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  • 05/29/18--22:00: Ernst Lubitsch
  • The next ten days, EFSP has its own little Lubitsch festival! We will do posts on 9 of his films, but we start today with a post on the master himself, Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947). The German-American actor, screenwriter, producer and film director started his career in the silent cinema of the Weimar Republic. During the 1920s, his urbane comedies of manners made him Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director. His films were promoted as having 'the Lubitsch touch', due to his wit and style.

    Ernst Lubitsch
    German postcar by Ross Verlag, no. 415/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Rembrandt.

    Ernst Lubitsch
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 1926. Photo: Fritz Richard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ernst Lubitsch
    German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 1743. Photo: Alex Binder, Paris. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

    Ernst Lubitsch, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 581/4, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson. Ernst Lubitsch with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.

    Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 581/5, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson. Ernst Lubitsch with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

    Ethnic Jewish Humour


    Ernst Lubitsch was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1892. He was the son of Anna (née Lindenstaedt) and Simon Lubitsch, a prosperous tailor. His family was Ashkenazi Jewish, his father born in Grodno and his mother from Wriezen (Oder), outside Berlin.

    Ernst was drawn to the stage while participating in plays staged by the Sophien Gymnasium, his Berlin high school, which he quit at 16.

    To satisfy both his own urge to act and his father's desire that he take over the family business, he began leading a double life, working as a bookkeeper at his father's store by day and appearing in cabarets and music halls by night.

    By 1911, he was a member of Max Reinhardt's renowned Deutsches Theater, where he quickly advanced from bit parts to character leads. To supplement his income, Lubitsch took a job in 1912 as an apprentice and general-purpose handyman at Berlin's Bioscope film studios, and learned silent film acting.

    Lubitsch soon made his film debut in Die ideale Gattin/The Ideal Wife (Hanns Heinz Ewers, Marc Henry, 1913) with Lyda Salmanova. The comedy Die Firma heiratetThe Firm Weds (Carl Wilhelm, 1913) with Albert Paulig, and its sequel Der Stolz der Firma/The Pride of the Firm (Carl Wilhelm, 1914) turned him into a popular comedian.

    Till 1920, he acted in approximately thirty films. Lubitsch appeared in a series of very successful film comedies as a character named Meyer in which he emphasised ethnic Jewish humour, including Meyer auf der Alm (?, 1913), and Meyer Als Soldat/Meyer as Soldier (?, 1914).

    In 1914 he began to write and direct his own films. His first film as a director in was Fräulein Seifenschaum/Miss Soapsuds(1914) and he established his reputation as a director, writer, producer and comedian with the foundation of the Malu-Film company, together with the actor Ernst Matráy.

    He  made his mark as a serious director with the drama Die Augen der Mumie Ma/The Eyes of the Mummy (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918), starring Pola Negri. He gradually abandoned acting to concentrate on directing and his last film appearance was opposite Pola Negri and Paul Wegener in the drama Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Ernst Lubitsch, Ossi Oswalda
    With Ossi Oswalda. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 337/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Zander & Labisch.

    Ernst Lubitsch in Der Blusenkönig
    German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 1983. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Der Blusen-König (Ernst Lubitsch, 1917). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ossi Oswalda in Ossi's Tagebuch
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1999. Photo: Union Film. Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig in the Ossi's Tagebuch (Ernst Lubitsch, 1917).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    Henny Porten as Anna Boleyn, in Anna Boleyn (1920). German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Union Film.

    Ernst Lubitsch, Mary Pickford
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 581/2, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson. Ernst Lubitsch with Mary Pickford.

    Pola Negri in Forbidden Paradise (1924)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1523/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Parufamet. Pola Negri in Forbidden Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1924).

    Grand Master


    As a director, Ernst Lubitsch alternated between escapist comedies and large-scale historical dramas, enjoying great international success with both.

    A triumph was Die Austernprinzessin/The Oyster Princess (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919), featuring Ossi Oswalda, a sparkling satire caricaturing American manners.

    Ephraim Katz in The Film Encyclopedia: "For the first time he demonstrated the subtle humor and the virtuoso visual wit that would in time become known as 'the Lubitsch Touch'. The style was characterised by a parsimonious compression of ideas and situations into single shots or brief scenes that provided an ironic key to the characters and to the meaning of the entire film."

    His reputation as a grand master of world cinema reached a new peak after the release of his spectacles Madame DuBarry/Passion (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Pola Negri, and Anna Boleyn/Deception (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) starring Henny Porten and Emil Jannings. Both of these films found American distributorship by early 1921.

    Madame Du Barry and Anna Boleyn, along with his Carmen/Gypsy Blood (Ernst Lubitsch, 1921) were selected by The New York Times on its list of the 15 most important movies of 1921.

    With glowing reviews under his belt, and American money flowing his way, Lubitsch formed his own production company and made the high-budget spectacular Das Weib des Pharao/The Loves of Pharaoh (Ernst Lubitsch, 1921).

    In 1922, he married Helene Kraus. They divorced in 1931.

    Ossi Oswalda in Wenn vier dasselbe tun (1917)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2008. Photo: Union-Film. Publicity still for Wenn vier dasselbe tun/When Four Do the Same (Ernst Lubitsch, 1917), starring Ossi Oswalda as the girl, Fritz Schulz (here on the left) as her lover, and Emil Jannings as her father (here on the right).

    Ernst Lubitsch
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2012. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Prinz Sami/Prince Sami (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918). Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Pola Negri in Die Augen der Mumie Ma (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2835. Photo: publicity still for Die Augen der Mumie Ma/The Eyes of the Mummy (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918) with Pola Negri. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Victor Janson in Die Austernprinzessin (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 611/2. Photo: Union / Ufa. Publicity still for Die Austernprinzessin/The Oyster Princess (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Victor Janson.

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/6. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still of Reinhold Schünzel and Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). After the death of king Louis XV (Emil Jannings), his minister Choiseul (Schünzel) chases DuBarry (Negri) from the Royal palace.

    Hollywood


    Ernst Lubitsch's success in Europe brought him to the shores of America to promote Das Weib des Pharao/The Loves of Pharaoh (1922) and he got acquainted with the thriving US film industry.

    Lubitsch returned briefly to Germany but soon left for good for Hollywood. He was contracted by Mary Pickford, who wanted him to direct her in Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.  Upon arrival, he rejected the project and directed her instead in Rosita (1923).

    Director and star clashed during its filming. While the resuly was deemed a failure from her point of view, it was a critical and commercial success. It ended up as the only project that they made together.

    A free agent after just one American film, Lubitsch was signed to a remarkable three-year, six-picture contract by Warner Brothers that guaranteed the director his choice of both cast and crew, and full editing control over the final cut.

    Settling in America, Lubitsch established his reputation for sophisticated comedy with such stylish films as The Marriage Circle (1924), Lady Windermere's Fan (1925), and So This Is Paris (1926).

    Ephraim Katz: "Lubitsch grasped the American psychology with an amazing accuracy and focused his satire on two main themes -- sex and money. With characteristic laconic wit, he depicted sex as a frivolous pastime, a sophisticated game moneyed people play to occupy their hours of leisure. To be safe, he set his plots against foreign backgrounds -- Paris, Vienna, Budapest -- or some mythical land, but the implication was clearly American and audiences rarely failed to recognize themselves or their friends, their manners, their foibles, their weaknesses."

    But his films were only marginally profitable for Warner Brothers, and Lubitsch's contract was eventually dissolved by mutual consent, with MGM-Paramount buying out the remainder.

    His first film for MGM, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) with Ramon Novarro, was well regarded, but also lost money.

    Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig in Die Puppe
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 635/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig.

    Lotte Neumann and Gustav von Wangenheim in Romeo und Julia im Schnee (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 636/4. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), with Lotte Neumann (Julia) and Gustav von Wangenheim (Romeo Montekugerl).

    Emil Jannings and Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 639/5. Photo: Messter-Film. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Emil Jannings and Henny Porten.

    Pola Negri in Die Bergkatze (1921)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 760/5. Photo: Alex Binder. Publicity still for Die Bergkatze/Wildcat (Ernst Lubitsch, 1921) with Pola Negri.

    Jenny Hasselqvist in Sumurun (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 832/1, 1919-1924. Union Film. Publicity still for Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Jenny Hasselqvist aka Jenny Hasselquist.

    Musicals



    Lubitsch seized upon the advent of talkies to direct musicals. With his first sound film, The Love Parade (1929), starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, Lubitsch hit his stride as a maker of worldly musical comedies and earned himself another Oscar nomination.

    While most of Lubitsch's silent films had been made for Warner Bros., most of his early sound pictures were for Paramount.

    The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), and The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) were hailed by critics as masterpieces of the newly emerging musical genre. Lubitsch served on the faculty of the University of Southern California for a time.

    His next film was a romantic comedy, written with Samson Raphaelson, Trouble in Paradise (1932). The cynical comedy was popular both with critics and with audiences.

    But it was a project that could only have been made before the enforcement of the Production Code, and after 1935, Trouble in Paradise was withdrawn from circulation. It was not seen again until 1968.

    Ernst Lubitsch continued to specialize in comedy, whether with music, as in MGM's opulent The Merry Widow (1934) and Paramount's One Hour with You (1932), or without, as in Design for Living (1933).

    He made only one other dramatic film, the anti-war Broken Lullaby/The Man I Killed (1932).

    In 1935, he was appointed Paramount's production manager, thus becoming the only major Hollywood director to run a large studio.

    But Lubitsch had trouble delegating authority, which was a problem when he was overseeing sixty different films. He was fired after a year on the job, and returned to full-time moviemaking.

    Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 838/1. Photo: Terra Film A.G., Berlin. Publicity still for Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, 1923).

    Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer in The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927)
    Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 98/6. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927).

    Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, Paris, no. 794. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929) with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.

    Jack Buchanan, Jeanette MacDonald, Cacoa van Houten
    Dutch-Belgian promotion card for Cacao Van Houten, no. 11 and 12. Printed by N.V. Ned Reclamefabriek. This card was part of a series of promo cards for a quiz by Van Houten Chocolate. The public had to go to stores to guess which film star was on the photo in the shop window. There were 24 photos. At the right we recognized (with the help from a former owner of the card :)) Jack Buchanan and Jeanette MacDonald in Monte Carlo (Ernst Lubitsch, 1930). But who are the actors on the other picture? Name also the title of the film and the production company. In the past you could win a Philips Radio...

    Maurice Chevalier and Miriam Hopkins in The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
    Maurice Chevalier and Miriam Hopkins. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5976/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Smiling Lieutenant (Ernst Lubitsch, 1931).

    Garbo Laughs!


    In 1935 he married his second wife, British actress Vivian Gaye. They had one daughter, Nicola Lubitsch in 1938. And in 1936, he became a naturalized US citizen.

    Lubitsch moved to MGM, and directed Greta Garbo in Ninotchka (1939). The famously serious actress' laughing scene in this satirical comedy was heavily promoted by studio publicists with the tagline "Garbo Laughs!"

    In 1940, Lubitsch directed The Shop Around the Corner, an artful comedy of cross purposes.

    The film reunited Lubitsch with his Merry Widow screenwriter Raphaelson, and starred James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as a pair of bickering co-workers in Budapest, each unaware that the other is their secret romantic correspondent.

    Lubitsch went independent to direct That Uncertain Feeling (1941, a remake of his 1925 film Kiss Me Again), and the dark anti-Nazi farce To Be or Not to Be (1942).

    William McPeak at IMDb on To Be or Not to Be (1942): "a biting satire of Nazi tyranny that also poked fun at Lubitsch's own theater roots with the problems and bickering--but also the triumph--of a somewhat raggedy acting troupe in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. Jack Benny's perfect deadpan humor worked well with the zany vivaciousness of Carole Lombard, and a cast of veteran character actors from both Hollywood and Lubitsch's native Germany provided all the chemistry needed to make this a classic comedy, as well as a fierce statement against the perpetrators of war."

    A heart condition curtailed his activity, and he spent much of his time in supervisory capacities. His next film, Heaven Can Wait (1943) was another Raphaelson collaboration.

    Then, Lubitsch worked with Edwin Justus Mayer on the scripting process of A Royal Scandal (1945), a remake of Lubitsch's silent film A Forbidden Paradise. The script was written and prepared under Lubitsch, and he was the original director of this film, and directed the rehearsals. He became ill during shooting, so he hired Otto Preminger, another disciple of Max Reinhardt's Viennese theatre work,to do the rest of the shooting.

    After A Royal Scandal, Lubitsch regained his health, and directed Cluny Brown (1946), with Charles Boyer and Jennifer Jones.

    In 1947, he was awarded a Special Academy Award. Ernst Lubitsch died later that year in Hollywood of a heart attack, his sixth. He was 55.

    His last film, That Lady in Ermine (1948) with Betty Grable, was completed by Otto Preminger and released posthumously.

    Roland Young, Genevieve Tobin, Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6732/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for One Hour with You (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932) with Roland Young, Genevieve Tobin, Jeanette MacDonald, and Maurice Chevalier.

    Maurice Chevalier and Lily Damita in Une heure près de toi
    French postcard by Europe, no. 73. Photo: Paramount. Maurice Chevalier and Lily Damita in Une heure près de toi (George Cukor, Ernst Lubitsch, 1932), the French language version of One Hour With You.

    Claudette Colbert in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1606/2, 1937-1938. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (Ernst Lubitsch, 1938) with Claudette Colbert.

    Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka
    Belgian collector's card by Kwatta, no. C 181. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Ninotschka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939) with Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas.


    Meyer aus Berlin/Meyer from Berlin (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). Source: Bob Toomey (YouTube)


    Trailer for Ninotschka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939). Source: OscarMovieTrailers (You Tube).

    Sources: Ephraim Katz (The Film Encyclopedia), William McPeak (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/30/18--22:00: Carmen (1918)
  • In Lubitsch's silent drama Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918) the gypsy vamp was of course played by Pola Negri. She does a great job. Her Don José was played by Harry Liedtke. The film was an international success.

    Pola Negri in Carmen (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2765. Photo: Atelier Eberth / Union. Pola Negri as Carmen in the German silent drama Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Pola Negri in Carmen (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2849. Photo: Union. Pola Negrias Carmen in Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Pola Negri and Harry Liedtke in Carmen (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2850. Photo: Union. Pola Negri as Carmen and Harry Liedtke as Don José in the German silent drama Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Sassy, playful, capricious, cruel, generous…


    Ernst Lubitsch’s career as a filmmaker blossomed just as the First World War was drawing to a close. In 1918, he went from being mostly a comedic director to a supposedly more serious filmmaker of pseudo-historical tragedies, with bigger budgets and a new star - Pola Negri, a fellow actor from the Deutsches Theater.

    Lubitsch based his drama Carmen (1918) on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée. Like George Bizet's opera Carmen, the film only adapts the third part of Mérimée's novella.

    Lubitsch transformed the character of Don José (Harry Liedtke) at the beginning of the story from bandit on the run to honest man in love with his childhood sweetheart.

    The story is told by a man at a camp-fire who says that it took place many years before. Don José was a Dragoon Sergeant in Sevilla who fell madly in love with Carmen (Pola Negri), a beautiful gypsy. For her, he killed an officer and gave up his fiancée and his career in the army, and became a smuggler.

    But Carmen's love did not last. She left him and went to Gibraltar where she fell in love with the famous bullfighter Escamillo. Back in Sevilla, Carmen rode triumphantly in Escamillo's carriage on his way to a bullfight. At the end of the bullfight, José confronted Carmen and when she told him that she no longer loved him, stabbed her to death.

    Back at the camp-fire seen at the beginning, the man who told the story adds that some say that Carmen did not die ′for she was in league with the Devil himself.'

