetzke and in the title role Walter Rilla.

    In Italy, Goetzke played in the historical epic Gli ultimi giorni di Pompeii/The Last Days of Pompeii (Carmine Gallone, Amleto Palermi, 1926) with Victor Varconi.

    In France, he co-starred in the crime film Vivre/To Live (Robert Boudrioz, 1928) with Elmire Vautier. In France, he also played father Faria in a silent adaptation of Alexandre Dumas Père’s Monte Cristo (Henri Fescourt, 1929) starring Jean Angelo.

    He had his last leading role in Salamandra/Salamander (Grigori Roshal, 1929), one of the first German-Soviet co-productions. It was a Socialist Realist distortion of Dr. Paul Kammerer's experiments in the inheritance of acquired character(istic)s: the conjecture that certain changes which the environment produces in an individual may spontaneously appear in the next generation.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1279/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Riess.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1517/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Hanns Schwarz.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    French postcard by A. N. (A. Noyer), Paris, no. 135.

    Alraune


    When the sound film arrived, Bernhard Goetzke joined the fate of many of his colleagues and his film career went into decline. During the sound era, he only appeared in supporting roles.

    In the interesting SciFi film Alraune/Daughter of Evil (Richard Oswald, 1930), he played one of the men who fall for the vamp Alraune, played by Brigitte Helm. In this sound version, Helm gives a different interpretation of the same part she had in the silent version two years earlier. She not only portrays Alraune, the artificially created girl who brings down men by the dozen but also her mother, a prostitute who agrees to take part in an experiment of artificial insemination.

    Goetzke reunited with his former director Lamprecht and co-star Aud Egede Nissen for Zwischen Nacht und Morgen/Between Night and Dawn (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1931), but his role was only a minor one.

    In Finland he played his last lead role as an old hunter in the drama Erämaan turvissa (Kalle Kaarna, Friedrich von Maydell, 1931). From then he played supporting or bit parts in dozens of run-of-the mill films.

    Among the more interesting films are the Jules Verne adaptation Der Kurier des Zaren/The Czar's Courier (Richard Eichberg, 1936) starring Adolph Wohlbrück (aka Anton Walbrook) as Lt. Michael Strogoff, and the pro-Irish propaganda film Der Fuchs von Glenarvon/The Fox of Glenarvon (Max W. Kimmich, 1941) with Olga Tschechova.

    He also played a small part in the notorious propaganda film Jus Süss/Jew Süss (Veit Harlan, 1941). His roles at the time were so small that his performances sometimes were not even credited.

    After the war Goetzke only appeared in two films of the East-German DEFA studio, as a poor farmer in the classic children’s fantasy Das kalte Herz/The heart of Stone (Paul Verhoeven, 1950) with Lutz Moik, and as a priest in the biography Semmelweis - Retter der Mütter/Dr. Semmelweis (Georg C. Klaren, 1950).

    He focused on his stage career, and till his death he was an ensemble member of the Staatlichen Schauspielbühnen Westberlins (the State Theatres of West Berlin). His final screen appearance was a bit role in the TV film Elisabeth von England/Elizabeth of England (Hanns Korngiebel, 1961) featuring Elisabeth Flickenschildt.

    Bernhard Goetzke died in 1964 in West-Berlin. He was 80.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3526/1, 1928-1929. Photo: S. Brill, Paris.

    Bernhard Goetzke
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3629/1, 1928-1929.

    Sources: Volker Wachter (DEFA Filmsterne), Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.

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  • 07/27/18--22:00: Photo by Martin Badekow
  • The work of German photographer Martin Badekow (1896–1983) has been overlooked for a long time, but his photographs from the Berlin cabarets have become emblematic images of Weimar Germany. Vintage prints by Badekow are auctioned today for hundreds of dollars, but you can still find Ross Verlag postcards with his glamour portraits of film stars for the price of a bus fare.

    Werner Krauss
    Werner Krauss. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1613/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Badekow-Grosz, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Werner Krauss
    Werner Krauss. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1613/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Badekow-Grósz, Berlin.

    Mary Kid
    Mary Kid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3005/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Warwick Ward
    Warwick Ward. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3312/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Warwick Ward
    Warwick Ward. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3312/2, 1928-1929. Signed in 1931. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Harry Hardt
    Harry Hardt. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3406/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Hanni Weisse
    Hanni Weisse. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3459/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow Berlin.

