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Vintage postcards, stars and stories.
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  • 11/11/19--22:00: Der alte Fritz (1928)
  • The German silent film Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928) was one of the 16 films in which Otto Gebühr interpreted Friedrich II (Frederick the Great). It was the last of the Frederick the Great film cycle of the silent film era of the Weimar republic.

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/1. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/2. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/3. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    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.

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/5. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/6. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 87/8. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3185/1. Photo: National Film. Otto Gebühr in Der alte Fritz/The Old Fritz (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1928).

    Otto Gebühr in Der Alte Fritz (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.

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  • 11/12/19--22:00: Herbert Rawlinson
  • Herbert Rawlinson (1885-1953) was a British actor who knew a rich career in American silent cinema, and less so in sound film. He began his film career as a star of the pioneering Selig company. Rawlinson played all in all in some 400 films.

    Herbert Rawlinson
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 551/1. Photo: Roman Freulich / Unfilman.

    Herbert Rawlinson
    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.

    Herbert Rawlinson
    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.

    Herbert Rawlinson in The Black Box
    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.

    Herbert Rawlinson in The Black Box (1915)
    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.

    Herbert Rawlinson
    American postcard. Photo: Albert Witzel.

    Herbert Rawlinson
    French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 86. Photo: Roman Freulich.

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

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  • 11/13/19--22:00: Raymond Griffith
  • Raymond Griffith (1895-1957) was an American silent film comedian, known for films such as Paths to Paradise (1925) and Hands Up! (1926). The 'Silk Hat Comedian' was always identified with his tuxedo and top hat. In the sound era, he worked as production supervisor and associate producer.

    Raymond Griffith
    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).

    Raymond Griffith
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 327.

    Raymond Griffith
    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).

    Raymond Griffith
    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.

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  • 11/14/19--22:00: Roy Rogers
  • American singer and cowboy actor Roy Rogers (1911–1998) was one of the most popular Western stars of his era. Known as the 'King of the Cowboys', he appeared in over 100 films, mostly for Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Dutch postcard. Sent by mail in 1952.

    Roy Rogers
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 290. Photo: British Lion Republic.

    Roy Rogers and Trigger
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 476. Photo: British Lion / Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger
    Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger. British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 596. Photo: British Lion Republic.

    Roy Rogers
    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.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 2. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 30. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 34. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 37. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 48. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 51. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard, no. KF 52. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Happy trails


    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

    Roy Rogers
    Dutch postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers,
    Belgian postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Dutch postcard by Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, no. 634. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers and Trigger
    Dutch postcard by Filmphoto Service, Amsterdam, no. 648. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Belgian postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Roy Rogers
    Dutch postcard, no. 150.

    Roy Rogers
    Dutch postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.

    Sources: Ed Stephan (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Two years ago, EFSP did a post on the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series, published by the French publishing house Éditions Filma shortly after the First World War. Then we focused on the postcards with French 'vedettes'. Recently we acquired some new postcards of this vintage series, which is larger than we thought in 2017. Instead of the 70 cards we mentioned in the old post, the series contains at least 90 postcards. Today, 15 postcards with both European and American stars.

    Fannie Ward
    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.

    William Farnum
    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).

    Georges Melchior
    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).

    George Walsh
    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).

    Catherine Calvert
    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.

    Dolores Cassinelli
    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.

    Grace Darmond
    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).

    Alice Joyce
    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'.

    Mae Murray
    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.

    William Duncan
    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.

    Monroe Salisbury
    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.

    Tania Daleyme
    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).

    Elsie Ferguson
    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'.

    Maurice de Féraudy
    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).

    Andrew J. Brunelle
    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.

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  • 11/16/19--22:00: Barbara Stanwyck
  • Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) was an American actress, model and dancer. She was a versatile professional with a strong, realistic screen presence. By 1944 Stanwyck had become the highest-paid woman in the United States. She was a favourite of her directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra. After a short but notable career as a stage actress in the late 1920s, she made 85 films in 38 years in Hollywood, before turning to television.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    French postcard by Editions P.I., offered by Victoria S.A. (Biscuits, Chocolates and Patisserie), Brussels. Photo: Paramount Pictures 1950.

    Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck in His Affair (1937)
    British Real Photograph postcard, London, no. FS 120. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck in His Affair (William A. Seiter, 1937).

    Barbara Stanwyck
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. W 68. Photo: Paramount.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    German postcard, no. 87. Photo: Paramount / Warner Bros.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    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.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    Vintage promotion card for Lux Toilet Soap. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    British postcard by Milton, no. 87. Photo: Warner Bros & Vitaphone Pictures.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    British postcard by Valentine & Sons LTD., Dundee and London, no. 146.

    Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire (1941).
    Spanish postcard by SOBE, no. 499. Sent by mail in 1949. Photo: Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941).

    Gay rumours 


    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.

    Barbara Stanwyck
    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!"

    Barbara Stanwyck
    Canadian postcard by Fan Club Post Card, no. PC9.

    Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck in Cattle Queen of Montana (1954)
    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).

    Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley (1965)
    German postcard by Anco, no. 1/77. Photo: Four Star Margate. Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley in the TV series The Big Valley (1965).

    Barbara Stanwyck, Linda Evans, Lee Majors, Richard Long and Peter Breck in 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.

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    Last weekend, Utrecht hosted once again 'The International Collectors Fair', Europe’s biggest Vintage Event. A flu kept me from travelling to Utrecht, but Ivo Blom went and found some new treasures which we like to share with you today. Here are 15 of Ivo's finds.

    Carmen
    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.

    Maud Loty
    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.

    Charlotte Fraedrich
    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.

    Fannie Ward
    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.

    Vanni Marcoux in Le Miracle des Loups (1924)
    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).

    Ernst/ Edmond Van Duren in Figaro (1929)
    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.

    Jeanette Macdonald
    Dutch postcard, no. 683. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer. This photo could be related to Jeanette MacDonald's 1933 visit to the Netherlands.

    Jef Bruyninckx in De Witte (1934)
    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.

    Gloria Swanson
    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.

    Henry Wilcoxon in The Crusades (1935)
    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).

    Joan Bennett
    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.

    Silvana Mangano in Riso amaro
    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.

    Georges Marchal
    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.

    Barbara Rütting in Die letzte Brücke (1954)
    Austrian postcard. Photo: Cosmopol-Film, Wien. Barbara Rütting in Die letzte Brücke/The Last Bridge (Helmut Käutner, 1954).

    Françoise Arnoul in Venice
    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.

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  • 11/18/19--22:00: Artists and Models
  • Today, EFSP collaborator Ivo Blom will give a paper at a symposium at the Centre National pour la Cinématographie (CNC, Paris), within the framework of the Franco-Italian-Dutch research project LE CINÉMA MUET ITALIEN À LA CROISÉE DES ARTS EUROPÉENS (1896-1930). He will talk about the importance of painting, literature and theatre for two silent films with Italian diva Italia Almirante Manzini: Femmina (Augusto Genina, 1918) and L’ombra (Mario Almirante, 1923). Thus today's blog post is dedicated to the representation of artists and their models in the European silent cinema.

    German samples


    Bernd Aldor
    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.

    Hella Moja in Wundersam ist das Märchen der Liebe (1918)
    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.

    Ressel Orla in Die Sünde (1918)
    German postcard by Rotphot in the Film Sterne series, no. 549/2. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

    Ressel Orla in Die Sünde (1917)
    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.

    Fern Andra in Ein Blatt im Sturm (1917)
    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.

    Mia May in Ein Lichtstrahl im Dunkel
    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.

    Maria Widal in Das sterbende Modell (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 2511. Photo: Saturn-Film. Maria Widal in Das sterbende Modell/The dying model (Urban Gad, 1918).

    Maria Widal in Das sterbende Modell
    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.

    Henny Porten and Hermann Thimig in Auf Probe gestellt (1918)
    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


    Fred Zorilla and Jean Aymé in Lorena (1918)
    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.

    Valdemar Psilander in Um das Bild des Königs (1919)
    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


    Gustavo Serena and Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    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.

    Francesca Bertini in La donna nuda (1922)
    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).

    Francesca Bertini and Angelo Ferrari in La donna nuda (1922)
    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).

    Francesca Bertini in La donna nuda
    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.

    Umberto Mozzato and Mercedes Brignone in La Gioconda (1917)
    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.'

    Lucio Settala and Helena Makowska in La Gioconda (1917)
    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.

    Gioconda 16
    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.

    Gioconda 9
    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


    Spettri
    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


    Italia Almirante in La statua di carne (1921)
    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).

    Liliana Ardea and Alberto Collo in L'Ombra (1923)
    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.

    L'ombra 10
    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!

    L'Ombra
    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).

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  • 11/19/19--22:00: Vragoljanka (1919)
  • Vragoljanka is a silent film, produced in the former Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes, now Croatia. The film, directed by Alfred Grinhut a.k.a. Alfred Grünhut, was produced in 1918 by Croatia Film and distributed in 1919 by Jugoslavija Film in Zagreb. The film is considered lost. The rare, sepia postcards used for this post are from the collection of Ivo Blom.

    Vragoljanka (1918)
    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.

    Vragoljanka (1918)
    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).

    Vragoljanka (1918)
    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).

    Vragoljanka (1918)
    Former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Croatian) postcard by Jugoslavija Film, Zagreb, no. 22. Photo: Croatia Film. Zorka Grund in Vragoljanka (Alfred Grünhut, 1919).

    Vragoljanka (1918-19)
    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.


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  • 11/20/19--22:00: Evelyn Cron
  • German actress Evelyn Cron (1940) was one of the stars of the DEFA in the 1960s. She appeared in more than 30 films and TV productions. In 1985 she left the GDR.

    Evelyn Cron
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 2.605, 1966. Photo: DEWAG / Bundermann.

    Evelyn Cron
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 1.989, 1964. Photo: DEFA / Blümel.

    Catwalk Model


    Eevlyn Cron was born in 1940 in Magdeburg, Germany.

    Already at school Cron played theatre. She learned the profession of a dental nurse. In her free time, she worked as a catwalk model for the Magdeburg fashion house Bormann.

    At such an event, she was discovered by the DEFA, which was looking for an actress for the title role in the musical comedy Die schöne Lurette/The Beautiful Lurette (Gottfried Kolditz, 1960) with Jirí Papez and Otto Mellies.

    After test shots she received the role of Lurette and a trainee contract with the German television, where she was trained from 1961 to 1963 to become an actress.

    She made her stage debut as a guest in Jacques Deval's 'Stormy Crossing at Spiegelglatter See' at the Kammerspiele Leipzig. It was followed by engagements in Magdeburg and Berlin.

    Evelyn Cron in Die schöne Lurette (1960)
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 1364, 1960. Photo: DEFA / Schneider. Evelyn Cron in Die schöne Lurette/The Beautiful Lurette (Gottfried Kolditz, 1960).

    Evelyn Cron
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 2394, 1965. Photo: Schwarzer.

    Departing the GDR


    Evelyn Cron also became known for such films as the fairytale Die goldene Jurte/The golden yurt (Rawsha Dorshpalam, Gottfried Kolditz, 1961) - a coproduction with Mongolia.

    Later followed the gangster comedy Hände hoch oder ich schieße/Hands Up or I'll Shoot (Hans-Joachim Kasprzik, 1966) with Rolf Herricht, which was forbidden by the GDR government. It had finally its premiere in 2009.

    Evelyn Cron also appeared in the tragicomedy Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz/The Naked Man in the Stadium (Konrad Wolf, 1974) featuring Kurt Böwe. Her last feature film was Jadup und Boel/Jadup and Boel (Rainer Simon, 1980), also with Kurt Böwe.

    Furthermore, she was a permanent member in the actor ensemble of the East-German television and played in productions of the Moritzburg Television Theater such as Noel Coward's Ghost Comedy (1966), Curt Goetz'The Fairy Tale (1966), Eugène ScribesThe Money Marriage (1970) and Paul Herbert Freyer's Brocade from France (1972).

    Evelyn Cron departed the GDR in 1985. From 1988 to 1993 she had a permanent engagement at the Tribune in Berlin.

    She continues to appear regularly on the German television. In 2014, she appeared in an episode of the Krimi series SOKO Wismar. SOKO is an abbreviation of the term 'Sonderkommission' (Special Commission - meaning special investigation team of the police in German). She also played in the TV comedy Das Gewinnerlos/The winner lot (Patrick Winczewski, 2015).

    Evelyn Cron
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 1434, 1961. Photo: Hans and Maria Lüdicke.

    Evelyn Cron
    East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 1815, 1963. Photo: Ludwig Schirmer.

    Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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  • 11/21/19--22:00: Alan Ladd
  • Alan Ladd (1913-1964) had his big break as a killer in the film noir This Gun For Hire (1942). Throughout the 1940s, his tough-guy roles packed audiences, but he is best known for his title role in the classic Western Shane (1953).