    Carmen debuted in December 1918 at the U.T. Lichtspiele on Kurfürstendamm. It was a huge success in Germany with audiences and press.

    After the unexpected American success of Madame Dubarry (released as Passion in December 1919), Carmen was re-edited for an American release in 1921, as Gypsy Blood. In the American version the framing story was hand-coloured and Lubitsch’s name was left off the credits. Adolph Zukor brought Pola Negri to Hollywood in the summer of 1922. He was not interested in Lubitsch, who had also hoped to get a contract with Paramount.

    In her review at Movies Silently, Fritzi Kramer writes: "I am a fan of Geraldine Farrar’s lively take on the role in the 1915 Cecil B. DeMille version but Pola Negri is the best silent Carmen by far. Sassy, playful, capricious, cruel, generous… Negri projects all of Carmen’s contradictions on the screen and delivers an astonishing performance."

    Pola Negri and Harry Liedtke in Carmen (1918)
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2851. Photo: Union. Pola Negri as Carmen and Harry Liedtke as Don José in Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Harry Liedtke and Pola Negri in Carmen (1918)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no, 59, group 43. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Carmen (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918) with Harry Liedtke and Pola Negri.

    Sources: Fritzi Kramer (Movies Silently), Stefan Droessler (Le Gionate del Cinema Muto), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 05/31/18--22:00: Die Puppe (1919)
  • Ernst Lubitsch's Die Puppe/The Doll (1919) is a romantic fantasy, starring Ossi Oswalda. This charming film is loosely based on the short story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which also inspired the ballet Coppélia. The great charm of Die Puppe is its mood of fairy-tale unreality.

    Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig in Die Puppe (1919)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 117, group 39. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). Caption: With Die Puppe/The Doll, Lubitsch created a completely new type of comedy for the screen.

    Hermann Thimig and Ossi Oswalda in Die Puppe (1919)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden Deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, no. 164, Group 40. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). Caption: From the film Die Puppe. Trick shot. Ossi Oswalda appears in Hermann Thimig's dream.

    Ernst Lubitsch, Ossi Oswalda
    Ernst Lubitsch and Ossi Oswalda. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 337/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Zander & Labisch.

    A special service for bachelors, widowers and misogynists


    In the opening shot of Die Puppe/The Doll,Ernst Lubitsch sets up a doll's house against a stylised backdrop. A close-up of this model then dissolves into a full-sized version of the same stylised setting, from which emerge actors dressed as dolls. From this point onward, the entire film is staged on highly stylised sets.

    The old Baron von Chanterelle (Max Kronert) has no family except for his gormless nephew Lancelot (Hermann Thimig). He wants to preserve his family line, so he forces Lancelot to choose one of the village maidens to wed.

    Lancelot flees to a monastery to escape the forty eager maidens. The Baron offers his nephew a dowry of 300,000 francs to get married. But Lancelot is afraid of women.

    The prior (Jacob Tiedtke) shows him an advertisement from the doll-maker Hilarius (Victor Janson), who offers a special service 'for bachelors, widowers and misogynists': a life-size clockwork girl! Lancelot decides to marry the mechanical bride, collect the dowry, then stash the doll in the attic.

    Hilarius has just finished making a replica of his pretty daughter Ossi (Ossi Oswalda). The clockwork girl has a control panel on her back and a crank to wind her up.

    The doll-maker's young apprentice (Gerhard Ritterband) accidentally breaks the arm of the doll and convinces the real Ossi to mimic the doll. Lancelot buys her, thinking she is a doll, and takes her back to the monastery, where they are wed.

    Ernst Lubitsch once wrote to his biographer Herman G. Weinberg that he considered Die Puppe and Die Austernprinzessin/The Oyster Princess (1919) as his most outstanding comedies produced in Germany before he departed for Hollywood to make Rosita (1923).

    The great charm of Die Puppe is its mood of fairy-tale unreality. The coachman's horses are played by men in pantomime-horse costumes. A cat and a rooster are played by cut-out figures. The moon has a human face.

    Ossi Oswalda in Die Puppe (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 635/3 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Ossi Oswalda

    Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig in Die Puppe
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 635/4 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig.

    Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig in Die Puppe
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 635/5 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig.

    Ossi Oswalda in Die Puppe (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 635/6. Photo: Union. Ossi Oswalda in Die Puppe/The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919).

    Sources:  Will Gilbert (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/01/18--22:00: Madame DuBarry (1919)
  • Ernst Lubitsch's spectacular costume drama Madame DuBarry (1919) is an operatic version of the life, loves and death of the legendary 18th-century French courtesan. Pola Negri plays DuBarry, who sleeps her way from a worker in a Paris hat shop to to the court of King Louis XV, ultimately becoming his mistress. A cast-of-thousands spectacle, it got both its star  and its director noticed by Hollywood.

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (1919)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 67, group 40. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). Caption: Pola Negri as Madame Dubarry, execution on the market square in Paris.

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/1. Photo: Union. Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Pola Negri and Harry Liedtke in Madame DuBarry (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 627/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Pola Negri and Harry Liedtke.

    Victim of the Reign of Terror


    Ernst Lubitsch's Madame Dubarry is a historical epic which opened as the premiere attraction of Berlin's impressive Zoopalast theatre on in 1919.

    Writers Norbert Falk and Hanns Kraly tell the infamous story of Jeanne Becu, her rise to power's easily-swayed side, and in the end her ultimate fate at the hands of the Reign of Terror.

    Pola Negriplays the milliner’s apprentice (in the film named Jeanne Marie Vaubernier), who has come to Paris from the country. Harry Liedtke plays her first love, Armand De Foix.

    In a deal to save her next lover, Count DuBarry (Karl Platen), from financial ruin, the Parisian milliner's maid alias Madame DuBarry (Pola Negri) becomes the influential mistress of the reigning French king, Louis XV (Emil Jannings).

    However, this relation is much to the dismay of the Minister of State and Finance, Choiseul (Reinhard Schünzel). This brilliant schemer had planned for his sister, the Duchesse de Grammont, to become the Queen of France. Choiseul thus starts a campaign to turn the people against the monarch and his new mistress.

    Jeanne soon becomes a symbol for the extravagance of the much-hated aristocracy. When the king dies, Jeanne is ousted by the angry masses and she becomes one of the victims of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/3. Photo: Union. Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/4. Photo: Union Film. Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). By marrying the aristocrat Guillaume DuBarry (Karl Platen), Jeanne will be accepted at the Royal Court and become Louis XV's mistress. Back right on this card DuBarry's brother Jean (Eduard von Winterstein) who concocted the plan.

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/5. Photo: Union Film. Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919).

    Far from historical accuracy


    Madame DuBarry (1919) had everything: sex, intrigue, war, violence. Shot in part at Frederick the Great’s Sans Souci palace in Potsdam and part in  the mammoth film studio of the Ufa formed in 1917, Madame Dubarry displays all the delights of French life at Versailles.

    The film was a success in both Europe (except in France) and the U.S., where it was released as Passion, and successfully re-issued in 1928. It was one of the greatest triumphs of Pola Negri.

    Negri's flirtatious Madame DuBarry is both comical and sympathetic. Emil Janningsis also excellent as a lecherous, bombastic King Louis XV. Harry Liedtke plays Jeanne's first love, the student Armand de Foix.

    Madame DuBarry (1919) was directed by Ernst Lubitsch, written by Norbert Falk and Hanns Kräly. It strays far from historical accuracy, but the narrative is at least coherent.

    In reality, King Louis XV died 15 years before the beginning of the French Revolution and Madame DuBarry was long gone from Versailles by the time of the storming of the Bastille. She was 50 when she was executed during the Reign of Terror.

    Despite these flaws, Chuck Reilly reviews at IMDb, "the gigantic mob scenes and the final shots of poor Pola being carted off to the guillotine are well-staged and resonate even with modern viewers".

    Shari Kizirian at Senses of Cinema: "From the first frame, Pola Negri charms us as Jeanne. Delightfully mischievous, she has a girlish way of getting what she wants. First, seeking someone to tote the hat she is delivering, she catches a stranger’s eye. Cut, and she’s leading him with her parcel in tow toward her true destination, her boyfriend’s place. Next, Sunday lunch with an aristocrat. She chooses the don over her commoner boyfriend, by counting, and then quickly recounting, the ribbons on her dress. Her ultimate prize? A pedicure from a king. When she commands the smitten Louis to sit back down, keeping him from the business of the realm, she exercises exceptional power for a grisette."

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/6. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still of Reinhold Schünzel and Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919). After the death of king Louis XV (Emil Jannings), his minister Choiseul (Schünzel) chases DuBarry (Negri) from the Royal palace.

    Pola Negri and Reinhold Schünzel in Madame DuBarry (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 627/7. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still of Reinhold Schünzel and Pola Negriin Madame DuBarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919).

    Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 627/8. Photo: Union. Pola Negri in Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1918).

    Sources: Shari Kizirian (Senses of Cinema), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Chuck Reilly (IMDb), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/02/18--22:00: Rausch (1919)
  • Ernst Lubitsch directed legendary film diva Asta Nielsen in the silent drama Rausch/Intoxication (1919). The film was based on the play Brott och brott (Love and Bread) by August Strindberg, and Alfred Abel and Carl Meinhardt were Nielsen's leading men. Lubitsch was loaned out from Union-Film to the smaller Argus-Film for the production. Sadly, the film is now considered as lost.

    Asta Nielsen and Alfred Abel in Rausch (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 614/1. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Rausch/Intoxication (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Asta Nielsen and Alfred Abel.

    Asta Nielsen and Karl Meinhardt in Rausch (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 614/2. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Rausch/Intoxication (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Asta Nielsen and Carl Meinhardt.

    Suspected of manslaughter


    During the First World War, Asta Nielsen met Frida Strindberg, playwright August Strindberg's former wife, in New York City during an American trip. Strindberg wanted to have Rausch filmed by the Fox studio. Asta Nielsen, who was stuck in New York due to the sea blockade, agreed to take over the lead role for financial reasons. However, the project was abandoned before filming had begun, according to German Wikipedia because of the working conditions at Fox.

    After the war, theatre director Carl (or Karl) Meinhard resumed the idea of ​​the Strindberg film adaptation, especially since Rausch had a successful run at German theatres. He persuaded Nielsen, who was then living in Copenhagen, to take on the lead role, while he himself took a supporting role in the film. It was Nielsen's first film after the war and also the only one that brought her together with Ernst Lubitsch.

    Alfred Abel played the author Gaston, who finally succeeds as a dramatist in Paris at the turn of the 20th Century. He falls in love with Henriette (Asta Nielsen), the wife of his friend Adolph (Carl Meinhard). In the rush of his of feelings, he leaves his wife Jeanne (Grete Diercks) and their little daughter Marion.

    Marion dies by an unfortunate accident and Gaston and Jeanne are suspected of manslaughter. Both accuse each other - Gaston in turn becomes a social outsider and is both professionally and privately increasingly unsuccessful. In the end, it turns out that Marion has died a natural death. Gaston and Jeanne are finally going their separate ways.

    During the filming in the Berlin Filmatelier Chausseestraße, it came again and again to differences of opinion between Ernst Lubitsch, scriptwriter Hanns Kräly and Asta Nielsen. Nevertheless, Nielsen described in her 1946 autobiography Die schweigende Muse (The Silent Muse) the shooting as "a happy collaboration with Lubitsch", among other things, because he understood actors and possessed even at that time "excellent ... skills as a director".

    Cinematographer of Rausch was Karl Freund. The sets were designed by Rochus Gliese and probably also by Paul Leni. The latter was not officially credited as a set designer but the National Film Archive in London has in its collection designs by Leni for the film. Rausch premiered on 1 August 1919 in the U.T. Kurfürstendamm in Berlin and in Munich.

    Asta Nielsen and Karl Meinhardt in Rausch (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 614/4. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Rausch/Intoxication (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Asta Nielsen and Karl Meinhardt.

    Asta Nielsen in Rausch (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 614/5. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Rausch/Intoxication (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) with Asta Nielsen.

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

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  • 06/03/18--22:00: Anna Boleyn (1920)
  • Anna Boleyn/Anne Boleyn (1920) is one of the silent historical films directed in Germany by the young Ernst Lubitsch. Henny Porten starred as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn and Emil Jannings as King Henry VIII. Ross Verlag published a wonderful series of sepia postcards of the film, often with photos by the Rembrandt studio in Berlin.

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 402/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 402/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten, Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 402/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten.

    Emil Jannings in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 410/1. Photo: Rembraandt / Union-Film. Emil Jannings as Henry VIII in Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Paul Hartmann in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 411/1. Photo: Rembrandt / Union. Paul Hartmann as Sir Henry Norris in Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    The Bad Tempered King of England


    Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Their marriage led to momentous political and religious turmoil. For Ernst Lubitsch' film the script was written by Norbert Falk (as Fred Orbing) and Hanns Kräly.

    Lubitsch presents Anna (Henny Porten) as an innocent, a naïve and guileless young woman who is the newly arrived lady-in-waiting to the Queen. She catches the lustful eye of Henry VIII (Emil Jannings), who loves to feast, drink, hunt, and chase around after young beauties. He is tired of Queen to Catherine of Aragon (Hedwig Pauly-Winterstein), and annuls his marriage to her, against the wishes of the pope.

    The pompous monarch breaks with Rome, forms the Church of England and marries Anne at the Cathedral. The marriage and the sumptuous festivities that follow are filmed by Lubitsch as spectacular crowd scenes.

    Henry tells Anne it is her holy duty to produce a male heir to the throne. But when Anne only gives birth to a baby girl (the later Queen Elizabeth), Henry VIII soon has his eye on yet another lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour (Aud Egede Nissen).

    The bad-tempered King charges his wife with adultery and treason, and imprisons her in the Tower of London. Anne is tortured and confesses to infidelity. She is sentenced to death and in the final scene of the film she is beheaded.

    Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/1. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann.

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/2. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten.

    Emil Jannings and Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/3. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Emil Jannings and Henny Porten.

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/4. Photo: Union Film. The baby represents the future queen Elizabeth I.

    Henny Porten, Emil Jannings and Ludwig Hartau in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/5. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Emil Jannings, Henny Porten and Ludwig Hartau as the Duke of Norfolk.

    The time is worth spending


    In Anna Boleyn/Anne Boleyn (1920), Ernst Lubitsch lets his characters breathe and reveal their corruption down to the tiniest of meannesses. He takes his time, which can try the patience of an audience accustomed to being carried away by action, but the time is worth spending.

    A beautiful aspect of Anna Boleyn are the very lavish medieval costuming and the large and elaborate exterior and interior sets. The outdoor scenes are impressive for 1920: a court sports event, Anna’s coronation, a Spring Festival, a hunt, a joust, and even a street battle outside the cathedral.

    Emil Jannings is striking and memorable as King Henry the Eighth. He seems to have stepped straight out of Hans Holbein's famous portrait of King Henry VIII.

    To introduce the king, Lubitsch uses one of his favourite comedy techniques: the pull-back-and-reveal. A year earlier, he had used this technique in the opening shot of Die Austernprinzessin/The Oyster Princess (1919) to show the bloated Oyster King surrounded by his lackeys. That shot is duplicated here and the look is slightly more realistic but just as revelatory of the character.

    Anna Boleyn’s innocence is underlined by Lubitsch through the contrast with the very different character of Jane Seymour (Aud Egede Nissen). Jane is in a sense a mirror image in negative of Anna (Henny Porten). In the late confrontation between the two, Jane claims that she serves Anna, but Lubitsch once again positions Anna as innocent: here, dressed in a simple nightdress, Anna kneels before the haughty Jane in her fine clothes.

    Ernst Lubitsch constantly composes shots in depth in Anna Boleyn, looking down corridors or through into larger rooms, from the early moments at the harbour where a set of doors are opened onto a bustling street, to the haunting final view of the scaffold.

