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R.I.P.: Little Richard (1932-2020)

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Yesterday, 9 May 2020, American pianist-singer Little Richard passed away. In the mid-1950s, his dynamic songs like 'Tutti Frutti' and 'Good Golly Miss Molly' and his charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. He was one of the first crossover black artists, reaching audiences of all races. Little Richard was 87.

Little Richard (1932-2020)
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Int. Filmpers (I.F.P.), Amsterdam, no. 1525. Little Richard performs with his band as his saxophone player Grady Gaines stands on the piano in Mister Rock And Roll (Charles S. Dubin, 1957).

Little Richard (1932-2020)
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3384. Photo: Paramount. Little Richard in Mister Rock and Roll (Charles S. Dubin, 1957).

The Girl Can't Help It


Little Richard was born as Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 in Macon, Georgia, USA. His mother was Leva Mae Penniman, and his father was Charles "Bud" Penniman, a church deacon and a brick mason, who sold bootlegged moonshine on the side and owned a nightclub called the Tip In Inn. Richard was the third born child and had five sisters and six brothers.

Before entering the tenth grade, Penniman left his family home and joined Dr. Hudson's Medicine Show in 1949. His first recording session took place at WGST in Atlanta, Georgia. He was backed by a local band led by Billy Wright. This session produced a local hit called 'Every Hour'. Little Richard admitted to copying Wright's penchant for heavy makeup and wild stage theatrics.

With a public persona and personal life marked by sexual ambiguity, he would make his mark with later hits such as the suggestive 'Tutti Frutti' and 'Good Golly Miss Molly'. 'Tutti Frutti' (1955) became an instant hit, reaching no. 2 on Billboard magazine's Rhythm and Blues Best-Sellers chart and crossing over to the pop charts in both the United States and in Europe.

Richard's next hit single, 'Long Tall Sally' (1956), hit no. 1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Best-Sellers chart. Like 'Tutti Frutti', it sold over a million copies. Overall, he would produce seven singles in the U.S. in 1956, including 'The Girl Can't Help It' and 'Lucille'. His performances during this period resulted in integration between whites and blacks in his audience.

He also appeared in such films as Don't Knock the Rock (Fred W. Sears, 1956) with Bill Haley, The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956) starring Jayne Mansfield, and Mister Rock And Roll (Charles S. Dubin, 1957).

Little Richard (1932-2020)
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 1995.

Little Richard
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 1996.

Held up by angels


In October 1957, Little Richard embarked on a package tour in Australia with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. In his autobiography, he later wrote that during a flight from Melbourne to Sydney that his plane was experiencing some difficulty and he saw the plane's red hot engines and felt angels were "holding it up". At the end of his Sydney performance, Little Richard saw a bright red fireball flying across the sky above him and claimed he was "deeply shaken". He took it as a "sign from God" to repent from performing secular music and his wild lifestyle at the time.

Returning to the States ten days earlier than expected, he read news of his original flight having crashed into the Pacific Ocean as a further sign to "do as God wanted". After a "farewell performance" at the Apollo Theater and a "final" recording session with the Specialty label later that month, Richard Penniman enrolled at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, to study theology.

A month after his conversion, Penniman met Ernestine Harvin, a secretary from Washington, D.C., and the couple married in 1959. He ventured into gospel music, first recording for End Records, before signing with Mercury Records in 1961, where he eventually released 'King of the Gospel Singers', in 1962, produced by Quincy Jones, who later remarked that Penniman's vocals impressed him more than any other vocalist he had worked with.

In 1962, during a five-year period in which Little Richard abandoned rock and roll for born again Christianity, concert promoter Don Arden persuaded him to tour Europe. During this time, Arden had The Beatles open for Penniman on some tour dates. David Browne at Rolling Stone: "Although he never hit the Top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatlesrecorded several of his songs, including 'Long Tall Sally,' and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own 'I’m Down'– paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock & roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions. "

Little Richard overcame a debilitating drug habit and eventually became an ordained minister. Beginning in the 1980s, he saw a resurgence in his popularity as he acquired small acting roles in such films as Down and Out in Beverly Hills (Paul Mazursky, 1986) in which he showed his comedic timing. As versatile and ageless as ever, Little Richard continued to delight fans the world over with his stage presence and flamboyant antics.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the American Songwriters Hall of Fame. From 1959 till 1963, he was married to Ernestine Campbell, with whom he had a son, Danny Penniman. Little Richard passed away in Nashville, Tennessee, aged 87. The cause of death was bone cancer.

Little Richard in The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
Dutch postcard by Takken, no. 2043. Little Richard in The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956).


Scenes from The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956) with Little Richard's recording of the title song. Source: SuperCanopus (YouTube).

Source: David Browne (Rolling Stone), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Nadia Gray

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Romanian-born actress Nadia Gray (1923-1994) was an elegant and seductive star of European films of the 1950s and 1960s. She is best known for her striptease scene in Fellini’s classic La Dolce Vita (1960).

Nadia Gray in Le avventure di Giacomo Casanova (1955)
Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 1684. Photo: Nadia Gray in Le avventure di Giacomo Casanova/The Loves of Casanova (Steno, 1955).

Nadia Gray
Dutch postcard. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation.

Nadia Gray
Belgian postcard, no. 271.

Nadia Gray
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 346. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Nadia Gray
German postcard by ISV, no. M 13. Photo: Europa-Film / Haenchen.

Anarchist Incident


Nadia Gray (sometimes Nadja Grey) was born Nadia Kujnir-Herescu in Bucharest, Romania in 1923. She came from an old Jewish family. Her father was a Russian refugee and her mother was Bessarabian.

As a child, she was such an admirer of King Carol of Romania that she threw down a bunch of flowers from her balcony on the royal cortege passing by. It was a time of anarchist terror and the incident caused her family some trouble.

In 1946, she married the aristocrat Constantin Cantacuzino, a Romanian aviator and WW II fighter ace. They had met when she was a passenger on a commercial air flight at which he was the pilot. One of the engines had caught fire and Cantacuzino was forced to do an emergency landing.

At the time, Gray had just started a career as a theatre actress. In 1947, the couple left Romania for Paris to escape the Communist regime after World War II. Her film debut was in the French-Austrian coproduction L'Inconnu d'un soir/Strangers on a night (Hervé Bromberger, 1948) with Claude Dauphin. She played the leading role as a young waitress who yearns to be a star.

Nadia enjoyed with her husband a cosmopolitan jet-set life and meanwhile, she appeared on stage and in films. Early film roles that led to European stardom included her countess in Monseigneur/Monsignor (Roger Richebe, 1949) opposite Bernard Blier, a woman in love with a master-safecracker (Guy Rolfe) in The Spider and the Fly (Robert Hamer, 1949), and an opera diva in the Technicolor biopic Puccini (Carmine Gallone, 1953) featuring Gabriele Ferzetti as the composer.

Her English language films included the action-adventure Valley of Eagles (Terence Young, 1951), the crime drama Night Without Stars (Anthony Pelissier, 1951) opposite David Farrar, and the comedy The Captain's Table (Jack Lee, 1959). Gray and her husband had eventually settled in Spain, but in 1958 Cantacuzino died.

Nadia Gray
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano. Photo: Dear Film.

Nadia Gray
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 467. Photo: Dear Film.

Nadia Gray
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 135. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Puccini (Carmine Gallone, 1953).

Nadia Gray in Ivan (il figlio del diavolo bianco) (1953)
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. V 301. Photo: Viktoria Filmverleih. Nadia Gray in Ivan (il figlio del diavolo bianco)/Ivan, Son of the White Devil (Guido Brignone, 1953).

Nadia Gray in Hengst Maestoso Austria (1956)
West-German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, no. 271. Photo: Schönbrunn-Film, Wien / Allianz Film. Nadia Gray in Hengst Maestoso Austria/Stallion Maestoso Austria (Hermann Kugelstadt, 1956).

Bored and Decadent Socialite


Nadia Gray’s best-known role is as the bored and decadent socialite Nadia in La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1960) starring Marcello Mastroianni. In fact, her part is only a cameo: toward the end of Fellini's masterpiece, Nadia celebrates her divorce by performing a sensual mink-coated striptease during a wild party at her home.

Gray specialised in aristocratic, jet-set roles. Among her scattered appearances in English-speaking productions were the comedy Mr. Topaze (Peter Sellers, 1961) starring Peter Sellers, the Hammer horror-thriller Maniac (Michael Carreras, 1963) co-starring Kerwin Mathews, the thriller The Naked Runner (Sidney J. Furie, 1967) starring Frank Sinatra, and a supporting role in the classic romance Two for the Road (Stanley Donen, 1967) with Albert Finneyand Audrey Hepburn.

On TV, Gray played a.o. Number 8 in The Chimes of Big Ben (1967), an episode of the cult series The Prisoner (1967-1968) starring Patrick McGoohan.

She had acquired the French nationality in 1964, but in 1967 she married Manhattan attorney Herbert Silverman, and they settled in the USA. She retired from films completely in 1976 and began headlining as a nightclub singer.

Nadia Gray died of a stroke in 1994 in New York City. She was 70 and was survived by her second husband and their two stepchildren.

Nadia Gray
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 41. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation Ltd.

Nadia Gray in Meine schöne Mama (1958)
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 302. Photo: Bavaria / Cosmopol / Schorcht. Nadia Gray in Meine schöne Mama/My Pretty Mama (Paul Martin, 1958).

Nadia Gray in The Captain's Table (1959)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1673. Photo: Rank. Nadia Gray in The Captain's Table (Jack Lee, 1959).

Nadia Gray
Vintage card. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Organisation Ltd.


A long scene from La Dolce Vita (1960) including the famous striptease (No subtitles - partly in English). Source: Umbgu (YouTube).

Sources: Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (French, Italian, German and English) and IMDb.

Die Weber (1927)

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One of the classics of the Weimar cinema is Die Weber/The Weavers (Friedrich Zelnik, 1927). During the 1840s, a group of Silesian weavers stages an uprising due to their concerns about the Industrial Revolution's impact on their lives. Die Weber is based on the 1892 play of the same title by Gerhart Hauptmann based on a historical event. The silent historical drama film starred Wilhelm Dieterle, Theodor Loos, and Hermann Picha, as the starving weavers, and Paul Wegener as their antagonist, the factory owner. It was director Friedrich Zelnik's most ambitious project and he created a film in the style of Eisenstein's revolutionary epics.

Wilhelm Dieterle in Die Weber (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Zelnik-Film. Wilhelm Dieterle in Die Weber/The Weavers (Friedrich Zelnik, 1927).

Wilhelm Dieterle and Hermann Picha in Die Weber (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 77/2. Photo: Zelnik-Film. Wilhelm Dieterle and Hermann Picha in Die Weber (Friedrich Zelnik, 1927).

Hertha von Walther, Wilhelm Dieterle and Hermann Picha in Die Weber (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 77/3. Photo: Zelnik-Film. Hermann Picha, Wilhelm Dieterle and Hertha von Walther in Die Weber (Friedrich Zelnik, 1927).

Wilhelm Dieterle and Paul Wegener in Die Weber (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 77/4. Photo: Zelnik-Film. Wilhelm Dieterle and Paul Wegener in Die Weber (Friedrich Zelnik, 1927).

Friedrich Zelnik
Friedrich Zelnik. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 341/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass Phot.

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

Marcelle Géniat

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French stage and screen actress Marcelle Géniat (1881-1959) was a Sociétaire of the Comédie-Française. She also appeared in fifty-three films between 1909 and 1956.

Marcelle Géniat
French postcard, series 104-1. Caption: Marcelle Géniat, Comédie Française.

Marcelle Géniat
French postcard by ND Phot., no. 39. Photo: Henri Manuel. Caption: Géniat (Comédie-Française).

Marcelle Geniat
French postcard. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Stamp dated 1905.

Director of a correctional center for girls


Marcelle Géniat was born Eugénie Pauline Martin in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, in 1881. Her parents were French.

Very young, Géniat started her career at the theatre. At the age of eight, she already played in Emile Zola's 'L'Assommoir' in Saint Petersburg, alongside Lucien Guitry. Later she attended dance classes.

Back in Paris, she entered the Conservatory of Dramatic Art in 1899 in the Leloir class. After obtaining the first prize in comedy at the Conservatory, she entered the Comédie-Française in 1899. She learned the trade by playing classics like 'Les femmes savantes' by Molière, and 'Andromaque' by Racine, as well as boulevard plays like 'La petite amie' by Eugène Brieux or 'Bagatelle' by Paul Hervieu.

She was very successful in the roles of Aricie in 'Phèdre' and Atalide in 'Bajazet'. She also played in contemporary theatre, such as 'Paraître' by Maurice Donnay, 'Les Fresnay' by Vandérem, 'L'Amour vigil' by de Flers and Caillavet, and 'The Wonderful Flower' by Miguel Zamacoïs.

She also interpreted the heroines of Alexandre Dumas fils, Paul Hervieu, Édouard Pailleron, and Octave Mirbeau. She became a Sociétaire (a member) in 1910 and left in the Comédie Française in 1912.

During the First World War, Marcelle Géniat became a nurse and devoted her care to the wounded

After the war, she made a great career on the boulevards. Her best-known role was as Mademoiselle in the play by Jacques Deval.

In the 1930s, in addition to being an actress, Géniat was also the director of a correctional center for girls in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Marcelle Géniat in Le Roi 's amuse
French postcard by FC & Cie, no. 86/2. Photo: A. Bert. Marcelle Géniat in 'Le Roi s'amuse'.

Marcelle Géniat in Oedipe-Roi
French postcard by Procédés G. Jeangette. Photo: Oricelly. Caption: Marcelle Géniat de la Comédie-Française in 'Oedipe Roi' (Oedipus Rex) by Sophocles. Sophocles' classic tragedy was part of the regular repertory of the Comédie-Française. In 1908 Géniat acted in it in a supporting part, while Mounet-Sully played the title role, and Jocaste was alternatingly acted by Jeanne Delvair and Louise Silvain.

Marcelle Géniat in Oedipe-Roi
French postcard by Procédés G. Jeangette. Photo: Oricelly. Caption: Marcelle Géniat de la Comédie-Française in 'Oedipe Roi' (Oedipus Rex) by Sophocles.

Becoming blind of witnessing a crime


In the cinema, Marcelle Géniat appeared in fifty-three films between 1909 and 1956. She made her film debut for Pathé Frères in Le roi s'amuse/The king has fun (Albert Capellani, Michel Carré, 1909) with Henri Sylvain. It was followed by another short film for Pathé, Rigoletto (André Calmettes, 1909), starring Paul Mounet.

During the 1910s, she played in four films. These included two films by actor and director Léonce Perret: L’imprévu/The unexpected (1916) with Henry Roussel, and Le retour du passé/The return of the past (1916).

Her largest cinema output was in the French sound film of the 1930s and 1940s. Géniat often played afflicted women such as in La fusée/Grandeur and Decadence (Jacques Nathanson, 1933) with Firmin Gémier.

She had the lead in La joueuse d'orgue/The organ player (Gaston Roudès, 1936), an adaptation of a classic novel by Xavier de Montepin which had already been filmed in 1925. The film deals with a woman who witnessed a crime and became blind because of it.

Géniat also had major parts as La Chouette in the drama Les mystères de Paris/The Mysteries of Paris (Félix Gandéra, 1935) with Lucien Baroux and Madeleine Ozeray, and as the mother of Raimu in L'étrange Monsieur Victor/The Strange Monsieur Victor (Jean Grémillon, 1938).

Her best years in the cinema took place during the occupation between 1940 and 1944 when she appeared in 10 films. These included the horror film Le loup des Malveneur/The Wolf of the Malveneurs (Guillaume Radot, 1942), with Madeleine Sologne and Pierre Renoir, and Le voile bleu/The Blue Veil (Jean Stelli, 1942), with Gaby Morlay. She also appeared in one of the rare Pétainist films, Haut le vent/High the wind (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1942), with Charles Vanel.

During this period, she also obtained her best screen role as Mamouret in Le briseur de chaînes/Chain Breaker (Jacques Daniel-Norman, 1941) opposite Pierre Fresnay. Daniel Chocron at CinéArtistes: "It is also the only time that Marcelle Géniat is the star of a popular film with a substantial budget and distribution, composing a character of anthology with a grumpy air attached to the small pleasures of life but lucid on the darkness of human nature."

Marcelle Géniat died of cancer in 1959 in L'Hay-les-Roses, France. She was 78. She was buried in the Parisian cemetery of Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis). Géniat was married to Paul Martel de la Chesnaye. They had a daughter, actress Gilberte Géniat.

Marcelle Géniat
French postcard by SIP, no. 1305. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Caption: Géniat, Comédie-Française.

Marcelle Géniat
French postcard by WS Paris, no. 0515

Marcelle Géniat
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 304. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.

GENIAT, Marcelle
French postcard. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé. Collection: Claude-Pascal Perna @ Flickr.

Sources: Comédie-Française (French), Wikipedia (English and French), and IMDb.

Photo by Foulsham & Banfield

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Foulsham & Banfield was a British photographic portrait studio, which was active between the 1900s and the 1920s. The studio was first located in Wigmore Street and later in Old Bond Street, London. The two photographers were Frank Foulsham (1873-1930) and Arthur Clive Banfield (1875-1965). They marketed themselves as specialists in glossy pictures of so-called matinée idols of the West End theatre. We selected 20 postcards with these pictures of stage idols, published by Rotary, and also later pictures of film stars, published in the Picturegoer Series.

Rotary Photo


H.B. Irving in The Bells
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 1114 S. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Photo: publicity still for the stage production of 'The Bells' (ca. 1905) with H.B. Irving as Matthias.

H.B. Irving (1870-1919) was a British stage actor and actor-manager. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Irving. Despite his many roles on stage and in the silent cinema, Irving is now best known for 'A Book of Remarkable Criminals' (1918), which he wrote as a legal expert.

Seymour Hicks and Ellaline Terriss
British postcard by Rotary, no. 1277 F. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Seymour Hicks as Dickie and Ellaline Terriss as Blue Bell in the play 'Bluebell in Fairyland' (1901).

Suave Seymour Hicks (1871-1949) was a successful British actor, music hall performer, playwright, screenwriter, actor-manager and producer. He became known, early in his career, for writing, starring in and producing several Edwardian musical comedies, often together with his famous wife, Ellaline Terriss. His most popular role was that of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. He repeated this role on screen in a silent and in a sound version.

Eva, Decima, Bertha and Jessie Moore
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 1699 B. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Eva, Decima, Bertha, and Jessie Moore.

English actress Eva Moore (1870–1955) had a career on stage and in the cinema which spanned six decades. She was active in the women's suffrage movement, and from 1920 on she appeared in over two dozen films.

Matheson Lang
British postcard by Rotary, no. 2391 P. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Matheson Lang as Petruchio in the play 'The Taming of the Shrew'.

Tall and good-looking Matheson Lang (1879-1948) was a Canadian-born stage and film actor and playwright in the early 20th century. He is best known for his Shakespearean roles in British productions of 'Hamlet', 'Macbeth', and 'Romeo and Juliet' and for his role as Mr. Wu. He was one of the first major stars of the British theatre who acted in a silent film and during the 1920s, he became a popular film star in Great Britain.

Constance Collier in Antony and Cleopatra (1906)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4039 I. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage production 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1906) with Constance Collier as Cleopatra.

Constance Collier (1878–1955) was an English stage and film actress and later one of Hollywood's premiere drama and voice coaches. In a career that covered six decades, she evolved into one of London’s and Broadway’s finest tragediennes. Although she appeared in a number of silent British and American films, her career in the cinema got really on steam in her senior years when Collier appeared in well-regarded supporting roles in more than twenty Hollywood productions.

C. Aubrey Smith and Charles Hawtrey in Inconstant George
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 4208D. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London. Publicity still for the play 'Inconstant George' with Charles Hawtrey as Georges Bullin and C. Aubrey Smith as Luciene de Versannes. The play written by Gladys B. Unger and directed by Charles Hawtrey was performed during the 1910-1911 season at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.

C. Aubrey Smith (1863–1948) was an English cricketer and actor, who started his film career in the British silent cinema. He went to Hollywood where he had a successful career as a character actor playing stereotypical Englishmen with a stiff upper lip and a stern determination. His bushy eyebrows, beady eyes, and handlebar moustache made him one of the most recognisable faces of the cinema.

Lewis Waller
British postcard by Rotary Photo, E.C., no. 4222 C. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Lewis Waller in the stage production 'Robin Hood' (1906).

Lewis Waller (1860-1915) was best known as a matinee-idol in the popular romantic plays of his day. He also worked as a playwriter and a stage manager and appeared in several films.

George Alexander
British postcard by Rotary, no. 4225 F. Photo: Foulsham and Banfield.

Sir George Alexander (1858-1918) was an English actor and theatre manager, who produced and starred in Oscar Wilde's plays 'Lady Windermere's Fan' and 'The Importance of Being Ernest'. He also acted in two silent films and is the great, great uncle of Hugh Laurie.

Constance Collier in The Last of His Race (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4482 F. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage production The Last of His Race (1907) with Constance Collier as Adulola.

Phyllis, Jack and Zena Dare
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4494 E. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Phyllis, Jack and Zena Dare.

English singer and actress Phyllis Dare (1890-1975) was famous for her performances in Edwardian musical comedy and other musical theatre in the first half of the 20th century. She appeared occasionally in films and was one of the leading Picture Postcard beauties of the Belle Epoque. English singer and actress Zena Dare (1887–1975) was famous for her charming, graceful and vivacious performances in Edwardian musicals and comedies in the first decade of the 20th century. Decades later she again enjoyed great success with her role as Mrs. Higgins in the long-running original London production of 'My Fair Lady'. She also made several appearances on film and television.