    The famous Kurfürstendamm in Berlin


    Martin Badekow had his photo studio, Atelier Badekow, at the famous Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. There he and his compagnon Grosz produced many fashion photos and celebrity portraits.

    During the 1920s, Martin Badekow was frequently referred to in the German press as 'famous' or 'world renowned'. Many film stars came to his studio for glamour portraits, including Henny Porten, Dita Parlo and the beautiful exotic dancer La Jana.

    The then still unknown Marlene Dietrichalso often posed at Badekow's studio for fashion photos, showing her beautiful legs. Badekow sold the pictures to the many illustrated magazines in Berlin. However none of his portraits of Marlene were used for Ross Verlag postcards.

    A well-known 1927 photo by Badekow shows Marlene playing the singing saw, which she had learned to play ffor the silent (!) film Café Elektric/Café Electric (Gustav Ucicky, 1927). Her teacher was co-star Igo Sym, who later became a Gestapo agent and was liquidated by the Polish resistance. During the second World War, Dietrich would let the saw sing again for the US troops.

    After the war, Martin Badekow and his son Heinz (1920) photographed the ruins of Berlin. Their devastating pictures of the city can be seen at Getty Images, including one of the destroyed Kurfürstendamm. In the following decades Badekow slowly disappeared from the radar, till his work of the 1920s suddenly became the focus of revived interest.

    And today, Martin Badekow's photographs from the Berlin cabarets and the stars of the silent German cinema can be admired in museums and are worshipped as emblematic images of Weimar Germany.

    Ernst Verebes
    Ernst Verebes. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3693/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    La Jana
    La Jana. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3911, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Dita Parlo
    Dita Parlo. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4591/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    La Jana
    La Jana. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4657/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    La Jana
    La Jana. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4657/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Grit Haid
    Grit Haid. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4655/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Marta Eggerth
    Marta Eggerth. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6856/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Aafa Film / Phot. Atelier Badekow, Berlin.

    Sources: Mark Goffee (Ross Postcards), One Man’s Treasure, Tagesspiegel (German) and AxelSpringer.de (German).


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  • 07/28/18--22:00: Mercedes Brignone
  • Mercedes Brignone (1885-1967) was an Italian theatre, film and television actress. The peak of her career was during the silent era. Brignone was directed several times n screen by her brother, Guido Brignone.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by Varischi Artico & Co. Milano, no. 2027.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by Varischi Artico & Co. Milano, no. 2055.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by Varischi Artico & Co. Milano, no. 2061. Sent by mail in Belgium in 1917.

    Neglected


    Mercedes Brignone was born in Madrid, Spain in 1885. She was the daughter of Italian stage actor Giuseppe Brignone.

    Already as a child, she started to perform with her father and became a lively comical actress. In 1903 she married actor Uberto Palmarini with whom she worked in the same theatre company.

    Probably her first film role was in the short Il marito in campagna/The Husband in the Country (?, 1912), which co-starred Umberto Mozzato. It was an adaptation of the French boulevard comedy Le mari à la campagne by Jean-François Bayard and Jules de Wailly.

    From 1914 she had a steady career in the Italian cinema, first in shorts but soon in feature-length films. Brignone starred in these films, which in 1914 were all Milano productions, often directed by Baldassarre Negroni and co-starring Livio Pavanelli and her husband, Uberto Palmarini.

    Examples of these films are La corsa all’abisso/The Pace That Kills (Attilio Fabbri, 1914), La dote del burattinaio/The Puppet’s Dowry (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914), and Il re dell’Atlantico/The King of the Atlantic (Baldassarre Negroni, 1914).

    Brignone left Milano and worked for several other companies. In 1915 she played in Mezzanotte/Midnight (Augusto Genina, 1915) and in the adaptation of Salvatore Di Giacomo’s play A San Francisco/In San Francisco (1915), directed by her co-star Gustavo Serena. San Francisco refers here to the former prison in Naples.

    In 1916, Brignone again played with husband Palmarini in Medusa velata/Veiled Medusa (Ugo De Simone, 1916), and played with her brother Guido and his wife Lola Visconti-Brignone in Espiazione/Penitence (Mario Corte, 1916).