    Henny Porten and Ludwig Hartau in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/6. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten and Ludwig Hartau.

    Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/7. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten (Anna Boleyn) and Paul Hartmann (Sir Henry Norris). Anna is loyal to her King, so she rejects Henry's love. The diabolic court poet Marc Smeton (Ferdinand von Alten) spies upon them and will betray them to the King.

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 645/8. Photo: Union. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten.

    Aud Egede Nissen as Jane Seymour in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 472/1. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Union Film with Aud Egede Nissen

    For the film Anna Boleyn a tournament set is built at the Tempelhof studio
    For the film Anna Boleyn a tournament set is built at the Tempelhof studio. German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden Deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, no. 149, group 43. Photo: Union-Messter-Film.

    And as it later appeared in the film.
    And as it later appeared in the film. German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden Deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 150, group 43. Photo: Ufa. Set for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Bland characterisation


    Most critics on the net have mixed thoughts about the film. Ian Johnston at Not Coming to a Theater Near You: "Anna Boleyn does everything to meet the requirements of the historical epic. (...) But the film suffers from Anna’s bland characterisation and a general plodding, predictable tone. It only really comes alive with the character of King Henry."

    Lubitsch' film was not the only art work inspired by the tragic figure of Anna Boleyn. Anna has inspired or been mentioned in numerous paintings, novels and films.

    In the cinema, she was first portrayed by Clara Kimball Young in a 1912 short film about Cardinal Wolsey. After the portrayal by Henny Porten followed Merle Oberon in the sound film The Private Life of Henry VIII which won an Oscar for Charles Laughton's portrayal of Henry. Oberon received an Oscar nomination.

    Elaine Stewart played Anne Boleyn in the film Young Bess (1953), starring Jean Simmons. Geneviève Bujold won a Golden Globe Award, and was nominated for an Oscar, for her portrayal of Anne in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).

    Dorothy Tutin was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for her role as Anne in the mini-series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970). When that mini-series was compressed into a film, Charlotte Rampling played Anne in the film version entitled Henry VIII and his Six Wives (1972). And, Natalie Portman portrayed Anne excellently in the film The Other Boleyn Girl (2008).

    Finally, reviewer Helotropetwo at IMDb, loves Lubitsch's Anna Boleyn: "Nothing dull about this movie, which is held together by fully realized characters with some depth to them. Even the hooded torturers have body language. Jannings' performance is brilliant, all will, want and need. A Henry VIII as he must have been. Henny Porten is, maybe, nobler and purer than Anne Boleyn, but she plays the part as written: A victim caught in the jaws of a big (huge) baby."

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/1. Photo: Rembrandt / Messter Film. Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/2. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten, Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/3. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/4. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/5. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 401/6. Photo: Rembrandt Phot. / Messter Film, Berlin. Henny Porten in Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Sources: Jason Ankeny (AllMovie), Fernando F. Croce (Slant), Ian Johnston (Not Coming to a Theater Near You), AllMovie, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/04/18--22:00: Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920)
  • Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920) was the most successful film of Ernst Lubitsch's German period. The comedy was extremely popular at the box office, and was re-released more than once.

    Henny Porten and Emil Jannings in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920)
    German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Stumme Film, picture no. 119, group 43. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten and Emil Jannings.

    Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 630/4. Photo: Messter Film, Berlin. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Henny Porten.

    The Taming of Liesel


    Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) takes its basic premise from William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, relocated to 19th-century southern Bavaria.

    The sweet-natured young Gretel wants to get married to Peter Xaver but her father refuses to allow the match until her elder sister Liesel has married first.

    As Liesel is notorious for her bad-tempered personality, this is no easy challenge. Xaver's friend Seppel suggests, that Xaver should marry Liesel first, get rid of her and then marry Gretel...

    Henny Porten starred in a double role as both Liesel, the older daughter and Gretel, the younger daughter, Emil Jannings played Peter Xaver, Gustav von Wangenheim Paul Seppl, and Jakob Tiedtke was Mathias Kohlhiesel, the father of Liesel and Gretel and keeper of the village inn.

    The comedy is an adaptation of the play Kohlhiesel's Daughters by Hanns Kräly, Lubitsch's frequent collaborator, who also worked on the film's screenplay. Three further film adaptations have been made of the work including a 1930 sound remake which also starred Porten.

    Emil Jannings and Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 639/5. Photo: Messter-Film. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Emil Jannings and Henny Porten.

    Jakob Tiedtke, Henny Porten and Emil Jannings in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1919)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 639/8. Photo: Messter-Film. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Jakob Tiedtke, Henny Porten and Emil Jannings.

    Henny Porten and Fritz Kampers in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 126/3. Photo: Atelier Schmoll, Berlin / Nero-Porten-Film. Publicity still for Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Hans Behrendt, 1930) with Henny Porten and Fritz Kampers. The sound version!

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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    After his smash hit Kohlhiesel's Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920), Ernst Lubitsch made another comical variation on a Shakespeare play, Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (1920). This comedy is set in the 19th century in the small village Schwabstedt in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) where two farmers families are feuding. Romeo is played by unknown Gustav von Wangenheim and Julia by star Lotte Neumann. This was Lubitsch’s last short comedy.

    Lotte Neumann in Lubitsch's Romeo und Julia im Schnee
    German postcard. Ross Verlag, No. 636/1. Lotte Neumann in the Ernst Lubitsch comedy Romeo und Julia im Schnee (Romeo and Juliet in the Snow, 1920), a Maxim Film production. The man on the left dressed as antique hero could be Julius Falkenstein as Paris. The others are from left to right Jakob Tiedtke (Herr Capulethofer), Marga Köhler (his wife), Lotte Neumann (Julia) and Gustav von Wangenheim (Romeo Montekugerl).

    Lotte Neumann and Gustav von Wangenheim in Romeo und Julia im Schnee (1920)
    German postcard. Ross Verlag, no. 638/2. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), with Lotte Neumann (Julia) and Gustav von Wangenheim (Romeo Montekugerl).

    Sugar-water and snowballs


    With Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (1920), Ernst Lubitsch'deconstructs' Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet into an amsusing farce, set in a a wintry Tyrolean village. The script was written by Lubitsch with Hanns Kräly. The two would go on to work together for a long time, and for Kräly, this collaboration would later in his career result in an Oscar.

    In Kräly's script, Romeo and Juliet love each other but they can't marry because their families, the Capulethofer and the Montekugerl, are feuding. They are enemies since Mr. Capulethofer (Jakob Tiedtke) and Mr. Montekugerl (Ernst Rückert) wanted to bribe the village judge during a process with a sausage and therefore both were sentenced to pay the process costs.

    Julia (Lotte Neumann) is supposed to marry the young Paris (Julius Falkenstein), but at first she falls in love with Romeo (Gustav von Wangenheim), the son of the house Montekugerl, who has returned to the village after a year of military service. A mask festival is scheduled, on which Paris wants to court Julia. Romeo, however, manages to make him drunk and to slip into his costume.

    Romeo and Juliet decide to marry the same night. Julia, however, should now be betrothed against her will with Paris and Juliet’s father even threatens to cut off Julia’s hair. Faced with their parents opposition to their match, the desperate lovers decide to poison themselves. But unlike in the Shakespeare play, Lubitsch and Kräly serve us a happy ending.

    The apothecary gives the loving couple sugar-water instead of poison. They don't die, of course, but Julia has left a farewell letter to her family, and the excitement is great. Convinced their children are dead, the two families admit their faults. The happy lovers leap up and say "Surprise!" And everybody else falls down on an icy patch.

    All the characters Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow are played for comic effect, especially the ridiculous feuding fathers, and many snowballs are hurled in the film. Shooting took place in the Black Forest and also in the Maxim Studios on Blücherstraße in Berlin.

    The world premiere of of the film was on 12 March 1920 in the Mozartsaal and in the U.T. Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. This was three days after the release of Lubitsch's other Shakespeare adaptation Kohlhiesel's Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920). That comedy would become the bigger success of the two films, but nowadays reviewers like the Romeo and Julia parody as well.

    At IMDb, P. Steier reviews: "A bright comedy. Plenty of low humor. Nice sets and costumes. The best costumes were for scenes at a costume ball."

    Another IMDb reviewer, Netwallah adds: "The costume ball is particularly fun to watch, with cousin Tübalder in armor and an absurd winged helmet, and the authorized suitor in a yellow curly wig and angel wings. Better still are the five or six costumes involving enormous papier-maché heads."

    Romeo und Julia im Schnee (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 638/3. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), with Lotte Neumann (Julia) and Gustav von Wangenheim (Romeo Montekugerl).

    Lotte Neumann and Gustav von Wangenheim in Romeo und Julia im Schnee (1920)
    German postcard. Ross Verlag, no. 636/4. Photo: Maxim Film. Publicity still for Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), with Lotte Neumann (Julia) and Gustav von Wangenheim (Romeo Montekugerl).

    Sources: Thomas Elsaesser (Weimar Cinema and After: Germany's Historical Imaginary), P. Steier (IMDb), Netwallah (IMDb), B.U.F.V.C., Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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  • 06/06/18--22:00: Sumurun (1920)
  • Ernst Lubitsch's silent film Sumurun (1920) or One Arabian Night tells the exotic story of the favourite slave girl (Jenny Hasselquist) of a tyrannical sheik (Paul Wegener), who falls in love with a cloth merchant (Harry Liedtke). Meanwhile, a hunchback clown (Lubitsch himself) suffers unrequited love for a travelling dancer (Pola Negri) who wants to join the harem. The film was based on a pantomime by Friedrich Freksa, which Max Reinhardt had already staged and filmed successfully, a decade earlier.

    Pola Negri, Paul Wegener and Jenny Hasselquist in Sumurun (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Pola Negri,Paul Wegener and Jenny Hasselquist.

    Jenny Hasselqvist in Sumurun (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 832/1, 1919-1924. Union Film. Publicity still for Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Jenny Hasselqvist aka Jenny Hasselquist as Sumurun.

    Pola Negri in Sumurun
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 642/1. Photo: Union-Film. Pola Negri and Jakob Tiedtke in Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    A Journey into a universe of emotions and passions


    A company of travelling performers arrive at a fictional oriental city. It includes the beautiful dancer Janaia (Pola Negri), the hunchback clown Yeggar (Ernst Lubitsch himself in his last leading film role) who is lovesick for Janaia and the Old Lady (Margarete Kupfer) who loves Yeggar.

    The Slave Trader Achmed wants to sell Janaia to the Sheik for his harem. At the Palace, the Sheik (Paul Wegener) finds out that his favourite, Sumurun (Jenny Hasselquist), is in love with Nur al Din (Harry Liedtke), the handsome clothes merchant. He wants to condemn her to death but his son obtains her pardon.

    After seeing Janaia dancing, the Sheik is keen to buy her. Yeggar is desperate and takes a magic pill which make him look dead. His body is hidden in a chest. The women from the harem come to Nur al Din's shop and hide him in a chest so that he can be brought into the Palace.

    The chest containing Yeggar's body is also brought to the Palace and the Old Lady manages to revive him. The Sheik finds Janaia making love to his son (Carl Clewing) and kills both of them. He then finds Sumurun making love to Nur al Din and wants to kill them but he is stabbed in the back by Yeggar.

    The filming of Sumurun began at the Ufa studios Union Berlin Tempelhof on 13 March 1920. The monumental sets were realised by Kurt Richter and Erno Metzner. The costumes were designed by Ali Hubert. Sumurun was classified by the Film Censor's Office as not suitable for minors. The première took place on 1 September 1920 in the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin

    The German critics praised Sumurun highly. It was described as "a cinematic journey into a universe of emotions and passions of great intensity and utter perfection, with a remarkable Ernst Lubitsch in one of the main roles."

    In the US, The New-York Times wrote that Sumurun gave added evidence that Ernst Lubitsch "is the superior of most directors anywhere, and that Pola Negri,, a Polish-German actress, is one of the few real players of the screen who can make a character live and be something other than an actress playing a part." The New-York Times concluded that, despite some shortcomings, it remained one of the year's best pictures.

    Sumurun
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 642/2, 1919-1924. Union Film. Publicity still for Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Jenny Hasselquist and Aud Egede Nissen. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Pola Negri in Sumurun (1920)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 642/5. Photo: Union Film. Pola Negri in Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Sumurun
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 642/7. Photo: Union Film. Publicity still for Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920) with Pola Negri. Collection: Didier Hanson.


    Pola Negri in Sumurun
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 642/8. Photo: Union-Film. Pola Negri and Paul Wegener in Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

    Who is Henrick?


    The postcards here below were made for earlier versions of Sumurun. But which one? On the first postcard we could recognise at right Richard Grossman as the old woman. But who is the man left, 'Henrick'?

    According to IMDb, Richard Grossman played 'Die alte' (the old woman) in Max Reinhardt's first film, Sumurun (1910), based on a pantomime by Friedrich Freksa. But IMDb does not mention a cast member called 'Henrick' for this silent film, produced by Deutsche Bioscope GmbH (Berlin)

    So,perhaps this photo made for Max Reinhardt's stage production of Sumurun (1909)? In Krenn's Berlin-Chronik 1900 bis 1918, several stage members are mentioned in an article on the Berlin premiere (24 April 1910) of the stage production at the Kammerspielen de Deutsches Theaters. The article mentions that the production was a popular success and there had been already 74 performances.

    Grete Wiesenthal played the lead as Sumurun and she would repeat her role in the 1910 film version. Leopoldine Konstantin played the dancer, both on stage as in the 1910 film. However, of the four main male actors - Alexander Moissi(as Nur Al Din), Rudolf SchildkrautPaul Wegener (as the old Sheik) and Eduard von Winterstein (as his son) - only Von Winterstein returned in Reinhardt's film version, but now in the role of the old Sheik.

    And Paul Wegener would return as the old Sheik in the 1920 film version of Sumurun by Ernst Lubitsch. But there's no mention of Henrick, so we still don't know for sure for which Sumurun production this postcard was made.

    Henrick and Richard Grossmann in Sumurun
    German postcard by Photo und Kunstverlag Jos. Paul Böhm, München, no. 3061. Photo: publicity still for Sumurun (Max Reinhardt, 1910)?

    Leopoldine Konstantin in Sumurûn (1910)
    German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 4310. Photo: Becker & Maass. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Leopoldine Konstantin in the 1909 stage production of the exotic dance pantomime Sumurun by Max Reinhardt. Konstantin also made her first film appearance in Max Reinhardt’s early silent film version Sumurun (1910), featuring Bertha Wiesenthal.

    Pola Negri in Sumurun (1913)
    Polish postcard. Photo: publicity still for the play Sumurun. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

    From 1913 on, Pola Negri was a company member of the National Theatre of Warsaw. Her first big break there was her role of the dancer in the Pantomime Sumurun. A year later, she made her first Polish film, and in 1917 she moved to Berlin to make her German film debut. There Ernst Lubitsch made her a star and directed her in his film version of Sumurun (1920). Again she played the role of the dancer.

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/07/18--22:00: Rosita (1923)
  • On a visit to Hollywood, Ernst Lubitsch was contracted by Mary Pickford, who wanted him to direct her in Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall. Upon arrival, he rejected the project and directed her instead in Rosita (1923). During the production, the two giants of the silent cinema reportedly clashed.

    Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 683/3. Photo: Terra Film A.G., Berlin. Publicity still for Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, 1923).

    Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 838/1. Photo: Terra Film A.G., Berlin. Publicity still for Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, 1923).

    Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923), Ernst Lubitsch
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 838/2. Photo: Terra Film A.G., Berlin. Publicity still for Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, 1923).