Ada Reeve and C. Hayden Coffin in Butterflies (1908)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 7428 D. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play 'Butterflies' with Iris Hoey, Stella St. Audrie, C. Hayden Coffin, John Bardsley, Ada Reeve, and Louis Bradfield. 'Butterflies' is a musical play in three acts by William J. Locke, lyrics by T.H. Read and music by J.A. Robertson. Produced at the Apollo Theatre, London in 1908.

British stage and film actress Ada Reeve (1874-1966) was much loved on three continents. She was one of the most popular British singing comediennes of all time and considered to be a headliner in variety and vaudeville. She was endowed with a softness of voice and delicacy of performance that quite set her apart from virtually all of her more raucous contemporaries in the music halls and popularised many memorable songs.

Jack Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 11673 A. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

British actor Jack Hulbert (1892-1978) was a popular comedian of the 1930s with a trademark chiselled chin. In his musicals, he often appeared with his wife Cicely Courtneidge. British actress Cicely Courtneidge (1893–1980) was an elegantly knockabout comedienne. For 62 years, she formed a husband and wife team with comedian Jack Hulbert on stage, radio, TV and in the cinema. During the 1930s she also starred in eleven British films and one disastrous American production.

Bertram Wallis and Lily Elsie in The Count of Luxembourg
British postcard by Rotary Photo, E.C., no. 11784 C. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield, Ltd. Bertram Wallis and Lily Elsie in 'The Count of Luxembourg', an operetta in two acts with English lyrics and libretto by Basil Hood and Adrian Ross, music by Franz Lehár, based on Lehár's three-act German operetta 'Der Graf von Luxemburg' which had premiered in Vienna in 1909. The original production opened at Daly's Theatre in London in 1911 and ran for 345 performances, starring Lily Elsie, Huntley Wright, W. H. Berry, and Bertram Wallis.

Tall and handsome Bertram Wallis (1874-1952) was a renowned English actor and singer. He was a glamorous matinée idol in popular plays and musical comedies in the early 20th century. Between the two wars, he also appeared in several films. Lily Elsie (1886-1962) basically was an Edwardian music hall singer and actress, who conquered British audiences overnight in 1907 with her role in 'The Merry Widow', but she also performed in two films: The Great Love (1918) by D.W. Griffith and the British film Comradeship (Maurice Elvey 1919).

Cicely Courtneidge, George Graves and Nelson Keyes in Princess Caprice (1912)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 11800 I. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield Ltd. Cicely Courtneidge as Princess Clementine, George Graves as Bugumil, and Nelson Keyes as Ensign Pips in 'Princess Caprice' (1912). 'Princess Caprice' is a comedy with music, in three acts, with music by Leo Fall. The original production opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 11 May 1912, running for 265 performances until January 1913. It was produced by Robert Courtneidge.

Harry Pilcer and Gaby Deslys
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 11843 V. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

American actor, dancer, choreographer, and lyricist Harry Pilcer (1885-1961) is mainly remembered for his association with French diva Gaby Deslys(1881-1920). He composed a waltz for her, 'The Gaby Glide', which they danced together on Broadway in 'Vera Violetta' (1911-1912). They appeared in three more Broadway musicals together.

The Picturegoer Series


Harry Lauder
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. T 2. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Scottish music hall and vaudeville theatre singer and comedian Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950) was perhaps best known for his long-standing hit 'I Love a Lassie' and his other simplehearted Scottish songs. With his performances, he promoted the kilt and the 'cromach' (walking stick) worldwide, especially in America. By 1911, Lauder had become the highest-paid performer in the world and was the first Scottish artist to sell a million records. He raised huge amounts of money for the war effort during World War I, for which he was subsequently knighted in 1919. He appeared in several films.

Edna Best
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 71. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

British actress Edna Best (1900-1974) was known on the London stage before she entered films in 1921. She is best remembered for her role as the mother in the original 1934 film version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. Among her other film credits are Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939), Swiss Family Robinson (1940), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) and The Iron Curtain (1948).

Ivor Novello
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 82. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most famous matinee idols, writers and composers of the British stage during the early part of the 20th century.

Mary Odette
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. 190. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Mary Odette (1901-1987) was a French actress who starred in British, Dutch, German and French silent films.

Jack Buchanan
British postcard by Real Photograph in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 227. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Tall and slim actor and singer Jack Buchanan (1891-1957) was known for three decades as the embodiment of the quintessential Englishman, despite being a Scot. During his career, he was one of the major British screen stars of his day and incarnated the elegant, always immaculately clothed man about town in about three dozen films. In America, he is best known for his role opposite Fred Astaire in the classic Hollywood musical The Band Wagon (1953).

Sources: Elena Cooper (Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image), and Wikipedia Commons.

Käthe Dorsch

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German actress Käthe Dorsch (1890-1957) was a famous stage actress in Vienna and Berlin. She also made several silent and sound films and was married to Harry Liedtke. During the war, she played a heroic role by saving colleagues in trouble.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by NPG (Neue Photographische Gesellschaft), no. 972. Photo: Käthe Hirschfeld, Berlin.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 467/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Riess.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3977/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Frhr. v. Gudenberg, Berlin.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5561/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Elli Marcus, Berlin.

Operetta Soubrette


Katharina Dorsch was born in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany in 1890. She was the daughter of a gingerbread baker from Nürnberg (Neurenberg).

After commercial school, she followed piano classes, and as a fifteen-year-old, she started singing in a choir in Neurenberg, and subsequently in operettas in Hanau and Mannheim.

Her career really started in 1908 as an operetta soubrette with a performance in 'Wiener Blut'(Vienna Blood) in Mainz, and in 1911 she moved to Berlin for an engagement at the Neue Operettentheater. More Berlin engagements followed in theatres like the Lessingtheater and the Deutschen Theater.

As early as 1913, Käthe Dorsch, had her first film role in the short, silent comedy Wenn die Taxe springt/When the Rates Jump (Danny Kaden, 1913). In 1920 she married colleague film star Harry Liedtke, with whom she had appeared in the fairy tale Dornröschen/Sleeping Beauty (Paul Leni, 1917). They were a couple for eight years.

She played in several films, including Der Blusenkönig/The King of Blouses (Ernst Lubitsch, 1917), Erborgtes Glück/Hided Happiness (Arthur Wellin, 1919) with Alexander Moissi, and the August Strindberg adaptation Fräulein Julie/Miss Julie (Felix Basch, 1921) with Asta Nielsen.

After Muss die Frau Mutter werden?/Paragraph 144 (Georg Jacoby, Hans Otto Löwenstein, 1924) opposite Harry Liedtke, she retired from the film business and devoted herself exclusively to the theatre where she became one of the great actresses of her time. In 1927 she started to work in Vienna and appeared there at the Volkstheater. From 1939 till her death she was a permanent member of the Burgtheater. From 1951 she also appeared again on the stages of Berlin.

Käthe Dorsch, Lotte Reinecken and Emil Sondermann in Egon und seine Frauen
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin. Photo: Käthe Dorsch, Lotte Reinecken and Emil Sondermann in the stage play 'Egon und seine Frauen' (Egon and his wives) at the Thalia-Theater, Berlin.

Käthe Dorsch, Erna Ritter and Elsa Grünberg in Egon und seine Frauen
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin. Photo: Käthe Dorsch, Erna Ritter and Elsa Grünberg in the stage play 'Egon und seine Frauen' (Egon and his wives) at the Thalia-Theater, Berlin.

Dagny Servaes in John Riew (1917)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2001. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for John Riew (Walter Schmidthässler, 1917) with Karl Valentin, Dagny Servaes and Käthe Dorsch.

Käthe Dorsch and Harry Liedtke in Muß die Frau Mutter werden (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 980/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Alex Binder. Käthe Dorsch and Harry Liedtke in Muß die Frau Mutter werden/Paragraph 144 (Georg Jacoby, Hans Otto, 1924).

Media Scandal


The sound film offered Käthe Dorsch more possibilities than the silent cinema to express herself. After a long interval, she appeared again in the film Die Lindenwirtin/The Linden Tree Landlady (Georg Jacoby, 1930) with Hans Heinz Bollmann.

She impersonated important women like Maria Theresia in Trenck, der Pandur/Trenck, the Pandur (Herbert Selpin, 1940) and Friederike Caroline Neuber in the melodrama Komödianten/The Comedians (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1941).

Other popular films in which she appeared were Drei Tage Liebe/Three Days of Love (Heinz Hilpert, 1931) opposite Hans Albers, the murder mystery Savoy-Hotel 217 (Gustav Ucicky, 1936) again opposite Albers, the Oscar Wilde adaptation Eine Frau ohne Bedeutung/A Woman of No Importance (Hans Steinhoff, 1936), Mutterliebe/Mother Love (Gustav Ucicky, 1939), and Morgen werde ich verhaftet/Tomorrow I Will Be Arrested (Karl-Heinz Stroux, 1939) with Ferdinand Marian.

During the war, she played a heroic role by saving colleagues in trouble. For this, she used her friendship with Hermann Göring, whom she knew from childhood. After the war, she devoted herself to the Burgtheater for which she played major parts in classic plays.

Incidentally, she appeared in films like Singende Engel/Singing Angels (Gustav Ucicky, 1947) with Hans Holt, Fahrt ins Glück/Journey Into Happiness (Erich Engel, 1948) with Rudolf Forster and Hildegard Knef, the melodrama Der Bagnosträfling/The Bagno Convict (1949, Gustav Fröhlich) with Paul Dahlke, Das Kuckucksei/The Cuckoo’s Egg (Walter Firner, 1949) with Curd Jürgens, and Regine (Harald Braun, 1955) with Horst Buchholz.

In 1956 she caused a media scandal when she slapped Vienna theatre critic Hans Weigel in the face in broad daylight. In the following trial, she was condemned to pay 500 Schilling.

Käthe Dorsch died in 1957, in Vienna, Austria. She determined her heritage for a foundation to help poor artists. This foundation still exists today. In Vienna, there is now a Käthe-Dorsch-Gasse, and in Berlin, a street is called the Käthe-Dorsch-Ring.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2901/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Wien-Film / Ufa.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3271/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Quick / Tobis.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3374/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Bavaria Filmkunst / Tita Binz.

Käthe Dorsch
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3700/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Binz, Berlin.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Steffi-line.de (German), Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

Found in the attic: Dutch Foto-album

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A long time ago, I bought this old Dutch photo album which was in quite a bad state. I was disappointed that all the postcards had been glued into the album and that most of the stars were from Hollywood, which was not what I collected at the time. Lately, I found it in my attic and now I changed my opinion about it. The 'foto-album' gives a fine overview of the postcards that were published in the Netherlands in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The black and white cards contain glamorous Hollywood portraits and elegantly handwritten names. For this post, I scanned a selection of the cards.

Foto-album, 1
The cover of the 'Foto-album'.

Foto-album, 2
Two pages from the album.

Foto-album, 3
Page from the album.

Maria Montez
Dutch postcard.

Dominican film actress María Montez (1912-1951) gained fame and popularity as a tempestuous Latino beauty in Hollywood movies of the 1940s. In a series of exotic adventures filmed in Technicolor, she starred as Arabian princesses, jungle goddesses, and highborn gypsies, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. Over her career, ‘The Queen of Technicolor’ appeared in 26 films, of which five were made in Europe.

Kathryn Grayson
Dutch postcard. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer.

American actress Kathryn Grayson (1922-2010) was a pretty, petite brunette with a heart-shaped face. During the 1940s and early 1950s, she starred in several MGM musicals with Gene Kelly and Mario Lanza. Her best-known musicals are Show Boat (1950) and Kiss Me Kate (1953).

Danny Kaye
Dutch postcard.

Danny Kaye (1911-1987) was an American actor, singer, dancer, comedian, and musician. His performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and tongue-twisting songs. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in Straw Hat Revue, but it was the stage production of the musical Lady in the Dark in 1940 that brought him acclaim and notice from agents. Samuel Goldwyn put him in a series of Technicolor musicals, starting with Up in Arms (1944). Kaye starred in 17 movies, notably Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), White Christmas (1954) and The Court Jester (1956).

Bing Crosby
Dutch postcard.

American singer Bing Crosby (1903-1977) was a crooner whose signature song was 'White Christmas'. He often played 'happy-go-lucky fellas' in films with included the 'Road to...' comedies from 1940 to 1962, but he proved that he could act with The Country Girl (1954) opposite Grace Kelly. Crosby was a multi-media entertainer: a star on the radio, in the cinema, and in chart-topping recordings. He had 38 no. 1 singles, which surpassed Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

Ava Gardner
Dutch postcard.

American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was signed to a contract by MGM in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She became one of Hollywood's leading stars and was considered one of the most beautiful women of her day. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953). She appeared in several high-profile films from the 1950s to 1970s and continued to act regularly until 1986, four years before her death at the age of 67.

Ann Blyth
Dutch postcard.

American actress and singer Ann Blyth (1928) was often cast in Hollywood musicals, but she was also successful in dramatic roles. Her performance as Veda Pierce in Mildred Pierce (1945) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Teresa Wright
Dutch postcard, 1947.

American actress Teresa Wright (1918-2005) was nominated twice for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress: in 1941 for her debut work in The Little Foxes, and in 1942 for Mrs. Miniver, winning for the latter. That same year, she received a nomination for the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in The Pride of the Yankees (1942), opposite Gary Cooper. She is also known for her performances in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

John Garfield in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Dutch postcard. Photo: 20th Century Fox. John Garfield in Gentleman's Agreement (Elia Kazan, 1947).

American actor John Garfield (1913-1952) played brooding, rebellious, working-class characters. Called to testify before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), he denied communist affiliation and refused to 'name names', which effectively ended his film career. The stress led to his premature death at 39 from a heart attack. Garfield is seen as a predecessor of such Method actors as Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and James Dean.

Joan Caulfield
Dutch postcard. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

American actress Joan Caulfield (1922-1991) started as a fashion model. After being discovered by Broadway producers, she began a successful stage career in 1943. Paramount signed her and she starred in romantic comedies as Dear Ruth (1947) and Film Noirs like The Unsuspected (1947).

Glenn Ford
Dutch postcard. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Glenn Ford (1916-2006) was a Canadian-American actor whose career lasted more than 50 years. Although he played different types of roles in many film genres, Ford was best known for playing ordinary men in unusual circumstances. He was one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Some of his most significant roles were in the Film Noirs Gilda (1946) and The Big Heat (1953), and the high school angst film Blackboard Jungle (1955). However, it was for comedies or Westerns which he received acting laurels, including three Golden Globe Nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy, winning for Pocketful of Miracles (1961). He also played a supporting role as Clark Kent's adoptive father in Superman (1978).

Fred Astaire in The Sky’s the Limit (1943)
Dutch postcard. Photo: R.K.O. Radio Pictures. Fred Astaire in The Sky’s the Limit (Edward H. Griffith, 1943).

American dancer and actor Fred Astaire (1899-1987) was a unique dancer with his top hat and tails, his uncanny sense of rhythm, perfectionism, and innovation. He began his highly successful partnership with Ginger Rogers in Flying Down to Rio (1933). They danced together in 10 musicals in which he made all song and dance routines integral to the plotlines. Another innovation was that a closely tracking dolly camera filmed his dance routines in as few shots as possible.

Donna Reed
Dutch postcard.

Donna Reed (1921-1986) was an American film, television actress, and producer. Her career spanned more than 40 years, with performances in more than 40 films. She is well known for her role as Mary Hatch Bailey in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). She received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lorene Burke in the war drama From Here to Eternity (1953). Reed is also known as Donna Stone, a middle-class American mother, and housewife in the sitcom The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966).

Wanda Hendrix
Dutch postcard. Photo: Paramount.

Green-eyed and dark-haired American actress Wanda Hendrix (1928-1981) achieved stardom in her teens and played in about 20 films in the late 1940s and 1950s. Her first, brief marriage was to the most decorated soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy.

Montgomery Clift
Dutch postcard.

Handsome American actor Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) was one of Hollywood's first Method actors. He starred in films like the Western Red River (1948), A Place in the Sun (1951), From Here To Eternity (1953), and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), in which he co-starred for the third time with Elizabeth Taylor. A near-fatal auto accident in 1957 changed his looks and sent him into a drug and alcohol addiction. Clift died in 1966.

Maureen O´Hara
Dutch postcard. Photo: Paramount.

Irish born Maureen O’Hara (1920-2015) was one of the icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The feisty and fearless actress starred in John Ford’s Oscar-winning drama How Green Was My Valley (1941), set in Wales, and Ford’s Irish-set The Quiet Man (1952) opposite John Wayne. The famously red-headed actress also worked successfully with Charles Laughton at Jamaica Inn (1939) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), starred in the perennial Christmas hit Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and appeared in the Disney children’s hit The Parent Trap (1961).

John Wayne
Dutch postcard. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

American actor John Wayne (1907-1979) was one of the most popular film stars of the 20th century. He received his first leading film role in The Big Trail (1930). Working with John Ford, he got his next big break in Stagecoach (1939). His career as an actor took another leap forward when he worked with director Howard Hawks in Red River (1948). Wayne won his first Academy Award in 1969. He starred in 142 films altogether and remains a popular American icon to this day.

James Stewart
Dutch postcard. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer.

American actor James Stewart (1908-1997) is among the most honored and popular stars in film history. Known for his distinctive drawl and everyman screen persona, Stewart had a film career that spanned over 55 years and 80 films.

Cary Grant
Dutch postcard. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

Handsome, suave English-American actor Cary Grant (1904-1986) became one of Hollywood's definitive classic leading men, known for his debonair demeanour. Grant’s best-known films include Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Notorious (1946), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959), and Charade (1963).

Veronica Lake
Dutch postcard.

During the 1940s, Veronica Lake (1922-1973) was Hollywood' s Peek-a-boo Girl. We love her for Preston Sturges'Sullivan's Travels (1942), Rene Clair's I Married a Witch (1942) and for her femme fatale roles opposite Alan Ladd in the Film Noirs This Gun for Hire (1942), The Glass Key (1942), and The Blue Dahlia (1946).

Ricardo Montalban
Dutch postcard. Photo: M.G.M.

Handsome Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009) was the epitome of elegance, charm, and grace on film, stage, and television. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he reinvigorated the Latin Lover style in Hollywood without achieving top screen stardom. He fought to upscale the Latin image in Hollywood and this may have cost him a number of roles along the way, but he gained respect and a solid reputation and provided wider-range opportunities for Spanish-speaking actors. Montalban is probably best remembered for his starring role as the mysterious Mr. Roarke on the TV series Fantasy Island (1977–1984), with Hervé Villechaize as his partner Tatto, and as Grandfather Valentin in the Spy Kids franchise.

Randolph Scott
Dutch postcard. Photo: Europa - Columbia.

Randolph Scott (1898-1987) was a handsome American leading man who developed into one of Hollywood's greatest and most popular Western stars. From 1950 till 1953, he was among America's Top 10 box-office draws.

Lauren Bacall
Dutch postcard.

At 19, American film actress Lauren Bacall (1924–2014) became an overnight star as 'Slim' opposite Humphrey Bogart in her memorable film debut in Howard Hawks'To Have and Have Not (1942). She became known for her distinctive husky voice and glamorous looks in film noirs as The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948), and the delicious comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe. After a 50-year career, she received a Golden Globe and her first Oscar nomination for supporting actress for her role as Barbra Streisand’s mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1997).

John Derek
Dutch postcard. Photo: Europa - Columbia.

American actor and director John Derek (1926-1998) was known for such films as Since You Went Away (John Cromwell, 1944), All the King's Men (Robert Rossen, 1949), and Cecil B. De Mille's The Ten Commandments (1956), and for his marriages to Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, and Bo Derek.

Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack in Nice Girl? (1941)
Dutch postcard. Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack in Nice Girl? (William A. Seiter, 1941).

When Deanna Durbin's (1921-2013) Three Smart Girls (Henry Koster, 1936), the first of her 21 starring vehicles, was released in 1936 it was an immediate sensation, and her films for Universal are said to have saved the studio from bankruptcy.

Tom Cruise

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With his charismatic smile, American actor and producer Tom Cruise (1962) became the most successful member of the Brat Pack, Hollywood's golden boys and girls of the 1980s. Top Gun (1985) made him an action star, but with his roles in The Color of Money (1986), Rain Man (1988) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) he proved himself to be an all-round star and an excellent actor. During the 1990s, he continued to combine action blockbusters like Mission Impossibe (1996) with highly acclaimed dramas like A Few Good Men (1992), Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and Magnolia (1999). He received more praise for his roles in Minority Report (2000) and Collateral (2002) and for years, he was one of the highest paid actors in the world. Although he continued to score major box office hits with the Mission Impossible franchise, his later work was overshadowed by his outspoken attitude about Scientology which alienated him from many of his viewers.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
Italian postcard by Danrose, no. 660. Photo: Fotex / R. Drechsler / G. Neri.Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

Tom Cruise
French postcard, Réf. 542.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by Heroes Publishing Ltd., London, no. SPC 2894.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by Box Office, no. BOPC 3038. Photo: Herb Ritts, 1986.

Tom Cruise
French postcard, Réf. 525. Photo: Herb Ritts.

Film-trivia infamy


Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in 1962 in Syracuse, NY. He is the only son of Mary Lee (Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. He has three sisters: Marian, Lee Anne De Vette, and Cass.

