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Articles on this Page
- 04/01/18--22:00: _Lana Morris
- 04/02/18--22:00: _Margarete Schlegel
- 04/03/18--22:00: _La casa di vetro (1...
- 04/04/18--22:00: _Robert Lamoureux
- 04/05/18--22:00: _ASER
- 04/06/18--22:00: _Patrick Stewart
- 04/07/18--22:00: _Greta Garbo
- 04/08/18--22:00: _Silent Garbo
- 04/09/18--22:00: _Greta Garbo's film ...
- 04/10/18--22:00: _Greta Garbo in Anna...
- 04/11/18--22:00: _Garbo by Clarence S...
- 04/12/18--22:00: _Greta Garbo: Ivo Bl...
- 04/13/18--22:00: _Collecting Garbo
- 04/14/18--22:00: _Happy 80, Claudia C...
- 04/15/18--22:00: _Robinne
- 04/16/18--22:00: _Finds at the Intern...
- 04/17/18--22:00: _Ahasver (1917)
- 04/18/18--22:00: _Jacques Pills
- 04/19/18--22:00: _Bromofoto
- 04/20/18--22:00: _Nikita Mikhalkov
- 04/21/18--22:00: _Finds at the Intern...
- 04/22/18--22:00: _Margarete Slezak
- 04/23/18--22:00: _Willi Domgraf Fassb...
- 04/24/18--22:00: _Napoléon (1927)
- 04/25/18--22:00: _Warwick Ward
- 04/01/18--22:00: Lana Morris
- 04/02/18--22:00: Margarete Schlegel
- 04/03/18--22:00: La casa di vetro (1920)
- 04/04/18--22:00: Robert Lamoureux
- 04/05/18--22:00: ASER
- 04/06/18--22:00: Patrick Stewart
- 04/07/18--22:00: Greta Garbo
- 04/08/18--22:00: Silent Garbo
- 04/09/18--22:00: Greta Garbo's film partners
- 04/10/18--22:00: Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (1930)
- 04/11/18--22:00: Garbo by Clarence Sinclair Bull
- 04/12/18--22:00: Greta Garbo: Ivo Blom's Choice
- 04/13/18--22:00: Collecting Garbo
- 04/14/18--22:00: Happy 80, Claudia Cardinale!
- 04/15/18--22:00: Robinne
- 04/16/18--22:00: Finds at the International Collector's Fair
- 04/17/18--22:00: Ahasver (1917)
- 04/18/18--22:00: Jacques Pills
- 04/19/18--22:00: Bromofoto
- 04/20/18--22:00: Nikita Mikhalkov
- 04/21/18--22:00: Finds at the International Collector's Fair, Part 2
- 04/22/18--22:00: Margarete Slezak
- 04/23/18--22:00: Willi Domgraf Fassbaender
- 04/24/18--22:00: Napoléon (1927)
- 04/25/18--22:00: Warwick Ward
British postcard by F.S., no. 26. Caption: "Provocative Lana Morris who plays the frivolous and fascinating Bouncey Bunnington in Two Cities Gaiety Girl comedy Trottie True."
Lana Morris was born Averil Maureen Anita Morris in Ruislip, England, in 1930.
She made her stage debut as a dancer in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London. She changed her name to Lana Morris shortly before film producer Herbert Wilcox cast her as a cockney maid in the smash hit Spring in Park Lane (Herbert Wilcox, 1948) with Anna Neagle.
In 1948 she appeared in the British comedy It's Hard to Be Good (Jeffrey Dell, 1948) with Jimmy Hanley and Anne Crawford. Supporting parts followed in such films as the popular drama The Weaker Sex (Roy Ward Baker, 1948) with Ursula Jeans, the musical comedy film Trottie True (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1949) starring Jean Kent, and the comedy The Chiltern Hundreds (John Paddy Carstairs, 1949) with Cecil Parker and Davd Tomlinson.
In 1950 she appeared in the West End in the farce Don't Lose Your Head. During the 1950s followed supporting roles in the historical drama The Reluctant Widow (Bernard Knowles, 1950) starring Jean Kent, and the British-Italian drama A Tale of Five Cities (1951) directed by Romolo Marcellini and five other directors. The five cities cited in the title are: Rome, Paris, Berlin, London, and Vienna.
She was the love interest of Norman Wisdom in the box-office hit Trouble in Store (John Paddy Carstairs, 1953). For his cinema debut as a department store clerk, Wisdom won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer. The film was the second most popular at the British box office in 1954. First was Doctor in the House (Ralph Thomas, 1954) with Dirk Bogarde.
She reunited with Wisdom for Man of the Moment (John Paddy Carstairs, 1955), also with Belinda Lee. Morris also appeared in several low budget crime films, such as No Trees in the Street (J. Lee Thompson, 1959) with Sylvia Sims.
Dutch card. Photo: Eagle Lion.
Dutch card. Photo: Eagle Lion.
Shut Your Eyes and Think of England
During the 1960s, Lana Morris mainly worked for television. She was a popular television panellist.
Morris worked with Roger Moore in The Saint (1962-1969), appearing on the cover of an early 1960s tie-in reprinting of the novel The Saint in New York.
She played the role of Helene in the popular TV series The Forsyte Saga (David Giles, James Cellan Jones, 1967), based on of John Galsworthy's series of The Forsyte Saga novels.
Back on stage in 1967 she co-starred with Gladys Cooper in Wait Until Dark and other West End hits included Play On With Love (1970) and the long running comedy Move Over, Mrs Markham (1971) in which she appeared with Moira Lister and Cicely Courtneidge.
In 1969, she appeared in her final film, the thriller I start counting (David Greene, 1970) with Jenny Agutter. In 1978 she starred in Shut Your Eyes and Think of England and in 1983 she took over from Judi Dench in the touring production of Pack of Lies.
From 1953 to 1978 (his death), she was married to the BBC executive Ronnie Waldman. While appearing in the TV program, Kaleidoscope, she had met Waldman, who went on to become the head of BBC Light Entertainment.
During the 1980s she returned to television in programs such as Howards Way and Inspector Morse.
In 1998, Lana Morris died of a heart attack in Windsor, Berkshire aged 68 and was survived by her son. Prior to her sudden death she had completed just one performance of the play Dangerous to Know at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, in which she had appeared with Michael Praed and Rula Lenska. An understudy was found at short notice and an announcement was made before the curtain on the second night by producer Bill Kenright.
Belgian collectors card, no. 64. Photo: Gaumont Eagle-Lion.
Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 841/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Nicola Perscheid, Berlin
Naturally beautiful and talented
Margaret Schlegel was born 31 December 1899 in Bromberg, West Prussia, Germany, (now Bydgoszcz, Poland) to a German-speaking Prussian-Polish Catholic family. Her father was Augustin Heinrich Schlegel, who legally changed the family surname from Wisniewski to Schlegel upon relocating them to Berlin in 1904, while her mother was Anna Agatha Schlegel née Garski.
Naturally beautiful and talented (she could sing, dance and act very well from an early age), Margarete Schlegel sought a chorus role in theatre in 1917 as a way of earning extra money for her family while still a schoolgirl due to the hardship of the First World War.
This soon led to a starring role in the farce Charley’s Aunt at the Thalia Theatre and later both serious and comic roles at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, where Margarete was trained and mentored by theatre director Max Reinhardt.
After the war, from 1919, she was frequently cast in the Weimar cinema, beginning with a small part in Paul Leni’s Prinz Kuckuck/Prince Cuckoo (1919), starring Conrad Veidt.
Already in her second film she had a female lead opposite Dutch actor Ern(e)st Winar in the Herman Bang adaptation Die Benefiz-Vorstellung der Vier Teufel/The Four Devils (A.W. Sandberg, 1920). Bang’s book already had been adapted for film by Alfred Lind in 1911 and would be used again by F.W. Murnau for his Four Devils (1928).
Next, she had the female lead in Der Januskopf/The Head of Janus (F.W. Murnau, 1920), a now lost Murnau film, starring Conrad Veidt and based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She also had a major lead in his Sehnsucht/Desire (F.W. Murnau, 1920), another lost film, alas, about a Russian dancer (again Veidt), messed up in an intrigue between aristocracy and revolutionaries, which causes his beloved (Schlegel) to be sent to Siberia.
In 1921 followed films like Der ewige Fluch/The Eternal Curse (Fritz Wendhausen 1921), set in the Netherlands, Die Intriguen der Madame de la Pommeraye/Madame de La Pommeraye's Intrigues (Fritz Wendhausen, 1921), and Betrüger des Volkes/The Cheater of the People (Carl Heinz Boese, Reinhold Schünzel, 1921).
After various bit parts in the early 1920s, Schlegel had female leads again in the mountain film Die sterbende Stadt/The Dying City (Holger-Madsen 1921), produced by Arnold Fanck, and Liebe, Tor und Teufel/Love, Fool and Devil (Adolf Wenter, 1922) with Charles Willy Kayser– an actor with whom Schlegel often acted with.
Dutch postcard. Publicity card for the showing of the film Die Magyarenfürstin (Werner Funck, 1923) at the The Hague Apollo Theater at Spuistraat. Schlegel is announced as the actress famous for Hannele's Himmelfahrt. The Dutch title for the film was The Circus Princess.
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5075. Photo: Sascha Film / Meinert-Film.
Mistreated and abused
After a supporting part in Sodoms Ende/Sodom's End (Felix Basch, 1922), Margarete Schlegel had one of her biggest roles in the religious film Hannele’s Himmelfahrt/Hannele's Ascension (Urban Gad, 1923), adapted from Gerhard Hauptmann’s book. Schlegel plays the title role as the stepchild of a rude man (Hermann Vallentin) who mistreats and abuses the girl, leading to her suicide after she has had a vision that heaven is better than life on earth.
The film altered some scenes in the beginning but kept the general plot and the mood from the second part of Hauptmann’s tale. The film had a grand premiere at the Berliner Staatsoper in 1922, and was well received. Walter Rilla as the angel of death had its debut in this film.
Schlegel played again with director A.W. Sandberg in his Danish Dickens adaptation David Copperfield (1922), acting as David's mother. She had another lead in Die Magyarenfürstin/The Magyar Princess (Werner Funck 1923), though it was not such a success as the previous film.
Again opposite Vallentin, Schlegel played the female lead in Das Geheimnis des Renngrafen/The Secret of the Rally Driver (A. Bergson, 1923), while she was Ernst Deutsch’s sweetheart in Das alte Gesetz/This Ancient Law (E.A. Dupont 1923), about a rabbi’s son (Deutsch), who becomes a stage actor and thanks to an Austrian archcountess (Henny Porten) is promoted to the highest ranks in the theatre world, but in the end reconciles with his father and returns to his village and his beloved. The film still exists.
After contributing to the educational film Wunder der Schöpfung/In the World of the Stars (1925) Schlegel acted opposite Charles Willy Kayser, Maria Minzenti, John Stuart and others in Die Frauen zweier Junggesellen (Franz Seitz sen., 1925), and opposite Ernst Reicher in his Stuart Webbs detective Der Schuss im Pavillion (Max Obal 1925).
After a few more films, Schlegel had again the lead in Zwei unterm Himmelszelt (Johannes Guter, 1927), adapted from a novel by Ludwig Wolff. She played a banker’s daughter opposite Ernst Deutsch as a taxi dancer, and Jean Angelo.
More films followed in the later 1920s, a.o. Die Zigeunerprimas/The Gypsy Chief (Carl Wilhelm 1929), an adaptation of the Emmerich Kálmán operetta, starring Paul Heidemann, and Der Sittenrichter/The Customs Judge (Carl Heinz Wolff, 1929), in which Schlegel had the lead.
During the 1920s, while working in the cinema, Margarete Schlegel continued to star in theatre roles and operettas, such as Franz Lehár's Merry Widow and Gypsy Love. Her soprano repertoire included arias and lieder by Jacques Offenbach, Giacomo Puccini, George Frideric Handel,Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss, which she performed in recitals and radio broadcasts in addition to the musical numbers she sang in sound feature films.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 502/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Curt Mayer, Berlin.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 502/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Curt Mayer, Berlin.
Anti-Nazi German-language propaganda
In the early sound era of German cinema (1930-1932), Schlegel did few films anymore, but some very interesting ones.
Billy Wilder wrote the screenplay of her last German film, a romantic operetta comedy called Das Blaue vom Himmel/The Blue from the Sky (Viktor Janson, 1932), starring Márta Eggerth and Hermann Thimig. The film was released in December 1932 just prior to Hitler's ascent to power and therefore not subject to Nazi dictates.
