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Ann Sheridan

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American actress and singer Ann Sheridan (1915-1967) worked from 1934 in film and later on television. She could both play the girl next door and the tough-as-nails dame. Known as the 'Oomph Girl', she became one of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. Her notable films include Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, They Drive by Night (1940) with George Raft and Bogart, Nora Prentiss (1947), and I Was a Male War Bride (1949) with Cary Grant.

Ann Sheridan
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 257. Photo: George Hurrell / Warner.

Ann Sheridan
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 257. Photo: George Hurrell / Warner Bros.

Search for Beauty


Clara Lou Sheridan was born in Denton, Texas, in 1915, as the youngest of five children of G.W. Sheridan and Lula Stewart Warren Sheridan, an automobile mechanic and his homemaker wife.

She was a self-described tomboy and was very athletic, and played on the girl's basketball team for North Texas State Teacher's College, where she was planning to enter the teaching field. She was active in dramatics and also sang with the college's stage band.

In 1932, her sister Pauline sent a photograph of Clara Lou in a bathing suit to Paramount Pictures. She subsequently entered and won the 'Search for Beauty' contest, with part of her prize being a screen test and a bit part in a film by that name.

She left college to pursue a career in Hollywood and, aged 19, made her film debut in Search for Beauty (Erle C. Kenton, 1934), starring Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino. For the next two years, she played uncredited bit parts in Paramount films, starting at $75 a week (equivalent to $1,400 in 2020).

Sheridan can be glimpsed in 13 films in 1934, including Come On Marines! (Henry Hathaway, 1934) still billed as 'Clara Lou Sheridan', Murder at the Vanities (Mitchell Leisen, 1934), College Rhythm (Norman Taurog, 1934), and One Hour Late (Ralph Murphy, 1934).

Sheridan worked with Paramount's drama coach Nina Mouise and performed plays on the lot with fellow contractees, including 'The Milky Way' and 'The Pursuit of Happiness'. 'When she did 'The Milky Way', she played a character called Ann and the Paramount front office decided to change her name to 'Ann'.

Sheridan had a part in Behold My Wife! (1934), which she got at the behest of director Mitchell Leisen, who was a friend. She had two good scenes, one in which her character had to commit suicide. Sheridan attributed Paramount's keeping her for two years to this role.

Twelve more bit parts followed in 1935 in such films as Enter Madame (Elliott Nugent, 1935) starring Elissa Landi and Cary Grant, the drama Home on the Range (Arthur Jacobson, 1935) starring Jackie Coogan, and Rumba (Marion Gering, 1935,) an unsuccessful follow-up to George Raft and Carole Lombard's smash hit Bolero (Wesley Ruggles, 1934).

Sheridan's first lead came in Car 99 (Charles Barton, 1935) with Fred MacMurray. She had the female lead in Rocky Mountain Mystery (Charles Barton, 1935), a Randolph Scott Western.

She then appeared in Mississippi (A. Edward Sutherland, 1935) with Bing Crosby and W.C. Fields, The Glass Key (Frank Tuttle, 1935) with George Raft, and (having one line) the historical adventure The Crusades (Cecil B. DeMille, 1935) with Loretta Young.

Paramount lent her out to Talisman, a small production company, to make the Western The Red Blood of Courage (John English, 1935) with Kermit Maynard. After this, Paramount declined to take up her option.

Sheridan did one film at Universal, Fighting Youth (Hamilton MacFadden, 1935) with Charles Farrell, and then signed a contract with Warner Bros. in 1936.

Ann Sheridan
American postcard. Sent by mail in 1940.

The actress with the most "oomph" in America


Ann Sheridan's career prospects began to improve. Her early films for Warner Bros. included the musical Sing Me a Love Song (Ray Enright, 1936), and the crime drama Black Legion (Archie Mayo, 1937) with Humphrey Bogart.

Her first real break came in the crime film The Great O'Malley (William Dieterle, 1937) with Pat O'Brien and Bogart. She sang for the first time in San Quentin (Lloyd Bacon, 1937), again with O'Brien and Bogart.

Sheridan then moved into B picture leads such as The Footloose Heiress (William Clemens, 1937), Alcatraz Island (William C. McGann, 1937) with John Litel, and She Loved a Fireman (John Farrow, 1937) with Dick Foran for director John Farrow.

She was a lead in The Patient in Room 18 (Bobby Connolly, Crane Wilbur, 1937) and its sequel Mystery House (Noel M. Smith, 1938). Sheridan was in Little Miss Thoroughbred (John Farrow, 1938) and supported Dick Powell in Cowboy from Brooklyn (Lloyd Bacon, 1938).

Universal borrowed her for a support role in Letter of Introduction (1938) at the behest of director John M. Stahl. For John Farrow, she was in Broadway Musketeers (1938), a remake of Three on a Match (Mervyn LeRoy, 1932).

Sheridan's notices in Letter of Introduction impressed Warner Bros. executives. She began to get roles in A pictures, starting with the gangster film Angels with Dirty Faces (Michael Curtiz, 1938), wherein she played James Cagney's love interest; Bogart, O'Brien and the Dead End Kids had supporting roles. The film was a big hit and critically acclaimed.

Sheridan was reunited with the Dead End Kids in They Made Me a Criminal (Busby Berkeley, 1938) starring John Garfield. She was third-billed in the Western Dodge City (Michael Curtiz, 1939), playing a saloon owner opposite Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The film was another notable success.

In March 1939, Warner Bros. announced Sheridan had been voted by a committee of 25 men as the actress with the most "oomph" in America. Oomph" was described as "a certain indefinable something that commands male interest." She received as many as 250 marriage proposals from fans in a single week. Now tagged 'The Oomph Girl'— a sobriquet which she reportedly loathed — Sheridan was a popular pin-up girl in the early 1940s.

She was top-billed in Indianapolis Speedway (Lloyd Bacon, 1939) with Pat O'Brien and Angels Wash Their Faces (Ray Enright, 1939) with O'Brien, the Dead End Kids, and Ronald Reagan. Castle on the Hudson (Anatole Litvak, 1940) put her opposite John Garfield and Pat O'Brien.

Ann Sheridan
Vintage card. Photo: George Hurrell / Warner Bros, 1952.

Ann Sheridan
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 352. Photo: Warner Bros.

Film Noirs and Screwball Comedies


Ann Sheridan's first real starring vehicle was It All Came True (Lewis Seiler, 1940), a musical comedy co-starring Humphrey Bogart and Jeffrey Lynn. She introduced the song 'Angel in Disguise'.

Sheridan and James Cagney were reunited in Torrid Zone (William Keighley, 1940) with Pat O'Brien in support. She was with George Raft, Bogart, and Ida Lupino in the Film Noir They Drive by Night (Raoul Walsh, 1940), a trucking melodrama.

She was in a lot of comedies and a number of forgettable films, but the public liked her, and her career flourished. Sheridan was back with Cagney for City for Conquest (Anatole Litvak, 1941) and then made Honeymoon for Three (Lloyd Bacon, 1941), a comedy with George Brent.

Sheridan did two lighter films: Navy Blues (Lloyd Bacon, 1941), a musical comedy, and The Man Who Came to Dinner (William Keighley, 1941), wherein she played a character modeled on Gertrude Lawrence.

She then made Kings Row (Sam Wood, 1942), in which she received top billing playing opposite Ronald Reagan. It was a huge success and one of Sheridan's most memorable films. Sheridan and Reagan were reunited for Juke Girl (Curtis Bernhardt, 1942).

She was in the war film Wings for the Eagle (Lloyd Bacon, 1942) and made a comedy with Jack Benny, George Washington Slept Here (William Keighley, 1943). She played a Norwegian resistance fighter in Edge of Darkness (Lewis Milestone, 1943) with Errol Flynn and was one of the many Warners stars who had cameos in Thank Your Lucky Stars (David Butler, 1943).

She was the heroine of a novel, 'Ann Sheridan and the Sign of the Sphinx', written by Kathryn Heisenfelt and published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1943. While the heroine of the story was identified as a famous actress, the stories were entirely fictitious. The story was probably written for a young teenaged audience and is reminiscent of the adventures of Nancy Drew. It is part of a series known as 'Whitman Authorized Editions', 16 books published between 1941 and 1947 that always featured a film actress as heroine.

Sheridan was given the lead in the musical Shine On, Harvest Moon (David Butler, 1944), playing Nora Bayes, opposite Dennis Morgan. She was in a comedy The Doughgirls (James V. Kern, 1944).

Sheridan was absent from screens for over a year, touring with the USO to perform in front of the troops as far afield as China. She returned in One More Tomorrow (Peter Godfrey, 1946) with Morgan. She had an excellent role in the Film Noir Nora Prentiss (Vincent Sherman, 1947), which was a hit.

It was followed by The Unfaithful (Vincent Sherman, 1948), a popular remake of the crime drama The Letter (William Wyler, 1940) starring Bette Davis, and Silver River (Raoul Walsh, 1948), a Western melodrama with Errol Flynn. Leo McCarey borrowed her to support Gary Cooper in Good Sam (Leo McCarey, 1948).

She then left Warner Bros., saying: "I wasn't at all satisfied with the scripts they offered me." Her role in the screwball comedy I Was a Male War Bride (Howard Hawks, 1949), co-starring Cary Grant, was another success at Fox. In 1950, she appeared on the musical television series Stop the Music, and in Stella (Claude Binyon, 1950), a comedy with Victor Mature.

Ann Sheridan
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 1213. Photo: Warner.

Ann Sheridan
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 1213a. Photo: Walter Wanger.

Beware the Hangman


Ann Sheridan made Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, 1950), a Film Noir, which she also produced. Woman on the Run was distributed by Universal, and Sheridan signed a contract with that studio.

While there, she made Steel Town (George Sherman, 1952), Just Across the Street (Joseph Pevney, 1952), and Take Me to Town (1953), a comedy directed by Douglas Sirk. Sheridan supported Glenn Ford in Appointment in Honduras (Jacques Tourneur, 1953).

She appeared opposite Steve Cochran in Come Next Spring (R. G. Springsteen, 1956) and was one of several stars in MGM's The Opposite Sex (David Miller, 1956). Her last film, The Woman and the Hunter (George P. Breakston, 1957), was shot in Africa. Sheridan later said she wished the movie "had been lost somewhere in Kenya".

She went to New York to appear in a Broadway show, but it did not make it to Broadway. She did stage tours of 'Kind Sir' (1958) and 'Odd Man In' (1959), and 'The Time of Your Life at the Brussels World Fair' in 1958. In all three shows, she acted with Scott McKay, whom she later married.

In 1962, she played the lead in The Mavis Grant Story on the Western series Wagon Train. In the mid-1960s, Sheridan appeared on the NBC soap opera Another World (1965-1966). Her final work was a TV series of her own, a comedy Western entitled Pistols 'n' Petticoats (1966-1967). Her career was taking off again, but the success was short-lived.

The 19th episode of the series, Beware the Hangman, aired, as scheduled, on the same day that she died. Sheridan had married actor Edward Norris in 1936, in Ensenada, Mexico. They separated a year later and divorced in 1939. In 1942, she married fellow Warner Bros. star George Brent, who co-starred with her in Honeymoon for Three (Lloyd Bacon, 1941). They divorced exactly one year later. Following her divorce from Brent, she had a long-term relationship with publicist Steve Hannagan, which lasted until his death in 1953. Hannagan’s estate bequeathed Miss Sheridan $218,399 ($2.1 million in current dollars).

