Articles on this Page
- 10/26/19--23:00: _Gilbert Bécaud
- 10/27/19--23:00: _Pascale Roberts (19...
- 10/28/19--23:00: _Wogen des Schicksal...
- 10/29/19--23:00: _Charles Ray
- 10/30/19--23:00: _Laura La Plante
- 10/31/19--23:00: _The demystification...
- 11/01/19--23:00: _New Acquisitions: D...
- 11/02/19--23:00: _Barbara Valentin
- 11/03/19--22:00: _Marie Laforêt (1939...
- 11/04/19--22:00: _Pamela Anderson is ...
- 11/05/19--22:00: _Willy Hagara
- 11/06/19--22:00: _Piper Laurie
- 11/07/19--22:00: _Buck Jones
- 11/08/19--22:00: _New acquisitions: N...
- 11/09/19--22:00: _Yvonne de Bray
- 11/10/19--22:00: _Milton Sills
- 11/11/19--22:00: _Der alte Fritz (1928)
- 11/12/19--22:00: _Herbert Rawlinson
- 11/13/19--22:00: _Raymond Griffith
- 11/14/19--22:00: _Roy Rogers
- 11/15/19--22:00: _New acquisitions: L...
- 11/16/19--22:00: _Barbara Stanwyck
- 11/17/19--22:00: _New finds at the Th...
- 11/18/19--22:00: _Artists and Models
- 11/19/19--22:00: _Vragoljanka (1919)
- 10/26/19--23:00: Gilbert Bécaud
- 10/27/19--23:00: Pascale Roberts (1933-2019)
- 10/28/19--23:00: Wogen des Schicksals (1918)
- 10/29/19--23:00: Charles Ray
- 10/30/19--23:00: Laura La Plante
- 10/31/19--23:00: The demystification of Ila Meery
- 11/01/19--23:00: New Acquisitions: De Reszke
- 11/02/19--23:00: Barbara Valentin
- 11/03/19--22:00: Marie Laforêt (1939-2019)
- 11/04/19--22:00: Pamela Anderson is Barb Wire (1996)
- 11/05/19--22:00: Willy Hagara
- 11/06/19--22:00: Piper Laurie
- 11/07/19--22:00: Buck Jones
- 11/08/19--22:00: New acquisitions: Nos artistes dans leur loge
- 11/09/19--22:00: Yvonne de Bray
- 11/10/19--22:00: Milton Sills
- 11/11/19--22:00: Der alte Fritz (1928)
- 11/12/19--22:00: Herbert Rawlinson
- 11/13/19--22:00: Raymond Griffith
- 11/14/19--22:00: Roy Rogers
- 11/15/19--22:00: New acquisitions: Les Vedettes du Cinéma
- 11/16/19--22:00: Barbara Stanwyck
- 11/17/19--22:00: New finds at the The International Collectors Fair 2019
- 11/18/19--22:00: Artists and Models
- 11/19/19--22:00: Vragoljanka (1919)
French postcard by Editions P.I,, offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 1092 A. Photo: Marcel Bougureau.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 274. Photo: Sam Lévin.
German promotion card by EMI Electrola, no. DrWa 1630. Photo: Serge Fleury.
Gilbert Bécaud was born François Gilbert Silly in 1927, in Toulon, France. François had a relatively happy upbringing, despite the fact that his father abandoned the family while François was still in early childhood.
Madame Silly’s new partner, Louis Bécaud, raised François and his siblings Jean and Odette as his own children, although he was never able to marry their mother (her first husband steadfastly refusing to consent to a divorce).
François learned to play the piano when he was five, and by the age of nine, he went to the Conservatoire de Nice. In 1942, he left this school to join the French Resistance during World War II.
In 1947, he made his first film appearance in an uncredited bit part as a pianist in La kermesse rouge/The Scarlet Bazaar (Paul Mesnier, 1947).
He began songwriting in 1948, after meeting Maurice Vidalin, who inspired him to write his early compositions. He began writing for Marie Bizet. Bizet, Bécaud and Vidalin became a successful trio, and their partnership lasted until 1950.
While touring as a pianist with singer Jacques Pills, Bécaud met Édith Piaf, Pills’ wife at the time. At her suggestion, he began to sing songs like Mes Mains and Les Croix in 1953. Piaf also suggested his stage name.
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 250. Photo: Studio Harcourt.
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 339. Photo: Studio Harcourt.
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 409. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.
Let It Be Me
Gilbert Bécaud made his stage debut in the Olympia in Paris in 1954. A year later he headlined at this famous venue, attracting 6,000 on his first night, three times the capacity.
His hits in the later part of the decade included La Corrida (1956), Le Jour où la Pluie Viendra (1957) and C'est Merveilleux L'amour (1958).
He also began to act in films during this period, starting with Le Pays D'où Je Viens/The Country I Come From (Marcel Carné, 1956) opposite Françoise Arnoul. The multi-talented Bécaud was also responsible for writing the film’s soundtrack.
Other films in which he appeared were Casino de Paris (Claude Barma, 1957) with Vittorio De Sica and Caterina Valente, and the comedy Croquemitoufle (Claude Barma, 1958).
In 1960, he won a Grand Prix du Disque and composed L'enfant à L'étoile, a Christmas cantata. That same year, Let It Be Me, an English version of Je t’ai dans la peau, which he had once written for Édith Piaf, became a hit for the Everly Brothers. Over the years, it would also be performed by Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Jerry Butler, Sam & Dave, and James Brown.
French postcard by Editions P.I, Paris, no. 614. Photo: James J. Kriegsmann.
Dutch postcard by 't Sticht, Utrecht, no. AX 6173.
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3648. Photo: Hafbo. Gilbert Bécaud in Casino de Paris (Claude Barma, 1957).
A Free Man
In 1961, Gilbert Bécaud wrote and recorded Et Maintenant, one of the biggest selling singles in French history. Translated as What Now My Love, the song became a hit by Shirley Bassey, Sonny & Cher, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra.
After writing the opera L'opéra d'Aran, Bécaud toured through Europe and continued to record a string of hits, including Nathalie (1964) and Tu le Regretteras (1965), his controversial song for Charles de Gaulle.
He also co-wrote the international hit Love on the Rocks with Neil Diamond, which was featured on the soundtrack of The Jazz Singer (Richard Fleischer, 1980). Marlene Dietrich recorded his Marie, Marie and performed it in her stage shows.
In the 1970s, Bécaud focused more on touring than recording, and he also appeared in films like Un homme libre/A Free Man (Roberto Muller, 1972) with Olga Georges-Picot, and Toute une vie/And Now My Love (Claude Lelouch, 1973) with Marthe Keller.
In 1973 he finally took time off, citing exhaustion. The following year, he was named Chevalier in the Légion d'honneur. Then he scored a hit all over Europe with A Little Love And Understanding (1975).
French promotion card by Galeries Modernes Barjeaud. Photo: La Voix de son Maitre (HMV) / Larroque. Text: En souvenir de votre aimable visite aux Galeries Modernes Barjeaud pour le présentation de la collection ENTRÉE DE SAISON - Mars 1959. (In memory of your kind visit to the Modern Galleries Barjeaud for the presentation of the collection SEASON ENTRY - March 1959.)
French postcard by JPH. Photo: Disques La Voix de son Maitre.
Refusing to slip quietly into retirement
Later in the century, Gilbert Bécaud began writing with Pierre Grosz and then Neil Diamond, also co-penning the successful Broadway musical Madame Roza (1986), based on the novel La vie devant soi (Madame Rosa) by Emile Ajar.
The 1990s finally saw a slowdown of Bécaud's activity, releasing various compilations and touring occasionally. In 1993 he took an extended sabbatical, intending to get his health back in order. Bécaud's heavy smoking habit was still placing a great strain on his voice.
He did one more acting performance on television in the popular crime series Navarro (1995) starring Roger Hanin, but Bécaud really returned from his extended sabbatical in 1996, going back into the studio to work on a new album Ensemble.
The Olympia in Paris, where he had debuted, was his favourite venue. In 1997 Becaud was present for the re-opening of the Olympia after its reconstruction. With a series of concerts at the Olympia, he celebrated his 70th birthday.
Refusing to slip quietly into retirement, Bécaud returned to the media spotlight in 1999, releasing a new album entitled Faut faire avec…., and making a live comeback at the Olympia - for the 33rd time! Despite the fact that the singer was suffering from lung cancer, he nevertheless managed to pull out all the stops, giving a series of vibrant, energetic shows which went down extremely well with his fans.
In 2001 Gilbert Bécaud died on his houseboat on the Seine, aged 74. He was interred in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. He had been married twice: to Monique Nicolas (they had three children), and to Kitty St John (two children). His eldest son, Gaya Bécaud, released his father’s last record after his death.
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (Sparo), no. 811. Photo: HMV.
French postcard by Lyna, Paris, no. 2019. Photo: Tony Frank.
Sources: Wikipedia, RFI Musique and IMDb.
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, presented by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 813. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 466. Photo: Sam Lévin.
Hard Boiled Crime Film
Pascale Roberts was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine, France in 1933. Her mother was a director at Elisabeth Arden and among her clients were Martine Carol, Edwige Feuillère and Dora Doll.
Through Martine Carol, Pascale became an extra in Madame du Barry (Christian-Jaque, 1954). Pascale decided to go to acting classes in Paris, against the wishes of her mother. She had a small part in the comedy Une vie de garçon/A Boy’s Life (Jean Boyer, 1954) and a bit part as a girl at a poker game in the hard boiled crime film Les femmes s'en balancent/Dames Don’t Care (Bernard Borderie, 1954) starring Eddie Constantine as FBI agent Lemmy Caution.
Pascale Roberts would appear several times opposite Constantine such as in Ces dames préfèrent le mambo/Dishonorable Discharge (Bernard Borderie, 1957) as a femme fatale. She could also be seen in other film noirs such as Cherchez la femme/Look for the woman (Raoul André, 1955) with Pierre Mondy, and Dans la gueule du loup/In the Mouth of the Wolf (Jean-Charles Dudrumet, 1961) based on a crime novel by James Hadley Chase.
In 1957, she married Pierre Mondy but they divorced a few years later. After dozens of mediocre comedies and thrillers, Roberts was really remarkable as the victim in Costa-Gravas’ first film, the fast-moving and entertaining thriller Compartiment tueurs/The Sleeping Car Murder (Costa Gravas, 1965) starring Catherine Allégret and her mother Simone Signoret.
Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie: “During a Marseilles-to-Paris overnight train trip, a girl is found dead in a sleeping car. As Paris detective Yves Montand steps up his investigation, more and more passengers turn up murdered. The unlikely climax is the only sore point of this otherwise well-wrought mystery. Bereft of the politicizing of Costa-Gavras' later works, The Sleeping Car Murders exhibits the director's fondness for American ‘film noir’ thrillers.”
On television, Roberts was that same year a co-star of Geneviève Grad in the comedy series Chambre à louer/Room for rent (Jean-Pierre Desagnat, 1965), and she appeared on TV in another popular comedy series Les saintes chéries/The holy darlings (Jean Becker, 1965) starring Micheline Presle.
Later she featured with Jean-Claude Pascal in a daily soap opera, Le Temps de vivre et le temps d'aimer/Time To Live and Time To Love (Louis Grospierre, 1973).
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 467. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 666. Photo: Andre Nisak.
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 924. Photo: Studio Vallois.
In 1975, Pascale Roberts played her arguably best known film role as the mother of rape and murder victim Isabelle Huppert in Dupont Lajoie/Rape of Innocence (Yves Boisset, 1975). This and her later roles were all supporting parts.
During the 1980s she appeared with Alain Delon in the Film Noir Trois hommes à abattre/Three Men to Destroy (Jacques Deray, 1980) and the policier Pour la peau d'un flic/For a Cop's Hide (Alain Delon, 1981), in which she played a junkie.
She also taught theatre at the École internationale de création audiovisuelle et de réalisation in Paris. Most of her later films are mediocre comedies and action films, but interesting were the delightful award-winning drama Le grand chemin/The Grand Highway (Jean-Loup Hubert, 1987) about the summer vacation of a high strung 9-year-old, the historical adventure La Fille de d'Artagnan/Revenge of the Musketeers (Bertrand Tavernier, 1994) starring Sophie Marceau, and the urban drama À la vie, à la mort!/'Til Death Do Us Part (Robert Guédiguian, 1995) about a family of Spanish immigrants in France featuring Ariane Ascaride.
Gradually Roberts had grown from femme fatale into mother roles. With the husband and wife team of Robert Guédiguian and Ariane Ascaride she worked again at Marius et Jeannette/Marius and Jeanette (Robert Guédiguian, 1997), a comedy-drama set in Marseille about a couple, which puts faith in love to get them through times of extreme poverty.
For her role in this box office hit in France she was nominated for the César for Best Supporting Actress. They continued their cooperation with the urban dramas À la place du coeur/In the space of the heart (Robert Guédiguian, 1998), La ville est tranquille/The Town is Quiet (Robert Guédiguian, 2000), Mon père est ingénieur/My Father is an Engineer (Robert Guédiguian, 2004) and Lady Jane (Robert Guédiguian, 2008).
Since 2008, Roberts appeared in the successful TV series Plus belle la vie/More beautiful than life (2004-2011). Her character in the show, Wanda Legendre, also featured in the TV comedy Course contre la montre/Race against the clock (Roger Wielgus, 2011). Her most recent screen appearance was a guest part in the comedy series Working girls (2016).
Pascale Roberts died after a long illness on 26 October 2019 in Paris. She was 89. Roberts was married to and divorced from Pierre Mondy, Pierre Rey and Michel Le Royer.
Leader Compartiment Tueurs (1966). Source: Michel8665 (YouTube).
Trailer Marius et Jeannette (1997). Source: Films Bonheur / Feel-Good Movies (YouTube).
Sources: James Travers (Films de France), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Notre Cinema (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 527/1. Photo: May Film. Mia May in Wogen des Schicksals (Joe May, 1918). The man on the dance floor signing to her is Erich Kaiser-Titz, while the man sitting next to Mia May is Rolf Brunner.
Life as a Nightmare
Bank director Von Letzow (Erich Kaiser-Titz) meets in an antique shop Vera von Bergen (Mia May) who wears a medallion of a noble lady, her mother.
She tells him how, after the death of her mother, her stepmother together with her brother, who became Vera's warden after her father died too, turned Vera's life into a nightmare. They sent her to boarding school and made her flee to her only friend, her former nurse and now a poor grocery shop lady.
Letzow offers to marry her so she can repossess her castle and chase the intruders. He also promises to divorce her when necessary, so she can marry her love Alfred, who is in the US.
In the castle, Vera discovers a bottle of 'medicine' which she suspects to be the poison the stepmother used to kill off Vera's father. Letzow finds out this is truly so.
When Alfred comes back penniless from the US he proves to be an unreliable gambler, so Vera's eyes are opened and she stays with Letzow.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 527/2 Photo: May Film. Mia May and Erich Kaiser-Titz in Wogen des Schicksals (Joe May, 1918).
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 527/3. Photo: May Film. Mia May in Wogen des Schicksals (Joe May, 1918).
Brilliantly and effectively staged
Wogen des Schicksals/Waves of fate was filmed in early 1918 and premiered in March that year.
Neue Kino-Rundschau wrote on 29 June 1918 about Wogen des Schicksals: "A film that appeals to the taste of the big audience! It contains a series of strong conflicts, a good portion of excitement, and finally a happily united loving couple.
It is also brilliantly and effectively staged, as the name Joe May vouches for. (...) Mia May ... holds the female lead, which embodies her full of charm and grace.
Erich Kaiser-Titz is her partner, whose noble calm and gentle pantomime always captivates and delights. Finally, the photography must also be mentioned, as it is simply exemplary."
While sometimes direction is attributed to Leopold Bauer, most designate Joe May as both the scriptwriter and director of the film. Cinematographer was Curt Courant.
Wikipedia suggests Frieda Richard and Hermann Vallentin played the stepmother and her brother, and Rolf Brunner Alfred, but no hard proof about their casting is available.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 527/4 Photo: May Film. Mia May and Georg John in Wogen des Schicksals (Joe May, 1918).
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 527/5. Photo: May Film. Mia May in Wogen des Schicksals (Joe May, 1918).
Sources: Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.
Spanish collectors card in the Collecciones Amatller Series, Serie X, artist no. 28, no. 63, by Chocolate Amatller. Photo: United Artists. Charles Ray and Lon Poff in The Old Swimmin' Hole (Joe de Grasse, 1921).
Spanish postcard. Photo: Evans, Los Angeles.
A film every two weeks
Charles Edgar Ray was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1891. He moved several times in his youth before settling Los Angeles, where he finished his education.
Ray started his career as an actor on stage. Later he also began to act in short silent films, making his debut as an extra in The Fortunes of War (Thomas Ince, 1911). He appeared in several bit parts before moving on to supporting roles.
From 1913 he had a steady career as the male lead in one- and two-reel short Western, Quaker, and Civil War dramas at Kaybee Pictures, Broncho Pictures, and Domino Pictures. In these films, he would be paired with actresses such as Enid Markey, Bessie Barriscale, Louise Glaum, and Dorothy Davenport.
Ray must have worked fast then, as in 1913 and in 1914 he had a ratio of a film every two weeks. At Kaybee, Ince would direct him at times, at times also Raymond West, while at Bronco he was often directed by Charles Giblyn, and in 1915 a few times by William S. Hart.
In 1915, Ray had his breakthrough in his first feature The Coward, produced by Thomas Ince for Kay-Bee and directed by Reginald Barker. In this Civil War drama, Ray played the son of a Virginia colonel (Frank Keenan), who needs to overcome his cowardice.
British postcard by Cinema Chat. Photo: Paramount.
British postcard, presented with Girl's CINEMA, May 20th, 1922.
Charles Ray's popularity rose after appearing in a series of films, as Wikipedia writes "which cast him in juvenile roles, primarily young, wholesome hicks or naive 'country bumpkins' that foiled the plans of thieves or con men and won the heart of his dream girl."