Her best known and penultimate film was Phil Jutzi’s morality play Berlin-Alexanderplatz: Die geschichte Franz Biberkopfs (1931), adapted from Alfred Döblin’s novel (later adapted by R.W. Fassbinder as well).
Here Schlegel played Sonja, later called Mieze, Franz' new girl who is eventually killed by the evil criminal Reinhold (Bernhard Minetti). The film focuses on Heinrich George as the ex-convict Franz Biberkopf who is drawn into the Berlin underworld.
In all, Schlegel appeared in 35 silent films and three sound films of differing styles during the Weimar era. In 1924 Margarete Schlegel had married the assimilated Jewish-Prussian political economist, Prof Hermann Joachim Levy. In 1926 they had a son, Hermann Martin Heinrich Levy, who was baptised Catholic.
When in May 1933 her husband was dismissed from university by the Nazis, and his academic books and novels were burned, he travelled to Britain as visiting professor in Cambridge. Margarete Schlegel declined offers from friends in Hollywood.
In 1935 she was offered the chance by Heinrich Himmler to continue her film career under the Third Reich on the condition that as an Aryan she divorced her assimilated Jewish husband, but instead she fled with her son to join her husband in Britain. By consequence, in 1938 the Nazis officially proscribed her films, her husband was added to Hitler's death list of opponents, and their home was seized by the Nazis.
After arriving in England, Schlegel became a featured soprano on BBC Radio in operas and operettas in the late 1930s. During WW II she broadcast anti-Nazi German-language propaganda radio programs for BBC Europe which were heard across the continent.
After her husband died in 1949 from a heart attack, she remarried and moved to Saltdean on the Sussex coast in England. In the 1950s she continued broadcasting for BBC Radio, singing in operettas. She also sang and spoke in German language educational radio programs for the BBC from 1938 onwards.
Margarete Schlegel died in 1987.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7394/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Aafa Film. Publicity still for Das blaue vom Himmel/The Blue from the Sky (Victor Janson, 1932) with Ernst Verebes.
Sources: Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), with Maria Jacobini and Orietta Claudi.
Italian postcard. Caption on the back: 'Triste Natale' (Sad Christmas). Photo: Fert. Publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.
Italian diva Maria Jacobini plays in La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli 1920) the mundane city girl Gaby Printemps. During a trip, and accompanied by her good fried Max (Oreste Bilancia), Gaby is struck by the quiet life in a mountain village, and decides to remain there.
She meets Roberto Landi (Amleto Novelli), a simple and honest young man, and the two fall in love, creating endless suffering for Roberto's fiancee Grazia (Orietta Claudi) and his parents. They move to the city, but their different life styles soon become evident.
Moreover, jealous Max tries to split them. Roberto's father (Alfonso Cassini) decides to find his son and confronts him with the words that Gaby belongs to the species which one loves but not marries. In the end, Roberto admits his failure.
At Christmas Eve he returns to the mountain village and reconciles with his old love Grazia and his parents. Gaby annihilates her memory by breaking a glass of champagne, as she says, "just like all glass houses do" (the title of the film).
In the Italian journal La vita cinematografica, Dioniso thought that 'the glass house' was a misleading title, pretending transparency while several secrets are going on at Gaby's. And in the end no home is destroyed as both lovers were not really planning to build one. The broken glass only refers to Gaby's broken heart. Instead, Dioniso praised the shots on location in the Italian countryside, at the foot of the Majella mountains.
Orietta Claudi had a relatively short career in Italian silent cinema of the early 1920s, mostly playing the young family girl opposite the mundane divas such as Pina Menichelli,Italia Almirante Manzini and Maria Jacobini.
Scripted by Luciano Doria and future film director Nunzio Malasomma, La casa di vetro was produced by the Fert company of Turin and distributed by Pittaluga. Cinematography was by Tullio Chiarini. La casa di vetro had its Roman premiere on 21 February 1921.
Italian postcard. Publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 13. Publicity still for La casa di vetro/The glass house (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.
Source: Vittorio Martinelli and Aldo Bernardini (Il Cinema Muto Italiano, Vol. 1920 - Italian) and IMDb.
French postcard, no. 460.
Forerunner of Today’s Stand-up Comedy
Robert Lamoureux was born in 1920 in Saint-Mandé, France.
He started his career in 1948 in a cabaret called Le Central de la Chanson. Next he did a revue with Pierre Dac and Francis Blanche at the cabaret of Jacques Canetti. He performed his own songs and recited very funny monologues. He was a forerunner of today’s stand-up comedy, and his success was enormous.
As a true showman, Lamoureux subsequently worked in all divisions of the entertainment industry: the music hall, the music record business, radio, theatre, cinema and television. He was the author of several Boulevard plays (popular French stage plays) and received a Grand Prix du Disque (a major award of the French music industry) before he became interested in the cinema.
His first roles were in such films as Le roi des camelots/The king of the street vendors (André Berthomieu, 1950), Chacun son tour/Each in turn (André Berthomieu, 1951), and Allô je t'aime/Hello I love you (André Berthomieu, 1952), in which he was charming and funny.
He appeared next in the Italian film L'incantevole nemica/The charming enemy (Claudio Gora, 1953) opposite Silvana Pampanini and silent screen legends Buster Keaton and Ben Turpin.
He became immensely popular as Robert Langlois in Papa, maman, la bonne et moi/Daddy, Mommy, the Maid and I (Jean-Paul Le Chanois, 1954), which was inspired by one of his cabaret numbers. He also starred in the sequel Papa, maman, ma femme et moi/Dad, Mom, my wife and I (Jean-Paul Le Chanois, 1955).
In 1955 he appeared with Betsy Blair in Rencontre à Paris/Meeting in Paris (Georges Lampin, 1956). Twice he played famous gentleman-burglar Arsène Lupin in Les Aventures d'Arsène Lupin/The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (Jacques Becker, 1956) and in Signé Arsène Lupin/Signed Arsene Lupin (Yves Robert, 1959) with Alida Valli.
French postcard. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 821. Offered by Les carbones Korès Carboplane. Photo: Teddy Piaz.
Reinventing the Military Farce
In 1960, Robert Lamoureux went behind the camera to make film adaptations of the Boulevard plays which he had written. He directed and starred in the situation comedies Ravissante/Lovely (1960) with Sylva Koscina, and La brune que voilà/There is the Brunette (1960) with Michèle Mercier. Both were successful in the theatres but repelled the critics.
After a long hiatus in the cinema, Lamoureux reinvented the military farce, notably with the series of La Septième Compagnie, starring Jean Lefebvre, Pierre Mondy and Lamoureux himself.
The adventures of the seventh company filled the French cinemas with the films Mais où est donc passée la septième compagnie?/Now Where Did The 7th Company Get To? (1973), On a retrouvé la septième compagnie/The Seventh Company Has Been Found (1975), and La Septième Compagnie au clair de lune/The Seventh Company Outdoors (1977).
In 1972, he had a dispute with French singer Claude François. Lamoureux had written a song Viens dans ma maison (Come into my house) and Francois had written the song Viens à la maison (Come home). Lamoureux won the plagiarism case, and Francois had to change the title of his song.
Lamoureux wrote several more songs such as Papa, maman, la bonne et moi (Daddy, Mommy, the Maid and I) and Histoire de roses (History of roses) and also some poems like L'éloge de la fatigue (In Praise of Fatigue).
Lamoureux played one of his best roles in L'Apprenti salaud/The Apprentice Heel (Michel Deville, 1977), and he appeared opposite Danielle Darrieux and Micheline Presle in the comedy Le Jour des rois/Epiphany Sunday (Marie-Claude Treilhou, 1990).
However, he stated that film bored him and that he preferred the theatre. To the stage he devoted the remainder of his career. Robert Lamoureux has been married to Magali Vendeuil, resident actress of the Comédie Française, until her death in 2009.
In 2011, Robert Lamoureux passed away by natural causes in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. He had four children, three with his first wife and a daughter with Vendeuil.
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 173. Photo: Studio Harcourt.
Scene from one of the La Septième Compagnie films. Source: Teddy Leleux (YouTube).
Sources: AlloCiné (French), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.
Amedeo Nazzari. Italian postcard by ASER, Rome, no. 16, 1941.
Carlo Ninchi. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 33. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film.
Assia Noris. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 43. Photo: Vaselli / Juventus.
Vivi Gioi. Italian postcard. ASER, Rome, no. 54. Photo: De Antonis.
Michel Simon. Italian postcard by ASER, Rome, no. 93. Photo: Pesce.
Paolo Stoppa. Italian postcard by ASER, no. 96. Photo: Pesce.
Maria Mercader. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 105. Photo: Bragaglia / Atlas Film.
Alida Valli. Italian postcard by ASER, Rome, no. 109.
Mariella Lotti. Italian card by ASER, Romne, no. 122. Photo: Fauno Film / Vaselli. Publicity still for Fari nella nebbia/Headlights in the fog (Gianni Franciolini, 1941).
Silvana Jachino. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 150. Photo: Ciolfi.
Jole Ferrari. Italian card by ASER, no. 152. Photo: Luxardo.
Claudio Ermelli. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 153. Photo: Fotopan.
Germana Paolieri. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 156. Photo: publicity still for Pia De' Tolomei (Esodo Pratelli, 1941).
Fosco Giachetti. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 178. Photo: Bassoli / Tirrenia. Publicity still for Bengasi (Augusto Genina, 1942).
Massimo Serato. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 221. Photo: Ciolfi / Aci Film.
Massimo Girotti. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 223. Photo: Ciolfi.
Isa Pola. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 240. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film. Publicity still for Una signora dell'ovest/Girl of the Golden West (Carl Koch, 1942).
Isa Miranda. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 258.
Rossano Brazzi. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 264.
Vittorio De Sica. Italian card by ASER, Rome, no. 333. Photo: Vaselli.
Source: Film Reference.
American postcard by Classico San Francisco, no. 105-485. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991).
American postcard by Classico San Francisco, no. 105-352. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek Generations (David Carson, 1994).
A traumatic experience
Patrick Stewart was born in 1940 in Mirfield, in Yorkshire, England. His parents were Gladys (née Barrowclough), a weaver and textile worker, and Alfred Stewart, a regimental sergeant major in the British Army. He has two older brothers, Geoffrey and Trevor.
Stewart grew up in a poor household with domestic violence from his father who suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder. This experience later influenced Stewart's political and ideological beliefs. Stewart attended Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School, where his English teacher stimulated him to perform. In 1951, aged 11, having failed the eleven-plus examination, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School, where he continued to study drama.
At the age of 15, Stewart left school to work as a junior reporter on a local paper; he quit when his editor told him he was spending too much time at the theatre. At the age of 18, he lost his hair, a traumatic experience which made him more timid. For him, acting served as a means of self-expression. Stewart spent a year as a furniture salesman, saving cash to attend drama school. In 1957, Stewart received a grant to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
In 1959, he made his stage debut. Following a period with Manchester's Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966. Stewart received the 1979 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Antony and Cleopatra on the West End. He made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook's legendary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He remained with the Royal Shakespeare Company until 1982.
In the early 1980s, he moved to the Royal National Theatre. In 1967, he had made his television debut in Coronation Street as a fire officer. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major TV series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Vladimir Lenin in Fall of Eagles (1974); Sejanus in I, Claudius (Herbert Wise, 1976); Karla in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (John Irvin, 1979) and Smiley's People (Simon Langton, 1982); and Claudius in a BBC adaptation of Hamlet (Rodney Bennett, 1980) with Derek Jacobi and Claire Bloom.
He even took the romantic male lead in the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South (Rodney Bennett, 1975) wearing a hairpiece. He also co-starred with Peter Eyre and Glenda Jacksonin Hedda (Trevor Nunn, 1975), a film adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. He took the lead, playing psychiatric consultant Dr Edward Roebuck in BBC's Maybury (1981). Stewart played minor roles in such films as Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981), Dune (David Lynch, 1984) and British science fiction horror film Lifeforce (Tobe Hooper, 1985).
American postcard by Classico San Francisco, no. 105-148. Photo: Paramount Pictures. Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991).
Unexpected stardom and wealth
In 1987, Patrick Stewart agreed to work in Hollywood on a revival of an old science-fiction television show. Reportedly, Stewart knew nothing about the original show, Star Trek, or its iconic status in American culture. He was reluctant to sign the standard contract of six years but accepted the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994).
