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EFSP's Dazzling Dozen: New Rares from the Collection of Didier Hanson

Happy New Year! We wish you all the best for 2016. And how can EFSP better start a new year of posts than with twelve new and rare acquisitions from the collection of our friend Didier Hanson...

Vera Karalli
Vera Karalli. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Karalli
Vera Karalli. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Karalli
Vera Karalli. Russian postcard. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Karalli (1889-1972) was a Russian ballet dancer, choreographer and actress in the early 20th century.

Vasili Kachalov
Vasili Kachalov. Russian postcard. Sent by mail in 1904. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vasili Kachalov in Anathema
Vasili Kachalov. Russian postcard, no. 10682. Photo: publicity still for the stage play Anathema (1909) at The Moscow Art Theatre, Moscow, Russia. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vasili Kachalov
Vasili Kachalov. Yugoslavian postcard. Photo: Foto Atelier Tonka, Zagreb. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Russian film and stage actor Vasili Kachalov (1875-1948) was one of Konstantin Stanislavsky's best known performers. He led the so-called Kachalov Group within the Moscow Art Theatre. He also appeared in four films.

Vera Kholodnaya
Vera Kholodnaya. Russian postcard, no. 24. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Kholodnaya
Vera Kholodnaya. Russian postcard, no. 116. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Kholodnaya and Vladimir Maksimov
Vera Kholodnaya and Vladimir Maksimov. Russian postcard, no. 144. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Kholodnaya(1893-1919) was the first star of the Russian silent cinema. Only 26, the ‘Queen of Screen’ died of the Spanish flu during the pandemic of 1919. Although she worked only three years for the cinema, she must have made between fifty and hundred short films. The Soviet authorities ordered to destroy many of the Kholodnaya features in 1924, and only five of her films still exist.

Russian actor Vladimir Maksimov (1880-1937) was known for Skorb beskonechnaya/Infinite Sorrow (Aleksandr Panteleyev, 1922), Katsi katsistvis mgelia/Man Is Enemy (Ivane Perestiani, 1923) and Dekabristy/The Decembrists (Aleksandr Ivanovsky, 1927). He died in 1937 in Moscow, Soviet Union.

Rita Sacchetto
Rita Sacchetto. German Postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 1755. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Rita Sacchetto
Rita Sacchetto. German Postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 1683. Collection: Didier Hanson.

German actress and dancer Rita Sacchetto (1879-1959) was in the 1910s a star of the Danish Nordisk Film Company.

Conrad Veidt, preparing for his American trip
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1682/1. Collection: Didier Hanson. Conrad Veidt preparing for his first trip to the United States and poking fun at the American sport spirit. In 1926 Veidt went to Hollywood to act in films like The Beloved Rogue (1927) and The Man Who Laughs (1928). The woman is probably his then wife Felicitas Radke. They were married from 1923 till 1932.

Thanks, Didier! This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Henry Edwards

Tall, British actor Henry Edwards (1882-1952) was a famous star of the Hepworth studio in the silent period. He was also active as an innovative film producer and director. Between 1914 and 1952 he appeared in 81 films and directed 67 films.

Henry Edwards
British postcard. Photo: Hepworth.

Henry Edwards In  Broken Threads (1917)
British postcard. Photo: Hepworth. Publicity still for Broken Threads (Henry Edwards, 1917) with Edwards as Dippy.

Henry Edwards
British postcard. Photo: Lallie Charles / Hepworth.

Britain's answer to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

Henry Edwards was born Arthur Harold Ethelbert Edwards in Weston-Super-Mare, England. Lured to the stage, he trod the boards for fifteen years as an actor, producer, and playwright. He began in 1900 in provincial theatres, graduated to London's West End in 1911, and in 1913 played opposite Ethel Barrymore in New York.

He made his first film appearance in 1914 with a small role in Clancarty (Harold M. Shaw, 1914). Under the guidance of producer/director Cecil Hepworth, Edwards became one of England's most popular leading men. The tall, tousled, sensitive actor repeated his stage role in the spy drama The Man Who Stayed at Home (Cecil M. Hepworth, 1915).

The Americans Larry Trimble and Florence Turner, based at Hepworth's Walton studios, quickly hired his services, initially as an actor and writer; his directing debut came with A Welsh Singer (Henry Edwards, 1915), adapted from a popular romantic novel. After East is East (Henry Edwards, 1916), Turner and Trimble returned to the States; Edwards then formally joined the Walton studio, generating much of its product along with Hepworth at a time when war service had thinned the company's ranks.

His most frequent leading lady was the blonde and lissom Chrissie White, whom he married in 1922. Celebrated as Britain's answer to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Edwards and White co-starred in 22 Hepworth dramas, playing everything from aristocrats to the ‘working poor’ with consummate artistry; unfortunately, only two of their features survive.

The series of films with Edwards and White flourished until financial woes brought down Hepworth's enterprise in 1924. Edwards proved himself as the noble and self-sacrificing hero in the stout-hearted adventure The Flag Lieutenant (Maurice Elvey, 1926), which was well-received.

Henry Edwards
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4261 F. Sent by mail in 1907. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for Robin Hood.

Henry Edwards
British postcard for The Turner Films Ltd. Photo: Elwin Neame.

Henry Edwards
British postcard for Hepworth. Photo: Lallie Charles.

Subtleties of Characterisation, Feeling, and Visual Design

During his stay with Hepworth, Henry Edwards was given the opportunity to direct. Geoff Brown and Bryony Dixon write in the Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors: "From the beginning, he explored new territory in British cinema, particularly in films based on his own original scenarios."

In the 1910s and 1920s, he helped to advance British cinema beyond its early concentration on physical action towards the subtleties of characterisation, feeling, and visual design required for the mature feature film. In 1923 Edwards' experiments with cinema narrative led him to mount an entire feature without using inter-titles. The result, Lily of the Alley, now seemingly a lost film, broke new ground in Britain, though contemporary comment suggests a brave attempt rather than a stylistic triumph.

After 1925 Edwards was best known for his directorial efforts like the Boris Karloff melodrama Juggernaut (1935) and the Sir Seymour Hicks version of Scrooge (1935). At the Venice Film Festival of 1936 he won a Special Recommendation for Scrooge.

Henry Edwards returned to acting in 1946, essaying small character roles in films like Green for Danger (Sidney Gilliat, 1946), Oliver Twist (David Lean, 1948) and the all-star The Magic Box (John Boulting, 1952). His last appearance was in The Long Memory (1952, Robert Hamer).

He died suddenly from a heart attack at his home in Chobham, Surrey, in 1952. Chrissie White lived in retirement until 1987. Their daughter, Henryetta Edwards, appeared in several films in the 1950s. Henry Edwards’ career papers have recently been donated to the BFI Special Collections.

Chrissie White and Henry Edwards
British postcard by TIC. With Chrissie White.

Henry Edwards
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 448.

Henry Edwards
Dutch postcard, 1948.

Sources: Geoff Brown and Bryony Dixon (Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Charles de Rochefort

Charles de Rochefort (1887-1952) was a star of the French silent cinema. He appeared in 34 films between 1911 and 1932, sometimes as a French cowboy. In 1923 he went to the US and made several films in Hollywood. After his return to France, he became a director of sound films.

Charles de Rochefort
French postcard by A.N., Paris, in the series Les Vedettes de Cinéma, no. 77. Photo: Paramount Film.


Charles d’Authier de Rochefort was born in Port-Vendres, France, in 1887. He was the son of Paul Charles Dominique d'Authier de Rochefort and Camille Caroline Rose Félicité Guelfucci.

In 1905 he started to work in the theatre and the music-halls. In 1910 he made his film debut. One of his first films was the short Pathé comedy Max se marie/Max's Divorce (Max Linder, Lucien Nonguet, 1911) with Max Linder. He would play in eight Linder films between 1910 and 1914.

He also appeared in Pathé dramas by Georges Denola, Albert Capellani and Abel Gance. In 1918 he performed in the serial Impéria (12 episodes) by Jacques Durand, with Jacqueline Forzane.

Then followed the films Marthe (Gaston Roudès, 1919), Fille du peuple/Girl of the People (Camille de Morlhon, 1920), L’empire du diamant/The Empire of the Diamond (Léonce Perret, 1920) and Roi de Camargue/King of Camargue (André Hugon, 1921).

De Rochefort again appeared in two serial films: Gigolette (Henri Pouctal, 1921, 4 episodes) and L’empereur des pauvres (René Leprince, 1921, 6 episodes) with Gina Manés and a young Lily Damita.

In 1922, De Rochefort played in several films: in André Antoine’sL’Arlésienne/The Girl from Arles, two films by André Hugon: Notre dame d’amour/Our Lady of Love and Le diamant noir/The Black Diamond, L’homme qui pleure/The Crying man by Louis d’Hée and Louis de Verande, and the British-French co-production The Spanish Jade/Sous le soleil d’Espagne by John S. Robertson and starring Evelyn Brent.

After two more French films, La dame au ruban de velours (Giuseppe Guarino, 1923) with Arlette Marchal, and La faute des autres/Other's Fault (Jacques Olivier, 1923), Charles de Rochefort left France and went again to the United States.

Charles de Rochefort
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 158.

Charles de Rochefort
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 34. Photo: Studio Pathé.


In Hollywood, Charles de Rochefort played in The Marriage Maker (William C. DeMille, 1923) with Mary Astor.

He briefly appeared in Hollywood/Joligud (James Cruze, 1923) and with Dorothy Dalton in The Law of the Lawless (Victor Fleming, 1923). Credited as Charles De Roche, he also played opposite Pola Negri in The Cheat (George Fitzmaurice, 1923), a remake of Cecil B. DeMille's 1915 hit feature using the same script by Hector Turnbull and Jeanie MacPherson.

His best known Hollywood part was Pharaoh Rameses, the Magnificent in the prologue of the epic The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, 1923) with Rod La Rocque.

In the following year De Rochefort appeared in four more American films: Love and Glory (Rupert Julian, 1924), Shadows of Paris (Herbert Brenon, 1924), The White Moth (Maurice Tourneur, 1924) starring Barbara LaMarr; and Madame Sans-Gêne (Léonce Perret, 1924), a super-production around Gloria Swanson.

In 1925 Rochefort left Hollywood and returned to France, where he played in La princesse aux clowns/The Princess and the Clowns (André Hugon, 1925) with Huguette Duflos.

Charles de Rochefort
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 154. Photo: V. Henri.

Charles de Rochefort
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 141. Photo: Paramount.

Multilingual Productions

Charles de Rochefort then stayed away from the cinema for four years. When he returned in 1929 it was not as actor but as director.

Meanwhile sound film had arrived. At the Paramount Pictures studio at Joinville-le-Pont in Paris, he directed the sound film Une femme a menti/A Woman Has Lied (1929) with Louise Lagrange and scripted by immigrant Hermann Kosterlitz (aka Henry Koster).

In 1930 he made the French, Italian, Czech and Rumanian version of Paramount on Parade, starring resp. Maurice Chevalier, Carmen Boni, Jiri Voskovec and Pola Illéry.

Rochefort also directed the multilingual Le secret du docteur/The Secret of the Doctor (1930), with Marcelle Chantal in the French and Eugenia Zoffoli in the Spanish version.

In 1931 Rochefort acted once more in the film La croix du sud/Southern Cross (André Hugon, 1931), for which he also did the photography, and he directed Televisione (1931), the Italian version of the Paramount multilingual Magie moderne/Television. He also directed the short Dorville chauffeur (1930) and Un bouquet de flirts (1931) withJosette Day.

He went on to work on stage and had his own theatre in Paris, the Theatre Charles de Rochefort, which still exists today as the Théâtre Tristan-Bernard at 64 rue Rocher. In 1943 he wrote the book Le Film de Mes Souvenirs (Secrets de Vedettes).

Charles de Rochefort died in Paris in 1952. He was 64.

First Part of The Ten Commandments (1923). Source: joe25Xcel (YouTube).

Sources: Pascal Donald (CineArtistes - French), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Olga Tschechova

Dignified German-Russian actress Olga Tschechova (1897-1980) was one of the most popular stars of the German silent cinema. During the following decades, she became the 'Grande Dame of German Film'. She remained a mysterious person throughout her life, and reportedly, she was a Russian agent in Nazi Germany.

Olga Tschechova
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1590/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1784/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Olga Tschechova
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1799/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4772/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. A 3837/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa.

The Niece of Anton Chekhov's Wife

Olga Tschechova - or in Russian Olga Chekhova and in German Olga Tschechowa - was born Olga Konstantinovna Von Knipper in Alexandropol, Russian Empire (now Gyumri, Armenia), in 1897. She was the second of three children in a wealthy bilingual Russian-German family.

Her father, Konstantin Knipper, was a military railroad engineer. Her family had very good contacts to the court of the Czar. Olga studied sculpture at the St. Peterburg Academy of Arts. Then was sent to Moscow to her aunt, actress Olga Knipper, Anton Chekhov’s wife, and joined a studio of the Moscow Art Theatre.

In 1914, at the age of 17 she married the Russian-Jewish actor Mikhail (Michael) Chekhov, a rising star of stage and film. He was a nephew of Anton Chekhov. (Thus, the niece of Anton Chekhov's wife became the wife of Anton Chekhov's nephew.)

Their daughter, Ada Tschechowa was born in 1916. Olga separated from Michael Chekhov during the chaos and disaster of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Michael had met another beauty, Xenia Zimmer, and became involved in extramarital affair while Olga was pregnant with their child.

That same year she made her film debut in a Russian silent film Anya Kraeva (Nikandr Turkin, 1917). More small parts followed in the films Kaliostro/Cagliostro (Wladyslaw Starewicz, 1918), and Posledeniye priklyucheniya Arsena Lyupena/Arsène Lupin's Last Adventures (Mikhail Doronin, 1918). In these films she was credited as Olga Chekhova.

Olga Tschechowa
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, nr. 791. Photo: Eiko-Film/Verleih E. Weil & Co.

Olga Tschechova
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5313. Photo: S. Frank / Universal-Film.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. 4188/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 4652/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

Olga Tschechowa
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5835. Photo: Dist. Gaumont Film / Nero-Film.