On 5 June 1966, she married actor Scott McKay, who was with her when she passed away, six months later. She died of gastroesophageal cancer with massive liver metastases at age 51 in 1967, in Los Angeles. She was cremated and her ashes were stored at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles until they were interred in a niche in the Chapel Columbarium at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in 2005. For her contributions to the film industry, Ann Sheridan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7024 Hollywood Boulevard.

Ann Sheridan
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. A 539. Photo: Universal-International.

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

Jo Weil

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Jo Weil (1977) is a German actor and TV presenter. He is best known for his role as Oliver Sabel in the soap-opera Verbotene Liebe/Forbidden Love. He had played the character for 15 years before trying out other pursuits, including releasing 2 singles, acting in a musical, and several films.

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card. Photo: Nadine Dilly.

The impact of a young bisexual waiter


Johannes 'Jo' Hermann Bruno Anton Weil was born in 1977 in Frankfurt, Germany. He is the son of a Degree in Business Administration owner and a physiotherapist. He grew up with a brother, Michael, who is three years younger and a lawyer, in Petersberg.

Jo finished his high school diploma at the Freiherr-vom-Stein-Schule in Fulda. After high school and community service, he attended drama school in Cologne and took private acting and singing lessons.

He made his screen debut in the romantic drama series Geliebte Schwestern/Beloved sisters (1997), but the series was a flop. Then, throughout 1998 through 2006, he studied in drama workshops at the Arturo Drama School. Weil played in TV productions and on the stage. He also took over modelling (including his own calendars) and guest appearances jobs and worked as a (synchronous) speaker or voice-over artist.

In 2000, Jo Weil started playing a young bisexual waiter Oliver Sabel, a lead role in the evening drama series Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love). Oliver later falls in love with his roommate Christian Mann (Thore Schölermann), and with whom he has formed one of the leading couples of the series since 2007.

The impact of Christian and Oliver's stories has spread outside Germany via the Internet, such as Brazil, the United States, Canada, Spain, China, and other countries, even though the series is not broadcast outside of German-speaking countries. They were also invited to attend ski resort Whistler in Canada for the Winterpride. He attended fashion shows and was in the jury for the election of Mr. Gay World.

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card, 2017.

The 'most beautiful lovers' award


From November 2007, Jo Weil, after a five-year break, returned to the role of Oliver. In September 2010, Oliver married Christian in a church wedding. In 2011, he and co-star Thore Schölermann won the 'most beautiful lovers' award at the German Soap Awards and he won the 'Fan Price Male' award. In 2012, he won 'Fan Prize Male' again at the Soap Award in Berlin, Germany.

In August 2012, due to other commitments, Thore Schölermann left the show, breaking up "Chrolli", as the couple was called by fans. Weil then left the show in February 2015.

Since 2009, Jo Weil wrote his own star column in the English lifestyle magazine reFRESH. He volunteers as an ambassador for the Aidshilfe Köln. From 2002-2004, he portrayed the character of Florian Lenz in the television series, Medicopter 117/Medicopter, about rescue operations.

In 2010, Weil participated in the cooking show The Perfect Celebrity Dinner. He also appeared in such films as Das Leben ist keine Autobahn/Life is not a highway (Dennis Albrecht, 2011), Sodom (Mark Wilshin, 2017), and the horror film The Toymaker (Andrew Jones, 2017).

Since August 2016, Weil presents the format Lifestyle with Jo Weil, on the online channel Wirtschaft TV. In 2017, he participated with Mirja du Mont as a dance partner on the program Dance Dance Dance. In that year, he also starred in the film comedy Oskar - leave on a high note (Thomas Schwedler, 2018).

From autumn 2018, he took over the role of Frank Farmer in the stage musical 'The Bodyguard' at the Ronacher Theatre in Vienna. Since then he appeared in multiple productions of 'The Bodyguard' in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Jo Weil lives in Cologne, Germany, when not working elsewhere. Following 21 years of declining to comment on his personal life, Weil came out as gay in an interview with the German magazine Bunte in April 2020. He revealed that he has been in a longterm relationship for more than a decade. He declared: "I finally want to live a free and normal life without having to put a filter in front of reality and give spongy answers."

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card.

Jo Weil
German autograph card, 2017.

Jo Weil
German autograph postcard by Joweil.de. Photo: Weil / Holthausen.

Sources: Law & Lawyer Journals, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Zwischen zwei Welten (1919)

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In the German silent film Zwischen zwei Welten/Between two worlds (Adolf Gärtner, 1919), the two popular stars Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse played a romantic couple. Ross Verlag made a series of four sepia cards with scenes from the film. Only a portrait of Karl Marx in the background of one of the postcards indicates that the film had political content.

Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse in Zwischen zwei Welten (1919)
German postcard by Verlag Ross, no. 590. Photo: Ring-Film. Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse in the German silent film Zwischen zwei Welten/Between two worlds (Adolf Gärtner, 1919). This was the first card of a series of four. The portrait in the back is a classic one of Karl Marx.

Bruno Kastner in Zwischen zwei Welten
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 591. Photo: Ring-Film. Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse in Zwischen zwei Welten (Adolf Gärtner, 1919).

Forbidden for juveniles


In Zwischen zwei Welten/Between two worlds, workers in a factory have a conflict with the managing director Lüders (Magnus Stifter). They won't elect him.

The manager (Bruno Kastner) stands by them, but he is consequently fired. Then the Social-Democrats put him forward as their candidate.

Zwischen zwei Welten was scripted byBruno Kastner, Paul Rosenhayn and Adolf Gärtner. In addition to Kastner, Hanni Weisse, and Stifter, the other actors in the cast were Olga Engl, Max Laurence, Lina Paulsen, Lucie Mannheim and Gustav Roos.

In February 1919, the German censor decided that Zwischen zwei Welten/Between two worlds was forbidden for juveniles.

Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse in Zwischen zwei Welten (1919)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 592. Photo: Ring-Film. Bruno Kastner and Hanni Weisse in Zwischen zwei Welten (Adolf Gärtner, 1919).

Magnus Stifter and Bruno Kastner in Zwischen zwei Welten (1919)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 593. Photo: Ring-Film. Magnus Stifter (left) and Bruno Kastner (right) in Zwischen zwei Welten (Adolf Gärtner, 1919).

Sources: The German Early Cinema Database, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Lore Frisch

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Lore Frisch (1925-1962) was a German film actress of the 1950s and early 1960s. She starred in the popular DEFA films Der Ochse von Kulm (1955), Zar und Zimmermann/The Czar and the Carpenter (1956), and Meine Frau macht Musik/My Wife Makes Music (1958). When her married lover abandoned her, she committed suicide.

Lore Frisch
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 234, 1956. Photo: Manfred Klawikowski.

Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 54/68. Photo: Wenze DEFA. Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann/The Czar and the Carpenter (Hans Müller, 1956), adapted from the comical opera by Albert Lortzing.

Lore Frisch
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1164, 1961.

A period piece musical comedy about Czar Peter I


Lore Frisch was born in 1925 in Schwindegg, Bavaria, as Eleonora Frisch, daughter of a painter from Bad Reichenhall. She took ballet lessons during her school days.

During the Second World War, she worked as a nurse, and when stationed in Ost Friesland, she joined the theatre company Wanderfrühne Ostfriesische Kammerspiele Leer. Lore Frisch initially worked there as a prompter, tailor, and stage painter. Later she also took on stage roles. In 1948 she had appearances in Ingolstadt and at Munich theaters. She received acting lessons from Martin Hellberg and worked temporarily as a broadcaster, stenographer, and as a nurse.

In the early 1950s, Lore Frisch appeared in three Heimat films, shot in Bavaria. In the comedy Der weißblaue Löwe/The Blue and White Lion (Werner Jacobs,  Olf Fischer, 1952), she played the daughter of Wastl Witt. She then appeared in the family drama Junges Herz voll Liebe/Young Heart Full of Love (Paul May, 1953), in which a boy (Hans Brenner) loses his parents in an avalanche, and becomes devoted to the animals on his farm. The third film was the comedy  Ehestreik/Marriage Strike (Joe Stöckel, 1953) with Erich Auer. It was a remake of the 1935 film of the same title directed by Georg Jacoby.

Martin Hellberg, who had moved to the GDR in 1949, brought her to DEFA in 1954, where she had a prolific career. At the DEFA dubbing studios, Frisch also met European stars such as Giovanna Ralli and Marina Vlady. She also appeared in the film 52 Wochen sind ein Jahr/52 Weeks Make A Year (Richard Groschopp, 1955).

In the film comedy Der Ochse von Kulm/The ox of Kulm (Martin Hellberg, 1955), she played the wife of a Bavarian farmer who rebels against the American occupying powers. In 1956, she made her most successful film Zar und Zimmermann/The Czar and the Carpenter (Hans Müller, 1956), a period piece musical comedy that also ran in the BRD.  It is set around the Russian Czar Peter the Great's secret visit to the Dutch Republic to study shipbuilding in the Seventeenth Century.

In Zar und Zimmermann/The Czar and the Carpenter, czar Peter I (Bert Fortell), incognito as Peter Michailow, works in the Dutch Republic in the little town of Saardam [a pun on the real village of Zaandam where the real Peter I stayed], learning to build ships. He trades places with a fellow Russian carpenter, Peter Iwanow (Günther Haack), to escape foreign ambassadors and the pushy, greedy mayor Van Bett (Willy Kleinau). While the French ambassador has recognised the czar, the English ambassador and the mayor think Iwanow is the czar, creating all kinds of misunderstandings. Meanwhile, both Peters are in love with Marie (Frisch), who cannot decide which one she'll go for, and even Marie is fooled by the fake czar.

Lore Frisch
German postcard by VEB DEFA-Filmstudio für Spielfilme, Potsdam-Babelsberg. Photo: Wunsch, Berlin / DEFA.

Lore Frisch
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3901/100, 1956. Photo: Wunsch / DEFA.

Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann (1956)
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 7080/92. Photo: Wunsch / DEFA. Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann/Tsar and Carpenter (Hans Müller, 1956), adapted from the comical opera by Albert Lortzing.

Embodying combative, self-confident women


In 1958 Lore Frisch had another great success as the leading actress in the revue film Meine Frau macht Musik/My Wife Makes Music (Hans Heinrich, 1958). In this film, she played a housewife who steadfastly goes her way as a singer. She is discovered and turned into a singing star by an Italian (Alexander Hegarth), much to her husband's (Günter Simon) disapproval.

Meine Frau macht Musik/My Wife Makes Music sold 6,052,050 tickets at the East-German box-office but drew criticism from the communist authorities who regarded its style as too close to western commercial cinema.

She embodied combative, self-confident women, especially as a women's rights activist in Nur eine Frau/Just a woman (Carl Balhaus, 1958).

In contrast, in the satire Das Kleid/The Dress (Konrad Petzold, Egon Günther,1961), an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Emperor's New Clothes', she was an opportunistic Minister of Clothing. Due to the obvious parallels to everyday life in the GDR, the film only premiered in 1991.

Lore Frisch, who had been living in West-Berlin, moved to the GDR in 1959, hoping to get more big parts at DEFA, but she only got smaller ones. She occasionally also appeared at theatres.

When her lover, the actor Alexander Hegarth, who was married, went back to his wife in Western Germany, Frisch was so devastated that she committed suicide and died in Potsdam in 1962.

Lore Frisch
German postcard by VEB Volkskunstverlag Reichenbach. Photo: Wunsch, Berlin.

Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann (1956)
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, no. 88/69. Photo: Wenzel / DEFA. Lore Frisch in Zar und Zimmermann/Tsar and Carpenter (Hans Müller, 1956), adapted from the comical opera by Albert Lortzing.

Lore Frisch
German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 47/426. Photo: Neufeld / DEFA.

Sources: Synchron-Forum (German), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

Photo by Wyndham

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We found some beautiful French postcards of the 1920s with exquisite photos of stage- and film actors by 'Wyndham'. Some of the sepia-coloured postcards were published by Wyndham Ed., probably the photographer himself - or maybe herself? Was 'Wyndham' the British society portrait photographer Olivia Wyndham (1897-1967)? And if so, who was this talented bohemian who was so important for the 'bright young things' of the 1920s, but whose photos are now mostly neglected?

Suzanne Bianchetti
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 35. Photo: Wyndham.

French film actress Suzanne Bianchetti (1889-1936) was one of France's most loved and respected actresses of her time. She played Marie Antoinette in Abel Gance's epic Napoléon (1927) and worked with many other great names of the silent cinema. After her death the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti was created in her memory, an annual French award to be given to the most promising young actress.

Ginette Maddie
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 107. Photo: Wyndham.

Ginette Maddie (1898-1980) was a French actress who acted in French and German silent films. She started in 1922 opposite Claude Merelle in Le diamant noir (André Hugon). Maddie had female leads in Sarati le terrible (René Hervil, Louis Mercanton, 1923), the comedy Les héritiers de l'oncle James (Alfred Machin, Henry Wulschleger, 1924), and La lueur dans les ténèbres ( Maurice Charmeroy, 1928). In the early sound era, Maddie only acted in two films.

Eric Barclay
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 115. Photo: Wyndham.

Eric Barclay (1894–1938) was a Swedish film actor. Barclay became a prominent actor in French silent films of the early 1920s, often working with director Jacques de Baroncelli. He also appeared in German and British films and those of his native Sweden.

Who was Olivia Wyndham?


Olivia Wyndham (1897-1967) was a high-class rebel. She was born in 1898 as Olivia Madeline Grace Mary Wyndham into a wealthy family of often aesthetically-inclined aristocrats, but she was also a bohemian, a lesbian, and a long-time user of heroin and cocaine.

The daughter of Colonel Guy Percy Wyndham and his wife Edwina Virginia Joanna, daughter of Rev. Frederick Fitzpatrick, Olivia was the great-great-granddaughter of the 3rd Earl of Egremont and great-granddaughter of the 1st Baron Leconfield. She was also the sister of millionaire Richard 'Dick' Wyndham, cousin of David and Stephen Tennant, and a distant relative of Oscar Wilde.

Olivia spent much of her childhood in various country houses that have achieved a fame of their own. Her younger nephew (or half-brother - the sources differ) the journalist, editor, and writer Francis Wyndham, who was the literary executor to Jean Rhys. Francis later wrote with deep affection and humour about his eccentric aunt (or half-sister) in his roman à clef'Mrs. Henderson and Other Stories' (1985).

Like many women of her background she had worked, during the War, for the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in France. She was not prepared to return home and 'settle down'. Having tried her hand at a dance school, she moved into the newly fashionable area of photography. In Paris, she found work in the world of stage and cinema. All the postcards in this post were produced in the early 1920s. But are they hers? On the web, there are no sources that connect the pictures or postcards with Olivia Wyndham.

In 1925 she opened a portrait studio, M Studio in Fitzroy Square in London, with American photographer Curtis Moffat. He was a wealthy American, married to the legendary Iris Tree. He had been studying photography in Paris with Man Ray. Both Moffat and Wyndham used their considerable social connections to entice sitters to showcase the 'new' look.

In their London studio, they produced stylish photographic portraits of leading society and art figures, known colloquially as the 'bright young things'. According to Sir Frederick Ashton, she was the real 'instigator' of the whole scene. She brought together many of the different cliques that together constitute the Bright Young People. Regular subjects for Moffat and Wyndham were Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, Tallulah Bankhead and Cecil Beaton. In June 1927, they held an exhibition.

Wyndham was by this time located at 19 King’s Road. This address became the main meeting ground for Olivia’s lesbian friends and a number of young artists and dancers associated with Chelsea Art College, including young photographer Barbara Ker-Seymer. By 1929, part of 19 King’s Road had been turned into a studio. She fell in love with the African American actress Edna Thomas, when Thomas performed with the African American revue 'The Blackbirds' in London. Olivia followed her from London to New York, where Thomas's successful salon was the centre of the Harlem Renaissance. Barbara Ker-Seymer took over Wyndham's studio at 19 King’s Road.

To stay in the United States, Wyndham married Howland Spencer in May 1930. They divorced in 1931. His blackmail threats about her lesbian relationship with Thomas were squelched by Wyndham's scandal-averse father. Olivia and Edna would have a lifelong relationship. Edna became famous for her interpretation of  Lady Macbeth in Orson Welles’ stage debut in 1934. They lived in a ménage à trois with Edna's husband, Lloyd Thomas. In the 1930s, Wyndham was painted by the artist Joseph Delaney.

During World War II, Olivia Wyndham served in the Women's Army Corps as an embedded photographer in the Pacific. The rest of her career, she spent with the U.S. Veterans Administration.

Maurice Bottomley at his blog Cocktails with Elvira: "nothing about her, including rampant promiscuity and the odd punch-up, stopped people liking Olivia. She was, nearly everyone said, 'generous'. Not just with money, in fact, she was by no means wealthy thanks to a cock-up over inheritance, but with her time and friendship. Quick-tempered and full of flaws herself, she was able to overlook failings in others. "


Huguette Duflos
French postcard by Wyndham Ed., Paris, no. W 102.

Actress Huguette Duflos (1887-1982) was a leading lady of the French silent cinema of the 1920s.

Sylvain
French postcard by Wyndham Ed., Paris, no. W 103. Photo: Sylvain in Molière's play Tartufe.

Eugène Sylvain (1851-1930), better known as Sylvain and Silvain, was a prominent French stage actor, though he is best remembered as the evil bishop Cauchon in Carl Dreyer’s silent masterpiece La passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928).

Vanni Marcoux
French postcard by Wyndham Ed., Paris, no. W 107. Vanni Marcoux's name was also written with a hyphen.

Jean-Émile Diogène Marcoux (1877–1962) was a French operatic bass-baritone, known professionally as Vanni Marcoux (aka Vanni-Marcoux). He was renowned as one of the most memorable singing-actors of the 20th century. Vanni Marcoux only acted in 4 films, but everytime in a leading role: he was Faust in Don Juan et Faust (Marcel L'Herbier, 1922), Maurice Ferrioul in the Franco-British coproduction The Scandal (Arthur Rooke, 1923), Charles le Téméraire in Le Miracle des Loups (Raymond Bernard, 1924), and as Vitalis in Sans famille (Marc Allégret, 1934).

Vera Sergine
French postcard by Wyndham Ed. Paris, no. W 108.

Véra Sergine (1884-1946) was a popular French stage actress between the 1910s and 1930s, who was also active in French silent cinema of the 1910s. She was first married to Pierre Renoir, then had a long relationship with Henri Rollan. She is also the mother of Claude Renoir.

Cécile Sorel
French postcard by Wyndham Ed., no. W 109.

Legendary actress Cécile Sorel (1873-1966) was the ‘queen of the French stage’ during the Belle Epoque, the period between the Paris Exposition of 1900 and the First World War. Her public appearances, often in extravagant costumes, created a sensation. During her long life, she played in five films.

Suzanne Bianchetti
French postcard by Editions FILMA, Paris, no. 109. Photo: Wyndham.

French film actress Suzanne Bianchetti (1889-1936) was one of France's most loved and respected actresses of her time. She played Marie Antoinette in Abel Gance's epic Napoléon (1927) and worked with many other great names of the silent cinema. After her death the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti was created in her memory, an annual French award to be given to the most promising young actress.

Alice Cocéa
French postcard by Wyndham Ed., Paris, no. W 110.

Alice Cocéa (1899-1970) was a Romanian-born French stage and screen actress. who peaked in the early 1930s French cinema.

Ginette Maddie
French postcard. Wyndham, Ed., Paris.

Ginette Maddie (1898-1980) was a French actress who acted in French and German silent films. She started in 1922 opposite Claude Merelle in Le diamant noir (André Hugon). Maddie had female leads in Sarati le terrible (René Hervil, Louis Mercanton, 1923), the comedy Les héritiers de l'oncle James (Alfred Machin, Henry Wulschleger, 1924), and La lueur dans les ténèbres ( Maurice Charmeroy, 1928). In the early sound era, Maddie only acted in two films.

Sources: Christopher Hallam (White Drug Cultures and Regulation in London, 1916–1960), David Mellor (Modern British photography, 1919-1939), Lisa Cohen (All We Know: Three Lives), Maurice Bottomley (Cocktails With Elvira), and Wikipedia.

Pierre Magnier

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Pierre Magnier (1869-1959) was a French stage and screen actor and director, known for such films as La roue (Abel Gance, 1923), and La règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939). He was the second actor to portray Cyrano de Bergerac in any film in Cirano di Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923). Magnier continued acting until the 1950s and appeared in over 100 films.

Cirano di Bergerac (1923)
Italian postcard. Photo: UCI. Pierre Magnier as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923). Caption: During the siege of Arras, Cyrano writes to Roxane on behalf of Christian the most ardent words an enamoured heart could have suggested.

Pierre Magnier
French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 115.

Duelling with Sarah Bernhardt


Pierre Frédéric Magnier was born in 1869 in Paris in the Second French Empire (now France).

He debuted as a stage actor in the 1890s at the Théâtre de l'Odéon, and afterward the Théâtre du Vaudeville.

In 1900 he debuted on-screen in Hamlet's Duel, a short dialogue between Hamlet and Laertes, with Sarah Bernhardt playing Hamlet. It was part of the Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre spectacle during the 1900 Paris World Fair. This was a series of filmed performances presented with sound via wax cylinder recordings, and dealing with famous French actors of stage, opera, and operetta singers, vaudeville performers, and dancers.

Pierre Magnier also acted with Sarah Bernhardt in the plays 'Théodora' (1902) and 'Théroigne de Méricourt' (1902) at Bernhardt's own theatre.

After performances at the Théâtre de la Renaissance and the Théâtre du Gymnase, Magnier worked with Bernhardt's rival Réjane in 1906-1908. From the early 1910s, Magnier worked at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin, with occasional sidesteps to other theatres.

After his incidental 1900 short sound film, Pierre Magnier started a more substantial career as a film actor in 1909 at Pathé Frères, debuting in La Maison sans enfant (Georges Monca, 1909).

He remained at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin until the late 1920s, and also did in 1924 a stage tour with Andrée Pascal and other actors of the Porte-Saint-Martin to French-speaking Canada.

Pierre Magnier as Andreas in Théodora
French postcard. photo: Paul Boyer. Pierre Magnier as Andréas in Théodora (Victorien Sardou, 1884), performed in 1902 at the Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt.

Sarah Bernhardt and Pierre Magnier in Théodora
French postcard. Photo: Paul Boyer. Sarah Bernhardtand Pierre Magnier in Théodora (Victorien Sardou, 1884), performed in 1902 at the Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt.