    A contentious on-set relationship


    Mary Pickford and Ernst Lubitsch planned Rosita (1923) as the first of four films they would make togegether for Mary Pickford Films and United Artists. Rosita was meant as Mary Pickford's first adult role. She wanted to abandon her 'little girl with the curls' persona.

    Rosita is based upon the 1872 opera Don César de Bazan of Adolphe d'Ennery and Philippe Dumanoir. In a mythical 16th Century Spain the lecherous King (Holbrook Blinn) has cast his eye on a popular but provocative peasant singer (Mary Pickford) who performs in the streets of Seville. She, in turn, yearns for the handsome young nobleman (George Walsh, brother of the celebrated director Raoul Walsh), who has rescued her from the angry king’s guards and has been condemned to a dungeon for his troubles.

    Ernst Lubitsch had hesitated about making it, but Pickford eventually convinced him to work on the project. According to IMDb, the role of Don Diego was first offered to Ramon Novarro, on Mary Pickford's urging. He rejected it, however, because Pickford had once stated that his "face and body don't match".

    Several postcards with pictures of Pickford and Lubitsch happily working together on the production were produced, despite rumours concerning a contentious on-set relationship between the superstar and her director. By all accounts, he film was a major critical and commercial success on its first release. Rosita earned over $1,000,000. In later years, Pickford turned against the film: in an interview with film historian Kevin Brownlow, Pickford said, "Oh, I detested that picture!... I disliked the director... as much as he disliked me."

    Pickford demanded all copies of the film to be ruined. When she handed her films over for preservation she refused to hand over Rosita, except for the fourth reel. Rosita was considered a lost film until a nitrate print was discovered in the Russian archives and repatriated by the Museum of Modern Art in the 1960s. A safety preservation negative was made from the nitrate print, but no further work was done on the film because of the expense and difficulty of recreating the English intertitles.

    Happily, a copy of a complete continuity script, which includes all of the intertitles, surfaced in the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Using the titles in Pickford’s preserved fourth reel as a template, new intertitles were created to match the original. MoMA presented the restored version in 2017 at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.

    At AllMovie, Janiss Garza reviews: "For reasons still not clear, Pickford came to hate this film, claiming it was the worst one she ever made. On the contrary, it's excellent entertainment and while the star is not at her very best, she still puts in a decent performance. In its day Rosita was well received critically, and it made money for United Artists. It holds up better today than some of Pickford's other vehicles."

    Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 839/2. Photo: Terra Film A.G., Berlin. Publicity still for Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, 1923).

    Ernst Lubitsch, Mary Pickford
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 581/2, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Ernst Lubitsch, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 581/4, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 581/5, 1919-1924. Photo: B.B.B. Collection: Didier Hanson.

    Sources: Janiss Garza (AllMovie), The Film Foundation, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/08/18--22:00: The Love Parade (1929)
  • On the final day of EFSP's little Ernst Lubitsch festival, a post on his very first talkie, the Anerican musical comedy The Love Parade (1929), starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. Lubitsch's sound debut was a magnificent success with 'the Lubitsch touch' intact. He would remain Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director for another decade.

    Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4981/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929) with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.

    Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 793. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, Paris, no. 794. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition (CE), Paris, no. 795. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929) with Lupino Lane and Lillian Roth.

    Teasing Gem


    The stars in Ernst Lubitsch's teasing gem The Love Parade (1929) are Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in her film debut. Maurice Chevalier had thought that he would never be capable of acting as a Royal courtier, and had to be persuaded by Lubitsch.

    Chevalier plays Count Alfred, military attaché to the Embassy in Paris of mythical Sylvania. He is ordered back to Sylvania to report to Queen Louise (Jeanette MacDonald) for a reprimand following a string of scandals, including an affair with the ambassador's wife.

    In the meantime Queen Louise, ruler of Sylvania in her own right, is royally fed-up with her subjects' preoccupation with whom she will marry. Intrigued rather than offended by Count Alfred's dossier, Queen Louise invites him to dinner.

    Their romance progresses to the point of marriage. Despite his qualms, Alfred agrees to obey the Queen for love of Louise. However Alfred finds his new life unsatisfying and his position as Queen's Consort without purpose, and the marriage soon runs into difficulties.

    Jeanette MacDonald in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 796. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Jeanette MacDonald and Edgar Norton in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 797. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929) with Jeanette MacDonald and Edgar Norton.

    Jeanette MacDonald in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 798. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Something unheard of at the time


    The Love Parade is notable for being both the film debut of Jeanette MacDonald and the first 'talkie' made by Ernst Lubitsch. Although it was his first sound film, Lubitsch already displayed a mastery of the technical requirements of the day. In one scene, two couples sing the same song alternately.

    To do this with the available technology, Lubitsch had two sets built, with an off-camera orchestra between them, and directed both scenes simultaneously. This enabled him to cut back and forth from one scene to the other in editing, something unheard of at the time.

    The screenplay by Guy Bolton and Ernest Vajda was adapted from the French play Le Prince Consort, written by Jules Chancel and Leon Xanrof. The play had previously been adapted for Broadway in 1905 by William Boosey and Cosmo Gordon Lennox.

    The Love Parade also featured a great supporting cast including British variety star Lupino Lane as Chevalier's orderly Jacques, Lillian Roth as MacDonald's maid Lulu, Eugene Pallette as the Minister of War and Edgar Norton as Master of Ceremonies.

    The picture was also released in a French-language version called Parade d'amour. The Love Parade was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Chevalier) and Best Director. This huge box-office hit appeared just after the Wall Street crash, and did much to save the fortunes of Paramount.

    Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 799. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929)
    French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 754. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929)
    Belgian postcard by Thill, Bruxelles, no. 794. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Parade d'amour/The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Jeanette McDonald and Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929)
    Dutch postcard, no. 96. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsch, 1929).

    Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb

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  • 06/09/18--22:00: Deborah Kerr
  • Stage, television and film actress Deborah Kerr (1921-2007) was nicknamed 'The English Rose' for her fresh natural beauty. In many films, the Scottish-born film star played 'classic' English ladies, but during the 1950s she became known for her versatile roles in popular Hollywood productions.

    Deborah Kerr
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois-d'Haine, no. C. 199. Photo: MGM.

    Deborah Kerr and Clark Gable in The Hucksters (1947)
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois-d'Haine, no. C. 223. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for The Hucksters (Jack Conway, 1947) with Clark Gable.

    Deborah Kerr
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois D'Haine, no. C. 252.

    Deborah Kerr
    Belgian collectors card. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for King Solomon's Mines (Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton, 1950).

    Deborah Kerr
    Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois-d'Haine, no. C. 363. Photo: publicity still for The Prisoner of Zenda (Richard Thorpe, 1952).

    Shy and Insecure Child


    Deborah Kerr was born as Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in 1921, Helensburgh, Scotland. She was the daughter of Captain Arthur Kerr-Trimmer, a World War I veteran pilot, who became a naval architect and civil engineer, and his wife Kathleen Rose Smale.

    A shy, insecure child, Deborah found an outlet for expressing her feelings in acting. Her aunt Phyllis Smale, a radio star and director of the Hicks-Smale Drama School in Bristol, became her first acting coach.

    Her aunt got her some stage work when she was a teenager. Deborah first performed at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London. She subsequently performed with the Oxford Repertory Company in 1939-1940.

    Her first appearance on the West End stage was as Ellie Dunn in Heartbreak House at the Cambridge Theatre in 1943.

    She performed in France, Belgium and Holland with ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association, or Every Night Something Awful) - The British Army entertainment service.

    Deborah Kerr
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, no. W. 213. Photo: Individual Pictures. Publicity still for I See a Dark Stranger/The Adventuress (Frank Launder, 1946).

    Deborah Kerr
    British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. D 107.  Photo: Paramount.

    Deborah Kerr
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 397. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Deborah Kerr
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 538. Photo: International Press.

    Deborah Kerr
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 663.

    Women Who Stumble Sexually


    Deborah Kerr's first film appearance was a small role in Contraband (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1940), but her scenes were deleted.

    British film producer Gabriel Pascal noticed and cast her in his film of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara (1941) as Jenny Hill, a girl of the salvation army.

    Her wonderfully fresh natural beauty and incisiveness of playing were on show in Love on the Dole (John Baxter, 1941) and Hatter's Castle (Lance Comfort, 1941), in both as women who stumble sexually, by altruistic design in the former, through heartless seduction in the latter.

    Michael Powell made her a major star of the British cinema by giving her the triple role of the hero’s three women in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1943).

    Next she played the dowdy wife who blossoms in wartime in Perfect Strangers (Alexander Korda, 1945), and the assertive Irish spy in I See a Dark Stranger (Frank Launder, 1946).

    Then Powell cast her unforgettably as Sister Clodagh, forced to confront her own repressions in the Himalayan setting of Black Narcissus (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1947). The film was a hit in the US as well as the UK, and Kerr won the New York Film Critics' Award as Actress of the Year.

    Deborah Kerr
    Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 960. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

    Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster
    Yugoslavian postcard by IOM, Beograd. Photo: Sedmo Silo. Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953).

    Deborah Kerr
    French postcard by Editions P.I., offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 747. Photo: Paramount.

    Deborah Kerr
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 279. Photo: Archiv Filmpress Zürich.

    Kerr rhymes with Star!


    In 1947, Deborah Kerr went to Hollywood. Her surname was pronounced there as "car", not "kerr" In order to avoid confusion over pronunciation, Louis B. Mayer billed her as "Kerr rhymes with Star!"

    She repeated for MGM her success in films like The Hucksters (Jack Conway, 1947) opposite Clark Gable, Edward, My Son (George Cukor, 1949) and the historical epic Quo Vadis (Mervyn Le Roy, 1951).

    For her role as the wife who falls into dipsomania (a medical condition involving an uncontrollable craving for alcohol) in Edward, My Son, she was both nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, but won neither.

    After a while she tired of playing prim-and-proper British ladies. “I came over here (Hollywood) to act, but it turned out all I had to do was to be high-minded, long suffering, white-gloved and decorative”, she was quoted.

    Then came an opportunity to expand with From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953). Originally Joan Crawford was meant to play the adulterous military wife who has an affair with Burt Lancaster, but when Crawford insisted on shooting the film with her own cameraman, the studio balked.

    They decided to take a chance and cast Deborah Kerr, who made the most of the adulteress who makes love with Burt Lancaster on a Hawaii beach amidst the crashing waves. The casting worked, the film was a success, and Kerr received her second Oscar nomination.

    And her career thereafter enjoyed a new, sexier versatility. She was quoted: “I don't think anyone knew I could act until I put on a bathing suit”.

    In 1953, she also achieved success on the Broadway stage in Tea and Sympathy, reprising her role in the film version Tea and Sympathy (Vincente Minnelli, 1956).

    That same year, she played one of her best-remembered screen roles, Mrs. Anna Leonowens in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I (Walter Lang, 1956), although her singing voice in the film was dubbed by Marni Nixon.

    More success followed in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (John Huston, 1957), An Affair to Remember (Leo McCarey. 1957) with Cary Grant, Separate Tables (Delbert Mann, 1958), The Sundowners (Fred Zinnemann, 1960), The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) and The Night of the Iguana (John Huston, 1964).

    Originally when filming began on Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), her co-star Robert Mitchumworried that Kerr would be like the prim characters she frequently played. However, after she swore at director John Huston during one take, Mitchum, who was in the water, almost drowned laughing. The two stars went on to have an enduring friendship which lasted until Mitchum's death in 1997.

    Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
    British postcard on the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 252. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Prisoner of Zenda (Richard Thorpe, 1952) with Stewart Granger.

    Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956)
    British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. D 880. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Publicity still for The King and I (Walter Lang, 1956) with Yul Brynner.

    Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956).
    West-German postcard by ISV, no. A 55. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Publicity still for The King and I (Walter Lang, 1956).

    Deborah Kerr
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 279. Photo: Archiv Filmpress Zürich.

    Deborah Kerr
    Dutch postcard. Photo: MGM.

    The oldest 'Bond Girl'


    In 1967, at the age of 46, Deborah Kerr starred in Casino Royale (Val Guest a.o., 1967), achieving the distinction of being the oldest 'Bond Girl' in any James Bond film.

    In 1968, pressure of competition from younger, upcoming actresses made her agree to appear nude in John Frankenheimer's The Gypsy Moths, the only nude scene in her career. Then, in 1968, Deborah Kerr suddenly quit films, appalled by the explicit sex and violence of the day.

    She did swan song performances as the prickly memsahib adjusting to the home counties in her last film, The Assam Garden (Mary McMurray, 1985), and as the older version of the female tycoon, Emma Harte, in the TV adaptation of Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance (Don Sharp, 1984). After Hold the Dream (Don Sharp, 1986), the two-part, four-hour followup to A Woman of Substance, she retired from acting altogether.

    For her performance in A Woman of Substance, Kerr was nominated for an Emmy Award. In 1984, she was awarded a Cannes Film Festival Tribute. Deborah Kerr holds the record of the most Oscar nominations (six) without a win, but that was made up for in 1994, when she was given a Honorary Oscar for her screen achievements. It was to be her last public appearance.

    Similar to her losing streak at the Oscars, Deborah was finally awarded a BAFTA Special Award in 1991 after being nominated four times. She did, however, win the New York Film Critics Award three times and the Golden Globe Award for The King and I (1956). She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture. And she was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1998.

    Deborah Kerr died from complications from Parkinson's disease in 2007, in Botesdale, England. She lived in Switzerland and Spain after retiring from acting, but returned to England to be with her family when her Parkinson's disease worsened.

    She was married twice. First to Royal Air Force squadron leader Anthony C. Bartley (1945-1959) with whom she had two daughters, Melanie Jane and Francesca Ann. In 1960, after her divorce, she married to Hollywood screenwriter Peter Viertel. The couple stayed together till her death. She is mother-in-law of actor John Shrapnel, who married her daughter Francesca. She is thus also the grandmother of writer Joe Shrapnel and actors Lex Shrapnel and Tom Shrapnel.


    Scenes from The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). Source: The Film Foundation. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp was restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the BFI National Archive, ITV Studios Global Entertainment Ltd., and The Film Foundation. Powell and Pressburger’s magnificent epic was heavily cut for various reissues and even shown in black-and-white over the years, making it all the more vital that the film was restored in all its Technicolor glory.


    Trailer for Black Narcissus (1947). Source: ryy79 (YouTube).


    The famous scene on the beach in From Here to Eternity (1953). Source: Rowsdower ! (YouTube).


    Trailer for The Innocents (1961). Source: PurpleGardenWalls (YouTube).

    Sources: Brian McFarlane (Encyclopedia of British Film), Tommy Peter (IMDb), Steve Crook (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 06/10/18--22:00: Danièle Gaubert
  • French actress Danièle Gaubert (1943–1987) made a sensational debut as a sexy adolescent seductress in Claude Autant-Lara’s Les régates de San Francisco/The Regattas of San Francisco (1960). She continued to play sexy and rebellious roles in several international films of the 1960s, including the first modern adult film Camille 2000 (1969). In the early 1970s, she retired after marrying Olympic ski champion Jean-Claude Killy.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris (French licency holder for UFA). Photo: Unifrance-Film / UFA.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 159. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 161. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Danielle Gaubert
    French collectors card by Ste. Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Sexy Adolescent


    Danièle Louise Régina Gaubert was born in Nuar, France in 1943.

    As an adolescent she made her film debut in Les régates de San Francisco/The Regattas of San Francisco (Claude Autant-Lara, 1960). She played a sexy 15-year old girl who seduces handsome dockworker Laurent Terzieff.

    Raoul Lévy, the producer of the film, cut several scenes without the authorisation of Claude Autant-Lara, who subsequently had his name withdrawn from the credits. When the film was shown in France, there were several incidents in cinemas. The film was banned by the mayors of Toulouse and Nancy, and was originally also banned for export.