In 1974, when Cruise was 12, his parents divorced. Young Tom spent his boyhood always on the move, and by the time he was 14 he had attended 15 different schools in the U.S. and Canada. He finally settled in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his mother and her new husband.

Deeply religious, he enrolled in a Franciscan seminary with the ambition to join the priesthood. He dropped out after one year. At high-school, he was a wrestler until he was sidelined by a knee injury. Soon taking up acting, he found that the activity served a dual purpose: performing satiated his need for attention, while the memorisation aspect of acting helped him come to grips with his dyslexia.

Moving to New York in 1980, he studied drama at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse, in conjunction with the Actors Studio, New School University, New York. He signed with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and began acting in films.

His film debut was a small part in Endless Love (Franco Zeffirelli, 1981), starring Brooke Shields. It was followed by a major supporting role as a crazed military academy student in Taps (Harold Becker, 1981), starring George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton.

In 1983, Cruise was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders (Francis Ford Coppola, 1983). The Hollywood press corps began touting Cruise as one of the 'Brat Pack', a group of twenty-something actors who seemed on the verge of taking over the movie industry in the early 1980s.

Cruise's first big hit was the coming-of-age comedy Risky Business (Paul Brickman, 1983), in which he entered film-trivia infamy with the scene wherein he celebrates his parents' absence by dancing around the living room in his underwear. From the outset, he exhibited an undeniable box office appeal to both male and female audiences.

Cruise played the male lead in the dark fantasy Legend (Ridley Scott, 1985) and the action film Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986) with Kelly McGillis and Val Kilmer. Top Gun (1986) established Cruise as an action star.

However, he refused to be pigeonholed and followed it up with a solid characterisation of a fledgling pool shark in The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986), for which co-star Paul Newman earned an Academy Award. In 1988, he played the brother of an autistic savant played by Dustin Hoffman in the drama Rain Man (Barry Levinson, 1988). However, Cruise had not yet totally convinced critics he was more than a pretty face while he also starred in Cocktail (Roger Donaldson, 1988), which earned him a nomination for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor.

His chance came when he played paraplegic Vietnam vet Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989). For his role, he won a Golden Globe Award and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business (1983)
Canadian postcard by Canadian Postcard, no. A 193. Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business (Paul Brickman, 1983).

Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves (1983)
Canadian postcard by American Postcard, no. F25, 1984. Photo: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves (Michael Chapman, 1983).

Tom Cruise in Cocktail (1988)
French postcard by Edition Erving, Paris, no. 743. Tom Cruise in Cocktail (Roger Donaldson, 1988).

Tom Cruise
Spanish postcard in the Collección 'Estrellas Cinematográficas' by Cacitel, no. 59, 1990. Photo: Andrea Jaffe Public Relations, Los Angeles, USA.

Tom Cruise
French postcard, no. C 72.

Undercutting his own leading man image


In 1990 Tom Cruise renounced his devout Catholic beliefs and embraced The Church Of Scientology claiming that Scientology teachings had cured him of dyslexia that had plagued him all of his life. He was introduced to Scientology by his ex-wife Mimi Rogers.

Though Cruise's bankability faltered a bit with the expensive disappointment Far and Away (Ron Howard, 1990) with his then-wife Nicole Kidman, A Few Good Men (Rob Reiner, 1992) brought him back into the game.

By 1994, the star was undercutting his own leading man image with the role of the slick, dastardly vampire Lestat in the long-delayed film adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994), opposite Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. Although the author was vehemently opposed to Cruise's casting, Rice famously reversed her decision upon seeing the actor's performance, and publicly praised Cruise's portrayal.

In 1996, Cruise scored financial success with the reboot of Mission: Impossible (Brian De Palma, 1996), but it was with his multilayered performance in Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe, 1996), that Cruise proved once again why he is considered a major Hollywood player. For Jerry Maguire, he won another Golden Globe and received his second Oscar nomination.

According to IMDb, Cruise is the first actor in history to star in five consecutive films that grossed $100 million in the United States: A Few Good Men (1992), the thriller The Firm (Sydney Pollack, 1993), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (Neil Jordan, 1994), Mission: Impossible (Brian De Palma, 1996) and Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe, 1996).

1999 saw Cruise reunited onscreen with Kidman in a project of a very different sort, Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1990). Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "The film, which was the director's last, had been the subject of controversy, rumour, and speculation since it began filming. It opened to curious critics and audiences alike across the nation and was met with a violently mixed response. However, it allowed Cruise to once again take part in film history, further solidifying his position as one of Hollywood's most well-placed movers and shakers. Cruise's enviable position was again solidified later in 1999 when he earned a third Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a loathsome 'sexual prowess' guru in Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)."

Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
French postcard by Edycard, no. 08. Photo: Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
French postcard by Edycard, no. 29. Photo: Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
French postcard, no. 1062. Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
French postcard, no. 1063. Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

A cloud of negative publicity


In 2000, Tom Cruise scored again when he returned as an international agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible II (John Woo, 2000), which proved to be one of the summer blockbusters. Like its predecessor, it was the highest-grossing film of the year and had a mixed critical reception.

He then reteamed with Jerry Maguire director Cameron Crowe for a remake of the Spanish film Abre los Ojos/Open Your Eyes (Alejandro Amenábar, 1997) titled Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe, 2001) with Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz.

Though Vanilla Sky's sometimes surreal trappings found the film receiving a mixed reception at the box office, the same could not be said for the following year's massively successful Sci-Fi chase film Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2001), or of the historical epic The Last Samurai (Edward Zwick, 2003).

For his next film, Cruise picked a role unlike any he'd ever played; starring as a sociopathic hitman in the psychological thriller Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004). He received major praise for his departure from the good-guy characters he'd built his career on, and for doing so convincingly.

He teamed up with Spielberg again for the second time in three years with an epic adaptation of the H.G. Wells alien invasion story War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005). The summer blockbuster was in some ways overshadowed, however, by a cloud of negative publicity. It began, when Cruise became suddenly vocal about his beliefs in Scientology, the religion created by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.

Cruise publicly denounced actress Brooke Shields for taking medication to combat her postpartum depression, going so far as to call the psychological science a "Nazi science" in an Entertainment Weekly interview.

In 2005, he was interviewed by Matt Lauer for The Today Show during which time he appeared to be distractingly argumentative in his insistence that psychiatry is a "pseudoscience," and in a Der Spiegel interview, he was quoted as saying that Scientology has the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world.

This behaviour caused a stirring of public opinion about Cruise, as did his relationship with 27-year-old actress Katie Holmes. The two announced their engagement in the spring of 2005, and Cruise's enthousiasm for his new romantic interest created more curiosity about his mental stability. He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he jumped up and down on the couch, professing his love for the newly-Scientologist Holmes.

The actor's new public image alienated many of his viewers. As he geared up for the spring release of Mission: Impossible III (J.J. Abrams, 2006), his ability to sell a film based almost purely on his own likability was in question for the first time in 20 years. Despite this, the film was more positively received by critics than the previous films in the series and grossed nearly $400 million at the box office.

Cruise moved on to making headlines on the business front when he and corporate partner Paula Wagner in 2006 officially "took over" the United Artists studio, which was all but completely defunct. One of the first films to be produced by the new United Artists was the tense political thriller Lions for Lambs (Robert Redford, 2007), with Redford, Cruise, and Meryl Streep. The film took an earnest and unflinching look at the politics behind the Iraq war but was a commercial disappointment. This was followed by the World War II thriller Valkyrie (Bryan Singer, 2008) with Kenneth Branagh and Carice van Houten.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by New Line, no. 64. Photo: Transworld B.V. Entertainment.

Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)
Italian postcard by Danrose, no. 676. Photo: MGM / Shooting Star / Grazia Neri. Tom Cruise in Rain Man (Barry Levinson, 1988).

Tom Cruise
French postcard, no. C 33.

Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire (1994)
British postcard by Exclusive Collectors' Artcard. Photo: Geffen Pictures. Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994). Caption: The Vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise). Ageless, Immortal and Evil, he is sustained through the centuries by the blood of countless victims.

The Mission Impossible franchise


Tom Cruise would find a solid footing as the 2010s progressed, with blockbusters like Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird, 2011) and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie, 2015). He is known for doing many of his own stunts in these films, even exceptionally dangerous ones.

The Mission Impossible franchise earned a total of 3 billion dollars worldwide. Cruise reteamed with Cameron Diaz in the action-comedy Knight and Day (James Mangold, 2010). He starred as Jack Reacher in the film adaptation of British author Lee Child's 2005 novel One Shot (Christopher McQuarrie, 2012).

He also starred in big-budget fantasy projects like Oblivion (Joseph Kosinski, 2013) and Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014). Tom Cruise was married three times. His first wife was actress Mimi Rogers, with whom he was married from 1987 till their divorce in 1990.

His second marriage with Nicole Kidman from 1990 till 2001. They adopted two children Isabella Jane Cruise (1992) and Connor Antony Cruise (1995). He lived together with Vanilla Sky (2001) co-star Penélope Cruz from 2001 till 2004.

His 2006 marriage to Katie Holmes ended in divorce in 2012. They have one daughter, Surie Cruise (2006).

Recently, Cruise returned on the screen as Ethan Hunt in the sixth installment of the Mission Impossible series, Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie, 2018). In 2020, he will also return as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski, 2020), in which Val Kilmer will also reprise his role from the first film.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd, London, no. C243.

Tom Cruise
French postcard, no. PP 138.

Tom Cruise
Dutch postcard by Verenigde Spaarbank, Utrecht.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by Pyramid, Leicester, no. PC 8638, 1999.

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

Olaf Storm

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German actor Olaf Storm (1894-1931) appeared in supporting roles in ca. 30 silent films, including three major classics of this period. He worked often with director Franz Hofer. Storm edited a film and also produced a film.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/4, 1919-1924.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/5, 1919-1924.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/6, 1919-1924.

Detective Serial


Olaf Storm was born Theodor Joseph van Kann in Richterich, Germany in 1894,  according to Wikipedia. However, the sources differ: IMDb and Steffi-Line claim that he was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark.

He started his film career with a supporting part in the German production Das Erbe vom Lilienhof/The legacy of Lilienhof (Franz Hofer, 1919). Hofer had been one of the true auteurs of the early German cinema.

The Encyclopedia of European Cinema indicates that “Hofer’s work is marked by stunning formal qualities and bizarre twists of plot.” Storm played supporting parts in such Hofer films as Ferréol (Franz Hofer, 1920) with Margit Barnay and Ernst Deutsch, Ein nettes Früchtchen/A nice little fruit (Franz Hofer, 1920), and Der Riesenschmuggel/The giant smuggling (Franz Hofer, 1920) as the fiancée of Erika Glässner.

Then he got the leading role in the detective serial Nat Pinkerton im Kampf/Nat Pinkerton (Wolfgang Neff, 1920). The young Béla Lugosi played a gang leader in this film serial.

In the meanwhile, Storm kept appearing in Hofer productions, including Begierde/Desire (Franz Hofer, 1921) and the comedy Aus den Akten einer anständigen Frau/From the Files of a Respectable Woman (Franz Hofer, 1921), both with Margit Barnay.

Storm produced as well as acted in Die Minderjährige - Zu jung fürs Leben/The minors - Too young for life (Alfred Tostary, 1921) with Hanni Weisse. A year later, he both edited and acted in the drama Das Straßenmädchen von Berlin/Girl of the Berlin Streets (Richard Eichberg, 1922) with Lee Parry.

That year, he also played a supporting part as the husband in the drama Fräulein Julie/Miss Julie (Felix Basch, 1922), an adaptation of the August Strindberg play from 1888, starring Danish diva Asta Nielsen.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/1, 1919-1924.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/2, 1919-1924.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 444/3, 1919-1924.

Three Classics


Olaf Storm played small parts in three of the classics of the German silent cinema. He had an uncredited part in Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit/Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) featuring Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse.

Two years later he played a young hotel guest in Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Der Letzte Mann/The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924). Emil Jannings starred in this beautiful film as an aging hotel doorman who is fired from his prestigious position and re-assigned to the lowly position of washroom attendant.

The third classic is the Sci-Fi epic Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1926), the biggest-budgeted film ever produced at the UFA studio. Storm played the uncredited part of Jan.

During these years he also played bigger parts in less known films. In Die Tochter des Wucherers/The daughter of the moneylender (Fritz Bernhardt, 1922), he co-starred with Lee Parry.

He had also a notable part in Die vom anderen Ufer/Those from the Other Side (Arthur Bergen, 1926) with Bruno Kastner.

His other roles were mostly smaller parts and a year later he made his last two films: the drama Verbotene Liebe/Forbidden Love (Friedrich Feher, 1927) with Magda Sonja, and Wochenendzauber/Weekend Magic (Rudolf Walther-Fein, 1927) starring Harry Liedtke. Apparently, Storm got into financial worries.

Four years later, in 1931, Olaf Storm committed suicide in Berlin at the age of 37.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 774/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Arenberg Atelier, Wien.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 774/2, 1925-1926. Photo: Arenberg Atelier, Wien.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 774/3, 1925-1926. Photo: Arenberg Atelier, Wien.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1374/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3354/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Fayer, Wien.

Sources: Wikipedia (German and English), Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-Line - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), The Encyclopedia of European Cinema, Filmportal.de, and IMDb.

Adieu Michel!

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On 12 May, Michel Piccoli (1925-2020), one of the most original and versatile French actors of the last half-century, has died. He appeared in many different roles, from seducer to cop to a gangster to Pope in more than 200 films and TV films. Among the directors he worked with are Jean Renoir, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Luis Buñuel, and Alfred Hitchcock. Michel Piccoli was 94.

Michel Piccoli
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 19/73.

Michel Piccoli
Vintage postcard.

Michel Piccoli
Swiss postcard by Musée de l'Elysée / News Productions, Baulmes, no. 55603. Photo: Laurence Sudre.

Contempt


Michel Piccoli was born Jacques Daniel Michel Piccoli in Paris in 1925 to a musical family. His French mother Marcelle Piccoli was a pianist and his Italian father Henri Piccoli was a violinist.

At boarding school, the introverted teenager Michel developed a profound love for the stage. He later studied drama under Andrée Bauer-Thérond and then trained as an actor at the René Simon drama school in Paris.

In 1945, he began his stage career with the Renaud-Barrault theatre company at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris. He made his film debut in Sortilèges (Christian-Jaque, 1945), but his first proper film role was in Le Point du jour/The Mark of the Day (Louis Daquin, 1949).

Piccoli subsequently lent his talents to Jean Renoir in French Cancan (1954) starring Jean Gabin, and René Clair in Les Grandes Manoeuvres/The great manoeuvres (1955) with Gérard Philipe.

It took six more years to become ‘box office’ as a film actor with the gangster film Le Doulos/The Finger Man (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

He then had his international breakthrough with his leading role opposite Brigitte Bardot in Jean-Luc Godard's Le Mépris/Contempt (1963). Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “Like Hollywood's Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper, Piccoli was possessed of that rare gift of being able to adapt himself to virtually any kind of material without altering his essential screen persona. And like those aforementioned actors, Piccoli's talents suited the prerequisites of a wide variety of directors.”

He worked with some of the best international film auteurs: Agnès Varda at Les Créatures/The Creatures (1966) opposite Catherine Deneuve, Alain Resnais at La Guerre est finie/The War Is Over (1966), Jacques Demy at Les Demoiselles de Rochefort/The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), and Alfred Hitchcock at Topaz (1969).

Michel Piccoli
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 795. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Michel Piccoli (1925–2020)
Belgian collectors card by Best, Antwerp for Victoria, Brussels, album 3, no. 501.

Michel Piccoli (1925–2020)
Dutch collectors card in the 'Filmsterren: een portret' Series by Edico-Service, no. D5 024 60-11, 1995. Photo: Collection La Cinémathèque Française. Michel Piccoli in Dillinger é morto (Marco Ferreri, 1968).

A Symbol of Bourgeois Respectability


Michel Piccoli starred in four of the best-known films of French director Claude Sautet, starting with Choses de la vie/The Little Things in Life (1969) with Romy Schneider. Invariably he was cast as a symbol of bourgeois respectability whose quest for personal fulfillment appears destined to end in failure.

James Travers at French Films: “Sautet did more to humanise Piccoli than perhaps any other filmmaker, particularly when the actor was cast alongside Romy Schneider (in Les Choses de la vie and Max et les Ferrailleurs), the actress who became one of Piccoli's dearest friends.”

A darker, more disturbing Piccoli can be seen in the films he made for Luis Buñuel, in particular Le Journal d'une femme de chamber/The Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), Belle de jour/Beauty of the Day (1967) and Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie/The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972).

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Piccoli was one of the most visible faces in the European cinema, with films like Les Noces rouges/Wedding in Blood (Claude Chabrol, 1973), Themroc (Claude Faraldo, 1973), La Grande bouffe/The Big Feast (Marco Ferreri, 1973), Atlantic City (Louis Malle, 1980), and Salto nel vuoto/A Leap in the Dark (Marco Bellocchio, 1980), for which he won the Best Actor Award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1982, he won the Silver Bear at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival for his chilling role in Une étrange affaire/Strange Affair (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1981).

Both as an actor and as a producer Piccoli supported such young filmmakers as Bertrand Tavernier (Des enfants gates/Spoiled Children, 1977), Jacques Doillon (La Fille prodigue/The Prodigal Daughter, 1981) and Leos Carax (Mauvais sang/Bad Blood, 1986).

In 1976, Piccoli recorded his remarkable career on the page when he co-wrote a semi-autobiography, 'Dialogue Egoistes' (Egoist Dialogues). He has been married three times, first to actress Éléonore Hirt (1954-?), then for eleven years to the singer Juliette Gréco (1966-1977) and finally, from 1980 till his death to writer and actress Ludivine Clerc. He had one daughter from his first marriage, Anne-Cordélia.

Michel Piccoli
French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

Michel Piccoli (1925–2020)
French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris, no. 1117.

Michel Piccoli (1925–2020)
Big East-German collectors card by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 31/83, 1983.

Mr. Cinema


In the 1980s, Michel Piccoli resumed his stage career, starring in Peter Brook's acclaimed Paris productions of Anton Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' (1981, 1983) and Patrice Chéreau's staging of Pierre de Marivaux's 'La Fausse Suivante' (1985).

He continued to star in films, such as in Milou en mai/Milou in May (Louis Malle, 1990) for which he was nominated for the César. In 1991, Piccoli again won international acclaim for his portrayal of an artist suffering from a creative block in La belle noiseuse (Jacques Rivette, 1991) with Emmanuelle Béart.

Piccoli turned his hand to film directing, starting with a segment for the Amnesty International film Contre l'oubli (1991). His first feature was Alors viola/So There (1997), followed by La Plage noire/The Black Beach (2001) with Dominique Blanc, and C'est pas tout à fait la vie dont j'avais rêvé (2005). Not surprisingly, he was chosen to impersonate Mr. Cinema in Agnès Varda's Les cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma/The One Hundred and One Nights of Simon Cinema (1995).

He subsequently continued to do steady work in pictures of varying quality, with highlights being the psychological thriller Généalogies d'une Crime (Raul Ruiz, 1997) with Piccoli as a doctor caught up in a murder mystery, and Je rentre à la maison/I'm Going Home (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001) with Catherine Deneuve. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Europe Theatre Prize. In 2002, he supported Lionel Jospin's presidential campaign. Piccoli was vocally opposed to the Front National.

James Travers at French Films: “There is something utterly seductive about Piccoli's screen portrayals, which comes from the actor's irresistible personal charm and his ability to project, very subtly, the inner neuroses, desires and venality of his characters. No wonder he is so well-loved by critics and audiences, and so eagerly sought after by filmmakers. Indefatigable, talented and generous, Piccoli deserves his reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation.”

In 2012, Piccoli won the David di Donatello (the Italian Oscar) for his role as the pope in the comedy-drama Habemus Papam/We Have a Pope (Nanni Moretti, 2012). Since then he made a few more films. The last one was the short fantasy Notre-Dame des Hormones/Our Lady of Hormones (Bertrand Mandico, 2015), which he narrated.

Michel Piccoli passed away on 12 May 2020 in Saint-Philbert-sur-Risle, France. He was 94.

Michel Piccoli
German autograph card by Kino.

Emmanuelle Béart and Michel Piccoli in La belle noiseuse (1991)
German postcard, 1991. Emmanuelle Béart and Michel Piccoli in La belle noiseuse (Jacques Rivette, 1991).


Trailer for Le Mépris/Contempt (1963). Source: The Cult Box (YouTube).


Trailer for Habemus Papam/We Have a Pope (2012). Source: Movieclips Trailers (YouTube).

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

Wanda Hendrix

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Green-eyed and dark-haired American actress Wanda Hendrix (1928-1981) achieved stardom in her teens and played in about 20 films in the late 1940s and 1950s. Her first, brief marriage was to the most decorated soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy.

Wanda Hendrix
Dutch postcard, no. 1089. Photo: Universal International.

Wanda Hendrix in Prince of Foxes (1949)
Dutch postcard, no. a.x. 276-134. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Wanda Hendrix in Prince of Foxes (Henry King, 1949).

Else, the char-girl with the thickened brogue


Dixie Wanda Hendrix was born in 1928 in Jacksonville, Florida, to Max Sylvester and Mary Faircloth Hendrix, nee Bailey. Her father was a logging camp boss who later worked for Lockheed Aircraft.

After graduation from junior high school, she joined the Jacksonville Little Theatre, where she was discovered by a Warner Brothers talent scout. The 16-years-old moved to Hollywood. She made her debut as Else, the char-girl with the thickened brogue who develops an ill-fated allegiance with Charles Boyer in Confidential Agent (Herman Shumlin, 1945).