    Brignone acted opposite Helena Makowskaand Umberto Mozzato, the actor of her first film, in La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916). This film, based on Gabriele D’Annunzio’s play, narrates the bizarre story of a sculptor (Mozzato) who neglects his wife (Brignone) for his femme fatale-like model (Makowska). When the wife tries to save her marriage, the model wants to crush the sculpture for which she modelled. The wife tries to save the statue, but looses her hands in doing so.

    The film is considered lost now, although if it was widespread at the time. Happily, the postcards of the film still exist.

    Gioconda 18. Mercedes Brignone, La Gioconda
    Mercedes Brignone in La Gioconda (1916). Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3660, 1917. Photo: Ambrosio.

    Gioconda 10. Mercedes Brignone and Umberto Mozzato in La Gioconda
    Mercedes Brignone and Umberto Mozzato in La Gioconda (1916). Italian postcard by ICA CT, no. 3670, 1916. Photo: Ambrosio.

    Gioconda 16
    Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3871. Photo: Film della Società Ambrosio, Torino. V. Uff. Rev. St. Terni. Publicity still for La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916). Caption: Sivia Settala deposes flowers in the studio of her husband, noting with great sadness, that he is ever more absent.

    Monstre Sacré


    In 1917, Mercedes Brignone played in La flotta degli emigranti/The Fleet of the Emigrants (Leopoldo Carlucci, 1917) co-starring Ileana Leonidoff, Il delitto dell’opera/The crime of the work (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917), and Amleto/Hamlet (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917).

    Amleto starred the monstre sacré of the Italian stage Ruggero Ruggeri as Hamlet opposite Brignone as Gertrud and Helena Makowska as Ophelia. Some years ago the film was found and restored.

    Rodolfi had started his own company for which Brignone starred in various films: after Amleto followed Un dramma di Vittoriano Sardou/A Play by Victorien Sardou (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1918), La signora Rebus/Mrs. Rebus (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1918), Il buon Samaritano/The Good Samaritan (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1919), a remake of Il marito in campagna/The Husband in the Countryside (Mario Almirante, 1920), and Il privilegio dell’amore/The Privilege of Love (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1920).

    In the film Il perfetto amore/The Perfect Love (1918), Mecedes Brignone was directed for the first time by her brother, Guido Brignone. From 1916 on, he had been active as a film director for the Cines company. Their next film together was Il quadro di Osvaldo Mars/The Portrait by Osvaldo Mars (Guido Brignone, 1921).

    In this film, Mercedes Brignone plays a countess in this film who discovers that a daring painting will be exposed of her in a Salome outfit and nothing much more. She cuts the painting to pieces but is also accused of the murder of the painter. The film was recently found in South-America by the Bologna film archive and restored.

    Il quadro di Osvaldo Mars intriguingly shows the double nature of the countess: restrained and violent, but Brignone also plays a double role of the lookalike of the countess, a farmer’s wife who leaves husband and child to climb the social ladder.

    After Il quadro di Osvaldo Mars Guido Brignone directed his sister again in Le campane di San Lucio/The Bells of San Lucio (1921).

    After that, Mercedes Brignone became the co-star of Il segreto del morto/The Secret of the Dead (Luigi Romano Borgnetto, 1922) with Carlo Aldini, I due sergenti/The Two Sergeants (Guido Brignone, 1922) with Giovanni Cimara– the film was based on a popular French novel that was often filmed in Italy - and Maciste e il nipote d’America/Maciste and the American Cousin (1924, Eleuterio Rodolfi), with as the legendary strongman, of course.

    Amleto (1917)
    Italian postcard for the film Amleto (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917), adapted from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, and starring Ruggero Ruggeri in the title role, with Mercedes Brigone as Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude, while Polonius spies between the curtains. Caption: Hamlet: You mother, you committed a grave offense to my father.

    Amleto (1917)
    Italian postcard for the film Amleto (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917) with Mercedes Brignone as Queen Gertrude and Armand Pouget as King Claudius. Caption: The wedding of Gertrud and Claudius: "Yes, him! That incestuous beast won to his shameful lust the will of my [most seeming-virtuous] queen." (spoken by The Ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet).

    Mercedes Brignone in Amleto
    Italian postcard for the film Amleto (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917) with Mercedes Brignone as Queen Gertrude and Armand Pouget as King Claudius. Caption: "Polonius: Your noble son is mad. Mad call I it". Unknown is who played Polonius.