    Next Gaubert starred as a rebellious teenager in a French suburb in Terrain vague/Wasteland (1960), directed by old master Marcel Carné on his retour. That year she appeared topless on the cover of Esquire magazine.

    She reunited with Claude Autant-Lara for the costume comedy Vive Henri IV... vive l'amour!/Long Live Henry IV... Long Live Love (1961), in which she was the beautiful girl between 17th-century king Henri IV (Francis Claude) and a disinterested son (Jean Sorel).

    She appeared in Italy in Una storia milanese/A Milanese Story (Eriprando Visconti, 1962) with Romolo Valli, and in the German production Der Zigeunerbaron/The Gypsy baron (Kurt Wilhelm, 1962) starring Carlos Thompson. She also appeared in the American-Japanese rescue drama Flight from Ashiya (Michael Anderson, 1964) starring Yul Brynner.

    Most of these films turned out to be mediocre. That year she married Rhadamés Leonidas Trujillo, son of Rafael Trujillo, the assassinated dictator of the Dominican Republic. Rhadamés Leonidas Trujillo was imprisoned in Rouen, on charges brought by his six half-brothers and half-sisters searching for the lost Trujillo fortune. Gaubert gave birth to their daughter Maria Danielle in 1965, and to their son Leonidas Rhadames in 1966.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 1052. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Danièle Gaubert
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 124.

    Danièle Gaubert
    Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 125.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1096. Offered by Les carbones Korès 'Carboplane'. Photo: Studio Vauclair.

    Trendsetting, Forward-looking Pictures


    After her divorce of Trujillo in 1967, Danièle Gaubert continued to play leading roles in international films. In the French-German drama Le grand dadais/The Big Softie (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1967), she appeared opposite Jacques Perrin and Eva Renzi. In La louve solitaire/Claws of the Cat (Edouard Logereau, 1968) she starred as a sexy jewel thief opposite Michel Duchaussoy.

    Gaubert then starred in Camille 2000/Forbidden Love (Radley Metzger, 1969), an erotic version of Alexandre Dumas famous story of courtesan Marguerite Gauthier’s love for Armand Duval (Nino Castelnuovo). It was one of the trendsetting, forward-looking pictures that marked the end of the 1960s, and can be seen as the first of the modern, adult films.

    In Italy, she appeared with Horst Buchholz in Come, quando, perché/How, When and with Whom (Antonio Pietrangeli, Valerio Zurlini, 1969). Director Antonio Pietrangeli tragically drowned while shooting the last scenes of the film in Gaeta, Italy.

    Back in France, Gaubert starred in the psychedelic comedy Paris n'existe pas/Paris Does Not Exist (Robert Benayoun, 1969) with Serge Gainsbourg. Then she appeared in the C-grade war thriller Underground (Arthur H. Nadel, 1970) starring Robert Goulet.

    During the 1970s she only made one last film, the Warner Brothers production Snow Job (George Englund, 1972). The film featured ski champion Jean-Claude Killy as a downhill ski instructor who plans a heist up in the mountains in Italy.

    Gaubert and Killy had met in 1968 and they married in 1973. During the late 1960’s she had posed nude for magazines like Playboy and the Italian Playmen. In 1974 she and Killy posed nude together for Oui magazine. Together they had a daughter, Emilie.

    Danièle Gaubert died of cancer in 1987 in Marseille, only 44.

    Danièle Gaubert
    Small French playing card. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Danièle Gaubert
    Spanish postcard by Postalcolor, Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 129. Photo: Unifrance.

    Danièle Gaubert
    Yugoslavian postcard by Cik Razglednica.

    Danièle Gaubert
    French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. 1106. Photo: Anders.


    Trailer Camille 2000 (1969). Source: Tenzis (YouTube).

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

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  • 06/11/18--22:00: Charlotte Susa
  • Blond, German actress Charlotte Susa (1898-1967), was a major operetta star of the German-speaking world, and also a popular femme fatale of the German silent and early sound film.

    Charlotte Susa
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5843. Photo: Verleih Ifuk Film / Delog Film. Charlotte Susa in Zapfenstreich am Rhein/Tattoo on the Rhine (Jaap Speyer, 1930).

    Charlotte Susa
    Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5844. Photo: Verleih Ifuk Film / Delog Film. Charlotte Susa in Zapfenstreich am Rhein/Tattoo on the Rhine (Jaap Speyer, 1930).

    Charlotte Susa
    French postcard by Ross, no. 5122/1. Photo: Ufa.

    Charlotte Susa and Gustav Fröhlich Zwei Menschen (1930)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5522/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Deutsche Universal Film. Publicity Still for Zwei Menschen/Two People (Erich Waschneck, 1930) with Gustav Fröhlich.

    Charlotte Susa
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5531/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Harlip, Berlin.

    Superior Singer


    Charlotte Susa (sometimes written as Suza) was born Charlotta Wegmüller near Memel, Germany (now Klaipeda, Lithuania).

    In 1915, she first appeared at a stage in Tilsit. She chose her mothers maiden name, Susa, as her stage name and began a successful career as a singer and actress at different German Opera and Operetta stages.

    She was as well a superior singer as a competent dramatic actress. In 1926, director Richard Eichberg spotted her for the cinema. Susa made her film debut in the German silent film Der Prinz und die Tänzerin/The Prince and the Dancer (Richard Eichberg, 1926) opposite Hans Albers.

    More silent films followed like Arme kleine Colombine/Poor Little Columbine (Franz Seitz, 1927), Die Pflicht zu schweigen/The Obligation to Remain Silent (Carl Wilhelm, 1928), and Du sollst nicht stehlen/Thou Art Not Steal (Victor Janson, 1928).

    Susa became famous for her roles as a femme fatale in films like Sünde und Moral/Sin and Morals (Erich Kober, 1929), and Erotikon/Seduction (Gustav Machatý, 1929).

    Charlotte Susa
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5840/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa.

    Charlotte Susa, Gustav Fröhlich
    Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 380, with Gustav Fröhlich in Zwei Menschen/Two People (Erich Waschneck, 1930). Photo: Remaco.

    Charlotte Susa
    Dutch postcard by Filma, no. 278. Photo: still from Photo: still from Unter falscher Flagge/Under False Flagg (Johannes Meyer, 1932). In the background sits Gustav Fröhlich.

    Gustav Fröhlich, Charlotte Susa
    Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 279. Photo: Filma. Publicity still for Unter falscher Flagge/Under False Flagg (Johannes Meyer, 1932) with, again, Gustav Fröhlich.

    Lighthearted Femme Fatales


    With her trained voice Charlotte Susa didn't have any difficulties to make the transition to the sound era in films like Der Tiger/The Tiger Murder Case (Johannes Meyer, 1930)), Zwei Menschen/Two Humans (Erich Waschneck, 1930), and Der Greifer/The Snatcher (Richard Eichberg, 1930).

    She had again great successes with Die Pranke/The Paw (Hans Steinhoff, 1931), and Unter falscher Flagge/Under False Colours (Johannes Meyer, 1932).

    Susa played mostly lighthearted femme fatales and was popular enough for MGM to offer her a contract in 1932. She remained in Hollywood until 1934 but failed to appear in a single feature film.

    Back in Germany she made films like Henker, Frauen und Soldaten/Hangmen, Women and Soldiers (Johannes Meyer, 1935), and Wasser für Canitoga/Water for Canitoga (Herbert Selpin, 1939) at Hans Albers' side.

    Hans J. Wollstein at AllMovie: "Her return to Germany was highly anticipated but she ran afoul of Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Nazi minister of propaganda, and was banned from screen work in 1941."

    Her last film part was a minor role in the comedy Der Gasmann/The Gas Meter Reader (Carl Froelich, 1941) starring Heinz Rühmann and Anny Ondra. This film was her last work for the screen.

    Charlotte Susa was married to Paul Cablin, Fritz Malkowsky, and from 1939 on to actor Andrews Engelmann. After the war she acted again for the theatre, often at Engelmann's side. Charlotte Susa died in Basel, Switzerland, aged 78.

    Charlotte Susa
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6120/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.

    Charlotte Susa
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6327/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

    Charlotte Susa
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6785/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

    Charlotte Susa
    Austrian postcard by Iris, no. 6659. Photo: Zander & Labisch.

    Franz Lederer et.al. Cicero Film
    German postcard. Photo: Cicero Film / Distribution Deutsche Tonfilme. The 'fine fleur' of late silent German cinema stars, united for a photo for an early sound film company. Standing left to right: Francis/Franz Lederer,Walter Rilla, Theodor Loos, Camilla Horn, Fritz Rasp and Walter Janssen. Sitting left to right: Paul Heidemann, Charlotte Susa, Betty Amann, Olga Tschechowa, Maria Paudler and Jack Trevor. It was a publicity still for the early sound comedy Die grosse Sehnsucht/The Great Longing (Stefan Szekely/Steve Sekely, 1930), in which all acted, mostly as themselves - only Loos and Horn played characters. The plot was an excuse for 35 stars to debut in a talking picture.

    Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Hans J. Wollstein (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 06/12/18--22:00: André Brulé
  • Normally Italian divas clutch to the curtains, but here it's André Brulé (1879-1953). This French actor created Arsène Lupin on stage and also played in several films.

    André Brulé in Vieil Heidelberg
    French postcard. It was sent by mail in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: publicity still for the stage play Vieil Heidelberg (Old Heidelberg, 1909).

    André Brulé in Vieil Heidelberg
    French postcard. Photo: publicity still for the stage play Vieil Heidelberg (Old Heidelberg, 1909).

    André Brulé
    French postcard by G.D.E. Photo: publicity still for the stage play Vieil Heidelberg (Old Heidelberg, 1909).

    André Brulé in Vieil Heidelberg
    French postcard by G.D.E. Photo: publicity still for the play Vieil Heidelberg (Old Heidelberg, 1909). Sent by mail in Belgium in 1909.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by G.D.E.

    Arsène Lupin


    André Brulé was born as André Gresely in Bordeaux, France in 1879.

    He was the first actor to impersonate the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, the hero of the crime fiction novels written by French writer Maurice Leblanc. In Francophone countries, Lupin has enjoyed a popularity as long-lasting and considerable as Sherlock Holmes in the English-speaking world.

    Brulé played the double role of Lupin and his alter ego Duc de Charmerace in the stage play Arsène Lupin - Nouvelles Aventures (Arsène Lupin - New Adventures) (1908). The play was written by Francis de Croisset and Maurice Leblanc, and directed by M. Deval. It was staged at the Athenee theatre in Paris, where Brulé had already performed successfully for several years. Opposite Brulé played Escoffier as Inspector Guerchard.

    In 1909 Brulé appeared on stage in another great hit: Vieil Heidelberg/Old Heidelberg. This was the French version of Alt Heidelberg, a popular German stage play by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster, staged in France for the first time in 1906, at the Theatre Antoine, in a translation by Maurice Remon& W. Bauer. Later it was staged a.o. at the Odeon Theatre in Paris in the seasons 1906-1907, 1907-1908, 1912-1913 and 1931-1932.

    The play knew many adaptations for the cinema. John Emerson directed Old Heidelberg (1915) with Wallace Reid and Lilian Gish. Ernst Lubitsch adapted it as The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (1927), starring Ramon Novarroand Norma Shearer. In Germany the first of several film adaptations was done by Hans Behrendt in 1923, starring Paul Hartmannand Eva May.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by Théâtre de l'Athénée, Paris. Photo: publicity still for the boulevard play Coeur de Moineau (Sparrow Heart, 1905) by Louis Artus.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by FA, no. 39. Photo: Henri Manuel.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by FA, no. 86. Photo: Henri Manuel.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by Imp. H. Bouquet, Paris for Théâtre de l'Athénée. Photo: Henri Manuel. Publicity still for Le Coeur Disposé (The Arranged Heart, 1912) by Francis de Croisset.

    Thief-turned-Cop


    André Brulé also appeared in several films. He made his first film appearance as young Werther in the early silent short Werther (Henri Pouctal, 1912), a prestigious Pathé production based on the famous literary novel by Johann Wolfgang Goethe which is considered now as lost.

    Other short silent films were Le club des élégants/The Elegant Club (René LePrince, 1912), and Les frères corses/The Corsican brothers (Antoine, 1917) based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas père.

    Brulé returned to the screen in the late 1930s. He played such protagonists as the thief-turned-cop François-Eugene Vidocq in Vidocq (Jacques Daroy, 1938), Zoltini in Métropolitain (Maurice Cam, 1939) with Albert Préjean, and Monsieur de Nogrelles in Retour de flamme/The Flame Returns (Henri Fescourt, 1943).

    Probably his most interesting film of this period was Les gens du voyage/People Who Travel (Jacques Feyder, 1938) in which he appeared as Fernand opposite Françoise Rosay as a middle-aged lion-tamer.

    At Films de France, James Travers reviews: "What is perhaps most striking about Les Gens du voyage is how fresh and modern the film still feels. This is partly due to its daring mix of cinematic styles, reflecting the rapid evolution of cinema in the late 1930's. The liberal use of location filming gives the film a neo-realist feel in places; the plot is a mix of melodrama and policier; and elements of early film noir and poetic realism are also noticeable. Some engaging comic touches provide a pleasing contrast to the films darker moments, without undermining the dramatic content. What is surprising, and what is surely a sign of its director’s genius, is the way in which Feyder manages to combine all these different styles and themes and delivers a work that is cohesive and satisfying."

    On stage Brulé appeared among many, many more in L'Épervier (1914) by Francis de Croisset at the Théâtre de l'Ambigu, Le Vertige (1914) by Charles Méré at the Théâtre de Paris, and Les Monstres sacrés (1940) by Jean Cocteau at the Théâtre Michel.

    André Brulé died in Paris, in 1953. He was married to French comedy actress Ghislaine Dommanget, but the couple later divorced and she remarried with Louis II, Prince of Monaco.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by G.D.E. Photo: publicity still for the stage play Arsène Lupin - Nouvelles Aventures (Arsène Lupin - New Adventures, 1908).

    André Brulé
    French postcard by G.D.E.

    Andre Brulé
    French postcard by G.D.E.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 451a. Photo: Fémina.

    André Brulé
    French postcard by A.N., Paris in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series, no. 95. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères.

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

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  • 06/13/18--22:00: Favilla (1921)
  • The Italian silent film Favilla/Love's Labour Won (Ivo Illuminati, 1921) was a romantic comedy by Medusa-Film in Rome. The two female leads were played by Linda Pini and Paola Pô.

    Linda Pini in Favilla
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano (Milan), unnumbered. Photo: La Fotominio. Linda Pini in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Paula Pô in Favilla
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: La Fotominio, number unknown. Paola Pô in the Italian silent film Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 106. Photo: La Photominio. Linda Pini in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 123. Photo: La Photominio. Linda Pini in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 182. Photo: La Photominio. Linda Pini in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Sparkle


    In Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921), Linda Pini stars as the title figure, Favilla (lit. Sparkle, Linda Pini), who, after her father's, death has moved in with her uncle Terenzio. She secretly falls in love with her cousin, the young engineering student Cesare (Carlo Gualendri).

    One day, lady d'Etemps (Paola Po) and her cousin Guglielmo visit the house of Favilla's uncle. The lady tries to seduce Cesare, because she loves his money and future inheritance.

    For these reasons she also tries to match her own cousin with Favilla. When Favilla unmasks the lady's financial interests, the other unmasks Favilla's love for Cesare.

    While the others leave, Cesare and Favilla exchange their first kiss...

    At the time, this film of the Roman Medusa-Film company was not so much praised for its story by Guido Clorti as rather for its performances and the cinematography.