Before she was out of her teens she had starred in several other films, including the Film Noir Nora Prentiss (Vincent Sherman, 1947) with Ann Sheridan, Robert Montgomery’s exemplary 'ultra-Noir'Ride the Pink Horse (1947) and the comedy Welcome Stranger (Elliott Nugent, 1947) with Bing Crosby.

In 1946, WW II hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy saw her on the cover of Coronet magazine and his mentor, actor James Cagney, called the magazine and got her address. Audie asked her to dinner, and they fell in love immediately. They got engaged in 1947 and promised her parents that they would defer marriage for two full years.

Her parents moved to Hollywood, where they bought a ranch. In 1949, the young couple married and the press reported: "Audie Murphy thinks his little Hendrix honey is Wanda-ful!" However, Murphy wanted her to give up filming and move with him to Texas. He had terrible nightmares from his war experiences and always had his gun with him. During 'flashback' episodes he would turn on her, once holding her at gunpoint.

In her later years, Hendrix spoke of Murphy's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with sympathy. Murphy had a passion for horse racing and for making big-money bets on long shots. Eventually, he gambled away all of her savings. In 1950, after 13 months of marriage, she received a divorce in 1951 in Los Angeles on the grounds of mental cruelty. The couple had no children but together they produced the Western Sierra (Alfred E. Green, 1950).

Wanda Hendrix
Dutch postcard. Photo: Paramount.

Wanda Hendrix
British postcard in the Greetings series. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

She sizzled and showed off her hips


Among Wanda Hendrix's best-known films are the comedy Miss Tatlock's Millions (Richard Haydn, 1948) with Richard Lund, The Prince of Foxes (Henry King, 1949), with Tyrone Power and Orson Welles, the drama Song of Surrender (Mitchell Leisen, 1949), the Western Saddle Tramp (Hugo Fregonese, 1950) starring Joel McCrea, and the adventure film The Highwayman (Lesley Selander, 1951) with Charles Coburn.

Later, she starred with John Derek in the action film in Sea of Lost Ships (Joseph Kane, 1953), and she sizzled and showed off her hips in the Roger Corman–produced crime drama Highway Dragnet (Nathan Juran, 1954) with Richard Conte. In 1954, she married wealthy sportsman James L. Stack, brother of the actor Robert Stack, and she briefly retired.

Her second marriage also made headlines when it came to an end in 1958 with both sides charging "mental cruelty". Hendrix went to work again, on TV mostly. One of her films in this period was the thriller Johnny Cool (William Asher, 1963) with Henry Silva. According to IMDb, she developed a drinking problem in the 1960s due to the few acting roles she was offered.

In 1969, she married Italian financier and oil company executive Steve La Monte in a single-ring ceremony at a plush suite of the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 34; she listed her age on the marriage license as 33. La Monte divorced her in 1979 or 1980 (the sources differ). Despite breaking up after a year of marriage with Audie Murphy, she had continued to love him and was devastated when he died suddenly in a plane crash in 1971. She considered collaborating with author Douglas Warren on an autobiography of Murphy, but it never came to fruition.

Her last role for the big screen was in the Civil War horror One Minute Before Death (Rogelio A. González, 1972), based on a short story 'The Oval Portrait' by Edgar Allan Poe. The film in which she co-starred with Barry Coe, was never theatrically released. Her final screen appearance was in an episode of the TV series Police Story (1974) with Scott Brady.

In 1981, Wanda Hendrix died of double pneumonia in Burbank, California. She was 52. Hendrix was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

Wanda Hendrix
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 252. Photo: Paramount, 1950.

Audie Murphy
Audie Murphy. German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/17.

Sources: Chuck Stephens (Film Comment), New York Times, Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia and IMDb.

Photo by Sartony

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Sarony was a French photo studio that existed throughout the 20th century and beautifully portrayed countless French silent film stars. Sarony's studio, 'photographe de luxe', was first located at 16 Rue Duphot near the Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris. The business prospered so the studio moved on to 45 Rue la Fayette, near the Opera, and was then sometimes credited as 'Sarony, Lafitte'. We chose 15 sepia postcards with Sarony pictures by two publishers: A. Noyer a.k.a. A.N., known for its Les Vedettes de Cinéma series, and Edition Cinémagazine.

A. Noyer, Paris


Mistinguett and Bouboule
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 97. Photo: Sartony.

French actress and singer Mistinguett (1875-1956) captivated Paris with her risqué routines. She went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest-paid female entertainer in the world. She appeared more than 60 times in the cinema. Bouboule was Mistinguett's goddaughter, an admittedly talented child actress. She was born in 1917 and from 1921 on, she appeared in 13 films.

Gina Relly
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 98. Photo: Sartony.

Gina Relly (1891-1985) was an actress of the French silent cinema.

Tramel
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by Editions A.N., Paris, no. 99. Photo: Sartony.

Félicien Tramel (1880-1948) was a French singer and actor. He made more than 30 78’s at Odeon with such hits as 'T'en fais pas Bouboule' (Do not worry Bouboule) and 'Y me faut mon patelin' (I miss my hometown). Between 1911 and 1947 he played in dozens of films. In a series of silent and sound comedies, he starred as the character Alfred Bicard or le Bouif.

Régine Dumien
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by Editions A.N., Paris, no. 101. Photo: Sartony.

Sweet 'little angel'Régine Dumien (1914-1979) was a popular child star of the French silent cinema of the early 1920s.

Jean Angelo in Les Aventures de Robert Macaire (1925)
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 162. Photo: Sartony. Jean Angelo as Robert Macaire in Les Aventures de Robert Macaire (Jean Epstein 1925).

Distinguished, attractive, athletic Jean Angelo (1875-1933) was a superstar of the French silent cinema. He was the ultimate leading man of several adventure films of the 1920s. Jean Renoir and Jacques Feyder are among the noted directors that Angelo has worked with.

Rolla Norman
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 165. Photo: Sartony.

Rolla Norman (1889-1971) was a French actor in silent and sound cinema. He was also a war hero.

Jeanne de Balzac
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 166. Photo: Sartony.

Jeanne de Balzac (1891-1930), niece of writer Honoré de Balzac, was a French silent film actress.

Arlette Marchal
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 167. Photo: Sartony.

Elegant French actress Arlette Marchal (1902-1984) started out as a fashion model. Between 1922 and 1951 she starred in 41 European and American films. From the 1950s onwards, she dedicated herself mostly to her fashion enterprise.

Cinémagazine


Jaque Christiani
French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, no. 167. Photo: Sartony. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Jaque Christiani had a brief film career during the 1920s. The handsome and elegant, but unknown actor debuted in a forgotten silent classic of the French avant-garde cinema.

Genica Missirio
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 414. Photo: Sartony.

Genica Missirio (1895-?) was a Romanian actor who starred in the French silent cinema of the 1920s.

Lilian Constantini
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 417. Photo: Sartony.

Lilian Constantini (1902-1982) was a French dancer and actress, before marrying industrialist Charles Schneider.

Maurice de Féraudy
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 418. Photo: Sartony.

Maurice de Féraudy (1859-1932) was an actor of the Comédie-Française and a French director. He was also a notable actor and director in the French silent cinema.

Emmy Lynn
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 419. Photo: Sartony.

Emmy Lynn (1889-1978) was a French stage and screen actress, known for her parts in the French silent films by Abel Gance, Henry Roussel, and Marcel L’Herbier.

André Luguet
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Édition, no. 420. Photo: Sartony.

André Luguet (1892-1979) was a French stage and film actor. He appeared in over 120 films between 1910 and 1970, both in France and Hollywood.

Maurice Schutz
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 423. Photo: Sartony.

Maurice Schutz (1866-1955) was a French stage and screen actor, who peaked in French silent cinema of the 1920s, in films by a.o. Dulac, Epstein, Luitz-Morat, Duvivier, Dreyer, and Poirier.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Carl Raddatz

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German actor Carl Raddatz (1912-2004) was much in demand by film producers in the 1940s and especially in the 1950s. He appeared in several Nazi Propaganda films, and he also gave Joseph Stalin a German voice. Through the years he would become one of the leading character actors of the German theatre.

Carl Raddatz
Big German card by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 199, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann.

Carl Raddatz
Big German card by Ross Verlag, no. W 32, 1941-1944. Photo: Binz / Ufa. Signed on 24 XII 1941.

Carl Raddatz
Big German card by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. W 63, 1941-1944. Photo: Quick / Ufa. Signed on 24 December 1942.

Carl Raddatz
Big German card by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. W 85, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann.

Nazi Propaganda films


Carl Raddatz was born as Karl Werner Fitz in Mannheim, Germany in 1912. His parents were insurance agent Karl Hermann Raddatz and Luisa Elisabetha Nußbickel.

He took acting lessons from Willy Birgel, who engaged him for the Mannheimer Nationaltheater. Engagements in Aachen, Darmstadt, Bremen and finally Berlin followed.

In Berlin he would have his greatest successes. In the Ufa studios in Babelsberg, he made his film debut in the Propaganda film Urlaub auf Ehrenwort/Furlough on Word of Honor (Karl Ritter, 1938). Soon followed more Ufa productions like Liebelei und Liebe/Flirtation and Love (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1938) with Paul Hörbiger as well as Verklungene Melodie/Dead Melody (Viktor Tourjansky, 1938) with Brigitte Horney.

In the next years, Raddatz became established as a star and appeared in well-known productions like Befreite Hände/Freed Hands (Hans Schweikart, 1939) opposite Olga Tschechova, Zwielicht/Twilight (Rudolph von der Noss, 1940) with Viktor Staal, Der 5. Juni/June the 5th (Fritz Kirchhoff, 1942), opposite Kristina Söderbaum in Immensee (Veit Harlan, 1943), and Opfergang/The Great Sacrifice (Veit Harlan, 1944).

He also starred in the poetic love-triangle Unter den Brücken/Under the Bridges (Helmut Käutner, 1945) with Hannelore Schroth and Gustav Knuth. Of his own films, director Helmut Käutner who was one of the major figures of post-War German cinema, considered this to be his best work.

He also played in Nazi Propaganda films like Wunschkonzert/Request Concert (Eduard von Borsody, 1940), Stukas (Karl Ritter, 1941), and Heimkehr/Homecoming (Gustav Ucicky, 1941), a justification of the German invasion of Poland.

Carl Raddatz
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3579/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa.

Carl Raddatz
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3855/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa.

Carl Raddatz and Hannelore Schroth
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3954/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa. Carl Raddatz and Hannelore Schroth.

A darling of the public


After the war, Carl Raddatz rather smoothly continued his career with films like the episode film In jenen Tagen/In Those Days (Helmut Käutner, 1946-1947), and Epilog/Epilogue (Helmut Käutner, 1950).

Next to these films, he worked mainly in the theatre. In the mid-1950s, he became a darling of the public with the films Rosen im Herbst/Roses in Autumn (Rudolf Jugert, 1955) with Ruth Leuwerik, Nacht der Entscheidung/Night of Decision (Falk Harnack, 1956) with Hilde Krahl, and Made in Germany (Wolfgang Schleiff, 1957) with Winnie Markus.

He also starred in the musical drama Gabriela (Géza von Cziffra, 1950) opposite Zarah Leander. It was Leander's comeback film after a seven-year absence from filmmaking and became the third highest-grossing film at the West German box office in 1950.

Other popular films were the dramas Regina Amstetten (Kurt Neumann, 1953) also starring Luise Ullrich, and Carl Esmond, and Das Mädchen Rosemarie/Rosemary (Rolf Thiele, 1958) with Nadja Tiller. The film portrays the scandal that surrounded the prostitute Rosemarie Nitribitt.

Giulietta Masina was his partner in the German-Italian co-production Jons und Erdme/La donna dell'altro/Jons and Erdma (Victor Vicas, 1959). It was an adaptation of Hermann Sudermann's story 'Jons and Erdma' from the collection 'The Excursion to Tilsit', about the troubled relationship between the strong-willed Erdma and her irascible husband Jons in the Lithuanian moors.

Carl Raddatz
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. 158. Photo: Foto Quick / Ufa.

Carl Raddatz
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3484/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Wien-Film / Ufa.

Carl Raddatz
German collectors card in the "Deutsche Film-Lieblinge", series I.

Guild of Leading Character Actors


Carl Raddatz's film career ended slowly with The Counterfeit Traitor (George Seaton, 1962) starring William Holden, and finally, the Hans Fallada adaptation Jeder stirbt für sich allein/Everyone Dies Alone (Alfred Vohrer, 1975) with Hildegard Knef.

For TV, he appeared opposite Ruth Leuwerik in the series Die Buddenbrooks/The Buddenbrooks (1979) based on the classic novel by Thomas Mann, and in an episode of the popular crime series Derrick (1990).

He always remained true to the theatre. For years, he was a member of the ensemble of the Staatlichen Schauspielbühnen Berlin and played many interesting roles that heaved him to the guild of leading character actors.

In the 1950s, he had also dubbed stars like Humphrey Bogart, Robert Taylor, and Lee Marvin, and after WW II, he gave Joseph Stalin his voice on German TV. In 1972, he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and in 1979 the Filmband in Gold (German Film Award).

Carl Raddatz died in 2004 in Berlin. He was 92. Raddatz was married three times. His first wife was actress Hannelore Schroth, his partner in Unter den Brücken/Under the Bridges (1945).

Carl Raddatz in Geständnis unter vier Augen (1954)
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, no. A 1189. Photo: T. v. Mindszenty / Deutsche London (TLF). Carl Raddatz in Geständnis unter vier Augen/Confession Under Four Eyes (André Michel, 1954).

Carl Raddatz in Made in Germany (1957)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 1923. Photo: Corona / Deutsche London (TLF) / Lilo. Carl Raddatz in Made in Germany (Wolfgang Schleif, 1957).


'Einmal wirst du wieder bei mir sein sein' (Once You Will Be With Me Again) performed by Carl Raddatz in Wir tanzen um die Welt/We Dance Around the World (Karl Anton, 1939). Source: Various Artists - Topic (YouTube).

Sources: Hans-Michael Bock (Filmportal.de - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

New in the GDR Cinemas in 1968

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Around 1980, I went to Berlin with my three best friends. We were 20, New Wave fans and did a lot of unforgettable things. One was visiting Communist East-Berlin. We were controlled at Station Friedrichstrasse and my friend Peer and I were picked out of the line, probably because of our Punk-style outfits. We got the special control treatment and were photographed in front of coloured walls. In my pocket, the patrol found a cultural magazine from West-Berlin with on the front a picture of an Isabelle Adjani. This kind of 'porn' was not allowed to take into the GDR! I always wondered afterwards what filmgoers did see in the East-Berlin cinemas. Lately, I found this little pocket with small collectors cards published by Progress: 'Neu im Kino'(New in the cinema). The nine cards (one is lost) offer a glimpse into what was shown in an East-Berlin cinema in 1968.

Senta Berger in Operazione San Gennaro (1966)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Photo: G.B. Poletto and Peter Basch. Senta Berger in the crime comedy Operazione San Gennaro/The Treasure of San Gennaro (Dino Risi, 1966). In this Italian-French-West-German co-production, an American gangster in Italy enlists a local gang to help him steal the treasure of Naples' patron saint

Sabine Sinjen and Hans-Dieter Schwarze in Alle Jahre wieder (1967)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Sabine Sinjen and Hans-Dieter Schwarze in the West-German drama Alle Jahre wieder/Next Year, Same Time (Ulrich Schamoni, 1967). The advertising editor Hannes Lücke spends the Christmas holiday every year with his family in Münster. He has his new girlfriend, Inge, in a hotel waiting.

Pavlina Filipovská and Václav Neckár in Ta nase písnicka ceská (1967)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Pavlina Filipovská and Václav Neckár in the Czech musical comedy Ta nase písnicka ceská/Melodies from Old Prague (Zdenek Podskalský, 1967). In old Prague, agirl has to choose between three guys.

Monika Gabriel in Wir lassen uns scheiden (1968)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Monika Gabriel in Wir lassen uns scheiden/We Are Getting Divorced (Ingrid Reschke, 1968). In Berlin, Monika and Johannes decide to separate and agree that both should have their 10-years-old son for four weeks each.

Marie-José Nat and Alexandru Herescu in Dacii (1966)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Marie-José Natand Alexandru Herescu in the Romanian-French historical drama Dacii/The Dacians (Sergiu Nicolaescu, 1966). The Dacian kingdom lies at the eastern border of the Roman Empire. Only the Danube separates the two mortal enemies. The Dacian king Decebalus knows that soon the vastly superior Roman legions will cross the river and attack Dacia.

Manfred Krug in Hauptmann Florian von der Mühle (1968)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Manfred Krug in the East-German comedy Hauptmann Florian von der Mühle/Captain Florian of the Mill (Werner W. Wallroth, 1968). This story of the miller Florian, who gave all his money to the war against Napoleon, is loosely based on a true story.

Kai Fischer and Paul Klinger in Das Wirtshaus von Dartmoor (1964)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Kai Fischer and Paul Klinger in the West-German thriller Das Wirtshaus von Dartmoor/The Inn on Dartmoor (Rudolf Zehetgruber, 1964). A private detective tries to find out how and why some convicts have mysteriously disappeared from the prison of Dartmoor.

Der Mord, der nie verjährt (1968)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Publicity still for the East-German crime drama Der Mord, der nie verjährt/The Murder That Was Never Recognized (Wolfgang Luderer, 1968). A historical court case in 1929 against the editor of the magazine Das Tage-Buch, who is accused of insult and slander. In an article in the magazine, Jörn's suitability for the office of the Reich Attorney was questioned, since in 1919, he favored  the murderers of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Carroll Baker, Dolores Del Rio, and Ricardo Montalban in Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
East-German collectors card in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68. Carroll Baker, Dolores del Río and Ricardo Montalban in the American Western Cheyenne Autumn (John Ford, 1964).  he Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.

Neu im Kino
Pocket for East-German collectors cards in the 'Neu im Kino' series by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 500/6/68.

Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

Wallace Beery

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American actor Wallace Beery (1885-1949) is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in Treasure Island, as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa!, and his titular role in The Champ, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 films in a 36-year career. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery, Sr. and uncle of actor Noah Beery, Jr.

Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in The Champ (1931)
British postcard in the Film Partners Series, London, no. PC 71. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in The Champ (King Vidor, 1931).

Wallace Beery in Viva Villa! (1934)
German postcard by Ross Verlag for Das Programm von Heute, Berlin. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Wallace Beery in Viva Villa! (Jack Conway, 1934).

Wallace Beery
British Real Photograph postcard. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

Wallace Beery
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 301.

Wallace Beery
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma Series by A.N., Paris, no. 79. Photo: Universal Film. Beery's name is misspelled as Berry.

Sweedie, The Swedish Maid


Wallace Fitzgerald Beery was born in Clay County, US, in 1885. He was the youngest son of Noah Webster Beery and Frances Margaret Fitzgerald and he and his brothers William C. Beery and Noah Beery became Hollywood actors.

Wallace attended the Chase School in Kansas City and took piano lessons as well, but showed little love for academic matters. Beery ran away from home at age 16 and joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as an assistant elephant trainer. He left two years later, after being clawed by a leopard.

In 1904, Wallace joined his brother Noah in New York City, finding work in comic opera as a baritone and began to appear on Broadway as well as Summer stock theatre. His most notable early role came in 1907 when he starred in The Yankee Tourist to good reviews.

In 1913, he moved to Chicago to work for Essanay Studios, cast as Sweedie, The Swedish Maid, a masculine character in drag. Later, he worked for the Essanay Studios location in Niles, California. In 1915, Beery starred with Ben Turpin and his wife Gloria Swanson in Sweedie Goes to College (Richard Foster Baker, 1915). This marriage did not survive his drinking and abuse.

Beery began playing villains, and in 1917 portrayed Pancho Villa in Patria (Jacques Jaccard, Leopold Wharton, Theodore Wharton, 1917) at a time when Villa was still active in Mexico. Beery reprised the role seventeen years later in one of MGM's biggest hits.

Beery's notable silent films include The Last of the Mohicans (Maurice Tourneur, 1920), Robin Hood (Allan Dwan, 1922) with Douglas Fairbanks (Beery played King Richard the Lionheart in this film and a sequel the following year called Richard the Lion-Hearted), Arthur Conan Doyle's dinosaur epic The Lost World (Harry Hoyt, 1925), and Beggars of Life (William A. Wellman, 1928) with Louise Brooks.

Colecciones Amatller, Wallace Beery
Spanish collectors card by Chocolate Amatller, Series J, artist 13, no. 39. Photo: Wallace Beery in Bavu (Stuart Paton, 1923).

Wallace Beery en Raymond Hatton in We're in the Navy Now (1926)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci. Photo: Paramount. Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton in the American comedy We're in the Navy Now (Edward Sutherland, 1926).

Wallace Beery
Italian postcard by ZMC (Eliocromia Zacchelli e C., Milano), no. A. 62. Caricature: Nino ZA.

Wallace Beery
British postcard. Caption: Wallace Beery and his favourite plane.

Wallace Beery
Dutch postcard by Smeets & Schippers, Amsterdam. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Wallace Beery
Belgian postcard by Kwatta. Bilingual text on the back, praising Kwatta chocolate.

The highest-paid actor in the world


Wallace Beery's powerful basso voice and gruff, deliberate drawl soon became assets when Irving Thalberg hired him under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a character actor during the dawn of the sound film era.

Beery played the savage convict 'Butch', a role originally intended for Lon Chaney, Sr., in the highly successful prison film The Big House (George W. Hill, 1930), for which he was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor.