Ray's Kay-Bee films were now distributed by Triangle Distributing. Victor Schertzinger, the musician who had provided the music for The Coward, turned director at Kay-Bee and directed Ray in several films in 1917.
Ray, Ince, and Schertzinger moved over to Paramount in 1917, where Ince got his own production company and where Schertzinger directed Ray in more films, such as The Claws of the Hun (Victor Schertzinger, 1918), a propaganda film signalling the US's participation in the First World War.
Ray's star rose and rose. By 1920, he was earning a reported $11,000 a week (approximately $138,000 today). Ray had also earned a reputation for being egomaniacal and difficult to work with.
In 1920, he left Paramount after studio head Adolph Zukor refused to give him a substantial pay raise. Ray started his own production company. Charles Ray Productions, and bought a studio on Sunset Boulevard where he began producing and shooting his own films.
While he initially was fairly successful, an experiment for First National with a film without intertitles, The Old Swimmin' Hole (1921), co-starring Laura La Plante, had critical but not a huge popular success. Mind you, this was years before Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's famous Der Letzte Mann/The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924), which was made with only one intertitle.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 221. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 79. Photo: not indicated but possibly by Evans.
The Sinking of the Mayflower
In 1922, Charles Ray signed a contract with United Artists and starred in e.g. The Girl I Loved (1923) with Patsy Ruth Miller. He was fed up with the hillbillies types and strove to profile himself as a romantic lead and man of the world.
Against everybody's advice to avoid lengthy historical drama, Ray insisted on the making of The Courtship of Miles Standish (1923), investing $500,000 (approximately $7,353,000 today) of his own money, including a $65,000 (approximately $956,000 today) 180-ton replica of the Mayflower. The film was a box office failure, Ray lost all his money and his reputation went down too.
It did not mean his career was all over (despite what Wikipedia writes), because he first continued as a leading actor at smaller companies, produced by Ince, and in 1925 he got a contract at MGM, where he played for two years and acted as the male lead opposite actress such as Pauline Starke, Joan Crawford, and May McAvoy.
In those years Ray and his wife Clara Grant were enormous spendthrifts, with an over-the-top villa in Beverly Hills, a huge staff, and expensive cars. Grant would never wear a dress two times. Yet, in December 1925 Ray had to file for bankruptcy and his production company went under as well.
Though he continued to act, after MGM the companies he worked for were less prestigious, such as Universal. In 1928 he made his last silent film, The Count of Ten (James Flood, 1928), after which he acted on stage for years, in off-Broadway productions, without much success.
In 1932 Ray returned to the sets, but without success and in 1934 he declared for bankruptcy again. In 1935 he got divorced from Clara Grant, from whom he was already separated as of 1930. Ray still acted in cinema but in the mid-1930s in minor parts and in the early 1940s on uncredited parts. He tried to earn money by writing short stories and a popular movie magazine but to no avail.
Charles Ray died of a systemic infection caused by an impacted wisdom tooth in 1943. He was only 52. In 1960 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the motion picture industry.
American postcard. Home of Charles Ray, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Cal.
Sources: Wikipedia (English, French and Italian), and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1636/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Universum Film-Verleih-Betrieb / Ufa.
German postcard by Ross Verlag Foreign, no. 3880/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Roman Freulich.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4465/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Universal.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4717/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Universal.
Dutch postcard, no. 83. Photo: Croeze Bosmann / Universal. Laura La Plante in Captain of the Guard (John S. Robertson,
A Christie Comedy Bathing Beauty
Laura La Plante was born Laura Isobel La Plant in 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. She was the older sister of actress Violet La Plante, later known in life as Violet Benson.
Laura was 15 years old when she was discovered by film producer Al Christie and entered films as a Christie Comedy Bathing Beauty.
By 1921, she had played a number of roles including a Tom Mix Western called The Big Town Round-Up (Lynn Reynolds, 1921) for Fox and The Old Swimmin' Hole (Joseph De Grasse, 1921) opposite Charles Ray for First National.
Laura, now 17, next signed with Universal, where she appeared in shorts, serials and many supporting roles. Over the next few years, she would become one of the leading stars at Universal and acted in in dramas, mysteries and comedies.
Some of her more important films were the adventure Crooked Alley (Robert F. Hill, 1923) with Thomas Carrigan, the comedy Sporting Youth (Harry A. Pollard, 1924) with Reginald Denny, and the drama Smouldering Fires (Clarence Brown, 1925) starring Pauline Frederick.
French postcard by Ross, no. 506. Photo: Universal.
French postcard by Europe, no. 305. Photo: Universal.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 392.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series by A.N., Paris, no. 238. Photo: Universal Film.
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 914. Photo: Universal Pictures Corporation. Laura La Plante in The Midnight Sun (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1926).
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 917. Photo: Universal Pictures Corporation. Raymond Keane and Laura La Plante in The Midnight Sun (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1926).
One of the most stylish films of the silent era
Laura La Plante married in 1926 director William A. Seiter, who directed her in the successful comedy Skinner's Dress Suit (William A. Seiter, 1926), again opposite Reginald Denny. John Howard Reid at IMDb: "I enjoyed the way the script cleverly turned the tables, and I'm not at all surprised the film was so popular on first release."
Another hit was the mystery The Cat and the Canary (1927), directed by German director Paul Leni. Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will. GFT Biloxi at IMDb: "In term of cinematography, CAT is a remarkably imaginative film, using a series of over-lapping images, close-ups, and dissolves to astonishing effect. In a visual sense it is easily one of the most stylish films of the silent era."
When sound came to Universal, La Plante was one of the silent film stars who made the transition. She played a leading role in the part-sound film Show Boat (Harry A. Pollard, 1929) opposite Joseph Schildkraut, and adapted from . Although it was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Edna Ferber and not of the famous musical also adapted from the 1926 novel, some songs from the play were tossed into the film as box-office insurance. La Plante did not actually sing in the film. To her surprise her singing was dubbed by Eva Olivetti, one of the first instances in which this was done in a film.
La Plante made her first all-talking picture with Hold Your Man (Emmett J. Flynn, 1929). La Plante was a natural and appealing presence in early talkies but the huge wave of new stars in those years overshadowed her. By 1930, she decided that she had enough and left Universal, which terminated her contract. Her last appearance for Universal was in the Technicolor musical King of Jazz (John Murray Anderson, 1930).
She appeared for Warner Bros in God's Gift to Women (Michael Curtiz, 1931) co-starring Frank Fay and Joan Blondell, and for Columbia in the drama Arizona (George B. Seitz, 1931), co-starring alongside a young John Wayne.
Laura La Plante went to England, where she worked at Warner Brother's Teddington Studios. The company had faced criticism for the low quality of its 'quota quickies', and her arrival coincided with an attempt to make more expensive productions. She starred in Man of the Moment (Monty Banks, 1935), with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. She returned to Hollywood in 1935, where she again retired from the screen.
She made only two later films. In 1954 she appeared as a contestant on the TV show You Bet Your Life under the name Laura Asher. Host Groucho Marx was told he might recognise her, and he realised she was Laura La Plante within minutes of being introduced. Her final film was Spring Reunion (Robert Pirosh, 1957) starring Dana Andrews.
She was extremely private and didn't care to speak about her Hollywood career. When David Gill and his crew arrived at her Rancho Mirage home in 1977 to interview her husband Irving Asher for his documentary series, she hid in her kitchen pleading not to be interviewed.
La Plante was married twice. Her first husband was director William A. Seiter (1926-1934). After their divorce, she married producer Irving Asher with whom she had two children: Tony and Jill. Irving passed away in 1985.
In 1996, Laura La Plante died of Alzheimer's disease in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, at the age of 91. La Plante was cremated by Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California with her ashes scattered at sea.
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5097. Photo: Universal-Film. Laura La Plante and Oscar Beregi in Butterflies in the Rain (Edward Sloman, 1926).
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5318. Photo: Universal-Film.
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5733. Photo: Universal-Film.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 834/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Roman Freulich / Universal.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3880/1. Photo: Roman Freulich.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4213/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Universal.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5056/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Universal.
Sources: Tony Fontana (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard by Editions Chantal, no. 56. Photo: Arnal, Paris.
The Prettiest Show Girl of Budapest
Il(l)a Meery was born as Ilona Mecsery in Kôrmend, Hungary, on the 31st of August 1908.
In the mid-20s, she became a show girl and notably worked at the Royal Theatre of Budapest. Alongside another future actress, Rose Barsony, she could be spotted for example in the chorus of the operetta 'Alexandra' by Albert Szirmai in 1925.
In 1928, she won the title of 'The Prettiest Show Girl of Budapest', following a newspaper contest.
She made her film debut in Germany, for the Super-Film GmbH company, in Das Raub der Sabinerinnen/The Abduction of the Sabine Women (Robert Land, 1928), in which she played, not surprisingly, a show girl named Ria.
Soon followed another part in Prinzessin Olala (Robert Land, 1928), featuring Carmen Boni. For her film career, she chose the pseudonym 'Meery', which is simply the contraction of her family name Mecsery'.
She then was the Countess de la Motte in the German-French co-production Cagliostro - Liebe und Leben eines großen Abenteurers/Cagliostro (Richard Oswald, 1929), featuring Hans Stüwe, in which she can be seen in one scene wearing a huge diamond necklace around her naked breasts.
Meery also had one of the leading roles in the Austrian film Das Weisse Paradies/The White Paradise (Max Neufeld, 1929). So ended her silent film career.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3638/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Schrecker, Berlin. Collection: Marlène Pilaete.
Two different persons
Ila Meery came back on the screen by appearing in Les aventures du Roi Pausole/The Adventures of King Pausole (Alexis Granowsky, 1933), starring Emil Jannings and Josette Day. The French film industry soon took the alluring young woman under its wings.
She had an interesting part in Lac au dames/Ladies Lake (Marc Allégret, 1934), in which she again bared her bosom, and followed it with Zouzou (Marc Allégret, 1934) starring Josephine Baker andJean Gabin, Pension Mimosas (Jacques Feyder, 1935) and Marius et Olive à Paris/Marius and Olive in Paris (Jean Epstein, 1935).
She made her last film, Tisztelet a kivételnek/There Are Exceptions (Ákos Ráthonyi, 1936), in her native country. The stars of this romantic drama were Imre Ráday and Klári Tolnay. Meery was credited as Ila Mecséry again.
In 1937, she married a British businessman, James Ole Herbert Willing, who, as a soldier, died during the Second World War, in 1941.
According to a few sources, I(l)la Meery passed away in Budapest in 1974 but, as we’ve not been able so far to view a death certificate, this date is given to you with some reservation.
Contrary to what you can often read on several websites, I(l)a Meery is not the Russian-born countess Mara Tchernycheff Besobrasoff (1915-2010), who was married to French actor Henri Garat from 1939 to 1942 and who was condemned after the War for having collaborating with the Nazis. Once and for all, these are two different persons.
French postcard by Imprimerie A. Breger Frères, Paris. Issued for the cinema Max-Linder Pathé, 24, Boulevard Poissonière, Paris, where the film was presented 14-20 September 1934. Lac au dames/Ladies Lake (1934) was directed by Marc Allégret and starred Jean-Pierre Aumont, Rosine Dérean, Simone Simon and Michel Simon. The films is situated at Lake Konstanz. In Germany the film was presented as Hell in Frauensee ('Frauensee' was the title of the novel by Vicki Baum the film was based on). The actress Aumont is holding is Rosine Dérean.
Lac au dames/Ladies Lake (1934). No subtitles! Source: FWIW (YouTube).
Thank you Mrs. Sherlock for this guest post!
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 4. Caption: Loretta Young made her film debut as a dancer, and was later given a small role in Naughty, but Nice. Her great chance came in 1927, when, at the age of fifteen, she was selected by Lon Chaney as his leading lady in Laugh Clown, Laugh. Raised to stardom in 1932. Her films include The Honourable Mr. Wong, Man's Castle, and House of Rothschild.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 5. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Caption: Robert Montgomery, who was born in 1904, was left penniless at the age of sixteen, and became a mechanic's mate on a railway, a deck hand, and finally property man to a touring company, which resulted in a stage career. Played in stock for some time, mostly old man characters, and eventually reached New York. Film debut in So This is College. Recent pictures are Nor More Ladies, Mutiny on the Bounty and Piccadilly Jim.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 6. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). W.C. Fields and Freddie Bartholomew in David Copperfield (George Cukor, 1935).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 7. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Una Merkel (1903–1986) was an American stage, film, radio, and television actress. Merkel relied mainly on numerous, mostly comical supporting roles. Often she was the wisecracking best friend of the heroine. One of the most famous appearances she had was in the 1939 comedy western Destry Rides Again, in which she delivers a 'cat-fight' with Marlene Dietrich. In addition, she played, among others, Sam Spade's secretary Effie in the first film version of The Maltese Falcon (1931), the streetwise choir singer Lorraine, buddy of Ginger Rogers, in the Busby Berkeley musical film 42nd Street (1933), and the eldest daughter of W. C. Fields in the comedy The Bank Detective (1940).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 8. Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) was a French actor, singer and entertainer with a very successful Hollywood career. His trademark was a casual straw hat, which he always wore on stage with a cane and a tuxedo.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 8. Photo: Paramount. American film actress Carole Lombard (1908–1942) was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s. She was particularly noted for her energetic, ditzy and often off-beat roles in screwball comedies of the 1930s.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 14. Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) is regarded as the first German actress to become successful in Hollywood. Throughout her long career, she constantly re-invented herself, starting as a cabaret singer, chorus girl and film actress in 1920s Berlin, she became a Hollywood movie star in the 1930s, a World War II frontline entertainer, and finally an international stage show performer from the 1950s to the 1970s. Eventually she became one of the entertainment icons of the 20th century.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 17. Caption: Frances Dee, born in 1907, was living in Los Angeles and hearing that Fox was making a college picture she suggested that they should use her to get the right college atmosphere. Her work in a minor role in Lubitsch's picture Monte Carlo attracted attention, and she was given the lead opposite Chevalier in Playboy of Paris. Since then she had principal parts in many important pictures, including Little Women, One Man's Journey and Blood Money.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 17. Caption: Fredric March, the star of Death Takes a Holdiday, secured a small part in 'Debureau'. Played for a few years in stock, and, when talkies came in 1928, was offered a part in The Dummy. His performances have steadily grown in dramatic appeal; with The Royal Family of Broadway, he became a star.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 18. Caption: Born in 1914, Mary Carlisle entered films at the age of fifteen as the result of a try-out of a drama. She and Ann Dvorak were chosen out of 600 applicants. Her first role was with Jackie Coogan in If I Were King, and after playing leads in short subjects appeared in Grand Hotel and other films, and soon started making a name for herself in featured roles.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 19. American film actress Rochelle Hudson (1916–1972) appeared in Hollywood films from the early 1930s through the 1960s. Her roles went from ingenue to leading lady to character actress. She is best remembered for costarring in the tense and gripping social drama Wild Boys of the Road (William A. Wellman, 1933), playing Cosette in Les Misérables (Richard Boleslawski, 1935), as the older sister of Shirley Temple in Curly Top (Irving Cummings, 1935), and as Natalie Wood's mother in Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 25. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Caption: Myrna Loy was born August 2nd, 1905, at Helena, Montana. Began as a prologue dancer in Hollywood and entered films in 1925 under the wing of Mrs. Rudolph Valentino. Gained fame as an actress of exotic roles, but recently her ability in straight comedy and dramatic roles has been recognised. Recent films, The Thin Man, Evelyn Prentice, Wife Versus Secretary and Wings in the Dark.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 31. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Swedish Greta Garbo (1905-1990) was one of the greatest and most glamorous film stars ever produced by the Hollywood studio system. She was part of the Golden Age of the silent cinema of the 1920s and was one of the few actors who made a glorious transition to the talkies. She started her career in the European cinema and would always stay more popular in Europe than in the USA.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 34. Photo: Radio (RKO). Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) was an indomitable American stage and film actress, known as a spirited performer with a touch of eccentricity. She introduced into her roles a strength of character previously considered to be undesirable in Hollywood leading ladies. As an actress, she was noted for her brisk upper-class New England accent and tomboyish beauty.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 35. Photo: British & Dominions. 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).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 40. Photo: M.G.M. American film and stage actress Jean Parker (1915–2005) landed her first screen test while still in high school. She played the tragic Beth in the original Little Women (George Cukor, 1933), starred as the spoiled daughter of an American chainstore millionaire who persuades her nouveau riche father to transport a Scottish castle in the hilarious British comedy The Ghost Goes West (René Clair, 1936), and she was a perfect stooge for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, as an innkeeper's daughter with whom Ollie falls in love in The Flying Deuces (A. Edward Sutherland, 1939). Parker remained active in film throughout the 1940s. Later in her career, she played in the West Coast theatre circuit and worked as an acting coach.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 41. Photo: Columbia. Caption: One Night of Love, which gave Grace Moore her first starring role, was acclaimed one of the outstanding films of 1934-5. Miss Moore, famous American prima-donna, has had a distinguished career on the international opera and concert stages. Her previous films include New Moon and Jenny Lind. Has since made On Wings of Songs.
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 46. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in Treasure Island (Victor Fleming, 1934).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 47. Photo: M.G.M.. Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in Forsaking All Others (W.S. Van Dyke, 1934).
British postcard by De Reszke Cigarettes, no. 48. French film star Annabella (1909-1996) was France's most popular actress during the mid 1930s, but she also achieved some success in Hollywood films of the late 1930s.
Check out our earlier post on De Reszke.
German Postcard by Krüger, no. 900/317.
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/192. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.
German Postcard by Krüger, no. 900/272.
Barbara Valentin was born Ursula ‘Uschi’ Ledersteger in Vienna, Austria in 1940. She was the daughter of the set designer Hans Ledersteger and actress Irmgard Alberti.
Her film debut was in the erotic Sci-Fi thriller Ein Toter hing im Netz/A Corpse Hangs in the Web (Fritz Böttgers, 1959).