A spectacularly stencil-colored Cyrano de Bergerac


Apart from a few more incidental collaborations, Pierre Magnier's film career really took off in 1912. He then had the male lead in L'ambitieuse/The ambitious (Camille de Morlhon, 1912) opposite Gabriel Signoret. It was the first of a whole string of films with de Morlhon, such as L'usurier/The loan shark (1913), La broyeuse de coeurs/A Thief of Hearts (1913), La Calomnie/Slander (1913), and La marchande de fleurs/The flower seller (1915). In these films Léontine Massart often played the female lead. He also appeared with her in La reine Margot/Queen Margaret (Henri Desfontaines, 1914).

Magnier was absent from the screen in 1916-1917, probably because of the war. In 1918, he returned to Pathé. There he made such films as L'ibis bleu/The blue Ibis (Camille de Morlhon, 1919) co-starring Paule Maxa. After a few films, he moved to Eclipse, where he made the film Le siège des trois K/The seat of the three Ks (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1919) with Suzanne Grandais.

In the early 1920s, Magnier continued to play male leads or the most important male antagonist in French films, of which he made several with the directors Gaston Roudès and Camille de Morlhon.

Memorable was his - supporting - part as Jacques de Hersan in Abel Gance's film La roue/The Wheel (1922), starring Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close, and Gabriel de Gravone. The film used then-revolutionary lighting techniques, and rapid scene changes and cuts. The original version encompassed 32 reels, which ran for either seven and a half or nine hours (sources disagree). In 1924, Gance edited it down to two and a half hours for general distribution.

Magnier had the male lead in the Franco-Italian co-production Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923) with Linda Moglia as Roxanne, and Angelo Ferrari as Christian. The film was spectacularly stencil-colored from beginning to end, adding much to the grand period sets and costumes.

Wikipedia: "This involved cutting stencils for each frame of the film, one for each of up to four colors. This was done in Paris by Mme. Thullier, the most famous stencil-color artist, by projecting each frame onto a ground glass screen and tracing with a Pantograph. These stencils were then used to apply colors to black-and-white prints in a process similar to silk-screening. Each shot was processed separately, so different color palettes could be used for each shot."

It took three years to complete this Pathé Stencil Color process, delaying the film's release until 1925. Then the critics praised the restrained performances by Magnier and the others. On IMDb today several reviewers still praise the film and don't consider it outdated.

After a few more silent films, Magnier quit film acting and only returned in 1930, when the sound film had set in. From then on, he mainly focused on film acting, less on stage acting. By now, he had become the 'older man' in film plots, e.g. playing Metternich in Le congrès s'amuse/The congress has fun (Jean Boyer, Erik Charell, 1931), the French version of the popular German musical film Der Kongress tanzt, in which Conrad Veidt performed this part.

Magnier shifted also genre-wise, acting in many comedies, such as French musical comedy film Coups de roulis/Tossing Ship (Jean de La Cour, 1932) starring Max Dearly, and La Garnison amoureuse/The garrison in love (Max de Vaucorbeil, 1934) with Fernandel. More and more his parts became smaller, sometimes even uncredited, even if he kept acting in many films.

In 1939 he played a general in La règle du jeu/The Rules of the Game by Jean Renoir, starring Nora Gregor and Marcel Dalio. Magnier has one of the films more poignant quotes (and the film's final line) when he praises Marcel Dalio's character as one of "a vanishing breed."

During the 1940s and early 1950s, Magnier kept acting in minor parts in the film. His final film was the comedy Le Chasseur de chez Maxim's/The Porter from Maxim's (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1953) starring Yves Deniaud, Pierre Larquey, and Raymond Bussières. It is based on the 1923 play of the same name by Yves Mirande which has been made into several film adaptations.

Pierre Magnier died in Clichy-la-Garenne, in 1959, at the high age of 90 years.

Cirano di Bergerac (1923)
Italian postcard. Photo: UCI. Pierre Magnier as Cyrano de Bergerac, Linda Moglia as Roxane, and Angelo Ferrari as Christian de Neuvillette in the Franco-Italian historical film Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923), based on Edmond Rostand's famous play 'Cyrano de Bergerac'. The film was scripted by future film director Mario Camerini.

Cirano di Bergerac (1923)
Italian postcard. Photo: UCI. Pierre Magnier as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923). Caption: Hidden between the foliage in the garden, Cyrano suggests Christian the magic, sublime words that the latter isn't capable to invent and that aside Roxane's delicate inhibitions.

Cirano di Bergerac (1923)
Italian postcard. Photo: UCI. Pierre Magnier as Cyrano de Bergerac, and Linda Moglia as Roxane in Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923). Caption: A few cronies from the Duke de Guiche have treacherously hit Cyrano. He still has the force to go to his beloved Roxane, and involuntarily he reveals his heroic sacrifice.

Sources: Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.

Paul Wegener on stage

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German actor, writer, and director Paul Wegener (1874-1948) is a film legend. As one of the pioneers of the German cinema, he realised the potential of the new medium. But before he made such silent classics as Der Student von Prag/The Student of Prague (Stellan Rye, Paul Wegener, 1913) and Der Golem/The Golem (Henrik Galeen, Paul Wegener, 1915), he was already well-known as a stage actor. He worked in the theatre since 1895 and remained true to this profession till his death. Max Reinhardt of the Deutschen Theater took him to his distinguished theatre company in Berlin in 1906 where Wegener starred in such classic plays as 'Macbeth', 'Richard III', and 'Faust I'. Verlag Hermann Leiser published a series of intriguing postcards of Wegener's stage roles.

Paul Wegener and Tilla Durieux in Der Graf von Gleichen (1909)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser (formerly: Louis Blumenthal), Berlin-Wilm, no. 1209. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin. Caption: Paul Wegener and Tilla Durieux in 'Der Graf von Gleichen'. During the season of 1908/09, Wegener played Engelbert, count of Gleichen, in 'Der Graf von Gleichen' by Wilhelm Schmidtbonn, based on the legend of the same name. Felix Hollaender directed.

Paul Wegener and Tilla Durieux in Der Graf von Gleichen
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser (formerly: Louis Blumenthal), Berlin-Wilm, no. 1210. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin. Caption: Paul Wegener and Tilla Durieux in 'Der Graf von Gleichen'.

Paul Wegener
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 1233. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin. Caption: Paul Wegener in Der Arzt am Scheideweg. In 1908,  Paul Wegener played Ridgeon in the play 'Der Arzt am Scheideweg' (The Doctor's Dilemma) by George Bernhard Shaw.

Paul Wegener as  Mephisto
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 1275. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin. Caption: Paul Wegener as Mephisto. During the season of 1908/09, Wegener also played Mephisto in 'Faust I' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Oscar Beregi played Faust and Max Reinhardt was the director.

Paul Wegener as Mephisto
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 1621. Photo: Hans Böhm. Caption: Paul Wegener as Mephisto.

I have long doubted, but now I am sure


At the age of 20, Paul Wegener decided to end his studies at the University of Leipzig and concentrate on acting. Paul wrote to his father, "I am about to end my law studies and get on the stage. I'm very sorry to disappoint you, but I have to... I have long doubted, but now I am sure". The father then refused to give him further financial support.

After just a few short months Paul had managed to build up a repertoire of thirty character roles, and with a college distinction, he set off to make his stage debut at the Stadt Nurnberg. In the following years, he had small engagements in Leipzig, Rostock, Wiesbaden and at the Bernarts-Theater in Aachen.

In 1900 Paul Wegener was drafted into one-year military service with the Gersdorff Fusilier Regiment. Only then did his actual theatre career begin. An important and finally well-paid engagement - at least 9000 marks a year - lead him in 1904 to Hamburg. At the Hamburger Stadt-Theater,  he appeared in the first German-language production of 'Nachtasyl' (Night Asylum) by Maxim Gorki. It was a great success.

In 1905 he appeared in the film production of Die Byzantier by Victor Hahn. The film's premiere was seen by a talent-scout for Max Reinhardt of the Deutschen Theater who had been sent to view the film. The scout telegraphed Reinhardt immediately, praising Wegener's performance.

Wegener debuted at the distinguished the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in October 1906. he became the star of the company and was a huge success as Iago and Othello. He went on extensive theatre tours throughout Europe and performed in Vienna, Budapest, Switzerland, Romania, and the Netherlands. He stayed at the Deutsches Theater till 1920.

Paul Wegener in Faust
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 3387. Photo: Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegener as Mephisto.

Paul Wegener as Franz Moor
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 4070. Photo: Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegener as Franz Moor. In 1908, Max Reinhardt directed Wegener as Franz Moor in 'Die Räuber' (The Robbers) by Friedrich Schiller.

Paul Wegener in König Oedipus (1910)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 4552. Photo: Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegener as King Oedipus. During the 1910-1911 season, Wegener interpreted the title role of Oedipus in 'Oedipus Rex' by Sophocles in the translation by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The production was performed in the arena of the Circus Schumann in Berlin.

Paul Wegener in König Oedipus (1910)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 4553a, Berlin. Photo: Zander & Labisch, Berlin. Caption: King Oedipus.

Paul Wegener in König Oedipus (1910)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 4581a. Photo: Zander & Labisch, Berlin. Caption: King Oedipus. Tiresias at the palace of Oedipus.

The first major theater-in-the-round production in modern times


This production of Sophocles's classic tragedy 'Oedipus Rex', directed by Max Reinhardt in a translation by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had its premiere in 1910. It was first performed in a Summer festival in Munich and in the Fall in a circus arena Berlin.

The stars were Paul Wegener as Oedipus and Tilla Durieux as Jocasta, though some considered the masses of extras performing the Thebans to be the real stars.

Emily Bilski writes in 'Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918': "Oedipus was the first major theater-in-the-round production in modern times that featured masses of actors performing for a mass audience."

Paul Wegener as Jago
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 4612. Photo: Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegeneras Jago. During the season of 1910-1911, Wegener played Iago in 'Othello' by William Shakespeare. Albert Bassermann appeared in the title role and Max Reinhardt was the director.

Paul Wegener as Macbeth
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 7571. Photo; Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegener as Macbeth. Max Reinhardt directed Paul Wegener in 'Macbeth' in 1916. Reinhardt gave unusual close attention to the psychological motivation of the characters. Reinhardt worked out every tone and gesture for Macbeth and his Lady, played by Hermione Körner. Reinhardt saw Macbeth as a neurotic

Paul Wegener as Macbeth
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 7574. Photo; Becker & Maass. Caption: Paul Wegener as Macbeth.

Paul Wegener as König Richard III
German postcard by Verl. Hermann Leiser, Berlin Wilm, no. 8152. Photo: Hänse Hermann. Caption: Paul Wegener as König Richard III.  In 1914, Wegener played the title role in 'Richard III', by William Shakespeare. It was performed at the Theater in der Königgrätzer Straße (Hebbel-Theater).

Paul Wegener as König Richard III
German postcard by Verl. Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm, no. 8501. Photo: Hänse Herrmann. Caption: Paul Wegener as König Richard III. Publicity still for a stage production of 'König Richard III' (Richard III) by William Shakespeare.

Paul Wegener as Othello
German postcard by Verl. Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm, no. 9937. Photo: Fritz Richard. Caption: Paul Wegener as Othello. During the 1917-1918 season, Wegener played the title role in 'Othello' by William Shakespeare under the direction of Max Reinhardt.

Paul Wegener as Othello
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 9990. Photo: Fritz Richard. Caption: Paul Wegener as Othello.

Sources: Jens Geutebrück (Paul Wegener site), John L. Styan (Max Reinhardt), Stephanie d'Heil (Steffi-Line - German),   The Missing Link, Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.