The same year, he made Min and Bill (George W. Hill, 1930) opposite Marie Dressler. This film vaulted him into the box office first rank.

He followed with The Champ (King Vidor, 1931), this time winning the Best Actor Oscar, and the role of Long John Silver in Treasure Island (Victor Fleming, 1934).

He received a gold medal from the Venice Film Festival for his performance as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa! (Jack Conway, 1934) with Fay Wray.

Other Beery films include Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Joan Crawford, Tugboat Annie (Mervyn Leroy, 1933) with Marie Dressler, Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, 1933) opposite Jean Harlow, and China Seas (Tay Garnett, 1935) with Gable and Harlow.

During the 1930s Beery was one of Hollywood's Top 10 box office stars, and at one point his contract with MGM stipulated that he be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio, making him the highest-paid actor in the world.

Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in The Champ (1931)
British postcard in the Film Partners Series, London, no. P 71. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in The Champ (King Vidor, 1931).

Grand Hotel
British postcard in the Filmshots series by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore in Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932).

Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler in Tugboat Annie (1933)
British postcard in the Filmshots series by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler in Tugboat Annie (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933).

Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in Treasure Island (1934)
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 46. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in Treasure Island (Victor Fleming, 1934).

Wallace Beery
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z., no. 5737. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Wallace Beery in Viva Villa! (Jack Conway, 1934).

Wallace Beery
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, 1936. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Wallace Beery in Westpoint of the Air (Richard Rosson, 1935).

Popular in the South


Wallace Beery starred in several films with Marjorie Main, but his career began to decline in his last decade.

In 1943 his brother Noah Beery, Sr. appeared with him in the war-time propaganda film Salute to the Marines (S. Sylvan Simon, 1943).

He remained top-billed and none of Beery's films during the sound era lost money at the box office; his films were particularly popular in the Southern regions of the United States, especially small towns and cities.

Beery's first wife was actress Gloria Swanson; the two performed onscreen together. Although Beery had enjoyed popularity with his Sweedie shorts, his career had taken a dip, and during the marriage to Swanson, he relied on her as a breadwinner.

According to Swanson's autobiography, Beery raped her on their wedding night and later tricked her into swallowing an abortifacient when she was pregnant, which caused her to lose their child.

Beery's second wife was Rita Gilman. They adopted Carol Ann, daughter of Rita Beery's cousin. Both marriages ended in divorce.

In December 1939, the unmarried Beery adopted a seven-month-old infant girl Phyllis Ann. Phyllis appeared in MGM publicity photos when adopted, but was never mentioned again. Beery told the press he had taken the girl in from a single mother, recently divorced, but filed no official adoption papers. No further information on the child appears to exist, and she is not mentioned in Beery's obituary.

Wallace Beery died at his Beverly Hills, California home of a heart attack in 1949.

Wallace Beery
Italian postcard. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Wallace Beery in Messaggio Segreto, Italian release title for the American adventure spy film A Message to Garcia (George Marshall, 1936). The film was released at the Supercinema in Rome. The building of the former Supercinema still exists and is now the Teatro Nazionale.

Wallace Beery
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 151. Photo: Roman Freulich.

Wallace Beery
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 151b.

Wallace Beery
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 151c.

Wallace Beery
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 151d. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Wallace Beery
British postcard by Picturegoer. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Wallace Beery
British postcard by W & G, Ltd, no. S 9. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Wallace Beery
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 297. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1946.

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

Der Schatz am Silbersee (1963)

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Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1963) was the most successful German film of the 1962/1963 season. Surprisingly, it even beat the first James Bond film, Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962), at the German box offices. Der Schatz im Silbersee starred Lex Barker, for the first time in the role of Old Shatterhand, and French actor Pierre Brice as his friend, the Apache-chief Winnetou. For many people born in the 1950s or 1960s, Winnetou became one of our favourite heroes.

Lex Barker and Pierre Brice in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Lex Barker and Pierre Brice. German postcard, no. E 51. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand discover a crime. Brinkley, known as Cornel, and his gang of criminals attacked the stagecoach and murdered Erik Engel, who had a secret plan with him on his way to the legendary "Treasure in Silver Lake".

Götz George in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Götz George. German postcard, no. E 52. Photo: Constantin. Caption: When Angel's son Fred, who works on Butler's farm, learns of his father's murder, he immediately sets off to find the perpetrator.

Lex Barker in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Lex Barker. German postcard, no. E 53. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Fred meets Old Shatterhand, who promises to help him find the Cornel. Winnetou, however, wants to keep an eye on the gang of criminals.

Pierre Brice in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Pierre Brice. German postcard, no. E 54. Photo: Constantin. Caption:
Winnetou discovers the bandits' hiding place, overhears their advice and learns that the sketch is incomplete. The other half of the plan is in the hands of Patterson, who is on Butler's farm with his daughter Ellen.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 55. Photo: Constantin. Caption: As soon as Old Shatterhand and Fred arrive at Butler's farm, the gang rushes to besiege the farm.

Old Shatterhand


Although it was a Western, Der Schatz im Silbersee was a truly European film, a co-production of Germany, Yugoslavia, and France. The film starred Hollywood star Lex Barker in the role of Old Shatterhand.

Barker was best known as a former Tarzan, who played the King of the Jungle in films like Tarzan's Magic Fountain (Lee Sholem, 1949) and Tarzan's Peril (Byron Haskin, 1951). He had also appeared in Westerns like the film adaptation of James Fennimore Cooper's The Deerslayer (Kurt Neumann, 1957), which had been very successful in Germany.

When his Hollywood career dried up, Lex Barker moved to Italy. There he appeared as a Hollywood movie star in La Dolce Vita/The Sweet Life (Federico Fellini, 1960) starring Marcello Mastroianni.

German producer Artur Brauner invited him to work in Germany, where he starred in such crime films as Das Stahlnetz des dr. Mabuse/The Return of Dr. Mabuse (Harald Reinl, 1961) opposite Gert Fröbe. Then the role of Old Shatterhand made him a cult star.

At his side, Pierre Brice played Apache-chief Winnetou. It made the till then unknown French actor an icon of the 1960s. The supporting cast was also an international mix. British Herbert Lom was cast as the bad Colonel Brinkley.

From Germany, there were the young lovers Karin Dor and Götz George. Grand Old lady Marianne Hoppe had her first international film role and for the laughs, Eddi Arent (Lord Castlepool) and Ralf Wolter (Trapper Sam Hawkins) can be seen.

There were also many Yugoslavian actors in the cast, including Mirko Boman (Gunstick Uncle), Sima Janicijevic a.k.a. Jan Sid (Patterson) and Jozo Kovacevic (Grosser Wolf).

Karin Dor, Jan Sid, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Karin Dor and Jan Sid. German postcard, no. E 56. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Patterson and his daughter Ellen, who had ridden out, fall into the hands of the bandits. The Cornel demands the second half of the plan as a ransom.

Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Lex Barker. German postcard, no. E 57. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Old Shatterhand and Fred manage to free Patterson and his daughter Ellen and to get them to the farm through a secret passage.

Götz George, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Götz George. German postcard, no. E 58. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The Cornel now runs furiously against the walls of the farm with his gang, and there is a hot fight for life and death.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 59. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Winnetou arrives at the last minute. Together with the friend of the Osage tribe, he hurries to help the afflicted on Butler's farm.

Karin Dor, Marianne Hoppe in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Marianne Hoppe and Karin Dor. German postcard, no. E 60. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Mrs. Butler and Ellen watch the beaten criminal gang pulling away with joy and satisfaction.

Non-stop action


Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1962) was the first film adaptation of a novel by Karl May set in the American West.

Karl May (1842-1912) was one of the best-read authors of Germany, and many kids played Cowboys and Indians, inspired by May's stories.

Earlier films after his exotic adventure novels were all set in the Near East. The first was Die Teufelsanbeter/The Devil Worshippers (Marie Luise Droop, 1920) starring 'the Indiana Jones of the 1910s and 1920s'Carl de Vogt and Béla Lugosi. A later example was Die Sklavenkarawane/The Slave Caravan (Georg Marischka, Ramón Torrado, 1958) with Viktor Staal as Kara Ben Nemsi.

However, the principal shooting took place in national park Paklenica karst river canyon, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). The result was surprising.

John Seal at IMDb: "Treasure of Silver Lake is one of the most entertaining films I've ever seen. Establishing the template for every euro-western that followed, it features non-stop action, beautiful scenery (unfortunately compromised by the pan and scan version recently aired on Encore Westerns), and an amusing and watchable cast. Like most euro-westerns, the film is more sympathetic to Native Americans than a typical Hollywood movie, but the Indians aren't really the focal point of the story".

Götz George in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Götz George. German postcard, no. E 61. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Fred pursues the Cornel and he manages to take the first half of the plan from him. However, the killer himself escapes.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 62. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Happy with the liberation, the residents of Butler's Farm say goodbye to their friends, the Osage. At the same time, the search for the "treasure in the silver lake" is decided.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 63. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The Cornel, however, wants to prevent the others from advancing. He sets fire to a village of the Utah Indians and, with this diabolical plan, makes the Utahs take revenge on all white people.

Karin Dor, Lex Barker, Pierre Brice in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Karin Dor, Pierre Brice and Lex Barker. German postcard, no. E 64. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, and their friends are stunned in front of the burned village. Ellen, moving away from the group, is kidnapped by gang observers. Now the Cornel triumphs.

Götz George and Karin Dor in Der Schatz im Silbersee
Götz George and Karin Dor. German postcard, no. E 65. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Hurrying to help Ellen, Fred volunteers to join the gang. He promises to lead the bandits to the silver lake in order to sell his and Ellen's freedom.

Successful track


The Old Shatterhand-Melodie, the title melody played on the harmonica by René Giessen and composed by Martin Böttcher was the most successful track in the German hit parade in the 1960s. It stayed there for several months and over 100,000 copies were sold.

At the time that was very unusual, especially for a soundtrack without any singers. The music was played by members of the symphony-orchestra of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk.

The theme was later also recorded as a vocal track by several singers, including a version by Pierre Brice.

Composer Böttcher wrote in 1955 the music for his first film, Der Hauptmann und sein Held/The Captain and His Hero (Max Nosseck, 1955).

Already his next film Die Halbstarken/Teenage Wolfpack (Georg Tressler, 1956) starring Horst Buchholz, was a great artistic success for himself. He became one of the busiest composers for Cinema and TV in Germany.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 66. Photo: Constantin. Caption: In the opinion that Old Shatterhand and his friends set fire to the village, the Utahs, led by their chief "Big Wolf", capture the small expedition.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 67. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Old Shatterhand and his friends arrive in the Utah village. Nobody knows yet what will happen to the whites.

Jan Sid, Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Jan Sid and Lex Barker.German postcard, no. E 68. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Old Shatterhand and Patterson are worried about Ellen and Fred because they wanted to be in front of the gang at Silver Lake.

Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 69. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The Utah Council decides the judgment of God: Old Shatterhand is supposed to fight with the Utah chief.

Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 70. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The winner should live, the loser should die.

Bambi


German director Harald Reinl and producer Horst Wendlandt came up with a series of Eurowesterns which didn´t copy the American Western.

The American trade magazine Variety wrote in 1963 that 'See' was obviously better than the average Hollywood Western: "Although there are the inevitable fistfights and shoot-outs, the film does not copy the Hollywood format, but has a more philosophical (European!) Touch. The Western (filmed in Cinemascope) also benefits from the wonderful landscapes."

The European audiences loved it and Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake became a huge success. It was the very first German film to receive the Goldene Leinwand (Golden Screen) for having over 3 million visitors within 12 months.

The film also won the Bambi-award 1963 as best 'box-office-production' and also received a sum of 200,000 DM from the government in 1963 as a film-prize.

Der Schatz im Silbersee was sold to 60 countries - an incredible success for the European film industry.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 71. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The powerful chief is an equal opponent for Old Shatterhand.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 72. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Old Shatterhand falls. He defeats his opponent with his last strength but spares his life.

Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 73. Photo: Constantin. Caption: In the general turmoil, the whites manage to pull off unhindered. They have lost a lot of time and hurry to Silver Lake as quickly as possible.

Pierre Brice, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 74. Photo: Constantin. Caption: There is a delay again. A Utah headman swears private vengeance and pursues the whites. Winnetou uses a trick.

Pierre Brice, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 75. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Winnetou lures the Utahs into a canyon. The rushing chief "Big Wolf" can restore peace and joins Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.

Götz George, Karin Dor, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Götz George and Karin Dor. German postcard, no. E 76. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Fred delay tactic fails. The gang reaches the silver lake in front of Old Shatterhand. Tied up, Fred and Ellen have to watch the gang build a raft to reach the cave with the treasure.

Herbert Lom, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Herbert Lom. German postcard, no. E 77. Photo: Constantin. Caption: The Cornel and four of his cronies reach the cave and overwhelm the guardian of the treasure, an ancient blind Indian.

A popular sub-genre


Although Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake introduced Old-Shatterhand (Lex Barker) and Apache-chief Winnetou (Pierre Brice), Der Schatz im Silbersee is set in the time after the sequel Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963).

This would not be the only sequel. Between 1962 and 1968, 11 Eurowesterns were produced based on the novels by Karl May.

The early films preceded also another popular European film sub-genre, the Spaghetti Western.

And Eastern-Germany had its own Indian films, produced by the DEFA studio. Between 1966 and 1979 there were 12 East-German Westerns, often starring Serbian actor Gojko Mitic, who became an equally popular Icon in Eastern Europe as Pierre Brice was in West Europe.

Herbert Lom, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Herbert Lom. German postcard, no. E 78. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Possessed by the gold rush, the criminals kill each other. The Cornel also has his deserved fate. The dying Indian triggers a mechanism and the bandit sinks with the treasure.

Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 79. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Since the Cornel has not returned, the gang wants to hang Fred. Old Shatterhand who hurried in time shoots the rope and thus saves Fred's life.

Karin Dor, Jan Sid, Der Schatz im Silbersee
Karin Dor and Jan Sid. German postcard, no. E 80. Photo: Constantin. Caption: At the same time, Patterson and the "Big Wolf" can free Ellen, and the Utah Indians help destroy the rest of the gang.

Lex Barker, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 81. Photo: Constantin. Caption: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou enter the cave. They see that the treasure of Silver Lake has sunk forever.

Lex Barker, Pierre Brice, Der Schatz im Silbersee
German postcard, no. E 82. Photo: Constantin. Caption: After a friendly farewell to the Utahs and white friends, Winnetou and Old Shatterhand ride towards new adventures.

Sources: Bernd Desinger & Matthias Knop (Der Schatz im Silbersee), IMDb and Wikipedia (German).

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)

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The Eurowestern Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965) is one of the many film versions of the classic novel 'The Last of the Mohicans' by James Fenimore Cooper. It is a German-Italian-Spanish coproduction with stars like the Germans Joachim Fuchsberger and Karin Dor, Italian Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye and the Spanish actor Dan Martin as his friend Unkas, the last Mohican.

Dan Martin and Anthony Steffen in Der Letze Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 1 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas and Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas, the son of the Mohican chief Chingachook, rides over the country in the company of his white friend Hawkeye - known as 'the forest runner'. They do not know that the Iroquois, led by Magua and with the help of a white gang, raided the village of the Mohicans and massacred women and children. Badly injured, Chief Chingachook was still able to get on his horse and escape.

Dan Martin, Mike Brendel and Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 2 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas, Mike Brendel as Chingachgook and Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: In the 'Garden of Stone Trees', Unkas and Hawkeye find Chingachook who was wounded to death. Dying, he tells his son Unkas about the fate of the Mohican tribe. At Chingachook's request, Hawkeye takes the chief's chain from him and puts on this Unkas, who thereby becomes the chief. Unkas - now the last Mohican - swears to his dying father that he will take revenge on Magua so that the souls of the murdered can enter the eternal hunting grounds. He also vows to take a woman home to revive the Mohicans.

Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 3 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Anthony Steffen in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Magua, who has watched Chingachook's escape and does not want a witness for his bloody deed, chases two Iroquois after the wounded Chingachook. With a bold leap, the watchful Hawkeye succeeds in killing one of the pursuers. However, the second can flee at the last moment.

Dan Martin and Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 4 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Anthony Steffen and Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Hawkeye, the famous ranger, swears to his friend Unkas to help him find Magua. They want to atone for the act of blood. The escaped Iroquois will show them the way to Magua.

Stelio Candelli and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 5 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Stelio Candelli as Roger and Ricardo Rodríguez as Magua in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Magua celebrates his victory over the Mohicans - very against the will of the leader of the Desperados, Roger. Magua and Roger are by no means friends. They have allied only because they need mutual support for their criminal plans. So Roger now insists on fulfilling Magua's promise to help the gang raid Fort Westerhill. Roger demands the gold and, with a cynical smile, assures Magua of the scalp.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 6 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: When crossing a ford, the money transport is attacked by Roger's gang and the Iroquois . A short but tough struggle takes victims on both sides. While the ammunition wagon falls into the hands of the gang, the surviving soldiers can save the wagon with the money to the nearby Munroe farm.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 8 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Roger's gang now turns to the farm. A hot fight begins. When Roger realises that the residents of the Farm are not giving up so quickly, he suggests to Munroe to do a barter: He demands the money and offers the captured ammunition wagon as a counter-solution.

Carl Lange in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 9 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Carl Lange as Colonel Munroe in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Colonel Munroe, an old former officer, is outraged by this barter. Nevertheless, he is worried because his daughters Cora and Alice are on their way to the farm. It's a good thing they are under the protection of Captain Hayward, who is repairing a bridge with his troop!

Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 10 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letzte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: This is Captain Hayward, a newcomer to the west, but a brave soldier. It seems easier for him to tackle rough terrain than to guard two young women like Cora and Alice.

Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 11 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The bridge construction progressed under Hayward's command. They expect to be able to leave tomorrow. For this reason, Captain Hayward has already sent a mounted messenger to the farm to announce to Colonel Munroe that they will be arriving soon.

Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 12 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: As soon as the riding messenger gets near the farm, he is already surrounded by the Iroquois and Rogers gang. Whichever direction he turns, there is no escape for him!

Stelio Candelli and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 13 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Stelio Candelli as Roger and Ricardo Rodríguez as Magua in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The soldier sinks from his horse after being shot. Even torture does not make him speak. Then Roger discovers a note in the messenger bag.

Stelio Candelli and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 14 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Stelio Candelli as Roger and Ricardo Rodríguez as Magua in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: When Roger reads the news about the sisters' coming arrival, a plan matures in him: Magua is said to be a false messenger from Colonel Munroe riding to the bridge and ambushing the trek. Above all, Roger warns Magua to take care of Cora and Alice to get them under his control. He's sure Colonel Munroe will trade the two girls for the gold!

Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 17 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Still from Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The Iroquois not only fire with burning arrows but also threaten Captain Hayward with a knife and tomahawk.

Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 19 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger as Captain Hayward in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Captain Hayward realises too late that he has been trapped. As soon as they reach the boulder, they are attacked by a pack of Indians.

Joachim Fuchsberger, Ricardo Rodriguez, Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 20 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger as Captain Hayward and Ricardo Rodriguez as Magua in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Die Irokesen schiessen nicht nur mit brennden Pfeilen, sondern bedrohen Captain Hayward auch mit Messer und Tomahawk.

A New European Film Genre 


Der Letze Mohikaner, aka El último Mohicano in Spain and La valle delle ombre rosse in Italy, was filmed in 1964 in Almería in Andalucía (Spain), in La Ciudad Encantada, Cuenca (Spain) and in the CCC-Atelier in Berlin-Spandau, Germany.

It was distributed by Constantin, the German company which had produced the Western Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1962). This successful Karl May adaptation had lead to a new European film genre, the Eurowestern.

Harald Reinl had also directed the sequels Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963) and Winnetou - 2. Teil/Last of the Renegades (1964) starring Pierre Brice as Winnetou and Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand, and now he was back to helm Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965).

Co-producers of Der Letzte Mohikaner were International Germania Film in Bonn, Producciones Cinematograficas Balcázar in Barcelona, Procusa Films in Madrid, and Cineproduzioni Associate Srl in Rome, so it was a real trans-European production.

Der Letze Mohikaner was based on the historical novel 'The Last of the Mohicans' by James Fenimore Cooper Cooper, first published in 1826. It was one of the most popular English-language novels of its time and was the second book of the Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy and the best known. The Pathfinder, published 14 years later in 1840, is its sequel.

Der Letze Mohikaner was the 13th film version of Fenimore Cooper's novel and there were still eight more film and TV versions to come. The 1920 version directed by Clarence Brown and Maurice Tourneur is well regarded, as is George Brackett Seitz's 1936 version starring Randolph Scott as Hawkeye.

The most recent version was also one of the best adaptations: The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992), starring Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye, Madeleine Stowe as Cora Munro, and Inuit actor Eric Schweig as Uncas. However many of the scenes from the 1992 film did not follow the book.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 22 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: At the same time, more Iroquois rush in from the rocks and attack the remaining trek. Their arrows set the cars on fire. A hard fight man against man arises. It almost looks like this is the end of the command.

Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 24 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas emerged so suddenly and unexpectedly that Captain Hayward initially believes he is again facing an enemy. But Unkas' peaceful gesture convinces him that he has rushed in as a friend and helper. While Hawkeye is helping the soldiers, Unka supports Captain Hayward in the fight against the Iroquois.

Karin Dor and Ricardo Rodriguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 25 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Karin Dor and Ricardo Rodriguez in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Now Magua intervenes. The moment has come for him to kidnap Cora. He ruthlessly drives her deeper into the mountains through rough terrain. But Unkas has observed the incident and is following his arch-enemy!