In the 1960s, she became a well known personality who was called ‘das Busenwunder’ (the Buxom Wonder) because of her huge breasts and she was compared to Jayne Mansfield because of her sex pot roles.
The German tabloids had also plenty to write about her cocaine habit and other addictions, and about her numerous love affairs. Her three marriages, including one with film director Helmut Dietl, ended all in a divorce.
In the cinema she was seen in sexy films like Das Mädchen mit den Schmalen Hüften, literally The Girl with the Narrow Hips (Johannes Kai, 1961) with Claus Wilcke, and In Frankfurt sind die Nächte heiss/Hot Nights in Frankfurt (Rolf Olsen, 1966) starring Vera Tschechowa.
Later she was also seen in international films like Carmen, Baby (Radley Metzger, 1967) opposite Carl Möhner, and King, Queen, Knave (Jerzy Skolimowsky, 1972) starring David Niven.
German postcard by Kruger (UFA), no. 902/167. Photo: Herbert Fried (Fried Agency).
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/168. Photo: Herbert Fried (Fried Agency) / UFA.
German Postcard by Krüger, no. 900/272.
German postcard by Krüger.
In the 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder offered Barbara Valentin a chance on a new career.
Under his direction she played in the futuristic TV tale Welt am Draht/World on a Wire (1974) opposite Klaus Löwitsch, and after that she became a permanent member of his troupe.
She played character parts in films and TV films by Fassbinder like the Henrik Ibsen adaptation Nora Helmer (1974) featuring Margit Carstensen, the touching melodrama Angst essen Seele auf/Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), the thriller Martha (1974), the Theodor Fontane adaptation Effi Briest (1974) starring Hanna Schygulla, and the controversial gay drama Faustrecht der Freiheit/Fox and his Friends (1975).
Later she also appeared in the box office hit Lili Marleen (1981), and Fassbinder's acclaimed 15-hour mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) with Günther Lamprecht.
German postcard by Kolibri, Friedrich-W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1597.
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 550. Photo: Bellé.
German Postcard by Graphima, Berlin.
Barbara Valentin appeared in numerous other films and TV productions, including Bomber & Paganini (Nicos Perakis, 1976) starring Mario Adorf, Flammende Herzen/Flaming Hearts (Walter Bockmayer, Rolf Bührmann, 1978) with Peter Kern, and Dorian Gray im Spiegel der Boulevardpresse/The Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press (Ulrike Ottinger, 1984) with Delphine Seyrig.
In 1984-1985, she lived together with Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, whom she would come to call 'the love of her life'. She is featured in the music video for the Queen song, 'It's a Hard Life'.
After Mercury's death in 1991 she supported the fight of HIV organisations against AIDS, and became an icon of the Munich gay scene.
Her last film was Die Hunde sind schuld/The Dogs are Guilty (Andreas Prochaska, 2001) with Tilo Prückner.
Barbara Valentin died in 2002. She suffered a brain hemorrhage early in 2001, and was in a coma for quite some time, and was later confined to a wheelchair. She is buried in the Ostfriedhof cemetery in Munich.
German Postcard by Krüger, no. 900/272.
German Postcard by Poster XXL.
Swiss autograph card by Studio Onedin, Arbon.
Scene from Ein Toter hing im Netz (1959) with Alex D'Arcy. Source: R6dw6c (YouTube).
Sexy Catfight scene from Ein Toter hing im Netz (1959). Source: Polar Blair's Den (YouTube).
Sources: Absolute Facts.nl (Dutch), Britannica, Wikipedia, and IMDb
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 69.
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/344. Photo: Gérard Decaux.
French postcard by PSG, no. 931. Photo: P. de Mervellec.
French promotion card by Disques Festival.
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.
The Girl with the Golden Eyes
Marie Laforêt was born as Maïténa Doumenach in Soulac-sur-Mer in the Gironde in 1939. Her parents were of Armenian origin.
Marie’s career began accidentally in 1959 when she stepped in for her sister at the last minute in the French radio talent contest Naissance d'une étoile (Birth of a star) - and won.
Director Louis Malle then cast her in the film he was shooting at the time, Liberté (Freedom). The film was eventually abandoned but Marie went on to take the lead female role opposite heart throb Alain Delon in the classic Plein Soleil/Purple Noon (René Clément, 1960), based on the novel The talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.
That same year she married director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, who cast her later in some of his own works, including La Fille aux Yeux d'Or/The Girl with the Golden Eyes (1961), based on the Honoré de Balzac story. The film title would become her nickname.
In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues (Marcel Moussy, 1961), accompanied by a young Jacques Higelin at the guitar, she sang the title song. Immediately she started releasing singles.
Her first hit was the chirpy folkish 'Les Vendanges de l'Amour' in 1963. In a translated version, the song also gave Marie a top ten hit in Italy, as 'La vendemmia dell'amore', a year later.
She also recorded some rock songs, her most famous being 'Marie-douceur, Marie-colère' (1966), a cracking version of the Rolling Stones hit 'Paint It Black'.
Another popular recording was 1965s girl-groupish 'A demain, my darling', known by English-speakers as 'The Sha La La Song' and recorded by Marianne Faithfull on her debut album.
Her later songs offered a more mature, poetic, tender alternative to the light, teenage yé-yé tunes charting in France at the time. Her melodies borrowed more from exotic folk music, especially South American and Eastern European, than from contemporary American and British pop acts.
Laforêt worked with many important French composers, musicians and lyricists, such as André Popp and Pierre Cour, who provided her with a panoply of colourful, sophisticated orchestral arrangements, featuring dozens of musical instruments and creating a variety of sounds, sometimes almost Medieval, Renaissance or Baroque, other times quite modern and innovative.
Meanwhile she appeared in several French and Italian films, including Leviathan/Dark Journey (Léonard Keigel, 1962) with Louis Jourdan, À cause, à cause d'une femme/Because, Because of a Woman (Michel Deville, 1963) with Jacques Charrier, La chasse à l'homme/Male Hunt (Edouard Molinaro, 1964) opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Le soldatesse/The Camp Followers (Valerio Zurlini, 1965) starring Anna Karina.
She also appeared opposite George Hamilton in the American comedy Jack of Diamonds (Don Sharp, 1967).
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. FK 125. Photo: Ufa.
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 871. Photo: Studio Vauclair, Paris.
Belgian postcard by Editions Decker, Brussels, no. A 110.
Italian postcard by Diesse / Cristo San Pietro in Corte, Monticello.
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.
The Exile of Carlos Gardel
At the end of the 1960s, Marie Laforêt had become a rather distinctive figure in the French pop scene. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which expected of her more upbeat, simpler songs. Marie fell out with the record company’s bosses over her choice of material, which they felt not to be sufficiently commercial. She was interested in making more personal records, but finally gave in.
Although her most financially successful singles (Viens, Viens, a 1973 cover of a British hit, and Il a neigé sur Yesterday (1977), a ballad written by Michel Jourdan about the break-up of the Beatles) were released in the 1970s, Marie progressively lost interest in her singing career.
She moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1978, where she opened an art gallery and abandoned music more or less altogether. She incidentally appeared in films, including the fairy-tale adaptation Le petit poucet/Tom Thumb (Michel Deville, 1972) and the action comedy Flic ou voyou/Cop or Hood (Georges Lautner, 1979) featuring Jean-Paul Belmondo.
In the 1980s, she concentrated on her acting career, appearing in such French and Italian films as the comedy Les diplômés du dernier rang (Christian Gion, 1982) with Michel Galabru, another Belmondo actioner Les morfalous (Henri Verneuil, 1984) and the little seen masterpiece Tangos, l'exil de Gardel/Tangos, the Exile of Gardel (Fernando E. Solanas, 1985) dedicated to Carlos Gardel, the legendary Argentinian tango star.
She also played regularly on TV as in the popular mini-series La piovra 3/The Octopus 3 (Luigi Perelli, 1987) starring Michele Placido. Laforêt eventually released some music singles, but they were not popular. She made a comeback, however, in 1993 with an album (her last) for which she wrote the lyrics.
In the 1990s, she again continued to work as an actress, both on stage and on screen in such films as the romance Dis-moi oui.../Say Yes To Me (Alexandre Arcady, 1995) with Jean-Hugues Anglade, and the Sci-Fi film Tykho Moon (Enki Bilal, 1996) with Julie Delpy.
She performed in a number of plays in Paris over the years, acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. In September 2005 she sang once again, going on tour in France for the first time since 1972. Every concert was sold out.
Her last film is the comedy-drama Les bureaux de Dieu/God’s Offices (Claire Simon, 2008) about dedicated social workers who devote their long shifts to helping pregnant women.
Marie Laforêt passed away in Geneva and had obtained Swiss citizenship. She was the mother of writer-director Liza Azuelos, with whom she worked on the film Ainsi soient-elles/That’s How Women Are (Liza Azuelos, Patrick Alessandrin, 1995) with Vincent Cassel and Thomas Kretschmann.
French promotion card by Festival. Photo: Studio du Marais.
French postcard by PSG, presented by Corvisart, Epinal, no. 474. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by Librairie Hachette, Paris, no. 2. Photo: Parc Film Navarre & associes. Publicity still for Le Petit Poucet/Tom Thumb (Michel Boisrond, 1972).
Marie Laforet sings Ivan, Boris & Moi on French TV in the Sacha show (1968) with among the dancers Sacha Distel and Jean Yanne. Source: cyclopede (YouTube).
Marie Laforet sings je voudrais tant que tu comprennes in Surprise Partie (1997).
Sources: Ready Steady Girls, Wikipedia and IMDb.
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X670. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X671. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X672. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
A Centennial Baby
Pamela Denise Anderson was born in Ladysmith, (Vancouver Island), BC, Canada, the daughter of Barry Anderson, a furnace repairman, and Carol (née Grosco) Anderson, a waitress. She was the first Canadian baby born in Ladysmith Canada's Centennial Day in 1967, A Centennial Baby.
As a child, Anderson suffered frequent sexual abuse, a fact she revealed publicly in 2014: she was molested by a female babysitter from ages 6 to 10, raped by a 25-year-old man when she was 12, and gang-raped by her boyfriend and six of his friends when she was 14. She also revealed that her father, though 'loving', had been an alcoholic.
Anderson attended Highland Secondary School in Comox, British Columbia. During high school, she played on the volleyball team. She graduated in 1985. In 1988, the 19-years-old Anderson moved to Vancouver and worked as a fitness instructor.
In 1989, Anderson attended a BC Lions Canadian Football League game at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, where the stadium camera featured her on the electronic scoreboard while wearing a Labatt's Beer T-shirt. The fans cheered her and she was brought down to the football field. Because of her fame in Vancouver, she signed a commercial contract with the brewing company to be the 'Blue Zone girl'. More advertising assignments followed.
Anderson appeared as the cover girl on Playboy magazine's October 1989 issue. She moved to Los Angeles to further pursue a modelling career. Playboy subsequently chose her as Playmate of the Month in their February 1990 issue, in which she appeared in the centrefold photo. Anderson then elected to have breast implant surgery, increasing her bust size to 34D.
She famously increased her bust size again, to 34DD, several years later. Anderson has since appeared in Playboy several times in the 1990s and the 2000s. Anderson's Playboy career spans 22 years, and she has appeared on 14 Playboy covers, more than any other model. Anderson was the last to pose nude in Playboy, on the magazine's January/February 2016 cover.
Anderson also became known as a lifelong animal rights and human advocate and is also an activist for environmental issues. In 2006, she posed naked in the window of Stella McCartney's store in London to protest against the use of fur for making clothes.
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X660. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X663. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X666. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
Lifeguard C. J. Parker
After Pamela Anderson moved to Los Angeles, she won a minor role as Lisa, the original ‘Tool Time girl’, on the television sitcom, Home Improvement (1991-1993), starring Tim Allen.
She left the show after two seasons and won the role of lifeguard C. J. Parker on Baywatch (1992-1997), the action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. She played C.J. for five seasons making her one of the longest serving and most popular cast members.
This has been her best known role to date and she later reprised her role to return in a reunion movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (Douglas Schwartz, 2003). In 1994, she was cast in her first starring film role, in the action thriller Raw Justice (David A. Prior, 1994), co-starring with Stacy Keach. She also appeared in Naked Souls (Lyndon Chubbuck, 1996), starring Brian Krause.
Next she starred in the action-Science Fiction film Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996), based on the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. The thinly veiled futuristic remake of Casablanca was poorly received by critics, bombed at the box office and resulted for Anderson in a Golden Raspberry Award for her interpretation.
In 1998, she came back as Vallery Irons in the TV series V.I.P. (1998-2002) about a bodyguard agency (V.I.P. aka Vallery Irons Protection). Blending action and humour in a fast-paced adventure series, with Anderson often poking fun at her tabloid image, the show explored the exciting and sometimes treacherous lives of the rich and famous. The series lasted through a successful four-year run. In 1999, Anderson had her breast implants surgically removed. The breaking news seemed like the end of an era.
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X667. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X668. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X669. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
Don't worry, summer is coming
Pamela Anderson married Tommy Lee, drummer of Mötley Crüe in 1995, after knowing him for about 4 days. They wed on a beach, with Anderson in a bikini. Anderson's mother did not know, and learned of the marriage from People magazine. A sex tape of Anderson and Tommy Lee on their honeymoon was stolen from their home in 1995 and made a huge stir on the Internet.
Anderson sued the video distribution company, Internet Entertainment Group. Ultimately, the Lees entered into a confidential settlement agreement with IEG. During this time, she was known professionally as Pamela Anderson Lee. Together they have two sons, Brandon Thomas Lee and Dylan Jagger Lee. The couple divorced in 1998.
In 2000, Anderson became engaged to Swedish model Marcus Schenkenberg, but they broke up in 2001. In 2004, Anderson became a naturalised citizen of the United States, while retaining her Canadian citizenship. She became engaged to the singer Kid Rock (Robert J. Ritchie); and they married in 2006.
Later that year Anderson miscarried while shooting a new film, Blonde and Blonder (Dean Hamilton, 2006) with Denise Richards. Seventeen days later, Anderson filed for divorce. In 2007, Anderson married Rick Salomon in a small wedding ceremony at The Mirage, between her two nightly appearances at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Hans Klok's magic show. The couple separated later that year and Anderson requested through the courts that the marriage be annulled, citing fraud.
In 2014 they remarried and also divorced again in 2015. Her film work in the new millennium consisted mainly of cameos in such comedies as Scooby-Doo (Raja Gosnell, 2002) with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Scary Movie 3 (David Zucker, 2003), part of the franchise that parodied the horror, Sci-Fi, and mystery genres.
In 2004, she released the book 'Star', co-written by Eric Shaw Quinn, about a teenager trying to become famous. Her second book, the sequel 'Star Struck' (2005), is a thinly veiled look at her life with Tommy Lee and the trials of celebrity life. Anderson appeared in the mockumentary, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006), as the title character (Sacha Baron Cohen) becomes obsessed with her, and plans to abduct and marry her. She appears as herself at a book signing at the end of the film, confronted by Borat in a staged botched abduction. The film opened at No. 1 in the US box office, maintaining first place for two weeks straight.
More recently she co-starred in the independent film The People Garden (Nadia Litz, 2016), a Canadian-Japanese drama starring Dree Hemingway, and for this year she’s scheduled to return in a cameo as the older C.J. in a new film version of Baywatch (Seth Gordon, 2017). The new film version stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Priyanka Chopra and Zac Efron and the tagline is promising: Don't worry, summer is coming.
Recently, Pamela Anderson, now 49, appeared in the erotic magazine The Amorist in new pictures by photographer Rankin for a new ad campaign for an erotic lingerie brand. The DailyMail Online commented: “Time may well be a cruel mistress, but Pamela Anderson goes some way towards proving the years have been kind in a stunning new photoshoot.”
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X658. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
British postcard by A Bigger Splash, Manchester, no. X673. Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Polygram. Publicity still for Barb Wire (David Hogan, 1996).
Sources: Pamelandersonfoundation.org, Wikipedia and IMDb.
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 110. Photo: Bayer.
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1698.
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf. Photo: Deutsche Cosmopol Film (DCF). Elke Arendt and Willy Hagara in Paprika (Kurt Wilhelm, 1959).
The German Perry Como
Wilhelm ‘Willy’ Hagara was born in Vienna, Austria in 1927. He was initially trained as a postal clerk and practised this profession as well.
In 1946, he won a popular song contest in the Wiener Konzerthaus. He focused all his activities to this new career, and took singing and acting lessons.
During this time he was successful with folk songs and as the singer of the band of John Fehring, who later became the leader of the ORF Big Band Orchestra. Hagara was a classic band singer who performed one of his songs in an early Schlager show for the German ARD television, Schlager-Expreß/Schlager Express (1953).
Finally in 1955, his breakthrough came with the song 'Eine Kutsche voller Mädels' (A coach full of girls). Willy Hagara moved to Frankfurt in Germany and he became something like the German Perry Como, whose songs in German versions he often would sing.
Two years later he appeared in his first film, the musical comedy Weißer Holunder/White Elder (Paul May, 1957) with Germaine Damar.
It was followed by a string of light entertainment films: Liebe, Mädchen und Soldaten/Love, girls and soldiers (Franz Antel, 1958), Mein ganzes Herz ist voll Musik/My whole heart is filled with music (Helmut Weiss, 1959), Der Haustyrann/The domestic tyrant (Hans Deppe, 1959) starring Heinz Erhardt, Laß mich am Sonntag nicht allein/Let me not be alone on Sunday (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1959) with Heidi Brühl, and Paprika/Pepper (Kurt Wilhelm, 1959).
Austrian postcard by Kellner, Wien, no. 82466. Publicity still for Paprika/Pepper (1959).
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1836. Photo: Bavaria.
Cinema attendance in Germany and Austria had spectacularly grown in the 1950s, but at the end of the decade it first stagnated and then went into freefall in the 1960s.
The once so popular Schlager films became outdated. In 1961 Willy Hagara appeared in his last Schlager film, Ramona (Paul Martin, 1961) with Senta Berger.