Paulette Goddard

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American actress Paulette Goddard (1905-1990) started her career as a fashion model and as a Ziegfeld Girl in Broadway shows. She had her breakthrough as Charlie Chaplin's leading lady in Modern Times (1936), and The Great Dictator (1940). In the 1940s, she became a major star of Paramount Pictures. Goddard was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for So Proudly We Hail! (1943). Her husbands included Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich Maria Remarque.

Paulette Goddard
British postcard by Art Photo, no. 133.

Paulette Goddard
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 267. Photo: Paramount, 1948.

A stunning natural beauty


Paulette Goddard was born Pauline Marion Levy in Whitestone Landing, Long Island, New York. Sources variously cite her year of birth as 1911 and 1914, and the place as Whitestone Landing, New York, USA. However, municipal employees in Ronco, Switzerland, where she died, gave her birth year of record as 1905. Marlene Pilaete adds: "It seems that Paulette Goddard was born in 1910, the year which is mentioned on her gravestone. The 15th of April 1910 U.S. Census lists her parents as childless and the 1st of January 1920 U.S. Census lists her as a 9-year old child. So, it seems that she was born after the 15th of April 1910 and before the 1st of January 1911."

Goddard was the daughter of Joseph Russell Levy, the son of a prosperous Jewish cigar manufacturer from Salt Lake City, and Alta Mae Goddard, who was of Episcopalian English heritage. They married in 1908 and separated while their daughter was very young, although the divorce did not become final until 1926. According to Goddard, her father left them, but according to J.R. Levy, Alta absconded with the child.

Goddard was raised by her mother and did not meet her father again until the late 1930s after she had become famous. To avoid a custody battle, she and her mother moved often during her childhood, even relocating to Canada at one point. Goddard began modeling at an early age to support her mother and herself, working for Saks Fifth Avenue, Hattie Carnegie, and others.

An important figure in her childhood was her great uncle, Charles Goddard, the owner of the American Druggists Syndicate. He played a central role in Goddard's career, introducing her to Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. She made her stage debut as a dancer in Ziegfeld's summer revue, 'No Foolin' (1926), which was also the first time that she used the stage name Paulette Goddard. Ziegfeld hired her for another musical, 'Rio Rita', which opened in February 1927, but she left the show after only three weeks to appear in the play 'The Unconquerable Male', produced by Archie Selwyn. It was, however, a flop and closed after only three days following its premiere in Atlantic City.

Soon after the play closed, Goddard was introduced to the much older lumber tycoon Edgar James, president of the Southern Lumber Company, by Charles Goddard. She married him in June 1927 in Rye, New York, but the marriage was short. Goddard was granted a divorce in Reno, Nevada, in 1929, receiving a divorce settlement of $375,000. Tony Fontana at IMDb: "A stunning natural beauty, Paulette could mesmerize any man she met, a fact she was well aware of."

Paulette Goddard first visited Hollywood in 1929, when she appeared as an uncredited extra in two films, the Laurel and Hardy short film Berth Marks (Lewis R. Foster, 1929), and George Fitzmaurice's drama The Locked Door (1929). Following her divorce, she briefly visited Europe before returning to Hollywood in late 1930 with her mother.

Her second attempt at acting was no more successful than the first, as she landed work only as an extra. In 1930, she signed her first film contract with producer Samuel Goldwyn to appear as a Goldwyn Girl in Whoopee! (Thornton Freeland, 1930) with Eddie Cantor. She also appeared in City Streets (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931) with Gary Cooper, Ladies of the Big House (Marion Gering, 1931) starring Sylvia Sidney, and The Girl Habit (Edward F. Cline, 1931) for Paramount, and The Mouthpiece (James Flood, Elliott Nugent, 1932) for Warners.

Goldwyn and she did not get along, and she began working for Hal Roach Studios, appearing in a string of uncredited supporting roles for the next four years, including Young Ironsides (James Parrott, 1932) with Charley Chase, and Pack Up Your Troubles (George Marshall, Ray McCarey, 1932) with Laurel and Hardy. One of her bigger roles in that period was as a blond 'Goldwyn Girl' in the Eddie Cantor film The Kid from Spain (Leo McCarey, 1932). Goldwyn also used Goddard in The Bowery (Raoul Walsh, 1933) with Wallace Beery, Roman Scandals (Frank Tuttle, 1933), and Kid Millions (Roy Del Ruth, 1934) with Eddie Cantor.

Paulette Goddard
Dutch postcard by S. & v. H., A. Photo: M.P.E.A.

Paulette Goddard
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1939, for Orologi e Cinturini Delgia. Photo: Studio Chaplin.

Charlot's Gamin


The year she signed with Goldwyn, Goddard began dating Charlie Chaplin, a relationship that received substantial attention from the press. They were reportedly married in secret in Canton, China, in June 1936. It marked a turning point in Goddard's career when Chaplin cast her as his leading lady in his box office hit, Modern Times (1936).

Her role as 'The Gamin', an orphan girl who runs away from the authorities and becomes The Tramp's companion, was her first credited film appearance and garnered her mainly positive reviews, Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times describing her as "the fitting recipient of the great Charlot's championship". Following the success of Modern Times, Chaplin planned other projects with Goddard in mind as a co-star, but he worked slowly, and Goddard worried that the public might forget about her if she did not continue to make regular film appearances.

She signed a contract with David O. Selznick and appeared with Janet Gaynorin the comedy The Young in Heart (Richard Wallace, 1938) before Selznick lent her to MGM to appear in two films. The first of these, Dramatic School (Robert B. Sinclair, 1938), co-starred Luise Rainer, but the film received mediocre reviews and failed to attract an audience. Her next film, The Women (George Cukor, 1939), was a success. With an all-female cast headed by Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell, the film's supporting role of Miriam Aarons was played by Goddard. Pauline Kael later wrote of Goddard, "she is a stand-out. fun."

David O' Selznick was pleased with Paulette Goddard's performances, particularly her work in The Young in Heart, and considered her for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Initial screen tests convinced Selznick and director George Cukor that Goddard would require coaching to be effective in the role, but that she showed promise, and she was the first actress given a Technicolor screen test. After he was introduced to Vivien Leigh, he wrote to his wife that Leigh was a "dark horse" and that his choice had "narrowed down to Paulette, Jean Arthur, Joan Bennett, and Vivien Leigh". After a series of tests with Leigh that pleased both Selznick and Cukor, Selznick cancelled the further tests that had been scheduled for Goddard, and the part was given to Leigh.

Goddard's next film, The Cat and the Canary (Elliott Nugent, 1939) with Bob Hope, was a turning point in the careers of both actors. The success of the film established her as a genuine star. Her performance won her a ten-year contract with Paramount Studios, which was one of the premier studios of the day. They promptly were re-teamed in The Ghost Breakers (George Marshall, 1940), again a huge hit.

Goddard starred with Charles Chaplin again in his classic film The Great Dictator (1940). In 1942, Goddard was granted a Mexican divorce from Chaplin. The couple split amicably, with Chaplin agreeing to a generous settlement.

At Paramount, Goddard was used by Cecil B. De Mille in the action epic North West Mounted Police (1940), playing the second female lead. She was Fred Astaire's leading lady in the acclaimed musical Second Chorus/Swing it (H.C. Potter, 1940), where she met actor Burgess Meredith, her third husband. Goddard made Pot o' Gold (George Marshall, 1941), a comedy with James Stewart, then supported Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (Mitchell Leisen, 1941), from a script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett.

Goddard was teamed with Bob Hope for the third time in Nothing But the Truth (Elliott Nugent, 1942), then made The Lady Has Plans (Sidney Lanfield, 1942), a comedy with Ray Milland. She co-starred with Milland and John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind (Cecil B. DeMille, 1942), playing the lead, a Scarlett O'Hara type character. The film was a huge hit. Goddard did The Forest Rangers (George Marshall, 1942) with Fred MacMurray. One of her better-remembered film appearances was in the variety musical Star Spangled Rhythm (George Marshall, 1943), in which she sang "A Sweater, a Sarong, and a Peekaboo Bang" with Dorothy Lamour and Veronica Lake.

Paulette Goddard
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 267. Photo: Paramount, 1950.

Paulette Goddard
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 306. Photo: Paramount, 1952.

A lovely, caring and intelligent woman


Paulette Goddard received one Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for So Proudly We Hail! (Mark Sandrich, 1943) opposite Claudette Colbert and Veronica Lake. She didn't win, but it solidified her as a top draw. Goddard was teamed with Fred MacMurray in the delightful comedy Standing Room Only (Sidney Lanfield, 1944) and Sonny Tufts in I Love a Soldier (Mark Sandrich, 1944). In May 1944, she married Burgess Meredith at David O. Selznick's home in Beverly Hills.

Goddard's most successful film was Kitty (Mitchell Leisen, 1945), in which she played the title role. Denny Jackson/Robert Sieger at IMDb: "The film was a hit with moviegoers, as she played an ordinary English woman transformed into a duchess. The film was filled with plenty of comedy, dramatic and romantic scenes that appealed to virtually everyone."

In The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946), Goddard starred with husband Burgess Meredith under the direction of Jean Renoir. It was made for United Artists. At Paramount she did Suddenly It's Spring (Mitchell Leisen, 1947) with Fred MacMurray, and De Mille's 18th-century romantic drama Unconquered (Cecil B. DeMille, 1947), with Cary Grant.

During the Hollywood Blacklist, when she and blacklisted husband Meredith were mobbed by a baying crowd screaming "Communists!" on their way to a premiere, Goddard is said to have turned to her husband and said, "Shall I roll down the window and hit them with my diamonds, Bugsy?" In 1947, she made An Ideal Husband in Britain for Alexander Korda and was accompanied on a publicity trip to Brussels by Clarissa Spencer-Churchill, niece of Sir Winston Churchill and future wife of future Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

She divorced Meredith in June 1949 and also left Paramount. In 1949, she formed Monterey Pictures with John Steinbeck. Goddard starred in Anna Lucasta (Irving Rapper, 1949), then went to Mexico for The Torch (Emilio Fernández, 1950). In England, she was in Babes in Bagdad (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1952), then she went to Hollywood for Vice Squad (Arnold Laven, 1953) with Edward G. Robinson, and Charge of the Lancers (William Castle, 1954) with Jean-Pierre Aumont. Her last starring role was in the English production A Stranger Came Home/The Unholy Four (Terence Fisher, 1954).

Paulette Goddard began appearing in summer stock and on television, guest-starring on episodes of Sherlock Holmes, an adaptation of The Women, this time playing the role of Sylvia Fowler, The Errol Flynn Theatre, The Joseph Cotten Show, and The Ford Television Theatre. She was in an episode of Adventures in Paradise and a TV version of The Phantom.

After her marriage to Erich Maria Remarque in 1958, Goddard largely retired from acting and moved to Ronco sopra Ascona, Switzerland. In 1964, she attempted a comeback in films with a supporting role in the Italian film Gli indifferenti/Time of Indifference (Francesco Maselli, 1964), starring Claudia Cardinale and Rod Steiger, which was her last feature film.

After Remarque's death in 1970, she made one last attempt at acting, when she accepted a small role in an episode of the TV series The Snoop Sisters, The Female Instinct (Leonards Stern, 1972) with Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick. Upon Remarque's death, Goddard inherited much of his money and several important properties across Europe, including a wealth of contemporary art, which augmented her own long-standing collection. During this period, her talent at accumulating wealth became a byword among the old Hollywood élite.