Stewart unexpectedly became a star and wealthy. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek Generations (David Carson, 1994), Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan Frakes, 1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (Jonathan Frakes, 1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (Stuart Baird, 2002); and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pilot episode Emissary (David Carson, 1993). This success typecast Stewart as Picard and obtaining other roles became difficult. He also found returning to the stage difficult because of his long departure.
In the late 1990s he accepted a key role in the big-budget X-Men film series, as Professor Charles Xavier, founder and mentor of the superhero team, a role similar in many ways to Picard. He was initially reluctant to sign on to another movie franchise, but his interest in working with director Bryan Singer persuaded him. Stewart played the role in seven feature films: X-Men (Bryan Singer, 2000), X2 (Bryan Singer, 2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (Brett Ratner, 2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Gavin Hood, 2009) starring Hugh Jackman, The Wolverine (James Mangold, 2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer, 2014) and Logan (James Mangold, 2017) and voiced the role in several video.
Stewart's other film and television roles include the flamboyantly gay Sterling in Jeffrey (Christopher Ashley, 1995) and King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 2003), for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance and an Emmy Award nomination for executive-producing the film.
Stewart portrayed Captain Ahab in the TV film Moby Dick (Franc Roddam, 1998), receiving an Emmy Award nomination and Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance. He also starred as Ebenezer Scrooge in a television film version of Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol (David Jones, 1999), for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
American postcard by Memory Card, no. 668,. Photo: Patrick Stewart as Professor X in X-Men (Bryan Singer, 2000).
In late 2003, during the final season of the TV series Frasier, Patrick Stewart appeared on the show as a gay Seattle socialite and opera director, who mistakes Frasier for a potential lover. In 2005, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour (2006), created by Stephen Gallagher.
He played Captain Nemo in a two-part adaptation of The Mysterious Island (Russell Mulcahy, 2005) opposite Kyle MacLachlan. Stewart also appeared as a nudity-obsessed caricature of himself in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's television series Extras (2005).
In 2006, Stewart made a short video against domestic violence for Amnesty International, in which he recollected his father's physical attacks on his mother and the effect it had on him as a child. He did voice roles such as CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock in the animation series American Dad! (2005-2017) and was the narrator in Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012).
Stewart remained performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2008 he played King Claudius in Hamlet on the West End and won a second Olivier Award. He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honours list for his services to acting and the cinema. In 2010, Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama.
Stewart and his first wife, Sheila Falconer, divorced in 1990 after 24 years of marriage. They have two children, son Daniel and daughter Sophia. Daniel is a television actor, and has appeared alongside his father in the made-for-television film Death Train (David Jackson, 1993) starring Pierce Brosnan, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Inner Light (1992).
In 1997, Stewart became engaged to Wendy Neuss, one of the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They married in August 2000, and divorced three years later. Four months before his divorce from Neuss, Stewart played opposite actress Lisa Dillon in a production of The Master Builder, and the two were romantically involved until 2007.
In 2008, Patrick Stewart began dating Sunny Ozell, a singer and songwriter based in New York, whom Stewart met while performing in Macbeth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. They married in 2013 with Sir Ian McKellen performing the wedding ceremony.
Recently Patrick Stewart played an ageing Juilliard dance professor with a colourful past in the film Match (Stephen Belber, 2015) with Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard, and stars as Walter Blunt, a British journalist, intent on conquering American nightly cable news and his mostly misguided decision-making in the TV series Blunt Talk (2015-2016).
Trailer for Match (2015). Source: Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films (YouTube).
Trailer for the second series of Blunt Talk (2016). Source: JoBlo TV Show Trailers (YouTube).
Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 283e.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 283b.
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 637b. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Karenina (Clarence Brown, 1935).
Department Store Clerk
Greta Garbo was born as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Stockholm in 1905. Her parents were Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a labourer. She had an older sister and brother, Alva and Sven. They grew up in a rundown Stockholm district.
Few who knew Greta in her formative years would have predicted the illustrious career that awaited her. In school, she did little to distinguish herself; nor was her first job, as a barbershop lather girl, indicative of future greatness.
Her father died when she was 14, leaving the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and to work as a clerk in the PUB department store, where she also would model for newspaper ads.
She photographed beautifully. Her first film aspirations came when she appeared in two short film advertisements, Herr och fru Stockholm/Mr. and Mrs. Stockholm (Ragnar Ring, 1920) and Konsum Stockholm Promo/How Not to Dress (Ragnar Ring, 1921), both were financed by PUB.
Greta also appeared in a one reel film for a local bakery. The films were seen by director Erik Arthur Petschler who gave her a small part as a bathing beauty in his comedy Luffar-Petter/Peter the Tramp (Erik A. Petschler, 1922).
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, London, no. C 81. Photo: publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
British postcard in the Valentine's Postcard series, no. 5904 F. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933).
French postcard by Ed. Chantal, no. 66. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Conquest (Clarence Brown, 1937).
Greta Gustafson garnered a couple of good trade reviews. It made her confident enough to seek out and win a scholarship to Dramaten, the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. While studying acting there, she appeared in the historical film En lyckoriddare/A Happy Knight (John W. Brunius, 1921) which features Gösta Ekman as the dashing rogue who steals the heart of the ethereal Mary Johnson. Greta played a maid.
Then she met Mauritz Stiller, one of Sweden's foremost film directors in the early 1920s. Stiller trained the 18-years old in cinema acting technique and gave her the stage name Greta Garbo. He cast her in a major role opposite Lars Hanson in Gösta Berlings Saga/The Legend of Gosta Berling (Mauritz Stiller, 1924). The epic drama was based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf.
Gösta Berlings Sagawas internationally successful and made Greta a minor star. On the strength of this role, she was cast in the German prostitution and depression melodrama Die Freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (G.W. Pabst, 1925), in which she co-starred with the Danish screen legend Asta Nielsen.
And then Hollywood called. Louis B. Mayer invited Stiller to work for MGM when Gösta Berlings Saga caught his attention. On viewing the film, Mayer admired Stiller's direction, but was not impressed with Garbo's acting and screen presence.
Mauritz Stiller insisted on bringing his protégé to Hollywood, thus, Mayer contracted her as well. Later, Garbo’s relationship with Stiller came to an end as her fame in Hollywood grew and he struggled in the studio system. In 1928 Stiller was abruptly fired from directing Garbo's second MGM film, The Temptress (1926), after repeated arguments with studio execs. Stiller returned to Sweden, where he died soon after. He was only 45 and reportedly, Garbo was devastated.
French postcard by Edition Ross, no. 5597/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 34. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Dutch Postcard, no. 41. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
In Hollywood, Greta Garbo spent most of 1925 posing for nonsensical publicity photos which endeavored to create a 'mystery woman image for her. Hal Erickson at AllMovie: " but it was only after shooting commenced on Garbo's first American film, The Torrent (1926), that MGM realized it had a potential gold mine on its hands." Director of The Torrent was Monta Bell and Greta played a peasant girl turned singer opposite Ricardo Cortez. The film was a hit and despite its cool reception by the trade press, Garbo's performance was critically acclaimed.
Her third film for MGM, Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926), made her an international star. Her co-star was John Gilbert, and their on-screen chemistry soon translated into an off-camera romance and by the end of the production, they lived together. The Garbo/Gilbert team went on to make an adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina titled Love (Edmund Goulding, 1927). The couple planned to marry, but Garbo, in one of her attacks of self-imposed solitude, did not show up for the wedding. Over the years, the actress would have other romantic involvements, but would never marry.
Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930) was filmed at a time of transition in Hollywood from the silent era to sound. Reportedly MGM had concerns about Garbo's voice. The studio was afraid that her thick Swedish accent would not register well in the talkies. Poster for her first sound film read "Garbo Talks!", which would become a catchphrase widely associated with her.
Sixteen minutes into Anna Christie, Garbo finally utters her first, now famous line, "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don't be stingy, baby." Garbo's voice meshed perfectly with her established image, and her performance in Anna Christie was effective. So, when 'Garbo talks' the audience still listened.
Anna Christie, based on a play by Eugene O'Neill, became a transitional film for Garbo. Hal Erickson: "the advent of talkies obliged the actress to drop the 'mysterious temptress' characterization she'd used in silents in favor of more richly textured performances as worldly, somewhat melancholy women to whom the normal pleasures of love and contentment would always be just out of reach."
Greta Garbo had a huge following in Europe, especially in Germany. Therefor MGM also made a German version of Anna Christie. Both versions were filmed back to back. Garbo played the leading role in both versions, but all the other characters in the German version were played by different actors from the English version. Curiously, Garbo herself supposedly favoured her Anna Christie in the German version over the English version. The German version was directed by Jacques Feyder and had its first screening in Germany in 1931.
Dutch postcard. Sent by mail in 1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 295. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931) .
French postcard by Edition Ross, no. 500. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
From the Greatest Money-making Machine to Box Office Poison
Greta Garbo next made Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930) in the same year as Anna Christie. Romance is a film with nearly no plot twists, but Garbo is stunning. She originally wanted Gary Cooper as her leading man, but MGM could not borrow Cooper from Paramount, so Garbo had to settle for Lewis Stone and the unknown Gavin Gordon. After Anna Christie, Romance (1930) was somewhat of a letdown, but for her performances in these films she received the first of three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. Academy rules at the time allowed for a performer to receive a single nomination for their work in more than one film.
In 1931, Garbo bounced back, landing another lead role oppositeRamon Novarro as the World War I spy in Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931). The lavish production turned out to be a major hit. The next year she was cast in yet another hit, Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932). She played a Russian ballerina opposite an ensemble cast, including John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery. The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Both Mata Hari and Grand Hotel had been MGM's highest-earning films of 1931 and 1932, respectively, and Garbo was dubbed "the greatest money-making machine ever put on screen".
From now on, her popularity allowed her to dictate the terms of her contract and Garbo became increasingly selective about her roles. Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933) was a lavish production, becoming one of the studio's biggest productions at the time. Publicised as "Garbo returns", the film became the highest-grossing film of the year. However censors objected to the scenes in which Garbo disguised herself as a man and kissed a female co-star.
In the Leo Tolstoy adaptation Anna Karenina (Clarence Brown, 1935), she played another of her renowned roles. The film won the Mussolini Cup for best foreign film at the Venice Film Festival, and Garbo received a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her role as Anna. Many critics and film historians consider her performance as the doomed courtesan Marguerite Gautier in George Cukor's romantic drama Camille (1936) to be her finest. The role gained her a second Academy Award nomination.
However, Greta Garbo's career soon declined after the flop of Conquest (Clarence Brown, 1937), and in 1938, she was one of the many stars labeled "Box Office Poison".
Vintage postcard, no. 300. Photo: M.G.Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931) with Ramon Novarro.
Postcard with Dutch censorship stamp, no. 359. Photo: publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Ferdinand Gottschalk and Rafaela Ottiano.
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3616. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Camille (George Cukor, 1936).
In 1939, Greta Garbo made a comeback when she starred in Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939). Her first comedy was one of the first Hollywood films which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray when compared to its prewar years. Ninotchka was publicised with the catchphrase "Garbo laughs!", commenting on the departure of Garbo's serious and melancholy image as she transferred to comedy. Bosley Crowther, the famous New York Times film critic wrote that Garbo Garbo "demonstrated that she had the wit and flexibility to be a fine comedienne".
All of Garbo's films were in black and white which enhanced her mystery and romantic allure. Her last film was the domestic comedy Two-Faced Woman (George Cukor, 1941), which was considered a distinct step downward for her. The film drew controversy and was condemned by the Catholic Church and other groups and was a box office failure. She was 35, and had acted in twenty-eight films.
After the war, Greta Garbo hoped to return to films. She was asked to appear in Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case (1947), but she turned the role down. In 1949, after making some screentests for a film project called The Wicked Dutchess which was never realised due to financial problems, Garbo retired definitively. Greta Garbo abandoned Hollywood and moved to New York City. She would jet-set with such personalities as Aristotle Onassis and Cecil Beaton, and spend the rest of her time gardening flowers and vegetables.
In the 1970s, Garbo traveled less and grew more and more eccentric, although she still took daily walks through Central Park with close friends. In the late 1980s failing health decreased her mobility. In her final year it was her family that cared for her, including taking her to dialysis treatments.