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 231. Photo: La Photominio. Left, Carlo Gualendri and Linda Pini, in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Paola Pô in Favilla
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 219. Photo: La Fotominio. Paola Pô in the Italian silent film Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921). The man in the middle is Carlo Gualendri (Cesare).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 122. Photo: La Fotominio. Linda Pini, Carlo Gualendri and Paola Pô in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Linda Pini in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati 1921)
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 121. Photo: La Fotominio. Publicity still for Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921). Favilla looks unsure to Gugliemo, the cousin of lady d'Etemps, while the lady (the woman in white on the left) tries to match them.

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 103. Photo: La Photominio. Carlo Gualendri and Paola Pô in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 91. Photo: La Photominio. Paola Pô in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Favilla (1921)
    Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, unnumbered. Photo: La Fotominio. Linda Pini and Carlo Gualendri in Favilla (Ivo Illuminati, 1921).

    Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano, 1921-1922 - Italian) and IMDb.

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  • 06/14/18--22:00: Betty Bird
  • Betty Bird (1901-1998) was a beautiful Austrian actress who appeared in several German films between 1927 and 1935.

    Betty Bird
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4456/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

    The Viennese Film Beauty Queen


    Betty Bird was born in 1901 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria) as Hilde Elisabeth Ptack. She was the daughter of Ludwig Ptack, the private secretary of Count Alexander Kolowrat-Krakowsky, the owner of the Sascha Film Factory. Thus Betty came into contact with film people at an early age.

    In 1923, she married the cameraman and later film director Gustav Ucicky. In 1927 she became the ‘Viennese Film Beauty Queen’ and received a first film offer and debuted in Madame wagt einen Seitensprung/Madame makes an infidelity (Hans Otto, 1927), starring Xenia Desni. She now called herself Betty Bird.

    With her husband she moved to Munich and later to Berlin. She made Der Ladenprinz/The Shop Prince (Erich Schönfelder, 1928), in which she played the cousin of Harry Halm.

    Then followed a leading role in the German-Spanish silent film Herzen ohne Ziel/Corazones sin rumbo/Restless Hearts (Benito Perojo, Gustav Ucicky, 1928) in which she starred with Hanna Ralphand Livio Pavanelli.

    The film was a co-production between the Spanish company Julio César and the German studio Bavaria Film. The Argentine actress Imperio Argentina was cast after winning a competition staged by the film's producers. On its release the film was attacked by Spanish critics who felt that the Spanish actors had been relegated to lesser roles.

    She then appeared in the German production Der Herzensphotograph/The Heart Photographer (Max Reichmann, 1928) co-starring with Harry Liedtke, Robert Garrison and La Jana.

    In the silent crime film Das grüne Monokel/The Green Monocle (Rudolf Meinert, 1929), she starred with Ralph Cancyand Suzy Vernon. It features Stuart Webbs, one of several German fictional detectives inspired by Sherlock Holmes, who had appeared in a series of silent German films during the 1910s and 1920s. Die Mitternachtstaxe/Taxi at Midnight (Harry Piel, 1929) is another German silent thriller in which she appeared opposite Harry Piel.

    In Austria, she starred in the silent comedy Madame im Strandbad/Lady in the Spa (Edmund Hahn, 1929) about a small spa town, which tries to give the impression that it is actually a much more important place than it really is. Back in Germany she starred in the comedy Die vierte von rechts/The Fourth from the Right (Conrad Wiene, 1929) with Ossi Oswalda and Adolphe Engers.

    Betty Bird
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3701/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

    Betty Bird
    Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5874. Photo: Lux-Film.

    An operetta wave


    Betty Bird smoothly moved into the sound era. She had a supporting part in the musical drama Liebling der Götter/Darling of the Gods (Hanns Schwarz, 1930) starring Emil Jannings, Renate Müller and Olga Tschechova.

    Then followed a female lead opposite Hans Brausewetterand Willi Forst in the musical Ein Burschenlied aus Heidelberg/A Student's Song of Heidelberg (Karl Hartl, 1930) in the tradition of the nostalgic Old Heidelberg.

    In the German drama Grock (Carl Boese, 1931), she co-starred with the famous Swiss circus clown Grock (as himself) and Liane Haid. She then starred in the farce Die spanische Fliege/The Spanish Fly (Georg Jacoby, 1931) with Lizzi Waldmüller and Fritz Schulz.

    She had a supporting role in Opernredoute/The Opera Ball (Max Neufeld, 1931) starring Iván PetrovichLiane Haid and Georg Alexander. It is an adaptation of the operetta Der Opernball and part of the many operetta films made during the decade.

    In the following years she mainly played supporting parts, such as in the operetta Kaiserwalzer/The Emperor's Waltz (Friedrich Zelnik (Frederic Zelnik), 1933) starringMárta Eggerth, Paul Hörbiger and Willy Eichberger a.k.a. Carl Esmond.

    Her final film was the Czech-German comedy Held einer Nacht/Hero of one Night (Martin Frič, 1935) with Vlasta Burian and Theo Lingen. In 1936, her marriage with Gustav Ucicky ended in a divorce.

    In 1937, Bird married the Czech dentist Hruska in Rome. She retired from the film industry and lived in Italy till her death. Betty Bird passed away in Rome in 1998. She was 96.

    Betty Bird
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5903/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Gerstenberg, Berlin.

    Betty Bird in Was bin ich ohne Dich (1934)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8784/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Lloyd-Film / Neue Deutsch Lichtspiel-Syndikat. Publicity still for Was bin ich ohne Dich/What Am I Without You (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1934).

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

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  • 06/15/18--22:00: Photo by Raymond Voinquel
  • From this Saturday on, EFSP continues the series Photo by... on photographers. We start with French photographer Raymond Voinquel (1912-1994). For over 40 years, he collaborated with the greatest directors in and out of France, including Marcel l’Herbier, Jean Cocteau, Abel Gance, Max Ophüls, Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Sacha Guitry and Jean-Pierre Melville. In addition to his work as a stills photographer for 160 films, Voinquel also worked with Studio Harcourt as a portrait photographer of the stars. And he made sensual male nudes of France’s most handsome stars.

    Jacqueline Delubac
    Jacqueline Delubac. French postcard by Editions et Publications cinématographiques (EPC), no. 142. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Charles Trenet
    Charles Trenet. French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil, no. 508. Photo: Raymond Voinquel. Publicity still for La route enchantée/The enchanted road (Pierre Caron, 1938).

    Jean Gabin in Le jour se lève (1939)
    Jean Gabin. French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil (S.-O.), no, 49B. Photo: Raymond Voinquel / Sigma. Publicity still for Le jour se lève/Daybreak (Marcel Carne, 1939),

    Sacha Guitry
    Sacha Guitry. French postcard by A. Noyer (A.N.), Paris, no. 1088. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Gérard Philipe
    Gérard Philipe. French postcard by A. Noyer (A.N.), Paris, no. 1261. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Back and forth between fashion and cinema


    Raymond Voinquel was born in 1912 in Fraize, a commune in the Vosges department in Grand Est in northeastern France.

    In 1927, after the divorce of his parents, he moved with his mother to Paris. Attracted to the cinema, he became an extra in films by Jean Grémillon and Henri Fescourt.

    In the famous Brasserie La Coupole, he met his first model: Hollywood star Adolphe Menjou. With him, he made his first actor portrait in front of the Majestic hotel. Menjou was in Paris to shoot the French film Mon gosse de père/My Kid of a Father (Jean De Limur, 1930) at the Joinville studios.

    In 1930, Voinquel became an assistant to photographer Roger Forster, pioneer of film photography. However, Voinquel quited the job after only two months. He chose to become himself a stills photographer for the cinema. His first assignment was Mon amant l'assassin/My lover the murderer (Solange Bussy, 1931).

    Around 1935, Voinquel also tried his hand at fashion photography. He used it as a means for experimentation, drawing directly on his negatives, or being the first photographer in France to take his models out of the studio and into the streets. He worked together as a team with George Hoyningen-Huene and Horst, and made photos for magazines like Silhouette, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

    He went back and forth between his work in fashion and cinema, his goal always being to transform the given into dream-like images. It didn’t take long for Voinquel to abandon fashion and dedicate himself entirely to the cinema. He threw himself completely into projects as soon as they were thought of by writers or directors, and was at times responsible for the meetings between them and the stars; he was thus the catalyst for the advent of certain films.

    During the 1930s and 1940s, he was the stills photographer on films by director Marcel Carné, such as Le jour se lève/Daybreak (1939) with Jean Gabin, and Les Portes de la nuit/Gates of the Night (1946) with Yves Montand. He worked for Max Ophüls at Sans lendemain/There's No Tomorrow (1940) with Edwige Feuillère, and for Jean Cocteau at L'Aigle à deux têtes/The Eagle Has Two Heads (1948) with Feuillère and Jean Marais.

    Jean Marais
    Jean Marais. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 21. Photo: Raymond Voinquel / Studio Harcourt.

    Arletty
    Arletty. French postcard by Editions et Publications cinématographiques (EPC), no. 44. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Lisette Lanvin
    Lisette Lanvin. French postcard, no. 662. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Jacqueline Laurent
    Jacqueline Laurent. French postcard by Editions et Publications cinématographiques (EPC), no. 236. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Serge Reggiani
    Serge Reggiani. Belgian collectors card by Merbotex, Bruxelles / Kursaal, Bertrix, no. 34. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Sensual, erotic and tasteful male nudes


    During the Second World War, Raymond Voinquel went to work at Studio Harcourt, where he joined Roger Forster and Aldo Graziati. The work he did there did not delight him too much. The pace was frantic and Voinquel for whom photography was a craft could not really accommodate. He also denied the existence of a Harcourt style.

    For him, the important thing was to know the person he was photographing to give a result closer to reality, to truth. His favourite actress was Danielle Darrieux.

    Louis JourdanJean Marais and Jacques Sernas posed naked for him and the results are still sensual, erotic and tasteful. Voinquel made several photographs of male nudes. In 1940, he planned to illustrate Narcisse, a poem by Paul Valéry. In 1941, he photographed athletes at the Bordeaux stadium. He also paid tribute to Michelangelo through another series of male nude photographs.

    He was the cinematographer for the film Saint-Louis, ange de la paix/Saint Louis, Angel of Peace (Robert Darène, 1951) which ran in cinemas with Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (1950). It shows Saint Louis’ life through statues, landscapes, and chateaux from the period. Voinquel also directed some films himself. He made a short documentary film on Norway called Le Bout du Monde/The End of the Earth (1952). In 1954, he made a documentary on Gustave Doré, his life and work. Unfortunately he had to cut back the film from 90 to 60 minutes. It ran for three months at the Ursulines, one of the oldest art cinemas in Paris.

    During the 1950s, Voinquel worked as still photographer for several films by Yves Allégret, including Les Orgueilleux/The Proud and the Beautiful (1953) with Michèle Morgan and Gérard Philipe. He also reunited with Max Ophüls for Lola Montès (1955) featuring Martine Carol.

    Voinquel photographed several times for director Jean-Pierre Melville, including the stills for the thriller Le Doulos/The Finger Man (1962) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. His other major films assignments of the 1960s included Austerlitz (Abel Gance, 1960), and Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1963) starring Catherine Deneuve.

    From 1931 to 1979, Voinquel created the stills for 160 films. International directors with whom he worked were Carol Reed, Anatole LitvakBilly Wilder, Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Alfred Hitchcock. His final film was the opera adaptation Fidelio (Pierre Jourdan, 1979). In 1989, the Cannes Film Festival awarded him for his photographic oeuvre.

    Raymond Voinquel died in 1994 in Paris. He was 82.

    Yves Montand
    Yves Montand. French postcard by A. Noyer (A.N.), Paris, no. 1232. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Jean Marais
    Jean Marais. French postcard by A. Noyer (A.N.), Paris, no. 1253. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Jacques Sernas
    Jacques Sernas. French postcard by A. Noyer (A.N.), Paris, no. 1299. Photo: Raymond Voinquel.

    Roberto Benzi
    Roberto Benzi. French postcard. Photo: Raymond Voinquel, Paris.

    Gina Lollobrigida in Trapeze (1956)
    Gina Lollobrigida. German postcard by Ufa, no. CK 67. Photo: Raymond Voinquel. Publicity still for Trapeze (Carol Reed, 1956).

    Sources: Samia Saouma (Bomb), CinéRessources (French), Tribute site to Raymond Voinquel, Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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    In Noord Schwarwoude, the Netherlands, there is small film institute we love, the Geoffrey Donaldson Institute (GDI). Our friend Egbert Barten is the managing director and he regularly shares new postcards from his collection with EFSP. Tomorrow we'll have a post on a postcard album he lately found in France. Today we do a post on a series of fine postcards plus a photo of the popular German film star Heinz Rühmann. The pictures plus the text for an article on Rühmann, were acquired from Dutch film journalist and collector Thijs Ockersen. We combine them with other new acquisitions by GDI and finish this post with one of the cards from the album on which we will focus tomorrow.

    Heinz Rühmann in Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931)
    Heinz Rühmann in Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931). German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 606. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Bomben auf Monte Carlo/The Bombardment of Monte Carlo (Hanns Schwarz, 1931). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Heinz Rühmann in Ich und die Kaiserin (1933)
    Heinz Rühmann in Ich und die Kaiserin (1933). German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7848/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Ich und die Kaiserin/The Empress and I (Friedrich Hollaender, 1933). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Heinz Rühmann in Kleider machen Leute (1940)
    Heinz Rühmann in Kleider machen Leute (1940). Dutch postcard by I.F.P. (Drukkerij Uitg. Int. Filmpers), Amsterdam, no. 1243. Photo: publicity still for Kleider machen Leute/Clothes Make the Man (Helmut Käutner, 1940). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Heinz Rühmann
    Heinz Rühmann. German photo. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Heinz Rühmann


    Actor, director and producer Heinz Rühmann (1902-1994) played in more than 100 films over nearly 70 years and was one of Germany's most popular film stars. He was a favourite actor of Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels but also of Anne Frank. She pasted his photo on the wall of her room in her family's hiding place during the war, where it can still be seen today.

    Anny Ondra
    Anny Ondra. French postcard by EC, no. 83. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Estrellita Castro in El barbero de Sevilla (1938)
    Estrellita Castro in El barbero de Sevilla (1938). German postcard by Das Programm von Heute / Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Cando. Publicity still for El barbero de Sevilla/The Barber of Seville (Benito Perojo, 1938). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Estrellita Castro


    Estrellita Castro (1914-1983) was a Spanish 'tonadillera' (little tune singer) and actress, who had a stirring and passionate style. Born Estrella Castro Navarrete to a humble family, she started singing from an early age and busked around in Sevilla streets. She was yet known in Andalusia when she appeared in Barcelona in 1929 with a variety show named 'La copla andaluza', where she was the first star together with 'Ángel Sampedro 'Angelillo''. From that moment on she enjoyed success all over Spain, Europe and America. Castro became one of the greatest 'copla' (Spanish popular song) performers.

    Estrellita Castro's success as a singer paved her way to the film industry, and she became one of the most popular and highly-paid Spanish actresses of the time. She made many folkloric musicals, including and La Maja del capote/ (Fernando Delgado, 1943). She starred in 40 films of which the most important were filmed in Germany - Suspiros de España/Sighs of Spain (Benito Perojo, 1938), El barbero de Sevilla/The Barber of Seville (Benito Perojo, 1938) both with Miguel Ligero, and Mariquilla Terremoto (Benito Perojo, 1939). The charm of her movements in the cinema together with her powerful acute voice and beauty conquered the public. One of the iconic features of her personal looks was a hair-curl on her forehead. After the war, she became a living myth of the Spanish music and cinema.