    Alan Ladd
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 269. Photo: Paramount, 1950.

    Alan Ladd
    Vintage postcard by IBIS, no. 55. Publicity still for Two Years Before the Mast (John Farrow, 1946).

    Alan Ladd in Shane (1953)
    Austrian postcard by Verlag Hubmann (HDH Verlag), Wien, no. 156. Photo: Afex. Photo: Alan Ladd in Shane (George Stevens, 1953).

    Alan Ladd
    Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 289. Photo: Paramount.

    Alan Ladd
    German postcard by Wilhelm Schulze-Witteborg, Grafischer Betrieb, Wanne-Eickel. Photo: Paramount.

    Psychotic hitman with a conscience


    Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA in 1913. His mother, Ina Raleigh (also known as Selina Rowley), had emigrated from England at age 19, and his accountant father, Alan Ladd, died when his son was only four.

    At age five, Alan burned his apartment playing with matches, and his mother moved them to Oklahoma City, where she married Jim Beavers, a housepainter. Alan was malnourished, undersized and nicknamed 'Tiny', and an economic downturn led to Ladd's family moving to California. Alan picked fruit, delivered papers, and swept stores.

    In high school he discovered track and swimming. By 1931 he was training for the 1932 Olympics, but an injury put an end to those plans. His diving skills led to his appearance in an aquatic show, 'Marinella' in July 1933. He also worked as a studio carpenter (as did his stepfather) at FBO.

    Ladd's performance in his high school show of 'The Mikado' was seen by a talent scout. In August 1933 Ladd was one of a group of young 'discoveries' signed to a long-term contract with Universal Pictures. The contract had options which could go for seven years, but they were all in the studio's favor. Ladd appeared unbilled in a film, Once in a Lifetime (1933), but the studio eventually decided Ladd was too blond and too short and dropped him after six months.

    He opened a hamburger stand called Tiny's Patio, but it was not a success. In another attempt to break into the film industry, Ladd went to work at Warner Bros. as a grip, and ended up staying two years. He was injured falling off a scaffold and decided to quit.

    Alan married his friend Marjorie Jane 'Midge' Harrold in 1936, but couldn't afford her, so they lived apart. In 1937, they shared a friend's apartment. They had a son, Alan Ladd Jr., and his destitute alcoholic mother moved in with them, following the breakup of a relationship. A few months later, she asked Ladd for some money to buy something at a local store. Ladd gave her the money, thinking it was for alcohol. She purchased some arsenic-based ant paste from a grocer and committed suicide by drinking it in the back seat of Ladd's car.

    Ladd worked hard at radio. Ladd's rich, deep voice was ideal for that medium and in 1936 he ended up being signed by station KFWB as its sole radio actor. He stayed for three years at KFWB, working as many as twenty shows a week.

    There talent scout and former actress Sue Carol discovered him early in 1939. She enthusiastically promoted her new handsome client in films as well as radio. Ladd's first notable part under Carol's management was the film Rulers of the Sea (Frank Lloyd, 1939), starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Margaret Lockwood. Ladd played a character named 'Colin Farrell' at $250 a week. He also received attention for a small part in Hitler – Beast of Berlin (Sam Newfield, 1939), one of the most popular 'hiss and boo' films of the World War II era.

    He appeared in a string of bit parts in B-pictures - and an unbilled part as a newspaper reporter in Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane (1941). Ladd's career gained extra momentum when he was cast in a featured role in a wartime drama made at RKO, Joan of Paris (Robert Stevenson, 1942) with Michèle Morgan. It was only a small part but it involved a touching death scene which brought him attention within the industry.

    Late in 1941, he got his big break when he tested for This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle, 1942) based on the novel by Graham Greene. Director Frank Tuttle was struggling to find a new actor to play the role of 'Raven', a psychotic hitman with a conscience. Ladd's ausition was successful and Paramount signed him to a long-term contract. His fourth-billed role as psychotic hitman Raven made him a star.

    Alan Ladd
    Uruguayan postcard by CF. Photo: Paramount.

    Alan Ladd
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 269, 1950. Photo: Paramount Pictures Inc.

    Alan Ladd in Two Years Before the Mast (1946)
    Spanish postcard by JOCABA, no. 3569. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Two Years Before the Mast (John Farrow, 1946).

    Alan Ladd
    Italian postcard by Bromostampa, Milano, no. 82.

    Alan Ladd
    French postcard, no. 109.

    Cool, unsmiling tough-guys


    Alan Ladd and his co-star in This Gun for Hire, Veronica Lake, then made The Glass Key (Stuart Heisler, 1942). The adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's story was another hit. The New York Times reported that Alan Ladd "in the brief period of a year and with only four starring pictures to his credit... had built up a following unmatched in film history since Rudolph Valentino skyrocketed to fame."

    Ladd was drafted in January 1943 and discharged in November with an ulcer and double hernia. He went on to star in films. His cool, unsmiling tough-guys proved popular with wartime audiences, and Alan Ladd became one of the top box office stars of the decade.

    With Veronica Lake, he made seven films together. These included the Film Noir The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall 1946), and Saigon (Leslie Fenton, 1948). Then he made his first Western since he became a star and first film in colour, Whispering Smith (Leslie Fenton, 1948). In an adaptation of Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (Elliott Nugent, 1949), Ladd had the featured role of Jay Gatsby.

    Four years later he appeared in what many regard as his greatest role, Shane (George Stevens, 1953) opposite Jean Arthur and Van Heflin. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It led to Ladd being voted one of the ten most popular stars in the country in 1953.

    From then on he was performing in lucrative but unrewarding films. By the end of the 1950s liquor and a string of so-so films had taken their toll. In November 1962 he was found unconscious lying in a pool of blood with a bullet wound near his heart. At the time, Ladd said he thought he heard a prowler, grabbed a gun, and tripped over, accidentally shooting himself. This was accepted by the police investigating.

    In 1963 Ladd's career looked set to make a comeback when he filmed a supporting role in The Carpetbaggers (Edward Dmytryk, 1964) with Carroll Baker, which became one of the most popular films of the year. He would not live to see its release.

    In January 1964, Alan Ladd was found dead, apparently due to an accidental combination of alcohol and sedatives. Ladd was only 50. He was married twice. After his divorce from Marjorie Jane Harrold in 1941, he married former film actress Sue Carol in 1942, who was also his agent and manager. The couple had two children, actors Alana Ladd and David Ladd. He was the grandfather of actress Jordan Ladd. His first son, Alan Ladd, Jr., is a film executive and producer and founder of the Ladd Company. David Ladd, who co-starred with his father as a child in The Proud Rebel, was married to Charlie's Angels star Cheryl Ladd (née Stoppelmoor), from 1973 till 1980.

    Alan Ladd in Red Mountain (1951)
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 372. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Photo: Alan Ladd in Red Mountain (William Dieterle, 1952).

    Alan Ladd in Red Mountain (1952)
    French postcard in the Collection 'Western' by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 40. Photo: Paramount Pictures Inc., 1954. Alan Ladd in Red Mountain (William Dieterle, 1952).

    Alan Ladd in The Deep Six (1958)
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. T 879. Photo: Warner Bros. Photo: Alan Ladd in The Deep Six (Rudolph Maté, 1958).

    Alan Ladd
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 97.

    Sources: Ed Stephan (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    Between 1903 and 1910, Pathé dominated the international film world. Three-quarter of what every film visitor, even in America, would see in a vaudeville house, in the booth of a travelling cinema, or in one of the very early permanent cinemas, were Pathé productions. The driving force behind this pioneering film operation was Charles Pathé. He set both the artistic and technical standards for film. Pathé Frères also pioneered during the early 1910s with postcards of the actors in its films. Today, a post on postcards by Edition Pathé Frères, Ivo Blom acquired recently. And I added one of my own acquisitions, a few star postcards published for the promotion of the Pathé-Baby, a 9.5 mm projector for home entertainment, which was introduced by Pathé in 1922.


    Edition Pathé Frères


    Yvonne de Bray
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: Henri Manuel.

    Yvonne de Bray (1887-1954) was a French stage and screen actress, famous for her role as Sophie in Jean Cocteau's film Les parents terribles (1948).

    Henry Krauss
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: Benque.

    French actor and director Henry Krauss (1866-1935) was a veteran of the European cinema. From 1908 on he starred in several powerful character roles in early silent films.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: X.

    Léontine Massart (1885-1980) was a French stage and screen actress of Belgian origin. She peaked in French silent film of the early 1910s.

    Léontine Massart
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères.

    Léontine Massart (1885-1980) was a French stage and screen actress of Belgian origin. She peaked in French silent film of the early 1910s.

    Gabrielle Robinne
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: Henri Manuel. Mlle Robinne de la Comédie Française.

    Gabrielle Robinne (1886-1980) was a French stage and film actress, who had the peak of her film career in the 1910s.

    Émile Dehelly
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: A. Bert. Emile Dehelly de la Comédie Française. French actor Emile Dehelly as D'Artagnan in the Le Film d'Art production of Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Henri Pouctal, 1913), based on Alexandre Dumas' famous novel.

    Crane Wilbur
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères.

    Crane Wilbur (1886–1973) was an American writer, actor, and director for stage, radio, and screen, best remembered for playing Harry Marvin in the popular Pathé serial The Perils of Pauline (1914).

    Georges Saillard
    French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: A. Bert.

    French actor Georges Saillard (1877-1967) appeared from 1909 on in several early silent Eclair and Pathé productions. He was born in 1877 in Besançon, Doubs, France as Georges Augustin Eugène. He was known for his roles in films like Le petit Jacques/Little Jack (Georges Monca, 1913), Les misérables (Henri Fescourt, 1925) starring Gabriel Gabrio, and Yoshiwara (Max Ophüls, 1937), starring Pierre-Richard Willm and Sessue Hayakawa. Saillard died in 1967 in Versailles, Yvelines, France. He had starred in more than 70 films between 1909 and 1950.

    Check out this earlier post about Edition Pathé Frères.


    Pathé Baby


    Melle Moimot
    French postcard by Helio Paul et Vigier, Paris, ca. 1922. Photo: Pathé. Promotional postcard for the Pathé-Baby.

    Miss (Mademoiselle) Moimotis an unknown actress who probably appeared in Pathé productions. Pathé-Baby was the name given by Charles Pathé to a mainstream amateur cinema system launched in 1922 and using a 9.5 mm wide film with central perforations, the smallest format existing at the time. The Pathé-Baby was initially a small crank projector capable of projecting short films packaged in a metal cartridge that contained less than ten meters of non-flammable film. For Christmas 1922 , several thousand Pathé-Baby projectors were put on the market accompanied by an important catalog of 192 titles extracted from the Pathé film library. Because of the success and demand, a camera was made, also by the company Continsouza, and put on the market in 1923 .

    Léon Mathot
    French postcard by Helio Paul et Vigier, Paris, ca. 1922. Photo: Pathé. Promotional postcard for the Pathé-Baby.

    Léon Mathot was a French actor and director, born 1886 in Roubaix and died 1968 in Paris. Mathot became well-known for his role of Edmond Dantès in the French serial Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1918), directed by Henri Pouctal. Mathot became one of the most popular stars of French silent film of the 1920s with such film as L'Empereur des pauvres (René Leprince, 1922) and Coeur fidèle (1923) by Jean Epstein. From 1927, he also became a film director, directing over 20 films.

    Simone Aurel
    Simone Aurel. French postcard by Helio Paul et Vigier, Paris, ca. 1922. Photo: Pathé. Promotional postcard for the Pathé-Baby.


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  • 11/23/19--22:00: Ian McKellen
  • The career of English actor Ian McKellen (1939) spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and Science Fiction. He became a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. He achieved worldwide fame for his film roles, including the titular King in Richard III (1995), James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998), Magneto in the X-Men films, and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. For his work, McKellen received six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, four BAFTAs, and many other awards. He has been openly gay since 1988, and continues to be a champion for the LGBT movement.

    Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (2003)
    British postcard by GB Posters, Sheffield, no. PC0700. Photo: New Line Productions. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003).

    Ian McKellen in X-Men - The Last Stand (2006)
    British postcard. Photo: Ian McKellen as Magneto in X-Men - The Last Stand (Bryan Singer, 2006).

    An early fascination with the theatre


    Ian Murray McKellen was born in 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire. He was the son of Margery Lois (née Sutcliffe) and Denis Murray McKellen. He had a sister, Jean, five years his senior. McKellen's father was a civil engineer and lay preacher. His home environment was strongly Christian, but non-orthodox. When he was 12, his mother died of breast cancer; his father died when he was 24.

    McKellen's acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is now the patron. An early fascination with the theatre was encouraged by his parents, who took him on a family outing to 'Peter Pan' at the Opera House in Manchester when he was three. When he was nine, his main Christmas present was a fold-away wood and bakelite Victorian theatre from Pollocks Toy Theatres, with cardboard scenery and wires to push on the cut-outs of 'Cinderella' and of Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet'. His sister took him to his first Shakespeare play, 'Twelfth Night', by the amateurs of Wigan's Little Theatre.