    Napoleon


    After an interval of six years, Mercedes Brignone returned to the cinema as a governess in the first Italian sound film, La canzone dell'amore/The Song of Love (1930), starring Dria Paola.

    By now Brignone had to be satisfied with smaller parts, as in Nerone/Nero (Alessandro Balsetti, 1930), La stella del cinema/The Film Star (Mario Almirante, 1931) featuring Leda Gloria, Corte d’Assise/Before the Jury (Guido Brignone) with Marcella Albani, Vivere/To Live (Guido Brignone, 1938) with opera singer Tito Schipa, and the comedy Il marchese di Ruvolito/The Marquis of Ruvolito (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1939) with the Napolitan brothers Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo.

    In Sant’Elena, piccola isola/Saint Helen, Little Island (Umberto Scarpelli, Renato Simoni, 1943) Brignone played Madama Letizia vs. Ruggero Ruggeri as Bonaparte.

    Other films she appeared in during the war period were La primadonna (Ivo Perilli, 1943) starring German actress Anneliese Uhlig, and Il fiore sotto gli occhi/The Flower under the Eyes (Guido Brignone, 1944) with Claudio Gora.

    In the postwar era Mercedes Brignone worked for several theatre companies. She often played in comedies with Ruggero Ruggeri and Tino Carraro. She only incidentally appeared in films.

    Her last (bit) parts were in Lorenzaccio (Raffaello Pacini, 1951) and Vacanze d’inverno/Winter Holidays (Camillo Mastrocinque, Giualiano Carnimeo, 1959) starring Michèle Morgan.

    For RAI radio she acted in Aurelia (Enzo Ferrieri, 1949), while on television she could be seen in two stage plays, Romanticismo/Romanticism (1954), and Pane altrui/The Other's Bread (1957) and had a guest role in the series Le inchieste del commissario Maigret/The Investigations of Commissionar Maigret (1965), starring Gino Cervi.

    Mercedes Brignone died in 1967 in Milan. She was the aunt of actress Lilla Brignone, the daughter of her brother Guido.

    Marcella Albani in Corte d'Assise (1930)
    Italian postcard. Photo: Produzione Cines-Pittaluga. Publicity still for the courtcase melodrama Corte d'Assise (Guido Brignone, 1930), released in 1931. From left to right: Lya Franca, Renzo Ricci, Marcella Albani, and Mercedes Brignone, and far right Elio Steiner.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by Varischi Artico & Co, Milano, no. 2052.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by Varischi Artico & Co. Milano, no. 2074. Sent by mail in Belgium in 1906.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard by NPG / Varischi Artico e C., Milano, no. 1.

    Mercedes Brignone
    Italian postcard, no. 58. Photo: Sciutto.

    Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto Italiano - Italian), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 07/29/18--22:00: Szöke Szakáll
  • Cute, chubby-jowled Hungarian actor Szöke Szakáll (1883-1955) started his film career in the German and Austrian silent cinema. From 1940 on, he became known in Hollywood as character actor S.Z. Sakall. He was memorable as Carl, the head waiter in Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) and played many more supporting roles in comedies and musicals, often as a lovable, somewhat befuddled uncle, businessman or neighbourhood eccentric.

    Szöke Szakall in Mädchen zum Heiraten (1932)
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 6539. Photo: Kiba-Verl. / Felsom-Film. Publicity still for Mädchen zum Heiraten/Girls to marry (Wilhelm Thiele, 1932).

    Szöke Szakáll
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7339/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Szöke Szakall
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. W 865. Photo: Warner Bros.

    Blonde Beard


    Szöke Szakáll was born Gerő Jenő in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) in 1883 (some sources say 1882 or 1884). His stage name Szöke Szakáll means in Hungarian 'blonde beard'. At 18, he was called so as a young writer and aspiring actor because he wore a beard to look older.

    The actor became a star of the Hungarian stage and screen in the 1910s and early 1920s. His films included Az újszülött apa/The newborn dad (Eugen Illés, 1916) and A dollárnéni/The dollar (Lajos Lázár, 1917).

    At the beginning of the 1920s, he moved to Vienna, where he appeared in Hermann Leopoldi's Kabarett Leopoldi-Wiesenthal. One of his first film roles there was in Familientag im Hause Prellstein/Family Day in House Prellstein (Hans Steinhoff, 1927) with Erika Glässner.