In 1990, Greta Garbo died of natural causes in New York. She was 84. In 1954, she was given a special Oscar 'for her unforgettable performances', and in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema, after Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman.
Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Even after her death in 1990, the legend of Greta Garbo was undiminished. Few of her fans talk of her in human terms; to her devotees, Greta Garbo was not so much film legend as film goddess."
Greta Garbo in a scene from Gösta Berlings Saga (1924). Source: KinoInternational (YouTube).
Greta Garbo in a scene from Die Freudlose Gasse (1925). Source: Cinema History (YouTube).
The whiskey scene in the German version of Anna Christie (1930). Source: Al Paterson (YouTube).
Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Denny Jackson (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition (CE), Paris, no. 356.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition (CE), Paris, no. 599.
German postcard by Trianon-Film, 1924. Photo: Svenska-Film. Publicity still for Gösta Berlings saga/The Atonement of Gosta Berling (Mauritz Stiller, 1924).
In 1924 Greta Garbo had her big breakthrough when famed director Mauritz Stiller gave her a part in his film Gösta Berlings Saga/The Atonement of Gosta Berling (1924). We have no postcard of Garbo in this film, but we do have this one from her co-star Mona Mårtenson, who played her sister Ebba Dolma in the film.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2077/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.
After Gösta Berlings Saga and before going to Hollywood, Garbo starred in the German film Die freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (1925) by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. Berlin-based photographer Alex Binder of Atelier Binder made the picture above during the shooting of Die freudlose Gasse in 1924.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2010/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Parufamet. Publicity still for Torrent (Monta Bell, 1926).
Following Die freudlose Gasse (1925) both Greta Garbo and her friend and mentor Mauritz Stiller were offered contracts with MGM. Her first film for the studio was the silent production Torrent (1926).
Italian postcard, no. 76. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926).
Reportedly, the first scene in Flesh and the Devil between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in the train station was also the first time Gilbert ever saw Garbo. He falls in love on camera, so completely in love that he never went back home to his wife.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Foreign, no. 3787/4, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Mysterious Lady (Fred Niblo, 1928) with Conrad Nagel. Collection: Joanna.
We love the taglines for this film: "No man knew what she really was. And no man could resist her exotic beauty. A famous Russian spy, moving through the lives of men, in a maze of intrigue, passion and love."
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3929/3, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
French postcard by Europe, no. 388, distributed in Italy by Casa Editrice Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze. Photo: James Manatt / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for A Woman of Affairs (Clarence Brown, 1928).
"Garbo had something behind the eyes that you couldn't see until you photographed her in close-up. You could see thought. If she had to look at one person with jealousy, and another with love, she didn't have to change the expression. You could see it in her eyes as she looked from one to the other. And nobody else could do that on the screen." (director Clarence Brown in a 1968 interview).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4256/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Wild Orchids (Sidney Franklin, 1929).
During the production of Wild Orchids, Mauritz Stiller died in Sweden. Devastated by his death, Garbo travelled to Stockholm incognito to mourn his death. Her secretive travel plans were quickly foiled when she was recognised on the voyage.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4258/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Wild Orchids (Sidney Franklin, 1929) with Nils Asther.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4258/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo and Nils Asther in the late silent film Wild Orchids (Sidney Franklin, 1929).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4527/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
French postcard by Europe, no. 553. Photo: Ruth Harriet Louise / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Single Standard (John S. Robertson, 1929). Gown by Adrian.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5516/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).
Lew Ayres co-starred with Garbo in her last silent film The Kiss (1929), directed by Belgium born director Jacques Feyder and scripted by German screenwriter Hanns Kräly. After this successful film, Feyder directed Garbo again in the German language version of Anna Christie (1930) and then returned to France. There he produced his greatest achievements: Le Grand Jeu (1934), Pension Mimosas (1935) and La Kermesse Héroique/Carnival in Flanders (1935).
Sources: Garbo Forever and IMDb.
John Gilbert. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1886/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926).
In Flesh and the Devil, John Gilbert and Lars Hanson are lifelong friends who fall in love with the same woman (Greta Garbo). Gilbert's more passionate, hot-blooded character forms a believable and interesting contrast to Hanson's innocently earnest portrayal of his loyal, unsuspecting friend. Garbo makes what could have been a stereotyped love interest into a complex and sometimes tormented character.
Conrad Nagel. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Foreign, no. 3787/4, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Mysterious Lady (1928).
Garbo plays in The Mysterious Lady an attractive Russian spy, who seduces an Austrian officer (Nagel) in order to get some important plans. But she actually falls in love with him, and both are placed in a dangerous situation.
John Gilbert. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4133/1. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for A Woman of Affairs (Clarence Brown, 1928).
When childhood sweethearts Diana (Garbo) and Nevs (Gilbert) are kept from marrying in A Woman of Affairs, she finally marries another. While Nevs still loves Diana, she does not return to England for seven years - just 3 days before Nevs' wedding to Constance.
Nils Asther. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4557/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Wild Orchids (Sidney Franklin, 1929).
In Wild Orchids, 50ish John Sterling (Lewis Stone) and his young wife, Lillie (Garbo) embark on a cruise to Java. The Javanese Prince De Gace (Asther) tries to seduce her, but he's discovered by Sterling. What will he do about it?
Conrad Nagel. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5113/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Publicity still for The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929).
In Greta Garbo's last silent film, Nagel plays her lawyer, who defends her in court after her ailing and financially distraught husband is shot. But he is also her former lover.
Clark Gable. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 140/5. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).
Fleeing her cruel uncle and an arranged marriage Susan Lenox (Garbo) falls in love with a kind stranger, the architect Rodney (Gable) but circumstances force her to become a woman of easy virtue. This was Gable's first starring role and he fared well, but he and Garbo disliked each other. She thought his acting was wooden while he considered her a snob.
Ramon Novarro. French postcard by EDUG, no. 1030. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).
During World War I, Mata Hari (Garbo) is a German spy, working in Paris. She has already seduced the Russian general Shubin (Lionel Barrymore), and has now set her eyes on lieutenant Rosanov (Novarro), a young up-and-coming officer. In order to get her hand on secret documents in his possession, she spends a night with him.
John Barrymore. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7285/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932).
Barrymore plays Baron von Geigern, who is broke and trying to steal eccentric dancer Grusinskaya's (Garbo) pearls. He ends up stealing her heart instead.
Melvyn Douglas. British postcard in the Film Partners series, no. P 82. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for As You Desire Me (Rouben Mamoulian, 1932).
Is Budapest bar entertainer Zara (Garbo) actually Maria, the wife of Bruno (Douglas), an officer in the Italian army? Was her memory destroyed during a World War I invasion ten years earlier? Everyone on Bruno's estate is desperately searching for the truth.
John Gilbert. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 194/3. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933).
Queen Christina (Garbo) accidentally and secretly falls in love with an emissary from Spain (Gilbert), but a marriage between the two seems out of the question. She must choose between the throne and the man she loves. Queen Christina reunited Garbo with her favourite leading man from her silent days, John Gilbert, and the two are again marvelous together.
Herbert Marshall. Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 422. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for The Painted Veil (Richard Boleslawski, 1934).
Garbo plays in The Painted Veil a wife neglected by her husband (Marshall), a medical researcher in China. She falls in love with a dashing diplomatic attache (George Brent). When it is discovered by her husband he becomes very bitter. But while fighting a cholera epidemic the couple grows closer together than ever.
Fredric March. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9313/1. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Anna Karenina (Clarence Brown, 1935).
In this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's famous novel, the married Anna Karenina (Garbo) falls in love with Count Vronsky (March). Her husband (Basil Rathbone) refuses to grant a divorce, and both lovers must contend with the social repercussions.
Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 34. Photo: MGM / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
Dutch Postcard, no. 41. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
French postcard by Europe, no. 850. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
French postcard by Europe, no. 938. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Dark secrets of the past
In Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930), Greta Garbo plays a young woman who reunites with her estranged father Chris (George F. Marion), the alcoholic skipper of a coal barge. When Anna arrives in New York, she is a wounded woman with a hidden dishonourable past since she had worked for two years in a brothel to survive.
Anna moves to the barge to live with her father and one night, Chris rescues the sailor Matt (Charles Bickford) and two other fainted sailors from the sea. Soon Anna and Matt fall in love with each other and Anna has the best days of her life.
But when Matt proposes to marry her, Anna is reluctant and she is also haunted by her past. Matt insists and Anna opens her heart to him and to her father disclosing the dark secrets of her past...
Anna Christie is based on the Broadway play with the same name by Eugene O'Neill. The play opened at the Vanderbilt Theater in New York on 2 November 1921 and ran for 177 performances. George F. Marion and James T. Mack (Johnny) originated their film roles in the play. Marion also starred in the earlier silent film version Anna Christie (John Griffith Wray, 1923), starring Blanche Sweet.
Claudio Carvalho at IMDb: "Anna Christie is the first talkie of Greta Garbo and a heartbreaking story of a young woman that finds redemption through love. I bought the DVD with both versions of 1930 and 1931 [both versions are from 1930, PvY], and the version in English is restored and has additional scenes in the beginning and in the ending; however, Jacques Feyder's version in German is better than Clarence Brown's."
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5108/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5108/2, 1930-1931. Photo: MGM / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5290/1, 1930-1931. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930) with Charles Bickford .
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5515/1. Photo: MGM. Greta Garbo and Charles Bickford in Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5693/1. Photo: MGM. Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Which version is better?
The German version was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at their Culver City, California studio in July and August 1930. The English-language original had been filmed there in October and November 1929.
Garbo is the only cast member in both versions and noticeably differs in her appearance in the two. The German dialogue was written by Walter Hasenclever and Frank Reicher, for the most part very closely following Frances Marion's original adaptation. The film was directed by Jacques Feyder using the same cinematographer, Garbo favourite William H. Daniels, but a different crew.
"It's better in German", writes Lomza Lady at IMDb: "This version is much better than the English-language version: brisker pacing (although very, very slow by modern standards), generally better performances, and even Eugene O'Neill's somewhat ponderous dialogue is rendered more believable in the subtitles.
While Marie Dressler's performance in the English version is fabulous, Salka Viertel's in the German version is also very, very good, just different.
Garbo seems more natural in the German version, perhaps because she was at that time more comfortable speaking German than speaking English. Garbo's acting style may have been a bit old-fashioned, but she was never dull in any film. A true star."
Fernando Silva at IMDb: "The atmosphere of the film seems different from the regular MGM stuff made on that era, it looks very similar to French or German expressionistic films from the thirties, well it was directed by a great French director, Monsieur Jacques Feyder, who had directed Garbo in 1929 in The Kiss.
Theo Shall is excellent and gives an absolutely believable performance as Anna's sweetheart, the hard-boiled, tough, sailor, who's just a kid in man's body. Also Hans Junkermann gives a very fine performance, as Anna's alcoholic father and Salka Viertel too, as a good-hearted old cheap floozy."
Dutch postcard, no. 40. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, London, no. C 81. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 283e. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
French postcard by Edition Ross, no. 500. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
French postcard by Edition Ross, no. 5597/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).
Swiss postcard by News Productions, Baulmes, no. 56490. Photo: Cinémathèque Suisse / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930). Design: Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1930.
Sources: Claudio Carvalho (IMDb), Lomza Lady (IMDb), Fernando Silva (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard by Europe, no. 1022. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929).
British postcard in the 'Picturegoer' Series, London, no. 2836. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929).
British postcard in the Picturegoer series, no. 283p. Garbo wears the dress from her lesser known film Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931). Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1930.
British postcard. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5924/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5924/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6213/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6392/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. 597. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 649. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931). Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1934.
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 299. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 659. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 701. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931) with Ramon Novarro.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6522/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3616. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Camille (George Cukor, 1936).
Sources: Garbo Forever, The Eye of Photography and Wikipedia.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 2077/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin. Binder probably took this photo during the shooting of Die Freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (G.W. Pabst, 1925).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3542/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, London, no. C 81. Photo: publicity still for Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3756/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Mysterious Lady (Fred Niblo, 1928).
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3616. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Camille (George Cukor, 1936).
Italian postcard, no. 76. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4256/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Wild Orchids (Sidney Franklin, 1929).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6521/1, 1931-1932. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Mata Hari(George Fitzmaurice, 1931).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6215/1, 1931-1932. Photo: George Hurrell / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garboin an over-the-top dress by Adrian in Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930). Set by Cedric Gibbons.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8435/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933).