    In 1958, McKellen, at the age of 18, won a scholarship to St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he read English literature. While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society, where he appeared in 23 plays over the course of 3 years. He already gave performances that have since become legendary such as his Justice Shallow in 'Henry IV' alongside Trevor Nunn and Derek Jacobi in 1959. During this period McKellen was directed by Peter Hall, John Barton and Dadie Rylands, who had a huge impact on McKellen's future career.

    He made his first professional appearance in 1961 as Roper in 'A Man for All Seasons'. After four years in regional repertory theatres he made his first West End appearance in 'A Scent of Flowers'. It was a success. In 1965 he was a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company at the Old Vic.

    With the Prospect Theatre Company, McKellen made his breakthrough performances of 'Richard II' and Marlowe's 'Edward II'. In the 1970s and 1980s, McKellen became a well-known figure in British theatre, performing frequently at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, where he played several leading Shakespearean roles, including the title role in 'Macbeth', and Iago in 'Othello', in award-winning productions directed by Trevor Nunn. Both productions were adapted into television films, also directed by Nunn.

    In 2007 he returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions of 'King Lear' and 'The Seagull', both again directed by Trevor Nunn. In 2009 he appeared in a very popular revival of 'Waiting for Godot', directed by Sean Mathias, and playing opposite Patrick Stewart.

    In late August 2012, he took part in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics, portraying Prospero from 'The Tempest'. In October 2017, McKellen played King Lear at Chichester Festival Theatre, a role which he said was likely to be his "last big Shakespearean part". He performed the play at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End during the summer of 2018.

    Ian McKellen
    British postcard by Royal National Theatre (NT), no. NT 16. Photo: Jane Bown.

    Ian McKellen in X-Men (2000)
    British postcard by Memory Card, no. 672. Photo: Ian McKellen as Magneto in X-Men (Bryan Singer, 2000).

    Gods and Monsters


    Ian McKellen had taken film roles throughout his career — beginning with his role of George Matthews in A Touch of Love (Waris Hussein, 1969) starring Sandy Dennis, and his first leading role was as D. H. Lawrence in Priest of Love (Christopher Miles, 1980).

    McKellen played war minister John Profumo involved in a scandalous affair with an exotic dancer in Scandal (Michael Caton-Jones, 1989).

    In the 1990s he became more widely recognised after several roles in Hollywood films. In 1993, he had a supporting role as a South African tycoon in the critically acclaimed Six Degrees of Separation (Fred Schepisi, 1993), with Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, and Will Smith.

    In the same year, he appeared in the TV miniseries Tales of the City (Alastair Reid, 1993), based on the novel by his friend Armistead Maupin, and the film Last Action Hero (John McTiernan, 1993), in which he briefly played Death opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. McKellen also appeared in the TV film And the Band Played On (Roger Spottiswoode, 1993) about the discovery of the AIDS virus for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.

    He played the title role in Richard III (Richard Loncraine, 1995) with Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr., which transported the setting into an alternative 1930s in which England is ruled by fascists. The film which McKellen co-produced and co-wrote, was a critical success. His performance in the title role garnered BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and won the European Film Award for Best Actor. His screenplay was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    He also appeared in the modestly acclaimed film Apt Pupil (1998), which was directed by Bryan Singer and based on a story by Stephen King. McKellen portrayed a fugitive Nazi officer living under a false name in the US who is befriended by a curious teenager (Brad Renfro) who threatens to expose him unless he tells his story in detail.

    McKellen was subsequently nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon, 1998), wherein he played of Frankenstein (1931) director James Whale.

    Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (2002)
    French postcard by Sonis, no. C. 1370. Photo: New Line Productions. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002).

    Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (2003)
    French postcard by Sonis, no. C. 1452. Photo: New Line Productions. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003).

    Gandalf and Magneto


    Ian McKellen was cast, again under the direction of Bryan Singer, to play the comic book supervillain Magneto in X-Men (2000) and its sequels X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). He later made a short appearance as an older Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), sharing the role with Michael Fassbender, who played a younger version of the character in X-Men: First Class (2011).

    While filming the first X-Men film in 1999, McKellen was cast as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role. He provided the voice of Gandalf for several video game adaptations of the Lord of the Rings films, then reprised the role on screen in Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit, which was released in three parts from 2012 to 2014.

    He also appeared as Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard, 2006) opposite Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. McKellen portrayed Sherlock Holmes in Holmes (Bill Condon, 2017), and Cogsworth in the live-action adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Bill Condon, 2017), starring Emma Watson.

    Also in 2017, McKellen appeared in the documentary McKellen: Playing the Part (Joe Stephenson, 2017), which explores McKellen's life and career as an actor. McKellen's first partner was Brian Taylor, a history teacher from Bolton. Their relationship lasted from 1964 till 1972. In 1978 he met his second partner, actor-director Sean Mathias. This relationship lasted until 1988.

    The couple worked later together on the film Bent (Sean Mathias, 1997) as well as in several stage productions. In 1988, McKellen came out to the general public on BBC Radio. The controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Bill was then under consideration in the British Parliament. McKellen became active in fighting the proposed law, and, during a BBC Radio 3 programme where he debated Section 28 with the conservative journalist Peregrine Worsthorne, declared himself gay. Section 28 was, however, enacted and remained on the statute books until 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England and Wales.

    McKellen has continued to be very active in LGBT rights efforts. Ian McKellen was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for his efforts in the arts. Ian Mc Kellen stays active for the cameras. This year, he can be seen in Bill Condon's The Good Liar (2019) opposite Helen Mirren, and as Gus, the theatre cat in Cats (Tom Hooper, 2019).

    Ian McKellen in The Da Vinci Code (2006)
    British postcard by Pacificmeg.com. Photo: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures. Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard, 2006). This postcard was published for the VCD & DVD release in 2006.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 11/24/19--22:00: Jorge Negrete
  • Mexican singer and actor Jorge Negrete (1911-1953) was for many years considered the number 1 entertainer in Latin America. More than 50 years after his death, he is still an icon in Mexico, Spain, and Latin America. His rendition of 'México Lindo y Querido' (Beautiful and Beloved México), his country’s unofficial anthem, is an evergreen. Typical is his manly, arrogant yet good-humoured singing and romantic image, dressed in Charro (cowboy) attire. 'El Charro Cantor' appeared in 44 films.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard, no. 281. Sent by mail in 1950.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by C.M.B., no. 120. Photo: Procines S.A.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard, no. 24.

    The Mexican Caballeros


    Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno was born in the city of Guanajuato in 1911. His parents were Emilia Moreno Anaya and David Negrete Fernández. He had two brothers and three sisters.

    Their father was a Mexican Army Colonel who around 1920 quit his military career and moved with his family to Mexico City. There he found a job as a math teacher amongst others at the Humboldt German school, thus allowing Jorge and brother David to study there, learning German.

    Because of misbehaviour, his father enrolled the 13 year old Jorge at the Heroico Colegio Militar (military academy of Mexico), where he learned English, French, and Italian. This was the place where also his fascination for music developed. His military training also forged him a gallant presence and a strong-willed character which would later benefit him in his acting career.

    In 1937, Jorge was diagnosed with an hepatic dysfunction (hepatitis C) that did not prevent him from smoking all of his life. At 18, Jorge graduated with the rank of sub-lieutenant from El Colegio Militar.

    He studied under José Pierson, a prestigious music professor and opera director, who became fascinated by Negrete's singing. Jorge had a fine, wide-ranged baritone voice. Pierson helped him develop his talent for opera and at the age of twenty Negrete began to sing for Radio XETR. In 1932 he recorded several operas using the stage-name Alberto Moreno.

    In 1935 he debuted onstage with musical plays in Roberto Soto's company as a stage extra (figurante), working amongst others in 'Calles y más calles' at the Teatro Lírico. In 1936 Jorge Negrete signed with NBC Television for a TV program with Cuban and Mexican musicians.

    He moved to New York and performed with a friend as The Mexican Caballeros. He also collaborated with band leader Xavier Cugat, and earned bookings at Latin clubs. The next year he made his first film appearance in the Warner Brothers short Cuban Nights.

    He returned to Mexico in 1937 to act in his first feature film La Madrina Del Diablo/The Devil's Godmother (Ramón Peón, 1937) and because of the success of the film he was able to sign for several more films the next three years. During the shooting of his next film, La Valentina (Martín de Lucenay, 1938) he met dancer and actress Elisa Christy. They married in 1940, and moved for some time to New York where Jorge wrote Spanish versions to English songs for Southern Music.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by Sobe, no. 447. Caption: Sinceramente Jorge Negrete.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard. Sent by mail in 1950.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by JDP, Valencia, no. 2081.

    Comedias Rancheras


    After working in Havana and Hollywood, Jorge Negrete was called to act in ¡Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes!/Hey Jalisco, Don’t Back Down! (Joselito Rodríguez, 1941) which made him an international Latin star and helped formulate the Charro film genre. In these 'comedias rancheras' (ranch comedies) a folkloric world came alive, often including ancient songs that connected with the audience.

    During filming of ¡Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes!, he met Gloria Marín, and fell in love. He separated from Christy, who was pregnant with Negrete's daughter Diana, born the following year. Negrete and Gloria Marín lived together for 10 years and adopted a girl, Goyita.

    He was offered the main role in El Peñón de las Ánimas/The Rock of Souls (Miguel Zacarías, 1943) and wanted Marín to be his co-star. In spite of his protests, newcomer María Félix became his star. She was equally arrogant as himself, so they had frequent quarrels on the set.

    He had another resounding success with Me he de comer esa tuna/I have to eat that prickly pear (Miguel Zacarías, 1945). He complemented his film career by singing rancheras with the trio Los Tres Calaveras and touring Latin America, singing at concerts and making personal appearances. Negrete was also one of the founders of the Mexican Actors Association, succeeding Cantinflas as its chairman.

    Negrete also starred in such Spanish films such as Jalisco canta en Sevilla/Jalisco sings in Seville (Fernando de Fuentes, 1949) opposite Carmen Sevilla, and Teatro Apolo/Apolo Theatre (Rafael Gil, 1950).

    In 1952 he and María Félix met again shortly after he had left Gloria Marín, pride turned to love and they married that same year. They starred together in El rapto/The rapture (Emilio Fernández, 1954), his final film.

    In 1953, when attending a boxing match in Los Angeles he suffered an acute gastroesophagical hemorrhage, from which he never regained conscience. These were complications of hepatic cirrhosis, the disease that he suffered since 1937. According to his wishes, his body was flown back to, and buried in, Mexico City. He was forty-two years old.

    Negrete was the first to die of the 'Tres Gallos Mexicanos' (Three Mexican Roosters) as he, Pedro Infante and Javier Solís were called. Thousands of fans attended his funeral and followed the hearse to the cemetery, El Panteón Jardín.

    On 5 December, the anniversary of his death, fans still pay tribute to 'El Charro Cantor' (the Singing Cowboy) at his tomb, and television stations stage marathons of his films. Jorge Negrete made 44 films. He had a daughter, Diana, and a stepson, actor Enrique Álvarez Félix. Jorge has five grandchildren, Déborah, Diana, Rafael, Liliana and Lorenzo. Rafael and Lorenzo are professional singers and use the Negrete last name for their artistic name.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by P.M., Bilbao, no. 3018.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish card, no. 148.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by Sobes, no. 237.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 11/25/19--22:00: Frou-Frou (1918)
  • Italian diva Francesca Bertini played the title role in Frou-Frou (1918), adapted from a play by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. The remarkable cards in this post Spanish collectors cards were published by Chocolat Imperiale, and the photos were made by Pinto in Rome for Caesar Film .

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 1. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 2. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Guido Trento in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 3. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 4. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 5. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Guido Trento in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 6. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Cia Fornaroli in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Serenely breathing her last breath in hr husband's arms


    Francesca Bertini plays in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918) Gilberte 'Frou Frou' Sartorys, a beautiful but rather heedless young woman. She is bored by her quiet life with Count Henri Sartorys (Gustavo Serena), a brilliant but calm and phlegmatic diplomat. She is also indifferent to her little son Georges.

    So she starts a flirt with a depraved aristocrat, Count Paul de Valréas (Guido Trento). Paul convinces Gilberte to bring her somber sister Louise (Cia Fornaroli) into the household, so she has more time for herself. Moreover, Louise is secretly in love with Henri. Louise quickly assumes the direction of Henri's home and innocently supplants Frou Frou in the eyes of her husband and child.

    Sensing that her presence is no longer needed at the Sartorys estate, Frou Frou bitterly denounces Louise and then elopes with Paul to Venice. When the husband finds out about the adultery, he challenges the rival to a duel and kills him. He chases the supposedly faithless wife too.