Blonde and Beautiful

In 1920, Olga Tschechova married an Austro-Hungarian officer, Friedrich Jaroshi, and took a train to Vienna, Austria. She had travel documents from the Russian government Commissar of Culture, and was helped by the secret service in exchange for cooperation.

Later that year she moved to Berlin, where she was introduced to Ufa producer Erich Pommer, who gave her a leading role as a baroness in Schloss Vogelöd/The Haunted Castle (F.W. Murnau, 1921).

The blonde and beautiful actress also appeared in films like the Henrik Ibsen adaptation Nora (Berthold Viertel, 1923) with Fritz Kortner, and Tatjana (Robert Dinesen, 1923) with Paul Hartmann.

Tschechova managed her breakthrough with her performance as a seductress and Grande Dame in Die Stadt der Versuchung/The City of Temptation (Walter Niebuhr, 1925).

She quickly became a huge star in Europe and played in more than 40 silent films during the decade, including the classic comedy Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie/An Italian Straw Hat (René Clair, 1927), Moulin Rouge (Ewald André Dupont, 1928), and Diane (Erich Waschneck, 1929), which was produced by her own company Tschechowa Film.

Olga was joined by her ex-husband Michael Chekhov in several films, including Der Narr Seine Liebe/The Fool of Love (1929), which she directed herself. In spite of the positive reviews this would be her only direction.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3740/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Balazs, Berlin.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4849/1, 1929-1930.

Olga Tschechowa
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5235, 1927-1928.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1590/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1590/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.


In 1930 Olga Tschechova became a German citizen. She continued her career successfully in the sound film era in Liebe im Ring/Love in the Ring (Reinhold Schünzel, 1930), the incredibly popular Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three From the Gas Station (Wilhelm Thiele, 1930), and Liebling der Götter/Darling of the Gods (Hanns Schwarz, 1930), and the German version of Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Murder, Mary (Alfred Hitchcock, 1931).

The following year Tschechova did the German-language version of The Boudoir Diplomat (Malcolm St. Clair, 1932) in Hollywood but she preferred to work in Europe. She earned the best reviews of her long career for Max Ophüls'early masterpiece Liebelei/Flirtation (1933). It was made shortly before the Nazis took over control of the German film industry and nothing would ever be the same again.

Although apolitical and quite publicly expressing her fondness for American-style comedies and musicals, Tschechova could not escape appearing in several of the so-called Friedrich-Filme, heavy-handed sturm-und-drang melodramas glorifying 18th century Prussian ruler Frederick the Great and much beloved by the political hierarchy.

To her better films of the 1930s belong Ein gewisser Herr Gran/A Certain Mr. Gran (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1933) with Hans Albers, the delightful Maskerade/Masquerade in Vienna (Willi Forst, 1934), Die Ewige Maske/The Eternal Mask (Werner Hochbaum, 1935), Burgtheater/Burg Theatre (Willi Forst, 1936), and Bel Ami (Willi Forst, 1939).

She was famous for her film image as a baroness or a countess. Olga was courted by the Luftwaffe boss Hermann Göring and by Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels, and became a personal friend of Adolf Hitler. She was photographed sitting next to the Fuhrer at official events of the Nazi Party. In 1936 she was honoured with the title of State Actress of the Third Reich.

She married a wealthy Belgian businessman Marcel Robyns, but two years later she divorced him and returned to her high society life in Berlin. In the 1940s followed well-known productions like Der Fuchs von Glenarvon/The Fox of Glenarvon (Max W. Kimmich, 1940), and Andreas Schlüter (Herbert Maisch, 1942).

She survived and protected her daughter Ada Tschechova from the Nazi anti-Semitism, by hiding the fact that her ex-husband Michael Chekhov was Jewish. Her brother Lev Knipper was held in a Nazi concentration camp and he probably also managed to survive because of her help. During the battle of Berlin, Olga hid in a bomb shelter and was seized by the Red Army.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. A 3071/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

Olga Tschechova
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3071/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Haenchen / Tobis.

Olga Tschechova
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. A 3223/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Binz.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3436/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Binz, Berlin.

Olga Tschechova
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, Berlin, no. A 3598/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tita Binz, Berlin.

Olga Tschechowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 172. Photo: Binz, Berlin. From Tatiana.

Life Is Beautiful

After the war Olga Tschechova lived in the Soviet sector of Berlin. French and British press reports stated that Olga Tschechova was a clandestine agent and was secretly decorated by the Soviet government. Eventually she managed to escape from her Soviet contacts and in 1949, she moved to Munich, Bavaria.

She played in such films as Aufruhr im Paradies/Incognito in Paradise (Joe Stöckl, 1950), Alles für Papa/Everything for Dad (Karl Hartl, 1953), Rosen-Resli/Rose-Girl Resli (Harald Reinl, 1954), Ich war ein häßliches Mädchen/I was an Ugly Girl (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1955), and U 47 - Kapitänleutnant Prien/U-47 Lt. Commander Prien (Harald Reinl, 1958).

In 1955 she launched a successful cosmetics company, Olga Tscheschowa Kosmetik Geselschaft and at the end of the 1950s she retired from the film business. In 1966, Olga's only daughter Ada died in an airplane crash. Devastated by the painful loss, Olga suffered from bouts of depression and turned to alcohol, but she survived thanks to her strong will and lust for life.

In the 1970s, she had a short comeback in the cinema. A chance to work with her famous granddaughter Vera Tschechova led to an appearance in the TV series Duell zu Dritt/Duel for Three (1971). Roles followed in the films Die Zwillinge vom Immenhof/Twins from Immen Farm (Wolfgang Schleif, 1973) and finally Frühling auf Immenhof/Springtime for Immen Farm (Wolfgang Schleif, 1974). Her remarkable acting career, spanning almost 60 years, ended with a small film role as a grandmother.

She published her memoirs. According to the book Killing Hitler (2006), by the British author Roger Moorhouse, Tschechova was pressured by Stalin and Beria to flirt with Adolf Hitler in order to gain and transfer information so that Hitler could be killed by secret Soviet agents. In her own book, Tschechova she wrote about her good contacts to the leading Nazis but she denied activities as an agent.

Moments before Olga Tschechova died in 1980 in  Munich-Obermenzing, Germany, she ordered a glass of champagne from her granddaughter Vera Tschechowa, sensing the end was near. Her last words were: “Life is beautiful!” She was 82. Her correspondence with Russian actors Olga Knipper and Alla Tarasova was published posthumously.

Scenes from Moulin Rouge (Ewald André Dupont, 1928) with Jean Bradin. Source: Radiosantos (YouTube).

Mary (Alfred Hitchcock, 1931) - complete film. Source: CINENET Deutschland (YouTube).

Olga Tschechova and Lilian Harvey sing Erst kommt ein großes Fragezeichen/First Comes A Big Question Mark in Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three From the Gas Station (1930). Source: EinLiedgehtumdieWelt (YouTube).

The final scene from Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three From the Gas Station (1930). Source: EinLiedgehtumdieWelt (YouTube).

Tschechova sings Die Liebe ist ja nur ein Spiel in Regine (1934). Source: Alparfan (YouTube).

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

Annie de Reuver (1917-2016)

Dutch singer Annie de Reuver has passed away. In the 1940s and 1950s she was one of the most popular Lady crooners, first with the big band The Ramblers and later with The Skymasters. She also appeared in one of the few Dutch film productions of the war period, the short musical Wie gaat mee?/Who will join? (1942). Her biggest hit was the song Kijk eens in de poppetjes van mijn ogen (Look into the puppets of my eyes). She was 98.

Annie de Reuver (1917-2016)
Dutch postcard, no. 962. Photo: Imperial.

Who will join?

Anna Maria Clasina de Reuver was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1917. Annie inherited her love of music from his mother's side. During her school years she started with two boys the musical trio The Rhythm Aces. Then she sang with amateur big band The Blue Blowers.

De Reuver made her debut with the popular big band The Ramblers in 1934. She was nearly eighteen years old when De Reuver auditioned for conductor Theo Uden Masman and was accepted. Soon she was heard live on national radio broadcasts. In 1935 De Reuver joined The Ramblers and the American tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins to make recordings for Decca.

During the war period, De Reuver sang Dutch songs with several orchestras, despite the prevailing dance ban imposed by the occupying forces. She performed with such contemporary singers as Teddy Scholten and Thom Kelling. She also appeared in one of the few Dutch film productions of the war period, the short musical Wie gaat mee?/Who will join? (Reinier J. Meyer, 1942). After she had refused to become a member of the Nederlandse Kultuurkamer (the Nazi driven Dutch Chamber of Culture) in 1944, she could not perform anymore.

After the war De Reuver sang with several orchestras at home and abroad. She was often on the road but got homesick. When trombonist Pi Scheffer founded The Skymasters in 1946, De Reuver joined this orchestra. From 1947 to 1949 she lived in Venezuela, where her then husband led a Philips division. Then she returned to The Skymasters. In total, she would sing five years with the orchestra, with three performances per week for the radio.

De Reuver was best known for such songs as Harmonica Jim, Wenen (Vienna), Lied van het Pierement (Song of the Pierement), Veel bittere tranen (Many bitter tears), Diep in mijn hart (Deep in my heart) and Kijk eens in de poppetjes van mijn ogen (Look into the puppets of my eyes). The last one she recorded for the first time in 1952 as a duet with Karel van der Velden and The Skymasters.

Annie de Reuver (1917-2016)
Big Dutch card.

Annie de Reuver (1917-2016)
Dutch card. Photo: Philips.


In the 1960s, Annie de Reuver often performed with the orchestra De Reuvertjes. She did tours for Dutch soldiers in the Netherlands, Germany and on ships. For years, she also sang twice a week on the radio. She often performed with contemporary artist Eddy Christiani. Around 1955, Christiani and De Reuver were repeatedly voted best Dutch vocalists by the leading Dutch magazine Tuney Tunes.

In 1968 she started as a record producer for Dureco in Amsterdam. De Reuver was quite successful in discovering and guiding Dutch talent. She spotted such artists as Oscar Harris, the Kermisklanten and Ben Cramer. For the latter, she produced his first hit: Zai Zai Zai (1967). She also discovered singer and producer Pierre Kartner a.k.a. Vader Abraham. Kartner and De Reuver recorded songs together as the Duo X.

In the early 1970s De Reuver moved to CNR Records, and later to record company Telstar. There she also discovered and promoted new talent. On a freelance basis, De Reuver also was a juror in TV talent shows at NCRV television. She later presented several radio shows.

In her seventieth, De Reuver produced the hit Kleine Jodeljongen (Little Jodel Boy, 1987) by Manke Nelis for Dureco, now as a freelancer. She occasionally appeared in nostalgic radio programs. In 1994 De Reuver received a royal decoration and the Erasmusspeld of the municipality of Rotterdam.

In 2005, the 88-years-old De Reuver performed in the Luxor Theater in Rotterdam on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the Day of Independence. To celebrate her 90th birthday, she published her book Onverbloemd (Candidly, 2007). This biography, written by journalist Rein Wolters, describes her life and career.

Annie de Reuver died as a result of complications after a fall. Actor Bas van Toor, a good friend of De Reuver, discovered she had fallen when he came to bring her donuts on New Year's Eve. The singer was still in surgery, but died a day later in her hometown Rotterdam. Annie de Reuver would have been 99 in February. She married and divorced four times and had no children.

Annie de Reuver sings Kijk Eens In De Poppetjes Van Mijn Ogen. Source: Diego Jiménez van der Rijst (YouTube).

News item on RTV Rijnmond. Source: rtvrijnmond (YouTube).

Sources: RTV Rijnmond (Dutch), Cinema en Theater (Dutch), Wikipedia (Dutch), and IMDb.

Michel Galabru (1922-2016)

Last Sunday, French actor Michel Galabru has died. He appeared in more than 250 films and worked with such directors as Bertrand Blier, Costa-Gavras, Luc Besson and Jean-Luc Godard. He is probably best known for his comedies with Louis de Funès.

Michel Galabru (1922-2016)
French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez

Michel Louis Edmond Galabru was born in Safi, French Protectorate of Morocco (now Morocco) in 1922. He spent the first seven years of his life in Safi, where his engineer father was involved in the construction of the port city. Later, he studied at the Conservatoire national d'art dramatique in Paris.

In 1962, he played in the classic film La Guerre des boutons/War of the Buttons (Yves Robert, 1962) about two rival kid gangs whose playful combats escalate into violence. Galabru appears as the father of one of the kids.

The following year, he appeared with Michel Serrault and Louis de Funès in the comedy Nous irons à Deauville/We Will Go to Deauville (Francis Rigaud, 1963).

In the following decade, he became the sidekick of De Funès in a series of wildly popular farces about the police force of Saint-Tropez, a fashionable resort on the French Riviera: Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez/The Troops of St. Tropez (Jean Girault, 1964), Le gendarme à New York/Gendarme in New York (Jean Girault, 1965), Le gendarme se marie/The Gendarme Gets Married (Jean Girault, 1967), Le gendarme en balade/The gendarme to stroll (Jean Girault, 1970), Le Gendarme et Les Extra-Terrestres/The Gendarme and the Extra-Terrestrials (Jean Girault, 1979), and finally Le gendarme et les gendarmettes/The Gendarme and the Gendarmettes (Jean Girault, Tony Aboyantz, 1982).

In all these films, Galabru played command sergeant major Gerber. He also appeared in other comedies with De Funès, such as Le Petit Baigneur/The Little Bather (Robert Dhéry, 1968) and Jo/Joe: The Busy Body (Jean Girault, 1972).

Louis de Funès
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 294. Retail price: 1,50 Lei. Photo: publicity shot for Le gendarme se marie/The Gendarme Gets Married (Jean Girault, 1968) with Louis de Funès and Geneviève Grad.

La Cage aux Folles

Michel Galabru appeared during his career in more than 250 films. In 1977, Galabru received a César for Best Actor for his portrayal of mass murderer Joseph Bouvier in Bertrand Tavernier's Le Juge et l'assassin/The Judge and the Assassin (1976) opposite Philippe Noiret.