Ricardo Rodriguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 26 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Ricardo Rodriguez in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: When Magua realises that Unkas is chasing him, he brings Cora to safety behind a rock and shoots what the iron has to offer. He now hopes to get the last of the Mohicans out of the way.

Daniel Martin and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 27 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas and Ricardo Rodríguez as Magua in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas takes cover. Yes, he even manages to stalk so close to his enemy that he comes into a duel. Just to save Cora's life, he refrains from killing Magua.

Karin Dor and Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 28 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas and Karin Dor as Cora Munroe in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas frees Cora from her bonds. Both immediately gain great trust in one another. When asked about his family, Unkas tells of the sad end of his tribe.

Karin Dor and Daniel Martin in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 29 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin and Karin Dor in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas leads Cora onto a high plateau. This is the place where he wants to meet Falenauge. He knows that Hawkeye will safely guide the rest of the small group here.

Dan Martin and Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 30 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas and Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The survivors are already approaching, the wounded supported by the unsecured. The sisters cry for joy in their arms. But there is no rest because the pursuers are on the trail. It is decided to resort to a trick to take possession of the horses that have fallen into the hands of the Iroquois. Here Captain Hayward is said to play a major role. His brave struggle against the Indians earned him the honorary name 'Harder than Iron'.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 31 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The fight for the Munroe Farm continues. Young Henry wanted to get help and broke out of the farm. Bullets hit him barely a few steps away. Mortally wounded, he can save himself in the farm. Now the besieged know that there is no escape.

Joachim Fuchsberger, Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 32 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger in Der Letzte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: It is part of the List's plan that Captain Hayward draws the attention of the Iroquois. Hidden behind rocks, he shoots several rifles one after the other to fake a group of soldiers. In the meantime, the cook leads the small group to 'the garden of the stone trees' to bring the survivors to safety.

Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 33 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The Iroquois storm the mountain: they are certain of their final victory, but once they reach the plateau, they become aware of the deception they have fallen victim to! Captain Hayward was able to save himself by jumping off the rock at the last minute.

Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 34 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Meanwhile, Unkas and Hawkeye have come to the horses. They catch enough animals and scare the rest off with pistol shots. This gives them a head start on the Iroquois.

Karin Dor, Marie France and Kurt Grosskurth in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 35 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Marie FranceKarin Dor and Kurt Grosskurth in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The chef has led the small group to the 'Garden of Stone Trees'. What a joy when Captain Hayward emerges intact and soon after Uncas and Hawk-Eye with the horses. Now they can leave for Munroe's Farm!

Karin Dor and Daniel Martin in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 36 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Karin Dor and Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas knows every way in his country from numerous hunts. He leads the small group closer and closer to Munroe Farm on unknown paths.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 38 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The fight for the farm continues. With horror, the besieged have to realise that the Iroquois army has now returned. Will they be able to withstand another rush? How long will the ammunition supply last?

Daniel Martin, Anthony Steffen and Karin Dor in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 39 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin, Anthony Steffen and Karin Dorin Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Kurz von der Munroe-Farm, im Schutze der Felsen, macht die kleine Gruppe halt. Sie überzeugt sich davon, dass die Farm von Rogers bande und den Irokesen umzingelt ist. Wie sollen sie nun hinein gelangen? Wiederum verfällt man auf eine Liste. Wie früher der Oberst, wenn er nach Hause zurück kehrte, mit einem Roten Tuch winkte, genauso soll sich Unkas der Farm nähern, damit man seine friedlichen Absichten erkennt. Cora bindet Unkas ihr rotes Halstuch um den Arm. (Near the Munroe farm, in the shelter of the rocks, the small group makes halt. They convinced themselves that the farm of Rogers bande and the Iroquois is surrounded. But how can they get inside? Again, one falls on a list. As before the colonel, when he returned home, Unkas will wave a red cloth when he goes nearer to the farm, so that you can see his peaceful intentions. Cora binds her red scarf around Unkas arm.)

Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 40 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas rides through the ranks of the Iroquois undetected. Then he gallops towards the Monroe Farmgate. Only now do the Indians recognise their enemy and pursue him.

Story of the Novel versus the story of the film

The story of the novel takes place in 1757 during the Seven Years' War (known in America as the French and Indian War), when France and the United Kingdom battled for control of the American and Canadian colonies. During this war, the French often allied themselves with Native American tribes in order to gain an advantage over the British, with unpredictable and often tragic results.

The story is set in the British province of New York and concerns a Huron massacre (with passive French acquiescence) of from 500 to 1,500 Anglo-American troops, who had honorably surrendered at Fort William Henry, plus some women and servants; the kidnapping of two sisters, daughters of the British commander; and their rescue by the last two Mohicans, and others.

In the film version Der Letze Mohikaner, Alice (Marie-France) and Cora Munro (Karin Dor) attempt to find their father (Carl Lange), a British officer in the French and Indian War. They are set upon by French soldiers and their cohorts, Huron tribesmen led by the evil Magua (Ricardo Rodriquez).

Fighting to rescue the women are chief Chingachgook and his son Unkas (Daniel Martín aka Dan Martin), the last of the Mohican tribe, and their white ally, the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, known as Falkenauge/Hawkeye (Anthony Steffen).

The other hero of the film is Captain Hayward, played by German actor Joachim Fuchsberger.

Ma Cortes at IMDb reviews the film: "This is an exciting film, plenty of action, thrills, fights, love and breathtaking outdoors from Almeria. Acceptable action sequences with rousing attacks and spectacularly realistic battles. Charismatic performance for all casting. The notorious Spaghetti actor, Anthony Steffen is good as Hawkeye and Karin Dor, director's wife is wonderful. Special mention to Daniel Martín as honorable Unkas and Ricardo Rodriguez as Magua as an appropriately villainous in a powerful performance. Look for secondary actors usual of Spaghetti Western as Frank Braña, Rafael Hernandez and Chris Huerta, among others. Colorful cinematography by Francisco Marin reflecting splendidly the sunny exteriors from the haunted city of Cuenca and Almeria wherein the '60s and '70s were shot hundreds of Spaghetti Westerns." (Why Steffen would be 'notorious' is not clear to me.)

The film was not a huge success though, but the novel stayed popular. The phrase 'the last of the Mohicans' has now been used often proverbially to refer to the sole survivor of a noble race or type. In 2011, The Last of the Mohicans was parodied as The Last of the Meheecans in the popular animated series South Park. In this episode, the character of Butters, who has become lost in the woods after playing Border Patrol with the other boys, finds himself to be the 'last of the Meheecans' (meaning Mexicans on his team).

Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 41 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: But Hawkeye already intervenes as agreed! He deliberately draws attention to distract the Iroquois and bandits from Unkas. The trick works. Initially unnoticed by the Iroquois, Hawkeye directs its pursuers in the opposite direction of the Munroe Farm. The way to the farm is clear.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 42 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Colonel Munroe, recognising the red cloth, opens the gate. Unkas storms into the farm, closely followed by Cora, Alice, and the soldiers. Colonel Munroe happily embraces his daughters.

Joachim Fuchsberger in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 43 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger as Captain Hayward in Der Letzte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Captain Hayward gives the final cover to the riders. However, before he can get to safety, an arrow hits him; because the Iroquois watched the diversion. They let go of Hawkeye and turn furiously to the Munroe Farm. Captain Hayward reached the palisade wall at the last minute in the fire protection of the farm dwellers.

Joachim Fuchsberger and Marie France in Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 44 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Joachim Fuchsberger as Captain Hayward and Marie France as Alice in Der Letzte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Captain Hayward's iron nature quickly overcomes the serious injury. Alice is particularly happy about his rescue and early recovery.

Ricardo Rodríguez and Stelio Candelli in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 45 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Ricardo Rodríguez as Magua and Stelio Candelli as Roger in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Roger is furious when he realises that he has been outwitted. He makes the bitterest reproaches against Magua for his failure. Since the residents of the farm do not give up, Roger makes a devilish plan: he wants to blow up the rock towering over the Munroe farm in order to destroy the farm and its inhabitants. Then finally the way to gold is clear!

Karin Dor and Daniel Martin in Der letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 47 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Karin Dor and Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The silence around Munroe Farm worries Unkas. But his natural instinct helps him recognise the plan. Cora, clarified by Unkas about the trickery of Roger's gang, watches the hustle and bustle.

Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 50 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Publicity still for Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The Iroquois and Roger's gang are already storming the farm. A bitter struggle ensues. It looks like this is the end of the farm dwellers.

Ricardo Rodriquez
German postcard, no. 52 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Ricardo Rodriquez in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Despite the tough fight, Magua was on the post. Taking advantage of the effects, he kidnaps Cora a second time.

Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 53 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Trotz des Kampfgetümmels ist Unkas das Vorgehen seines Feindes Magua nicht entgangen. Er kämpft sich frei und nimmt Maguas Spur auf. (Despite the battle tumult, Unkas did not fail to notice the actions of his enemy Magua. He fights his way free and takes Maguas track.)

Dan Martin and Anthony Steffen in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 54 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin as Unkas and Anthony Steffen as Hawkeye in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Hawkeye followed his friend Unkas. Both know that they are now facing a difficult path and will make an important decision.

Dan Martin
German postcard, no. 56 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Unkas asks the old and wise Chief for advice: he does not want hatred, because he believes that white and red can live side by side undisturbed in the same country.

Ricardo Rodríquez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 57 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Ricardo Rodríquez as Magua in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Magua also expressed his point of view. He hates the white people who have taken the country from him and his brothers. In every Indian who fraternises with the whites, he sees a traitor. That is why Unkas is an enemy for him.

Daniel Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner
German postcard, no. 58 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1964). Caption: The wise chief has heard both. He asked it the great Manitou. The judgment of the God is: a duel will decide about life and death.

Daniel Martin and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 60 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin and Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: The two arch-enemies face each other in a ritual duel. The guns hit the shields hard. Who will be the winner?

Dan Martin, Roberto Rodriquez
German postcard, no. 63 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin and Ricardo Rodríquez in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Both, already wounded, continue to fight fiercely. Unkas succeeds in forcing Magua onto her back. He could kill him with a spear but his hatred has evaporated. Leaving the vanquished on the ground, he turns to the young man. Magua cannot overcome his defeat. He kills Unkas from behind by throwing a javelin. The last Mohawk collapses dead.

Ricardo Rodriques in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 63 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Ricardo Rodríguez in Der Lezte Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: Magua knows that his end is here. The old chief speaks to him from the tribal honor and grants him three drum roll lead to flee. But Magua does not move. After the third drum roll, the arrows of the archers knit him down. Besides Uncas he finds death.

Dan Martin in Der Letzte Mohikaner (1965)
German postcard, no. 64 of 64. Photo: Constantin. Dan Martin in Der Letze Mohikaner/The Last Tomahawk (Harald Reinl, 1965). Caption: That was Unkas, the last Mohican. He won and still lost his life. The death of his brothers is avenged: the way to the Eternal Hunting Grounds is free for the Mohicans!

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

Jean-Claude Pascal

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Singer ánd actor Jean-Claude Pascal (1927-1992) was one of the romantic lovers of the French cinema in the 1950s. In 1961 he won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg singing 'Nous Les Amoureux'. In 1981 he was less successful with the song 'C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique'.

Jean-Claude Pascal
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 824. Photo: Lucienne Chevert, Paris.

Jean-Claude Pascal
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin/Tempelhof, no. FK 1384. Photo: Sam Lévin / Union Film.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 331. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 529. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French autograph card. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Passion for Acting


Jean-Claude Pascal was born as Jean-Claude Henri Roger Villeminot in Paris in 1927, into a family of textile manufacturers.

In 1944, when he was 17, he voluntarily joined the 2e Division blindée (2nd Armored Division) with which he entered the still occupied Strasbourg. Pascal received the Croix de Guerre and later he became a Commandeur des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor).

After the Second World War, he studied at the Sorbonne university, but he started his career as a fashion designer for Hermès.

Later the handsome Pascal met Christian Dior and became his stylist and also his model. He designed the costumes for the stage production 'Don Juan' by Molière, directed by Louis Jouvet.

He then discovered his passion for acting. After attending the drama course of Arthur Ford, he made his stage debut in 1949, alongside Pierre Renoir and Edwige Feuillère in 'La Dame aux Camélias' (Camille). He took the stage name Jean-Claude Pascal.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard, no. 10.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 648. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 255. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 399. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

Jean-Claude Pascal
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V, Rotterdam, no. 4109. Photo: Lucienne Chevert / Unifrance Film / Ufa.

Romantic Lover


Tall, slender, dark-eyed Jean-Claude Pascal became one of the romantic lovers of the French cinema in the 1950s. His first film as a jeune premier was in the Italian film Quattro rose rosse/Four Red Roses (Nunzio Malasomma, 1949) opposite Olga Villi and Fosco Giachetti.

In France, he appeared with Pierre Fresnay in Un grand patron/Perfectionist (Yves Ciampi, 1951). For this role, his hair was coloured blond.

The following years, he was often seen in costume opposite beautiful women in such films as Le rideau cramoisi/The Crimson Curtain (Alexandre Astruc, 1953) and Les Mauvaises rencontres/Bad Liaisons (Alexandre Astruc, 1955) both with Anouk Aimée, Le Chevalier de la nuit/Knight of the Night (Robert Darène, 1953) with Renée Saint-Cyr, Le Grand Jeu/Flesh and the Woman (Robert Siodmak, 1954) with Gina Lollobrigida, Le Salaire du péché/The Wages of Sin (Denys de La Patellière, 1956) opposite Danielle Darrieux, and Die schöne Lügnerin/The Beautiful Lier (Axel Von Ambesser, 1959) with Romy Schneider.

Although he often played a romantic womaniser on screen, there was no woman in his private life, except for his beloved mother. The French site Hexagon Gay writes that Pascal was gay and liked men: "Only the artistic and gay at the time were aware because it is totally excluded to reveal such an orientation in a society where homophobia is still the rule. (...) The longest relationship he maintained, was with the actor Jean Chevrier, who died in 1975."

Jean-Claude Pascal
Spanish postcard by Toro de Bronze, no. 183, 1964. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Jean-Claude Pascal
Spanish postcard by Postalcolor, Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 89, 1964. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 203. Photo: Studio Pietri.

Jean-Claude Pascal
French collectors card by Publistar.

Jean-Claude Pascal
Big East-German card by VEB Lied der Zeit Musikverlag, Berlin, no. 419-440/A 508/69, 1969. Photo: H.J. Hoffmann.

Eurovision


The filmmakers of the Nouvelle Vague were not interested in Jean-Claude Pascal. His film work diminished in the 1960s and he switched to singing chansons such as 'Lily Marlene' in both German and French.

His sultry, deep voice served sensitive interpretations of songs of such (then) young writers as Guy Béart, Serge Gainsbourg and Jean Ferrat. In 1962, he was awarded the Prix de l' Académie Charles-Cros for it.

In 1961 he won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg singing 'Nous Les Amoureux' (We the Lovers) with music composed by Jacques Datin and lyrics by Maurice Vidalin.

Twenty years later he represented Luxembourg again at the Eurovision Song contest 1981 with 'C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique' (It may not be America) but finished 11th of 20. He composed the words and music of this song himself along with Sophie Makhno and Jean-Claude Petit.

In the meantime he incidentally played in such light entertainment films as Le Rendez-vous/Rendezvous (Jean Delannoy, 1961) with Annie Girardot, the Spanish comedy Las 4 bodas de Marisol/The Four Marriages of Marisol (Luis Lucia, 1967) opposite the young Spanish idol Marisol, and Angélique et le Sultan/Angelique and the Sultan (Bernard Borderie, 1968) with Michèle Mercier.

His last film was the German Krimi Unter den Dächern von St. Pauli/Under the Roofs of St. Pauli (Alfred Weidenmann, 1970). In the 1970s he worked for television and the stage and in the 1980s he wrote detective novels and historical portraits, like 'L'Amant du roi' (The King's Lover) and 'Marie Stuart' (Mary Stuart). In 1986 he published his autobiography 'Le Beau Masque' (The Beautiful Mask).

In 1992 Jean-Claude Pascal died of lung cancer in Clichy-la-Garenne, near Paris. He was 64. There was not much media attention for the passing of this quite forgotten star, who had been so popular during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jean-Claude Pascal
Dutch or Flemish postcard. Editor unknown.

Marisol, Jean Claude Pascal
With Marisol. Spanish postcard by Postal Oscar Color, S.A., Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 702. Publicity card for Las 4 bodas de Marisol/The Four Marriages of Marisol (Luis Lucia, 1967).

Michèle Mercier and Jean-Claude Pascal in Angélique et le sultan.
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: Michèle Mercier and Jean-Claude Pascal in Angelique et le sultan/Angelique and the sultan (Bernard Borderie, 1966).

Michèle Mercier and Jean-Claude Pascal in Angélique et le Sultan (1968)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 331. Photo: Michèle Mercier and Jean-Claude Pascal in Angelique et le sultan/Angelique and the sultan (Bernard Borderie, 1966).

Jean-Claude Pascal
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3238, 1968. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Steffen.


Jean-Claude Pascal sings 'Nous les amoureux' at the Eurovision Song contest 1961. Source: eurovisionfrancetube (YouTube). On 18March 1961, Jean-Claude represented Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1961 in Cannes, France, and he won! With 31 points, he was ahead of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, and Denmark.


Jean-Claude Pascal sings 'C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique' at the Eurovision Song contest 1981. Source: Niindelos Taivos (YouTube).

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

Photo by G.B. Poletto

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G.B. Poletto (1915-1988) was one of the most prolific set photographers that worked in the Italian cinema of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1950, Titanus, one of the major studios, offered him an exclusive contract, which committed him to be the still photographer for all the films produced by the studio. Poletto worked with such famous directors as Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, and Luchino Visconti, but he also photographed many genre films, including the classic romantic comedies Pane, amore e fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (1953) with Gina Lollobrigida, and Poveri ma belli/Poor But Beautiful (Dino Risi, 1957), starring Marisa Allasio. His photos were used for countless European film star postcards.

Marisa Allasio
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-174. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: G.B. Poletto / UFA.

Italian actress Marisa Allasio (1936) was a glamorous starlet who appeared in nearly twenty pictures in the 1950s. She was nicknamed ‘The Italian Jayne Mansfield’. In 1958 her career stopped abruptly when she married and became a countess.

Gina Lollobrigida in Pane, amore e fantasia (1953)
Yugoslavian postcard by NPO, no. G5. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Gina Lollobrigida and donkey in Pane, amore e fantasia /Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1953).

Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica in Pane, amore e gelosia (1954)
Italian postcard in the I Carabinieri nel Cinema series. Photo: Titanus. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Roberto RissoGina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica in Pane, amore e gelosia/Bread, Love and Jealousy (Luigi Comencini, 1954).

Antonio Cifariello in Pane, amore e..... (1955)
Italian postcard by Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 3197. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Titanus. Antonio Cifarielloin Pane, amore e...../Scandal in Sorrento (Dino Risi, 1955).

Martine Carol
German postcard by UFA, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. 58. Retail price: 50 Pfg. Photo: G.B. Poletto / UFA.

Sex symbol Martine Carol (1920-1967) was one of the most beautiful women of the French cinema. During the early 1950s, she was a top box office draw as an elegant blonde seductress. Her private life was filled with turmoil including a suicide attempt, drug abuse, a kidnapping, and her mysterious death.

Poor But Beautiful


Giovanni Battista Poletto was born in Rome in 1915. His parents were Vittorio Poletto, originally from Rovigo, and Assunta Battistini, from Cesena. He attended elementary school in the Pinciano district, where he was born, and once he obtained a middle school license, he decided not to continue his studies.

In the 1930s he enrolled in a course for aviation photographers organised by the Air Force Ministry. Shortly thereafter, he began his career as a professional photographer at Ala Littoria, taking aerial photographs. During the war, he served in the aeronautics as a laboratory photographer. Transferred to Volta Mantovana, in 1943, he met the eighteen-year-old Paola Panizza, whom he married in 1946. Four children were born from the wedding: Donatella (1947), Carlo (1949), Laura (1953) and Alessandra (1958).

Once back in Rome with his wife, Poletto abandoned aerial photography in favour of reportage photography. He began to collaborate with such magazines as L’Europeo and Oggi and started his first contact with the world of cinema. In 1949 he met Roberto Rossellini, who wanted him as a set photographer of Stromboli, terra di Dio/Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini, 1950), starring Ingrid Bergman.

In 1950, the producer Goffredo Lombardo, head of one of the major studios, Titanus, offered him an exclusive contract, which committed him to be the still photographer for all the films produced by the studio. To cope with the growing amount of work, Poletto was forced to significantly expand the number of employees of his Agenzia Poletto - opened just before in the centre of Rome, in Via della Mercede 16 - which came to count 19 employees including photographers and printers.

For 'G.B. Poletto' - as he used to sign his photos - the first half of the 1950s was very intense on a professional level, with an average coverage of eleven sets per year. In 1951, he worked twice with the director and writer Mario Soldati, for the comedy O.K. Nerone/O.K. Nero (1951) starring Walter Chiari and Silvana Pampanini, and for È l'amor che mi rovina/It is love that ruins me (1951), with Chiari and Lucia Bosé.

In 1952, he photographed two episodes of Les sept péchés capitaux/The Seven Deadly Sins: L'Envie/Envy by Roberto Rossellini, and L'Avarice et la colère/Avarice and Anger by Eduardo De Filippo. With De Filippo, he also worked in the same year in the comedies Marito e moglie/Husband and wife (1952) and Ragazze da marito/Married Girls (1952).