    One year after, she who once was rich and beautiful, is reduced to poverty and lies dying in a small bed in Venice. Louise finds her and summons Henri and Georges. She implores and receives the pardon of her husband, in whose arms she serenely breathes her last breath.

    Frou-Frou premiered in Rome on 10 May 1918. The cinematography was by Alberto Carta and sets by Alfredo Manzi. In addition to Bertini, Serena, Fornaroli and Trento, other actors were Franco Gennaro (Gilberte's father), and Alfredo De Antoni, while we recognised also Olga Benetti on one of our cards.

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 7. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 8. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 9. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale no. 10. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Guido Trento and Olga Benetti in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 11. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 12. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini, Cia Fornaroli and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    An embodiment of the pain of her time


    The Italian press was not very impressed by Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918). Bertoldo wrote in the Turinese trade journal La vita cinematografica in 1919 that Bertini's beauty and elegance had suffocated any other artistic element, so the film looked more like a fashion show. "The actress goes around with the impassibility and certainty of a mannequin."

    Instead, the French critic Louis Delluc, when raving about Bertini in his articles in the late 1910s and early 1920s, often mentioned this film too, in addition to La signora dalle camelie, Fedora, Tosca, and others.

    Also, when the film was shown in Barcelona, a critic with the pseudonym Colombine wrote (cited at Sempre in penombra): "She is more than a woman an embodiment of the pain of her time because always the myth and the legend embodied the pain in figures of women. Bertini is a woman who suffers a lot, who suffers excessively, who falls under the weight of suffering. It touches us more because she suffers with a face so delicate, so soft, of such a dramatic dramatic profile, that pain is primed in its beauty.

    Truly, Bertini's face knows how to reveal the most distinguished pain, with the purest features, and, contemplating it, she thinks with fear of the voluptuousness of the crowds who see her suffer as if falling apart under a rough caress that kisses her, tormenting her. It enjoys getting excited to see her faint, more beautiful in those lazy and languid expressions of pain for which she prepares so much, wearing black dresses, which become her suffering figure so well, and those dresses which sharpen her necklines; as if her necklines made suffering more seductive.

    {...} She offers herself in her films such that it is as if she were offering herself multiplied, making an impossible effort, so that the film shows are celebrated with the amount of relief for the fate of the wounded, the widows and the orphans. One of these sessions, given in Rome, has had the interest of attending Bertini in person. The public has been able to verify the reality, see the relief and the life of the woman who is presented as something unreal, as an enigma to the near and distant couple.

    After contemplating her in the darkness of the auditorium her rare duplicity, her unfolding, of seeing herself as alien to herself, she has been applauded deliriously. The newspapers say that Bertini "greeted with tears in the eyes" that audience that was moved, engaged in war, who came to the call of charity, and that perhaps did not applaud Bertini, but all the soul she had given to those other women who lived from her life, detached from her in the progression of the cinematograph."

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 13. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 14. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 15. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 16. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 17. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 18. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Sarah Bernhardt versus Eleonora Duse


    The play Frou-Frou (1869) by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy was often adapted to film: in 1914, 1924, 1918 and 1938. Other films called Frou-Frou were not based on the play, such as editions of 1913 and 1955.

    Before being adapted to the cinema, Frou-Frou had been an important play for both Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse. Theatre critic Richard Nathanson, who had seen the performances of Frou-Frou by both actresses, was convinced Duse was better than Bernhardt, because of her capabilities to interiorise.

    On Bernhardt's performance, he wrote in his book 'Schauspieler und Theater im heutigen Italien' (1893): "The words came out as they can to adequately pronounce only one virtuoso of the scene, but the soul, the more inner human nature that wanted to manifest itself, that did not come out."

    Instead, on Duse's performance of the crucial scene in which Frou-Frou settles accounts with her sister, he wrote: "The figure grew imposingly; glowing and burning sparks burst from her eyes; her chest rose and fell, as if she were working in a volcano, and therefore broke the torrent of speech from the lips - lips on which she had flinched - like lava that overwhelmed with herself everything, powerful, sudden, hitting mortally."

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 19. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini, Cia Fornaroli and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 20. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini, Cia Fornaroli and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 21. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 22. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini>, Cia Fornaroli and Gustavo Serena in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 23. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Frou-Frou (1918)
    Spanish collectors card by Chocolat Imperiale', no. 24. Photo: Pinto, Roma / Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Frou-Frou (Alfredo De Antoni, 1918).

    Sources: Sempre in penombra (Italian), Acting Archives Review (Italian), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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    The Spanish chocolaterie Amatller Marca Luna chocolate published this series of postcards of the Italian film Il processo Clémenceau/The Clemenceau Affair (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917), starring Francesca Bertini. In Spain the film was released as El proceso Clemenceau. The young Vittorio De Sica made his film debut in the production.

    Il processo Clemenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 1. Photo: Caesar Film. A young Vittorio De Sica in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917). In the film, this scene is mirrored. Young Pierre Clemenceau tells his mother he has won the first prize and may start working at the sculptor studio of the father of his friend Costantino.

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 6. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 7. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertiniin Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Why he killed his wife


    In Il processo Clémenceau/The Clemenceau Affair (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917), the sculptor Pierre Clemenceau (Gustavo Serena), imprisoned and waiting for his trial, writes why he killed his wife, played by diva Francesca Bertini.

    As a young man of poor descent (Vittoro De Sica), he is fortunate to start training with the acclaimed sculptor Ritz, father of his school friend Costantino.

    Years after, he has become a sculptor himself and meets the young impoverished Polish countess Iza Dobronowska (Francesca Bertini), who models for him for a bust. They fall in love and are betrothed, but Iza's scheming and gold-digging aunt Mathilde (Nella Montagna) has also awakened Iza's lust for money and luxury.

    The aunt takes Iza away from Pierre to Poland, in order to get hold of their family patrimony. In Poland, Mathilde connects Iza with a young prince, Sergio (Lido Manetti a.k.a. Arnold Kent), who indebts himself for the two women. His father finds out and takes action: he exiles his son to the Caucasus and denounces the two women, who lose everything.

    Iza writes a letter of pardon to Pierre and asks him to take her away, which he does. He takes her to Paris and marries her. They also get a child. Mathilde hasn't given up and comes to Paris with Sergio, who has fled from the Caucasus. Iza is once more dazzled and cheated by their highlife and abandons Pierre a second time.

    An additional complication is the middle-class morality of Pierre's mother which disgusts Iza. The mother dies of an attack before she can tell Pierre about his wife's adultery and behaviour. But when he finds Iza's bust at Sergio's place, he destroys the bust representing her and defies Sergio to a duel, killing him.

    Pierre's best friend Costantino (played by director Alfredo De Antoni himself) meets Iza in a restaurant and is abhorred by her behaviour, but in the end, she knows she can seduce any man. Pierre stops working and retreats to Rome. When Pierre meets her time after, Iza is repenting and longs for her lost child. They have one last night of love, after which he kills her in a blind rage, unable to cope with her behaviour and not believing in her moral contrition. So the artist creates but also destroys both his artwork and the model.

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 8. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 10. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini, Nella Montagna and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 11. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 13. Photo: Caesar Film. Lido Manetti and Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 14. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    A massive audience


    Il processo Clémenceau/The Clemenceau Affair (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917) was based on a play by Alexandre Dumas fils, L'affaire Clémenceau (1866), and scripted by director Alfredo De Antoni and Giuseppe Paolo Pacchierotti.

    The cinematography was by Alberto Carta, and the sets were created by Alfredo Manzi. The film was produced by Caesar Film.

    While the Roman press was extremely positive about the story and Bertini's interpretation, the Turinese press was more critical about the complicated storyline and the actors' performances but had to admit that the audience was so massive that on a Sunday, two weeks after the premiere, the armed forces had to assist when thousands could not get a place anymore.

    A positive nitrate print of the film was found at the Filmoteca de la Generalitat de Valencia and restored by the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna. Clips from the film were used in the Dutch film Diva dolorosa (1999) by Peter Delpeut.

    In 1993, Il processo Clémenceau/The Clemenceau Affair (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917)  was restaurated by the Cineteca di Bologna. You can see the full film at YouTube.

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 16. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clemenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 17. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertiniin Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 18. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 19. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 20. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Alfredo de Antoni in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 21. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertiniand Alfredo de Antoni in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 22. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 23. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Il processo Clémenceau (1917)
    Spanish postcard by Amatller Marca Luna chocolate, Series 2a, no. 24. Photo: Caesar Film. Francesca Bertini and Gustavo Serena in Il processo Clémenceau (Alfredo De Antoni, 1917).

    Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano 1917 - Italian), Ivo Blom (Film and Media Studies 7, 2013), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 11/27/19--22:00: Stefan Danailov (1942-2019)
  • Yesterday, 27 November 2019, Bulgarian actor Stefan Danailov (1942-2019) passed away. He starred in over 100 Bulgarian and foreign films, including the Bulgarian classic At each kilometer(1969) and was seen as 'the Bulgarian Alain Delon'. Danailov was part of the ensemble of the National Theatre from 1979 until his death. Apart from his acting work, Stefan Danailov was an MP for the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). He was a former Minister of Culture, and was also the BSP Deputy Chairman. 'The legend of Bulgarian cinema' was 76.

    Stefan Danailov (1942-2019)
    Russian postcard, 1975.

    A key from a secret apartment

    Stefan Lambov Danailov (Стефан Ламбов Данаилов) was born in 1942 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    At the age of 14 his film career started. The first film Danailov took part in Sledite ostavat/Следите остават/The Traces Remain (Petar B. Vasilev, 1956). It was a cold war drama about a group of kids who find a key from a secret apartment where saboteurs are hiding.

    At that time Stefan did not want to be an actor but in 1962, he started to study at the famous Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts. In 1966 he graduated and joined the company of the Drama Theatre in Plovdiv.

    His first film roles were in Moreto/The Sea (Peter Donev, 1967) and S dakh na bademi/Taste of Almonds (Lyubomir Sharlandzhiev, 1967).

    His best-known role was as Major Deyanov in the TV series Na vseki kilometar/На всеки километър/At Each Kilometer (Nedelcho Chernev, Lyubomir Sharlandzhiev, 1969). The film tells the history of Bulgaria from the anti-fascist uprising in 1923 to the mid-1970s. It became one of the most emblematic films of the communist era in Bulgaria.

    For a while Danailov took a break from the theatre, but in 1973 he joined the company of the Bulgarian Army Theatre in Sofia, and in 1979 he became part of the company of the National Theatre in the capital city.

    Stefan Danailov and Stefka Berova in Na vseki kilometar (1969)
    Bulgarian postcard. Stefan Danailov and Stefka Berova in Na vseki kilometar/At each kilometer (1969).

    Stefan Danailov and Dorotea Toncheva in Knyazat (1970)
    Bulgarian postcard. Stefan Danailov and Dorotea Toncheva in Knyazat/The Prince (Petar B. Vasilev, 1970).

    Minister of Culture of Bulgaria


    Starting in 1994, Stefan Danailov starred in many productions of the Italian Rai TV. The actor also had been teaching acting at the Bulgarian Theatre Academy since 1988 and in 1996 he became a professor at the institution.

    Between August 2005 and July 2009, he served as Minister of Culture of Bulgaria. Among his later films were the Italian drama La masseria delle allodole/The Lark Farm (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 2007) about the Armenian Genocide, and the Serbian war drama Sveti Georgije ubiva aždahu/Свети Георгије убива аждаху/St. George Shoots the Dragon (Srđan Dragojević, 2009), one of the most expensive Serbian movie productions to date.

     His death in the early morning of 27 November 2019 was announced by the Military Medical Academy. For a month he was in the intensive care unit of the Military Medical Academy, where he was put in medically induced coma.

    Bulgaria’s National Assembly began its yesterday’s sitting with a moment of silence for Danailov, who had been a long-serving MP. President Roumen Radev, whose candidacy in the 2016 election was put forward by an initiative committee headed by Danailov, paid tribute to him as “one of the most beloved actors of our time”.

    Danailov was married to Maria Dimitrova Danailova, and the couple had one child. Stefan Danailov was the recipient of numerous international awards. He was decorated with the Stara Planina state order for his contribution to culture, and in 2002 he received the Paisii of Hilendar Award for outstanding contribution to Bulgarian culture.

    Stefan Danailov (1942-2019)
    Romanian collectors card.

    Sources: Georgi Djulgerov (IMDb), Novinite.com, Sofiaglobe.com, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 11/28/19--22:00: Yes, EFSP's got a record!
  • Although November 2019 is not over yet, EFSP's numbers fetishist just called us to announce that we have a record. So far, Blogger counted more than 128,000 visits to our blog this month. Our best number since we started counting in 2008, was 126,964 visits in January 2017. And we easily broke that record. Thanks. We're so glad that you keep coming back for more or that just have discovered this little labour of love. Below, we have invited some friends for a little party. Join the fun!