During the 1980s, she became a fairly well known (and highly visible) socialite in New York City, appearing covered with jewels at many high-profile cultural functions with several well-known men, including Andy Warhol, with whom she sustained a friendship for many years until his death in 1987. Paulette Goddard underwent invasive treatment for breast cancer in 1975, successfully by all accounts.

In 1990, she died at her home in Switzerland from heart failure while under respiratory support due to emphysema. She is buried in Ronco Village Cemetery, next to Remarque and her mother. Goddard had no children. She became a stepmother to Charles Chaplin's two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin, while she and Charlie were married. In his memoirs, 'My Father Charlie Chaplin' (1960), Charles Jr. describes her as a lovely, caring and intelligent woman throughout the book. In October 1944, she suffered the miscarriage of a son with Burgess Meredith. Goddard, whose own formal education did not go beyond high school, bequeathed US$20 million to New York University (NYU) in New York City.

Paulette Goddard in Kitty (1945)
Belgian postcard, no. 980. Photo: Paramount. Paulette Goddard in Kitty (Mitchell Leisen, 1945).

Paulette Goddard in Unconquered (1947)
German postcard by F.J. Rüdel, Filmpostkarten-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 211. Photo: Paramount. Paulette Goddard in Unconquered (Cecil B. DeMille, 1947).

Sources: Tony Fontana (IMDb), Denny Jackson / Robert Sieger (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020)

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Yesterday, 25 July 2020, Olivia de Havilland (1916), passed away in her hometown Paris. The Japanese-born British-American former actress had a career that spanned from 1935 to 1988. She appeared in 49 feature films and was one of the leading stars during the golden age of Classical Hollywood. She is best known for her early screen performances in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Gone with the Wind (1939), and her later award-winning performances in To Each His Own (1946), The Snake Pit (1948), and The Heiress (1949). Olivia de  Havilland was 104!

Olivia de Havilland
Belgian postcard by Victoria, Brussels, no. 639/24. Photo: Paramount.

Olivia de Havilland
British Real Photo postcard, no. 163. Photo: Warner Bros. / Vitaphone Pictures.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard by Viny, no. 124. Photo: Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland
British Real Photograph postcard, no. 253.

Olivia de Havilland
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 294. Photo: Paramount.

An intense crush on Errol Flynn


Olivia Mary de Havilland was born in 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to British parents. Her mother was the former film and stage actress Lilian Fontaine (Lilian Augusta Ruse), and her father was an English professor and patent attorney, Walter Augustus de Havilland. He was the author of the 1910 book The ABC of Go, which provides a detailed and comprehensive description of the Japanese board game. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine, was born the following year.

Her surname comes from her paternal grandfather, whose family was from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Her parents divorced when Olivia was just three years old, and she moved with her mother and sister to Saratoga, California. At her high school, she fell prey to the acting bug. She made her acting debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland.

After graduating, Olivia enrolled in Mills College in Oakland, where she participated in the school play A Midsummer Night's Dream and was spotted by Austrian director Max Reinhardt. She so impressed Reinhardt that he picked her up for both his stage version and, later, the Warner Bros. film version in 1935. She again was so impressive that Warner executives signed her to a seven-year contract.

No sooner had the ink dried on the contract than Olivia appeared in three more films: The Irish in Us (Lloyd Bacon, 1935) with James Cagney, Alibi Ike (Ray Enright, 1935), and Captain Blood (Michael Curtiz, 1935), with the man with whom her career would be most closely identified, heartthrob Errol Flynn.

They acted together in seven more films: The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, William Keighley, 1938), The Charge of the Light Brigade (Michael Curtiz, 1936), Four's a Crowd (Michael Curtiz, 1938), Dodge City (Michael Curtiz, 1939), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz, 1939), Santa Fe Trail (Michael Curtiz, 1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (Raoul Walsh, 1941). Both are also featured in a ninth film, Thank Your Lucky Stars (David Butler, 1943), although in separate scenes. Years later, she confessed that she had an intense crush on Errol Flynn during the years of their filming, saying that it was hard to resist his charms.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard, no. 706. Photo: Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard by Viny, no. 124. Photo: Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 285. Photo: Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
Vintage postcard. Photo: publicity still for The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936).

Olivia de Havilland
Vintage collectors card. Photo: Paramount. This card is a gift from Loek Coenraad from his mother's legacy.

An all-out feud between two sisters


Olivia de Havilland achieved her initial popularity in romantic comedy films, such as The Great Garrick (1937), directed by James Whale. In 1939 Warner Bros. loaned her to David O. Selznick for the classic Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Playing the sweet Melanie Hamilton, Olivia received her first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, only to lose out to one of her co-stars in the film, Hattie McDaniel.

After GWTW, Olivia returned to Warner Bros. and continued to churn out films. In 1941 she played Emmy Brown opposite Charles Boyer in Hold Back the Dawn (Mitchell Leisen, 1941), which resulted in her second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress. Again she lost, this time to her sister Joan Fontaine for her role in Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941).

Relations between the sisters were never strong and their mutual dislike and jealousy escalated into an all-out feud after Fontaine won the Oscar. Despite the fact that de Havilland went on to win two Academy Awards of her own, they remained estranged. In a rare act of reconciliation, Olivia and her sister Joan celebrated Christmas 1962 together along with their then-husbands and children.

Denny Jackson at IMDb: "After that strong showing (in Hold Back the Dawn), Olivia now demanded better, more substantial roles than the "sweet young thing" slot into which Warners had been fitting her. The studio responded by placing her on a six-month suspension, all of the studios at the time operating under the policy that players were nothing more than property to do with as they saw fit.

As if that weren't bad enough, when her contract with Warners was up, she was told that she would have to make up the time lost because of the suspension. Irate, she sued the studio, and for the length of the court battle, she didn't appear in a single film. The result, however, was worth it. In a landmark decision, the court said not only that de Havilland did not have to make up the time, but that all performers were to be limited to a seven-year contract that would include any suspensions handed down. This became known as the 'de Havilland decision'; no longer could studios treat their performers as mere cattle."

Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland in Gone with the wind (1939)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 348. Photo: David O'Selznick Production / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) with Leslie Howard.

Leslie Howard, Olivia De Havilland and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the wind (1939)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 345. Photo: David O'Selznick Production / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) with Leslie Howard and Vivien Leigh. Caption: Bridal scene from Gone with the Wind.

Leslie Howard and Olivia De Havilland in Gone with the Wind (1939)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 247. Photo: publicity still for Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) with Leslie Howard.

Olivia de Havilland
Belgian collectors card by De Beukelaer, Antwerp, no. A 35. Photo: Paramount.  De Havilland is dressed in an outfit for The Heiress (William Wyler, 1949).

The Oldest Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire


Returning to screen in 1946, Olivia de Havilland made up for lost time by appearing in four films, one of which finally won her the Oscar that had so long eluded her. It was the romantic drama To Each His Own (Mitchell Leisen, 1946), in which she played Josephine Norris to the delight of critics and audiences alike. Olivia was the strongest performer in Hollywood for the balance of the 1940s.

In 1948 she turned in another strong showing in The Snake Pit (Anatole Litvak, 1948) as Virginia Cunningham, a woman suffering a mental breakdown. The end result was another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but she lost to Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (Jean Negulesco, 1948). As in the two previous years, she made only one film in 1949, but she again won a nomination and the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Heiress (William Wyler, 1949) with Montgomery Clift.

After a three-year hiatus, de Havilland returned to star in My Cousin Rachel (Henry Koster, 1952) with Richard Burton. From that point on, she made few appearances on the screen but was seen on Broadway and in some television shows. In the cinema, she was seen in the romantic drama Light in the Piazza (Guy Green, 1962), and the psychological thriller Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964) opposite Bette Davis.

Her last screen appearance was as the Queen Mother in The Fifth Musketeer (Ken Annakin, 1979), and her final career appearance was in the TV movie The Woman He Loved (Charles Jarrott, 1988) about the love story between American divorcee Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII.

Olivia de Havilland married and divorced twice: her first husband was writer Marcus Goodrich (1946-1953) and her second writer-husband was Pierre Galante (1955-1979), an executive editor for the French journal Paris Match. With both husbands, she had a child. She lost her son, Benjamin Goodrich (1949), to Hodgkin's disease in 1991. With Galante, she had daughter Gisèle Galante (1956). The former couple remained close friends, and after Galante became ill with cancer, she nursed him until his death in 1998.

Since the mid-1950s, she lived in Paris in France. In 1962, she showed flair as a writer with 'Every Frenchman Has One', a light-hearted autobiographical account of her attempts at adapting to French life. Two weeks before her 101st birthday, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 Birthday Honours by Queen Elizabeth II for services to Drama. She is the oldest woman ever to receive the honour. In a statement, she called it "the most gratifying of birthday presents." Olivia de Havilland died of natural causes on 25 July 2020 at the age of 104.

Olivia de Havilland
Dutch postcard by Foto-archief Film en Toneel, no. 3283. Photo: Paramount.

Olivia de Havilland
Dutch postcard by DRC. Photo: Paramount / mpea.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 285. Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1950.

Olivia de Havilland
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbone Korès 'Carboplane', no. 328. Photo: Paramount, 1953.

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020)
German postcard by F. J. Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 83. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020)
Vintage postcard by Frohwalt, no. A 104. Photo: Paramount.

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020)
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 680. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Ambassador's Daughter (Norman Krasma, 1956).

Sources: Denny Jackson (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Charlie Chaplin's Essanay films

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In 1914, Charles Chaplin signed on at the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, where he made 15 films. Jeffrey Vance in his book 'Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema': "If the early slapstick of the Keystone comedies represents Chaplin’s cinematic infancy, the films he made for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company are his adolescence. The Essanays find Chaplin in transition, taking greater time and care with each film, experimenting with new ideas, and adding flesh to the Tramp character that would become his legacy. Chaplin’s Essanay comedies reveal an artist experimenting with his palette and finding his craft." In Great Britain, a series of Red Letter photo cards was published with pictures of Chaplin's Essanay films. The titles on the cards are the British film titles.

Charlie Chaplin in The Champion (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Spike the Bulldog in The Champion/Champion Charlie (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Charlie and the Bulldog.

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance
British postcard by Red Letter, no. 4. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance. A major asset of the Essanay films was the addition of Edna Purviance to Chaplin's roster of supporting players. Her natural beauty and poise let a romantic ambiance to the proceedings that allowed Chaplin's character to exhibit hitherto unseen traces of warmth and humanity.

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Work (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter, no. 6. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Work (Charles Chaplin, 1915).

Charlie Chaplin
British postcard by Red Letter Photocard. Caption: Charlie in Private Life.

Charlie Chaplin in His Trysting Place (1914)
British Postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Keystone. Charlie Chaplin in His Trysting Place (Charles Chaplin, 1914). Caption: Charlie the Nurse. One of Chaplin's last Keystone productions. Note that the Essanay logo of the Indian is left out.

The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company


The company was founded in 1907 as the Peerless Film Manufacturing Company. Its two founders were George K. Spoor, who provided the financing and managed the company, and G.M. Anderson, better known as 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, cinema’s first cowboy star. The name Essanay was formed from their surname initials, S and A in August 1907.

Essanay’s headquarters were in Chicago, Illinois, and the company had a second studio in Niles, a suburb of San Francisco. Essanay's first film was An Awful Skate, or The Hobo on Rollers (1907), starring Ben Turpin, who then worked as the studio janitor. The film was produced for only a couple hundred dollars and grossed several thousand dollars in release.