British postcard in the Picturegoer series, no. 283P. Photo: Garbo wears the dress from her lesser known film Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).
French postcard by Europe, no. 941. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Garbo in her gown and hairdo from the film Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for the Tonfilmserie, no. 374, by A. Batschari Cigarettenfabrik, Baden-Baden. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Single Standard (John S. Robertson, 1929), with Nils Asther.
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for Filmalbum 4, 'Aus Tönenden Filmen', Serie 4, no. 637, by A. Batschari Cigarettenfabrik, Baden-Baden. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930) with Lewis Stone.
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for the Tonfilmserie, no. 360, by Manoli A.G., Berlin. Photo: George Hurrell / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo in Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for the Tonfilmserie, no. 369, by A. Batschari Cigarettenfabrik, Baden-Baden. Photo: George Hurrell / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo in Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for the Tonfilmserie, no. 371, by A. Batschari Cigarettenfabrik, Baden-Baden. Photo: George Hurrell / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo in Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930).
German collectors card by Ross Verlag for the Tonfilmserie, no. 372, by Manoli A.G., Berlin. Photo: George Hurrell / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Greta Garbo in Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Small collectors card. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Romance (Clarence Brown, 1930).
Sources: Mark Goffee (Ross Verlag) and Garbo Forever.
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. H 72.
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/164. Photo: Georg Michalke / UFA.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 183. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 229. Photo: Sam Lévin.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 230. Photo: Sam Lévin.
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/47.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., nr. 243, offered by Les carbones Korès Carboplane. Photo: Sam Lévin.
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/132. Photo: Sam Levin / Ufa.
German postcard by ISV, no. H 126. Sent by mail in 1967.
German postcard by Krüger / Ufa. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1967. Photo: Fried Agency.
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 316. Photo: Sam Lévin.
A quote from a 2011 interview with La Cardinale in The Guardian: "When I was young, I wanted to go everywhere and be everyone, and with this work, I have. The interesting thing for an actress is not to do what she wants to do, but to be somebody else. I was blonde, I was brunette, I was a princess, I was a whore. I was everything. You are not yourself in front of the camera. You can live many lives, instead of one. I think I've been lucky."
Tanti auguri, sig.a Cardinale.
Sources: Steve Rose (The Guardian) and IMDb.
French postcard by S.I.P., no. 1342. Sent by mail in 1906. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris.
French postcard by SIP, no. 1385. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard, no. 0489. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard, no. 3341/1. Photo: Reutlinger.
Robinne and Alexandre. French postcard by FA, no. 2:1. Photo: Reutlinger. Caption: Comédie Française.
Robinne was born Gabrielle Anna Charlotte Robinne in Montluçon, France in 1886.
She was a pupil of Maurice de Féraudy at the Paris Conservatory and won the first prize at her exams. She entered the company of Sarah Bernhardt in 1904 and for a year she joined the Theatre Michel in St. Petersburg.
Robinne entered he Comédie Française in 1907. She became a ‘societaire’ in 1924, and stayed there until 1938. In addition to her beauty her versatility made her one of the most active and popular actresses on the French stage and screen.
She was in fact one of the first film actresses in France, already performing in the Pathé Frères short Le troubadour/The Troubadour (Segundo de Chomón, 1906). Better remembered is that she played marchioness de Noirmontier, the mistress of the Duke (Charles LeBargy), in L’Assassinat du Duc de Guise/The Assassination of the Duke de Guise (André Calmettes, 1908).
While her roles until 1912 in short films by directors such as Albert Capellani, Georges Monca and Jean Kemm and produced by SCAGL, were still few, her film performances greatly intensified in 1912. That year Robinne married the handsome actor René Alexandre. They formed a golden couple and played for years in countless films directed by René Leprince and Ferdinand Zecca, all Pathé productions, and often with Gabriel Signoret as antagonist.
Examples are Le roi de bagne/King of the penal colony (1913) withStacia Napierkowska, La comtesse noire/The Black Countess (René Leprince, Ferdinand Zecca, 1913), La reine de Saba/The Queen of Saba (Henri Andréani, 1914), La jolie Bretonne/The Constancy of Jeanne (1914) and La lutte pour la vie/Struggle for Life (René Leprince, Ferdinand Zecca, 1914).
Robinne showed her artistic capacities best in mundane and romantic dramas, often situated in well constructed pasts. With her blond hair, her fine traits, her slender body, passionate eyes and her elegant posture, she was the perfect embodiment of the ‘femme du monde’, to whom audiences flocked in cinemas and theatres. The Robinne-Alexandre films were so popular, that Comédie Française administrator Albert Carré tried to bar his performers from playing in films – of course he didn’t manage.
French postcard by S.I.P., no. 865/17. Sent by mail in 1904. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris.
French postcard, no. 181/10. Sent by mail in 1903. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard by FA, no. 58. Photo: Félix, Paris. Caption: Comédie Française.
French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 244. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Publicity still for the stage play Le Passant by François Coppée (1869). Robinne played the role of Zanetto in travesty.
French postcard, no. 1261. Photo: Reutlinger.
Grand Old Lady
In 1915, René Leprince was traded for Georges Monca as Robinne’s regular director. Between 1915 and 1917 Monca shot many films with Robinne – without Alexandre, but instead with actors like Jean Kemm and Georges Tréville. Examples are Le mot d’énigme/The key to the mystery (Georges Monca, 1915) and Blessure d’amour/Wound of Love (Georges Monca, 1916).
Between 1917 and 1919 Robinne performed in films by various directors, such as the mystery Le dédale/The Labyrinth (Jean Kemm, 1917) and L'expiation/The expiation (Camille de Morlhon, 1919) with Jean Angelo.
In the 1920s, she hardly played in films and focused on her stage work. Still she had occasional leads such as in Destinée/Fate (Gaston Mouru de Lacotte, Armand Plessy, 1922), Fleur du mal/Flower of evil (Gaston Mouru de Lacotte, 1923) and Molière, sa vie et son œuvre/Molière, his life and his work (Jacques de Féraudy, 1922). In the latter two films Robinne was reunited with Alexandre. She also played a smaller part in Lucile (Georges Monca, 1927), but then disappeared from the screen for years.
It was only in the mid-1930's that Robinne returned in a short film directed by Léonce Perret, apply titled Un soir à la Comédie Française/A Night at the Comédie Française (1934). In the late 1930s, when she left the Comédie Française, Robinne played the tsarina-mother in the costume drama La tragédie impériale/The Imperial Tragedy (Marcel L'Herbier, 1938), about the Siberian monk Gregory Rasputin (Harry Baur) and the hold he exerted over the court of the last Russian czar, Nicholas II (Jean Worms).
Again for Marcel L'Herbier, she played Duclos opposite Yvonne Printempsin the title role of Adrienne Lecouvreur (Marcel L'Herbier, 1939) based on the play by Ernest Legouve and Eugène Scribe. She also played in G.W. Pabst’s Jeunes filles en détresse/Girls in Distress (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1939) featuring Micheline Presle.
In the immediate postwar years Robinne had small parts in Le capitan/The Captain (Robert Vernay, 1946), Rendez-vous à Paris/Rendezvous in Paris (Gilles Grangier, 1947) with Annie Ducaux, and Hymenée/Marriage (Emile Couzinet, 1947) with Gaby Morlay.
Robinne’s last film performances were in La prostitution/Prostitution (Maurice Boutel, 1962) starring Etchika Choureau, and Le journal d’un suicide/Diary of a Suicide (Stanislas Stanojevic, 1973) with Delphine Seyrig.
Gabrielle Robinne was decorated Officier (officer) in the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor). In October 1980, a restored version of L’Assassinat du Duc de Guise (1908) was shown in the old auditorium of the Palais des Arts, accompanied with the original music by Saint-Saëns. ‘Tout Paris’ was present, a crowd of film directors, actors, and critics.
A few moments before the light went out an announcement was made that 'Madame Robinne, de la Comédie Française' was present as well. A standing ovation was given to the grand old lady. Leaning on a stick but with a proud look, she was clearly moved.
The 94-years old Gabrielle Robinne had come to see her (almost) first film in which she had played 72 years before. A few days later, she died in Saint-Cloud. In her natal village Montluçon the local theatre was named after her in 2006. The theatre had been opened in 1914, with Robinne present.
French postcard by S.I.P. no. 185/2. Photo: Reutlinger. Sent by mail in 1905.
French postcard, no. 1261. Sent by mail in 1905. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris.
French postcard by S.I.P., no. 1282. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard by S.I.P., no. 1348. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard by S.I.P., no. 1623. Sent by mail in 1908. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard by K.E. Editeurs d'Art, Paris, Serie 2132. Sent by mail in 1906. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard by SW, no. 0423. Sent by mail in 1907. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard. Photo Félix.
French postcard. Photo Félix.
French postcard. Photo Félix.
French postcard, no. 515. Photo Paul Méjat, Paris.
French postcard by Edition Cinémagazine, no. 32. Photo: Studio Pathé.
French postcard by A.N., Paris, in the series Les Vedettes du Cinéma, no. 13. Photo: Reutlinger.
French postcard in the Nos Artistes dans leur loge series, no. 161. Photo: Comoedia.
Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Le dive del silenzio - Italian), Wikipedia (French and German), and IMDb.
Vintage postcard. In 1932, Walt Disney received an honorary Academy Award for creating Mickey Mouse.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 462. Photo: publicity still for Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927) with Max Maxudian as Barras.
Adolphe Engers. Dutch postcard, no. 47759. Photo: Hilde Meyer-Kupfer.
Adolphe Engers. Dutch postcard, no. 949. Photo: publicity still for the stage production of A jó tündér/Die Fee/The Good Fairy by Ferenc Molnar, written in 1930.
Left: Heinz Rühmann and Gustl Starck-Gstettenbaur in Strich durch die Rechnung/The Upset Plan (Alfred Zeisler, 1932). Dutch quartet play card, no. VII, 3. Photo: Ufa.
Right: Toni van Eyck and Gustl Starck-Gstettenbaur in Strich durch die Rechnung/The Upset Plan (Alfred Zeisler, 1932). Dutch quartet play card, no. VIII, 4. Photo: Ufa.
Left: Otto Wallburg in Strich durch die Rechnung/The Upset Plan (Alfred Zeisler, 1932). Dutch quartet play card, no. IX, 3. Photo: Ufa.
Right: Otto Wallburg and Adele Sandrock in Das schöne Abenteuer/Beautiful Adventure (Reinhold Schünzel, 1932). Dutch quartet play card, no. IX, 2. Photo: Ufa.
Truus van Aalten and Roland Varno in Het Meisje met de Blauwe Hoed/The girl with the blue hat (Rudolf Meinert, 1934). Dutch postcard, no. 1.
Truus van Aalten and Roland Varno in Het Meisje met de Blauwe Hoed/The girl with the blue hat (Rudolf Meinert, 1934). Dutch postcard, no. 8.
The young Omar Sharif. Left: Egyptian collectors card, no. 7. Right: Egyptian collectors card, no. 29.
Giulietta Masina in Le notti di Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957). Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3380. Photo: N.V. Standaardfilms.
Louis Armstrong. Vintage postcard, no. 111.
Rutger Hauer in the TV series Floris (Paul Verhoeven, 1969). Photos: Gerard Soeteman. Top - down: Dutch collectors card, no. 21, no. 28, no. 44, no. 65, all 1970.
Left: Johnny Hallyday. Right: Jacques Dutronc. Belgian collectors cards by Clark, Brussels. Illustrations: Tibet.
Peter Sellers. Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 284.
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3057. Photo: Deutsche Bioscop-Gesellschaft. Publicity still of Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no 3142. Photo: Deutsche Bioscop-Gesellschaft (DBG). Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3143. Publicity still of Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).
The eternal Jew
In the first part of the trilogy, Ahasver, 1. Teil (1917), Ahasver reaches the gates of a castle on a journey through time in the year 1400 during a stormy night, but he is initially rejected by the farmers. While the storm rages outside, they take pity on him and bring Ahasver into the sheltered rooms.
There he begins to tell his story and why he is condemned to eternal restlessness. He describes how he is said to have cold-heartedly rejected the collapsing Jesus Christ in front of his home in Jerusalem. Ahasver later marries the daughter of the tenant, but brings, because of the curse on him, from now on only great misfortune about this family. And so he has to continue to move restlessly.