    The AristoCats (1970)
    French postcard. Illustration: Walt Disney Productions. Publicity still for The AristoCats (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1970).

    Lilian Harvey
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5117/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa.

    British born, German party girl and actress Lilian Harvey (1906-1968) was Ufa's biggest star of the 1930s. With Willy Fritsch, she formed the 'Dream Team of the European Cinema'. Their best film was the immensely popular film operetta Der Kongress tanzt/The Congress Dances (Erik Charell, 1931).

    Jane Russell
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 473. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

    American party girl Jane Russell (1921-2011) was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. She had her first film role in 1943 in Howard Hughes'The Outlaw. In 1947, Russell delved into music. Her film career revived when she was cast as Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope in The Paleface (1948). After starring in several films in the 1950s, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the 1960s. She starred in more than 20 films throughout her career.

    Conny Froboess, Rex Gildo, Richard Hellmann, Elke Arendt, Monika Leonhardt, Sergio Casmai and Hans Zander in Hula-Hopp, Conny (1959)
    German postcard by Hans Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2647. Photo: H.P. / Union / Haenchen. Conny Froboess, Rex Gildo, Richard Hellmann, Elke Arendt, Monika Leonhardt, Sergio Casmai and Hans Zander in Hula-Hopp, Conny (Heinz Paul, 1959).

    Conny Froboess, Rex Gildo, Richard Hellmann, Elke Arendt, Monika Leonhardt, Sergio Casmai and Hans Zander in Hula-Hopp, Conny (1959)
    German postcard by Hans Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2649. Photo: H.P. / Union / Haenchen. Conny Froboess, Rex Gildo, Richard Hellmann, Elke Arendt, Monika Leonhardt, Sergio Casmai and Hans Zander in Hula-Hopp, Conny (Heinz Paul, 1959).

    Alice Terry in Lovers? (1927)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3255/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Alice Terry in Lovers? (John M. Stahl, 1927).

    Alice Terry, originally Alice Frances Taeffe (1900–1987) was an American film actress and director, who began her career during the silent film era and appeared in almost 40 films between 1916 and 1933. Though a brunette, Terry's trademark look was her blond hair, for which she wore wigs from 1920 onwards, e.g. in her most acclaimed role in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rex Ingram, 1921) starring Rudolph Valentino. Ingram, who married her in 1921, would shoot her in many of his films and often paired her to Ramon Novarro, but also to other ‘Latin Lovers’ such as Antonio Moreno. Later on, Terry proved in films without her husband’s direction she was a legitimate star. In 1923 the couple moved to the French Riviera, where they set up a small studio in Nice and made several films on location in North Africa, Spain, and Italy for MGM and others. In the later 1920s, they returned to Los Angeles. In 1933, Terry made her last film appearance in Baroud, which she also co-directed with her husband, and which was partly shot in Morocco.

    Rose Barsony
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7480/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

    Hungarian actress, dancer and singer Rose Barsony (1909-1977) appeared in 16 films from 1929 to 1938, and in one more in 1957. The soubrette was a popular star of the operettas by Paul Abraham.

    Henny Porten in Die grosse Pause (1927)
    German postcard. Ross Verlag, No. 79/5. Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion GmbH. Henny Porten and Walter Slezak in the German silent film Die grosse Pause (Carl Froehlich, 1927).

    The Jungle Book (1967)
    Belgian postcard by Edicorna, no. 3321. Image: Walt Disney Productions. Publicity still for The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967).

    Fregoli
    Italian postcard by Garzini e Pezzini, Milano, 1908.

    Leopoldo Fregoli (1867-1936) was one of the first vaudeville actors who used film in his acts. Fregoli was famous for his rapid transformation acts, in which he did impersonations of famous artistic and political characters. In 1898 he bought a Cinematographe from the Lumière brothers and started to show shorts, named Fregoligraph, as part of his stage act. They were recordings of his transformation acts.

    Jorge Negrete
    Spanish postcard by P.M., Bilbao, no. 3018.

    Mexican singer and actor Jorge Negrete (1911-1953) was for many years considered the number 1 entertainer in Latin America. More than 50 years after his death, he is still an icon in Mexico, Spain, and Latin America. His rendition of 'México Lindo y Querido' (Beautiful and Beloved México), his country’s unofficial anthem, is an evergreen. Typical is his manly, arrogant yet good-humoured singing and romantic image, dressed in Charro (cowboy) attire. 'El Charro Cantor' appeared in 44 films.

    Joan Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters (1928)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 664. Photo: MGM. Joan Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters (Harry Beaumont, 1928).

    American actress Joan Crawford (1905-1977) became nationally-known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, her fame rivalled, and later outlasted, MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and success. These 'rags-to-riches' stories were well received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest-paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labelled 'Box Office Poison'. But her career gradually improved in the early 1940s, and she made a major comeback in 1945 by starring in Mildred Pierce, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

    Clara Bow
    German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. 4672/4, 1928-1929. Photo: Paramount.

    American actress Clara Bow (1905-1965) rose to stardom in silent film during the 1920s. It was her appearance as a plucky shopgirl in the film It (Clarence G. Badger, 1927) that brought her global fame and the nickname 'The It Girl'. Bow came to personify the Roaring Twenties and is described as its leading sex symbol.

    Lya de Putti
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1562/3, 1927-1928. The signature of the photographer could be "Freimuth", but also "Lutteroth", a photographer in Munich whose work was used by Ross, or "Kurzrock", a photographer from Wiesbaden whose work Ross also used.

    Lya de Putti (1899-1931) portrayed vamps in German and American silent films.

    Pat & Patachon
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4453/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Lothar Stark-Film. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    The Danish double-act Fy og Bi (Fyrtårnet og Bivognen aka Pat & Patachon) was the most famous comedy couple of the European silent cinema. Long Carl Schenstrom (1881-1942) and short Harald Madsen (1890-1949) became very popular in the 1920s with their short slapstick films.

    The AristoCats (1970)
    French postcard. Illustration: Walt Disney Productions. Publicity still for The AristoCats (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1970).

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    On 5 January this year, EFSP did a post on the American Vitagraph Company, a pioneering film studio which was active during the silent era. The post included some French postcards which were probably published by the French subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. In contrast to most American film companies, who had London as their hub for the European film distribution market, Vitagraph arranged its European distribution and publicity from Paris, including the astonishing film posters (de)signed by Harry Bedos. Ivo Blom recently acquired more cards of this series, which we share with you today.

    Florence Turner
    Florence Turner. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 1. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

    Vitagraph made countless contributions to the history of film-making, and created the first American film star, Florence Turner‘the Vitagraph Girl’. She had made her film debut in How to Cure a Cold (1907). At the time there were no stars per se, unless an already famous stage star made a film. Performers were not even mentioned by name. The Vitagraph Girl became the most popular American actress to appear on screen which was at that time still dominated by French pictures, especially from the Pathé and Gaumont companies. Her worth to the studio, as its biggest box-office draw, was recognised in 1907 when her pay was upped to $22 a week, as proto-star plus part-time seamstress.

    Florence was paired several times with heartthrob Wallace Reid, who was also on his way to stardom. In March 1910, Turner and Florence Lawrence became the first American screen actors not already famous in another medium to be publicised by name by their studios to the general public. But with the rise of more stars, such as Mary Pickford at Biograph Studios, Florence Turner was no longer quite as special. By 1913 she was looking for new pastures and left the United States, accompanied by director Laurence Trimble. They moved to Great Britain, where she and Trimble began performing together in London music halls and started their own film company.

    Leo Delaney
    Leo Delaney. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 6. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

    Lillian Christy
    Lillian Christy. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 7. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

    Mrs Mary Maurice
    Mrs Mary Maurice. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 10. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

    Tom Powers
    Tom Powers. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 11. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co.

    Robert Thornby
    Robert Thornby. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 12. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co.

    William R. Dunn
    William R. Dunn. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 17. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co.

    Zena Keife
    Zena Keife. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 18. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co.

    Tefft Johnson
    Tefft Johnson. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 19. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

    Rosemary Theby
    Rosemary Theby. French postcard in the Artiste of the Vitagraph Co. series, no. 20. The series was probably issued by the Paris subsidiary of The Vitagraph Co. Photo: Stacy, Brooklyn.

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  • 11/30/19--22:00: Ida Lupino
  • Ida Lupino (1918-1995) was an English-American actress and singer, who became a pioneering director and producer—the only woman working within the 1950s Hollywood studio system to do so. With her independent production company, she co-wrote and co-produced several of her own social-message films, and was the first woman to direct a Film Noir, The Hitch-Hiker (1953). In her 48-year career, she acted in 59 films and directed 8, mostly in the United States, where she became a citizen in 1948. The majority of her later career as an actress, writer, and director was in television, where she directed more than 100 episodes of productions ranging across Westerns, supernatural tales, situation comedies, murder mysteries, and gangster stories.

    Ida Lupino
    British Real Photograph postcard. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

    Halloween again with Ida Lupino
    Large German card by Ross Verlag. Photo: Paramount.

    Ida Lupino
    Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 2046. Photo: Warner Bros.

    The English Jean Harlow


    Ida Lupino was born in 1918 in London to a show business family. Her parents were actress Connie O'Shea (also known as Connie Emerald) and music hall entertainer Stanley Lupino, a member of the theatrical Lupino family, which also included Lupino Lane, a popular song-and-dance man.

    Her father encouraged Ida to perform at an early age, and built a backyard theatre for her and her sister Rita, who also became an actress and dancer. She wanted to be a writer, but in order to please her father, Lupino enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

    Lupino made her first film appearance in a minor role in The Love Race (Lupino Lane, Pat Morton, 1931), directed by her uncle. In 1933, her mother brought the 14-years-old Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affair (Allan Dwan, 1932), and she played a headstrong young girl, who falls completely for a writer of trashy novels.

    She played leading roles in five British films in 1933 at Warner Bros.' Teddington studios and for Julius Hagen at Twickenham, including in The Ghost Camera (Bernard Vorhaus, 1933) with John Mills, and I Lived with You (Maurice Elvey, 1933) with Ivor Novello.

    Dubbed "the English Jean Harlow", the bleached blonde came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson (Henry Hathaway, 1935) starring Gary Cooper, was one of her few noteworthy films and it was not until The Light That Failed (William A. Wellman, 1939) that she began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress.

    Mark Hellinger, associate producer at Warner Bros., was impressed by Lupino's performance in The Light That Failed, and hired her for the femme-fatale role in They Drive by Night (Raoul Walsh, 1940), opposite George Raft, Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart.

    Her parts improved further during the 1940s. In most of her films, she was cast as the hard, but sympathetic woman from the wrong side of the tracks. In The Sea Wolf (Michael Curtiz, 1941) opposite Edward G. Robinson, and High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941) opposite Humphrey Bogart, she played the part magnificently. Tony Fontana at IMDb: "It has been said that no one could do hard-luck dames the way Lupino could do them. She played tough, knowing characters who held their own against some of the biggest leading men of the day".

    Ida Lupino
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 786. Photo: Buckingham.

    Ida Lupino
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 786b. Photo: Paramount.

    Ida Lupino
    Big German card by Ross Verlag. Photo: Paramount.

    The poor man's Don Siegel


    Ida Lupino's performance in The Hard Way (Vincent Sherman, 1943) won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. She made a handful of other films during the 1940s playing different characters ranging from Pillow to Post (Vincent Sherman, 1945), where she played a travelling saleswoman to the tough nightclub singer in The Man I Love (Raoul Walsh, 1947) with Robert Alda.

    Although in demand throughout the 1940s, she never became a major star, but was critically lauded for her tough, direct acting style. Good roles for women were hard to get. She left Warner Brothers in 1947 and became a freelance actress. She appeared for 20th Century Fox as a nightclub singer in the Film Noir Road House (Jean Negulesco, 1948), performing her musical numbers in the film.

    When better roles did not materialise, Ida stepped behind the camera as a director, writer and producer. She and her husband Collier Young formed an independent company, The Filmakers [sic], to produce, direct, and write low-budget, issue-oriented films.

    Her first directing job came when director Elmer Clifton fell ill on Not Wanted (1949), with Sally Forrest as an unwed mother. Lupino co-produced and co-wrote the film, and also stepped in to finish the film. Tony Fontana: "Ida had joked that as an actress, she was the poor man's Bette Davis. Now, she said that as a director, she became the poor man's Don Siegel. The films that she wrote, or directed, or appeared in during the fifties were mostly inexpensive melodramas."

    Never Fear (Ida Lupino, 1949) with Sally Forrest and Keefe Brasselle, was her first director's credit. Wikipedia: "She became a wily low-budget filmmaker, reusing sets from other studio productions and talking her physician into appearing as a doctor in the delivery scene of Not Wanted. She used what is now called product placement, placing Coke, Cadillac, and other brands in her films. She shot in public places to avoid set-rental costs and planned scenes in pre-production to avoid technical mistakes and retakes."