The studio prospered and a year later Essanay became a member of the powerful Motion Picture Patents Company. Essanay produced silent films with such stars as George Periolat, Ben Turpin, Wallace Beery, Thomas Meighan, Colleen Moore, and Francis X. Bushman. The mainstay of the organisation, however, was studio co-owner, Anderson, starring in the very popular 'Broncho Billy' Westerns

In November 1914, Essanay lured Charlie Chaplin from Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. He was paid an unprecedented salary of $1,250 per week, with a bonus of $10,000 for merely signing with the company. Chaplin made 14 short comedies for Essanay in 1915, at both the Chicago and Niles studios, plus a cameo appearance in one of the Broncho Billy Westerns.

The landmark film of the Chaplin series is The Tramp (Charles Chaplin, 1915), in which Chaplin's vagabond character finds work on a farm and is smitten with the farmer's daughter (Edna Purviance). Chaplin injected moments of drama and pathos unheard of in slapstick comedies (the tramp is felled by a gunshot wound, and then disappointed in romance). The film ends with the famous shot of the lonely tramp with his back to the camera, walking down the road dejectedly, and then squaring his shoulders optimistically and heading for his next adventure.

Chaplin's stock company at Essanay included Ben Turpin, who disliked working with the meticulous Chaplin and appeared with him in only a couple of films; ingenue Edna Purviance, who became his off-screen sweetheart as well; Leo White, almost always playing a fussy continental villain; and all-purpose authority figures Bud Jamison and John Rand.

Chaplin disliked the unpredictable weather of Chicago and left after only one year for more money and more creative control elsewhere. His departure caused a rift between founders Spoor and Anderson. Chaplin was the studio's biggest moneymaker, and Essanay resorted to creating 'new' Chaplin comedies from file footage and out-takes. Finally, with Chaplin off the Essanay scene for good, Essanay signed French comedian Max Linder, whose clever pantomime, often compared to Chaplin's, failed to match Chaplin's popularity in America.

Charlie Chaplin’s one year with the company was its zenith. Essanay foundered after Chaplin left to join the Mutual Film Corporation and finally ceased operations in 1918. Years later, both George K. Spoor (in 1948) and Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson (in 1958) received Oscars, specifically Academy Honorary Awards, for their pioneering efforts with Essanay.

Charlie Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau in His New Job (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau in His New Job/Charlie's New Job (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Making Love to the Queen. His New Job was Chaplin's first film for Essanay, filmed in their studio in Chicago. All his later films were made in Niles, California.

Charlie Chaplin and Leo White in The Champion (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter Photocard. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin as a would-be pugilist, and Leo White as a crooked gambler in The Champion/Champion Charlie (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Charlie up against it.

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in A Jitney Elopement (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in A Jitney Elopement/Charlie's Elopement (Charles Chaplin 1915). Right of him Edna Purviance as Edna and Ernest Van Pelt as Edna's father. The other two men are the Old and The Young Butler, played by Paddy McGuire and Lloyd Bacon. Caption: The Bogus Count.

Charlie Chaplin in A Jitney Elopement (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in A Jitney Elopement/Charlie's Elopement (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Charlie Threatens Count.

Charlie Chaplin in The Tramp (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp, Ernest Van Pelt as The Farmer, and Edna Purviance as The Farmer's Daughter in The Tramp/Charlie the Tramp (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Second Thoughts.

Charlie Chaplin, Ernest Van Pelt and Paddy McGuire in The Tramp (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp, Ernest Van Pelt as the Farmer, and Paddy McGuire as the Farmhand in The Tramp/Charlie the Tramp (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Charlie Yawns.

Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Bud Jamison, Billy Armstrong and Margie Reiger in By the Sea (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Margie Reiger flirt in By the Sea/Charlie by the Sea (Charles Chaplin, 1915), while Bud Jamison and Billy Armstrong are not too happy about this, and Edna Purviance fears trouble is coming up. The film was shot at Crystal Pear in Los Angeles. Caption: Charlie's Flirtation.

Charlie Chaplin, Snub Pollard and Billy Armstrong in By the Sea (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Billy Armstrong enjoy an ice cream after their fight in By the Sea/Charlie by the Sea (Charles Chaplin, 1915). The ice cream clerk is 'Snub' Pollard. Caption: Charlie has an Ice.

Charlie Chaplin in A Woman (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in A Woman/Charlie the Perfect Lady (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Impressive Charlie.

Charlie Chaplin in The Bank (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in The Bank/Charlie at the Bank (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Just a Moment Please.

Edna Purviance, Billy Armstrong and Charlie Chaplin in The Bank (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin as a janitor in The Bank/Charlie at the Bank (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Left Edna Purviance as Edna, the secretary. The other man is probably Billy Armstrong, who plays another janitor. Caption: Love is Blind.

Charlie Chaplin in prob. Shanghaied (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in Shanghaied (Charles Chaplin, 1915). Caption: Charlie at Sea (snapped on the way to America).

Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance and George Cleethorpe in A Night in the Show (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in his film A Night in the Show/Charlie at the Show (Charles Chaplin, 1915), in which he played a double role. Right of him Edna Purviance, the man may be George Cleethorpe. Caption: Unrequited Love.
Chaplin Charlie and Carrie Clark Ward in A Night in the Show (1915)
British postcard by Red Letter. Photo: Essanay. Charlie Chaplin in A Night in the Show/Charlie at the Show (Charles Chaplin, 1915), in which he played a double role. The woman with the feathers was played by Carrie Clark Ward. Caption: A Ticklish Job.

Sources: Ted Okuda and David Maska (Charlie Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay: Dawn of the Tramp), Jeffrey Vance (Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

John Saxon (1935-2020)

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John Saxon (1935) passed away on Saturday 25 July 2020. He worked on over 200 film and TV projects during the span of seven decades. His portrayal of a brutal Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966) earned him a Golden Globe. The Italian-American actor played in many Italian films, mainly in Spaghetti Westerns. The rugged star also kicked around with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and appeared in three Nightmare on Elm Street films for director Wes Craven. John Saxon was 83.

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3056.

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3164.

John Saxon
Yugoslavian postcard by Izrada Nas Glas, Smederevo, no. 163.

John Saxon
Yugoslavian postcard by IZK, no. 2181.

Running Wild


John Saxon was born Carmine Orrico in Brooklyn, New York, in 1935. He was the eldest of three children of immigrants from Calabria, Italy. His father was a house painter.

Walking out of a cinema after skipping class at New Utrecht High School, he was spotted by a male modeling agent and then appeared in magazines like 'True Romances'.

Wikipedia: "According to Robert Hofler's 2005 biography, The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson, agent Willson saw Saxon's picture on the cover of a detective magazine and immediately contacted the boy's family in Brooklyn. He brought the 18-year-old Orrico to Hollywood and renamed him, Saxon."

After a few uncredited bit parts, including one as an usher in A Star Is Born (George Cukor, 1954), John Saxon started his Hollywood career as a juvenile delinquent in Running Wild (Abner Biberman, 1955) starring Mamie van Doren.

Thanks to 'hunk' assignments in films like Summer Love (Charles F. Haas, 1958), The Restless Years (Helmut Käutner 1958), and The Reluctant Debutante (Vincente Minnelli, 1958), Saxon was briefly the object of many a teenage crush.

Although he worked in these years with many notable directors including Blake Edwards, John Huston, Frank Borzage, and Otto Preminger, he never developed into a major star.

John Saxon
Austrian postcard by Bild und Ton, Wien, no. 503.

John Saxon
Dutch postcard by Int. Filmpers, Amsterdam, no. 1121.

John Saxon
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1348. Photo: Universal International.

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1428. Photo: Universal International.

A Nightmare on Elm Street


John Saxon is now best known for his work in Westerns like Joe Kidd (John Sturges, 1972) starring Clint Eastwood, and horror films, such as the Italian Giallo La ragazza che sapeva troppo/The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, 1963) with Leticia Roman, and Queen of Blood (Curtis Harrington, 1966) with Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper.

Saxon appeared in many Italian films, mainly in Spaghetti Westerns like I tre che sconvolsero il West (Vado, vedo e sparo)/One Dollar Too Many (Enzo G. Castellari, 1968) and such police thrillers as Napoli violenta/Violent Naples (Umberto Lenzi, 1976).

His portrayal of a brutal Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (Sidney J. Furie, 1966) earned him a Golden Globe. He also co-starred with Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly in the classic Hong Kong martial arts action film Enter the Dragon (Robert Clouse, 1973). Saxon portrayed Roper, a degenerate gambler who participates in a martial arts tournament.

Another classic genre film is Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) in which he played the father of the heroine, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp). Saxon played the father, cop Donald Thompson, also in the third film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell, 1987), where he's eventually killed by Freddy Krueger's skeleton. He later returned to play a version of himself in Wes Craven's New Nightmare (Wes Craven, 1994).

Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Fans could watch Saxon's expertise as an actor increase (and his hairline recede) during his three-year (1969-1972) stint as Dr. Ted Stuart on the NBC television series The Bold Ones." He later had a recurring role on Dynasty (1982-1984) as Rashid Ahmed, a powerful Middle East tycoon who romanced Alexis Colby (Joan Collins). In 1988, John Saxon made his directorial debut with the low-budget feature Death House.

His most recent film was The Extra (Mike Donahue, 2015), but at the time of his death, he was filming the Sci-Fi-film After the Thunderstorm (Gary Wasniewski, 2021).

John Saxon died of pneumonia on 25 July 2020 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA, at the age of 84. He was married three times, to screenwriter Mary Ann Murphy, airline attendant turned actress Elizabeth Saxon and, since 2008, cosmetician Gloria Martel. He had one son, Antonio Saxon, with his first wife Mary Ann.

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Spanish postcard by Archivo Bermejo, no. 6348. Photo: Universal International. John Saxon in The Unguarded Moment (Harry Keller, 1956).

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Spanish postcard by Sobernas, no. 417. Sent by mail in 1960.

John Saxon (1935-2020)
Belgian card postcard by Merbotex, Bruxelles. Photo: Universal.


Italian trailer I tre che sconvolsero il West (Vado, vedo e sparo)/One Dollar Too Many (1968). Source: neverlando74 (YouTube).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), Mike Barnes (The Hollywood Reporter), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Ore 9: lezione di chimica (1941)

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The young Alida Valli starred in the highschool drama Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941). She is in love with her young chemistry teacher, played by the handsome Andrea Checchi. Out of jealousy and revenge, she denounces him and her classmate, when she sees them embraced in the college kitchen. But she is mistaken.

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 1. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli as Anna in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 2. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli and Irasema Dilian in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 3. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli (middle) in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Enterprising and unruly


The location for Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941) is the prestigious female college of Villafiorita. Alida Valli plays the enterprising and unruly Anna. Like all the other students, she is in love with Professor Marini (Andrea Checchi), the young chemistry teacher.

She is convinced that her classmate Maria (Irasema Dillian), who is instead educated and studious, is a spy for the director (Giuditta Rissone). When Anna is punished for her diary, she believes in Maria's delation and decides to take revenge.

The occasion comes one night when Anna and some other students wander around the college kitchen, where they see Maria embraced by a man. The girls think they have seen Professor Marini in that man. Anna, therefore, out of jealousy and revenge, denounces the two as lovers.

Maria escapes from boarding school, making her tracks lose on a stormy night. When Maria is found wounded, Anna, repentant, offers herself for a blood transfusion that will save her classmate's life.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the man glimpsed that night was actually Maria's father (Sandro Ruffini), who lives hidden because he was wrongly accused of a crime and who is thus collecting evidence of his innocence.