The following year, he witnessed the directorial debut of Antonio Pietrangeli with Il sole negli occhi/The sun in his eyes (1953), for which the director earned a Silver Ribbon. He also made the still photos of Un marito per Anna Zaccheo/A husband for Anna Zaccheo (1954) by Giuseppe De Santis with whom he also collaborated for Uomini e lupi/Men and Wolves (Giuseppe De Santis, 1957) and Roberto Rossellini's Viaggio in Italia/Journey to Italy (1954), with whom he had built up mutual esteem and friendship in the meantime.

He resumed the sets of Pane, amore e fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1953) with Vittorio De Sica and Gina Lollobrigida, and Poveri ma belli/Poor But Beautiful (Dino Risi, 1957), starring Marisa Allasio, Maurizio Arena, and Renato Salvatori. Of these popular 'sagas', he photographed all the sequels too.

Poletto also collaborated with Michelangelo Antonioni for La Signora senza Camelie/The Lady Without Camelias (1953), of which the photos depicting the young protagonist, Lucia Bosé, hover in memory.

In the same year, he worked on the set of Quand tu liras cette lettre/When You Read This Letter (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1953) with Juliette Gréco, and of the anthology film Siamo donne (Gianni Franciolini, Alfredo Guarini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Luigi Zampa, 1953), starring Alida Valli, Ingrid Bergman, Isa Miranda, and Anna Magnani, of which he did all five episodes.

At the same time, he was on the sets of important authors of genre films: Raffaello Matarazzo, a prolific director of such melodramas as Chi è senza peccato..../Who is without sin ... (1952) and Torna!/Tears of Love (1954), and comedy directors like Camillo Mastrocinque for Attanasio, cavallo vanesio/Athanasius, the vain horse(1953) and Steno for Mio figlio Nerone/My son Nero (1956).

Marisa Allasio in Poveri ma belli (1957)
Italian postcard by Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 3407. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Paramount / Titanus. Marisa Allasio in Poveri ma belli/Poor but beautiful (Dino Risi, 1957).

Alessandra Panaro (1939-2019)
Italian postcard by Casa Edit. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze (B.F.F.), no. 3579. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Titanus

Alessandra Panaro (1939-2019) was an Italian film actress of the late 1950s and early 1960s. She is best known for Luchino Visconti's crime drama Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (1960).

Lorella De Luca (1940-2014)
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 3580. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Titanus.

After her 'discovery' at the age of 14, Italian actress Lorella De Luca (1940-2014) played naïve young girls in several dramas and comedies. These made her one of the best-known ingénues of the Italian cinema of the late 1950s. De Luca was married to film director Duccio Tessari.

Renato Salvatori in Poveri Millionari (1959)
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 3712. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Titanus. Renato Salvatori in Poveri Millionari/Poor Millionaires (Dino Risi, 1959).

Renato Salvatori (1933-1988) was a popular, good-looking Italian actor of the 1950s and 1960s. His apex was his role as Simone in Visconti’s Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (1960).

Maurizio Arena in Poveri milionari (1958)
Italian postcard by Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 3713. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Titanus. Maurizio Arena in Poveri milionari/Poor Millionaires (Dino Risi, 1958).

Italian film actor Maurizio Arena (1933-1979) appeared in 78 films between 1952 and 1978. In the late 1950s, he became popular as the poor but handsome Roman working-class boy in a comedy trilogy by Dino Risi.

Federico Fellini


G.B. Poletto was among the photographers who contributed to launching Sophia Loren as one of the main divas of Italian cinema: the set photos of Il segno di Venere/The Sign of Venus (Dino Risi, 1955) and the promotional photos of Peccato che sia una canaglia/Too Bad She's Bad (Alessandro Blasetti, 1955), are still today among the most recognisable shots of the actress.

Titanus was always careful to diversify its offer, producing films by Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, high budget films in French and American co-productions, but also Italian comedies, melodramas, adventure films, Peplums. This mixture of author films and more widely consumed films reverberated on Poletto's work and represented a constant in his work, especially in the second part of his career.

From the mid-sixties, he often photographed the 'Musicarelli', hugely popular musical comedies starring the most famous pop singers of the time. Among these are Non son degno di te/I am not worthy of you (Ettore Maria Fizzarotti, 1965) with Gianni Morandi, and Non stuzzicate la zanzara/Don't whet the mosquito (Lina Wertmüller, 1967), starring Rita Pavone.

In his professional career, he also met Alberto Lattuada, with whom he collaborated for La spiaggia/Riviera (Alberto Lattuada, 1954) with Martine Carol, and Scuola elementare/Elementary school (Alberto Lattuada, 1955). The relationship with the Milanese director continued in 1960 with Lettere di una novizia/Letters by a Novice (Alberto Lattuada, 1960) and I Dolci decanni/Sweet Deceptions (Alberto Lattuada, 1960). The protagonist of this last film was Catherine Spaak, in the role of a teenager in love with a man much older than her. The film caused a sensation and was subjected to a very long censorship odyssey until 1964 when Lattuada and the producer Lombardo were acquitted of the accusation of obscenity.

In one of his few interviews, Poletto underlined how in Italy, unlike what happened in American cinema, the photographer was called to simultaneously cover multiple roles: to produce the promotional material of the film (envelopes for the press, posters) he had to faithfully resume what had been shot by the camera, preserving its angle of observation, and at the same time had to "document the birth of the film by shooting the director, the actors, the technicians at work or in moments of pause".

The 'still photography', as it was commonly understood, therefore constituted only a part of the photographer's overall work, not including the less quoted 'set photography' which left him more expressive freedom and which dissociated himself from the idea of cinema as a machine producing illusions "revealing 'the artifice'". Initially, the set, as the main place of the cinematographic creation, was not crossed by the photographer's eye. Later, Poletto began to show the space in which the film was physically made to further increase its charm and the power of seduction.

His colour images of Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini, 1965) are famous. Poletto, widening the frame, shows the 'trick' hidden by the camera: the crane that supports the swing on which Sandra Milo swirls. He made photos of various kinds of sets, but it is clear that his gaze was mainly - and not only for evident advertising purposes - to the actors, the directors, and the relationship that was born between them during filming.

Richard Basehart in Il bidone (1955)
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3166. Photo: G.B. Poletto /Titanus. Richard Basehart in Il bidone/The Swindlers (Federico Fellini, 1955).

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

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

Elizabeth Taylor
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3515. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Ufa.

Marisa Allasio
German postcard by Ufa/Filmfoto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3476. Photo: G.B. Poletto.

The Leopard


Giovanni Battista Poletto himself told how the two masters Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini related with him on the set in a totally different way: how much the one was inclined to give him all the space and time necessary to take the photos, so much the other was also annoyed by the only 'click' of the machine (despite the invention of the 'blimp' had significantly attenuated the click noise).

He worked with the Rimini director in Il bidone (Federico Fellini, 1955), with Richard Basehart and Broderick Crawford, and in Roma/Rome (Federico Fellini, 1972), an autobiographical tale in which Gore Vidal and Anna Magnani appear, in her latest film appearance. It is no coincidence that her images were selected for an exhibition dedicated to the actress in the Palazzo Valentini, Rome in 2008.

The relationship with Luchino Visconti was also intense: from Siamo donne to the masterpiece Il gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963), the sum of his professional career. Precisely on this particularly long and demanding set, he chose to bring the family with him, although he usually kept work separate from his private world. In 2013, the photos of the making of the film were exhibited on the occasion of an important exhibition organised to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the film in Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo.

1963 was a year of transition: the Titanus, due to the enormous production costs of Sodoma and Gomorrah (Robert Aldrich, 1962) and Il Gattopardo, went bankrupt as a production company continuing to deal only with the distribution.

The most important phase of Poletto's career therefore ended, coinciding with the heyday of Italian cinema, during which he was able to photograph works by authors such as Francesco Maselli (Gli sbandati/Abandoned, 1955), Mario Monicelli (Un eroe dei nostri tempi/A Hero of Our Times, 1955; Risate di gioia/The Passionate Thief, 1960), Vittorio De Sica (Il tetto/The Roof, 1956), Valerio Zurlini (Estate violenta/Violent Summer, 1959; La ragazza con la valigia/Girl with a Suitcase, 1961; Cronaca familiare/Family Diary, 1962), Nanni Loy (Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti/Fiasco in Milan, 1959; Le quattro giornate di Napoli/The Four Days of Naples, 1962), Francesco Rosi (I magliari/The Swindlers, 1959), Elio Petri (L'assassino/The Assassin, 1961; I giorni contati/His Days Are Numbered, 1962), Ermanno Olmi (Il posto/The Job, 1961), and Dino Risi (Operazione San Gennaro/The Treasure of San Gennaro, 1966).

His professional career seemed in some ways to follow the fate of still photography: it experienced its peak period in the 1950s and early 1960s and its progressive decline between the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the growing popularity of the television and the consequent decrease in budgets for cinema. On the contrary, the activity of his printing laboratory continued to be intense, often allowing him to indulge his natural inventiveness: in 1968 he was asked for a poster to advertise C'era una volta il West/Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968) and, for realising it, after a meticulous preparation as it was in his style, he created a special enlarger. He had repeatedly expressed his displeasure at not having followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, an inventor of machinery.

In the second phase of his career, he still filmed genre films (Musicarelli in the first place), but he also documented the sets of some significant works such as Io la conoscevo bene/I knew her well (Antonio Pietrangeli, 1965) with Stefania Sandrelli, the Spaghetti Western I lunghi giorni della vendetta (Faccia d'angelo)/Days of Vengeance (Florestano Vancini, 1967) starring Giuliano Gemma, Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, 1968), and La prima notte di quiete/Indian Summer (Valerio Zurlini, 1972), starring Alain Delon.

The last film he worked for was the acclaimed comedy-drama Pane e cioccolata/Bread and Chocolate (Franco Brusati, 1973), starring Nino Manfredi, his close friend. Until the end, he continued to devote himself full time to his photographic laboratory, where his daughter Donatella had started working since 1966. Giovanni Battista Poletto died in Rome in 1988. He was 72.

Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa and Alain Delon in Il gattopardo (1963)
Small Czech collectors card by Pressfoto, Praha (Prague), 1965, no. S 101/6. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa and Alain Delon in Il gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963).

Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster in Il Gattopardo (1963)
Czech postcard by Pressfoto, Praha (Prague). Photo: G.B. Poletto. Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster in Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963). Collection: Carla Bosch.

Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
Czech postcard by Pressfoto, Praha (Prague). Photo: G.B. Poletto. Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963). Collection: Carla Bosch.

Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
Vintage card. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963).

Sylva Koscina
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1021, 1959. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: G.B. Poletto, Rome.

Italian actress Sylva Koscina (1933-1994) may be best-remembered as Iole, the bride of Steve Reeves in the original version of Hercules (1958). She also starred in several Italian and Hollywood comedies of the 1950s and 1960s.

Raf Vallone
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 224. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Ufa.

Athletic Italian actor Raf Vallone (1916-2002) was an internationally acclaimed film star, known for his rugged good looks.

Nino Manfredi in Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti (1960)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1643. Photo G.B. Poletto / Titanus. Nino Manfredi in Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti/Fiasco in Milan (Nanni Loy, 1960).

Italian actor Nino Manfredi (1921-2004) was one of the most prominent stars in the Commedia all'italiana genre. He was equally adept at drama and comedy, and also had success as a film director and screenwriter.

Mario Girotti (Terence Hill) in Lazzarella (1957)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano (Milan), no. 1807. Photo: G.B. Poletto / Titanus. Mario Girotti (Terence Hill) in Lazzarella (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1957).

Sources: Giulia Della Torre, Riccardo Della Torre (Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani – Italian), and IMDb.

R.I.P.: Irm Hermann (1942-2020)

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On 26 May 2020, the German actress and assistant director Irm Hermann passed away in Berlin after a short illness. She was the muse and a close friend of Rainer Werner Fassbinder and played roles in 24 of his films including Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (1972). Overall, she appeared in over 160 film and television productions until 2018. Irm Hermann was 77.

Irm Hermann (1942-2020)
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg. Photo: Margarete Redl-von Peinen.

24 films with Fassbinder


Irmgard Hermann was born in 1942 in Munich, in Nazi Germany.

In 1966, she worked as a secretary at the ADAC, Germany's biggest automobile club, when she was got to know Rainer Werner Fassbinder. They became close friends. He convinced her to quit her job to work with him although she lacked formal training as an actress.

In the same year, Hermann starred in her debut role in Fassbinder's short film Der Stadtstreicher/The City Tramp (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1966).

She and Fassbinder made 24 films and TV series together: Der Stadtstreicher (1966), Der Bräutigam, die Komödiantin und der Zuhälter (Jean-Marie Straub, 1968), Katzelmacher (1969), Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (1969), Götter der Pest (1970), Der amerikanische Soldat (1970), Effi Briest (1970), Warum läuft Herr R. Amok (1970), Pioniere in Ingolstadt (1971), Mathias Kneissl (Reinhard Hauff, 1971), the TV series Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (1972), Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant/The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Händler der vier Jahreszeiten/The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972), Wildwechsel (1973; on which she was also the assistant director), Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe (Ulli Lommel, 1973), Angst essen Seele auf/Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Nora Helmer (1974), Angst vor der Angst (1975), Faustrecht der Freiheit (1975; on which she was also the assistant director), Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel (1975), Schatten der Engel (Daniel Schmid, 1976), Frauen in New York (1977), the TV series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), and Lili Marleen (1981).

Irm Hermann (1942-2020)
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg. Photo: Peter Paul Hammerschmidt, Berlin.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder, shooting Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (1971)
German postcard by Verlag Hias Schaschko, München (Munich), no. 209. Photo: Rainer Werner Fassbinder during the shooting of Händler der vier Jahreszeiten/The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971), then still called Der Obsthändler/The Grocer.

Independence in Berlin


In 1975, Irm Hermann left Munich and Fassbinder and moved to Berlin to be more independent. In 1976, she married children's book writer  Dietmar Roberg. They had two children, son Franz Tizian Roberg (1977), and son Fridolin Roberg (1981).

In the cinema, she worked more often for other directors. She worked with Werner Herzog in his film Woyzeck (1979) starring Klaus Kinski, with Hans Geissendorfer in his Thomas Mann adaptation Der Zauberberg/The Magic Mountain (1982), with Rod Steiger, with Percy Adlon in Fünf letzte Tage/The Five Last Days (1982), and with Ulrike Ottinger in Dorian Gray im Spiegel der Boulevardpresse/Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press (1984).


From 1987, she was an ensemble member of the Freie Volksbühne Berlin. She continued to make films, including Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia (Elrike Ottinger, 1989), Tigerstreifenbaby wartet auf Tarzan/Tigerstripe Baby Is Waiting for Tarzan (Rudolf Thome, 1998), the family film Mein Bruder ist ein Hund/My Brother Is a Dog (Peter Timm, 2004), the farce Reine Geschmacksache/Fashion victims (Ingo Rasper, 2007), and Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin/A Woman in Berlin (Max Färberböck, 2008) starring Nina Hoss.

Her later films included Fack ju Göhte 3/Suck Me Shakespeer 3 (Bora Dagtekin, 2017) with Elyas M'Barek and Katja Riemann, and Zwei Herren im Anzug/Two Men in Suits (Josef Bierbichler, 2018). Her last screen role was in the TV series Labaule & Erben (2019), the story of the publishing family Labaule in Germany.

Irm Hermann died in 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Irm Hermann (1942-2020)
German autograph card. Photo: Claudius Pflug.


Scene from Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (1972) also with Margit Carstensen. Source: Emanuele Tealdi (YouTube).

Sources: Hans Beerenkamp (Het Schimmenrijk - Dutch)  Wikipedia and IMDb.

Croissant Revisited

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In February, EFSP paid attention to the French editor Croissant and its beautiful series of coloured postcards for early films Pathé Frères and Gaumont. Croissant published more interesting postcards with a link to the early cinema. My partner in crime, Ivo Blom collected this series of hand-coloured portrait postcards of French actors, who often appeared both in the theatre and in the cinema. The photographers were Henri Manuel and later Paul Boyer.

Constant Coquelin


Coquelin in Cyrano de Bergerac
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3509. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Constant Coquelin in the play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897).

Coquelin in Cyrano de Bergerac
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3509. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Constant Coquelin in the play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897).

Coquelin in Cyrano de Bergerac
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3509. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Constant Coquelin in the play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897).

Coquelin in Cyrano de Bergerac
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3509. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Constant Coquelin in the play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897).

Coquelin in Cyrano de Bergerac
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3509. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Constant Coquelin in the play 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1897)

Benoît-Constant Coquelin (1841-1909), known as Coquelin aîné (Coquelin the Elder), was a French actor, who was known as one of the greatest theatrical figures of the age. He entered the Comédie-Française in 1860, became sociétaire there in 1864, left in 1887 to go on European and American tours, and returned as a Pensionnaire between 1890 and 1892. Despite the strict rules of the Comédie not play afterwards on other stages, Coquelin had a triumph in 1897 with Edmond Rostand's 'Cyrano de Bergerac' and would play it many times. In 1900, when he was almost sixty, Coquelin toured in America with Sarah Bernhardt and appeared on Broadway's Garden Theatre in a production of 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (Bernhardt played Roxane). On their return to France, he continued with his old colleague to appear in 'L'Aiglon', at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt. For his booming voice and his lyrical and fiery temperament, Rostand wrote 'Chantecler', but the actor died in 1909 before it could be performed by him. The only film of Coquelin senior was an early sound film shot by the Lumiere brothers operator Felix Mesguich in 1900, though some sources state Clement Maurice as the responsible one. It was a scene from Edmond Rostand's duel scene from 'Cyrano de Bergerac', a role Coquelin sr. had created in 1897. The film was shown at the Phono-Cinema-Theatre in Paris during the famous 1900 Exposition. After the exposition closed, Mesguich took the films on a three-month tour all over Europe. In 1930, the film was found back, together with early sound films. In 1952 it was inserted in the film Cinema parlant 1900.

Sylvain
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3523. Photo: Henri Manuel. Caption: Silvain de la Comédie Française.

Eugène Sylvain or Eugène Silvain (1851-1930), also known as Sylvain and Silvain, was a prominent French stage actor, though he is best remembered as the evil bishop Cauchon in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film La passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928). He entered the Comédie Française in 1878, became a Sociétaire in 1883, a Doyen between 1916 and 1928, and he left the company in 1928.

Louis Leloir
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3523. Photo: Henri Manuel. Caption: Leloir de la Comédie Française.

Louis Leloir a.k.a. Leloir (1860-1909), originally Louis Pierre Sallot, was a French actor, and a Sociétaire of the Comédie-Française between 1889 and 1909. Parallel to his stage career, he was appointed teacher at the Conservatoire de musique et déclamation in 1894, and vice-president of the Société des artistes dramatiques in 1897. Because of his courageous behaviour during the 1900 fire at the Comédie-Française, he was awarded the Légion d'Honneur the same year. When he died in 1909, he was a board member of the Comédie Française and one of its regular stage directors. Little is known about Leloir's involvement in the cinema. He may have written the script for the Film d'Art production Louis XI (André Calmettes, 1910), starring Emile Dehelly, while he may have made the poster for the Film d'Art production Un Duel sous Richelieu (André Calmettes, 1908), starring Henry Krauss.

Jacques Fenoux
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3523. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Caption: Jacques Fenoux de la Comédie Française.

Jacques Fenoux entered the Comédie-Française in 1895, became a Sociétaire in 1906, retired in 1924, and became a Sociétaire Honoraire in 1925. As the site of the Comédie states: "Fenoux was the type of a conscientious member, able to move effortlessly from one job to another, from small to large parts. He was appointed honorary member in 1925 but continued to play until his last days. He barely disappeared two weeks after having last interpreted Bazile, from 'The Barber of Seville'." As far is known, his only film performance was in Jacques de Féraudy's Molière, sa vie, son oeuvre (1922), in which actors of the Comédie-Française can be seen rehearsing plays by Molière.

Jules Truffier
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3523. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris. Caption: Truffier de la Comédie Française.

Jules Truffier (1856-1943) was a respected actor of the Comédie-Française. As far as known, he didn't act in a film, but as a teacher at the Conservatoire (from 1906 onward) he trained future screen actors. Jules Truffier's father, who had acted before starting in commerce, and was befriended with the actors Got and Delaunay, let his son study at the Parisian Conservatoire from 1873. Truffier jr. entered the Comédie-Française in 1875, became a Sociétaire there in 1888, retired in 1913, and in 1922 became a Sociétaire Honoraire. All in all, he played some 150 parts in an almost 40 years time span. In 1914, he quit acting in 'Maître Favilla', an adaptation by himself of a piece by George Sand, and in the same year he became manager of the Études classiques de la Comédie-Française, so the staging of the classic repertory by the Comédie. This he did until 1918/1919. Among his pupils at the Conservatoire, where he taught between 1906 and 1929, were Berthe Bovy, Pierre Dux, and Pierre Blanchar.

Albert Lambert
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3523. Photo: H. Manuel. Albert Lambert as Orestes.

Albert Lambert (1865-1941), aka Albert Lambert fils, was a French stage and screen actor, who was for a long time part of the Comédie-Française. He also played in several early French Film d’Art films, first of all in L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise (1908).

Therese Kolb
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3524. Photo Henri Manuel, Paris. Caption: Mme. Kolb de la Comédie Française.