    Her other films include the rape-drama Outrage (Ida Lupino, 1950) with Mala Powers, the thriller The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino, 1953) with Edmond O'Brien, and The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953) with Joan Fontaine and Edmund Gwenn.

    She starred in On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, 1951), and may have taken on some of the directing tasks of the film while director Ray was ill. She later turned to Television where she directed episodes in shows such as The Untouchables (1959), The Fugitive (1963) and The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1968).

    From January 1957 to September 1958, Lupino starred with her then-husband Howard Duff in the sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, in which the duo played husband-and-wife film stars named Howard Adams and Eve Drake, living in Beverly Hills, California.

    In the 1970s, she did guest appearances on various television shows, including Columbo (1972-1974), Police Woman (1975) and Charlie's Angels (1977). She also played Steve McQueen's mother in Junior Bonner (Sam Peckinpah, 1972), and appeared in B-films like the Horror film The Devil's Rain (Robert Fuest, 1975) with Ernest Borgnine, and My Boys Are Good Boys (Bethel Buckalew, 1978) opposite Ralph Meeker, which was her final screen appearance.

    She was 60, when she retired from the entertainment business. Ida Lupino was married and divorced three times. She married actor Louis Hayward in 1938. They separated in 1944 and divorced in 1945. Her second marriage was to producer Collier Young in 1948. They divorced in 1951. When Lupino filed for divorce in September that year, she was already pregnant from an affair with future husband Howard Duff. The child was born seven months after she filed for divorce from Young. Lupino's third and final marriage was to actor Howard Duff, whom she married on 21 October 1951. Six months later, their daughter Bridget was born in 1952. Lupino and Duff divorced in 1983.

    Ida Lupino died from a stroke while undergoing treatment for colon cancer in Los Angeles in 1995, at the age of 77. Her memoirs, 'Ida Lupino: Beyond the Camera', were edited after her death and published by Mary Ann Anderson.

    Ida Lupino
    German Collectors Card. Photo: Universal International Technicolor Film.

    Ida Lupino
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 619. Photo: Warner Bros. The bottom of the card was cut off by a former owner.

    Halloween with Ida Lupino
    German collectors card in the Moderne Schönheitsgalerie series by Ross Verlag for Kurmark Edelzigarette, no. 142. Photo: Paramount.

    Sources: Tony Fontana (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 12/01/19--22:00: Georges Guétary
  • Suave singing star Georges Guétary (1915-1997) performed on the London and Broadway stages, but the light tenor achieved his greatest renown in France, where he had a musical career of nearly 60 years. To international cinema audiences he is best known as Gene Kelly's rival for the affections of Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951).

    Georges Guétary in Le Cavalier Noir (1945)
    French postcard by Edition d'Art BelFrance, Paris, no. 913. Photo: Sirius / Gaumont, Paris. Georges Guétary in Le Cavalier noir/The Black Cavalier (Gilles Grangier, 1945).

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 457.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by IPB. Photo: Disques Pathé.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Imp. De Marchi Frères, Marseille.

    Phosphorescently Brilliant Smile and Velvety Voice


    Georges Guétary was born Lambros Worloou, to Greek parents in 1915 in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was a figure in the textile industry, and intended his son to follow in his footsteps. His uncle however was the classical pianist Tasso Janopoulo, who was an accompanist to such violinists as Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, and Yehudi Menuhin. Through his influence Lambros went to Paris in 1934, where his father hoped that he would further his knowledge of commercial procedures.

    Instead Lambros studied music and voice. Humming a song in the office of a concert organiser while on an errand for his teacher, he was asked to audition, he recounted in his memoirs, and left with a one-night singing contract.

    He became the singer in the orchestra of Jo Bouillon. Not long after making this first stage appearance in 1937, his career took off when he was discovered by Henri Varna, director of the Casino de Paris and became there the singing partner of the music hall queen Mistinguett.

    James Kirkup at The Independent offers a different version: "he was 'discovered' one night by the eagle-eyed Mistinguett, who fell for his dimpled smile's almost phosphorescent brilliance, and for his velvety voice. He started appearing as her cavalier at the Casino de Paris in 1938, and was an immediate popular succcess."

    That year he also made his first film appearance in the musical Quand le cœur chante/When the Heart Sings (Bernard Roland, 1938). In 1942 he changed his Greek name into Georges Guétary because German occupiers in wartime France were sending enemy nationals to concentration camps.

    When he worked in Toulouse as a Maitre d’Hotel, he met the accordeonist Fredo Gardoni who engaged him as a singer and let him make his first record. Another important meeting was the one with Basque composer Francis Lopez in 1943. Lopez created the chansons Caballero and Robin des Bois for him, which became huge successes.

    During the liberation everybody was singing his song A Honolulu (1945), also written by Lopez. That same year Georges Guétary also appeared in the film Le Cavalier noir/The Black Cavalier (Gilles Grangier, 1945) in which he again interpreted many songs by Francis Lopez: Cavalier, Avec l'amour, La plus belle, and especially Chic à Chiquito, another enormous success. His next film, Les Aventures de Casanova/Loves of Casanova (Jean Boyer, 1946), was also a smash hit.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 19. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 19. Photo: Carlet Ainé.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Editions E. C., Paris, no. 115. Photo: Carlet Ainé.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 215. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

    Georges Guétary in Le Cavalier Noir (1945)
    French postcard by Edition d'Art BelFrance, Paris (EAP), no. 912. Photo: Sirius / Gaumont, Paris. Georges Guétary in Le Cavalier noir/The Black Cavalier (Gilles Grangier, 1945).

    From the West End to Broadway


    In 1947 Georges Guétary achieved acclaim on the London stage, when he was imported from Paris by the impresario C. B. Cochran to star with Lizbeth Webb in the operetta Bless the Bride at the Adelphi Theater.

    He played the role of a handsome French actor who elopes with a young English girl on the day she is to marry someone else. The bride is parted from her husband by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 and believes him killed, but the lovers are reunited in time for the final curtain.

    Praise for his performance led to offers from Broadway. In 1950, he made his debut at the 46th Street Theater, starring with Nanette Fabray in Arms and the Girl, a musical set in the days of the American Revolution.

    Critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in The New York Times: “The part of her foreign-born suitor is played by Georges Guetary, who can act a character and sing a song with gusto, and make stage love in the Continental style, which has obvious advantages.”

    This success paved the road to Hollywood, where he appeared in his best known film, An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951), built around the music of George Gershwin. He played Gene Kelly's rival for the affections of Leslie Caron. Guétary was the focus of attention in a spectacular scene in which he strutted up and down a majestic staircase singing I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise while flanked by willowy and scantily (but flamboyantly) clad showgirls; and he shared the spotlight with Gene Kelly in a rousing rendition of ‘S Wonderful.

    Georges Guétary and Nicole Maurey in Le Cavalier Noir (1945)
    French postcard by Edition d'Art BelFrance, Paris, no. 901. Photo: Sirius / Gaumont, Paris. Georges Guétary and Nicole Maurey in Le Cavalier noir/The Black Cavalier (Gilles Grangier, 1945).

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard. Georges Guétary in An American in Paris (1951).

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard by Edition P.I., Paris, no. 29 K. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

    Georges Guétary
    French postcard, no. 157.

    Latin lover with a voice of Creme Chantilly


    In 1950 Georges Guétary returned to France and became a French citizen. In 1955, he married Jeanine Guyon, then the only female producer in French television.

    He starred in two enormously successful operettas by Francis Lopez, Pour Don Carlos (420 performances at the Théâtre du Châtelet, the temple of operetta) and La Route fleurie/The Flowery Path (four years at the ABC theatre) with comedian Bourvil and Annie Cordy.

    Guétary starred in several more stage operettas, including Pacifico (1958), La Polka des lampions (1962), and Monsieur Carnaval (1965), with music by Charles Aznavour.

    In 1981, Francis Lopez again asked Georges Guétary for a new operetta, Aventure à Monte-Carlo, which had a honourable succes. After this the two created more operettas like L'Amour à Tahiti (1983), Carnaval aux Caraïbes (1985) and Le Roi du Pacifique (1986), but they couldn’t repeat their successes of the 1950s.

    Among Guétary’s most popular recordings were Bambino, Papa Aime Maman and La Samba Bresilienne. He appeared in French, Spanish and German films, including Pluma al viento/Plume au vent/Feather in the Wind (Louis Cuny, Ramon Torrado, 1952), and Le Baron Tzigane/The Gypsy Baron (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1954) - an adaptation of the Johann Strauss operetta Der Zigeunerbaron.

    Le chemin du paradis/The Road To Paradise (Hans Wolff, Willi Forst, 1955) with Christine Carrère  was an alternate language version of Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three of the gas Station (Hans Wolff, 1955).The two versions were a remake of the 1930 hit musical starring Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch.

    Guétary also sang and danced on television. 'The Eternal Young Man' continued to give some 40 gala performances a year until his retirement on the Riviera in 1995.

    Georges Guétary died of a heart attack in 1997 in Mougins at the French Riviera. He was 82, and was survived by his wife and two children, director Hélène Guétary and actor François Guétary.

    In his obituary in The Independent, James Kirkup comes far while trying to capture Guétary's enduring appeal: "Part of Guetary's exotic charm, and much of his stage persona as a 'Latin lover' with a voice of Creme Chantilly resided in his mischievous innocence combined with an erotic mystery inherent in his ancestry. (...) The warm good-natured Guetary's teasing was always tender, and la Miss (Mistinguett) adored him, as did many of the ladies (and some of the gentlemen) who fell under his irresistible spell."


    Theatrical trailer An American In Paris (1951). Source: Astor Theatre (YouTube).


    Georges Guétary sings Les enfants du Pirée. Source: Avec Joie (YouTube).

    Sources: Lawrence van Gelder (The New York Times), James Kirkup (The Independent), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 12/02/19--22:00: Zuflucht (1928)
  • For the social melodrama Zuflucht (1928), Henny Porten invited stage actor Franz Lederer to be her co-star. His film debut immediately tuned the handsome Czech actor into a popular film star. Zuflucht/Refuge was produced by Porten's own film company, HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)), and directed by Carl Froelich. Froelich staged the film as realistically as possible by shooting in the quarters of workers, kitchens, arcades, market halls, and third-class hospitals. The cast also included Max Maximilian, Margarete Kupfer, Alice Hechy and Carl de Vogt.

    Henny Porten and Franz Lederer in Zuflucht (1928)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 100/1. Photo: Alex. Schmoll / HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Henny Porten and Franz Lederer in Zufluch/tRefuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    Henny Porten and Franz Lederer in Zuflucht (1928)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 100/2. Photo: Alex. Schmoll / HPF (HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Henny Porten and Franz Lederer in Zuflucht/Refuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    Henny Porten in Zuflucht
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 110/3. Photo: Alex. Schmoll, Berlin / HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Henny Porten in Zuflucht/Refuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    A ray of hope


    In Zuflucht/Refuge, Franz Lederer plays Martin, who has to flee Germany because of his involvement in the November Revolution. Eight years later, he returns to Berlin. The market vendor Hannelore (Henny Porten) offers him shelter in her apartment, whereupon both fall in love. Martin soon finds work in the construction of the north-south subway through the Tempelhof field, but collapses one day. The pregnant Hannelore cares for the seriously ill Martin.

    Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie: "Best known for her comedy roles, Henny Porten went dramatic big-time in her 1928 vehicle Zufflucht [sic] (Refuge). Since Porten also produced the film, she bore the brunt of the criticism, which was far from kind. Many felt that the actress would have been better off sticking to comedy, while others were of the opinion that she was too old for her role (she was all of 40 at the time). The most positive comments were reserved for Porten's incredibly good-looking leading man, Francis Lederer. In fact, Zufflucht represented Lederer's screen debut, a full year before his 'official' cinematic bow in Pabst's Pandora's Box."

    However, the film was positively received by some of the German critics at the time. The Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger reviewed the film on 1 September 1928: "The fact is that this simple story became a wonderful film, and indeed a tangible step forward in the field of German film in general - thanks not only to the exquisite portrayal, but above all to the direction of the film. Carl Froelich has had the courage to openly show what he has learned from the New Russian film art. [...]

    There is hardly any tradition here, there is no bashful make-up, nothing and nobody is made 'cute' - yes, the outstanding Henny Porten does not even shy away from turning into a self-denying Cinderella. That sounds hard, but it means liberation from the traditional teasing fuss of numerous film divas, numerous directors. [...] The film is a ray of hope. "

    Critic Hanns Horkheimer added in Berliner Tageblatt on 2 September 1928: "The good role of her Hanne is raised to all-human validity, when this joyless market maid awakens to motherly-loving sacrifice, when she, the tormented, with two powerful arms, makes a new life for the strayed, and then when the short spring is full of warmth and heat Promise on the deathbed of the selfless lover forever vanishes. This lover is Franz Lederer, [...] as a film debutant of the antics of Russian film actors. Naturalistic life and experience are raised by him through creative skill into that sphere in which there are no bravura details, but only a self-evident whole. The management of the again tactically, technically and figuratively very hard-working and skillful Carl Froelich contributed the rest to the success."