    Jean Murat in Vénus (1929)
    Jean Murat in Vénus (1929). French postcard by EC, no. 648. Photo publicity still for Vénus/Venus (Louis Mercanton, 1929). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, Colonel d'Empire (1942)
    Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, Colonel d'Empire (1942). French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 187. Photo: Pathé Cinéma, Pierre Blanchar in Pontcarral, colonel d'empire/Pontcarral, colonel of the empire (Jean Delannoy, 1942). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Jean Tranchant
    Jean Tranchant. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 87. Photo: Teddy Piaz. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Jean Tranchant


    Jean Tranchant (1904-1972) was a French singer-composer, poster designer and painter, who also incidentally acted in films. Tranchant wrote songs for Lucienne Boyer (La Barque d'Yves, Moi j'crache dans l'eau), then for Marianne Oswald (Appel, La Complainte de Kesoubah, Sans repentir), Marlène Dietrich (Assez) and Lys Gauty. He performed with his wife Simone Naudet. Many of his songs were used in French films, and he also composed for the soundtrack of such films as Fanatisme (Tony Lekain, Gaston Ravel, 1934), starring Pola Negri. Tranchant himself starred in the film musical Ici l'on pêche (René Jayet, 1941) with Jane Sourza.

    Hildegard Knef
    Hildegard Knef. French postcard by Edition P.I., offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 712. Photo: H.P.S. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
    Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 173. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. Publicity still for The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946).

    Egbert, thank you!

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    In addition to yesterday's post, Egbert Barten of the Geoffrey Donaldson Institute also lent me a postcard album, which the film institute acquired in January in Argenteuil, France. This album, 'MGM Cine Stars' was produced by the Belgian-Dutch chocolate factory Kwatta, on which we did this post in 2015. The pocket album contains some 100 collectors cards in black white of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stars of the 1940s. For this post, we selected 12 cards from the album. Some are numbered, some are not.

    Lana Turner
    Lana Turner. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Cyd Charisse
    Cyd Charisse. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 36. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Judy Garland
    Judy Garland. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 101. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Katharine Hepburn
    Katharine Hepburn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 110. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Beverly Tyler in The Green Years (1946)
    Beverly Tyler. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 116. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Green Years (Victor Saville, 1946). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Keenan Wynn
    Keenan Wynn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 136. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Jules Munshin in Easter Parade (1948)
    Jules Munshin. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 143. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. Publicity still for Easter Parade (Charles Walters, 1948).

    Irene Dunne and Spencer Tracy in A Guy Named Joe (1943)
    Irene Dunne and Spencer Tracey. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine, no. C. 158. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for A Guy Names Joe (Victor Fleming, 1943). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Jimmy Durante
    Jimmy Durante. Belgian Collectors Card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Katharine Hepburn
    Katharine Hepburn. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    Lana Turner
    Lana Turner. Belgian collectors card by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

    MGM Cine Stars


    Cine Stars Album for Belgian collectors cards with MGM stars by Kwatta, Bois d'Haine. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. The Kwatta cards could be collected in this pocket album named 'Ciné Stars'. On the cover is the lion of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio with more stars than the heavens. The short introduction in the album is both in French and in Dutch, the two languages of Belgium.

    Cine Stars, Cover

    Cine Stars, Inside


    Egbert, thank you!


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  • 06/18/18--22:00: Madeleine Lebeau
  • French stage and film actress Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016) is best remembered as Yvonne in the classic Casablanca (1942), passionately singing La Marseillaise with a tear-stained face. After the war she had a respectable career in the European cinema and portrayed a temperamental actress named Madeleine in another highlight, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963).

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 194. Photo: Sam Lévin.

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    French autograph card.

    Warner Bros


    Marie Madeleine Berthe LeBeau was born in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France, in 1923 (some sources say 1921).

    In her teens, she landed a tiny role in a play with Marcel Dalio, who was about 20 years her senior and struck by her beauty. They soon married. As Madeleine Lebeau she made her screen debut in the drama, Jeunes filles en détresse/Young Girls in Trouble (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1939).

    In 1940, she fled Nazi-occupied France with Dalio. They left Paris just hours ahead of the invading German army; Dalio’s image had been used in Nazi posters to identify Jewish-looking features. They made their way to Lisbon and, using what turned out to be forged Chilean visas, booked passage on a Portuguese cargo ship, the Quanza, that was taking more than 300 refugees to the west.

    Dalio and Lebeau eventually obtained temporary Canadian passports and ended up in the US. Due to Dalio’s connections in Hollywood with fellow French exiles such as Jean Renoir and Charles Boyer, they were both given Warner Bros contracts.

    Lebeau made her Hollywood debut with a small part in Hold Back the Dawn (Mitchell Leisen, 1941), which starred Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland.

    The following year, she appeared as glamorous Polish-born stage star Anna Held, the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, in the Errol Flynn drama Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942) a biography of Irish-American boxer James J. Corbett.

    With  Marcel Dalio she appeared then in the classic Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942). Lebeau played Yvonne, the French pushed-aside mistress of Rick Blaine, the owner of Rick’s Café Américain (Humphrey Bogart).

    Neglected by Rick, a drunken Yvonne steps out with a German soldier, but she regains her moral compass. Wikipedia: “Lebeau's best moments in Casablanca are during the scene when French nationals sing ‘The Marseillaise’ drowning out the group of German soldiers singing a German folk song. The camera captures the (genuine) tears on her face, and later at the end of the anthem when she cries out Vive la France. France had fallen to Nazi forces, and many of the actors performing in the scene were real life refugees from Europe”.

    Not long after finishing Casablanca, the then 19 years-old Lebeau and Dalio divorced. He filed suit, claiming desertion. Lebeau hoped Casablanca would catapult her to great demand in Hollywood. It did not.

    As a freelancer, she earned supporting roles in the French underground drama Paris After Dark (Léonide Moguy, 1943) with George Sanders and Philip Dorn (Frits van Dongen), and her former husband. The film portrays the activities of the French resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris. Lebeau played a cafe owner who is secretly helping the resistance.

    Ronald Bergan in The Guardian: “Besides brilliantly handling dramatic scenes, one with a slimy collaborator played by Dalio (they were then on the verge of a divorce), LeBeau, who had a fine singing voice, delivered a soulful ballad, My Paree.”

    The following year, Lebeau had a smaller role in the musical comedy Music for Millions (Henry Koster, 1944) starring Margaret O'Brien. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946. She also appeared on Broadway in the play The French Touch directed by René Clair.

    Madeleine Lebeau in Dupont Barbès (1951)
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 787. Photo: Phönix / NF. Publicity still for Dupont Barbès/Sins of Paris (Henri Lepage, 1951).

    Madeleine Lebeau in Quai des blondes (1954)
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 683. Photo: d. H. Thibault / P.A.C. / Pathé Cinéma. Publicity still for Quai des blondes (Paul Cadéac, 1954).

    Fellini


    After the war, Madeleine Lebeau returned to Europe and appeared in 20 more films. These included Les Chouans/The Royalists (Henri Calef, 1947) and the English drama Cage of Gold (Basil Dearden, 1950) starring Jean Simmons.

    Lebeau had a rare leading role in Dupont Barbès/Sins of Madeleine (Henri Lepage, 1951), about a prostitute who uses the ruse of pregnancy to end relationships with men, only to find one of her clients is delighted at the prospect of being a father.

    She was in the all-star cast of Sacha Guitry’s Napoleon (1955), and appeared in the bedroom farce Une Parisienne (Michel Boisrond, 1957), as Brigitte Bardot’s romantic rival.

    In 1956 she married a young businessman, Marcel Guez, but the marriage ended three years later in a divorce.

    In Federico Fellini's avant-garde classic Otto e mezzo/8½ (1963) she played a French actress named Madeleine, one of the former loves of Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) .

    During the 1960s, she also appeared in the Spaghetti Western Desafío en Río Bravo/Gunmen of the Rio Grande (Tulio Demicheli, 1964) with Guy Madison and Angélique, marquise des anges/Angélique (Bernard Borderie, 1964), the first of the Angélique cycle starring Michèle Mercier.

    Lebeau's film career ended with the Spanish production La vuelta/The return (José Luis Madrid, 1965). Her last turn before the cameras came in the French television series Allô police/Hello, Police (1969-1970).

    After the filming of Otto e mezzo/8½ (1963) she stayed in Rome. In 1988 she married Italian screenwriter Tullio Pinelli who had co-written 8 1/2. He passed away in 2009 at 100.

    After the death of her husband, Madeleine Lebeau moved to Estepona in the south of Spain. There she died in 2016 from complications following breaking her thigh bone. She was 92. A daughter, Maria Duhour Gil, survived her.

    Madeleine Lebeau (1923-2016)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1431. Photo: publicity still for La Picara Molinera/The Miller's Saucy Wife (Léon Klimovsky, 1955).


    Scene from Casablanca (1942). Source: myyouyou111 (YouTube).

    Sources: Ronald Bergan (The Guardian), Adam Bernstein (Washington Post), William Grimes (The New York Times), Frances D’Emilio and Lindsey Bahr (The Globe and Mail),  Tom B. (Westerns...All'Italiana!), CineMemorialBBC, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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  • 06/19/18--22:00: Curd Jürgens
  • Tall, blonde, blue-eyed Curd Jürgens (1915-1982) played German soldiers in countless World War II films, usually billed as Curt Jurgens. Although the German-Austrian actor appeared in over 100 films, Jürgens considered himself primarily a stage actor. He also directed a few films, with limited success, and wrote screenplays.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3832/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer / Wien Film.

    Eva Bartok, Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 1180. Photo: Meteor /  Schorchtfilm. Still from Orient Express (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1954) with Eva Bartok.

    Curd Jürgens in Michel Strogoff (1956)
    German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3413. Photo: Allianz Film. Publicity still for Michel Strogoff/Michael Strogoff (Carmine Gallone, 1956).

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by ISV, no. C 1. Photo: Divina / Gloria / Grimm.

    Curd Jürgens
    Vintage card.

    Strikingly Handsome Young Man


    Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens was born in Solln near München (Munich), Germany in 1915. His father was a trader from Hamburg and his mother a French teacher.

    Since he wanted to become a writer, the eighteen-year-old Jürgens took a job as a reporter for the newspaper Acht-Uhr Abendblatt in Berlin. He married actress Lulu Basler after conducting an interview with her. She and her mother, Maria Solani, a former silent film star, encouraged the strikingly handsome young man to become a film actor.

    His aristocratic bearing, his tall, stately appearance, and his talent for languages formed the foundation of his career. He learned his new profession on the Vienna stage, which retained his loyalty even after he became a global film star. He would become an ensemble member at the famous Vienna Burgtheater from 1940 to 1953 and from 1965 to 1968.

    In 1933, he had a severe car accident. The medics had to cut his spermatic cords, which resulted in a life-long infertility. His only child was, as later revealed by her mother, Eva Bartok, not his own.

    When he applied for a job at the UFA Studio in Neu-Babelsberg, he was discovered by Willi Forst, who hired him for the role of the young emperor Franz Joseph in Königswalzer/The King's Waltz (Herbert Maisch, 1935). The next year Jürgens starred in Familienparade/Family Parade (Fritz Wendhausen, 1936).

    In 1937, he was cast opposite Swedish star Zarah Leander in Zu neuen Ufern/To New Shores (Detlev Sierck a.k.a. Douglas Sirk, 1937). The following years he appeared in films like Salonwagen E 417/Private Car E 417 (Paul Verhoeven, 1939) with Paul Hörbiger and Käthe von Nagy, Operette/Operetta (Willi Forst, 1940), Wen die Götter lieben/Whom the Gods Love (Karl Hartl, 1942) again as Emperor Josef II; and Frauen sind keine Engel/Women Are No Angels (Willi Forst, 1943) with Marte Harell.

    Gradually increased his career status, but in 1944 minister Joseph Goebbels sent him to a concentration camp for ‘political unreliables’, due to his anti-Nazi opinions. It was this experience in Nazi Germany that led him to become an Austrian citizen in 1945.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3161/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tobis.

    Curd Jürgens
    Austrian postcard by Verlag Hubmann, Wien (Vienna), no. 3323. Photo: Hämmerer, Wien.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3412. Photo: Allianz Film.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Rüdel Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 567. Photo: Helies / Schorchfilm. Publicity still for Musik bei Nacht/Music by Night (Kurt Hoffmann, 1952).

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. I 409. Photo: CCC-Film / Herzog-Film / A. Grimm. Publicity still for Die Ratten/The Rats (Robert Siodmak, 1955).

    The Norman Hulk


    After the war, Curd Jürgens continued to appear in German and Austrian films. His films included Das singende Haus/The Singing House (Franz Antel, 1948) with Hannelore Schroth, Der Engel mit der Posaune/The Angel with the Trumpet (Karl Hartl, 1948) with Paula Wessely, Hexen/Witches (Hans Schott-Schöbinger, 1949), Wiener Mädeln/Viennese Girls (Willi Forst, 1949), and Das Bekenntnis der Ina Kahr/The Confession of Ina Kahr (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1954) with Elisabeth Müller.

    Jürgens co-authored with his friend Kurt Heuser the screenplay Prämien auf den Tod/Premium on Death (1950) and he also directed the film. Jürgens wrote, directed, and starred in a second film as well, Gangsterpremiere (1951).

    The now cosmopolitan Jürgens exchanged Berlin and Vienna for the in-places of the beautiful and rich in St. Tropez, London, and Rome. His wealth, fame, love affairs, and parties made more headlines in the illustrated and scandal magazines than his films.

    His breakthrough screen role came in 1955 with Des Teufels General/The Devil's General (Helmut Käutner, 1955), based on Carl Zuckmayer's play. Jürgens played the honorable pilot General Harras, who sells his soul to the devil because of his love for flying. That same year he won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for Les Héros sont Fatigués/The Heroes Are Tired (Yves Ciampi, 1955).

    Then he appeared in the sensational French film Et Dieu... créa la femme/And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1956) as Brigitte Bardot's older lover. BB nicknamed him ‘The Norman Hulk’.

    Always interested in multilingual European actors with good looks and talent, Hollywood beckoned him. In 1957, he appeared in his first Hollywood film, The Enemy Below (Dick Powell, 1957), as a WW II U-boat commander in a duel with an American destroyer commander Robert Mitchum.

    Jürgens was subsequently the star of a well-intended but ill-fated remake of Der blaue Engel, The Blue Angel (Edward Dmytryk, 1959), taking on the role of the doomed teacher identified with Emil Jannings. He fared rather better playing rocket scientist Werner Von Braun in the biographical film Wernher von Braun/I Aim at the Stars (J. Lee Thompson, 1959).

    He went on to be a leading star of the European stage and international films. Onscreen he often played urbane villains including Cornelius, the cowardly and treacherous trading company representative, in Lord Jim (Richard Brooks, 1965), and sometimes a Nazi. A notable performance in this vein is the meditative officer in the epic The Longest Day (Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, 1962), the most expensive black-and-white film ever made.

    One of his most famous roles was as the James Bond villain Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977), arguably the best entry in Roger Moore's Bond series. Stromberg was a sociopathic industrialist seeking to transform the world into an ocean paradise.

    Curd Jürgens
    American postcard by East-West Publishers.

    Curd Jürgens
    French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 95.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by WS Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 9. Photo: Ringpress.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 36. Photo: Ringpress.

    Curd Jürgens and Romy Schneider in Katia (1959)
    German postcard by ISV, no. 4. Photo: publicity still for Katia/Adorable Sinner (Robert Siodmak, 1959).

    Near-death Experience


    Showing his sense of humour, Curd Jürgens titled his autobiography, ...und kein bißchen weise/Sixty and Not Yet Wise (1976). He made his last stage appearance as Pasha Selim in The Abduction from Seraglio during the Vienna State Opera's tour in Japan (1980).