In the second part, Ahasver, 2. Teil - Die Tragödie der Eifersucht/The Tragedy of Jealousy (1917), Ahasver learns to know Count Gotheberg on his endless wanderings. Gotheberg is sentenced to death and and will be executed by means of a guillotine. Ahasver can save him from this bloody fate, but he develops erotic desires towards the count's beloved Eleonore. It comes as it has to come: the two men are in controversy over the coveted woman and in the fight the count dies.
In he third part, Ahasver, 3. Teil - Das Gespenst der Vergangenheit/The Spectre of the Past (1917), Ahasver becomes the director of a mine. He discovers a pretty young girl named Johanna in the ghetto, takes her with him and gives her to a junk dealer. Johanna grows up and falls in love with Ahasver's mining engineer Baumann. But Ahasver falls into the same sin: he desires the other one's woman. He seduces Johanna and ensures that his competitor Baumann dies.
Director-writer Robert Reinert shot Ahasver from May to June 1917 in the Bioscop studios of Neubabelsberg. The film sets were designed by Robert A. Dietrich and executed by Artur Günther. Hanns Lippmann was production manager.
The film was received well by the German critics. German film magazine Neue Kino-Rundschau: "All the advantages that we emphasised at the time of the huge film work Homunculus are also valid for this film... The performances are also excellent. Noteworthy is lead actor Carl de Vogt. Even his gloomy appearance seems to have been created for the role of the eternal Jew. He also knows how to express the terrible anguish of the restless."
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3144. Photo: Deutsche Bioscop-Gesellschaft (DBG). Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert 1917).
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3146. Photo: Carl de Vogt and Johannes Riemann in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3147. Photo: Johannes Riemann, Dora Schlüter and Carl de Vogt in Ahasver (Robert Reinert, 1917).
Sources: Neue Kino-Rundschau (German), Filmportal.de (German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 260. Photo: Carlet ainé, Paris.
American jazz and Hawaiian style songs
Jacques Pills was born René Jacques Ducos in 1906 in Tulle, France.
After studying medicine, he turned to the music hall by participating in shows at the Casino de Paris, alongside Mistinguett.
He started a duo with the pianist Pierre Courmontagnes, under the name of Pills and Ward. When the latter left, Georges Tabet replaced him at the Casino de Paris. In 1931, they performed American jazz at Boeuf sur le Toit.
In 1932, Pills et Tabet reached success with the song Couchés dans le foin, written by Mireille and Jean Nohain. Several hits followed. Pills and Tabet separated in 1939. That same year, Pills married French singer Lucienne Boyer.
Jacques Pills started a solo career while Tabet became a screenwriter for the cinema. Pills recorded songs of Bruno Coquatrix, his impresario: Mon Ange (1940) and Dans un coin de mon pays (1940). He also had a huge success with a song in Hawaiian style, Avec son ukulele.
Like many other singing stars, Pills made films, including a few alongside Tabet, nearly always in the role of a singer. In 1932 he made his film debut in the sports film Chouchou poids plume/A Gentleman of the Ring (Robert Bibal, 1932), starring Geo Laby.
His films like the comedy Toi, c'est moi/You, it's me (René Guissart, 1936) and Prends la route/Take the road (Jean Boyer, 1936) were no masterpieces, mainly musicals designed to entertain undemanding fans. They cheered up enthusiastic crowds, but are forgotten today.
Jacques Pills and Georges Tabet. French postcard by PC, Paris, no. 78. Photo: G. Marant.
Pills et Tabet. French postcard by EC, no. 70. Photo: Studio Paz.
A welcome dark spot
From the 1940s on, Jacques Pills continued to appear in a string of light comedies.
The only exception in the unexpected thriller, Seul dans la nuit/Alone in the Night (Christian Stengel, 1945) starring Bernard Blier. In the film a singer (Pills)'s hit Seul dans la nuit is heard whenever a woman is murdered by a lady-killer. Worse, this beloved singer might be the serial killer himself… Guy Bellinger at IMDb: “A welcome dark spot in too sunny an output.”
Jacques Pills and Lucienne Boyer divorced in 1951. The following year, he married singer Édith Piaf. However, in 1957, this marriage also ended in a divorce.
In 1953 he played the lead in the film Boum sur Paris (Maurice de Canonge, 1953). The film was built around the popular radio program La Kermesse aux Étoiles, hosted by Jean Nohain, mixing lottery games and performances of various artists. In the film the show is disturbed by a man (Pills) and his bride (Danielle Godet) seeking to retrieve a dangerous perfume bottle (explosive) which was inadvertently mixed with prizes. Among the performing stars were Gary Cooper, Édith Piaf, Juliette Gréco, Gilbert Bécaud and Gregory Peck as themselves.
In 1959, Pills was the Monegasque entrant at the Eurovision Song Contest 1959 with the song Mon ami Pierrot. The song ended last, in eleventh place and got only one point. Pills was the father of Jacqueline Boyer, who won the 1960 Eurovision contest the year after her father's participation for France singing Tom Pillibi.
Jacques Pills died in 1970 in Paris. He was 64. In the Édith Piaf biopic La môme/The passionate life of Edith Piaf (Olivier Dahan, 2007), his character is interpreted by Laurent Olmedo.
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 253. Photo: Harcourt, Paris.
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 186. Photo: Carlet ainé, Paris.
Jacques Pills sings Seul dans la nuit. Source: holdabaum (YouTube).
Sources: Guy Bellinger (IMDb), Le Hall de la Chanson (French), Wikipedia, and IMDb.
Mamie van Doren. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano (Milan). Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1958.
Raymond Pellegrin and Gina Lollobrigida. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano. Photo: Minerva Film. Publicity still for La romana/ Woman of Rome (Luigi Zampa, 1954).
Nadia Gray. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 135. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Puccini (Carmine Gallone, 1953).
Walter Chiari. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 136.
Shelley Winters. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 316. Photo: Universal International.
Barbara Payton. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 348. Photo: Warner Bros.
Marcello Mastroianni. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 460. Photo: Atlantis Film. Publicity still for Febbre di vivere/Eager to Live (Claudio Gora, 1953).
Peggy Cummins. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 563. Photo: publicity still for Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1949).
Mara Lane. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 968. Photo: ENIC.
Maria Felix. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1068. Photo: ENIC. Publicity still for Les héros sont fatigués/Heroes and Sinners (Yves Ciampi, 1955).
Franco Interlenghi and Antonella Lualdi. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1234. Photo: Italy's News Photos.
Anita Ekberg. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano., no. 1603. Photo: Dear Film.
Nino Manfredi. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1710. Photo: Euro International Films. Publicity still for Carmela è una bambola/Carmela is a doll (Gianni Puccini, 1958).
Mario Girotti. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1807. Photo: Titanus. Publicity still for Lazarella (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1957).
Myriam Bru. Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1826. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Il padrone sono me/The master is me (Franco Brusati, 1955).
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 4896, 1967. This postcard was printed in an edition of 100.000 cards. Retail price: 8 Kop.
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 1565. This postcard was printed in an edition of 210.000 cards. Retail price: 8 Kop.
One of the Most Promising Russian Directors
Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky was born in Moscow in 1945 into the distinguished, artistic Mikhalkov family. His great grandfather was the imperial governor of Yaroslavl, whose mother was a Galitzine princess. Nikita's father, Sergei Mikhalkov, was best known as a writer of children's books, although he also provided the lyrics for the Russian anthem.
Nikita's mother, the poet Natalia Konchalovskaya, was the daughter of the avant-garde artist Pyotr Konchalovsky and granddaughter of another outstanding painter, Vasily Surikov. Nikita's older brother is the filmmaker Andrey Konchalovsk(i)y, primarily known for his collaboration with Andrei Tarkovsky and his own Hollywood action films, such as Runaway Train (Andrey Konchalovsky, 1985) with Jon Voight, and Tango & Cash (Andrey Konchalovsky, 1989) starring Sylvester Stallone.
Mikhalkov studied acting at the children's studio of the Moscow Art Theatre and later at the Shchukin School of the Vakhtangov Theatre. While still a student, he appeared in the romantic comedy Ya shagayu po Moskve/I Step Through Moscow (Georgi Daneliya, 1964). It was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.
He was soon on his way to becoming a star of the Soviet stage and cinema. He had a supporting part in Krasnaya Palatka/The Red Tent (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1969) starring Sean Conneryand Claudia Cardinale. His brother directed him in Dvoryanskoe gnezdo/Home of the Gentry (Andrei Konchalovsky, 1970).
While continuing to pursue his acting career, Mikhalkov entered VGIK, the state film school in Moscow, where he studied directing under filmmaker Mikhail Romm, teacher to his brother and Andrei Tarkovsky. He directed his first short film in 1967, Devochka i veshchi/The Girl and Things (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1967), and another for his graduation, Spokoynyy den v kontse voyny/A Quiet Day at the End of the War (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1970).
His first feature was Svoy sredi chuzhikh, chuzhoy sredi svoikh/At Home Among Strangers, Stranger at Home (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1974), with Yuri Bogatyryov. It was an Ostern (East-European Western, or 'Eastern') set just after the 1920s civil war in Russia.
He established himself as one of the most promising Russian directors with a vision of his own with his second feature, Raba lyubvi/A Slave of Love (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1976), starring Yelena Solovey and Rodion Nahapetov. Set in 1917, it followed the efforts of a film crew to make a silent melodrama in a resort town while the Revolution rages around them. The film, based upon the last days of Vera Kholodnaya, was highly acclaimed upon its release in the U.S.
Mikhalkov's next film was Neokonchennaya pyesa dlya mekhanicheskogo pianino/An Unfinished Piece for Player Piano (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1977) with Aleksandr Kalyagin and Yelena Solovey. It was adapted by Mikhalkov from Anton Chekhov's early play, Platonov, and won the first prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
In 1978, while starring in his brother's epic film Siberiada/Siberiade (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 1978), Mikhalkov made Pyat vecherov/Five Evenings (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1979), a love story about a couple (played by Lyudmila Gurchenko and Stanislav Lyubshin) separated by World War II, who meet again after eighteen years.
Mikhalkov's next film, Neskolko dney iz zhizni I.I. Oblomova/A Few Days from the Life of I. I. Oblomov (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1980), with Oleg Tabakov in the title role, is based on Ivan Goncharov's classic novel Oblomow about a lazy young nobleman who refuses to leave his bed.
Rodnya/Family Relations (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1982) is a comedy about a provincial woman in Moscow dealing with the tangled relationships of her relatives. Bez svideteley/Without Witnesses (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1983) tracks a long night's conversation between a woman (Irina Kupchenko) and her ex-husband (Mikhail Ulyanov) when they are accidentally locked in a room.
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 53 029.
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, no. 4910, 1977. This postcard was printed in an edition of 300.000 cards. Retail price: 5 Kop.
Stalin's Great Terror
In the early 1980s, Nikita Mikhalkov resumed his acting career, appearing in the immensely popular romance Vokzal dlya dvoikh/Station for Two (Eldar Ryazanov, 1982) and Zhestokiy romans/A Cruel Romance (Eldar Ryazanov, 1984). At that period, he also played Henry Baskerville in the Soviet screen version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i doktora Vatsona: Sobaka Baskerviley (Igor Maslennikov, 1981). He also starred in many of his own films.
Incorporating several short stories by Anton Chekhov, Oci Ciornie/Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1987) stars Marcello Mastroianni as an old man who tells the story of a romance he had when he was younger, a woman he has never been able to forget. The film was highly praised, and Mastroianni received the Best Actor Prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
Mikhalkov's next film, Urga/Close to Eden (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1992), set in the little known world of the Mongols, received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Mikhalkov's Anna ot 6 do 18/Anna: 6-18 (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1993) documents his daughter Anna Mikhalkova as she grows from childhood to maturity. He documents the history of Russia from 1980 to 1991 by annually asking Anna such questions as "What do you love the most?", "What scares you the most?", "What do you want above anything?" and "What do you hate the most?".
Mikhalkov's most famous production to date, Utomlyonnye solntsem/Burnt by the Sun (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1994), was steeped in the paranoid atmosphere of Joseph Stalin's Great Terror. The film received the Grand Prize at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, among many other honours. Mikhalkov was the third Russian director to receive Oscar after Sergei Bondarchuk (in 1961) and Vladimir Menshov (in 1980). To date, Burnt by the Sun remains the highest grossing film to come out of the former Soviet Union.