He also worked with such prominent directors as Costa-Gavras for Section special/Special Section (1975), Bertrand Blier for Notre histoire/Our Story (1984), Luc Besson for Subway (1985), and Jean-Luc Godard for Soigne ta droite/Keep Your Right Up (1987).

Galabru kept appearing in popular comedies and played with Louis de Funès in the Moliere adaptation L’avare/The Miser (Louis de Funès, Jean Girault, 1980).

He also worked with Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault on the hilarious drag queen farce La Cage aux Folles (Édouard Molinaro, 1978) and its sequels La Cage aux Folles II (Édouard Molinaro, 1980), and La cage aux folles 3 - 'Elles' se marient/La Cage aux Folles 3: The Wedding (Georges Lautner, 1985).

His later films include the drama Mon Homme/My Man (Bertrand Blier, 1996) with Anouk Grinberg, and Astérix & Obélix contre César/Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar (Claude Zidi, 1999), the first feature of what went on to become a series of live-action films based on Goscinny and Uderzo's Astérix comics.

He also appeared in the drama Un poison violent/Love Like Poison (Katell Quillévéré, 2010) starring Clara Augarde and Lio. It won the Prix Jean Vigo in 2010.

Michel Galabru died on 4 January 2016 in Paris of natural causes. He was married twice and had four children, including actress Emmanuelle Galabru. At the time of his death he was involved in several new film projects, including Ouvert la nuit (Edouard Baer, 2016) in which he co-stars with Audrey Tatou.

Trailer for Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez/The Troops of St. Tropez (1964). Source: Kanal von STUTTGART/BW (YouTube).

Trailer for Un poison violent/Love Like Poison (2010). Source: PalaceFilms.

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

Imported from the USA: Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was an American film and theatre actress, singer and dancer. She is perhaps best known for being the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954). She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Porgy and Bess (Otto Preminger, 1959). Dandridge also appeared in a few European films.

Dorothy Dandridge
German postcard by ISV. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Publicity still for Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954).

Dorothy Dandridge
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, WP no. 14. Photo: Centfox.

Dorothy Dandridge
Vintage photo.

The Wonder Children

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born in, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruby Dandridge (née Ruby Jean Butler), an entertainer, and Cyril H. Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister.

Under the prodding of her mother, Dorothy and her sister Vivian Dandridge began performing publicly, as the Wonder Children, later The Dandridge Sisters, usually in black Baptist churches throughout the country. Her mother would often join her daughters on stage.

During her early career, Dorothy appeared in a succession of films, usually in uncredited roles. Her film debut was a bit role in the Marx Brothers comedy, A Day at the Races (Sam Wood, 1937). She also performed as a vocalist in the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.

Her breakthrough was her title role in the all-black production of Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954). Dandridge's performance as the sultry title character made her one of Hollywood's first African-American sex symbols. Carmen Jones became a worldwide success, eventually earning over $10 million at the box office and becoming one of the year's highest-earning films.

Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in Carmen Jones (1954)
Yugoslavian postcard by IOM, Beograd. Photo: Sedmo Silo. Publicity still for Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954) with Harry Belafonte.

Dorothy Dandridge
Vintage postcard, no. 2022.

Dorothy Dandridge and Alex Cressan in Tamango (1958)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1276, 1960. Photo: publicity still for Tamango (John Berry, 1958) with Alex Cresson.

An extremely intimate loving embrace

In 1957, after a three-year absence from film acting, Dorothy Dandridge agreed to appear in the film version of Island in the Sun (Robert Rossen, 1957), opposite an ensemble cast, including James Mason, Harry Belafonte, Joan Fontaine, Joan Collins, and Stephen Boyd.

Island in the Sun was controversial for its time, and the script was revised numerous times to accommodate the Production Code requirements about interracial relationships. There occurred, however, an extremely intimate loving embrace between Dandridge and John Justin that succeeded in not breaching the code. Despite the behind-the-scenes controversy and unfavorable critical reviews, the film was one of the year's biggest successes.

Dandridge next starred opposite Curd Jürgens in the Italian production of Tamango (John Berry, 1958). A reluctant Dandridge had agreed to appear in the film only after learning that it focused on a nineteenth century slave revolt on a cargo ship travelling from Africa to Cuba.

However, Dandridge nearly withdrew her involvement when the initial script called for her to swim in the nude and spend the majority of the film in a two-piece bathing suit made of rags. When Dandridge threatened to leave the film, the script and her wardrobe was retooled to her liking.

In 1959, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Porgy and Bess (Otto Preminger, 1959). However, when the film was released, it was critically bashed and failed to recoup its financial investment.

Dorothy Dandridge
German postcard by Ufa (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-129. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Gerard Decaux. Publicity still for Tamango (John Berry, 1958).

Dorothy Dandridge
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 82.

Mysterious circumstances

Dorothy Dandridge next filmed a low-budget British thriller Malaga (László Benedek, 1960) in which she played a European woman with an Italian name. The film, co-starring Trevor Howard and Edmund Purdom, plotted a jewel robbery and its aftermath.

Howard and Dandridge created some strongly understated sexual tension in the film. Malanga was withheld from a theatrical release abroad until 1960, but went unreleased in the United States until 1962. It was her final completed film appearance.

Dandridge was married and divorced twice. From 1942 till 1951, she was married to dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers. They had a daughter, Harolyn Suzanne Nicholas, who was born brain-damaged.

In 1959 she married hotel owner Jack Denison. They divorced in 1962 amid financial setbacks and allegations of domestic violence. At this time, Dandridge discovered that the people who were handling her finances had swindled her out of $150,000 and that she was $139,000 in debt for back taxes.

In 1965, Dorothy Dandridge died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 42. She is the subject of the HBO biographical film, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (Martha Coolidge, 1999) with Halle Berry.

Trailer Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954). Source: AgelessTrailers (YouTube).

Clip from Tamango (John Berry, 1958). Source: ClassicBlackCinema's channel (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)

Last Wednesday, gorgeous Italian actress Silvana Pampanini died. She knew enormous popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1950s, before Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida reached stardom, Pampanini was one of the most well-known symbols of Italian beauty. Silvana Pampanini was 90.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Belgian collectors card by Merbotex, Bruxelles / Ciné Rio, Flénu, no. 30. Photo: Unitalia Films.

Silvana Pampanini
French postcard by Editions du Globe, (E.D.U.G.). no. 462. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Silvana Pampanini
French postcard by Editions du Globe, (E.D.U.G.). no. 348. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Silvana Pampanini
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 494. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Belgian collectors card by Merbotex, Bruxelles / Palace Izegem, no. 19. Photo: Unitalia Films.

The Toast of Weeklies and Film Magazines

Silvana Pampanini was born in Rome in 1925. Her family had moved there from the Veneto some three centuries ago.

Pampanini got her law degree during the war and visited the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia where she got a degree in piano and song. As a singer, the young Pampanini made career within entertainment music. Her songs were widespread on unique records, and she even got an audience with pope Pio XII. Over the years she also was a frequent visitor of the opera seasons. Her cousin was the soprano Rosetta Pampanini.

When the Second World War was over, her singing master inscribed her for the Miss Italia contest in Stresa in September 1946 which she won ex aequo with Rossana Martini, thanks to a fierce audience reaction after Martin had originally been chosen by the jury. Her Miss Italia title was her introduction to a career in the cinema.

Pampanini made her debut in the film L’Apocalisse/Apocalypse (Giuseppe Maria Scottese, 1948) and went on to perform in various films, often musicals. She became also the toast of weeklies and film magazines. Her father, who originally had been against his daughter's acting career, became her agent. Even if she was dubbed in her first roles, Pampanini became a star.

The sexy actress performed with all the great actors of the postwar Italian cinema: Totò, Peppino De Filippo, Alberto Sordi, Vittorio De Sica, Marcello Mastroianni, Nino Manfredi, Vittorio Gassman, Walter Chiari, Amedeo Nazzari, Raf Vallone, Massimo Girotti, Ugo Tognazzi, Rossano Brazzi, and Massimo Serato.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
German collectors card by Greiling Sammelbilder in the series Filmstars der Welt, 2. Band, Serie E, no. 102. Photo: Allianz Film. Publicity still for O.K. Nerone/O.K. Nero (Mario Soldati, 1951).

Silvana Pampanini
Vintage card.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 339. Photo: Minerva Film.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 668. Sent by mail in 1966. Photo: Minerva Film.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 125. Photo: Ponti - De Laurentiis.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 482. Sent by mail in 1960.

Beauty on a Bike

In the 1950s, Silvana Pampanini played in one film after another and many of her films were distributed worldwide. Well known was for instance the Dino de Laurentiis production I pompieri di Viggiù/The Firemen of Viggiu (Mario Mattoli, 1949), with Totò. Ennio Flaiano considered it rather a series of vaudeville acts than a film, and thus preceding TV vaudeville.

With the Quo vadis? parody OK Nerone/O.K. Nero (Mario Soldati, 1951), Pampanini had her first international success as Empress Poppea, opposite Gino Cervi as Nero, and Walter Chiari and Carlo Campanini as two American sailors who dream that they are in Nero’s Rome. In the romantic comedy Bellezze in bicicletta/Beauties on a Bike (Carlo Campogalliani, 1951) she formed a pair with Delia Scala and sang one of the most beloved songs of the time: Bellezza in bicicletta.

In 1952 Pampanini performed in the much awarded Processo alla città/The City Stands Trial (Luigi Zampa, 1952), starring Amedeo Nazzari; La presidentessa/Mademoiselle Gobete (Pietro Germi, 1952), and La tratta delle bianche/White Slave Trade (Luigi Comencini, 1952). The latter also casted Eleonora Rossi-Drago, Tamara Lees and (in a smaller part) Sophia Loren, but the leading men Vittorio Gassman and Marc Lawrence both have set their eyes on Silvana.

In 1953 Pampanini played in an episode of Un giorno in pretura (Steno, 1953) for which her make-up man transformed her in a lady 30 years older. That year she was also the title character in the melodrama Un marito per Anna Zaccheo/A Husband for Anna (Giuseppe de Santis, 1953), which costarred Amedeo Nazzari and Massimo Girotti.

In 1955 Pampanini performed opposite Alberto Sordi and Paolo Stoppa in the comedy La bella di Roma/The Belle of Rome (Luigi Comencini, 1955), and she played in the box office hit Racconti romani/Roman Tales (Gianni Franciolini, 1955), based on a story by Alberto Moravia, and starring Franco Fabrizi. Finally Pampanini played in the Italian-Yugoslavian coproduction La strada lunga un anno/The Year Long Road (Giuseppe De Santis, 1958), an Oscar candidatein 1959 and Golden Globe winner for best foreign picture.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 493. Photo: Vaselli, Roma / Generalcine Film. Publicity still for La donna che inventò l'amore/The Woman Who Invented Love (Ferruccio Cerio, 1952).

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 2246. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. FK 2247. Photo: Dial - Unitalia Film, Roma.

Silvana Pampanini
Franco-German card by Ufa, Berlin/ Editions P.I., Paris. Photo: Unitalia Film

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. T 603. Photo: Döring Film GmbH. Publicity still for Königsmark (Solange Térac, 1953).

Declining Diva

Even when she was in America, Silvana Pampanini refused to act in Hollywood, presumably because her English was not good enough. She did play in France, where she was known as Niní Pampan. Examples are La tour de Nesle/Tower of Lust (Abel Gance, 1955) in which she played Marguerite de Bourgogne opposite Pierre Brasseur as Jehan Buridan, and La loi des rues/Law of the Streets (Ralph Habib, 1956), with Raymond Pellegrin.

She also played in films in Spain, where she starred in La principessa delle Canarie/The Island Princess (Paolo Moffa, Carlos Serrano de Osma, 1954), Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Argentine, and in particular in Mexico, where she played in some films that never were released in Italy, such as Sed de amor/Thirst for Love (Alfonso Corona Blake, 1959) with Pedro Armendariz, and the comedy Napoleoncito (Gilberto Martinez Solares, 1964).

In the meantime the yellow press published about Pampanini's flirts with prince Ahmad Shah Khan, Tyrone Power, William Holden, George DeWitt, Omar Sharif, Orson Welles, king Faruq of Egypt and others. Pampanini herself told that her one true love, a ten years older man, not involved in cinema and never identified, died of a disease one month before their wedding. After a brief experience as director and screenwriter in 1958, Pampanini slowed down her film career and focused on radio and TV, where she worked as announcer and host.

In 1964 Dino Risi directed her in Il gaucho/The Gaucho (Dino Risi, 1964), a partly autobiographical film in which Silvana played a declining diva, who pathetically searches for her lost glory and for a millionaire to marry. In 1966, after a career of twenty years, Pampanini retired in order to assist her aging parents whom she took care of till their death. She returned for one last role as a prostitute in an episode of Mazzabubù... Quante corna stanno quaggiù? (Mariano Laurenti, 1971) with Giancarlo Giannini and Sylva Koscina. After that she was only visible once more, as herself in Tassinaro (Alberto Sordi, 1983).

In the TV mini-series Tre stelle (Pier Francesco Pingitore, 1999) she had a bit part as the old mother of Alba Parietti and in the fall of 2002 she hosted the TV-show Domenica In during two months. Pampanini was devoted to Padre Pio and San Antonio. She never married nor had any children. However, she was proud that once Totò proposed to her, on the set of 47 morto che parla (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1950), even if he asked in vain.

In her roaring years Pampanini was not very beloved by the critics and she did not receive important awards, which caused her in her autobiography Scandalosamente perbene (Shockingly respectable, 1996), to compare herself with Greta Garbo. Pampanini never was afraid to keep silent, so in December 2006 she publicly mocked Gina Lollobrigida for marrying a much younger man, and when in 2008 mayor Walter Veltroni did not invite her for the Festa del Cinema in Rome, she started a serious polemic.

In 2007 she did participate in the festivities of 70 years Cinecittà and in 2009 she hosted the Mostra del Cinema dello Stretto which brought a warm welcome and the recognition of her career. Though living in Monaco, Pampanini was nominated Grande ufficiale dell'ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2003 by president Ciampi. In September 2009 she returned at the Venice film festival for the projection of the restored version of Noi cannibali/We Cannibals (Antonio Leonviola, 1953), a film inserted in the section Questi fantasmi 2 (These ghosts 2), dedicated to Italian films to be reconsidered. Silvana Pampanini died on 6 January 2016 in Rome, Italy.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
French postcard. Silvana Pampanini greets the representative of the Mexican production.