At the time, television was developing into a mass medium that could compete with the cinema. In 1962 there were already 7 million TV sets in West-Germany.
Hagara moved over to the small screen and appeared in such musical TV comedies as Mitternachtszauber/Midnight Magic (Ralph Lotar, 1964) with Werner Fuetterer, and Vom Ersten das Beste/From the first the best (Ekkehard Böhmer, 1965) with Hannelore Auer.
These TV productions were in the same genre as the films he had made in the 1950s for the cinema. Until the mid-1960s he starred in numerous TV films and sold many records.
In total he had five Top 10 hits, including the evergreen 'Casetta in Canada'. His song 'Du spielst 'ne tolle Rolle' (You play a great role) became in the version of Nat King Cole a Top 10 hit in the US.
But the Beat wave finished his singing career. His later TV-films included Ein Mädchen von heute/A girl of today (Dieter Finnern, 1966) with Karin Baal.
In 1969 he got a million inheritance: his father, the merchant Franz Hagara, left him with a villa and several lease lands in Vienna. He did not retire, but he bridged the 1970s with performances during galas.
Incidentally he appeared as a guest in such TV shows as Hit-Journal (H.B. Theopold, 1973), Tango-Tango (Horst Eppinger, 1976) and Ein kleines Glück auf allen Wegen/A small fortune on all routes (Ekkehard Böhmer, 1980).
After the death of his wife in 1986, Willy Hagara retired from the show business. His last public appearance was in a show from Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna in 2002 on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
Willy Hagara passed away in 2015 in Wiesbaden, Hesse, Germany. He was 87.
German postcard by Philips.
Willy Hagara & Die Maxis sing 'Maria Marietta' (Wie du küsst keine) in Weißer Holunder/White Elder (1957). Source: fritz5120 (YouTube).
Sources: Wälz Studer (Memoryradio.de - German), Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.
German postcard by Kolibri Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 822. Photo: Universal International.
Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 686. Photo: Universal International. Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in The Prince Who Was A Thief (Rudolph Maté, 1952).
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D. 434. Photo: Universal International.
Bathing in milk and eating flower petals for her luminous skin
Piper Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs in 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the younger daughter of Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer.
In 1938, the family moved to Los Angeles, where she attended a Hebrew school. For much of her early childhood, her parents placed Laurie and her older sister in a children's home, which they both despised. To combat her shyness, her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons.
Piper studied acting with Benno and Betomi Schnider for three years. This eventually led to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios. In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a long term contract with Universal Studios, and changed her screen name to Piper Laurie, which she has used since then.
At Universal, she met other soon-to-be familiar actors Julie Adams, Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson. Her breakout role was in the comedy Louisa (Alexander Hall, 1950), with Ronald Reagan, whom she dated a few times before his marriage to Nancy Davis. In her 2011 autobiography 'Learning to Live Out Loud', she claimed that she lost her virginity to him.
Several other roles followed: Francis Goes to the Races (Arthur Lubin, 1951) with Donald O'Connor, the Swashbuckler The Prince Who Was a Thief (Rudolph Mate, 1951) with Tony Curtis in his first starring role, and the comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (Douglas Sirk, 1952) with Rock Hudson.
To enhance her image, Universal Studios told gossip columnists that Laurie bathed in milk and ate flower petals to protect her luminous skin. Other films were the adventures Son of Ali Baba (Kurt Neumann, 1952) again opposite Tony Curtis, and The Golden Blade (Nathan Juran, 1953) again co-starring Rock Hudson. She also co-starred with Rory Calhoun in the Western Dawn at Socorro (George Sherman, 1954), and the musical Ain't Misbehavin' (Edward Buzzell, 1955).
Discouraged by the lack of serious film roles, she moved to New York to study acting and to seek work on the stage and in television. She appeared on TV in Twelfth Night, produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame, in Days of Wine and Roses (John Frankenheimer, 1958) with Cliff Robertson, presented by Playhouse 90 (in the film version, their roles were taken over by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick), and opposite Martin Balsam in Winterset (George Schaefer, 1959), also presented by Playhouse 90.
Vintage collectors card. Photo: Universal International. Piper Laurie and Scotty Beckett in Louisa (Alexander Hall, 1950).
Spanish postcard. Photo: Universal International. Piper Laurie and Donald O'Connor in Francis Goes to the Races (Arthur Lubin, 1951).
Piper Laurie was again lured to Hollywood by the offer to co-star with Paul Newman in The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961). She played Newman's girlfriend, Sarah Packard, and for her performance she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The Hustler was a major critical and popular success, gaining a reputation as a modern classic.
However, substantial film roles did not come her way, so Laurie and her husband moved to New York. In 1964, she appeared in two TV medical dramas — as Alicia Carter in The Eleventh Hour episode 'My Door Is Locked and Bolted', and as Alice Marin in the Breaking Point episode 'The Summer House'.
In 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams''The Glass Menagerie', opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle, and George Grizzard. She devoted her energies to the Civil Rights movement and to the Vietnam War, feeling acting was less important.
Laurie did not appear in another feature film until she accepted the role of Margaret White in the supernatural horror film Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976). Her co-star, Sissy Spacek, praised her acting skill: "She is a remarkable actress. She never does what you expect her to do — she always surprises you with her approach to a scene."
Laurie received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and the commercial success of the film relaunched her career. She appeared in the horror dramas Ruby (Curtis Harrington, 1977) and as Mary Horton in the Australian romance Tim (Michael Pate, 1979) opposite Mel Gibson.
After her 1981 divorce, Laurie relocated to California. She received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mrs. Norman in Children of a Lesser God (Randa Haines, 1986). That same year, she was awarded an Emmy for her performance in the TV film Promise (Glenn Jordan, 1986), co-starring James Garner and James Woods.
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 400. Photo: Universal International. Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in The Prince Who Was A Thief (Rudolph Maté, 1952).
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1238. Photo: Universal International.
Twelve Emmy nominations
In 1990-1991, Piper Laurie starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks. She also appeared in Other People's Money (Norman Jewison, 1991) with Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck, and in horror maestro Dario Argento's first American film, Trauma (1993) with Asia Argento, the director's daughter.
On stage, she had a featured role in the Off-Broadway production of 'The Destiny of Me' in 1992, and later returned to Broadway for Lincoln Center's acclaimed 2002 revival of Paul Osborn's 'Morning's at Seven', with Julie Hagerty and Estelle Parsons.
On television, she played George Clooney's character's mother on ER (1995). Then, she appeared with Patty Duke in the TV film A Christmas Memory (Glenn Jordan, 1997) based on the story by Truman Capote, and in the Sci-Fi thriller The Faculty (Robert Rodriguez, 1998) with Josh Hartnett and Elijah Wood.
She made guest appearances on television shows such as Matlock (1986), Frasier (1994 and 1999) and Will & Grace (2000). Laurie also appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2001) and in Cold Case (2005).
She returned to the big screen for independent films, such as Eulogy (Michael Clancy, 2004) and The Dead Girl (Karen Moncrieff, 2006), opposite Toni Collette.
Piper Laurie was married once, to New York Herald Tribune entertainment writer Joe Morgenstern. They met shortly after the release of The Hustler in 1961 when Morgenstern interviewed her during the film's promotion. They soon began dating, and nine months after the interview, they were married in 1962. In 1971, they had a daughter, Anne Grace Morgenstern.
In 1982, the couple divorced, after which she relocated to the Hollywood area and continued working in films and television. Laurie won an Emmy Award for her role in Promise (Glenn Jordan, 1986). In total, she received twelve Emmy nominations, including one for playing Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, in The Bunker (George Schaefer, 1981), opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler, one for her role in the miniseries, The Thorn Birds (Daryl Duke, 1983), two nominations for her work in Twin Peaks, as Catherine Martell, and a nomination for her guest appearance on Frasier.
She has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performances in three films. Most recently, she appeared in the films Snapshots (Melanie Mayron, 2018) and White Boy Rick (Yann Demange, 2018), starring Matthew McConaughey.
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag. Photo: Universal International.
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag. Photo: Universal International.
French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 476. Photo: Universal International.
Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1339/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Albert Witzel / Fox.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3196/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3909/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4401/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Fox.
Champion Bronco Buster
Buck Jones was born Charles Frederick Gebhart in 1891 in Vincennes, Indiana, USA.
Jones reportedly (but disputably) grew up on a ranch near Red Rock in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and there learned the riding and shooting skills that would stand him in good stead as a hero of Westerns.
He joined the army as a teenager and served on US-Mexican border before seeing service in the Moro uprising in the Philippines. Though wounded, he recuperated and re-enlisted, hoping to become a pilot.
He was not accepted for pilot training and left the army in 1913. He took a menial job with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show and soon became champion bronco buster for the show. He moved on to the Julia Allen Show, but with the beginning of the First World War, Jones took work training horses for the Allied armies.
After the war, he and his wife, Odelle Osborne, whom he had met in the Miller Brothers show, toured with the Ringling Brothers circus. While in Los Angeles with the circus, Jones decided to leave the cowboy life behind and get a job in the film industry.
American postcard. Photo: Fox. Buck Jones in Pardon My Nerve! (B. Reeves Eason, 1922).
British postcard in the A Real Photogravure Portrait series.
French postcard, no. 5031. Photo: Max Munn Autrey / Fox.
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 186. Photo: Fox Film.
The Rough Riders
Buck Jones was hired by Universal Pictures for $5 per day as a bit player and stuntman. In his early film appearances, he was billed as Charles Jones. He later worked for Fox as a stuntman.
He joined Hoot Gibson, Tom Mix, and Ken Maynard as the top cowboy actors of the 1920s. According to Jim Beaver at IMDb, he played "a more dignified, less gaudy hero than Mix, if not as austere as William S. Hart."
When sound film was introduced, the major studios weren't interested anymore in Jones. He signed with then-humble Columbia Pictures, starring in Westerns like The Lone Rider (Louis King, 1930) for $300 a week, a fraction of his top salary in the silent-film days.
His voice, a rugged baritone, recorded well and the films were very successful, re-establishing him as a major movie name. During the 1930s he starred in Western features and serials for Columbia and Universal Pictures.
His star waned in the late 1930s when singing cowboys became the rage and Jones, then in his late forties, was uncomfortably cast in conventional leading-man roles. He re-joined Columbia in the fall of 1940, starring in the serial White Eagle. The new serial was a hit, and Jones was again re-established.
His final series of Western features, co-produced by Jones and his friend Scott R. Dunlap of Monogram Pictures, featured The Rough Riders trio: Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton.
Buck Jones was one of the 492 victims of the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston. Jones was horribly burned and died two days later.
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 380. Photo: Fox Film.
British postcard by Film Weekly, London.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 146a. Photo: Albert Witzel, Hollywood.
British postcard. Photo: Buck Jones in White Eagle (Lambert Hillyer, 1932).
Source: Jim Beaver (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 4. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Félix Mayol (1872-1941) was a popular French singer of the Belle Epoque. Born in Toulon, he made a modest debut on the stages of Toulon and Marseille. In 1895, he became a success in Paris in 1895 as a singer performing in a campy, effeminate way. An anecdote published in his memoirs reports that for lack of finding a camellia, that the elegant men wore at the time on the revers of their frock coat, he took a bit of lily of the valley which became his emblem. The improbable hair tassel he wore (and which gave him the nickname of 'the red-toupeed artist' or 'flame of punch') became so famous that it inspired many imitators. He knew his first great success in 1896 with 'La Paimpolaise' by Théodore Botrel. In 1900, after a brief stint at the Eldorado where he sang 'À la cabane bambou', he was engaged by La Scala. It was there that he created the title that would make him both rich and famous: 'Viens, poupoule!' (1902), an adaptation of a German song arranged by Henri Christiné and Alexandre Trébitsch. He recidivated in 1905 with 'La Matchiche', the adaptation of a fashionable Spanish dance song. The same year, he performed at Gaumont in 14 phonoscènes under the direction of Alice Guy, such as La Paimpolaise. These were short sound films using a sound on disc system. Several still exist. Already, Mayol had to his credit many recordings on cylinders and on discs. After the 1905 phonoscènes series at Gaumont, Mayol acted in five more films, according to IMDb. He appeared in three silent films, including Le filon du Bouif (Louis Osmont, 1922), and two early sound films, Aux urnes, citoyens!/Tu sera député (Jean Hémard, 1932) and La dame de chez Maxim's (Alexander Korda, 1933) starring Florelle.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 51. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Pierre Magnier (1869-1959) was a French stage and screen actor and director, acting in over 100 films and known for La roue (Abel Gance, 1923), Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923) and La règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939).
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 82. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Tarquini d'Or (1882-1949) was a French stage and screen actor and operetta singer, who was an operetta singer in the 1920s and acted in 8 French early sound films. He was e.g. the singer in the French version of Der Kongress tanzt: Le congrès s'amuse (Jean Boyer, Erik Charell, 1931). Another memorable role he had in the Zola adaptation L'assommoir (Gaston Roudès, 1933). Tarquini d'Or (first name Brutus), was the son of famous cabaret singer Aristide Bruant and his companion singer Mathilde Tarquini d'Or. He was born in La Chaux de Fond, Switzerland, and died in Sens, France. For one of his songs, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTE57hnE-Ko
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 135. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Denis d'Inès (1885–1968) was a renowned stage actor, who also knew a career in cinema. Born in Paris as Joseph-Victor-Octave Denis, he started acting by 1905 in plays directed by André Antoine and remained with him for many years. He entered the Comédie-Française in 1914, was a sociétaire there from 1920 to 1953, General administrator ad intérim in 1945, dean from 1945 to 1953, and honorary sociétaire from 1954. In the silent era d'Inès played in a handful of shorts at the company Eclipse, mostly film d'art-like adaptations of Shakespeare plays but also the 1914 exotic adventure film Le scarabée d'or (Henri Desfontaines, 1914), based on an Edgar Allen Poe story. After that Denis d'Inès only returned to the film sets from 1938 onwards. He played some 20 parts between 1938 and 1959, often as distinguished clergymen (cardinals, bishops, etc.) and generals. He was directed by Christian-Jaque in Boule de suif (Christian-Jaque, 1945), D'homme à hommes (Christian-Jaque, 1948), and Madame du Barry (Christian-Jaque, 1954). Other memorable parts he had in La tragédie impériale (Marcel L'Herbier, 1938) - his first sound film part, and Véronique (Robert Vernay, 1950).
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 142. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Jean Joffre aka Joffre, full name Jean François Omer Joffre, (1872-1944) was a French stage and screen actor. Born in Rivesaltes (Pyrénées-Orientales), Joffre started his stage career at least in 1905 and played at the Parisian Théâtre du Vaudeville till 1924. Between 1926 and 1929 he worked at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin. Joffre started acting on-screen from 1911-1912 at Pathé Frères, with directors such as René Leprince and Ferdinand Zecca. In the late 1910s, he played in Fauvette (Gérard Bourgeois, 1918) and Le petit café (Raymond Bernard, 1919). In the 1920s. he had a rich career in the French silent cinema, including major parts in such films as La Rafale (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1920), Fromont jeune et Risler aîné (Henry Krauss, 1921), and Les Trois Mousquetaires (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1921) as M. Bonacieux. He was also unit manager for the latter film. However, Joffre's most active film acting career he had in the 1930s and early 1940s, in particular in 1938 when he acted in some 8 films, though all in minor parts. Memorable parts he had in Amants et voleurs (Raymond Bernard, 1935) starring Florelle and Pierre Blanchar, and as Dantès' father in Le comte de Monte Cristo, 1ère époque: Edmond Dantès (Robert Vernay, 1943) starring Pierre-Richard Willm. The latter was Joffre's last film role.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 147. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
André Brunot (1879-1973) was a French film actor. He appeared in more than twenty films from 1910 to 1966. Brunot was a student at the Conservatoire de Paris and won first prize there in 1903. He entered the Comédie-Française in 1903 and was sociétaire between 1910 and 1944. He became dean here between 1939 and 1944, and sociétaire honoraire in 1952. After leaving the Comédie-Française in 1944, he joined the Renaud-Barrault company for at least two decades and almost 30 plays, almost all directed by Jean-Louis Barrault. While Brunot had done a handful of silent shorts in the silent era, including the lead in the silent comedy L'affaire Blaireau (Louis Osmont, 1923), he came back to the film sets in 1934 with the Molière adaptation Les Précieuses ridicules (Léonce Perret, 1934). Four years after, his career really set off with his part of Monsieur Grenaison in Entrée des artistes (Marc Allégret, 1938), starring Louis Jouvet, and his most outstanding role as Jane Marken's husband, hotel patron Père Lecouvreur in Hôtel du Nord (Marcel Carné, 1938). From then, he played many supporting roles on the screen until 1959. Brunot's last film part was that of the priest in Jean Renoir's Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (1959).