Mikhalkov used the critical and financial triumph of Burnt by the Sun to raise $25,000,000 for his most epic venture to date, Sibirskiy tsiryulnik/The Barber of Siberia (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1998). The film, which was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, was designed as a grandiose, big budget romance set in the 19th century Russia. It featured Julia Ormond and Oleg Menshikov, who regularly appears in Mikhalkov's films, in the leading roles. The director himself appeared as Tsar Alexander III of Russia. The film received the Russia State Prize and became a runaway box office success.
There were rumours about Mikhalkov's presidential ambitions. The director, however, chose to administer the Russian cinema industry. Despite much opposition from rival directors, he was elected the President of the Russian Society of Cinematographers and has managed the Moscow Film Festival since 2000. He also set the Russian Academy Golden Eagle Award in opposition to the traditional Nika Award. According to Wikipedia, his style of leadership of the union has been criticised by many Russian filmmakers and critics as autocratic, and encouraged members to leave and form a rival union in April 2010.
In 2005, Mikhalkov resumed his acting career, starring in three films - Statskiy sovetnik/The Councilor of State (Filipp Yankovsky, 2005) - a Fandorin mystery film which was a Russian box-office hit, Zhmurki/Dead man’s Bluff (Aleksey Balabanov, 2005) - a noir-drenched comedy about the Russian Mafia, and Krzysztof Zanussi's Persona non grata (2005).
In 2007, Mikhalkov’s film 12 (Nikita Mikhalkov, 2007), a loose remake of Sidney Lumet's court drama 12 Angry Men (1957), received a special Golden Lion for the ‘consistent brilliance’ of its work and was praised by critics at the Venice Film Festival. 12 was also named as a nominee for the 2008 Academy Awards. He took on a role of the executive producer of an epic film 1612.
Nikita Mikhalkov's first wife was the renowned Russian actress Anastasiya Vertinskaya, whom he married in, 1967. They have a son, Stepan Mikhalkov, born in 1966. With his second wife, former model Tatyana Mikhalkova, he has a son, Artem (1975), and two daughters, Anna (1974) and Nadya (1987).
Nikita Mikhalkov is actively involved in Russian politics. He is known for his at times extreme Russian nationalist and Slavophile views, and has been a strong supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin. In October 2007, Mikhalkov, who produced a television program for Putin's 55th birthday, co-signed an open letter asking Putin not to step down after the expiry of his term in office. Since 2015 Mikhalkov is banned from entering Ukraine because of his support for the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.
In 2010 he returned as a director with Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie/Burnt by the Sun 2 (Nikita Mikhalkov, 2010), in which he also starred The film consists of two parts: Exodus and Citadel. It is the sequel to Burnt by the Sun (1994), set in the Eastern Front of World War II. Burnt by the Sun 2 had the largest production budget ever seen in Russian cinema ($55 mln), but it turned out to be Russia's biggest box office flop, and received negative reviews from critics both in Russia and abroad.
His most recent film is Solnechnyy udar/Sunstroke (Nikita Mikhalkov, 2014). It is set in Russia during the Red Terror in 1920 and in 1907, and is loosely based on the story Sunstroke and the book Cursed Days by Nobel Prize-winning Russian writer Ivan Bunin. The film was selected as the Russian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.
Scene from Anna ot 6 do 18/Anna: 6-18 (1993). Source: HP 1067 (YouTube).
Trailer Utomlyonnye solntsem/Burnt by the Sun (1994). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).
Trailer 12 (2007). Source: Tevolution (YouTube).
Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.
Belgian postcard by Société Gama-Film, Brussels. Photo: Richard Oswald Film. Publicity still for Lady Hamilton (Richard Oswald, 1921).
German director Richard Oswald made this silent film version of the dramatic story of Lady Emma Hamilton's rise and fall in European society during the 1700s and early 1800s, including her romantic love story with the British Admiral Lord Nelson. Liane Haid starred as Lady Hamilton, Conrad Veidt played Lord Nelson, and Werner Krauss Lord William Hamilton. The film was based on two novels by Heinrich Vollrath Schumacher.
Italian postcard by Danese, Roma, no. 5. Photo: Vere Films. Publicity still for I cento giorni di Napoleone/The Hundred Days of Napoleon (Roberto Danesi, Archita Valente, 1914).
'The Hundred Days' marked the period between Napoleon Bonaparte's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815 (a period of 110 days). Napoleon returned to Paris with the intention of reversing the fate of the conflict against the Russian-Anglo-Prussian coalitioned powers that had defeated him in Leipzig. On 22 June 1815, defeated again in Waterloo, he abdicated definitively. Napoleon died in exile on the isolated Atlantic island of St. Helena, on 5 May 1821.
Belgian postcard by Anvers Palace. Photo: Rina De Liguoro in Messalina (Enrico Guazzoni, 1924).
Rina De Liguoro (1892-1966) had her breakthrough with the epic Messalina (1924). It was the start of a prolific career in Italian silent cinema in the 1920s with Quo vadis? (1924) and Gli ultimi giorni di Pompeii (1926).
German postcard by Ross Verlag / W.J. Mörlins, Berlin, no. 437/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Karl Schenker. Publicity still for a stage production of the opera Die Gezeichneten with Josef Mann as Aviano.
Die Gezeichneten (The Branded or The Stigmatized) was an opera in three acts by Franz Schreker with a German-language libretto by the composer. Josef Mann (1883-1921) was an Austrian tenor. During his short life, he was seen as one of the greatest opera stars of his era.
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 328. Photo: Zimler.
Albanian-Austrian Alexander Moissi(1879-1935) was one of the great European stage actors of the early-20th century. The attractive and charismatic women's idol also appeared in several silent and early sound films.
Brigitte Helm. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6032/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.
Willy Fritsch. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9172/3, 1935-1936. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Amphitryon/Amphitryon - Happiness from the Clouds (Reinhold Schünzel, 1935).
Marlene Dietrich. British postcard in Art Photo, no. 34. Photo: Paramount Pictures.
Michèle Morgan. French postcard by Editions P.I., La Garenne-Colombes, no. 133. Photo: GIBE.
Suzy Carrier. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 140. Photo: Ch. Vandamme / Les Mirages.
Belgian postcard by Best, Antwerp. Photo: Humo. Publicity still for the TV series Wij, heren van Zichem/We, Gentlemen of Zichem (Maurits Balfoort, 1969-1972) with Fons Exelmans as Lewie.
Wij, heren van Zichem/We, Gentlemen of Zichem (Maurits Balfoort, 1969-1972) was a hugely popular Flemish TV drama series, a soap avant-la-lettre. The series was produced by the BRT (nowadays the VRT), and elaborates on the adventures of the blond rascal Lewie (a Dutch derivative of Louis), played by Fons Exelmans.
British postcard by Brent Walker Film Distributors LTD. Poster for What's Up Tiger Lily? (Woody Allen, Senkichi Taniguchi, 1966).
In Woody Allen's directorial debut, he re-edited the Japanese spy film Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi/International Secret Police: Key of Keys (Senkichi Taniguchi, 1965), the fourth installment of five films in the Kokusai himitsu keisatsu series, and completely changed the tone of the film into a comedy about the search for the world's best egg salad recipe.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2807/1, 1939-1940. Photo: K.L. Haenchen.
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 2797/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Harcourt.
Margarete Slezak was born in 1901 in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). She was the daughter of the opera singer and film comedian Leo Slezak and actress Elsa (née Wertheim) Slezak. Her brother was the actor Walter Slezak.
Her father trained her soprano voice and had her learn several instruments such as violin and saxophone. When she was ten years old she sang at the choir of the church in Tegernsee, Bavaria.
Her first engagement took her to the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin from 1930 to 1933 and soon she became a popular opera singer. From 1935 to 1943 she was a member of the ensemble of the Städtischen Opernhauses Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Slezak also appeared in several films. Her debut was the silent film Das Mädel aus der Hödrichsmühle/The girl from the Hödrich mill (Herr Stumfekl, 1928). Among her sound films are the comedy Ich heirate meine Frau/ I Marry My Wife (Johannes Riemann, 1934) with Lil Dagover, and the crime film Der Vorhang fällt/The Curtain Falls (Georg Jacoby, 1939) starring Anneliese Uhlig.
After the Second World War, Slezak appeared in South America and Southeastern Europe. She also sang in Berlin at the Theater des Westens, at the Staatsoper Berlin and in the Wintergarden.
After her father's death in 1946, she managed the Slezak house in Rottach-Egern, where she lived with her husband, the singer Peter Winter. The book Mein Lebensmärchen (My Life's Fairy Tale), which she published in 1947, is a record of her father's memoirs, which she collected in his last months and published on his behalf after his death.
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3411/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tita Binz.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3411/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Harcourt.
One of the last Rubble Films
After the war, Margarete Slezak played a supporting role in the West German sports film Derby (Roger von Norman, 1949) starring Hannelore Schroth and Willy Fritsch. With Fritsch, she also appeared in the historical comedy König für eine Nacht/King for One Night (Paul May, 1950).
Then followed a part in the romantic comedy Des Lebens Überfluss/Abundance of Life (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1950) one of the last of the Trümmerfilme (Rubble films) made in the immediate post-war years. It updates a story by Ludwig Tieck to modern-day Hamburg, addressing the shortage of housing in the heavily bombed city.
During the 1950s she played supporting parts in operetta films like Die Csardasfürstin/The Csardas Princess (Georg Jacoby, 1950) starring Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters, and Die Blume von Hawaii/The Flower of Hawaii (Géza von Cziffra, 1953) featuring Maria Litto.
Her final film was the circus film Keine Angst vor großen Tieren/Not Afraid of Big Animals (Ulrich Erfurth, 1953) starring Heinz Rühmann.
Margarete Slezak died in 1953 in Rottach-Egern, West Germany. After her death her biography Der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm (The apple does not fall far from the tribe) was published.
Big German card by Ross Verlag. Photo: Lindner.
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3510/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Harcourt.
Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, Androom, Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7290/1, 1932-1933 (sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1935). Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.
Willi Domgraf Fassbaender (also written as Willy Domgraf(-)Fassb(a)ender) was born in Aachen, Germany, in 1897.
Initially, he intended to become a conductor and musicologist for church music, but eventually he studied singing with Julius Stückgold. He had a beautiful voice and used it with fine musicianship.
He began his career as an oratorio and concert singer, but the director of the Stadttheater Aachen encouraged him to appear in opera and operetta. In 1922 he made his debut in Aachen as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.
In the following year, Leo Blech engaged him to the Deutsche Oper Berlin where the young singer continued his vocal studies with Paul Bruns. Due to strong competition, Domgraf-Fassbaender changed to the opera house in Düsseldorf, completing his studies with the famous Giuseppe Borgatti in Milan.
It was in Düsseldorf where he gained experience in an extensive repertoire: Figaro, Count Almaviva, Rigoletto, Wolfram, Papageno, Don Giovanni, et cetera. In 1927 he joined the company of the State Opera in Stuttgart, where he became one of its most popular singers.
It was Richard Tauber (his partner in La Bohème and Carmen) who recommended him to go back to Berlin. General manager Heinz Tietjen, who was to become his mentor, contracted him to the Berlin State Opera, where he gained quickly a reputation as ‘the Italian baritone’.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 152/1. Photo: Aafa Film. Publicity still for Theodor Körner (Carl Boese, 1932).
Heydays of the German Film Musical
Willi Domgraf Fassbaender was an accomplished singer-actor, and his shining international reputation was helped by his starring in a number of musical films. In 1932, at the heydays of the German film musical, he made his film debut in Der Sieger/The Winner (Hans Hinrich, Paul Martin, 1932) with Hans Albers.
An adaptation of Friedrich Smetana’s opera Die Verkaufte Braut/The Bartered Bride (Max Ophüls, 1932) with the beautiful Jarmila Novotnàin the title role, gained world-wide success. He sang the role of Hans, which was originally meant for a tenor.
That same year he also appeared in the short film Goethe-Gedenkfilm - 1. Der Werdegang/Goethe Memorial Film, part 1 (Fritz Wendhausen, 1932), and in Theodor Körner (Carl Boese, 1932) with Dorothea Wieck.
Next he starred in Ich will Dich Liebe lehren/I Will Teach You to Love (Heinz Hilpert, 1933). He insisted on also playing in the alternate French version, L’homme qui ne sait pas dire non/The Man Who Doesn't Know to Say No, but his accent was so bad that this version was never released.