Silvana Pampanini
East-German card by VEB Progress Film Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 511. Photo: Unitalia Film.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Russian postcard, no. 17860, 1959.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Russian postcard, no. M 49010, 1960.

Silvana Pampanini (1925-2016)
Russian postcard, no. M 49010.18, 1960.

Scene from Bellezze in bicicletta/Beauties on a Bike (1951). (No subtitles). Source: always the sun (YouTube).

“Ma dove vai bellezza in bicicletta,
così di fretta pedalando con ardor?
Le gambe snelle tornite e belle
m'hanno già messo la passione dentro al cuor!”

Sources: Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb.

EFSP's Dazzling Dozen: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

In the fantasy world of the cinema, cigarettes have always been one of the ultimate props. On the silver screen, a lit square can lent an air of rebellion to the smoker, who suddenly becomes more charming or sultry. Yes, filmmakers know that smoking leads to increased risks of stroke and lung diseases like emphysema. In the 1980s, Hollywood responded to no-smoking campaigns by cutting the rate at which its stars lit up on-screen to 4.9 times per hour, less than half the 1950s rate of 10.7. But in a recent study, the on-screen smoking rate has shot back up to 10.9. Twelve postcards that show that smoking often looks cool. Often, not always.

Pola Negri
Pola Negri. Italian postcard by Ed. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze. Photo: publicity still for Good and Naughty (Malcolm St. Clair, 1926).

Rina de Liguoro
Rina de Liguoro. Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 381.

Ossi Oswalda
Ossi Oswalda. French postcard in the Europe series, no. 590. Photo: Agence Européenne Cinematographique.

René Alexandre
René Alexandre. French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 57. Photo: Sabourin. Caption: Alexandre de la Comédie Française.

Gustav Fröhlich
Gustav Fröhlich. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5196/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa.

Jean Servais in Jeunesse
Jean Servais. French postcard. Photo: Forster / Films Epoc. Publicity still for Jeunesse/Youth (Georges Lacombe, 1934).

André Luguet
André Luguet. French postcard by Editions Chantal, Rueil, no. 587a. Photo: Sirius.

Willy Fritsch
Willy Fritsch. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5858/4, 1930-1931. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Im Geheimdienst/In Secret Service (Gustav von Ucicky, 1931), a spy film set in Russia in World War One.

Annabella and Gustav Fröhlich in Sonnenstrahl
Annabella and Gustav Fröhlich. Dutch postcard by City Film, no. 512. Photo: publicity still for the Austrian film Sonnenstrahl/Ray of Sunlight (Pål Fejös, 1933).

Adrian Hoven
Adrian Hoven. German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 1888. Photo: Eva-Film / RKO-Film. Publicity still for Solange Du Lebst/As Long as You Live (Harald Reinl, 1955).

Xavier Cugat
Abbe Lane and Xavier Cugat. Promotion card by Philips, no. GF 025 66/13.

Serge Gainsbourg
Serge Gainsbourg. French postcard, no. A100.

And no, here at EFSP, we don't smoke.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Sources: Gerard Gilbert (The Independent), and Javy Rodriguez (Complex).

Jaecki Schwarz

As a student, Jaecki Schwarz (1946) had his breakthrough with his lead role in the war film Ich war neunzehn/I was nineteen (Konrad Wolf, 1968). With his non-conventional acting style and his dry humour, he became a popular actor in dozens of DEFA films and East-German TV productions.

Jaecki Schwarz
East-German card by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 3297, 1968. Photo: Uhlenhut.

Jaecki Schwarz
East-German card by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 134/69, 1969. Photo: Uhlenhut.

I was nineteen

Jaecki Schwarz was born in Berlin in 1946. He attended the Alexander von Humboldt high school in Berlin, and completed an apprenticeship as a photo chemical technician. Then he applied twice at various drama schools, but after the aptitude test he was rejected. On the third try he succeeded and between 1965 and 1969, he studied at the Konrad Wolf Academy of Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg.

Still he student, he became famous when he starred in the DEFA film Ich war neunzehn/I was nineteen (Konrad Wolf, 1968). In this film, Schwarz plays a young German, Gregor Hecker, who when he was eight fled the Nazis with his parents to Moscow. In early 1945, he returns to Germany as a lieutenant in the Red Army and is confronted with the dilemma of having to fight men from the very country he was born in. The film depicts the personal experiences of the director Konrad Wolf and of his friend Vladimir Gall in fictionalised form and deals with themes of the meaning of ‘homeland’.

William Shackleford at IMDb: “The intent of the movie, made in the GDR at a time when they were barraged with propaganda trying to make them believe that Russians were their friends, is obvious. Nevertheless, I did enjoy watching it, because even propaganda can be interesting for what it is.”

During its original run, Ich war neunzehn sold 3,317,966 tickets and this made it one of the highest grossing DEFA films ever. Schwaerz played leading roles in DEFA films like Weite Strassen stille Liebe/Wide streets silent love (Herrmann Zschoche, 1969) with Manfred Krug, Du und ich und Klein-Paris/You and Me and Little-Paris (Werner W. Wallroth, 1971), and Die Schlüssel/The Key (Egon Günther, 1972) starring Jutta Hoffmann.

He also became also a busy theatre actor and played on the stages of the City theatre of Magdeburg (1969-1974), the Berliner Ensemble (1974-1997) and at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin. However, Schwarz appeared particularly in countless television films.

Jaecki Schwarz
Big East-German card by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 351/60, 1969. Photo: Uhlenhut.

Jaecki Schwarz
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 207/70, 1970. Photo: Uhlenhut.

Police Call 110

During the 1970s, Jaecki Schwarz played supporting parts in such films as the fairy tale Das blaue Licht/The Blue Light (Iris Gusner, 1976) and the comedy Einfach Blumen aufs Dach/Simply flowers on the roof (Roland Oehme, 1979).

During the following decades he played supporting parts in films, e.g. in Bürgschaft für ein Jahr/Guarantee for one year (Herrmann Zschoche, 1981), the comedy Märkische Forschungen/Exploring the Brandenburg Marches (Roland Gräf, 1982), the family film Hasenherz/Rabbit heart (Gunter Friedrich, 1988) and the road movie Burning Life (Peter Welz, 1994) with Maria Schrader, but he worked more and more for TV.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Schwarz easily continued his television career. From 1996 on, he played police chief Herbert Schmücke in the long-running Krimi series Polizeiruf 110/Police Call 110. The series was originally created in the GDR as a counterpart to the West German Krimi series Tatort, and quickly became a public favourite. Schwarz’s 50th and final case in the series was broadcast on 3 March 2013. In the ZDF series Ein starkes Team/A strong team (1994-), Schwarz plays the supporting role of Sputnik.

In 2004, Schwarz officially announced that he is gay. Schwarz is one of the members of the Board of Trustees of the Initiative Queer Nations. In addition, he serves as a honorary ambassador of a Children's Foundation Hospice Central. in Tambach-Dietharz.

Jaecki Schwarz has appeared in more than 120 films and TV productions. He lives in Berlin.

Jaecki Schwarz
German promotion card by Das Erste MDR Fernsehen, Leipzig. Photo: fmp Hillert. Publicity still for Polizeiruf 110/Police Call 110 (1996-2013).

Jaecki Schwarz in Polizeiruf 110
German promotion card by Das Erste MDR Fernsehen, Leipzig. Photo: MDR / Martin Jehnichen. Publicity still for Polizeiruf 110/Police Call 110 (1996-2013).

Trailer Hasenherz/Rabbit heart (Gunter Friedrich, 1988). Source: DEFA-Stiftung (YouTube).

Sources: Ines Walk (FilmZeit.de – German), Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

Maria Widal

Maria Widal started her career in the silent Danish cinema, credited as Luzzy Werren. In 1916, director Urban Gad built her up as a star for the German cinema and he directed nearly all her German films. She made her last film in 1920.

Maria Widal
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 2859. Photo: Saturnfilm.

Luzzy Werren

According to Den Danske Film Database, Maria Widal was a German actress, but nor her birth place nor her birth date are known.

In 1914, she started her career as a film actress in Denmark, where she made 17 silent films. In Danmark she was known as Luzzy Werne or Luzzy Werren.

She made her film debut with a small role as an adventurer in Under Vampyrens Kløer/In the claws of the vampire (1914). She also appeared in the Danish comedy Man skal ikke skue Hunden paa Haarene (Sofus Wolder, 1914) for the Nordisk Film Kompagni.

For Nordisk, she also made the comedies Min Ven Levy/My Friend Levy (Holger Madsen, 1914), and Endelig alene/Finally alone (Holger Madsen, 1914), both with Carl Schenstrom, later part of the famous comedy duo Fy og Bi or Pat & Patachon.

The following years, she made with director Aage Brandt such dramas as Skyldig - ikke skyldig/Guilty - not guilty (Aage Brandt, 1915) and Karfunkeldronningen/Carbuncle Queen (Aage Brandt, 1916) for the Filmfabrikken Skandinavien.

For Nordisk, she appeared with Valdemar Psilander in Det stjaalne ansigt/The Solen Face (Holger Madsen, 1916).

Maria Widal
German postcard by NPG, no. 889. Photo: Anny Eberth, Berlin.

Maria Widal
German postcard by NPG, no. 890. Photo: Anny Eberth, Berlin.

Urban Gad

In 1916, actress Maria Widal was built up by director Urban Gad as a new film star for the German cinema.

She made her German film debut for Saturn-Film in the German-Danish coproduction Der rote Streifen/The red stripe (Urban Gad, 1916) with Ernst Hofmann.

In the next years followed many other productions for Saturn-Film, including Die verschlossene Tür/The locked door (Urban Gad, 1917) with Albert Paul, Vera Panina (Urban Gad, 1918), and Der Schmuck des Rajah/The jewellery of the Rajah (Urban Gad, 1918).

After World War I, Widal starred in Irenes Fehltritt/Irene's misstep (Fritz Bernhardt, 1919) and Im Rausche der Sinne/In the poisoning of the senses (Ernst Sachs, 1919).

In 1920, Maria Widal already made her last films, Das Lied der Tränen/The Song of Tears (Fritz Bernhardt, 1920) and Graf Festenberg/Count Festenberg (1922) directed by Friedrich Zelnik and starring Charles Willy Kayser.

We could not find more information about Maria Widal. Any suggestions?

Maria Widal
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 112/3. Photo: Nicola Perscheid, Berlin.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Den danske film database (Danish) and IMDb.

David Bowie (1947-2016)

What a shock! David Bowie is dead. The English musician and actor was a major pop star for over four decades. During the 1970s, he was a magnificent innovator, we love his album Changes. With various stage and film roles, he showed to be a fine actor too. Bowie died of cancer, 69 years young.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
British postcard by Underground, no. U525. Ziggie.

David Bowie
American postcard by Fotofolio, no. P 254. Photo: Terry O'Neill, 1975.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
British postcard in the British Film Year Series. Photo: David James / Thorn EMI. Publicity still for The Man who Fell to the Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976).

David Bowie (1947-2016)
American postcard by Fotofolio, New York, NY., no. GG 21. Photo: Greg Gorman, 1987.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
Dutch postcard by Art Unlimited, Amsterdam, no. 010a. Photo: Claude Vanheye.

Flamboyant, Androgynous Alter Ego

David Bowie was born as David Robert Haywood Jones in Brixton, London in 1947. His mother, Margaret Mary ‘Peggy’ née Burns, worked as a cinema usherette, while his father, Haywood Stenton ‘John’ Jones, was a promotions officer for Barnardo's. David's interest in music was stimulated when his father brought home a collection of American 45’s by artists including The Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. He studied art, music, and design, including layout and typesetting. After Terry Burns, his half-brother, introduced him to modern jazz, his enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic alto saxophone in 1961.

A year later, the 15-years old Davy Jones formed his first band The Konrads, playing guitar-based rock & roll at local youth gatherings and weddings. Several bands followed, without success. To prevent confusion with Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, he renamed himself after the 19th century American frontiersman Jim Bowie and the knife he had popularised. David Bowie studied dramatic arts under dancer Lindsay Kemp, from avant-garde theatre and mime to commedia dell'arte. Bowie became immersed in the creation of personae to present to the world. Kemp gave him the role of Cloud in his theatrical production Pierrot in Turquoise (1967).

In the black-and-white short The Image (Michael Armstrong, 1969), Bowie played a ghostly boy who emerges from a troubled artist's (Michael Byrne) painting to haunt him. Bowie also made a brief appearance in The Virgin Soldiers (John Dexter, 1969). In April 1969, he met Angela Barnett (also known as Angie Bowie) and they would marry within a year. Her impact on him was immediate, and her involvement in his career far-reaching. In 1971, they had a son, later film director Duncan Jones, also known as Zowie Bowie.

David Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song Space Oddity reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. It was released at the time of the moon landing. Despite the fact that the literal meaning of the lyrics relates to an astronaut who is lost in space, this song was used by the BBC in their coverage of the moon landing, and this helped it become such a success. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single Starman and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, a concept album about a space-age rock star.

The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation. In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single Fame and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as ‘plastic soul’. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low (1977) — the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. The so-called Berlin Trilogy albums (Low, Heroes and Lodger) all reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
British postcard by Cult Images Ltd., Enfield, Middlesex, no. PC 108. Photo: Ray Stevenson. Beckenham '69.

David Bowie
French postcard by Ebullitions, no. 8.

David Bowie
German postcard by O & P Agi-Sydney, Stauffenberg, no. CP 770.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
British postcard by Pyramid, Leicester, no. PC 8030. Photo: Bowie as Ziggie Stardust, live.

David Bowie (1947-2016)
French postcard by Humour à la Carte, Paris, no. 3401. Photo: J.L. Rancurel. David Bowie at the Pavillon de Paris, 1976.