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 156. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Amélie Diéterle (1871-1941) was one the most beloved actresses and singers of the Belle Epoque, who inspired poets and painters such as Mallarmé and Rodin. Between 1909 and 1913 she acted in some 27 shorts films at Pathé Frères: mostly Rigadin comedies directed by Georges Monca.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 163. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Roger Monteaux (1879-1974) was a French stage and screen actor. Born in Boulogne-Billancourt, Monteaux first acted at the Théâtre du Vaudeville and the Théâtre Réjane, then in the 1910s at the Théâtre de l'Athénée and the Théâtre du Gymnase, before entering the Comédie-Française in 1915. Between 1923 and 1936 he was sociétaire there, alternating classic plays by Molière or after classic famous authors such as Balzac and Hugo, with modern plays by e.g. Henri Bataille. Between 1909 and 1911 Monteaux played at Pathé Frères in some 13 short silent films, mostly historical and modern dramas, directed by André Calmettes, Georges Monca, Henri Pouctal, and others. In the early 1920s, he acted in 5 silent features, such as Roger la Honte (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1922) and the Honoré de Balzac adaptation Le cousin Pons (Jacques Robert, 1924). It then took until 1937 for Monteaux to act in films again. Between 1937 and 1960 he played in some 20 films, mostly in minor parts, sometimes even uncredited. He had a major part as a stern father in Dominique (Yvan Noé, 1950) starring Michel Barbey as the title character. Dominique is chased from his parents' house when they discover he works in a cinema and lives with a girl, Simone (Claire Muriel). He hence lives with Simone, who receives funding from a mysterious stranger, who proves to be none other than Dominique's father. The latter explains he wanted to free his son from his mother and her bourgeois relatives. Roger Monteaux died at the high age of 95 years in Monaco in 1974.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 167. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Félix Oudart (1881–1956) was a French stage and film actor. Born in Lille, he followed acting classes there, then played his first roles at the Grand Théâtre de Reims, where he also directed, and in Paris, in particular at the Théâtre de l'Odéon and the Gaîté-Lyrique. With Louis Jouvet he participated in the creation of two plays by Jean Giraudoux: 'Intermezzo' (1933) and 'Ondine' (1939). He acted in film between 1919 and 1953. While he played in only a handful films in the silent era, e.g. in Crainquebille (Jacques Feyder, 1922) and Tire-au-flanc (Jean Renoir, 1928), he had an enormous output in the 1930s. These films included the sound remake of Tire-au-flanc (Henri Wulschleger, 1933). Among his last films were Au diable la vertu (Jean Laviron, 1952) and L'Île aux femmes nues (Henri Lepage, 1953).
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 181. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Frédéric Duvallès (1884-1971) was a popular French comedian who knew a rich career in French sound cinema of the 1930s and 1950s. Examples of his films are L'héritier du Bal Tabarin (Jean Kemm, 1933), Train de plaisir (Léo Joannon, 1936), and Vacances payées (Maurice Cammage, 1938), in which he had the lead. All in all, he acted in some 46 films.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 184. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Jules-Adolphe Simon aka Marcel Simon, born in Brussels in 1872 and died in Paris in 1958, was a Belgian actor and director. As a friend of George Feydeau, he contributed to the creation of many of his plays, such as 'Monsieur chasse!' (1892), 'La Dame de chez Maxim' (1899), 'La Puce à l'oreille' (1907), and 'Occupe-toi d'Amélie' (1908). From 1908 he acted in film, first in comedies (with Rigadin) and dramas directed by Georges Monca. Then he appeared at Éclair in dramas directed by Maurice Tourneur such as the murder mystery Le Mystère de la chambre jaune (1913) and its sequel Le Parfum de la dame en noir (1914), but also in Feydeau adaptations such as Occupe-toi d'Amélie (1912). While absent from the screen in the 1920s, Simon returned with the arrival of sound cinema. In the 1930s, he had a very prolific screen career, playing major supporting parts as aristocrats, directors, and high-ranked military. Among his last films was Boule de suif (Christian-Jaque, 1950). Simon was also film director between 1913 and 1921, mostly of comedies such as the Feydeau adaptation La Puce à l'oreille (1914) and a few with the character Germain. Simon was married to actress Marguerite Pierry.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 194. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Élisabeth Nizan (1896-1969) was a French stage actress, who only played in four films, but two were classics: La dixième symphonie (1918) and J'accuse (1919), both directed by Abel Gance. She entered the Comédie-Française in 1915 and between 1932 and 1936 she was sociétaire there.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 210. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Pierre Bertin (1891-1984) was a French stage and screen actor, director and scenographer. As of 1912 he was acting on stage, at the Odéon and many other Parisian theaters, and in 1919-1921 he also directed several of his plays. He entered the Comédie-Française in 1923 and was sociétaire there between 1931 and 1944. After the war, he continued to act on stage for decades, mostly under direction of Jean-Louis Barrault, but at occasions also by Louis Jouvet. Between 1916 and 1978 Bertin acted in some 74 films and TV productions. He started out in L'instinct (Henri Pouctal, 1916), starring Raphaël and Huguette Duflos. After just a few more silents, he left the film sets for years, returning when sound film had set in. He immediately had major parts in L'amour chante (Robert Florey, 1930), Je serai seule après minuit (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1931), Faubourg Montmartre (Raymond Bernard, 1931), and Le Cordon bleu (Karl Anton, 1932) - in which Bertin had the lead. Later followed Péchés de jeunesse (Maurice Tourneur, 1941), Mademoiselle Béatrice (Max de Vaucorbeil, 1943), L'Insaisissable Frédéric (Richard Pottier, 1946), and Cyrano de Bergerac (Fernand Rivers, 1946) - in which he was de Comte de Guiche opposite Claude Dauphin in the title role. In the classic Orphée (Jean Cocteau, 1950), Bertin played the commissioner. His later films included Véronique (Robert Vernay, 1950), the remakes of Tire-au-flanc (1950) and Knock (1951), Elena et les Hommes (Jean Renoir, 1955/56), and Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol, 1959). In La Nuit des adieux (Jean Dréville, 1965) he was the father of Marius Petipa, and in Lo straniero/The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967) he was the judge. Bertin was also a voice actor for documentaries and performed on television as well.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 225. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Louis Gauthier (1864-1946) was a French stage and screen actor, who played in some 32 films, between 1909 and 1938. From the 1890s onwards, he had a rich career on the Parisian stages in stage plays and vaudeville. In 1909, Gauthier also started to act in films at Pathé Frères. In the early 1910s he also worked at Eclair. He was the foreman Hubert in Gerval, le maître de forges (Henri Pouctal, 1912), starring Gilbert Dalleu. Gauthier had leads in Le ruisseau (Georges Denola, 1913) - which he had played on stage in 1907, L'aveugle (Maurice Mariaud, 1913), and Par la main d'un autre (Donald MacKenzie, 1914). In Les deux gosses (Adrien Caillard, 1916) he played Georges de Kerlor, who gives away his little son to a pretty criminal. Other memorable parts he had in Une vie sans joie (Jean Renoir, 1924), Poil de carotte (Julien Duvivier, 1932), La tête d'un homme (Duvivier, 1933), L'homme à l'Hispano (Jean Epstein, 1933), and in Stradivarius (Albert Valentin, Géza von Bolváry, 1935). Gauthier was also a sports director, director of hygiene at the National Federation of physical education and military preparation societies in France and the colonies, director of the swimming course of this federation, inventor of a method of learning of swimming, and instructor of the shooting company of Presles.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 230. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
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 partners Coquelin the Elder and Sarah Bernhardt, whom she went on a tour of the United States in 1882. Kolb entered the Comédie-Française in 1898, before becoming the 338th member in 1904. She was named honorary member in 1923. In the early 1910s she had only one film role in Le Fils prodigue (Camille de Morlhon, 1912), but from the late 1910s on, Kolb started a steady second career in the 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.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 235. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Andrée de Chauveron (1890–1965) was a French stage and screen actress. De Chauveron entered the Comédie Française in 1911. She was sociétaire between 1929 and 1945 and became sociétaire honoraire in 1957. In 1961 she celebrated her 50 years at the CF. De Chauveron acted in 12 films and 2 TV-series between 1917 and 1963. One of her first main film parts was in Après lui (Maurice de Féraudy, Gaston Leprieur, 1918), but after four silent films in the late 1910s, she didn't act in film in the 1920s, and, what is more remarkable, in only one film in the 1930s. In e.g. Arlette et l'amour (Robert Vernay, 1943) she is the pushy mother who marries her daughter (Josette Day) with a crook who poses as a count (René Alié).
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 238. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Berthe Bovy (1887-1977) was a Belgian stage and screen actress. She was a regular stage actress at the Comédie Française since 1907, but Bovy also acted in some 30 early silent films, mainly at Pathé. Later she appeared in some 20 sound films between the 1930s and early 1970s. She also worked for TV.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 259. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Maurice Lehmann (1895-1974) was a French actor, director, and producer. He was one of the principal directors of Parisian theatres of the twentieth century. Lehmann, born in Paris, entered as a pensionnaire at the Comédie-Française in 1916 and remained so till 1919. He then directed the theatres of the Porte-Saint-Martin, the Ambigu, the Renaissance, Mogador, Edward VII and the Empire. From 1929 to 1965, he directed the Théâtre du Châtelet and offered lavish performances of musical comedies and big-screen operettas that were hugely successful: Nina Rosa by Sigmund Romberg with André Baugé, L'Auberge du Cheval-Blanc (1948), Francisco Lopez's Le chanteur de Mexico (1951) with Luis Mariano which made a thousand performances, Francis Lopez's Mediterranean with Tino Rossi, and Monsieur Carnaval (1965) by Charles Aznavour with Georges Guétary. Lehmann's only claim of fame as a film actor was as Philippe de Koenigsmark in Koenigsmark (Léonce Perret, 1923). More important was his career as film producer and director. In the 1930s Lehmann founded his film production company, Maurice Lehmann Productions, with which he produced or co-produced several films, e.g. La dame aux camélias (Fernand Rivers, Abel Gance, 1934), Pasteur (Sacha Guitry, 1935), and Le roman d'un jeune homme pauvre (Abel Gance, 1936). Some films he directed himself, such as L'affaire du courrier de Lyon (1937), Le ruisseau (1938), and Fric-Frac (1939), all of which he co-directed with Claude Autant-Lara (but mostly uncredited). Lehmann was also president of the 1956 Cannes Film Festival jury and a jury member in 1957 and 1966. Lehmann was named Commander in the Order of the Legion of Honor in 1970. He was buried at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 268. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Roger Gaillard (1893-1970) was a French stage and screen actor. He started his career in the boulevard comedies of George Feydeau, but he was pensionnaire of the Comédie-Française between 1916 and 1924. Apart from a part in the silent film Molière, sa vie, son œuvre (Jacques de Féraudy, 1922), he was primarily an actor of sound cinema, playing supporting parts in some 20 French films. He acted for reputed directors such as G.W. Pabst, Jean Renoir,Rex Ingram, Max Ophüls, Marcel Carné, and Jean Cocteau.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 293. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Jacques Grétillat (1885–1950) was a French stage actor, who also played in 57 films between 1906 and 1947. Between 1918 and 1920 he also directed 8 films. He first appeared in a Charles Prince (the future Rigadin) comedy, directed by Georges Monca. In 1908 Grétillat acted in a few Film d'Art films at Pathé. He played the evil Lantier opposite Eugénie Nau's Gervaise in the Emile Zola adaptation L'assommoir (Albert Capellani, 1908). He also played the title role in Hamlet (Henri Desfontaines, 1908) and Leonardo da Vinci in Le tragique amour de Mona Lisa (Albert Capellani, 1912). Major parts in the 1910s he also had in L'ambitieuse (Camille de Morlhon, 1912), La proie (Georges Monca, 1917), Le coupable (André Antoine, 1917), and Géo, le mystérieux (Germaine Dulac, 1917). In Quarante H.P. (1919), Grétillat directed himself! He played a man who takes revenge on his former mistress and her new lover, who have been responsible for his ruin. In the 1920s, Grétillat played Vautrin In Le père Goriot (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1921), Nero in Néron (J. Gordon Edwards, 1922), and Dartès in La fille des chiffonniers (Henri Desfontaines, 1922). After that, the actor took a break of many years from the film sets and only returned when sound film had set in. In 1931, Grétillat returned to the screens, and especially in the years 1937-1938 he played many roles. Grétillat's last role was as Auguste in Quai des Orfèvres (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1947), starring Louis Jouvet and Suzy Delair.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 304. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Marcelle Géniat (1881-1959) was a French stage and screen actress. Born Eugénie Pauline Martin in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, Géniat started very young at the theatre. Already at the age of eight, she played in Zola's 'Assommoir' in Saint Petersburg, alongside Lucien Guitry. She entered the Comédie-Française in 1899, became a member in 1910 and left in 1912. In the 1930s, she was also the director of a correctional centre for girls in Boulogne-Billancourt. In the cinema, she appeared in fifty-three films between 1909 and 1956. Her film debut was in Le roi s'amuse (Albert Capellani, 1909). She played in four films in the 1910s including two by Léonce Perret. Her largest output was in the French sound film of the 1930s and 1940s. She had the lead in La joueuse d'orgue (Gaston Roudès, 1936), an adaptation of a classic novel by Xavier de Montepin which had already been filmed in 1925, and which deals with a woman who witnesses a crime but has become blind because of it. Géniat also had major parts as La Chouette in Les mystères de Paris (Félix Gandéra, 1935) with Madeleine Ozeray, as the mother of Raimu in L'étrange Monsieur Victor (Jean Grémillon, 1938), and opposite Pierre Fresnay as Mamouret in Le briseur de chaînes (Jacques Daniel-Norman, 1941). Marcelle Géniat was buried in the Parisian cemetery of Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis). She was the mother of actress Gilberte Géniat.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 313. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Alexandre Arnaudy (1881-1969), born Marius Guarino, had a rich stage career on the stage, before expanding this with an additional career in French cinema from the early 1930s. In 1925, he had already played a minor part in the silent adventure film Surcouf (Litz-Morat, 1925). From 1932 to 1953, Arnaudy played in some 20 films, e.g. in the title roles of the Marcel Pagnol adaptations Cigalon (1935) and Topaze (1936). Both comedies were directed by Pagnol himself.
French postcard in the 'Nos artistes dans leur loge' series, no. 315. Photo: Comoedia, Paris.
Saint-Granier (1890-1976) was a French journalist, singer, (song)writer, actor, director, and radio star. He first developed a career as theatre journalist. Between the two world wars, he was one of the great personalities of the French cabaret, and also of revues with Maurice Chevalier at the Casino de Paris. He was the director of Paramount Pictures in France in the early 1930s, and acted in several films at that time. In the 1930s, Saint-Granier also had a career in radio, eventually becoming the producer of the beloved Radio-Cité in 1937.
French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: Henri Manuel.
French postcard in the Collection Artistique de Vins Désiles series by Ruckert & Cie. Photo: P. Berger.
Struck by lightning
Yvonne Laurence Blanche de Bray was born in 1887 in Paris. Already as a child, Yvonne de Bray started her career on stage alongside two famous 'monstres sacrés' of the French stage, Gabrielle Réjane, and Sarah Bernhardt.
When she was 15, she married a journalist but the marriage lasted only 3 years. Her real stage debut she had in 1907 in 'Le Ruisseau' by Pierre Wolf.
After that, she played in comedies such as 'Trains de luxe' by Abel Hermand in 1909 and 'Papa' by the fashionable duo Flers and Caillavet in 1911.
The same year, she met poet and playwright Henry Bataille (1872-1922) and was struck by lightning. For ten years they remained a couple, living in Rueil-Malmaison. She performed on stage in tailor-made plays by her husband, such as 'La Phalène' (1913), 'La Tendresse' (1921) and 'La Possession' (1921).
As Daniel Chocron writes on the site CinéArtistes, while afterwards denigrated, Bataille's plays had underneath their lightness a serious critique of society and morality regarding the situation of women versus men in the world of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy. In 1922, De Bray left the stage, devastated after the death of her husband.
French postcard in the Les Reines de la Mode series by Croissant, Paris, no. 3375. Photo: Saul Boyer.
French postcard by Imp. H. Bouquet, Paris. Photo: Waléry, Paris. Caption: Yvonne de Bray dans le rôle de Hélène Miran-Charville, Le Coeur dispose, Comédie en 3 Actes de Francis de Croissey. Théâtre de l'Athénée, Paris.
The lover of a former sports champion
For several years Yvonne de Bray would be the lover of the former sports champion Violette Morris (1893-1944), who helped De Bray with her dipsomaniac alcoholism.
In 1938, Jean Cocteau managed to convince De Bray to go back on stage to perform in his play 'Les Parents Terribles' the role of Sophie, which he had written especially for her. A health problem prevented her from performing, so Germaine Dermoz got the part.
Instead, in 1948, she would be Sophie in Cocteau's film adapted from the play, Les Parents Terribles (1948), opposite Jean Marais as Michel, Josette Day as Madeleine, and Gabrielle Dorziat as Léo.
In 1939, De Bray and her partner invited Jean Cocteau, whose lover Marais was then mobilised, to stay with them at their houseboat docked at Pont de Neuilly. There he wrote the three-act play 'Les Monstres sacrés' in which De Bray and Morris would act in 1940. The play was a success, so De Bray stepped out of her isolation.
But during the war, the relation with Morris collapsed and the latter, deluded in life, would collaborate with the Nazis and would be shot by the French Resistance in 1944 (even if no proof of Morris' collaboration has ever resurfaced in archives).
French postcard by F.C. et Cie, no. 16. 9. Photo: Manuel.
French postcard in the Collection Artistique de Vins Désiles by G.P., Paris, no. 8.
A landmark in the lesbian cinema
From 1943 Yvonne de Bray acted in the cinema. Her films include Jean Delannoy's L'Éternel Retour/The Eternal Return (1943) with Madeleine Sologne and Jean Marais, Jean Cocteau's L'Aigle à deux têtes/The Eagle with Two Heads (1948) starring Edwige Feuillère and Jean Marais, and Gigi (Jacqueline Audry, 1948) with Gaby Morlay.
During the 1950s she appeared in Olivia/The Pit of Loneliness (Jacqueline Audry, 1950) - a landmark in the lesbian cinema, Chéri (Pierre Billon, 1950), Nous sommes tous des assassins/We Are All Murderers (André Cayatte, 1952) with Marcel Mouloudji, and Quand tu liras cette lettre/When You Read This Letter (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1953) starring Juliette Gréco and Philippe Lemaire.
Forty years earlier, De Bray had acted in two silent shorts, Les Fiancés de Miss Maggy (?, 1909) and the Pathé production Le Poison du Professeur Rouff (René Leprince, 1911), but there may have been more early films.
At the theatre, De Bray performed not only with Cocteau. She also played in Jean Giraudoux's 'Pour Lucrèce' (1953), directed by Jean-Louis Barrault at the Théâtre Marigny.
Yvonne de Bray died in 1954 in Paris, at the age of 66 She was buried at the cemetery of Père-Lachaise.
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 23. Photo: Manuel Frères.
Sources: Daniel Chocron (CinéArtistes - French), Ciné-Ressources (French), L'encinémathèque (French), L'info sans masque (French), Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.