After the rise to power of the Nazis, he became a party member of the NSDAP in May 1933. The following years he was the star of Aufforderung zum Tanz/Invitation to the Dance (Rudolf van der Noss, 1933), Starke Herzen/Strong Hearts (Herbert Maisch, 1937), Ein Lied von Liebe/A Song of Love (Jürgen von Alten, 1938) in which he starred with his wife Sabine Peters, and Lauter Liebe/Pure Love (Heinz Rühmann, 1940) with Hertha Feiler.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 152/4. Photo: Aafa Film. Publicity still for Theodor Körner (Carl Boese, 1932) with Lizzy Arna.
Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender’s devotion to modern works was quite remarkable (including operas by Malipiero, Wellesz, Schoeck), but his career was dominated by his Italian parts and Mozart.
Fritz Busch invited him to the Glyndebourne Festival, where he sang the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro as well as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte in the 1934, 1935 and 1939 series. In 1937 he was chosen by Arturo Toscanini to sing Papageno in Die Zauberflöte/The Magic Flute at the Salzburg Festival.
In 1942 he received the title of ‘Kammersänger'. After World War II, he performed mostly in Vienna, Munich, Hannover, and Nuremberg. At the Vienna State Opera, he sang Wolfram, Papageno and Ford.
His last film appearance was as Figaro in the DEFA production of Figaros Hochzeit/The Marriage of Figaro (Georg Wildhagen, 1949) with Angelika Hauffand Sabine Peters.
After 1951 Domgraf-Fassbaender worked as an outstanding stage director. In 1954 he went to the Conservatory of Nuremberg, where he led the opera school and taught a vocal class.
Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender died in 1978, in Nuremberg. His only daughter, from his marriage with Sabine Peters, was mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender (1939), who studied exclusively with her father and was to become a celebrated mezzo.
German collectors card by Ross, Haus Neueburg Film Album 2, no. 167. Photo: Schneider. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).
With Maria Elsner in a stage production. German collectors card by Ross, Haus Neueburg Film Album 2, no. 211. Photo: Schneider. Collection: Manuel Palomino Arjona (Flickr).
Sources: Andrea Suhm-Binder (subito – cantabile), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German and English), Filmportal.de, and IMDb.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 84/1, 1925-1935. Photo: Ufa. Albert Dieudonné as the title character in Abel Gance’s epic film Napoléon (1927).
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 456. Photo: Vladimir Roudenko as the young Napoléon in Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazines, no. 459. Photo: Gina Manès as Josephine de Beauharnais in Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 460. Photo: Nicolas Koline as Tristan Fleuri in Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).
A chronology of great triumph and defeat
Napoléon (1927) begins in Brienne-le-Château with youthful Napoleon (Vladimir Roudenko) attending military school where he manages a snowball fight like a military campaign, yet he suffers the insults of other boys.
The film continues a decade later with scenes of the French Revolution and Napoleon's (Albert Dieudonné) presence at the periphery as a young army lieutenant. He returns to visit his family home in Corsica but politics shift against him and put him in mortal danger. He flees, taking his family to France.
Serving as an officer of artillery in the Siege of Toulon, Napoleon's genius for leadership is rewarded with a promotion to brigadier general. Jealous revolutionaries imprison Napoleon but then the political tide turns against the Revolution's own leaders. Napoleon leaves prison, forming plans to invade Italy.
He falls in love with the beautiful Joséphine de Beauharnais (Gina Manès). The emergency government charges him with the task of protecting the National Assembly. Succeeding in this he is promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Interior, and he marries Joséphine. He takes control of the army which protects the French–Italian border, and propels it to victory in an invasion of Italy.
Many innovative techniques were used to make the film, including fast cutting, extensive close-ups, a wide variety of hand-held camera shots, location shooting, point of view shots, multiple-camera setups, multiple exposure, superimposition, underwater camera, kaleidoscopic images, film tinting, split screen and mosaic shots, multi-screen projection, and other visual effects.
Director, writer and producer Abel Gance planned for Napoléon to be the first of six films about Napoleon's career, a chronology of great triumph and defeat ending in Napoleon's death in exile on the island of Saint Helena. After the difficulties encountered in making the first film, Gance realised that the costs involved would make the full project impossible.
Napoléon was first released in a gala at the Palais Garnier (then the home of the Paris Opera) on 7 April 1927. Napoléon had been screened in only eight European cities when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought the rights to it, but after screening it in London, it was cut drastically in length, and only the central panel of the three-screen Polyvision sequences was retained before it was put on limited release in the United States. There, the film was indifferently received at a time when talkies were just starting to appear.
The film was restored in 1981 after twenty years' work by silent film historian Kevin Brownlow.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 461. Photo: Edmond Van Daële as Robespierre in Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 473. Photo: publicity still for Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927), with Abel Gance himself as Saint Just.
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 474. Photo: Lipnitzky. Publicity still for Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927), with Albert Dieudonné as Napoléon. The postcard is a pastiche of the famous portrait of Bonaparte at Arcole, 1796, by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros. See more.
French postcard. Photo Choumoff. Albert Dieudonné as Napoleon. The retro of the card makes publicity for Dieudonné in a stage version 'Bonaparte' at the Theatre de la Renaissance.
Director/actor Abel Gance on the cover of the French film journal Mon Ciné, no. 253, V, 23 December 1926. Gance is groomed as the character he played in Napoléon (1927), that of Saint-Just, one of the leading men of the French Terror.
Sources: Michael Brooke (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 535.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1583/1, 1927-1928. Photo: UFA.
Warwick Manson Ward was born in St. Ives, England, in 1889 (some sources say 1891). He made his stage debut in 1907, and had soon success in classical roles.
During the early 1920s he appeared in several silent British films. His film debut was the sports drama The Silver Lining (A.E Coleby, 1919). The following year he played in the Emily Brönte adaptation Wuthering Heights (A.V. Bramble, 1920) starring Milton Rosmer as Heathcliff and Colette Brettel as Cathy.
He appeared with Victor McLaglen in The Call of the Road (A.E. Coleby, 1920) and in Corinthian Jack (W. Courtney Rowden, 1921), with Henry Ainley in Build Thy House (Fred Goodwins, 1920), and with Milton Rosmer and Evelyn Brent in the drama Demos (Denison Clift, 1921), which is considered now to be lost.
That year he also appeared in Belphegor the Mountebank (Bert Wynne, 1921), a British silent film starring Milton Rosmer. It was based on the play Belphegor, the mountebank: or, Woman's constancy (ca. 1850) by Charles Webb about a nobleman who is forced to take up the life of a travelling showman. Another lost film is the drama Tell Your Children (Donald Crisp, 1922) for which Alfred Hitchcock is credited as the title designer.
That year Ward also appeared in the British-Dutch action film Bulldog Brummond (Oscar Apfel, 1922). Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie: “Filmed in England, this first movie version of the stage melodrama Bulldog Drummond featured a miscast Carlyle Blackwell in the title role. Captain Hugh ‘Bulldog’ Drummond, the soldier of fortune created by ‘Sapper’ (H.C. McNeile), was a combination old-school-tie British gentleman and brutish fascist. Blackwell could handle the ‘gentleman’ part, but wasn't quite up to the tough, two-fisted aspects of the character. Still, the story itself is a good one: Bored by inactivity, Drummond advertises for ‘adventure’ in the Times, and gets adventure aplenty when he becomes involved with a plot to kidnap an industrialist. The film's tension highlight was the scene in which the villainous Lakington (Warwick Ward) taunts a bound Drummond by fondling unconscious heroine Phyllis Benton (Evelyn Greeley)”.
Ward then starred opposite Violet Hopson in the sports films The Lady Owner (Walter West, 1923) and The Great Turf Mystery (Walter West, 1924), oppositeLillian Hall-Davis in the crime drama The Hotel Mouse (Fred Paul, 1923) and opposite Betty Blythe in Southern Love/A Woman's Secret (Herbert Wilcox, 1924). The latter was based on the poem The Spanish Student by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about the young gypsy Dolores, who escapes from an arranged marriage and makes a living as a dancer.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3312/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3312/2, 1928-1929. Signed in 1931. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin.
In Europe’s Film Capital
Warwick Ward moved to France to appear opposite Hollywood diva Gloria Swanson in Madame Sans-Gene (Léonce Perret, 1925), a silent Famous Players-Lasky production by Jesse L. Lasky and Adolph Zukor. Swanson made this romantic comedy/costume drama while on an extended vacation. She helped to secure many of the filming locations (Chateau Fontainebleau, for example) herself. Soon she became involved with her interpreter Henri de la Falaise, a Marquis, although he was not very wealthy. He later became her third husband. Before her death, Swanson yearned to see this film. She considered it as her best work, but sadly the film is lost.
After this Paris adventure, Ward moved to Europe’s film capital at the time, Berlin. There he played in another silent classic, Varieté/Variety (Ewald Andre Dupont, 1925), based on the novel Der Eid des Stephan Huller (The Oath of Stephan Huller, 1923) by Felix Hollaender. The film tells the story of a carnival concessionaire (Emil Jannings), his alluring girlfriend (Lya de Putti), and the handsome acrobat (Warwick Ward) who comes between them.
Feeling doubly impotent because he himself had been a famous aerialist before suffering a crippling accident, Jannings fantasises about killing his rival - and, finally, does so. The trapeze scenes were set in the Berlin Wintergarten theatre and camera man Karl Freund let the camera swing from long shot to close-up, like the acrobats. The results astounded international audiences.
Ward stayed in Germany for such silent films as Die Fahrt ins Abenteuer/The Wooing of Eve (Max Mack, 1926) with Ossi Oswalda, the UFA adventure film Die Frauengasse von Algier/Streets of Algiers (Wolfgang Hoffmann-Harnisch, 1927) with Maria Jacobini and Camilla Horn, and Die berühmte Frau/The Famous Woman (Robert Wiene, 1927) with Lily Damita.
One of his best late silent films is the circus melodrama Die Todesschleife/Looping the Loop (Arthur Robison, 1928) starring Werner Krauss as a clown with Ward (again) as the handsome acrobat who steals the clown’s pretty girl (Jenny Jugo).
Another masterpiece was Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna/The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrovna (Hanns Schwarz, 1929) starring Brigitte Helm and Franz (Francis) Lederer. Meanwhile Ward also continued to make silent films in France and Great-Britain.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4291/1, 1927-1928. Photo: UFA.
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 6164. Photo: F.P.S. Verleih: Philipp & Co.
The Dancing Years
After the arrival of the sound film in Germany, Warwick Ward had to return to Great Britain. There he appeared opposite Pola Negri in the late silent film-with-sound-effects The Way of Lost Souls (Paul Czinner, 1929).
He reunited with Lya de Putti for the British sound drama The Informer (Arthur Robison, 1929). Hungarian De Putti's voice was dubbed – not with an Irish accent, as the character called for, but, for some reason, with an upper-class English accent. The film was based on the novel The Informer by Liam O'Flaherty which was again adapted in 1935 by John Ford.
In the British musical comedy A Man of Mayfair (Louis Mercanton, 1931), Ward starred with Jack Buchanan, and in The Loves of Ariane (Paul Czinner, 1931) his co-star was Elisabeth Bergner. He appeared in a few more supporting parts, such as in the English version of the German world success F.P.1/ F. P. 1 Doesn't Answer (Karl Hartl, 1933) starring Conrad Veidt.
But his acting days were over. A few years earlier, Ward had started to produce films, and in the following years he would produce such British comedies as Save a Little Sunshine (Norman Lee, 1938) starring Dave Willis and Patricia Kirkwood, about a man who buys a share in a hotel after he is sacked from his job. The film was made by Welwyn Studios, an affiliate of ABC Pictures, at their Welwyn Garden City Studio.
He also produced a further film with Willis and Kirkwood, Me and My Pal (Thomas Bentley, 1939). During the war years he produced for Welwyn such crime thrillers as Suspected Person (Lawrence Huntington) with Patricia Roc. After the war he returned to comedies, which he now produced for Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC).
Among them are Quiet Weekend (Harold French, 1946) with Derek Farr, and The Dancing Years (Harold French, 1950) starring Dennis Price.
Warwick Ward continued to produce films till 1958. He died in 1967 in Welwyn Garden City, near London, at the age of 78.
Belgium brochure by Patria editions, Antwerp for Varieté (Ewald André Dupont, 1925) with Lya de Putti on the cover.
Conrad Veidt. British postcard by Real Photograph, no. 167. Photo: Gaumont-British Pictures.
Dennis Price. Dutch postcard. Photo: Eagle Lion.
Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.