In 1976 David Bowie earned acclaim for his first major film role. In The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) he played an unhappy alien from a dying planet who becomes a famous industrialist and pop star as he tries to find a way home. Mark Deming at AllMovie: “While Bowie doesn't come off as a terribly skilled actor, he's highly effective as an alien presence (and his character's jittery paranoia got an unexpected boost from Bowie's well-documented cocaine abuse in this period), and he manages to radiate a human sense of sadness and loss while maintaining a cold, unearthly emotional distance.”

His performance helped the film become a modest box-office success. His next film, the Anglo-German co-production Schöner Gigolo, Armer Gigolo/Just a Gigolo (David Hemmings, 1979), saw Bowie in the lead role as Prussian officer Paul von Przygodski, who, returning from World War I, is discovered by a Baroness (Marlene Dietrich in her final screen performance) and put into her gigolo stable. However the critics were negative and the Sunday Mirror considered Bowie ‘completely miscast’.

In this period, his commercial success as a recording artist was also uneven. Towards the end of the 1970s, Bowie finally kicked his drug habit and had smash hits with the single Ashes to Ashes (1980), its parent album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and the single Under Pressure (1981), a collaboration with Queen. On Broadway he earned high praise for his expressive performance in The Elephant Man. He played the part 157 times between 1980 and 1981.

Bowie did a cameo performance as himself in a concert sequence in the German film Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (Ulrich Edel, 1981). The soundtrack of the film about a young girl's drug addiction in West-Berlin featured much material from his Berlin Trilogy albums. Bowie then starred as a vampire in The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983), with Catherine Deneuve.

That same year, he played Major Jack Celliers, a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983), based on Laurens van der Post's novel The Seed and the Sower. Bowie also had a cameo in the pirate comedy Yellowbeard (Mel Damski, 1983) created by Monty Python members. In 1983, he also reached a new commercial peak with the album Let's Dance, which yielded several hit singles. The tour which followed, Serious Moonlight, was his most successful ever.

David Bowie
French postcard by Underground, no. U 182. Photo: publicity still for The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).

David Bowie (1947-2016)
French postcard by Euro Images, St. Jean de Veudas, no. CP 57. Photo: publicity still for Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo/Just a Gigolo (David Hemmings, 1978).

David Bowie
French Postcard by Les Editions Gil in the série chanteurs, no. 76. Publicity still for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983).

David Bowie (1947-2016)
British postcard. Photo: publicity still for The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983).

David Bowie (1947-2016)
French postcard by Editions Humour à la Carte, Paris, no. ST-127. Photo: publicity still for Absolute Beginners (Julien Temple, 1986).

The Next Day

David Bowie declined to play the villain Max Zorin in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985), but accepted a small part as Colin, the hitman in the comedy-thriller Into the Night (John Landis, 1985). He also played a small part in Absolute Beginners (Julien Temple, 1986), a rock musical featuring Bowie's music.

About his role as the Goblin King in the dark fantasy Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986), Andrea LeVasseur writes at AllMovie:“The actor most notable is David Bowie as the villain Jareth, whose glam rock wig and revealing tights give a nod to his former alter ego Ziggy Stardust. He is quite possibly the high point of the film, contributing to songwriting and creating an alluring figure in Jareth that rightfully could be borne of a young girl's imagination.” Two years later he played Pontius Pilate in the controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988).

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, David Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. He also continued to act in films. He portrayed a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in The Linguini Incident (Richard Shephard, 1991), and the mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch, 1992). He took a small but pivotal role as Andy Warhol in the biopic Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996), and co-starred in the spaghetti western Il Mio West/Gunslinger's Revenge (Giovanni Veronesi, 1998) as the most feared gunfighter in the region.

Bowie played the ageing gangster Bernie in Everybody Loves Sunshine (Andrew Goth, 1999), and appeared in the TV horror serial of The Hunger. In Mr. Rice's Secret (2000), he played the title role as the neighbour of a terminally ill twelve-year-old, and appeared as himself in Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001). He portrayed physicist Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006), about the bitter rivalry between two magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) in the late 19th century. In August (Austin Chick, 2008), he played a supporting role as Ogilvie, alongside Josh Hartnett.

Bowie did not tour since the 2003–2004 Reality Tour and did not perform live since 2006. In 2013, he returned with the studio album The Next Day— his first in ten years. The album was produced by Bowie's longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. The music video of the track The Stars (Are Out Tonight) starred Tilda Swinton as Bowie's wife, and also featured young models Saskia de Brauw, Andrej Pejic, and Iselin Steiro. Tim Blanks at Style File Blog: "This particular offering toys with the androgyny, the bravado, the decadence, the desire that turns an ordinary human being into a raving fan. " The video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who was also behind the videos for Bowie's Little Wonder (1996) and Dead Man Walking (1997).

On 8 January 2016, the date of David Bowie's 69th birthday, his final studio album Blackstar was released; he died two days later. Throughout his career, Bowie has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’, and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time. Since 1992 Bowie was married to Somali-American model Iman. They had one daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones (2000).

Official video for David Bowie Space Oddity. Source: David Bowie (YouTube).

Trailer The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Source: LionsgateVOD (YouTube).

Trailer Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983). Source: kasoooo (YouTube).

Trailer The Hunger (1983). Source: 28march2008 (YouTube).

Trailer Labyrinth (1986). Source: SonyPicsHomeEntWorld (YouTube).

Sources: Mark Deming (AllMovie), Andrea LeVasseur (AllMovie), Dara O’Kearney (IMDb), Tim Blanks (Style File Blog), AllMovie, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Ruth Leuwerik (1924-2016)

Yesterday, actress Ruth Leuwerik passed away. In the 1950s she and co-star O.W. Fischer were Germany's favourite couple. The German box office queen played Maria in Die Trapp-Familie (1956), the original version of The Sound of Music. She was 91.

Ruth Leuwerik
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof (Ufa), no. CK 117. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm.

Ruth Leuwerik
Belgian postcard by Edition H. Troukens, Hofstade. Photo: Ufa.

Ruth Leuwerik
German postcard printed by ISV, no. H 49.

Ruth Leuwerik (1924-2016)
Big German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. FP 4. Photo: Theo Huster.

Dieter Borsche

Ruth Leuwerik was born in Essen, Germany, in 1924. She made her stage debut during the war with the touring company of the Landestheaters Münster.

Her film career started with a supporting role in 13 unter einem Hut/13 Under a Hat (Johannes Meyer, 1950), but the film was not a hit.

When she was introduced to film actor Dieter Borsche, he made her his leading lady in Vater braucht eine Frau/Father Needs A Woman (Harald Braun, 1952).

The comedy became a surprise hit and the two leads immediately made another box office smash, Die große Versuchung/The Big Temptation (Rolf Hansen, 1952).

In 1953 she had her definitive breakthrough with four films. In the romantic melodrama Ein Herz spielt falsch/A Heart's Foul Play (Rudolf Jugert, 1953) she played for the first time with O.W. Fischer. They became the beloved Traumpaar (Dream couple) of the German public.

In Königliche Hoheit/His Royal Highness (Harald Braun, 1953) she was an American heiress raised in Europe, who falls in love with a handsome but shy German prince (Dieter Borsche). The story was adapted from a novel by Thomas Mann, who was pleased with the film version.

Ruth Leuwerik
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3331. Photo: Ufa / Arthur Grimm / Divina Film.

Ruth Leuwerik
Dutch postcard, no. 63.

Ruth Leuwerik
Dutch postcard, no. 5942. Photo: Gloria.

Ruth Leuwerik (1924-2016)
Dutch postcard by DRC Holland, no. 3015. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Divina / Gloria Film / Ufa.


Ruth Leuwerik played in many costume pictures, including Ludwig II/Mad Emperor: Ludwig II (Helmut Käutner, 1955) as Elisabeth of Austria with O.W. Fischer as her nephew Ludwig II, and Rosen im Herbst/Roses in the Autumn (Rudolf Jugert, 1955), based on Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest. It seemed to become her trademark.

Her career was revitalized with Die Trapp-Familie/The Trapp Family (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1956) and the sequel Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika/The Trapp Family in America (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1958) about the free spirited nun and nanny Maria who becomes Baroness Von Trapp.

At IMDb,Maurice de Saxe writes about Die Trapp-Familie: "Largely forgotten today, the pic holds up quite well. The story is not too exciting, there's nothing that might offend blue-noses and all takes place against an pastoral background of green meadows and snow-capped mountains. Ruth Leuwerik does what she can with the wafer-thin part and her warmth and natural beauty prevent the whole thing form being too syrupy."

Together with the box office success of the war camp drama Taiga (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1958) these films made her the most popular German film star of the late 1950s. She was beloved by female filmgoers, because of her independent, professionally successful characters.

In the 1960s her film popularity waned. The well-intended but somewhat muddled Die Rote/Redhead (Helmut Käutner, 1962) sealed her fate as box-office cyanide after a string of flops. But according to reviewer Jan de Witt at IMDb her performance in this film is "very subtle, giving the over-complicated story its little coherence."

After this film she started to work mainly for TV, including guest appearances in the Krimi series Derrick (1978-1983). Her last film was Unordnung und Fruehes Leid/Disorder And Early Torment (Frans Seitz, 1977) with Martin Held.

Among her many awards are the Filmband in Gold in 1974 and the Großen Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Germany's Cross of merit) in 1980.

Ruth Leuwerik died in Munich on 12 January 2016. She was married three times, to actor Herbert Fleischmann, singer-conductor Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and to Dr. Heinz Purper.

Ruth Leuwerik
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden/Westf., no. 397. Photo: Weisse / Divina / Gloria.

Ruth Leuwerik
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 4262. Photo: Ufa/Film-Foto / Leo Weisse / Divina Film.

Ruth Leuwerik
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. FT 33. Photo: CCC / Gloria / Grimm. Publicity still for Auf Wiedersehen, Franziska!/Goodbye, Franziska! (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1957).

Scene from Die Trapp-Familie/The Trapp Family (1956). Source: Melanie Zander (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-line) (German), Maurice de Saxe (IMDb), Jan de Witt (IMDb), AllMovie, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

Imported from the USA: Mamie van Doren

Voluptuous American actress Mamie Van Doren (1931) was a sex symbol of the 1950s and 1960s. Van Doren starred in several exploitation films such as Untamed Youth (1957), loaded with rock 'n' roll and juvenile delinquency. Her onscreen wardrobe usually consisted of tight sweaters, torpedo bras, skin-tight capri pants, and daring swimsuits. Mamie and her colleague blond bombshells Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were known as 'The Three M's.' In the 1960s, she appeared in some European films.

Mamie Van Doren
Italian postcard in the series Divi del Cinema by Vetta Traldi, Milano, no 232.

Mamie van Doren
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano (Milan). Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1958.

Mamie van Doren
Big German card by ISV, no. PX 3.

Mamie van Doren
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 39.

Mamie van Doren
French postcard by P.I., Paris, no. 706, offered by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane'. Photo: H.P.S.

Condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency

Mamie Van Doren was born Joan Lucille Olander in Rowena, South Dakota, in 1931. She was the daughter of Warner Carl Olander and Lucille Harriet Bennett. In 1942 the family moved to Los Angeles.

In early 1946, Van Doren began working as an usher at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. The following year, she had a bit part on an early television show. She also sang with Ted Fio Rito's band and entered several beauty contests. She was married for a brief time at seventeen when Van Doren and her first husband, Jack Newman, eloped to Santa Barbara. The marriage was dissolved quickly, upon her discovery of his abusive nature.

In the summer of 1949, at age 18, she won the titles Miss Eight Ball and Miss Palm Springs. Van Doren was discovered by producer Howard Hughes the night she was crowned Miss Palm Springs. The pair dated for five years. Hughes provided her with a bit role in Jet Pilot at RKO Radio Pictures. Her line of dialogue inconsisted of one word, "Look!".

The following year, 1951, she posed for famous pin-up girl artist Alberto Vargas, the painter of the glamorous Vargas Girls. His painting of Van Doren was on the July 1951 cover of Esquire magazine. Van Doren did a few more bit parts in RKO films, including His Kind of Woman (John Farrow, 1951) starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell.

Van Doren then began working on the stage. She was a showgirl in New York in Monte Proser's nightclub version of Billion Dollar Baby. Songwriter Jimmy McHugh discovered her for his musicals, then decided she was too good for the chorus line and should have dramatic training. She studied with Ben Bard and Bliss-Hayden. While appearing in the role of Marie in a showcase production of Come Back, Little Sheba, Van Doren was seen by Phil Benjamin, a casting director at Universal International.

In 1953, Van Doren signed a contract with Universal Studios. They had big plans for her, hoping she would bring the same kind of success that 20th Century Fox had with Marilyn Monroe. Van Doren, whose signing day coincided with the inauguration of President Eisenhower, was given the first name Mamie for Ike's wife, Mamie Eisenhower. Universal first cast Van Doren in a minor role as a singer in Forbidden (Rudolph Maté, 1953), starring Tony Curtis.

Interested in Van Doren's allure, Universal then cast her again opposite Curtis in The All American (Jesse Hibbs, 1953), playing her first major role as Susie Ward, a wayward girl who is the man-trap at a campus beer joint. In Yankee Pasha (Joseph Pevney, 1954), starring Jeff Chandler and Rhonda Fleming, she played a slave girl, Lilith. In 1955, she had a supporting role in the musical Ain't Misbehavin' (Edward Buzzell, 1955) and starred in the crime-drama, Running Wild (Abner Biberman, 1955).

Soon thereafter, Van Doren turned down a Broadway role in the play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, and was replaced by newcomerJayne Mansfield. In 1956, Van Doren appeared in the Western Star in the Dust (Charles F. Haas, 1956). Though Van Doren garnered prominent billing alongside John Agar and Richard Boone, she appears rather briefly, as the daughter of a ranch owner. By this time, Van Doren had grown tired of Universal, which was only casting her in non-breakthrough roles. Therefore, Van Doren began accepting bigger roles in better movies from other studios, such as Teacher's Pet (George Seaton, 1958) with Doris Day and Clark Gable.