Danish postcard by Stenders Kunstforlag, no. 39. Photo: First National Pictures. Nazimova and Milton Sills in Madonna of the Streets (Edwin Carewe, 1924).
Danish postcard by Eneret, no. 725. Photo: First National. Corinne Griffith and Milton Sills in Single Wives (George Archainbaud, 1924).
Danish postcard by J. Chr. Olsons Kunstforlag, Eneret. Photo: Milton Sills in The Making of O'Malley (Lambert Hillyer, 1925).
Danish postcard by J. Chr. Olsons Kunstforlag, Eneret. Photo: Milton Sills and Doris Kenyon in The Making of O'Malley (Lambert Hillyer, 1925).
Danish postcard by J. Chr. Olsons Kunstforlag, Eneret, no. 536. Photo: Milton Sills and Enid Bennett in The Sea Hawk (Frank Lloyd, 1924).
Stalwart personality and handsome looks
Milton George Gustavus Sills was born in 1882 in middle-class Chicago, Illinois, U.S. He was the son of William Henry Sills, a successful mineral dealer, and Josephine Antoinette Troost Sills, an heiress from a prosperous banking family.
Upon completing high school, Sills studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Chicago and worked there first as a researcher and later as a professor in both sections.
In 1905, stage actor-manager Donald Robertson visited the school to lecture on author and playwright Henrik Ibsen and suggested to Sills that he try his hand at acting. On a whim, Sills gave up his position to embark on a stint in acting. He joined Robertson's stock theatre company and began touring the country.
In 1908, he played on Broadway already. He made his Broadway debut in 'This Woman and This Man'. It was again a success. From 1908 to 1914, Sills appeared in about a dozen Broadway shows.
In 1910, Sills married English stage actress Gladys Edith Wynne, a niece of actress Edith Wynne Matthison. The union produced one child, Dorothy Sills. Gladys filed for divorce in 1925.
Wooed by producer William Brady, Sills made his film debut in 1914 in the big-budget drama The Pit (Maurice Tourneur, 1914) for the World Film Company. It was another success. Sills made three more films for the company, including The Deep Purple opposite Clara Kimball Young.
Jim Beaver at IMDb: "His stalwart personality and handsome looks brought him a following, and his talent extended to a wide variety of roles in an equally wide variety of genres."
Sills worked for various companies in the 1910s, including that of Clara Kimball Young. He acted with Irene Castle (aka Mrs. Vernon Castle) in the 15 episodes Pathé serial Patria (1917), directed by Leopold & Theodor Wharton (episodes 1-10) and Jacques Jaccard (11-15). It was an anti-Japanese propaganda, and funded by William Randolph Hearst in the lead-up to the US's entry into World War I.
British postcard. Photo: Pathé Frères Cinema Ltd.
American postcard. Milton Sills in One Clear Call (John M. Stahl, 1922).
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 300.
Romanian postcard. Photo: Viola Dana and Milton Sills in The Silent Lover (George Archainbaud, 1926).
The only film that captured the sexual revolution of the Jazz Age
By the early 1920s, Milton Sills had become a matinee idol, working for various film studios, including Metro Pictures, Famous Players-Lasky, and Pathé Exchange.
In 1923 he was Colleen Moore's leading man in the box office hit Flaming Youth (John Francis Dillon, 1923). In his retrospective essay 'Echoes of the Jazz Age, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald cited Flaming Youth as the only film that captured the sexual revolution of the Jazz Age.
His biggest success was The Sea Hawk (Frank Lloyd, 1924), the top-grossing film of that year. It is a silent adventure film about an English noble sold into slavery who escapes and turns himself into a pirate king. The film is based on the 1915 novel by Rafael Sabatini.
In 1926 he scripted Men of Steel (George Archainbaud, 1926), in which he acted opposite Doris Kenyon, whom he married in the same year. She became his second wife and in 1927, their son, Kenyon Clarence Sills, was born.
Sills was in 1927 one of the co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was also a founding member of Actors' Equity in 1913.
As early as 1928, Sills had begun to make the transition to sound pictures with the part-talking The Barker (George Fitzmaurice, 1928) with Dorothy Mackaill, Betty Compson, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. His last film was the sound version of The Sea Wolf (Al Santell, 1930).
Milton Sills died in 1930 of a heart attack during a game of tennis with his wife at their Brentwood home in Los Angeles. He was only 48. He was interred at the Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Chicago, Illinois.
Posthumously in 1932, his book 'Values: A Philosophy of Human Needs – Six Dialogues on Subjects from Reality to Immortality' was published. It was co-edited by Ernest Holmes.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 730/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Transocean-Film-Co, Berlin.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1185/1, 1927-1928. Photo: First National Pictures.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1249/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Paramount-Film.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1249/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Paramount-Film.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2006/1, 1927-1928. Photo: First National / Fanamet. Betty Bronson and Milton Sills acted together in Paradise (Irvin Willat, 1926).
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 403. Photo: Fanamet-Film.
Swedish postcard by Ljunggrens Konstforlag, Stockholm, no. 282.
Danish postcard by J. Chr. Olsons Kunstforlag, Eneret, no. 724. Photo: Milton Sills and his daughter.
Sources: Jim Beaver (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/1. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/2. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/3. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/4. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
The Old Fritz
Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz was a two-part German historical film, made in 1927 and released in January 1928 in Germany. It was the last of the Frederick the Great film cycle of the German silent film era - several sounds films would follow still.
Star Otto Gebühr was a look-a-like of king Friedrich II (1712-1786), and ‘Friedrich dem Großen’ would become his role of a lifetime. Introduced by his colleague Paul Wegener, director Carl Boese cast him as the king of Prussia in the silent film Die Tänzerin Barberina (Carl Boese, 1920). The role would become his breakthrough and he would play the role again and again, both on stage and on the screen.
Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz was produced and directed by Gerhard Lamprecht, while the script was by Lamprecht, Luise Heilborn-Körbitz, and Hans Torius. Karl Hasselmann was the cinematographer, while Otto Moldenhauer took care of the art direction. National Film distributed the film.
In Part 1, the Seven Year War (1756-1763) has ended and Frederick has decided to restore his damaged country, but troubles pester him. His nephew, the Crown Prince Friedrich (Heinz Klockow), a persistent skirt-chaser, is married to Elisabeth von Braunschweig (Charlotte Ander), but the marriage is an unhappy one, while the prince courts a commoner, Wilhelmine Enke (Dina Gralla).
The King raises new taxes on alcohol, spices, and coffee. He only cares about war invalids and compulsory education. When he finds out about his son's affair, he expels the mistress. Frederick's friends are appalled, as he treats his son like once his father did to himself. Wilhelmine stands on her rights by claiming she is getting a child from the prince. The prince is separated from his wife, as not only he but also she has had several extramarital affairs. The King now marries his nephew to Friederike Luise von Hessen-Darmstadt (Renate Brausewetter).
Part 2 takes place in 1777. The young Emperor Joseph II (Peter von Hahn) wants to annex Ansbach-Bayreuth, because he thinks the Prussian king is already too old and too ill to lead another campaign anyway. Angered about this, Friedrich returns to the battlefield. But there is no battle, the war is undertaken and finished with treaties.
From now on, the king has to deal only with small stuff. He helps the miller Arnold to his right, because the latter is about to lose his mill to the Court of Appeal, so the King dismisses all the judges. Frederick is now despised by many because of his severity but also loved because of his care for his subjects. Lovingly and mockingly at the same time, they now call him "Old Fritz". He dies on 16 August 1786, seriously ill and bitter. Hardly anyone mourns for him.
Apart from the actors mentioned above, Julia Serda played the Queen in both parts, Berthold Reissig played Prince Heinrich, Wilhelm Hertwig played Prince Ferdinand, and Elsa Wagner played Princess Amalie. In Part 2, the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm was played by Anton Pointner.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/5. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/6. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/8. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3185/1. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
German postcard by WJ Morlins, Berlin / Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 647/11. Photo: Karl Schenker / Cserépy-Film Co. Otto Gebühr as Friedrich II in Der Alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).
Sources: Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 551/1. Photo: Roman Freulich / Unfilman.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma Series, by A.N., Paris, no. 8. Photo: Roman Freulich / Universal Film.
The original Sea Wolf
Herbert Rawlinson was born in Brighton, UK, in 1885. According to English Wikipedia, he sailed on the same ship to the US as Charlie Chaplin(Chaplin sailed to the US for the first time in 1910, on his first US tour with the Fred Karno theatre company).
German Wikipedia adds that Rawlinson began his show career in the circus before he made his film debut in 1911 as the male lead Hank Gibson opposite Tom Mix in a supporting part as the sheriff in the short film The Cowboy and the Shrew, produced by Selig Polyscope and released in April 1911. Mix was already one of Selig's leading men from 1909 onward. In The Cowboy and the Shrew, Rawlinson plays a good-hearted cowpuncher who is tied up on instigation of a rancher's daughter who scorns his love, but he manages to escape and convince the girl.
Rawlinson became one of Selig's main actors, and had an enormous output of shorts there, already some 33 films in 1911 and some 40 titles in 1912. He alternated starring roles with major supporting parts, opposite such actors as Hobart Bosworth, Tom Santschi, and Sydney Ayres.
In 1913 the output slowed down to some 17 titles, as of late 1913 he appeared in his first feature, The Sea Wolf, produced and directed by, and starring, Hobart Bosworth, based on a Jack London novel, and now a lost film. Between the notoriously cruel captain, Wolf Larsen (Bosworth) and a shipwreck survivor, the gentle Humphrey Van Weyden (Rawlinson), a bond is created, against all odds. Jack London collaborated on this production and played a sailor in the film. After this first version, many other adaptations would follow in 1920, 1926, 1930, and 1941, plus TV versions.
Rawlinson's performance in The Sea Wolf didn't mean he stopped acting in shorts. Between 1913 and 1917 he continued to act in short films at Selig but also at other smaller companies such as Bison. In addition to 22 shorts Rawlinson did in 1914, he also acted in five features: four were directed by Otis Turner and produced by Universal: The Spy, The Opened Shutters, Damon and Pythias, and Called Back, while the fifth was again a Bosworth production: Martin Eden. Rawlinson had the male lead in The Spy and Called Back and major supporting parts in the other three.
Based on a James Fennimore Cooper novel, The Spy is about an American agent working for General Washington during the War of Independence, who pretends to be a British spy and eventually trades places with a condemned British officer, risking the gallows. According to Moving Picture World (see IMDb), he is rescued in the nick of time. In Called Back, Rawlinson plays a blind man who is the witness of murder by two Italian anarchists on a young, rich man. The victim's sister (Ann Little) who also witnesses the murder, faints and loses her mind. Years after, the formerly blind man and the sister meet and together they unravel the devious plot of the two murderers and their aids.
British postcard in the 'Pictures' Portrait Gallery by Pictures Ltd., London, no. 82.
No longer solely a tough action hero
In 1915 Herbert Rawlinson again did a string of shorts but only one feature, The Black Box, again an Otis Turner film, this time a Sci-Fi drama about a private detective (Rawlinson) who investigates a bizarre murder case involving mysterious messages delivered in a small black box by the killer. Again, Ann Little and William Worthington were co-actors.
In 1916, in addition to some 14 shorts for Universal, often directed by former actor William Worthington, Little Eve Edgarton (Robert Z. Leonard, 1916) was the only feature. While doing his last shorts at Universal in 1917, Rawlinson mainly focused on features. In 1918 he only did features at Universal, such as Smashing Through (Elmer Clifton, 1918) and The Flash of Fate (Elmer Clifton, 1918), and alternated Western and mountain dramas with comedy.
During 1918, though, Rawlinson stopped his intense career with Universal, and started freelancing, hopping from one company to another. He no longer was solely a tough action hero, but also paired with leading ladies such as Mabel Normand, Marguerite Marsh, and Catherine Calvert. Several of his films were directed by film pioneer J. Stuart Blackton, such as A House Divided (1919), Man and his Woman (1920), and the class conflict-driven Passers-By (1920).
In 1920 Herbert Rawlinson launched onscreen the character of detective Craig Kennedy in the 15-episodes crime serial The Carter Case, which would have many remakes on the big and the little screen. In 1923 Blackton, who had gone independent in 1917, would return to his old company Vitagraph. Herbert Rawlinson himself, after making films for Famous Players, First National and many small companies, and not always in the lead anymore, returned to Universal in 1922, where he got star billing again and films were draped around his persona.
His first film was Tod Browning's Man under Cover (1922), a crime film that still survives and deals with a crook who makes good, and sets up a trap to outwit two crooks who have gained thousands from a fake oil well (the plot reminds a bit of The Sting). Barbara Bedford is his love interest. In subsequent films, Rawlinson was paired with actresses Virginia Valli, Lillian Rich, Eileen Percy, Katherine Perry, Claire Adams, and Helen Ferguson.
British postcard by The Trans-Atlantic Film Co., 1915. Photo: Universal. Herbert Rawlinson in The Black Box (Otis Turner, 1915). Transatlantic was Universal's European film distribution branch in the 1910s, settled in London.
British postcard by The Trans-Atlantic Film Co., 1915. Photo: Universal. Herbert Rawlinson in The Black Box (Otis Turner, 1915).
Directed by the worst director of all time
Herbert Rawlinson started to do more comedies and mystery films in the mid-1920s. After the mystery film Dark Stairways (Robert F. Hill, 1924), Rawlinson mingled Universal again with other companies such as MGM and Fox. In The Adventurous Sex (Charles Giblyn, 1925), he plays a sweetheart who spends too much time obsessed with his aeroplane, so his neglected girlfriend (Clara Bow) begins to enjoy a flapper lifestyle and soon an adventurer (Earle Williams) becomes a competitor.
In the years 1925-1927, Rawlinson's female partners were Madge Bellamy, Alma Rubens, and Betty Compson, while he played opposite Priscilla Dean and the famous comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in Slipping Wives (Fred Guiol, 1927). He was also Claire Windsor's love interest as a widower cavalry lieutenant, who remarries but his son (Jackie Coogan) opposes the new stepmother.
In the same year 1927, Herbert Rawlinson took a break from the film sets. From 1929, he performed on Broadway, and this for several years, returning to Hollywood only by 1933, when the sound film had become well established.
Rawlinson transformed himself into a character actor but acted mainly in supporting roles. Only in smaller films such as Enlighten Thy Daughter (1934), Hitch Hike to Heaven (1936), and Blake of Scotland Yard (1937), he still had the male lead.
In his last years, Rawlinson worked for radio on such programs as 'Cavalcade of America' and 'Escape'. In 1950-1951 Rawlinson also worked as a presenter and narrator for the CBS radio show 'Hollywood Star Playhouse'.
In 1953, Herbert Rawlinson died of lung cancer. Just one day before his death in 1953, he finished the film Jail Bait with the "worst director of all time", Ed Wood. Rawlinson was married to Roberta Arnold in 1917 but they divorced in 1922 or 1923 (sources differ). Rawlinson also was married to Loraine Abigail Long in 1924 (divorced in 1947). They had two children, David and Sally, who both had a short film career in the 1940s.
American postcard. Photo: Albert Witzel.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 86. Photo: Roman Freulich.
Sources: Wikipedia (English, Portuguese, and German), and IMDb.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 347.
An acting style uniquely his own
Raymond Griffith was born in Boston, Mass. in 1895. His parents, James Henry Griffith and Mary Guichard, were both actors, as were his grandfather, Gerald Griffith, and his great grandfather, Thomas Griffith. When he was 15 months old, Raymond made his stage debut and by the age of seven he played the lead in 'Little Lord Fauntleroy.'
He lost his voice at an early age, causing him to speak for the rest of his life in a hoarse whisper. Griffith claimed that it was the result of his having to scream at the top of his lungs every night in the stage melodrama 'The Witching Hour' as a child actor. Others have stated that a respiratory diphtheria had permanently damaged his vocal chords.
Afterwards, he worked in a circus, was a dancer and dance teacher, toured Europe with French pantomime players and joined the US Navy for a while, before settling in California in 1914.
In 1915, he made his film debut at the L-KO Kompany, where a played in countless comedies. In 1916, he switched to Mack Sennett's Keystone in 1916, where he remained for years. At first Griffith worked mostly as gagman and scriptwriter. After interludes at Fox and Triangle, Griffith returned to Keystone in 1918.
From 1918 he worked mainly in features. In 1921 he joined director Marshall Neilan's unit. While with Neilan, he returned to acting and, it is assumed, continued writing scenarios. In the fall of 1922, he left Neilan and got a contract at Goldwyn Pictures, which eventually would merge into MGM.
Griffith's first film for his new studio was the mystery-melodrama Red Lights (Clarence G. Badger, 1923) with Marie Prevost. He appeared in Tod Browning's The Day of Faith (1923) with Eleanor Boardman and Tyrone Power, Sr.
It was here that his career as star comedian began. In his 1991 article 'Another Griffith', Davide Turconi notes in Griffithiana: "As for Griffith's Goldwyn period, however, it is worth mentioning that he introduced certain changes to the films in which he appeared between 1922 and 1923 that clearly reflect his earlier experience with Lehrman (L-KO) and Sennett."
Jon Hopwood adds at IMDb: "During his Goldwyn period, Griffith created an acting style uniquely his own that was a hybrid of the comedic and the dramatic. In his Goldwyn films he played detectives & journalists and characters not entirely on the side of the law. His characters were not explicitly comic, but the characterisations were infused with Griffith's panache, spiced with comic business that occasionally crossed the threshold into slapstick. The style often tipped the scenarios over into farce. "
At MGM, he also played in dark tales such as The White Tiger (Tod Browning, 1923) starring Priscilla Dean, in which he is searching for the murderer of his father (Wallace Beery).
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 327.
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 581. Photo: Fanamet-Film.
The work of an inventive, unaggressive, amiably iconoclastic intelligence
In late 1923 or early 1924, Raymond Griffith signed a contract with Famous Players, where he made five pictures. The first was Changing Husbands (1924) directed by Cecil B. DeMille and co-starring Leatrice Joy.