    Henny Porten in Zuflucht
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 110/4. Photo: Alex. Schmoll, Berlin / HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Henny Porten in Zuflucht/Refuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    Henny Porten in Zuflucht
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 110/5. Photo: Alex. Schmoll, Berlin / HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Henny Porten in Zuflucht/Refuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    Margarete Kupfer in Zuflucht (1928)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 198, group 43. Photo: HPF (Henny Porten-Froelich Produktion GmbH (Berlin)). Publicity still for Zuflucht/Refuge (Carl Froelich, 1928).

    German actress Margarete Kupfer (1881-1953) was an extremely versatile and prolific character player in classic silent films directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Paul Leni and Ernst Lubitsch.

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

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  • 12/03/19--22:00: Edwige Feuillère
  • Charming and elegant Edwige Feuillère (1907-1998) was during the 1940s the ‘First Lady’ of the French cinema. Edwige was known for the ease in which she could switch from playing sophisticated sexy ladies and cruel, self-centred seductresses. For more than sixty years she stayed a beloved ‘vedette’ of the French stage and screen.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French collectors card by Massilia.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 719. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Edwige Feuillère in L'honorable Catherine (1943)
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 15. Photo: Films Orange. Edwige Feuillère in L'honorable Catherine/The Honourable Catherine (Marcel L'Herbier, 1943).

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 170. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil, no. 596 A. Photo: Continental Films.

    Camille


    Edwige Feuillère was born Edwige Louise Caroline Cunati in Vesoul, in the Haute-Saône in eastern France in 1907. Her father was Italian and, because he was drafted by the Italian army in World War I, Edwige spent much of her childhood in Italy.

    After the war, the family moved to Dijon in France. Edwige attended the lyceum in Dijon where she acted in plays including Jean Racine's plays 'Esther' and 'Athalie'. At the Dijon Conservatoire she studied diction, interpretation of character and singing, and easily passed the entrance exam for the Paris Conservatoire in 1928.

    Two years later, she won the first prize for comedy. She married an older fellow student, Pierre Feuillere, but he proved to be a drug addict who used to play suicidal games with her.

    She made her theatrical debut under the stage name Cora Lynn, playing small roles in 1930. In 1931 she became a member of the Comédie Française, and made her debut in Pierre Beaumarchais' comedy 'Le Mariage de Figaro'. In 1933, Edwige left both the troupe and her husband, but she kept his surname.

    During the 1930s and 1940s, the stunningly beautiful actress became one of the leading ladies of the French stage. A success was her role in Édouard Bourdet's 'La Prisonniere' (The Captive) in 1935 at the Théâtre Heberthot. The play had a long run and was frequently revived. Among her most popular roles was also Marguerite Gautier in 'La Dame aux camélias' (Camille) by Alexandre Dumas fils (1939-1942).

    For the next two decades she appeared in frequent revivals of 'La Dame aux camélias' in France and Britain. Another triumph was 'Sodome et Gomorrhe' (Sodom and Gomorrah) by modern author Jean Giraudoux (1943), for which she helped to discover Gérard Philipe.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Erres, no. 12. Photo: Paramount.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard, no. 170. Photo: Star.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 64. Photo: Star.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 170. Photo: Studio Carlet Ainé.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Greff / S.E.R.P. Editeur, Paris, no. 596 A. Photo: Continental Films.

    Nude Scene


    Edwige Feuillère's first film appearance was in the short La Fine combine/The Fine combines (André Chotin, 1931) opposite Fernandel, and her feature debut was in Le Cordon bleu/The Champion Cook (Alberto Cavalcanti, Karl Anton, 1931). For both films she still used the name Cora Lynn.

    Louis Gasnier cast her in the first film version of the farce Topaze (1933), based on the play by Marcel Pagnol. Her charm and elegance opposite Louis Jouvet were widely appreciated.

    In the strait-laced Europe of 1935, she scandalised the public with a brief nude scene in Lucrèce Borgia/Lucrezia Borgia (Abel Gance, 1935). This historical drama in which she played her first leading role, solidified her popularity. That year she also appeared in the epic Golgotha/Behold the Man (Julien Duvivier, 1935) starring Harry Baur and Jean Gabin, and in the Ufa production Barcarolle (Gerhard Lamprecht, Roger Le Bon, 1935), the French-language version of Lamprecht's Barcarole (1935).

    Her roles as elegant and often heartless women were displayed in Mister Flow/Compliments of Mr. Flow (Robert Siodmak, 1936), Marthe Richard au service de la France/Marthe Richard (Raymond Bernard, 1937) as a charming spy opposite Erich von Stroheim, La Dame de Malacca/Woman of Malacca (Marc Allégret, 1937), and J'étais une aventurière/I Was an Adventuress (Raymond Bernard, 1938).

    She went on working with famous director Max Ophüls in the melodrama Sans lendemain/Without Tomorrow (1939) in which she gave a wonderful performance as a jaded woman, abandoned by a shady husband with a lot of debts, who is sacrified, and in De Mayerling à Sarajévo/Mayerling to Sarajevo (1940) about the liaison between Archduke Franz Ferdinand - unwilling heir to the Habsburg throne - and his wife, Countess Sophie Chotek. The film ends with the couple's assassination by a Serb terrorist in 1914, and thus starting WW I. Work on this film began in 1939 and was interrupted by the war. It was finished in the spring of 1940, only to be banned by the Germans. The first ‘official’ premiere was on 18 May 1945.

    Feuillères next film, Mam'zelle Bonaparte/Miss Bonaparte (Maurice Tourneur, 1941) became a popular success, although IMDb calls the film a ‘dud’. Another success was her role as a coquette caught by a great love for Pierre Richard-Willm in La Duchesse de Langeais/Wicked Duchess (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1941) based on a novel by Honoré de Balzac with dialogues by Jean Giraudoux. Worth watching is also the romantic screwball comedy L'Honorable Catherine/The Honourable Catherine (Marcel L’Herbier, 1943) with Feuillère as a high society blackmailer whose latest blackmail attempt is interrupted, and she has to pose as her victim’s lover.

    Edwige Feuillère and Pierre Richard-Willm in Stradivarius (1935)
    French postcard by Tobis. Photo: Edwige Feuillère and Pierre Richard-Willm in Stradivarius (Albert Valentin, Géza von Bolváry, 1935).

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., La Garenne-Colombes, no. 36. Photo: Majestic.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., La Garenne-Colombes, no. 36. Photo: Majestic.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 52. Photo: Studio Paz.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 64. Photo: Studio Paz.

    Magnetic Presence


    By the mid-1940s Edwige Feuillère had become a distinguished actress, respected for her powerful well-modulated voice, expressive eyes and magnetic presence. She was frequently acclaimed for her interpretation of classical stage roles. She turned down a seven-year Hollywood contract offered by Louis B. Mayer in 1945 and tended to make fewer films after the war. Her stage performances made her even more appreciated in films when she made them.

    With Gérard Philipe she appeared in the Fyodor Dostoyevsky film adaptation L’Idiot/The Idiot (Georges Lampin, 1946).

    She did 200 performances of Jean Cocteau's 'L'Aigle à deux têtes' (The Eagle with Two Heads) as the widowed queen who falls in love with a political fugitive played by Jean Marais. The role was especially written for Feuillère by Cocteau, and she also starred in the screen version, L'Aigle à deux têtes (Jean Cocteau, 1947).

    She played more great screen roles like the title character in Julie de Carneilhan (Jacques Manuel, 1949), and as the older woman introducing an adolescent to love in Le Blé en herbe/The Game of Love (Claude Autant-Lara, 1954), based on Colette's novel. Her role in this film was a scandal, even though Feuillère was brilliant and the writer kept out any suggestion of prurience.

    Other great films of this decade were Olivia/The Pit of Loneliness (Jacqueline Audry, 1950) nominated with a BAFTA Film Award, Adorables Créatures/Adorable Creatures (Christian-Jaque, 1952) in which she played an eccentric bourgeoise who discovers the arcane delights of a banal sandwich, and the crime drama En cas de malheur/Love Is My Profession (Claude Autant-Lara, 1958) with Jean Gabin and Brigitte Bardot.

    Another major stage role, which she would also perform again and again, was the femme fatale Yse opposite Jean-Louis Barrault in Paul Claudel's 'Partage de midi'. In 1951 she made her first - and reportedly unforgettable - London stage appearance with this long and difficult role for the Renaud-Barrault company. In 1955 she returned to London for a season with La Dame aux Camélias and other plays. In 1968, when she appeared again in London in 'Partage de midi', the British theatre critic Harold Hobson described her as 'the greatest actress he had ever seen'.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 177. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard, no. 274. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions Continental, no. 101 A. Photo: Continental Films.

    Edwige Feuillère
    German postcard.

    Edwige Feuillere
    French postcard by Ed. Chantal, Paris, no. 596. Photo: Films Osso.

    Gracefully Elegant Grande Dame


    In the 1960s and 1970s, Edwige Feuillère appeared often on stage, such as in 1965 in 'La folle de Chaillot' (The Madwoman of Chaillot) by Jean Giraudoux. She later reprised this role on television, La folle de Chaillot (Gérard Vergez, 1976). According to IMDb her nickname was ‘Edwige 1ère’ (Edwige the 1st) for her cool and rather imposing acting style. She was equally at home playing in dramas and comedies.

    She also continued to be a popular film and television actress and worked with directors of the next generations like Michel Boisrond in an episode of Amours célèbres/Famous Love Affairs (1961) and Roman Polanski, who wrote the script for the dark cannibal comedy Aimez-vous les Femmes/A Taste for Women (Jean Léon, 1963). She showed little interest in a glamorous life style. Modest and humorous in private, she was also self-deprecating about her talent in her 1977 autobiography, 'Les Feux de la Memoire' (The Fires of Memory).

    One of the best of her later films was La chair de l'orchidée/The Flesh of the Orchid (Patrice Chéreau – his film debut, 1975) starring Charlotte Rampling. In this crime drama, based on James Hadley Chase's 'No Orchids for Miss Blandish', Edwige Feuillère appeared disturbingly out of character. Another interesting film was the TV film Le tueur triste/The Sad Killer (Nicolas Gessner, 1984), in which she appeared as the grandmother.

    In 1984 she was awarded an honorary César. She continued to act onstage and in the occasional film until her official retirement in 1992. Her last stage performance was 'Edwige Feuillère en Scène', in which she replayed scenes from her most famous roles and told about her long career. TV broadcaster ARTE made a documentary of it, Edwige Feuillère en scène (Serge Moati, 1993). In 1993 she was named 'Commandeur des Arts et Lettres; Grand Officier de la Légion d'Honneur'. That same year she was also awarded the Molière prize for her stage work. The gracefully elegant 'grande dame' played her last role in the TV film La Duchesse de Langeais/The Dutchess of Langeais (Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe, 1995).

    Edwige Feuillère died of natural causes in 1998 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Île-de-France. She was 91. After her death Le Monde wrote: "Edwige Feuillere was our Marlene Dietrich, our Irene Dunne and our Greta Garbo, all in one."

    Edwige Feuillère in La Duchesse de Langeais
    French postcard, no. 596 B. Photo: Védis Film. Edwige Feuillère in La Duchesse de Langeais (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1942).

    Edwige Feuillère
    Italian postcard by Rizzoli. Photo: Tobis.

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

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 36. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 106. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Ed. Chantal, Paris, no. 596. Photo: Films Osso.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Viny, no. 46. Photo: Star.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Edwige Feuillère
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. S-1000 18K.

    Sources: Karel Tabery (Filmreference.com), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Alan Riding (The New York Times), John Calder (The Independent), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 12/04/19--22:00: Bernd Aldor
  • Bernd Aldor (1881-1950) was a star of the German silent cinema in the 1910s and 1920s, often in films by Richard Oswald or Lupu Pick. Sound film and the Nazi regime broke the career of this Jewish actor.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3028.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Photochemie, no. K.1419. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2854. Photo: Rexfilm. Bernd Aldor in Der Weltspiegel/The World Mirror (Lupu Pick, 1918).

    Bernd Aldor in Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray (1917)
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3151. Photo: Richard-Oswald-Produktion. Bernd Aldor as Dorian Gray in Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray/The Picture of Dorian Gray (Richard Oswald, 1917), an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Verlag Herman Leiser, Berlin, no. 5408. Photo: Bernd Aldor in Der Weg ins Freie/The way to the outdoors (Richard Oswald, 1918).