She appeared in some of the first movies to feature rock 'n' roll music, such as Untamed Youth (Howard W. Koch, 1957). Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Delivering a superb performance under the circumstances, Russ Tamblyn heads the cast as 'typical' high schooler Tony Baker. Usually seen in the company of his voluptuous "aunt" Gwen Dulaine (the truly impressive Mamie Van Doren), Tony convinces one and all that he's looking for kicks of the controlled-substance kind. In truth, however, our hero is really an undercover narcotics agent named Mike Wilson, bound and determined to smash the operation of drug lord Mr. A. (Jackie Coogan). The once-in-a-lifetime cast includes such worthies as John Drew Barrymore (Drew Barrymore's daddy), Ray Anthony (then married to Mamie Van Doren), Charles Chaplin Jr., Michael Landon, and Jerry Lee Lewis as 'himself'." The film was originally condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency, but that only served to enhance the curiosity factor, resulting in it being a big moneymaker for the studio.

Van Doren became identified with this rebellious style, and made some rock records. She went to star in several bad girl movies that later became cult films. These include Born Reckless (Howard W. Koch, 1958), High School Confidential (Jack Arnold, 1958), and The Beat Generation (Charles F. Haas, 1959). After Universal Studios chose not to renew her contract in 1959, Van Doren was now a free agent and had to struggle to find work.

Mamie van Doren
Yugoslavian postcard by Ifis-glas, Smederevo.

Mamie van Doren
Dutch postcard by 'Emdeeha' de Hond, Oosterbeek, no. 15. Photo: MGM.

Mamie van Doren
Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor.

Mamie van Doren
French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 475. Photo: Universal International / International Press.

Mamie van Doren
Yugoslavian postcard.

Hip-hugging skin-tight pants and seashell brassieres

Mamie Van Doren became known for her provocative roles. She was in prison for Girls Town (Charles F. Haas, 1959), which provoked censors with a shower scene where audiences could see Van Doren's naked back. As Eve in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (Mickey Rooney, Albert Zugsmith, 1960) she wore only fig leaves, and in other films, like Vice Raid (Edward L. Cahn, 1960) audiences were clued in as to the nature of the films from the titles. Many of these productions were low-budget B-movies which sometimes gained a cult following for their high camp value. An example is Sex Kittens Go to College (Albert Zugsmith, 1960), which co-starred Tuesday Weld and Mijanou Bardot - Brigitte's sister.

Mamie also appeared in foreign productions, such as the Italian crime comedy Le bellissime gambe di Sabrina/The Beautiful Legs of Sabrina (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1959) with Antonio Cifariello, and the Argentine film Una americana en Buenos Aires/The Blonde from Buenos Aires (George Cahan, 1961) with Jean-Pierre Aumont. Van Doren took some time off from her career and came back to the screen in 1964. That year she played in the German Western musical Freddy und das Lied der Prärie/In the Wild West (Sobey Martin, 1964), starring Freddy Quinn and Rik Battaglia.

Tommy Noonan convinced Van Doren to appear as a neurotic striptease artist in 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt (Tommy Noonan, 1964). Van Doren had turned down Noonan's previous offer to star in Promises! Promises!, in which she would have to do nude scenes. She was replaced by Jayne Mansfield. In 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt, Mamie did a beer-bath scene, but is not seen nude. She posed for Playboy to promote the film.

Van Doren next appeared in The Las Vegas Hillbillys (Arthur C. Pierce, 1966) which co-starred Jayne Mansfield. It was the only time two of 'The Three M's' appeared together in a film. A sequel was titled Hillbillys in a Haunted House, but Van Doren turned this role down, and was replaced by Joi Lansing. She appeared in You've Got to Be Smart (Ellis Kadison, 1967), and the Sci-Fi film, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968), directed by the young Peter Bogdanovich (as Derek Thomas). In this film astronauts land on Venus and encounter dangerous creatures and meet sexy Venusian women who like to sun-bathe in hip-hugging skin-tight pants and seashell brassieres.

In 1968, she was offered the role of a murder victim in the independent horror film The Ice House as a replacement for Mansfield, who died the previous year. She turned the offer down, however, and was replaced by Sabrina. During the Vietnam War, she did tours for U.S. troops in Vietnam for three months in 1968, and again in 1970. Van Doren also developed a nightclub act and did live theatre. She performed in stage productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Dames at Sea at the Drury Lane Theater, Chicago, and appeared in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and The Tender Trap at the Arlington Park Theater.

After a supporting role in the Western The Arizona Kid (Luciano B. Carlos, 1970), Mamie Van Doren disappeared from films. In the 1970s, she performed a nightclub act in Las Vegas. Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Van Doren continued popping up at important Hollywood social functions and awards presentations, as zaftig and exhibitionist as ever, much to the delight of her ever-growing fan club. In 1987 Mamie Van Doren wrote her memoirs, Playing the Field, in which she claims she slept with practically every male star in the entertainment industry."

Playing the Field (1987) brought much new attention and proved to be her biggest media splash in over 25 years. Since the book's publication she has often been interviewed and profiled and has occasionally returned to acting. Van Doren's guest appearances on television include Fantasy Island, Burke's Law, Vega$, and L.A. Law. Van Doren's last film appearance was a cameo role in the comedy Slackers (Dewey Nicks, 2002).

Van Doren has been married five times. Her first marriage was to sportswear manufacturer Jack Newman whom she married and divorced in 1950. Her second marriage was to bandleader, composer and actor Ray Anthony whom she married in 1955. They had one son, Perry Ray Anthony (1956). The couple later divorced in 1961. When Van Doren's early 1960s, highly publicised, on-again off-again engagement to baseball player Bo Belinsky ended in 1964, she married baseball player Lee Meyers in 1966. They were divorced in 1967. Her fourth marriage was to businessman Ross McClintock in 1972. They met while working on President Nixon's reelection campaign; the marriage was annulled in 1973. Since 1979 she has been married to Thomas Dixon, an actor and dentist.

Trailer Untamed Youth (Howard W. Koch, 1957). Source: Captainbijou.com (YouTube).

Trailer for Vice Raid (Edward L. Cahn, 1960). Source: Captainbijou.com (YouTube).

Trailer for Sex Kittens Go to College (Albert Zugsmith, 1960). Source: Horrormovieshows (YouTube).

Trailer for The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966). Source: Sleaze-o-rama (YouTube).

Mamie sings Oobala Baby and Go Go Calypso in Untamed Youth (Howard W. Koch, 1957). Source: SuperCanopus (YouTube).

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

EFSP's Dazzling Dozen: Exotic Ufa Divas

During the 1920s and 1930s, Berlin was the film capital of Europe. The main film studio was the Ufa, situated at Babelsberg. Girls from all over Europe went to Germany wishing to become a film star. Today twelve postcards of Ufa divas who were born outside of Germany.

Pola Negri
From Poland: Pola Negri. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1200/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Truus van Aalten
From The Netherlands: Truus van Aalten. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1720/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Xenia Desni
From Ukrain: Xenia Desnia. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1735/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Olga Tschechova
From Russia: Olga Tschechova. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1799/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Anna Sten
From Ukrain: Anna Sten. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6371/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.

Lien Deyers
From The Netherlands: Lien Deyers. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6552/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Instituut.

Rose Barsony
From Hungary: Rose Barsony. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7106/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Yva, Berlin / Ufa.

Käthe von Nagy
From Hungary: Käthe von Nagy. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8099/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Ufa.

Kristina Söderbaum
From Sweden: Kristina Söderbaum. German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3613/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann / Ufa. Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Instituut.

Kirsten Heiberg, Viktor Staal
From Norway: Kirsten Heiberg. Big card by Ross Verlag. Photo: Hämmerer / Ufa. Publicity still for Frauen für Golden Hill/Women for Golden Hill (Erich Waschneck, 1938) with Viktor Staal.

Zarah Leander
From Sweden: Zarah Leander. German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 153, 1941-1944. Photo: Foto Quick / Ufa.

Marika Rökk
From Hungary: Marika Rökk. German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. G 179, 1941-1944. Photo: Ufa.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Jorge Mistral

Handsome and talented actor Jorge Mistral (1920-1972) became a star in Spanish films during the 1940s. In the 1950s, he lived and worked in México and appeared in Luis Buñuel's Abismos de pasión/Wuthering Heights (1954). Later, in the 1960s, he directed three films.

Jorge Mistral
Spanish postcard, no. 2714.

Jorge Mistral
Spanish postcard by Soberanas, Barna, no. 263.

Look handsome and be sympathetic

Jorge Mistral was born Modesto Llosas Rosell in 1920 in Aldaya, Spain. His father was from Puerto Rico and his mother from Catalonia. Since childhood Jorge was interested in artistic activities. In 1943, he abandoned his law studies and began to work in the theatre company of Enrique Borrás, at the time one of the most prestigious Spanish-speaking actors.

A year later he made his film debut in La llamada del mar/Call of the Sea (José Gaspar, 1944). The film nor his performance impressed anyone. The next years he studied alongside renowned actors, and his talent and good looks lead him to success.

Mistral became a star in films produced by Spain's largest studio Cifesa. His breakthrough was Misión blanca/White Mission (Juan de Orduña, 1946) in which he co-starred with Manuel Luna and Fernando Rey. The film, about a religious mission in the Spanish Empire was shot on location in Spanish Guinea and in a Spanish studio.

In 1948 he appeared the historical drama in Locura de amor/Madness for Love (Juan de Orduña, 1948) with Aurora Batista, Fernando Rey and Sara Montiel. The film tells the story of Queen Joanna of Castile (Batista), known as ‘Juana la loca’, and her husband Philip I of Castile (Rey), also known as ‘Philip the handsome’.

At IMDb, Ignacio Martinez-Ybor reviews: “This movie was part of a propaganda effort of the Franco regime to extol the ‘traditional’ values of the ‘true’ Spain ..... by true is meant nationalistic, non-foreign characters in the plot, the archvillains being the Flemish allies of the King and the moorish girl played by a very youngSarita Montiel. (…) As merely a movie, Locura de Amor is quite engaging, in a compressed telenovela sort of way (…) Jorge Mistral played handsomely and sympathetically a part which required him to look handsome and be sympathetic.”

The following year he made the drama Currito de la Cruz/Currito of the Cross (Luis Lucia, 1949) starring Pepín Martín Vázquez, and the expensive costume drama La duquesa de Benamejí/The Duchess of Benameji (Luis Lucia, 1949) starring Amparo Rivelles in dual roles as a countess and a gypsy. In the comedy La hermana San Sulpicio/Sister San Sulpicio (Luis Lucia, 1952) and the musical Un caballero andaluz/An Andalusian Gentleman (Luis Lucia, 1954), he co-starred with Carmen Sevilla.

Jorge Mistral in  La trinca del aire (1951)
Spanish postcard by J.R., B. Photo: publicity still for La trinca del aire/Lashing the air (Ramón Torrado, 1951).

Jorge Mistral
Spanish postcard by Marte. Photo: publicity still for La trinca del aire/Lashing the air (Ramón Torrado, 1951).

International scandal

From the 1950s on, Jorge Mistral also worked in Cuba and Argentine. Later he often worked México, which became his second homeland. There, Mistral achieved enormous popularity opposite Gloria Marin in the classic tearjerker El derecho de nacer/The right to be born (Zacarías Gómez Urquiza, 1952), an unprecedented blockbuster in Mexico.

One of his best known Mexican films is Luis Buñuel's Abismos de pasión/Wuthering Heights (1953), based on the Emily Brontë novel Wuthering Heights. The film starred Irasema Dilián and Mistral as the Cathy and Heathcliff characters.

Gabriela Zayas at IMDb: “Buñuel's genius operates the miracle, aided by his excellent cast and team. This is the one version that captures the roots of Cathy's and Heathcliff's deep and contradictory emotions, the passions, the love and hate they shared and suffered, being all of them doomed to be unhappy in this world and hoping to be redeemed and united in the other. Placed in Mexico, black and white excellent photography, with a believable and intense cast, and a passionate, yet sometimes ironic direction.”

Mistral continued to star in European films like Italian-Spanish film noir Il mondo sarà nostro/Andalusia Express (Francisco Rovira Beleta, 1956), also with Vincente Parra and Mara Berni, and the Italian religious drama La spada e la croce/The Sword and the Cross (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1958) with Hollywood star Yvonne De Carlo as Mary Magdelene.

Mistral had a supporting part as the lazy fisherman lover of Sophia Loren in the Hollywood production Boy on a Dolphin (Jean Negulesco, 1957), set in Greece. The romantic film is noteworthy as Loren's English language debut, and also starred Alan Ladd and Clifton Webb.

Mistral also appeared opposite Zully Moreno in the Argentine romantic drama Amor prohibido/Prohibited Love (Luis César Amadori, 1958) based on Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

In Spain he starred in La venganza/Vengeance (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1958) with Carmen Sevilla and Raf Vallone. La venganza was shown at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. But the film was not released in Spain under General Franco until the following year and had serious troubles with the fascist censorship. Director Bardem even went to prison which caused an international scandal.

Jorge Mistral and Sara Montiel in Carmen de la Ronda (1959)
Romanian collectors card. Publicity still for Carmen de la Ronda/A Girl Against Napoleon (Tulio Demicheli, 1959) with Sara Montiel.

Jorge Mistral and Sara Montiel in Carmen de la Ronda (1959)
Romanian collectors card. Publicity still for Carmen de la Ronda/A Girl Against Napoleon (Tulio Demicheli, 1959) with Sara Montiel.

Suicide with a gunshot

Jorge Mistral co-starred with Sara Montiel and Maurice Ronet in the Spanish historical adventure film Carmen la de Ronda/A Girl Against Napoleon (Tulio Demicheli, 1959). The film was loosely based on the story of Prosper Mérimée's Carmen, with the setting changed to the Peninsular War era. Carmen is here involved with the Guerilla's fighting against the French occupation.

During the 1960s, Mistral’s film parts became smaller. He played a supporting part in the Mexican drama Juana Gallo (Miguel Zacarías, 1961), which was entered into the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival. In Argentine he appeared in the drama Bajo un mismo rostro/Under the Same Skin (Daniel Tinayre, 1962).

In France he played the Grand Vizir Zaccar in Shéhérazade (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1963) starring Anna Karina. He also appeared in the Eurowestern Los Pistoleros de Casa Grande/Gunfighters of Casa Grande (Roy Rowland, 1964), co-produced by American and Spanish producers and starring Alex Nicol.