Then he moved to Paramount where some of his best films were made, first of all Paths to Paradise (Clarence Badger, 1925) with Betty Compson, a caper film that is in all circulating prints missing its final reel. It was highly praised when it came out and a critic predicted that he would become Chaplin's top rival.
Even more famous is Hands Up! (1926), a Civil War comedy feature directed by Clarence G. Badger, and co-starring Mack Swain, which was entered into the National Film Registry in 2005. Sennett plays Jack, a spy for the Confederate States of America, who tries to capture a Union shipment of gold. Obstacles along the way include a pair of sisters, hostile Indians, and a firing squad. In his 1975 book 'The Silent Clowns', Walter Kerr wrote about it: "Hands Up! contains some work that is daring - for its period, certainly - and some that is masterfully delicate, the work of an inventive, unaggressive, amiably iconoclastic intelligence."
His next film, Wet Paint (Arthur Rosson, 1926) with Helene Costello and Bryant Washburn, brought him more high praise from the critics. Griffith made one more film in 1926 and two in 1927. Although 1926 brought him kudos from the critics, neither of the 1927 films received positive reviews, and, according to at least one fan magazine of the time, Griffith and Famous Players brought his contract to an end by "mutual consent."
Like many silent comedians, Griffith had a traditional costume; his was a top hat, white tie and tails, often augmented by a cape and/or walking stick. Unfortunately, many of Griffith's starring feature films have long since been lost, or have not been re-released.
The coming of sound ended Griffith's acting career, but he did have one memorable film role before retiring from the screen, In the classic anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930) he plays the French soldier who takes cover in the same shell crater as German soldier Lew Ayres, who stabs him with a bayonet and is then forced to spend the night watching him die.
It was a small but pivotal role. Jon C. Hopwood: " Because of his wounds, the French soldier cannot speak above a whisper, which enabled Griffith to play the role. The scene, in which the French soldier slowly dies, is made harrowing and haunting by Griffith's performance."
Griffith then retired from acting, but not from the cinema. He continued to work at Twentieth Century Fox as a production supervisor and associate producer.
In 1957, Raymond Griffith choked to death at the Masquers Club in Los Angeles, California, aged 62. His asphyxia was due to partially masticated food. Griffith was married to stage and film actress Bertha Mann between 1928 and his death. They had one adopted daughter and two children of their own (one was stillborn).
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 346.
Sources: Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), Tim Lussier (Silents are Golden), Wikipedia (English and German; actually, the German version gives much more information) and IMDb.
Dutch postcard. Sent by mail in 1952.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 290. Photo: British Lion Republic.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 476. Photo: British Lion / Republic Pictures.
Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger. British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 596. Photo: British Lion Republic.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 1389. Photo: Republic Pictures.
A matinee idol and an American legend
Roy Rogers was born Leonard Slye in 1911 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He was the son of Mattie (née Womack) and Andrew Slye.
Later, living on a farm near Lucasville with no radio, the family made their own entertainment. On Saturday nights, they often invited neighbours over for square dances, during which Len would sing, play mandolin, and call the square dances. He also learned to yodel during this time, and his mother and he would use different yodels to communicate with each other across distances on the farm.
By 1929, after his older sister Mary and her husband had moved to Lawndale, California, Len and his father quit their factory jobs, packed up their 1923 Dodge, and drove the family to California to visit Mary. He moved definitively to California in 1930, aged 18. He played in such musical groups as The Hollywood Hillbillies, Rocky Mountaineers, Texas Outlaws, and his own group, the International Cowboys.
In 1934 he formed a group with Bob Nolan called Sons of the Pioneers. By the summer of 1934, the popularity and fame of the Sons of the Pioneers extended beyond the Los Angeles area and quickly spread across the country through short syndicated radio segments that were later rebroadcast across the United States. The Sons of the Pioneers signed a recording contract with the newly founded Decca label and made their first commercial recording in August 1934.
While in that group he was known as Leonard Slye, then as Dick Weston. Their songs included 'Cool Water' and 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds'. They first appeared in the western Rhythm on the Range (Norman Taurog, 1936), starring Bing Crosby, Frances Farmer and Martha Raye.
From his first film appearance, he appeared steadily in Westerns, including a bit role as a bandit opposite Gene Autry in The Old Coral (Joseph Kane, 1936). In 1937 he went solo from Sons Of The Pioneers.
In 1938, he played a large supporting role as a singing cowboy in another Gene Autry Western, The Old Barn Dance (Joseph Kane, 1938). That same year, Autry entered the United States Army Air Force. Republic immediately rechristened Slye 'Roy Rogers', and he was assigned the lead in Under Western Stars (Joseph Kane, 1938) with Smiley Burnette and Carol Hughes. In the film, Roy is elected to Congress to bring the misery of the 'dustbowl' of the 1930s to the attention of Washington politicians.
Rogers became a matinee idol and an American legend. In addition to his own films, Rogers played a supporting role in the John Wayne classic Dark Command (Raoul Walsh, 1940). In the Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Money-Making Western Stars poll, Rogers was listed for 15 consecutive years from 1939 to 1954, holding first place from 1943 to 1954.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 2. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 30. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 34. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 37. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 48. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 51. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard, no. KF 52. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Roy Rogers also did numerous radio and television episodes of The Roy Rogers Show. In many of his films and television episodes, he appeared with his wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino Trigger, and his German Shepherd dog Bullet. Roy's theme song, 'Happy Trails', was written by Dale Evans.
His show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often Pat Brady, Andy Devine, or George 'Gabby' Hayes.
In 1965 his horse Trigger died at age 33. Roy got his horse in 1938 and rode him in every one of his films and TV shows after that. Trigger had appeared in one earlier film, ridden by Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, 1938).
In his later years, Rogers lent his name to the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain. His final film part was as an old time working cowboy who's not settled down in Mackintosh and T.J. (Marvin J. Chomsky, 1975). He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers and elected again in 1988 as Roy Rogers.
Roy Rogers died in 1998 in Apple Valley, California, USA, of congestive heart failure. He was married three times. He married his first wife Lucile Ascolese in 1933 and they divorced in 1936.
That year he married Grace Arline Wilkins. While performing in Roswell, New Mexico, a caller to a radio station ( Grace Arline Wilkins) promised Rogers that she would bake him a pie if he sang 'The Swiss Yodel'. Romance blossomed, and the couple married in Roswell in 1936. They had three children, but she died in 1946, a few days after giving birth to their son, Roy Rogers Jr. (Dusty). She had complications from the cesarean - a blood clot formed, travelled to her brain and killed her.
A year later he married Dale Evans, with whom he had six children. They remained together till his death. There was a Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Museum at Branson, Missouri, but it closed in 2011. All the memorabilia were sold at an auction in April and May of 2011
Dutch postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Dutch postcard by Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, no. 634. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Dutch postcard by Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, no. 648. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Belgian postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Dutch postcard, no. 150.
Dutch postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.
Sources: Ed Stephan (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Filma, no. 11. Photo: Evans, L.A. / Agence Générale Cinematographique.
Fannie Ward, a.k.a. Fanny Ward (1872–1952) was an American actress of stage and screen, known for The Cheat (1915), a sexually- and racially-charged silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. In the late 1910s, she did a series of films for Astra Films, released by Pathé Exchange.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Filma, no. 19. Photo: Fox-Film.
American actor William Farnum (1876-1953) was one of the first major movie stars. From 1914 to 1925, Farnum was one of the biggest sensations in Hollywood, earning $10,000 a week. Farnum's silent pictures include the Westerns The Spoilers (1914) - which culminates in a spectacular saloon fistfight, Drag Harlan (1920) and the drama-adventure If I Were King (1921).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 24.
Georges Melchior (1889-1944) was a French film actor, active in French cinema between 1911 and 1937. He was known for the Fantômas serials (1913-1914) by Louis Feuillade, and L'Atlantide (1921).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 30. Photo: Fox-Film.
George Walsh (1889-1981) was an American film actor, who despite a successful career in silent cinema is best remembered for the part that was taken off from him: the title role in Ben-Hur (1925).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 31. Photo: Lumiere, New York / Vitagraph.
Catherine Calvert (1890–1971) was an American actress. After many years on the stage, and after the death in 1915 of her husband, the playwright Paul Armstrong, she made her film debut in the Universal film production Partners (Hobart Hanley, 1916). In the following years, she often worked under the direction of James Kirkwood for Frank A. Keeney Pictures, e.g. in A Romance of the Underworld (James Kirkwood, 1918). Around 1920 Calvert was a star of the Vitagraph Studios in films like Dead Men Tell No Tales (Tom Terriss, 1920). In 1923 she did her last film: Out to Win (James Kirkwood, 1923). In 1925 she married her second husband, millionnaire George Carrothers, a Canadian wheat exporter. All in all, she acted in 21 films.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 33. Photo: Films Pathé.
Dolores Cassinelli (1888-1984) was an American actress. She was dubbed 'The Cameo Girl of the Movies'. From 1911 to 1925, when she retired from the screens, Dolores Cassinelli acted in about eighty films.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 34. Photo: Famous Players.
Grace Darmond (1893-1963) was a Canadian-American actress of the silent screen. In 1918 or 1919 Darmond started to work in California at various studios, first at Famous Players for The Valley of the Giants (James Cruze, 1919), with Wallace Reid. Her performance as the seductress in the Thomas Ince production Below the Surface (Irvin Willat, 1920), alongside Hobart Bosworth and Lloyd Hughes as a deep-sea diver and his son, earned her in 1921 the chance to play opposite Boris Karloff (his first feature part) in the serial The Hope Diamond Mystery (dir. Stuart Paton).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 38. Photo: Vitagraph.
Alice Joyce (1890-1955) was an American screen actress, who, at the peak of her career, was nicknamed 'the Madonna of the Screen'.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 41. Photo: John Hill / Films Pathé.
American actress and dancer Mae Murray (1885-1965) had her breakthrough on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Follies. Her film debut was in To Have and to Hold (1916). Murray became one of the biggest stars of Universal, often directed by her then-husband, Robert Z. Leonard. At the height of her career, she decided to found her own company with director John Stahl. While the films were successful, critics didn’t like them, because of her exaggerated emotions and her costumes. In the early 1920s, Murray started acting at Metro (later MGM). Murray’s most famous role was that in Erich Von Stroheim’s The Merry Widow (1925), co-starring John Gilbert.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 49. Photo: Vitagraph.
William Duncan (1879–1961), born in Dundee, Scotland was an actor, writer, and director of films and film serials, often Westerns. He was a leading star, becoming one of the highest-paid actors in the early film industry, though many of his films do not survive. Duncan, who was Hollywood's first Scottish movie star, worked with the major studios of the day including the Selig Polyscope Company and Vitagraph.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 59. Photo: Agence Générale Cinématographique.
Monroe Salisbury (1876-1935) was an American stage and screen actor, who peaked on screen in the late 1910s and early 1920s, often in Westerns.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Filma, no. 63. Photo: Agence Générale Cinématographique.
Though no details are known about the life dates and private life of French actress Tania Daleyme, she is famous for her lead in one film by Germaine Dulac, La belle dame sans merci (1920), while she had a supporting role as a bar maid in Dulac's experimental film L'invitation au voyage (1927). She also had supporting parts in Simplette (René Hervil, 1919), Tristan et Yseult (Maurice Mariaud, 1920), Le coeur magnifique (Jean Legrand, Séverin-Mars, 1921), Le double (Alexander Ryder, 1923), and Titi premier, roi des gosses (René Leprince, 1926).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 65. Photo: Paramount Artcraft Pictures.
Elsie Ferguson (1885–1961) was an American stage and film actress. She first climbed up to become a big Broadway star thanks to producers such as Charles Frohman and Henry B. Harris, who both perished in the sinking of resp. the Lusitania and the Titanic. After her Broadway career, she had a fertile career in the silent cinema, from 1917 till 1922. She debuted in Maurice Tourneur's Barbary Sheep (1917). Playing often elegant society women, but also because of her arrogant behaviour, she was nicknamed 'the Aristocrat of the Screen'.
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 81. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.
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. One of his most remarkable parts was that of the title role in the realist drama Crainquebille/Bill/Old Bill of Paris (Jacques Feyder, 1922).
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Filma, no. 90. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.
Andrew Brunelle (1894-1943) was a French screen actor of the silent and sound era. He played Dr. Howey in Louis Feuillade's serial La nouvelle mission de Judex (1917), starring René Cresté as Judex. Brunelle played an evil doctor, member of the dangerous gang La rafle aux secrets (the raiders of the secrets), who avid to steal and resell important technological inventions.
French postcard by Editions P.I., offered by Victoria S.A. (Biscuits, Chocolates and Patisserie), Brussels. Photo: Paramount Pictures 1950.
British Real Photograph postcard, London, no. FS 120. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck in His Affair (William A. Seiter, 1937).
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. W 68. Photo: Paramount.
German postcard, no. 87. Photo: Paramount / Warner Bros.
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 323. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1953.
An extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role
Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Catherine Stevens in 1907 in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Catherine Ann (McPhee) and Byron E. Stevens, a bricklayer.
Her mother died of complications from a miscarriage after she was accidentally knocked off a trolley by a drunk. Two weeks after the funeral, her father, Byron Stevens, joined a work crew digging the Panama Canal and was never seen again. Barbara was brought up by her elder sister Mildred and was partially raised in foster homes.
Ruby toured with her older sister Mildred during the summers of 1916 and 1917, and practiced her sister's routines backstage.
At the age of 14, she dropped out of school to take a job wrapping packages at a department store in Brooklyn. Later, she went to work at the local telephone company, but she had the urge to enter show business.
In 1923, a few months before her 16th birthday, Ruby auditioned for a place in the chorus at the Strand Roof, a nightclub over the Strand Theatre in Times Square. A few months later, she obtained a job as a dancer in the 1922 and 1923 seasons of the Ziegfeld Follies, dancing at the New Amsterdam Theater.
In 1926, she played a chorus girl in the play 'The Noose'. It became one of the most successful plays of the season, running on Broadway for nine months and 197 performances. Ruby changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck by combining the first name of her character, Barbara Frietchie, with the last name of another actress in the play, Jane Stanwyck.
Stanwyck became a Broadway star soon afterwards, when she was cast in her first leading role in 'Burlesque' (1927). She received rave reviews, and it was a huge hit. The producer had great plans for her, but the Hollywood offers kept coming.
In 1928 Barbara moved to Hollywood. Stanwyck's first sound film was The Locked Door (George Fitzmaurice, 1929) opposite Rod La Rocque, followed by Mexicali Rose (Erle C. Kenton, 1929). Neither film was successful. Nonetheless, Frank Capra chose Stanwyck for his romantic drama Ladies of Leisure (1930) with Ralph Graves, and it established an enduring friendship with the director. He would often choose her to be the star of his films.
Barbara Stanwyck soon proved to be an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role.
She was equally at home in all genres, from melodramas, such as Forbidden (Frank Capra, 1932) and Stella Dallas (King Vidor, 1937), to thrillers, such as Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944), also starring Fred MacMurray.
She was the ambitious woman sleeping her way to the top from 'the wrong side of the tracks' in Baby Face (Alfred E. Green, 1933), a pre-code classic. She also excelled in comedies such as Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen, 1940) and The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941) opposite Henry Fonda, and in Westerns, such as Union Pacific (Cecil B. DeMille, 1939) with Joel McCrea.
Vintage promotion card for Lux Toilet Soap. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.
British postcard by Milton, no. 87. Photo: Warner Bros & Vitaphone Pictures.
British postcard by Valentine & Sons LTD., Dundee and London, no. 146.
Spanish postcard by SOBE, no. 499. Sent by mail in 1949. Photo: Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941).
Barbara Stanwyck was also well known for her TV roles as Victoria, the matriarch of the Barkley family in the Western series The Big Valley (1965). In 1983, she also played in the hit mini-series The Thorn Birds (1983), which did much to keep her in the eye of the public. She turned in an outstanding performance as Mary Carson. One of her last roles was in the hit drama series The Colbys (1985).
She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress four times, for Stella Dallas (King Vidor, 1937), Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941), Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number ( Anatole Litvak, 1948).
For her television work, she won three Emmy Awards, for The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1961), The Big Valley (1966) and The Thorn Birds (1983). Her performance in The Thorn Birds also won her a Golden Globe. She received an Honorary Oscar at the 1982 Academy Award ceremony and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1986. She was also the recipient of honorary lifetime awards from the American Film Institute (1987), the Film Society of Lincoln Center (1986), the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (1981) and the Screen Actors Guild (1967).
Barbara Stanwyck died in 1990 in Santa Monica, Califonia. She was 82 and left 93 films and a host of TV appearances as her legacy. She was married twice, to film actors Frank Fay (1928-1935) and Robert Taylor (1939-1952). Her son, Dion Anthony 'Tony' Fay (1932) was adopted.
Frank Fay and Stanwyck's marriage and their experience in Hollywood is said to be the basis of the Hollywood film A Star is Born (William A. Wellman, 1937). The womanising, alcoholic Fay's career floundered, while Stanwyck's flourished for decades. Their stormy marriage finally ended after a drunken brawl, during which he tossed their adopted son, Dion, into the swimming pool.
Despite rumours of affairs with Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford, Stanwyck wed Robert Taylor, who had gay rumours of his own to dispel. Their marriage started off on a sour note when his possessive mother demanded he spend his wedding night with her rather than with Barbara.
In 1957 Tony, her adopted son, was arrested for trying to sell lewd pictures while waiting to cash his unemployment check. When questioned by the press about his famous mother, he replied, "We don't speak." They became permanently estranged in February 1951, when he was 19 years old. The rift never healed. She saw him only a few times after his childhood. He was reportedly bequeathed some money from Stanwyck's estate on condition he never speak publicly about her.
American postcard by Lux Soap, no. 008011E. Photo: R.K.O. Caption: Barbara Stanwyck, R.K.O. Star says: "Lux Toilet Soap's active lather leaves skin deliciously fragrant. It's the best way I know to protect daintiness!"