    Aufklärungsfilme


    Bernd Aldor was born in Constantinople, the former Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey) in 1881 (IMDb and Filmportal.de write wrongly 1887).

    Shortly before the turn of the century he took acting lessons in Vienna at the master class of Karl Arnau. He began his theatrical career as an extra at the Hofburgtheater, the later Burgtheater.

    In 1900 he received his first permanent engagement in Znaim (Znojmo). From 1903 on his other theatre stations included Czernowitz, Trier, Bremen, Königsberg, Leipzig, Dresden and Hamburg.

    In 1906 he came to Berlin to work at the Schiller Theater. During a performance of Leo Tolstoy's The Living Corpse at the Schauspielhaus Leipzig he was discovered for the film by Charles Decroix.

    His film debut was probably the German short film Die Czernowska/That Czernowska Woman (Charles Decroix, 1913), of which scenes were edited in Lyrisch Nitraat/Lyrical Nitrate (Peter Delpeut, 1991).

    Other films he made with Decroix were Der Fleck/The Stain (Charles Decroix, 1913) starring Wolfgang Neff, and Das Ave Maria/The Ave Maria (Charles Decroix, 1913) oppositeFern Andra, the great American diva of the German silent cinema.

    Aldor appeared also opposite another silent film diva, Henny Porten, in Die große Sünderin/The Great Sinner (Curt A. Stark, 1914), and with the young deceased Dorrit Weixler in Aschenbrödelchen/Little Cinderella (1915).

    During WWI, he worked with director Richard Oswald for the first time, at Zirkusblut/Circus Blood (Richard Oswald, 1916) and at Seine letzte Maske/His last mask (Richard Oswald, 1916). In both films he played the lead role, like in most of his films during this period.

    Aldor became well-known with his performances in the first two parts of a trilogy of Aufklärungsfilme (typical German educational films), Es werde Licht/There Will Be Light (Richard Oswald, 1917-1918). He played Dr. Mauthner, head of an institution for children suffering from syphilis.

    He also appeared in Oswald's literary film adaptations Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray/The Picture of Dorian Gray (Richard Oswald, 1917) based on the classic novel by Oscar Wilde, and Tolstoy's Der lebende Leichnam/The Living Corpse (Richard Oswald, 1918), which he had earlier performed on stage.

    From 1917 to 1919 he was also the star of several film by actor-writer-director Lupu Pick, such as Die Liebe des Van Royk/The Love of Van Royk (Lupu Pick, 1918), Der Weltspiegel/The Mirror World (Lupu Pick, 1918) and Mein Wille ist Gesetz/My will is law (Lupu Pick, 1919) with Olga Engl.

    Bernd Aldor in Dorian Gray
    German postcard by Hermann Leiser Verlag, Berlin, no. 3152. Photo: Richard-Oswald-Produktion. Bernd Aldor in Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray (Richard Oswald, 1917), an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    Bernd Aldor in Der Schloßherr von Hohenstein (1917)
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3153. Photo: Richard Oswald-Film. Bernd Aldor in Der Schloßherr von Hohenstein/The manor of Hohenstein (Richard Oswald, 1917).

    Bernd Aldor in Der Schlossherr von Hohenstein
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3154. Photo: Richard Oswald-Film. Bernd Aldor playing the violin in the German silent film Der Schloßherr von Hohenstein/The manor of Hohenstein (Richard Oswald, 1917).

    Bernd Aldor in Der Weg ins Freie (1918)
    German postcard in the Bernd Aldor Series 1917/1918 III. by Verlag Herman Leiser, Berlin-Wilm. Phot: Richard Oswald Film. Bernd Aldor in Der Weg ins Freie (Richard Oswald, 1918).

    Bernd Aldor in Der Weltspiegel (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2853. Bernd Aldor in Der Weltspiegel/The World Mirror (Lupu Pick, 1918). The woman could be Gertrud Welcker.

    Bernd Aldor in Die Liebe des van Royk (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, K.2855. Photo: Rexfilm. Bernd Aldor in Die Liebe des van Royk/The Love of van Royk (Lupu Pick, 1917). Though the woman right of Aldor looks like Ria Jende, she is not named among the actresses in Filmportal.de. the postcard names the character von Royk instead of van Royk.

    Bernd Aldor in Die tolle Heirat von Laló (1918)
    German postcard Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2856. Photo: Rexfilm. Bernd Aldor in Die tolle Heirat von Laló/The great marriage of Laló (Lupu Pick, 1918).

    Oblivion


    Until the mid-1920s, Bernd Aldor was seen in leading roles. He starred as Talma opposite Fern Andra again in Madame Récamier (Joseph Delmont, 1920). In the drama Die Furcht vor dem Weibe/The fear of the woman (Hanna Henning, 1921) he starred opposite Otto Gebühr.

    He appeared at the side of the great comedian Hermann Valentin in Graf Cohn/Count Cohn (Carl Boese, 1923), and with Claire Rommer in Aschermittwoch/Ash Wednesday (1925), directed by his old co-star Wolfgang Neff, who had turned into a director.

    He reunited with Oswald for Halbseide/Half silk (Richard Oswald, 1925) as the husband of Mary Parker.

    From 1927 on his film parts became smaller. He played supporting parts in Die glühende Gasse/The glowing alley (Paul Sugar, 1927) starring Hans Albers, the comedy Schwere Jungs - leichte Mädchen/Guys and Dolls (Carl Boese, 1927) starring Gustav Fröhlich and Lissi Arna, and Indizienbeweis/Circumstantial evidence (Georg Jacoby, 1929) starring Fritz Alberti.

    Then he slowly fell into oblivion, but he did some small film appearances in the sound era. Richard Oswald gave him a small part in his sound film Dreyfus (Richard Oswald, 1930) starring Fritz Kortner and Heinrich George.

    His final film appearance was in Elisabeth von Österreich/Elisabeth of Austria (Adolf Trotz, 1931) starring Lil Dagover. In 1932, Aldor was committed by the Romanian actor Constantin Tanase to direct a film in Berlin, Visul lui Tanase/Tanase's Dream (Bernd Aldor, 1932).

    In July 1938, he was excluded from the Reichsfilmkammer because of his "probably not Aryan" origin, although he had not been active for the cinema since 1932. Maybe the Jewish Bernd Aldor had fled the country. There is no information about him during this period.

    Wikipedia writes that only in 1950 he and his wife Hilde were 'detected' again, now in Vienna, Austria. A little later the former actor died there, in 1950. He was 69.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by NPG (Neue Photographische Gesellschaft), no. 811. Photo: Anny Eberth, Berlin.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot., no. 164/2. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 3148. Photo: Martin Herzfeld, Dresden.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 3150. Photo: Martin Herzfeld, Dresden.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 3617. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 419/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 419/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

    Bernd Aldor
    German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, Berlin, no. 164/1. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

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

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  • 12/05/19--22:00: Dolores Costello
  • American film actress Dolores Costello (1903-1979) was 'The Goddess of the Silent Screen'. She was Hollywood royalty: the daughter of popular matinee idol Maurice Costello, wife of John Barrymore and grandmother of Drew Barrymore.

    Dolores Costello
    French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 332. NB Costello's first name is misspelled on the postcard.

    Dolores Costello
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 262.

    Dolores Costello
    German postcard by Ross Verlag Foreign, no. 1247/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Paramount-Film.

    Fainting during a lengthy kissing scene


    Dolores Costello was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1903. She was the daughter of actors Maurice Costello and Mae Costello (née Altschuk). Her youth was spent mostly on Long Island, where she was educated by a tutor.

    With her younger sister, Helene, she made her first film appearances in the years 1909–1915 as child actress for the Vitagraph Film Company. They played supporting roles in several films starring their father, who was a popular matinee idol at the time. Dolores Costello's earliest listed credit on IMDb is in the role of a fairy in a 1909 adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Charles Kent, J. Stuart Blackton, 1909).

    Dolores started her career as a model and posed for the noted James Montgomery Flagg, who described her beauty as the most perfect for his illustrations. The two Costello sisters appeared on Broadway together as chorines in 'George White Scandals of 1924'. The production ran on Broadway for more than a year and then went on tour. In Chicago, they were signed by a talent scout for Warner Bros.

    Following small parts in feature films, Dolores was selected by John Barrymore to star opposite him in The Sea Beast (Millard Webb, 1926), a loose adaptation of Herman Melville's 'Moby-Dick'. During their lengthy kissing scene Dolores fainted in John's arms. The film was a major commercial success and one of the biggest pictures of 1926 becoming Warner Brothers' highest grossing film.

    Within a few years of achieving stardom, the delicately beautiful blonde-haired actress had become a successful and highly regarded film personality in her own right. As a young adult her career developed to the degree that in 1926, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star, and had acquired the nickname 'The Goddess of the Silver Screen'.

    Meanwhile, she and Barrymore became romantically involved. They starred together again in When a Man Loves (Alan Crosland, 1927). Then, Warner began starring her in her own vehicles. She married Barrymore in 1928 despite the misgivings of her mother, who would die the following year at the age of 45.

    The young couple spent their honeymoon on his yacht, visiting Panama, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. They hunted alligators and mammoth lizards and explored wild regions of Central America before returning to Hollywood and moving into a hilltop mansion in Beverly Hills.

    Dolores Costello and John Barrymore in When a Man Loves (1927)
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5189. Photo: Warner Bros. Dolores Costello and John Barrymore in When a Man Loves (Alan Crosland, 1927).

    Dolores Costello in Hearts in Exile (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4424/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Warner Bros / Nationalfilm. Dolores Costello in Hearts in Exile (Michael Curtiz, 1929).

    Dolores Costello in Hearts in Exile (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5027/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Warner Bros / Nationalfilm. Dolores Costello in Hearts in Exile (Michael Curtiz, 1929).

    All-star extravaganza


    Dolores Costello was alternated by Warner Bros between films with contemporary settings and elaborate costume dramas. In 1927, she was re-teamed with John Barrymore in When a Man Loves (Alan Crosland, 1927), an adaptation of 'Manon Lescaut'. The following year, she co-starred with George O'Brien in Noah's Ark (1928), a part-talkie epic directed by Michael Curtiz.

    She then starred in Tenderloin (Michael Curtiz, 1928), which was the second Vitaphone feature to have talking sequences. It is considered a lost film, where today only the Vitaphone soundtrack survives.

    Costello spoke with a lisp and found it difficult to make the transition to talking pictures, but after two years of voice coaching she was comfortable speaking before a microphone. One of her early sound film appearances was with her sister Helene in Warner Bros.'s all-star extravaganza The Show of Shows (John G. Adolfi, 1929).

    Her acting career became less a priority for her following the birth of her first child, Dolores Ethel Mae 'DeeDee' Barrymore, in 1930, and she retired from the screen in 1931 to devote time to her family. Her second child, John Drew Barrymore, was born in 1932, but the marriage with John Barrymore proved difficult due to her husband's increasing alcoholism.

    Her sister Helene and her new husband, actor Lowell Sherman, successfully convinced Dolores to divorce Barrymore in 1935, mainly because of his excessive drinking. She resumed her career a year later and achieved some successes, most notably in Little Lord Fauntleroy (John Cromwell, 1936) featuring Freddie Bartholomew, and The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942), an adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel about a crumbling 19th‐century aristocracy.

    Making a rare radio appearance, Costello appeared as the Danish Countess Elsa on the radio program Suspense (1943). The title of the episode is The King's Birthday written by Corporal Leonard Pellitier of the US Army.

    Her film career was largely ruined by the destructive effects of early film makeup, which ravaged her complexion too severely to camouflage. She retired permanently from acting following her appearance in This is the Army (Michael Curtiz, 1943). In 1939, she had married Dr. John Vruwink, an obstetrician who was her physician during her pregnancies, but they divorced in 1950.

    Costello spent the remaining years of her life in semi-seclusion, managing an avocado farm. In the 1970s her house was inundated in a flash flood which destroyed a lot of her property and memorabilia from her film career and life with John Barrymore. Shortly before her death, she was interviewed for the documentary series Hollywood (1980) discussing her film career. Her scenes were broadcast posthumously.

    Dolores Costello died from emphysema in Fallbrook, California, in 1979, and is interred in Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles. She was stepmother of John Barrymore's daughter Diana, by his second wife Blanche Oelrichs, the mother of John Drew Barrymore and Dolores (Dee Dee) Barrymore, and the grandmother of John Barrymore III, Blyth Dolores Barrymore, Brahma Blyth (Jessica) Barrymore, and Drew Barrymore.

    Dolores Costello
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4478/1, 1929-1930. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Dolores Costello
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5589/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Warner Bros / Nationalfilm.

    Dolores Costello
    Belgian postcard by N.V. Universum, Antwerp. Photo: Warner Bros / Vitaphone Pictures.

    Sources: Peters B. Flint (The New York Times), Jarod Hitchings (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.