    His last film appearance was as Maître Legraine, beside Alain Delon and Claude Jade in the Soviet spy-thriller Tegeran 43/The Eliminator (Aleksandr Alov, Vladimir Naumov, 1981). His last TV role was as General Vladimir in the BBC miniseries Smiley's People (1982) based on the novel by John Le Carré and starring Alec Guinness.

    In his wide and diverse acting career, Jürgens was nominated for two BAFTA's and was gifted the German Film Prize Filmband in Gold in 1959 and the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Cross of Merit of Germany) in 1981 for his outstanding contributions to the German cinema.

    Curd Jürgens maintained a home in France, but frequently returned to Vienna to perform on stage and that was where he died of a heart attack in 1982. He was 66 years old. He had been hospitalised for the last two months. Friends said he had refused to reduce his activities despite years. Jürgens had suffered another heart attack several years before. During this he had a near-death experience where he claimed he died and went to Hell.

    Curd Jürgens was married five times: to actress Louise ‘Lulu’ Basler (1937-1947), Austrian actress Judith Holzmeister (1947-1955), actress Eva Bartok (1955-1957), Simone Bicheron(1958-1977), and Margie Schmitz (from 1978 till his death in 1982). He had one daughter, Deana, with Eva Bartok, but she was fathered by Frank Sinatra.

    Curd Jürgens
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3916. Photo: Arthur Grimm.

    Curd Jürgens in Et Dieu... créa la femme (1956)
    Austrian postcard by Kellner-Fotokarten, Wien (Vienna), no. 893. Photo: Columbia-Film. Publicity still for Et Dieu... créa la femme/...And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1956).

    Curd Jürgens in Tamango (1958)
    East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin no. 1339, 1960. Photo: publicity still for Tamango (John Berry, 1958).

    Curd Jürgens in Katia (1959)
    German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf., no. 996. Photo: Speva / Gloria-Film. Publicity still for Katia/Adorable Sinner (Robert Siodmak, 1959).

    Curd Jürgens, Air France
    German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 4619. Photo: Ufa.

    Curd Jürgens
    German collectors card by Lux.


    Trailer for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault (YouTube).

    Sources: Gertraud Steiner Daviau (Film Reference), T. Johnson (Find A Grave), Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), AllMovie, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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  • 06/20/18--22:00: Das alte Gesetz (1923)
  • Although Henny Porten had only a supporting part in Das alte Gesetz/The Ancient Law (1923) and Ernst Deutsch had the leading role, she was the main subject on the series of postcards which Ross Verlag made for the film. Photographer Hans Natge made the beautiful stills for the this silent film production by Comedia Film, directed by Ewald André Dupont.

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/1. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/2. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten and Ernst Deutsch in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/3. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    He recognises God's mercy in the performance of his son 


    In Das alte Gesetz/The Ancient Law (E.A. Dupont, 1923), Ernst Deutsch plays the mid-19th century rabbi's son Baruch Mayer, who decides to break with the family tradition. Against his orthodox father's will, he leaves his shtetl in Galicia to become an actor.

    Baruch joins a small wandering burlesque company. The Austrian archduchess Elisabeth Theresia (Henny Porten) discovers him there and becomes enarmoured with him. Secretly in love with him, she provides him an engagement at the Burgtheater, the most important theatre in Vienna.

    Baruch receives a contract at the Burgtheater and soon manages to become a celebrated star. More and more he becomes an assimilated jew, but his relation with the grand-duchess isn't approved by the Austrian court, so they have to end it.

    His father Rabbi Mayer (Avrom Morewski) is appalled by this life and rejects his son, but when he witnesses a performance of his son as Don Carlos, he is so impressed by his talent, he recognises God's mercy in this and pardons his son.

    Baruch returns to his eastern European shtetl where he grew up and where his sweetheart from his youth (Margarete Schlegel) has waited for him all the time...

    With its complex portrayal of orthodoxy and emancipation, Ewald André Dupont's period film marks a highpoint of Jewish filmmaking in Germany, according to film historians.

    Das alte Gesetz was scripted by Paul Reno. The story precedes the similar plot of the more famous American sound film The Jazz Singer (Alan Crossland, 1927) with Al Jolson, which was made just a few years after,

    Cinematography of Das alte Gesetz was done by Thomas Spahrkuhl and the sets were designed by Alfred Junge, and executed by Curt Kahle, while the costumes were designed by Ali Hubert.

    The film premiered in Berlin on 29 October 1923. The German press praised the film: "Dupont manages to visualise these two so different worlds, the ghetto milieu, which is separated from the outer world by a sheer insurmountable wall, and this world itself; the Vienna of the 1860's, led by the rhythms of Strauss' valzer and epitomized by the Burgtheater as artistic summit." (Film-Kurier, no. 244, 30 October 1923)

    Various prints of the films existed, which were quite different from each other and not always respected the original. The Deutsche Kinemathek recently did a full restoration and the restored, 135 minutes long version of the film was shown with live accompaniment on 16 February 2018 at the Friedrichstadt - Palast at the Berlinale 2018. Three days later it was showed on Arte TV.

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/4. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/5. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 663/6. Photo: Hans Natge, Berlin / Comedia Film. Publicity still of Henny Porten in Das alte Gesetz (E.A. Dupont, 1923).

    Sources: epd-film.de, Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.

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  • 06/21/18--22:00: Helene Thimig
  • Austrian actress Helene Thimig (1889-1974) was an important stage performer during the Weimar republic. She came from a renown acting family: she was the daughter of Hugo Thimig and the sister of Hermann Thimig and Hans Thimig. She fled the Nazis with her later husband, theatre producer/director Max Reinhardt, sought refuge in Hollywood, and appeared in 18 Hollywood films. After the war, she returned to Vienna where she had a prolific stage career but only sporadically appeared in films.

    Helene Thimig
    German postcard by Verlag Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 6895. Photo: Rembrandt Atelier.

    Love Affair with Max Reinhardt


    Helene Ottilie Thimig was born in Wien (Vienna) in 1889. She was the daughter of the later Burgtheater director Hugo Thimig and his wife Franziska née. Hummel. Her two brothers Hermann Thimig and Hans Thimig also became actors.

    After elementary school and the Lyceum Luithlen she took acting lessons with Hedwig Bleibtreu. In 1907 she had her first appearance in the Stadttheater of Baden as Marthe in Edouard Pailleron's The Mouse.

    In 1908 she played Melissa in Franz Grillparzer's Sappho at the Goethe Festival in Dusseldorf, then she acted at the Hoftheater (Court Theatre) in Meiningen, and from 1911 to 1917 at the Königlichen Schauspielhaus (Royal Playhouse) in Berlin.

    In 1917 she received an engagement at the Deutschen Theater (German Theatre) in Berlin, where she debuted as Elsalil in Gerhart Hauptmann's Winterballade (Winter Ballad).

    From the beginning, a close cooperation and love affair developed between her and Max Reinhardt, director of the Deutschen Theater. He was married to actress Else Heims and had two sons with her. Thimig was married to the director Paul Kalbeck from 1916 to 1918.

    She made her film debut in the drama Mensch ohne Namen/Man Without a Name (Gustav Ucicky, 1932) starring Werner Krauss. When Reinhardt was ostracised after the Nazis came to power in 1933, Thimig's successful stage career in Berlin also came to an end. She followed Reinhardt to Vienna and performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt, which Reinhardt directed. Further performances followed in Prague and at the Salzburg Festival.

    Thimig followed Reinhardt to various productions in several European countries and after his divorce, they were married in Nevada in May 1935 during a guest appearance in the United States. At the end of October 1937 she finally joined Reinhardt in his American exile. Since she learned the English language slowly, she received for a long time only very small roles in American theatre and film productions.

    Between 1942 and 1947 she appeared in 18 Hollywood films, in which she represented mostly German women. These included The Gay Sisters (Irving Rapper, 1942) starring Barbara Stanwyck, the pseudo-documentary The Hitler Gang (John Farrow, 1944), The Seventh Cross (Fred Zinnemann, 1944), starring Spencer Tracy, and the Film Noir Cloak and Dagger (Fritz Lang, 1946), starring Gary Cooper.

    In 1943, Max Reinhardt died.

    Helene Thimig
    German postcard by Margarinewerk Eidelstedt Gebr. Fauser G.m.b.H., Holstein, Serie 1, no. Bild 52. Photo: Marcus.

    Helene Thimig
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6970/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Mensch ohne Namen/The Man Without a Name (Gustav Ucicky, 1932).

    A Return to Europe


    After the end of the Second World War, Helene Thimig returned to Europe. She appeared in a few films, including the Austrian film Der Engel mit der Posaune/The Angel with the Trumpet (Karl Hartl, 1948). In Austria she became a member of the Burgtheater, where in 1950 she was awarded the honorary title of a Kammerschauspielerin (chamber actress).

    In 1948 she entered into a third marriage with the Austrian actor Anton Edthofer. Between 1947 and 1951 she staged Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann (Everyman) at the Salzburg Festival and directed the Viennese Max Reinhardt Seminar from 1948 to 1954. In addition, she took on a teaching position as a professor at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts.

    In the cinema, however, she received only a few tasks, including a role in the American production Decision Before Dawn (Anatole Litvak, 1951), starring Richard Basehart and Oskar Werner, and the German drama Waldwinter/Winter in the Woods (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1956), starring Claus Holm.

    After leaving the Burgtheater ensemble in 1954, she again took on a firm commitment at the Theater in der Josefstadt. From 1963 to 1968 she again staged Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival. At the end of March 1974 she was on stage for the last time in Josefstadt.

    In November 1974, Helene Thimig-Reinhardt died in her native Vienna of heart failure at the age of 85. She was cremated in the crematorium Feuerhalle Simmering and buried in an honorary dedicated urn.

    In 2015, the urn with her ashes was moved to a grave dedicated to the honour of the Neustift cemetery. In 2016, the Helene-Thimig-Weg was named after her in Vienna Liesing. Thimig received prizes and awards, including the Josef-Kainz-Medaille in 1962 and the Ring of Honour of the City of Vienna in 1969.

    Helene Thimig in Peer Gynt (1914)
    German postcard by Verlag Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 8334. Photo: Becker & Maass. Caption: Helen Thimig as Solveig in Peer Gynt. Thimig appeared in the play by Henrik Ibsen in 1914.

    Helene Thimig in Faust (1920)
    German postcard by Verlag Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 8747. Photo: Becker & Maass. Publicity still for Max Reinhardt's stage production of Goethe's Faust (1920) with Helene Thimig as Gretchen.

    Sources: Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.

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  • 06/22/18--22:00: Hedda Vernon
  • Today starts the 32nd edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, and we're in Bologna, Italy to enjoy the festival. One of the classics programmes is One Hundred years Ago: 1918. One the main European stars of that year was German actress, writer and producer Hedda Vernon (1886-1925). During the 1910s, she appeared in more than 60 films and she was such a popular star that she got her own Hedda-Vernon-serial.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 232/1. Photo: Becker & Maass / Eiko-Film.

    Hedda Vernon (retouched)
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 2001/12, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass / Eiko Film.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 360/2, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass Phot.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 103. Photo: Eiko-Film.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 104. Photo: Eiko-Film.

    Child Parts


    Hedda Vernon (sometimes credited as Hedda Vernon-Moest) was born in 1886.

    In 1912 she made her first film appearances in silent shorts for the Deutsche Bioscop GmbH in Berlin. That year she appeared in Die Papierspur/The Paper Trail (Emil Albes, 1912), Die Rote Jule/Red Jule (Emil Albes, 1912) and Der Kampf um das Erbe/The Conflict about the Heritage (Max Obal, 1912).

    The following years, she played in Vitascope productions directed by Harry Piel, like Menschen und Masken 1 & 2/People and Masks 1 and 2 (Harry Piel, 1913), Die Millionenmine/The Millions Mine (Harry Piel, 1914) and Die braune Bestie/The Brown Beast (Harry Piel, 1914).

    But she worked most often with her husband, actor-director Hubert Moest. They made a series of Eiko-productions, including Zofenstreichen/Abigail Paintings (Hubert Moest, 1915), Maria Niemand und Ihre Zwölf Väter/Maria Nobody and Her Twelve Fathers (Hubert Moest, 1915) with Theodor Loos, and Das Bild der Ahnfrau/The Picture of the Ancestress (Hubert Moest, 1916) with Rudolf Forster and Harry Liedtke.

    These were followed by Noemi die blonde Judin/Noemi the Blonde Jew (Hubert Moest, 1917), Der Peitschenhieb/The Whiplash (Hubert Moest, 1918), and Taumel/Rapture (Hubert Moest, 1919) with Alfred Abel and Paul Hartmann.

    In Zofia (Hubert Moest, 1915), Hedda Vernon impersonated a fifteen year old girl although she was almost 29 at the time. Such ‘child parts’ were normal for actresses in the 1910s and 1920s.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 68/5. Photo: Eiko-Film.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne Series, no. 136/5. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne Series, no. 138/6. Photo Becker & Maass, Berlin / Eiko Film.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1340. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Hedda Vernon
    German postcard by Photochemie, no. K. 1346. Photo: Alex Binder.

    Harry Piel Series


    Hedda Vernon became so popular that she got her own serial which was financed by her production company Vernon-Produktion. She produced herself in Selbstgerichtet oder Die gelbe Fratze/Self Defence or The Yellow Grimace (Hubert Moest, 1914) and Hedda Vernon’s Bühnensketch/Hedda Vernon's Stage Sketch (Hubert Moest, 1916).

    She also worked with director Richard Oswald on Der Eiserne Kreuz/The Iron Cross (1914) with Hanni Weisse, Der Tod des andern/Other's Death (1919) with Alwin Neuss, and Manolescus Memoiren/The Memories of Manolescu (1920) starring Conrad Veidt.

    During the 1920s, the interest in Hedda Vernon flagged. New stars became more in demand. To her few films in the 1920s belong Der Verächter des Todes/The Death Defier (Harry Piel, 1920), the Harry Piel series Der Reiter ohne Kopf/The Horseman Without a Head (Harry Piel, 1921) and Die Sonne von St. Moritz/The Sun of St. Moritz (Friedrich Weissenberg, Hubert Moest, 1923).

    Her last film was Zwischen zwei Frauen/Between Two Women (Hubert Moest, 1925) opposite Reinhold Schünzel.

    Hedda Vernon died that same year, at an unknown location, and of unknown causes. She was married with producer-director Hubert Moest from 1913 till 1920.

    Hedda Vernon in Die Narbe am Knie
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 517/3. Photo: Eiko-Film. Hedda Vernon in Die Narbe am Knie (Hubert Moest, 1917).

    Hedda Vernon in Noemi, die blonde Jüdin.
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 517/10. Photo: Eiko Film. Publicity still of Hedda Vernon in Noemi, die blonde Jüdin (Hubert Moest, 1917).

    Hedda Vernon in Mouschy
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 518/1. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon in Mouschy (Hubert Moest, 1918).

    Hedda Vernon in Das Todesgeheimnis (1918)
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 532/3. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon and Erich Kaiser-Titz in Das Todesgeheimnis (Hubert Moest, 1918). Vernon co-scripted this film, with Ruth Goetz - who wrote several scripts for the Hedda Vernon films of the late 1910s.

    Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 532/6. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

    Hedda Vernon in Fesseln
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 559/5. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon in Fesseln/Chains (Hubert Moest, 1918).

    Hedda Vernon in Wo ein Wille, ist ein Weg (1918)
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne Series, no. 560/2. Photo: Eiko Film. Publicity still for Wo ein Wille, ist ein Weg (Hubert Moest, 1918) with in the back right Ernst Hofmann.

    Hedda Vernon in Puppchen (1918)
    German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 561/2. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon in Puppchen/Dolly (Hubert Moest, 1918).

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