Thérèse Kolb (1856-1935) was a reputed French stage actress, who also had a career in French silent cinema. Born Marie-Thérèse Kolb in Altkirch (Alsace, Haut-Rhin), she won the first prize at the Conservatoire de Paris and began to act at the Théâtre de l'Odéon with Coquelin the Elder and Sarah Bernhardt, whom she followed on a tour around the United States in 1882. Kolb entered the Comédie-Française in 1898, before becoming the 338th member in 1904. She was named an honorary member in 1923. While she had one occasional first role in 1912 in Le Fils prodigue by Camille de Morlhon, from the late 1910s Kolb started a steady second career in acting in French silent cinema. In 1921-1922, she was Mme Bicard in four Le Bouif comedies with Tramel, directed by Henri Pouctal and Louis Osmont, while she also had major parts in L'ami Fritz (René Hervil, 1920), Blanchette (Hervil, 1921), Yasmina (André Hugon, 1927), L'île d'amour (Berthe Dagmar, Jean Durand, 1929), L'appassionata (André Liabel, Léon Mathot, 1929), and Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (André Berthomieu, 1929). In 1935 Thérèse Kolb died in Levallois-Perret (Seine) and she was buried in the Altkirch cemetery. She was the mother of Jean Kolb.

Constant Coquelin
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3609. Photo: Henri Manuel. Caption: M. Constant Coquelin.

Sarah Bernhardt


Sarah Bernhardt in L'Aiglon
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3690. Photo: Paul Boyer. Sarah Bernhardt in the play 'L'Aiglon' (1900) by Edmond Rostand.

Sarah Bernhardt in L'Aiglon
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3690. Photo: Paul Boyer. Sarah Bernhardt in the play 'L'Aiglon' (1900) by Edmond Rostand.

Sarah Bernhardt in L'Aiglon
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3690. Photo: Paul Boyer. Sarah Bernhardt in the play 'L'Aiglon' (1900) by Edmond Rostand.

French vedette Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) has been referred to as 'the most famous actress in the history of the world'. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning her the nickname 'The Divine Sarah'. Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of Europe in the 1870s and was soon high in demand in both Americas too. And she was one of the first film stars. What a woman!

Sources: Comédie-Française (French), Filmographie Le Film d'Art by Eric Le Roy (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

And please, check out our earlier post on Croissant.

Anita Stewart

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American silent film actress Anita Stewart (1895-1961) was one of the earliest actresses who achieved success and public recognition in the cinema. From 1911 on, she worked with director Ralph Ince for Vitagraph and was often paired in romantic roles with real-life husband, actor Rudolph Cameron. Later she had her own film company. The advent of the sound film ended her successful career.

Anita Stewart
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 703/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Transocean Film-Co, Berlin.

Anita Stewart in Rose o' the Sea (1922)
American postcard by M.B.S.C.Co. (Max B. Sheffer Card Ci., Chicago), 1922. Photo: First National. Anita Stewart in Rose o' the Sea (Fred Niblo, 1922).

Anita Stewart,
Spanish card by La Novela Semanal Cinematográfica, no. 89.

An actress in the foreground


Anita Stewart was born Anna Marie Stewart in Brooklyn in 1895. Her two siblings, actor/director George Stewart and actress Lucille Lee Stewart, would also act in films.

In 1911, when she was still attending Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, 16-year-old Anita started her career playing extra and bit parts in films for the Vitagraph Studios at their New York City location.

She had her breakthrough with the box office hit A Tale of Two Cities (William J. Humphrey, 1911), adapted from Charles Dickens, and with an all-star cast including Maurice Costello, Florence Turner, Norma Talmadge, and John Bunny.

Over the next years, she quickly grew into an actress in the foreground. She appeared in a string of short comedies and dramas including The Forgotten Latchkey (Ralph Ince, 1913) with Harry Morey, and The White Feather (William J. Bauman, 1913).

Director Ralph Ince gave Stewart leading roles in his films A Million Bid (1914), her first real feature-length film, and The Sins of the Mothers (1914) with Julia Swayne Gordon.

She also starred with Earle Williams in a series of films: the trainwreck drama The Juggernaut (Ralph Ince, 1915), The Goddess (Ralph Ince, 1915), and the romantic drama My Lady's Slipper (Ralph Ince, 1916).

In 1917 Stewart married Rudolph Cameron, the brother of Ralph Ince. Stewart grew into a popular actress and was cast with big names such as Mae Busch and Barbara La Marr.

Anita Stewart
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. S.75-5. Photo: Moody, N.Y.

Anita Stewart (Vitagraph)
British postcard in the Novelty Series, no. D6-12. Photo: Vitagraph Films.

Anita Stewart
British postcard in the Pictures Portrait Gallery by Pictures Ltd., London, no. 111.

Her own production company


Anita Stewart left Vitagraph in 1918 for a contract with Louis B. Mayer and received a substantial salary increase. Stewart was promised her own production company at the Mayer studios in Los Angeles.

Between 1918 and 1919 Stewart produced seven moderately successful vehicles, starring in all of them. Her best-known film is Virtuous Wives (George Loane Tucker, 1918) with Conway Tearle and Hedda Hopper. Other titles include the Lois Weber film A Midnight Romance (1919) with Jack Holt, Marshall Neilan's Her Kingdom of Dreams (1919), and In Old Kentucky (Marshall Neilan, 1919).

Her films were enormously successful during the early 1920s, such as Sowing the Wind (John Stahl, 1921), The Woman He Married (Fred Niblo, 1922), etc.

From the mid-1920s, Stewart acted at various production companies, including Tiffany, Cosmopolitan, Fox, and even her old company Vitagraph. She mostly got first billing until 1928.

Her last silent film was Romance of a Rogue (King Baggot, 1928), starring H.B. Warner, and Stewart co-starring. After the emergence of the sound film in 1928, however, it went badly with Stewart's career.

Following Stewart's divorce from Cameron in 1928, Stewart married George Peabody Converse the following year. They divorced in 1946.

After making just one musical short, The Hollywood Handicap (Charles Lamont, 1932) with Bert Wheeler and the young John Wayne, Stewart retired from the screen. She was one of the wealthiest women in Hollywood.

Stewart wrote the murder mystery novel 'The Devil's Toy', published in New York in 1935 by E.P. Dutton. Though the book's dust jacket traded on the author's Hollywood connection, the plot concerned the killing of a stage actor and was set in San Francisco.

Anita Stewart died of a heart attack in 1961 in Beverly Hills, California. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, in the Sanctuary of Liberty. Anita Stewart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Anita Stewart
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 585/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Transocean Film-Co, Berlin.

Anita Stewart
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 585/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Puffer, N.Y. / Transocean Film-Co, Berlin. Mistake! Actually, this is not Anita Stewart but Norma Talmadge. See our Flickr site

Anita Stewart
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 727/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Transocean Film-Co, Berlin.

Sources: Wikipedia (English and Dutch), and IMDb.

André Deed

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André Deed (1879-1940) was one of the most popular comedians in French and Italian silent cinema. He was one of the first of the named actors in the cinema, and his film series based around Boireau and Cretinetti aka Foolshead were a global success. He also worked as a film director and scriptwriter.

André Deed
French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: X.

Le fils du diable
French postcard by Théâtre Pathé Grolée, Lyon. Photo: Pathé Frères. André Deed in Le fils du diable/The Devil's Son (Charles Lucien Lépine, 1906), with cinematography by Segundo De Chomon.

Foolshead


André Deed was born Henri André Augustin Chapais in Le Havre, France in 1879. He was the son of a customs official. The family moved to Nice when Henri André was young.

He attended lycée in Nice while acting with a small theatre company. Around 1900, he started his career as a circus acrobat and then became a singer in vaudeville theatre and cabaret, including at the Folies Bergères.

In 1901 he did his first steps in the film world for film pioneer Georges Méliès. He played a Pierrot in the short comic fantasy Dislocation mystérieus/An Extraordinary Dislocation (Georges Méliès, 1901). Several body parts of a dancing clown float away from his body and come back again.

In 1906 Deed started at Pathé Frères his own series of short comedies around Boireau, a comic character designed by himself. Among them are comedies like La course à la perruque/The Wig Chase (Georges Hatot, André Heuzé, 1906) with Léon Mathot, Boireau déménage/Foolshead Moved (Georges Hatot, 1906), and Les débuts d'un chauffeur/The Inexperienced Chauffeur (Georges Hatot, 1906).

Between 1906 and 1908, Deed made some 27 films for Pathé, directed by pioneer filmmakers like Georges Hatot and Georges Monca, though of several films the director is not known.

Because of the huge popularity of the Boireau comedies, the Torinese company Itala Film lured Deed to Italy in 1908. There Deed started the series of Cretinetti (which can be translated as ‘little stupid’). He not only acted but also directed his own films now. Just like in the French films, Deed behaved in a quite anarchic way, creating destruction and pursuits all over.

Between 1909 and 1911 and between 1915 and 1920, Deed interpreted Cretinetti in some 90 shorts. A highlight is the absurdist Cretinetti e le donne/Cretinetti and the Women (André Deed, 1910), in which fanatic women tear the man to pieces. In the end, all his loose limbs gather again.

At the time, Deed was after Max Linder the most popular film comedian of the European cinema. His Boireau and Cretinetti characters were even famous all over the world world, although under different names. He was known as Foolshead in English, Müller in German, Toribio in Spanish, Turíbio in Portuguese, Lehmann in Hungary, Glupyuskin in Russia, and so on.

The silent film stars Emilio Ghione and Alberto Collo started their careers in Deed’s films at Itala. He also met his future wife Valentina Frascaroli there. She would perform in many of his films.

André Deed
French postcard, no. 3. Cliché X.

André Deed in Boireau à l'école (1912)
French postcard by Sadag de France, Imp., Paris, no. 40. Photo: Pathé Frères. André Deed in Boireau à l'école/Boireau at school (André Deed, 1912).

Nightwatch in the Pathé Studios


In 1912 André Deed went back to Pathé to perform as Boireau again. Cretinetti was named Gribouille in France, and so his first film for Pathé was entitled Comment Gribouille redevient Boireau/How Gribouille became Boireau again (André Deed, 1912). Valentina Frascaroli collaborated under the character name of Gribouillette.

From 1912 on Deed would make some 70 new shorts as Boireau. In 1913 Deed and Frascaroli did a big European and Latin American theatrical tour. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Deed was drafted first, but in 1915 Itala producer Giovanni Pastrone called him back to Italy. There he directed and played in the war propaganda film La paura degli aereomobili nemici/The fear for Zeppelins (André Deed, 1915) with Domenico Gambino, and Cretinetti e gli stivali del brasilero/Cretinetti and the Brazilian's boots (André Deed, 1916), which had Bartolomeo Pagano alias Maciste in a supporting part as a police officer, plus special effects by Segundo De Chomon.

Afterward, Deed returned to France where he served in various sections of the army, though it is unknown whether he fought in the trenches. In 1918 he married Frascaroli and in 1919 he was demobilised.

In 1920-1921 Deed started a trilogy of Italian fantasy-adventure-films: Il documento umano/The human document (André Deed, 1920), L’uomo meccanico/The Mechanical Man (André Deed, 1921) and Lo strano amore di Mado/The Strange Love of Mado.

L’uomo meccanico was regarded as lost, but some reels of the Portuguese release version were discovered in Brazil. The discovered film amounted to 740 meters which is believed to be approximately 40% of the complete film. This was restored by the Cineteca Comunale di Bologna. L’uomo meccanico/The Mechanical Man is about an indestructible robot which in the end only creates havoc. At the end of the film, there is a spectacular scene with a battle of the two robots in the Opera House.

The latter film of the trilogy, Lo strano amore di Mado/The Strange Love of Mado, was never realised. The popularity of Deed had diminished and new comedians like Charlie Chaplin had taken his place. Deed returned to France, where he still acted in films. In the early sound era, he only could find minor parts.

By the late 1930s, Deed was forgotten by the industry that he helped to launch. He worked as a nightwatch at the Pathé studios, located in the Parisian suburb of Joinville-le-Pont.

Broke and forgotten, André Deed died in 1940 in Paris. He was 61. His wife Valentina Frascaroli passed away in 1955.


André Deed as Cretinetti in Le delizie della caccia/The Delights of Hunting (André Deed, 1910). Source: YasHY2804 (YouTube).


Scene from L’uomo meccanico/The Mechanical Man (André Deed, 1921). Source: JH Banner (YouTube).

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

Gräfin Donelli (1924)

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Gräfin Donelli/Countess Donelli (1924) was a typical Henny Porten film of the 1920s, a rather conventional melodrama. Porten's handsome co-star was the little-known Eberhard Leithoff. Remarkable is the director. Gräfin Donelli is the second film of Georg Wilhelm Pabst, one of the most influential German-language filmmakers during the Weimar Republic.

Henny Porten and Friedrich Kayssler in Gräfin Donelli (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 695/1. Photo: Maxim Film. Henny Porten and Friedrich Kayssler in Gräfin Donelli (G.W. Pabst, 1924).

Henny Porten and Eberhard Leithoff in Gräfin Donelli (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 695/2. Photo: Maxim Film. Henny Porten and Eberhard Leithoff in Gräfin Donelli (G.W. Pabst, 1924).

An act of desperation


In Gräfin Donelli (1924), Henny Porten stars as Countess Mathilde Donelli who has become a widow early on, as her unfaithful husband killed himself.

Now she is in material need. Her uncle, the much older Count Bergheim (Friedrich Kayssler), shows interest in Mathilde, but she is much more interested in Bergheim's handsome secretary Hellwig (Eberhard Leithoff).

To help Mathilde, Hellwig sends Countess Donelli a larger sum of money. Thereupon the countess's uncle accuses his secretary of the theft because he wants to crush the young happiness.

Graf Bergheim is prepared to waive a criminal complaint should Hellwig stay away from Mathilde from now on. Countess Donelli then lets herself be carried out to an act of desperation and shoots him down. The doctors can save the wounded man.

Countess Donelli marries her great love after his recovery. Years later, Count Bergheim realises that he would never have a chance with Mathilde and admits that he staged the embezzlement. Now Hellwig is finally rehabilitated.

Gräfin Donelli (1924) was a production by Maxim Film and Ebner & Co. The script was written by Hans Kyser. The cinematographer was Guido Seeber, and the sets were designed by art director Herman Warm. The co-director and editor was Mark Sorkin. G. W. Pabst would later often work again with them in his films.

Pabst's best-known silent films concern the plight of women, including Die freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (1925) with Greta Garbo and Asta Nielsen, Geheimnisse einer Seele/Secrets of a Soul (1926) with Lily Damita, Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney/The Loves of Jeanne Ney (1927) with Brigitte Helm, Die Büchse der Pandora/Pandora's Box (1929), and Tagebuch einer Verlorenen/Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) with American actress Louise Brooks. He also co-directed with Arnold Fanck the Bergfilm (mountain film) Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü/The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929) starring Leni Riefenstahl.

Gräfin Donelli passed censorship on 28 August 1924 and premiered on 7 November 1924 at the Primus-Palast in Berlin. The film is now believed to be lost.

Henny Porten and Eberhard Leithoff in Gräfin Donelli (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 695/3. Photo: Maxim Film. Henny Porten and Eberhard Leithoff in Gräfin Donelli (G.W. Pabst, 1924).

Henny Porten, Ferdinand von Alten, and Friedrich Kayssler in Gräfin Donelli (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 695/4. Photo: Maxim Film. Henny Porten, Ferdinand von Alten, and Friedrich Kayssler in Gräfin Donelli (G.W. Pabst, 1924). Von Alten played Baron von Trachwitz.

Source: Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

Marte Harell

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Austrian actress Marte Harell (1907-1996) played strong women who determined the events, in several Viennese comedies and operettas of the 1940s and 1950s.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2858/2, 1939-1940. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2859/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3354/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Wien Film / Terra.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3765/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien Film.

Wiener Mädel


Marte Harell was born as Martha Schömig in Wien (Vienna), Austria-Hungary, now Austria in 1907. She was the daughter of architect Rudolf Schömig and his wife Emilie Mathilde Passetzky.

Marte visited a secondary school for girls in Vienna. Her acting career started when she married director Karl Hartl in 1930. She followed acting classes from Margit von Tolnai and attended the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar.

At 30, she made her debut at the Kammerspielen des Theaters in der Josefstadt. She worked for theatres in Munich and Berlin, where she was spotted by director Géza von Bolváry at the Deutsches Theater. He asked her for the leading lady tole in his film Opernball/Opera Ball (Géza von Bolváry, 1939) opposite Paul Hörbiger.

Her film debut at 32 as the typical 'Wiener mädel' (Viennese girl) became an unexpected success. More leading roles followed in Wiener G'schichten/Vienna Tales (Géza von Bolváry, 1940) again opposite Paul Hörbiger, and an adaption of the Carl Zeller operetta 'Der Vogelhändler', Rosen in Tirol/The Bird Seller (Géza von Bolváry, 1940) with Johannes Heesters.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3109/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3109/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Wien-Film.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3206/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Wien Film / Terra.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3765/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien-Film.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3934/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien-Film.

Not a Hollywood-style Glamourpuss


Marte Harell became very busy as an actress for the new founded Wien-Film, when her husband, Karl Hartl, became the production manager of this company.

She convinced critics and audiences with her performances in Brüderlein fein/Dear Brother (Hans Thimig, 1941), the comedy Die heimliche Gräfin/The Secret Countess (Géza von Bolváry, 1942) with Wolf Albach-Retty, Frauen sind keine Engel/Women Are No Angels (Willi Forst, 1943) with a young Curd Jürgens, and Tolle Nacht/Great Night (Theo Lingen, 1943).

She always played the strong woman who determined the events and was not able to hide her typical Viennese accent. The part of Fiakermilli (Cabby Milli) in the beautiful tragi-comedy-musical Schrammeln (Géza von Bolváry, 1944) was her most popular role.

For the adaptation of Johann Strauss' comic opera Die Fledermaus/The Bat (1945), she worked again with director Géza von Bolváry, with whom she would make a total of ten films.

Harell continued her film career immediately after the Second World War with Glaube an mich/Believe in Me (Géza von Cziffra, 1946), but the film was torn to pieces by the critics. Two years later she returned in the romance Nach dem Sturm/After the Storm (Gustav Ucicky, 1948), based on a story by Carl Zuckmeyer.

Wien Tanzt/Vienna Waltzes (Emil E. Reinert, 1951) was an old-fashioned musical extravaganza in the tradition of the pre-war Austrian films. The story centers upon Waltz King Johann Strauss (Adolf Wohlbrück) and his ‘progressive’ composer son Richard, and their terrific music.

About the female lead, Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie: “The feminine interest in Wien Tanzt is provided by Marte Harell, who refreshingly is not a Hollywood-style glamourpuss.”

Marte Harell
Austrian postcard by Eberle Verlag, Wien, no. 21. Photo: I.S.B. Films.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 141, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien-Film.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 220, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien-Film.

Marte Harell
German postcard by Ross. Photo: Terra / Baumann.

Most Popular Actress


In 1951, the Austrian public chose Marte Harell as the most popular actress, but her film roles became rarer during the 1950s. In between, she had a successful stage comeback and dedicated herself again to the theatre.

She appeared in one film a year, among others the comedy Liebeskrieg nach Noten/Love War for Music (Karl Hartl, 1953) with Johannes Heesters, the historical thriller Spionage/Espionage (Franz Antel, 1955) based on the tragic life story of the homosexual ‘Oberst’ Alfred Redl, and the operetta Im Prater blühn wieder die Bäume/Trees Are Blooming in Vienna (Hans Wolff, 1958).

Her last films were the spy yarn Assignment K (Val Guest, 1968) starring Stephen Boyd, Abenteuer eines Sommers/Summer Adventure (Helmut Pfandler, 1974) starring Matthias Habich, the sex comedy Das Love-Hotel in Tirol/Love Hotel in Tyrol (Franz Antel, 1978), and the historical drama Der Bockerer (Franz Antel, 1980), about the naïve Viennese butcher Karl Bockerer who refuses to get assimilated by the Nazi system and with his aggressive but charming behaviour, and a whole lot of luck, survives the war.

During the 1970s, Marte Harell also worked regularly for television and made guest appearances in series like Hallo – Hotel Sacher… Portier!/Hello – Hotel Sacher… Doorman! (1973), Van der Valk und die Reichen/Van der Valk and the Rich (1975), and the popular Krimi Tatort (1974).

In 1985, she was awarded the Filmband in Gold for her longtime and important attributions to the German cinema, and that same year she retired.

In 1996, Marte Harell died in Vienna. Her husband, Karl Hartl, had passed away in 1978. In 1951 the couple was divorced, but eight years later they remarried. In 2000 a street was named after her, the Marte-Harell-Gasse in Wien-Liesing.


Scene with Heli Finkenzeller,Theo Lingen and Marte Harell from Opernball/Opera Ball (1939). Source: BD130 (YouTube).


Clips with Marte Harell, Willy Fritsch and Johannes Heesters from Die Fledermaus/The Bat (1944). Source: Fritz 5108 (YouTube).


Another, long scene from Die Fledermaus/The Bat (1944-1945, but released in 1946), with Dorit Kreysler, Hans Brausewetter, Johannes Heesters, Marte Harell, Siegfried Breuer, Will Dohm, and Willy Fritsch. Source: Atqui (YouTube).


The final scene from Rosen in Tirol/The Bird Seller (1940) with Marte Harell, Johannes Heesters and Hans Moser. Source: Ein Lied Geht um die Welt (YouTube).

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Stephanie D’heil (Steffi-Line - German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.
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