Canadian postcard by Fan Club Post Card, no. PC9.
American postcard by Coral-Lee, Rancho Cordova, CA, no. SC17489. Photo: Tony Koroda / 1981 Sygma. Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck in Cattle Queen of Montana (Allan Dwan, 1954).
German postcard by Anco, no. 1/77. Photo: Four Star Margate. Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley in the TV series The Big Valley (1965).
German postcard by Anco, no. 1/77. Photo: Four Star Margate. Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley, Linda Evans, Lee Majors, Richard Long and Peter Breck in the TV series The Big Valley (1965). Caption: Familie Barkley (Barkley Family).
Sources: Denny Jackson (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard by Croissant, Paris, no. 3890. Photo: Gaumont phot. Caption: Don José declares his love to Carmen. This card is probably for the 1906 film Carmen, directed by Alice Guy (-Blaché) for Gaumont. The film consisted of 12 so-called phonoscènes, an early sound-on-disc system. The second song/film scene was 'La fleur que tu m'avais jetée'. The film is presumed lost. Unknown is who the singers are. Croissant also released the coloured series of postcards for pre-1910 Pathé frères movies.
French publicity card. Drawing by Marthe Antoine Gérardin. Publicity for the play 'Chipee!' at the Théâtre de l'Avenue in Paris, a play in which Maud Loty also sang. Her co-actors were a.o. Jean Dax and Marguerite Moreno.
German postcard. Photo Becker & Maass, Berlin. As far as known, stage actress Charlotte Fraedrich only acted in one film, the short Der vertauschte Hund/The swapped dog (Kurt Bleines, 1937), but this postcard must date from the 1910s.
British postcard in the Cinema Stars series by Lilywhite Ltd., no. C.M. 19. Photo: Pathé. Fannie Ward's name is misspelled on this card.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 189. Vanni Marcoux as Charles le Téméraire (Charles the Bold) in the French silent film Le Miracle des Loups (Raymond Bernard, 1924).
French postcard by JRPR, Paris, no. 301. Ernst / Edmond Van Duren in the French late silent film Figaro (Gaston Ravel, 1929), based on the play by Pierre Beaumarchais. Van Duren played the title role. Location shooting was done at the Château de Rochefort-sur-Yvelines.
Dutch postcard, no. 683. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer. This photo could be related to Jeanette MacDonald's 1933 visit to the Netherlands.
Belgian postcard by Esclamator. Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film. Jef Bruyninckx in De Witte/Whitey (Jan Vanderheyden, 1934), based on the eponymous novel by Ernest Claes. In 1980 a new adaptation by Robbe De Hert would follow.
Dutch postcard, no. 610. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer. In 1934 Gloria Swanson did a photo shoot involving this tiger rug and hairdo, before acting in the Jerome Kern musical Music in the air (Joe May, 1934). While some sources say the photos were made by Clarence Sinclair Bull, other sources silence the photographer.
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, no. C248. Photo: Paramount. Henry Wilcoxon as King Richard in the period piece The Crusades (Cecil B. DeMille, 1935).
Belgian postcard by Film en Toneel, no. AX 141. Photo: Columbia Pictures. Joan Bennett pretending to read the Dutch-Flemish film magazine 'Film and Tooneel' (Film and Theatre). On the cover of the magazine is a still from Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming, 1948), featuring Ingrid Bergman.
Belgian card offered by Nieuwe Merksemsche Chocolaterie SPRL, Merksem (Antwerp). Photo: Lux-Film, Roma. Silvana Mangano as the rice picker Silvana in Riso amaro/Bitter Rice (Giuseppe De Santis, 1949), released in Flanders and the Netherlands as Bittere Rijst.
French postcard by Ed. A. Noyer, Paris, no. 1256. Photo: Raymond Voinquel. Handsome and athletic Georges Marchal (1920-1997) was one of the main lead actors in the French cinema of the 1950s, together with Jean Marais.
Austrian postcard. Photo: Cosmopol-Film, Wien. Barbara Rütting in Die letzte Brücke/The Last Bridge (Helmut Käutner, 1954).
Belgian card by DRC, Holland, no. 1878. DRC, Holland was the licence folder for Ufa/ Film-Foto in Belgium. Photo: Unifrance-Film/Ufa/ Film-Foto. Françoise Arnoul in front of the St. Mark's Basilica in a time Venice was still dry.
German postcard by Hermann Leiser Verlag, Berlin, no. 3152. Photo: Richard-Oswald-Produktion. Bernd Aldor in Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray/The Picture of Dorian Gray (Richard Oswald, 1917).
While Dorian remains the same beautiful young man in Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray/The Picture of Dorian Gray, his 'picture' becomes older, uglier, more depraved. Oscar Wilde’s haunting tale was filmed various times.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 544/2. Photo: Hella Moja-Film GmbH. Hella Moja and Ernst Hofmann in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe/Wonderful is the Fairy-Tale of Love (Leo Connard, 1918).
Cinema’s vision of the painter’s studio often has the model standing on a pedestal, the painter dressed in immaculate clothing, and the floor covered with oriental rugs.
German postcard by Rotphot in the Film Sterne series, no. 549/2. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 549/4. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1917).
“In Sin,Ressel Orla has first to play the young thing, who becomes an artist's model under the force of circumstances, in order to save her dying father. When she later stands alone in the world, she rises to happiness without suffering from her past. But then the pride of the woman awakens in her, to whom only the right of her own ego applies.” (Lichtbild-Bühne, 13.07.1918). As often happens in 1910s cinema, the model is ashamed by the artwork based on her own nudity when publicly exhibited, and even awarded.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 514/4. Photo: Fern Andra Atelier. Fern Andra and (in the back) Alfred Abel in Ein Blatt im Sturm... doch das Schicksal hat es verweht/A leaf in a storm ... but fate has lost it (Fern Andra, 1917).
In 1910s cinema, the female partners of artists often need to help them out by selling their art, or even their own bodies.
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 516/2. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Bruno Kastner in Ein Lichtstrahl im Dunkel/A Ray of Light in the Dark (Joe May, 1917).
Count Gerd Palm (Kastner) is known for his flattering portraits of his models, so countess Lydia von Grabor (May), who has a hideous nose, asks him to paint her. Gerd sees through her facade and paints her as a lovely mother. He is so enchanted by a song from her that he asks her marry him. Lydia cannot believe him, so he flees. Years pass, the counts has her nose operated, and returns to Gerd, but discovers he has become blind. Dressed as a nurse she takes care of him. Her care makes him retake his work. He hears she is now ready to marry him, but when he still doubts she sings the song she once sang for him and they finally unite.
German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 2511. Photo: Saturn-Film. Maria Widal in Das sterbende Modell/The dying model (Urban Gad, 1918).
German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 2510. Photo: Saturn-Film. Maria Widal in Das sterbende Modell/The dying model (Urban Gad, 1918).
Das sterbende Modell seems to have been a variation on Edgar Allen Poe’s 'The Oval Portrait'. The more the model is painted, the more she weakens and eventually dies. Painted portraits may have devastating effects on their models.
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 520/7. Photo: Messter Film, Berlin. Henny Porten and Hermann Thimig in Auf Probe gestellt/Put to the test (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).
Comedies with artists are rather rare in the 1910s, but a good example is this Henny Porten comedy. As 1910s film convention demands it, the countess prefers the poor, handsome painter to a rich and stupid aristocrat.
Two examples from the French and the Danish cinema
Spanish collectors card by Amattler Marca Luna chocolate, Series 6, no. 2. Photo: Eclipse. Fred Zorilla and Jean Aymé in Lorena (Georges Tréville, 1918)
Lorena (Suzanne Grandais) is the daughter of the marquis of Chambrey (Maillard), and secretly engaged to the painter Pierre Laurent (Fred Zorilla), but her father has other plans. He wants to give her hand to Count Borgo (Jean Aymé), a son of a late friend. As mentioned above, poor but young, handsome, romantic artists were often opposed to old, rich, depraved, and cynic or stupid aristocrats.
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1944. Photo: Nordisk Films. Valdemar Psilander in Rytterstatuen (A.W. Sandberg, 1919). The German title is Um das Bild des Königs (For the king's statue).
A young sculptor is commissioned by the Minister to make an equestrian statue of the King, for a high sum of money. He also meets and falls in love with the Minister’s niece. Her father, a banker, is involved in wild speculation, kills himself and leaves a giant debt. Secretly, the artist helps out with his prize money, winning the girl of course. So the artist is not only talented but also a gentleman.
Examples of Italian silent films with Francesca Bertini and Helena Makowska
Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 6. Photo: Caesar Film. Gustavo Serena and Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917). In Spain, the film was released as El proceso Clemenceau.
Il processo Clemenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917) is typical for the parabolas in film plots on artists and their models. Artists discover models, often as young, beautiful and innocent girls. Gradually, the women become depraved thanks to the success of the artists, get hooked on money and luxury, and start to cheat. When the sculptor discovers his lover’s betrayal, he first will smash the plaster bust. In the end he will kill the model too. The artist creates the art work and also the model, but when the model misbehaves and does not correspond anymore with the art work’s purity, he may also destroy both the art work and the model. On the left of the card, a copy of a bust made by Amleto Cataldi, portraying Francesca Bertini, and published in the art journal Emporium in 1917.
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 257. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in La donna nuda (Roberto Roberti, 1922), film adaptation of Henry Bataille's classic play La femme nue (1908).
Italian postcard by La Fotominio / Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 115. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Angelo Ferrari in the Henry Bataille adaptation La donna nuda (Roberto Roberti, 1922).
Italian postcard by La Fotominio / Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 264. Photo: Caesar Film. Angelo Ferrari and Francesca Bertini in the Henry Bataille adaptation La donna nuda (Roberto Roberti, 1922).
In La donna nuda (Roberto Roberti, 1920), the painter Pierre Bernier (Angelo Ferrari) becomes acquainted with Lolette (Francesca Bertini), the model of his old friend Rouchard, picked up from the street. Lolette becomes Pierre’s model and his mistress. Pierre becomes famous thanks to his portrait 'The Naked Woman' which represents Lolette. The evening of his triumph at the Salon he decides to marry her, but after having become rich and famous he falls in love with the Princess of Chaban and abandons Lolette, despite owing her his success. After a suicide attempt over her persistently infidel lover, Lolette recovers in the hospital, rejects Pierre, and decides to return to Rouchard. The film was a remake of a film with Lyda Borelli, made in 1914 by Carmine Gallone, while several sound adaptations of Bataille's play would follow.
Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3654, V. Uff. Rev. St., Terni. Photo: Ambrosio. Umberto Mozzato as Settala and Mercedes Brignone as his wife Silvia in La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi 1916, released 1917), based on Gabriele D'Annunzio's play. Caption: 'Lucio Settala in the happy intimacy of the family.'
Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3877, V. Uff. Rev. St., Terni. Photo: Ambrosio. Umberto Mozzato as Lucio Settala and Helena Makowska as Gioconda Dianti in La Gioconda (1917).Caption: Sculptor Lucio Settala feels his love for his model Gioconda Dianti is ever expanding.
Italian postcard by IPA CT, no. 3871. Photo: Società Ambrosio, Torino. V. Uff. Rev. St. Terni. Mercedes Brignone in La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917). Caption: Sivia Settala deposes flowers in the studio of her husband, constating with great sadness, that he is ever more absent.
Italian postcard. IPA CT, no. 3662. Photo: Società Ambrosio, Torino. Helena Makowska as the model Gioconda Dianti in La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1917).
Postcards for the lost Ambrosio production La Gioconda (Eleuterio Rodolfi, 1916, released 1917), based on Gabriele D'Annunzio's play, and starring Helena Makowska, Umberto Mozzato, and Mercedes Brignone. The statue for which Gioconda Danti poses does not seem to recall any existing statue, but its style reminds of that of the Italian sculptor Leonardo Bistolfi. As was common in silent films on artists, the actor’s studio is full of plasters referring to Antique and modern sculpture.
An example with a male protagonist
Italian postcard. Photo: Milano Film. Ermete Zacconi in Spettri/Gli spettri (A.G. Caldiera, 1918). Caption: Not being able anymore to paint, to do anything, nothing!
Ermete Zacconi in the Italian silent film Spettri/Gli spettri (A.G. Caldiera, 1918), adapted from Henrik Ibsen's play 'Ghosts' (Gengangere, 1881). Caption: Not being able anymore to paint, to do anything, nothing! Oswald Alving, who has been a painter in Paris, returns home, suffering from depressions. He gets into a state of despair and anguish, when his mother reveals him the woman he loves is his half-sister and he is himself suffering of syphilis, inherited from his father. He asks his mother to help him die by an overdose of morphine in order to end his suffering from his disease, which could put him into a helpless vegetative state.
Two films with Italia Almirante Manzini
Italian postcard by Fotominio, no. 52. Photo: G.B. Falci, Milano. Italia Almirante in La statua di carne (Mario Almirante 1921). Noemi Keller notices the painted portrait of her lookalike Maria, who has died and whom the painter, count Paolo, is still loving, through Noemi.
La statua di carne (Mario Almirante, 1921), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and Lido Manetti. Often in film, deceased persons affect the living ones by their painted portraits. When discovering a painted portrait of the deceased ‘midinette’ Maria, who is her exact lookalike, the mundane stage artist Noemi Keller understands why count Paolo is so obsessed with her. The motif of the Doppelgänger was popular in silent film and in literature. Though based on an original play (1862, by Teobaldo Ciconi, which was already adapted to film in Italy in 1912, the plot of La statua di carne may also remind of the Symbolist novel 'Bruges-la-morte' (1892) by Georges Rodenbach, which inspired various films such as Yevgeni Bauer’s Gryozy/ Daydreams (1915) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1959).
Italian postcard by Ed. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze. Photo: Liliana Ardea and Alberto Collo in L'ombra (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: Berta's little friend and the daily painting lesson.
Italian postcard by Ed. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 242. Photo: Liliana Ardea and Alberto Collo in L'ombra (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: In the new house of Gerardo. Elena: He is your real masterpiece!
Italian postcard by Ed. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 248. Photo: Italia Almirante Manzini and Alberto Collo in L'ombra (Mario Almirante, 1923). Caption: Berta: Poor little one! He won't realise to have changed mother. This image represents the final scene of the film.
In L’ombra (Mario Almirante, 1924), Berta (Italia Almirante Manzini) is paralysed. Her husband Gerardo (Alberto Collo), an acclaimed painter, starts a double life with Elena (Liliana Ardea), a former pupil. He even has a child with her. The paralysed woman heals, discovers the fraud, and is devastated, preferring to get paralysed again. In the end, the second woman exits, leaving even her child behind. Mark the unfinished portrait of the child on the right. In the play by Dario Niccodemi, on which the film is based, the interior of the painter’s house is described as being full with portraits of the child.
Sources: Ivo Blom, ‘Of Artists and Models. Italian Silent Cinema between Narrative Convention and Artistic Practice’ (Acta Sapientiae Universitatis. Film and Media Studies 7, 2013, 97-110) and Francesco Geraci, ‘Artisti contemporanei: Amleto Cataldi’ (Emporium, XLV, Vol. 267, March 1917, pp. 163-175).
Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 19. Photo: Croatia Film. Josip Pavic (left), Anka Reputin (middle), and Hinko Nučić (right), in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919). The little girl must be Vlasta Dryak.
Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 20. Photo: Croatia Film. Hinko Nučić (left), Tonka Savić-Flieder-Macuka (middle), and Zorga Grund (right), in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919).
A cheerful, somewhat scandalous tale of the bizarre ways of young women
Not much is known about this lost film. One critic, Peter Volk, described it as a cheerful, somewhat scandalous tale of the bizarre ways of young women in the contemporary environment. The second postcard below seems to confirm this interpretation. However, while two cards refer to the gay times of the elder people (Nina Vavra and Arnost Grund), several cards point at serious drama: bad news (a letter), a sick father, a depressed child, and a crying and gravely disappointed young woman. Is Zorka's character forced into marriage? Or plays Nuncic an uncle who becomes her tutor after her father dies? We may only speculate.
Zorka Kremzar, born Zorka Grund (1900-?), was a Croatian film actress. She was the daughter of Arnošt Grund, a director of the Czech origin, and sister of Milada Grund, who performed under the pseudonym of Milada Tana. Zorka Grund later became a filmmaker, according to Croatian sources.
Alfred Grinhut or Alfred Grünhut (1882-1946) was a Croatian and Yugoslav actor and director, known as the author of two films lost today: Vragoljanka (1919) and Dvije sirote (1919), in which he also acted. He also acted in Brisem i sudim (Arnost Grund, 1919) and Dvorovi u samoci (Tito Strozzi, 1925).
Hinko Nučić (originally: Nučič, 1883-1970) was a Slovenian theatre and film actor, director and theatrical pedagogue. He spent most of his artistic life at the Zagreb Theatre as a dramatist and director (1912-1918, 1921-1954). He taught at the Zagreb State Academy of Music (1922-1928) and at the Academy of Music until 1933. His wife and stage partner was Vika Podgorska.
After Vragoljanka, Nučić directed one silent film, Grička vještica (1920), based on a famous Croatian novel, while he also acted as supporting actor in a handful of sound films, first the German-Yugoslavian production Das Lied der schwarzen Berge/Fantom Durmitora (1933), starring Ita Rina. This was followed by Lisinski (Oktavijan Miletić, 1944), Ciguli Miguli (Branka Marjanovića, 1952), and Dobro morje (Mirko Grobler, 1958).
Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 21. Photo: Croatia Film. Zorka Grund (middle), Hinko Nučić (right), and Alfred Grünhut (left), in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919).
Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 22. Photo: Croatia Film. Zorka Grund in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919).
Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 23. Photo: Croatia Film. Nina Vavra in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919).
See also our earlier posts on two silent films from the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Dama sa crnom krinkom/The Lady in the Black Mask (Robert Staerk 1918) and Dvije sirote/Dvije sirotice/The Two Orphans (Alfred Grinhut a.k.a. Alfred Grünhut, 1919). Both films were also produced by Croatia Film.