Jorge Mistral also directed three films, La Piel desnuda/The bare skin (1966) with Marta Romero, La Fiebre del deseo/The fever of desire (1966) with Kitty de Hoyos, and Crimen sin olvido/Crime without oblivion (1968) starring Rosángela Balbó. The latter was never released.

Although he kept playing in films and TV series, his efforts were less prominent than in the 1940s and 1950s. His final film appearance was a small part in the Mexican crime-comedy Diamantes, oro, y amor/Diamonds, gold and love (Juan Manuel Torres, 1973).

Mistral married three times. In Argentine he married Olga Marchetti, with whom he had a daughter who died a few days after her birth. He also married Cristina Ruiz Cano and Graciela Dufau, but all his marriages ended in a divorce.

In 1972, Jorge Mistral committed suicide with a gunshot. He was only 51, when he died in Mexico City.

In his blog El Lado Oscuro de Hollywood, Jesús Iglesias Lerroux notes that just a few days before his death Mistral had served as a reciter in several nightclubs in Mexico City. The critics and audiences applauded him in his new role, but Mistral had only done it for the money. Debt-ridden, prematurely old-looking, ill and alone, Mistral had not considered his life worth to live any longer. His death was deeply felt in the Spanish-speaking countries.

Jorge Mistral
Romanian collectors card.

Jorge Mistral
Romanian collectors card.

American trailer for Abismos de pasión/Wuthering Heights (Luis Buñuel, 1953). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).

Sources: Jesús Iglesias Lerroux (El Lado Oscuro de Hollywood - Spanish), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Eva Moore

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

Eva Moore
British postcard in the Satinetti Series by Aristophot. Co. Ltd, London.

Eva Moore
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 1645 G. Photo: Lallie Charles.

Eva Moore
British postcard by Beagles' Postcards, no. 235 M. Photo: Dover St. Studios.

Eva Moore
British postcard by Rotary Photo. Photo: Johnston & Hoffmann.

Eva Moore
British postcard in the Ducal Series, no. 101. Photo: Bassano.

Olivier´s Mom-in-Law

Eva Moore was born in Brighton, England in 1870. She was the daughter of Edmund Henry Moore by his spouse Emily née Strachan. Her sister was the actress Decima Moore.

Eva made her first stage appearance at London's Vaudeville Theatrein 1887, as Varney in Proposals. She next joined Toole's company.

In 1891 she married the actor Henry V. Esmond. They had two children, race car driver Jack Esmond and actress Jill Esmond, the first wife of Laurence Olivier.

In 1892, Eva appeared as Minestra in The Mountebanks by W. S. Gilbert and Alfred Cellier. In 1894, she joined Charles Hawtrey and Lottie Venne in F. C. Burnand's A Gay Widow. Other stage roles included Mabel Vaughn in The Wilderness (1901); Lady Ernestone in Esmond's My Lady Cirtue and Wilhelmina Marr in his Billy's Little Love Affair (both in 1903); and Kathie in Old Heidelberg (1902 and 1909) with George Alexander.

In 1907 she took the name part in Sweet Kitty Bellaire (1907); and she played Mrs. Errol in Little Lord Fauntleroy and Mrs. Crowley in The Explorer in 1908, and the Hon. Mrs. Bayle in Best People and the Hon. Mrs. Rivers in The House Opposite in 1909. She later managed the Henry V. Esmond comedy Eliza Comes to Stay, which opened at the Criterion Theatre in 1913, transferring to the Vaudeville in 1914.

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

Eva Moore, Decima, Bertha and Jessie Moore
Decima, Bertha, Eva and Jessie Moore. British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 1699. Photo: Adolphus Tear.

Eva Moore and son
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 1645 H. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Eva Moore's son later became race car driver Jack Esmond.

Eva Moore and Graham Browne
Eva Moore and Graham Browne. British postcard by J.Beagles & Co., London, no. 1408. Photo: Ellis & Walery.

Eva Moore and H.V. Esmond
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 3254 C. Photo: Dover St. Studio. Publicity still for the stage play Lights Out (1905-1906) with Eva Moore as Klara Volkhardt and Henry V. Esmond (Eva Moore's husband) as Corporal Helbig. Corporal Helbig: "You are not speaking the truth".

Eva Moore
British postcard by Davidson Bros. in the Glossyphoto series, no. 1170. Sent by mail in 1905. Photo: Bassano.


After World War I broke out, Eva Moore continued acting at the Vaudeville in the evenings but worked as a volunteer for the Women's Emergency Corps, based at the Little Theatre, during the day. In October 1920, she and Esmond toured Canada with Nigel Bruce as their stage manager, who also played Montague Jordan in Eliza Comes to Stay, which re-opened at the Duke of York's Theatrein London on 14 June 1923. Moore was active in the suffrage movement (as was her sister Decima), attending meetings and appearing in suffragist plays and films.

From 1920 to 1946, she made over two dozen films, beginning with The Law Divine (H.B. Parkinson, Challis Sanderson, 1920), co-starring with her husband Henry V. Esmond. Some of her best-received silent films were The Crimson Circle (George Ridgwell, 1922), Chu-Chin-Chow (Herbert Wilcox, 1923) starring Betty Blythe, The Great Well (Henry Kolker, 1924) and the war drama Motherland (G.B. Samuelson, 1927).

As a trained stage actress she had had no problems with the transition to the sound film era. Her most popular British ‘talkies’ included Almost a Divorce (Jack Raymond, Arthur Varney, 1931), I Was a Spy (Victor Saville, 1933) starring Madeleine Carroll, Jew Süss (Lothar Mendes, 1934) with Conrad Veidt, and The Divorce of Lady X (Tim Whelan, 1938), which starred her son-in-law Laurence Olivier.

In Hollywood she appeared with Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff in the classic horror film The Old Dark House (James Whale, 1932). Later films were the Hollywood production Of Human Bondage (Edmund Goulding, 1946) starring Paul Henreid, and her final film A Son Is Born (Eric Porter, 1946) with Peter Finch.

She published her reminiscences under the title of Exits and Entrances. Eva Moore died in 1955 in Maidenhead, England, aged 85. Her grandson is producer-director Tarquin Olivier.

Eva Moore
British postcard in the Rotary Photographic series, no. 1645 B. Photo: Johnston & Hoffmann.

Eva Moore
British postcard. Sent by mail in 1904. Photo: Johnston & Hoffmann.

Eva Moore
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 1645 R. Photo: Foylman & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play The Best People.

Eva Moore
British postcard in the Yes of No? series. Sent by mail in 1904.

Clip from The Old Dark House (1932) with Gloria Stuart. Source: Evan Johnson (YouTube).

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

Henri Garat

‘Beau garcon’ Henri Garat (1902-1959) was a popular singer and leading man in light romances during the 1930s. As the partner of Lilian Harvey in French adaptations of her film operettas he became a big star.

Henry Garat
French postcard by Viny, no. 68. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Viny, no. 68. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 162. Photo: Star.

Henri Garat
French postcard by AN, Paris, no. 623. Photo: Paramount.

Henry Garat
Dutch postcard by De Faam, Breda. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1932. Photo: Ufa.

Henri Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6300/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa.

Jeune Premier

Henri (sometimes Henry) Garat was born Emile Henri Camille Garassu in Paris in 1902. He was the son of a minor actor and vaudeville performer known as Garet and the singer Césarine Lévy.

Henri began his career in 1924 as a jeune premier in music halls working with the likes of Mistinguett. In 1930 he made his first film for the Ufa, Flagrant délit/Burglars (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1930) starring Blanche Montel.

He replaced Willy Fritsch in the French adaptation of the popular German film operetta Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1930) starring Lilian Harvey and the result, Le chemin du Paradis/The Road to Paradise (Wilhelm Thiele, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1930) was a huge success and made Garat a 'grand vedette' in France.

He replaced Fritsch again in the French but also in the English versions of Der Kongress Tanzt (1931): Le congrès s'amuse (Erik Charell, Jean Boyer, 1931) and Congress Dances (Erik Charell, Jean Boyer, 1931), both with Lilian Harvey.

Other films with Harvey were La fille et le garçon/The Girl and the Boy (Roger Le Bon, Wilhelm Thiele, 1931), Princesse, à vos ordres/Adorable (Hanns Schwarz, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1931) and Un rêve blond/Happy Ever After (André Daven, Paul Martin, 1932) based on a script by Walter Reisch and Billy Wilder. His songs in these films became huge hits.

Henry Garat
French postcard by Erpé, no. 779. Photo: Ufa.

Henry Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6119/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Le congrès s'amuse (Jean Boyer, Erik Charell, 1931).

Lilian Harvey, Henri Garat
With Lilian Harvey. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6739/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Le Chemin du Paradis/The Road to Paradise (Wilhelm Thiele, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1930).

Lilian Harvey and Henry [Henri] Garat in Princesse, à vos ordres
Belgian postcard by Edition de la Chocolaterie Lecoq, no. 59. Photo: Ufa. Caption: "Lilian Harvey and Henry Garat in the famous film Princesse à vos ordres."Princesse à vos ordres (Hanns Schwarz, Max de Vaucorbeil, 1931) was the French version of the early German sound film Ihre Hoheit befiehlt. Co-writer of this film was Billy Wilder. It was remade in Hollywood in 1933 as Adorable, with Garat and Janet Gaynor.

Blanche Montel and Henry Garat in Flagrant Délit (1931)
French postcard by Nels / Alliance Cinématographiques Européenne. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Flagrant Délit (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1931) with Blanche Montel. Flagrant Délit was an alternate-language version of Einbrecher/Burglars (Hanns Schwarz, 1930) with Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch.

Blanche Montel and Henri Garat in Flagrant Délit (1931)
French postcard by Nels / Alliance Cinématographiques Européenne. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Flagrant Délit (Hanns Schwarz, Georges Tréville, 1931) with Blanche Montel.

Henry Garat
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 779. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Delphine (Roger Capellani, 1931).

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 24. Publicity still for Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933).

Meg Lemonnier, Henry Garat
French postcard by Éditions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 55. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933) with Meg Lemonnier


When Lilian Harvey left for Hollywood Henri Garat continued with a new partner, Meg Lemonnier, in Simone est comme ça/Simone Is Like That (Karl Anton, 1932), which became his biggest success.

He starred with Arletty in his best film, Un soir de réveillon/Christmas Eve (Karl Anton, 1933). In Hollywood he appeared with Janet Gaynor in Adorable (William Dieterle, 1933), a remake of Princesse, à vos ordres.

He returned to Paris for the Molière adaptation Les dieux s'amusent/Amphitryon (Reinhold Schünzel, Albert Valentin, 1935). In 1936 he made another comedy with Lilian Harvey, Les gais lurons/Lucky Kids (Paul Martin, Jacques Natanson, 1936), but his next films were less popular than they used to be.

At the end of the 1930s Garat started to consummate cocaine and his career declined further. His extravagances (a yacht, an aeroplane, a castle) and his divorces ruined him. His next films failed and he suffered a serious depression. In 1944 he left for Switzerland for a long period of rehab.

In 1947 he tried to make a come-back to no avail and also in the 1950s he tried several times to return in the spotlights, but sadly nobody was interested anymore in the former jeune premier. Henri Garat died in 1959 in Hyères, France, at the age of 57. He had been married four times. His wives were Betty Rowe, Marie Tchernycheff, Jacqueline Nigon, and Anna Luginbuhl. With Luginbuhl he had a son.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal, Rueil, no. 53. Photo: R.A.C.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions Chantal (EC), Paris, no. 94. Photo: Studio Lorelle.

Henri Garat
French postcard by EPC (Editions et Publications Cinematographiques), no. 170. Photo: Ufa.

Henri Garat
British postcard in the Colourgraph Series, London, no. C 153. Photo: Paramount.

Henri Garat
French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 50. Photo: André Tranché.

Henri Garat
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8748/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox.

Henry Garat in Il est charmant (1932)
French postcard by P.C., Paris, no. 1. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for Il est charmant/He Is Charming (Louis Mercanton, 1932). Music sheet for the song En parlant un peu de Paris.

Henry Garat in Delphine (1931)
French postcard by P.C., Paris, no. 50. Photo and song from Delphine (Roger Capellani, 1931).

Clip from Un soir de réveillon (Karl Anton, 1933). Henri Garat sings J'aime les femmes (I Love Women). Source: Vieux Disques (YouTube).

Sources: Charlotte Hanotte (CinéArtistes, French), Paul Dubé, Jacques Marchioro (Du Temps des cerises aux Feuilles mortes, in French), Hall de la Chanson (French), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Monica Vitti

Original and versatile Monica Vitti (1931) is one of Italy's most famous actresses of the 20th century. She is most widely noted in the early 1960s for her starring roles in four classic avant-garde films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Later the glamorous blonde became the queen of the commedia all’italiana, a film genre previously restricted to men.

Monica Vitti
French postcard by PSG for Corvisart, Epinal, no. 437. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Monica Vitti
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 97.

Monica Vitti
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 125.

Monica Vitti
Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, no. 146.

Monica Vitti
Vintage collectors card. Photo: Angelo Frontoni.

Turning Point

Monica Vitti was born Maria Luisa Ceciarelli in Rome, in 1931. She studied at Pittman's College, where she played as a teen in a charity performance of Dario Niccodemi's La nemica (The Enemy). She then trained as an actor at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica (Rome's National Academy of Dramatic Arts) where she graduated in 1953.

She toured Germany with an Italian acting troupe and her first stage appearance in Rome was for a production of Niccolò Machiavelli's La Mandrogola (The Mandrogola). Vitti's film debut was an uncredited bit part in the comedy Ridere! Ridere! Ridere!/Laugh! Laugh! Laugh! (Edoardo Anton, 1954) with Tino Scotti and Ugo Tognazzi. Her first widely noted performance was at the age of 26 in the comedy Le dritte/Smart Girls (Mario Amendola, 1958) starring Franco Fabrizi.

A turning point in her career came in 1957 when she joined Michelangelo Antonioni's Teatro Nuovo di Milano. Three years later she played a leading role in his internationally praised and award winning film L'avventura/The Adventure (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960).