    The next years, he appeared in dozens of films including Großstadtschmetterling/Pavement Butterfly (Richard Eichberg, 1929) starring Anna May Wong, and in Ihre Majestät die Liebe/Her Majesty Love (Joe May, 1931) starring Käthe von Nagy, which was remade in Hollywood as Her Majesty, Love (William Dieterle, 1931) with W.C. Fields in Szákall's role.

    In the 1930s, he was, next to Hans Moser, the most significant representative of the Wiener Film, the Viennese light romantic comedy genre. For a brief period during this time, he ran his own production company.

    Szákall was forced to return to Hungary, because of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement. He was involved in over 40 films in his native land, including Skandal in Budapest/Romance in Budapest (Steve Sekely, Géza von Bolváry, 1933) and Fräulein Lilli/Miss Lilli (Hans Behrendt, Robert Wohlmuth, 1936), both starring Franziska Gaàl.

    When Hungary joined the Axis in 1940, he went in exile with his wife. Many of Szákall's close relatives later died in Nazi concentration camps, including all three of his sisters and his niece, as well as his wife's brother and sister.

    Liane Haid, Szöke Szakall and Gustav Fröhlich
    Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 385. Photo: City Film. Liane Haid, Gustav Fröhlich and Szöke Szákall were the stars of the German comedy Ich will nicht wissen, wer du bist/I Do Not Want to Know Who You Are (Géza von Bolváry, 1932).

    Szöke Szakáll
    Dutch postcard by City Film, no. 619. Photo: publicity still for Frühlingsstimmen/Voices of Springtime (Pál Fejös, 1933).

    Szöke Szakall
    German postcard, no. 6763/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Szöke Szakall
    Dutch postcard by City Film.

    Cuddles


    Producer Joe Pasternak had invited Szöke Szakáll in 1940 to come to the US. His first Hollywood role as S.Z. Sakall was in the comedy It's a Date (William A. Seiter, 1940) opposite Deanna Durbin.

    Memorable was his turn as a butler in the comedy The Devil and Miss Jones (Sam Wood, 1941) with Jean Arthur. His first big hit was Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941) with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

    Later, he signed a contract with Warner Brothers. There he was unforgettable as Carl, the head waiter in Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) and as a somewhat lecherous Broadway producer in the biography/musical Yankee Doodle Dandy (Michael Curtiz, 1942) with James Cagney.

    Producer Hal Wallis had signed Sakall for the role of Carl in Casablanca three weeks after filming had begun. When he was first offered the part, Sakall hated it and turned it down. Sakall finally agreed to take the role provided they gave him four weeks of work. The two sides eventually agreed on three weeks.

    In the 1940s and 1950s, he played many more supporting roles in comedies and musicals, often as a lovable somewhat befuddled uncle, businessman or neighbourhood eccentric. His nickname became Cuddles. He was famous for using the phrase 'everything hunky dory'.

    Among his films of the 1940s are Christmas in Connecticut (Peter Godfrey, 1945) with Barbara Stanwyck, the drama Embraceable You (Felix Jacoves, 1948) and Michael Curtiz's Romance on the High Seas (1948) - Doris Day's film debut.

    His films of the 1950s included two more musicals with Doris Day, Tea for Two (David Butler, 1950) and Lullaby of Broadway (David Butler, 1951), and the Errol Flynn Western Montana (Ray Enright, 1950).

    His last movie was the musical The Student Prince (Richard Thorpe, 1954). That year, Szöke Szakáll retired from films and he died of a heart attack a year later in Los Angeles, ten days after his 72nd birthday.

    Szöke Szakall
    Dutch postcard, no. 504. Photo: Filma.

    Szöke Szakall
    Belgian postcard, offered by Nieuwe Merksemsche Chocolaterie S.P.R.L., Merksem (Anvers). Photo: Warner Bros.

    Szöke Szakall and Doris Day in Tea for Two (1950)
    Dutch postcard by Takken / 't Sticht, no. AX 343. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for Tea for Two (David Butler, 1950), the first film for which Doris Day received top-billing.

    Szöke Szakall and Doris Day in Lullaby of Broadway (1951)
    Dutch postcard by Takken / 't Sticht, no. AX 631. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for Lullaby of Broadway ( (David Butler, 1951) with Doris Day.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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