In L’avventura a group of rich Italians head out on a yachting trip to a deserted volcanic island in the Mediterranean. When they are about to leave the island, they find Anna (Lea Massari), the main character up to this point, has gone missing. Sandro, Anna's boyfriend, and Claudia (Monica Vitti), Anna's friend, try without success to find her. While looking Anna, Claudia and Sandro develop an attraction for each other. They proceed to become lovers, and all but forget about the missing Anna.

Vitti as the detached and cool Claudia gave a stunning screen presence. She also helped Antonioni raise money for the production and stuck with him through daunting location shooting. L'avventura made Vitti an international star and one of Italy's most famous actresses of the 20th century. Her image later even appeared on an Italian postage stamp commemorating the film.

Monica Vitti in L'Avventura (1960)
British postcard by BFI and The Screen on the Hill, for the British re-release in 1995. Photo: publicity still for L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960).

Monica Vitti in L'eclisse
Dutch postcard by De Muinck en Co, Amsterdam, no. 809. Photo: publicity still for L'eclisse/The Eclypse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962).

Monica Vitti and Alain Delon in L'eclisse (1962)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for L'eclisse/The Eclypse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962) with Alain Delon.

Monica Vitti and Alain Delon in L'eclisse (1962)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for L'eclisse/The Eclypse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962) with Alain Delon.

Monica Vitti and Richard Harris in  Il deserto rosso (1964)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 322. Photo: publicity still for Il deserto rosso/Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) with Richard Harris.

Monica Vitti
French postcard by Editions La Malibran, Paris, no CI 3. Photo: Carlo di Palma. Publicity still for Il deserto rosso/Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964).

Monica Vitti
Yugoslavian collectors card by Atheneum, 1971. Photo: Kepes Film.

Modernist Consciousness in the 1960s

Monica Vitti received more critical praise for her starring roles in the next three Antonioni films La notte/The Night (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961), L'eclisse/The Eclipse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962) and Il deserto rosso/The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964), which are often cited with L'avventura as a series.

In the four films Antonioni explores modernist consciousness in the 1960’s. In her portrayal of deeply troubled middle-class women, unable to establish satisfying relationships and incapable of connecting with their environment, the beautiful Vitti came to embody the modernist dilemma in all its complexity and angst.

Hal Erickson at AllMovie even calls her ‘The high priestess of frosty sensuality’. In La Notte she plays the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who tries to inaugurate an empty affair with a married author, played by Marcello Mastroianni. In L’eclisse she plays Vittoria, a young translator who meets the vital broker Piero (Alain Delon) during a crash in the Stock Market but the love affair is doomed because of Piero’s materialistic nature. In Il deserto rosso she was Guiliana, a housewife married to a factory manager. She is mentally ill, but hides it from her husband as best she can. She meets the engineer Zeller (Richard Harris) who takes advantage of her distress, and then she is again alone and ill.

She also starred in films by other directors, such as Château en Suède/Nutty Naughty Chateau (Roger Vadim, 1963) with Jean-Claude Brialy, and the comedy Il disco volante/The Flying Saucer (Tinto Brass, 1964) with Alberto Sordiand Silvana Mangano.

Vitti appeared in only two English language films. She starred in the title role of Joseph Losey's Modesty Blaise (1966), a mod James Bond spy spoof with Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde which had only mixed success and received harsh critical reviews. Her second English language film was An Almost Perfect Affair (Michael Ritchie, 1979) with Keith Carradine, which takes place during the Cannes Film Festival.

Monica Vitti
Vintage postcard. Collection: Véronique.

Monica Vitti
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Collection: Véronique.

Monica Vitti
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Monica Vitti
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Monica Vitti
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 437. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Secret Scandal

In the mid 1960s Monica Vitti decided to switch genre, and returned to the light comedy that was clearly her forte. After a few uncertain performances, she gained enormous public recognition with La ragazza con la pistol/The Girl with a Pistol (Mario Monicelli, 1968), in which she plays the unlikely role of a Sicilian woman seeking revenge in London.

She achieved ever greater success in Amore mio, aiutami/Help Me My Love (Alberto Sordi, 1969), on the theme of marital infidelity, and Scola's romantic comedy Dramma della gelosia/The Pizza Triangle (Ettore Scola, 1970) about a working-class love triangle with Marcello Mastroianni and Giancarlo Giannini.

Throughout the 1970s Monica Vitti appeared mostly in Italian films which did not have international distribution. There were a few exceptions. She starred in Buñuel's innovative Le Fantôme de la liberté/The Phantom of Liberty (Luis Buñuel, 1974) and the political thriller La raison d'état/State Reasons (André Cayatte, 1978) with Jean Yanne. In 1974 she won the David di Donatello award for Best Actress in Polvere di stele/Stardust (Alberto Sordi, 1973), an emotional recreation of the world of variety. She won this Italian award five times.

In 1980 after 15 years she reunited with Antonioni for his Il mistero di Oberwald/The Mystery of Oberwald (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1980) which was one of the first major international feature films to be shot on video. Based on a screenplay by Jean Cocteau it tells the story of fugitive Sebastian (Franco Branciaroli), who breaks into the castle at Oberwald to kill the Queen (Monica Vitti), but faints before doing so. He is the splitting image of the King who was assassinated on his wedding day. The Queen discovers that Sebastian once wrote a subversive poem that she liked, even though it was attacking her. The Queen dares Sebastian to kill her, otherwise she vows to kill him.

During the 1980s Monica Vitti did much less screen work. By 1986 she had returned to the theatre as an actress and teacher. In 1989, Vitti wrote, directed and starred in Scandalo Segreto/Secret Scandal (1989) with Elliot Gould. The film was well received critically but met with limited box-office success. She then retired from the cinema. During the 1990s she did television work, both acting and directing. In 1993 she was awarded the Festival Tribute at the Créteil International Women's Film Festivalin France.

In 1995 Monica Vitti married photographer Roberto Russo, with whom she had lived since 1975. Alzheimer's disease has removed her from the public gaze for the last 15 years.

DVD Trailer of L'avventura/The Adventure (1960). Source: Criterion Trailers (YouTube).

Trailer of La notte/The Night (1961). Source: Criterion Collection (YouTube).

Re-release trailer of L'eclisse/The Eclipse (1962). Source: STUDIOCANAL UK (YouTube).

DVD Trailer of Il deserto rosso/The Red Desert (1964). Source: Criterion Trailers (YouTube).

Trailer of Modesty Blaise (1966). Source: PVR Pictures (YouTube).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), MonicaVitti.com, Rodney Farnsworth (Film Reference), Lenin Imports, Wikipedia and IMDb.

Imported from the USA: Ramon Novarro

Mexican-American actor Ramon Novarro (1899-1968) was promoted as 'The Latin Lover' and became one of the top box office attractions of the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1925 he appeared in his most famous role, as the title character in Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo, 1925). He later co-starred with Norma Shearer in The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927) and with Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931). Novarro also worked in the European cinema. In 1968 he was murdered by two young hustlers.

Ramon Novarro holding a sketch for Scaramouche
Italian postcard by Ed. Vettori, Bologna, no. 932. Ramon Novarro holding a sketch for the period piece Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923), in which Novarro had the title role. The film, produced by Metro Pictures, was based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini, and co-starred Alice Terry and Lewis Stone.

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1486/2, 1927-1928. Photo: MGM / ParUfaMet.

Ramon Novarro
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 753/2. Photo: Fanamet-Film.

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3250/4, 1928-1929. Photo: MGM.

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4907/3/4, 1929-1930. Photo: MGM.

The New Valentino

Ramon Novarro was born as Jose Ramón Gil Samaniego in 1899 in Durango, Mexico. His parents were Leonor (Gavilan) and Dr. Mariano N. Samaniego Siqueiros, a prosperous dentist. Ramon and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1913, as refugees from the Mexican Revolution. He was a second cousin of the Mexican film star Dolores del Rio.

The family's wealth having been left behind, young Novarro took on a number of odd jobs, ranging from ballet dancer, piano teacher and singing waiter. In 1917, he became a film extra. Ramon worked as an extra until director Rex Ingram cast him as the lovable scoundrel Rupert of Hentzau in The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) with Lewis Stone and Alice Terry. Ramon scored an immediate hit. He was billed as Ramon Samaniegos and Terry suggested that he would change his name to Novarro. And so he did.

Ramon Novarro worked with Ingram in his next four films. Ingram again teamed him with Terry and Stone in the successful costume adventure Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923). Novarro played a law student who becomes an outlaw French revolutionary when he decides to avenge the unjust killing of his friend. Ron Oliver at IMDb: "Novarro, taking the hero role this time, proved he was no flash in the pan. Equally adept as sensitive lover or dueling revolutionary, with this performance Novarro was catapulted to Hollywood's upper ranks."

Novarro's rising popularity among female moviegoers resulted in his being billed as the 'New Valentino' and as 'The Latin Lover'. In 1925 he appeared in his most famous role, as Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo, 1925). At IMDb, John Nicolaus reviews: "I found Roman Navarro far more likable in the title role than Charlton Heston. Like with most silent films, Navarro is a bit over the top, but he's still portrayed as honest and kind, yet proud figure. He also has a very kind face, which helps the audience 'fall' for this guy."

With Valentino's death in 1926, Novarro became the screen's leading Latin actor. He co-starred with Norma Shearer in The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927). Lubitsch made an enjoyable Viennese fairy tale in which Novarro played a cloistered, overprotected Austrian prince who falls in love with a down-to-earth barmaid (Shearer).

Ron Oliver at IMDb: "This wonderful, exuberant, heartbreaking film - one of the last major movies of the Silent Era - is a scintillating example of the artistry of director Ernst Lubitsch. Filled with wry humor & aching pathos, Lubitsch tells a tale which is a persuasive paean to the power of the talkless film. Ramon Novarro, always eager to please his audience, brings great charm to the title role. Although about 10 years too old to be playing a typical university freshman, he nonetheless brings tremendous enthusiasm to the role."

Ramon Novarro in Scaramouche
Italian postcard by Ed. Vettori, Bologna. Photo: Ramon Novarro in the period piece Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923).

Ramon Novarro in Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 715/6. Photo: FaNaMet. Publicity still for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo, 1925).

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1722/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Arthur Ziehm, Berlin. Novarro is dressed in the attire of his film A Lover's Oath (Ferdinand P. Earle, 1925), based on Edward Fitzgerald's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Astronomer-Poet of Persia. From this film only a short clip remains.

Ramon Novarro in The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 98/9. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927).

Marceline Day and Ramon Novarro in A Certain Young Man (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3774/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for A Certain Young Man (Hobart Henley, 1928) with Marceline Day.

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. 4130/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Forbidden Hours (Harry Beaumont, 1928).

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4908/1, 1929-1930. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Devil-May-Care (Sidney Franklin, 1929).

Savagely beaten by two young hustlers

At the peak of his success in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Ramon Novarro was earning more than US$100,000 per film. His first talking picture was Call of the Flesh (Charles Brabin, 1930), where he sang and danced the tango. He continued to appear in musicals, but his popularity was slipping. MGM insisted on giving their Mexican star a wide range of ethnic parts, everything from a carefree South Seas native in The Pagan (W.S. Van Dyke, 1929) to a wealthy Indian jewel merchant in Son of India (Jacques Feyder, 1931).

He was not given many topnotch assignments, but he did star with Greta Garboin the Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931), a semi-fictionalized account of the life of the exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I. She falls in love for the first and only time in her life when she meets dazzlingly handsome lieutenant Ramon Novarro. Ron Oliver at IMDb: "Ramon Novarro, who receives co-equal billing with Garbo, had been an important movie celebrity far longer than she, but her rising sun tended to obscure most other stars in her orbit and Novarro has to work hard to get much notice in their joint scenes. As always, MGM's chameleon actor (this time he plays a Russian) gives a very competent performance, but as a romantic pair they make a rather unusual couple - which simply means that Novarro's sexual ambiguity is perfectly mirrored by Garbo's intrinsic androgyny."

Mata Hari was a success, but soon Novarro's career began to fade fast. In 1935 he left MGM and appeared on Broadway in a show that quickly flopped. Though wealthy enough not to need work, Novarro was restless when not before the cameras. His later career, consisted mostly of cameos. In Europe he was still popular. In France he starred in La comédie du bonheur/Comedy of Happiness (Marcel L'Herbier, 1940) opposite Michel Simon. He also appeared in the Italian version, Ecco la felicità (Marcel L'Herbier, 1940). In Mexico, he starred in La virgen que forjó una patria/The Saint That Forged a Country (Julio Bracho, 1942).

After the war, Novarro returned to Hollywood as a supporting actor and appeared in such films as We Were Strangers (John Huston, 1949) and the Film Noir The Big Steal (Don Siegel, 1949), starring Robert Mitchum. His last film was Heller in Pink Tights (George Cukor, 1960) with Sophia Loren. Later he guest-starred in TV series such as Rawhide (1964), Bonanza (1965) and The High Chaparral (1968).

Ramon Novarro was troubled all his life by his conflicted feelings toward his Roman Catholic religion and his homosexuality. His life-long struggle with alcoholism is often traced to these issues. He was romantically involved with journalist Herbert Howe, who was also his publicist in the late 1920s. In 1968, Novarro was savagely beaten in his North Hollywood home by two young hustlers, the brothers Paul and Tom Ferguson, aged 22 and 17. They had heard - in error - that a large sum of money was locked away somewhere in his home. They never found any money, and Novarro was discovered dead the next day by his servant. Novarro died as a result of asphyxiation—having choked to death on his own blood after being beaten. He was less than four months away from what would have been his 70th birthday.

Ramon Novarro
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 58b.

Ramon Novarro
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 93. Sent by mail in 1931.

Great Garbo and Ramon Novarro in Mata Hari (1931)
Dutch postcard, no. 300. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ramon Novarro and Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).

Ramon Novarro and Myrna Loy in The Barbarian (1933)
Dutch postcard, no. 499. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Barbarian (Sam Wood, 1933) with Myrna Loy.

Ramon Novarro
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6231/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Ramon Novarro
Dutch postcard, no. 29.

Ramon Novarro
French postcard by Europe, no. 936. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1932. Photo: MGM.

Source: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Tony Fontana (IMDb), TCM, Wikipedia and IMDb.
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