During the theatrical essay at the end of the course year, the girls, finally united, ask and obtain that Maria can stay in the college. Anna will be able to fulfill her dream of love with the beautiful Professor Marini.

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 4. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli and Andrea Checchi in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 5. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli (right) in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 6. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli (left) in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

A little risque for the times


Ore 9: lezione di chimica was part of a series of high school dramas of the early 1940s, initiated by Vittorio De Sica's Maddalena... zero in condotta/Maddalena, Zero for Conduct (1940), starring Carlo Del Poggio.

The shooting of Ore 9: lezione di chimica was done in the Summer of 1941 at Cinecittà. For the exteriors, a horse manege, a park in Frascati, and a private villa were used.

The press thought that Alida Valli was miscast. She just had been very successful with the period drama Piccolo mondo antico/Old-Fashioned World (Mario Soldati, 1941), for which she won a special Best Actress award at Venice Film Festival.


It was a difficult period for Valli. She had just lost her fiancé, Carlo Cugnasca, a famous Italian aerobatic pilot. He served as a fighter pilot with the Regia Aeronautica and was killed during a mission over British-held Tobruk on 14 April 1941. His best friend had also succumbed during the war. Valli had a crisis and stayed away from the sets for six months.

The press instead lauded the other main actress, Irasema Dilian, who was then still called Eva Dilian. For some of the other girls like Bianca Della Corte, Giuliana Pitti, and Tatiana Farnese, the film meant their debut. Their careers, however, would mostly exist out of supporting parts.

Ore 9: lezione di chimica was shown among the Italian films at the Venice Film festival of 1941, where Mattoli and Valli were applauded. While Italian critics initially condemned this light entertainment film in wartime, over the years judgments have become milder.

The Mereghetti film dictionary defined it as "a pleasant and polite comedy, a little risque for the times, all revolving within a college between order, transgression and (moderately) sexual drives".

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 7. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. publicity still for Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 8. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 9. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli and Irasema Dilian in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Ore 9: lezione di chimica
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Italbore, Milano, no. 10. Photo: Vaselli / Manenti Film. Alida Valli, Irasema Dilian and Sandro Ruffini in Ore 9: lezione di chimica/Schoolgirl Diary (Mario Mattoli, 1941).

Sources: Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb.

Ludwig Hartau

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Ludwig Hartau (1877-1922) was a German stage and screen actor. From 1897 he acted on stage, and in 1904 he joined Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater. He became famous for his performances in plays by Ibsen and Strindberg. While already a reputed actor and stage teacher, Hartau dared at the age of 35 years to debut on the silent screen as well. Before his sudden death in 1922, he worked with such directors as Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch.

Ludwig Hartau
German postcard by Photochemie, no K. 1800. Photo: Wilhelm Willinger, Berlin.

Ludwig Hartau as Wilhelm von Oranien
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 6211. Photo: Wilhelm Willinger, Berlin. Ludwig Hartau as Wilhelm von Oranien (William of Orange) in Goethe's 'Egmont' (Egmond), by the Deutsches Schauspielhaus.

Henny Porten and Ludwig Hartau in Anna Boleyn
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 645/6. Photo: Union Film. Henny Porten (Anna Boleyn) and Ludwig Hartau (Duke of Norfolk, Anna's uncle) in the German silent film Anna Boleyn (1920) by Ernst Lubitsch.

Max Reinhardt


Ludwig Hartau was born in Trachenberg, Silesia, Germany (now Żmigród, Polen) in 1877.

From 1897 he acted on stage, and in 1904 he joined Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater. Hartau was famous for his performances in plays by Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg such as 'Die Wildente' (The Wild Duck), 'Hedda Gabler', 'Traumspiel' (A Dream Play), and 'Der Totentanz' (The dance of death), but also for his performance as Dr. Schön in Frank Wedekind's 'Erdgeist' (Earth Spirit).

He was also a noted stage teacher, who e.g. taught Ursula Krieg and Ernst Josef Aufricht.

At the age of 35, Hartau dared to debut on the screen as well. Though he already acted in film from 1912, first in Europäisches Sklavenleben/European slave life (Emil Justitz, 1912) with Friedrich Zelnik, his real breakthrough came around 1916.

In the later 1910s and early 1920s, Hartau had a very prolific film career, acting opposite actresses such as Maria Orska, Eva Speyer, and Hella Moja, and actors such as Carl Auen, Albert Bassermann, Ernst Hoffmann, Max Landa, and Paul Wegener.

Käthe Oswald and Ludwig Hartau in Kainszeichen (1917)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin. Photo: Max Fassbender / Richard Oswald-Film. Käthe Oswald and Ludwig Hartau in Kainszeichen/The Mark of Cain (Richard Oswald, 1917). Caption: Richard Oswald series 1917-18, IV. The man on the right could be Alexander von Antalffy.

Ludwig Hartau and Käthe Oswald in Kainszeichen (1917)
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 5405. Photo: Max Fassbender / Richard Oswald-Film. Käthe Oswald and Ludwig Hartau in Kainszeichen/The Mark of Cain (Richard Oswald, 1917). Caption: Richard Oswald series 1917-18, IV.

Ludwig Hartau played the lead in this film as the virtuous Herbert Jensen, who is accused of having murdered his immoral brother Jacob (Ernst Pittschau) but is acquitted. Still, the mark of Cain sticks to him - the suspicion of having killed his own brother, just like Cain had slain Abel.

Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch


Ludwig Hartau collaborated on two major German silent films, under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang.

The first was Kämpfende Herzen/Vier um die Frau/Four Around a Woman (Fritz Lang, 1920-21). Hartau played a man who unjustly suspects his wife (Carola Toelle) of adultery and turns his house into the site of criminal acts.

In Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920), he was the Duke of Norfolk, who matches his niece Anna Boleyn (Henny Porten) with Henry VIII (Emil Jannings).

Hartau also played famous political characters such as Louis XV in Marie Antoinette - Das Leben einer Königin/Marie Antoinette (Rudolf Meinert, 1922), opposite Diana Karenne, and Napoleon in Die Tochter Napoleons/Napoleon's Daughter (Friedrich Zelnik, 1922), opposite Lya Mara.

He even acted in a German-Italian Maciste film: Maciste und die Tochter des Silberkönigs/Maciste e la figlia del re dell'argento/Maciste and the daughter of the Silver King (Luigi Romano Borgnetto, 1922), starring Bartolomeo Pagano and Helena Makowska.

At the peak of his career, in 1922, Hartau suddenly died. He was only 45. Alfred Abel overtook his lead as Ivan the Terrible in Der falsche Dimitry/The False Dimitri (Hans Steinhoff, 1923), while Das schöne Mädel/The beautiful girl (Max Mack, 1923), starring Hella Moja and with Hartau as a department store owner, would be released after his death.

Henny Porten, Emil Jannings and Ludwig Hartau in Anna Boleyn (1920)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 645/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Union. Henny Porten, Emil Jannings, and Ludwig Hartau in Anna Boleyn (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).

Ludwig Hartau and Ms. Frank-With
German postcard by Kunstverlag Juno, Charlottenburg, no. 126. Photo: Alice Mitzdorf. Ludwig Hartau and Ms. Frank-With.

German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin, no. 2215. Photo: B.J.G. Ludwig Hartau as Hjalmar Ekdal in the play 'Die Wildente' (The Wild Duck) (1884) by Henrik Ibsen. The German premiere of the version of 'Die Wildente' to which this card refers (the earliest German version already took place in 1887), took place at the Theater in der Königgrätzer Straße, on 7 November 1917. In addition to Hartau other actors were a.o. Rudolf Lettinger, Friedrich Kayßler, Reinhold Schünzel, Helene Fehdmer, Maria Orska, Olga Engl, and Richard Leopold. Director was Karl Meinhard.

Sources: Stephanie D'Heil (Steffi-Line - German), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

Photo by Foto Pesce

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Foto Pesce was an Italian photo studio that portrayed many Italian film stars of the late 1930 and early 1940s. Foto Pesce was a photographic agency founded in 1916 by Aurelio Pesce. Pesce's glamorous portraits were used for the postcards of such publishers as Rizzoli, Ballerini & Fratini (B.F.F.), and A. Scarmiglia (ASER). These portraits were often made for Scalera Film.

Rizzoli


Assia Noris
Italian postcard by Rizzoli EC., Milano, 1938-XVI. Photo: Foto Pesce. Assia Noris.

Maria Denis
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1938. Photo: Foto Pesce. Maria Denis.

Isa Pola
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1939. Photo: Foto Pesce. Isa Pola.

Valentina Cortese
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1942. Photo: Foto Pesce. Valentina Cortese as Lisabetta in La cena delle beffe/The Jester's Supper (Alessandro Blasetti, 1942).

Annie Vernay
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano. Photo: Foto Pesce. Annie Vernay in La principessa Tarakanova/Princess Tarakanova (Fyodor Otsep as Fedor Ozep, Mario Soldati, 1938)

The four Pesce brothers


Aurelio Pesce was born in Naples in 1885. After moving to Rome, he established himself as a portrait photographer by opening a studio in Via dei Condotti 9, around 1916. His brother Franco Pesce joined him, albeit sporadically, as coadjutor.

Appointed head of the photographic department of Cines-Pittaluga, Aurelio left his studio in 1930. His photographs and portraits have been taken as models by other photographers for more than a decade.

In 1934 his brother Ettore Pesce began to work alongside him. The fire in the factories of Cines-Pittaluga in 1935, forced the productions to move to Turin and the Tirrenia studio. Aurelio also moved, while maintaining a photographic department at Cines, for which he remained responsible.

In 1936 Aurelio also called with him his young stepbrother Sergio Pesce, who established himself as a stage photographer in 1938. At the birth of Cinecittà in 1937, Aurelio left the responsibility of the photographic department, first, to his brother Ettore and then to Osvaldo Civirani.

In 1938, Aurelio became the official photographer of Scalera Film. He later founded his own photographic laboratory in Via Marco Tabarrini, in Rome where Pesce, Civirani, and Tosoni would create the first cinematic backdrop for the film La Principessa Tarakanova/Princess Tarakanova (Fyodor Otsep (as Fedor Ozep), Mario Soldati, 1938) starring Annie Vernay, printed and developed in one night.

After the war, the 'Foto Pesce' brand became 'Ettore Pesce' and 'Pesce Benfari'. Unlike Aurelio and Ettore, the other two brothers, Franco and Sergio, continued their career taking different paths from still photography. Franco was dedicated to the management of photography and after the war, he began his acting career. Sergio first worked as an assistant and cameraman for Scalera Film, assisting Ubaldo Arata, and later he established himself as director of photography.

Among the films that the Pesce brothers worked on are photos of: Nerone/Nero (1930), Terra madre/Mother Earth (1931) with Leda Gloria, Palio/The Palio of Siena (1932), 1860 (1933), Aldebaran (1935) starring Gino Cervi, and Un'avventura di Salvator Rosa/An adventure of Salvator Rosa (1939), all directed by Alessandro Blasetti, Che gioia vivere/What a joy live (René Clément, 1961) with Alain Delon, Abbasso la miseria!/Down with misery! (Gennaro Righelli, 1945) with Anna Magnani, Molti sogni per le strade/Many dreams on the streets (Mario Camerini, 1945) with Aurelio Pesce as the cameraman, and L'onorevole Angelina/Angelina (Luigi Zampa, 1947) with Ettore Pesce as the cameraman.

Ballerini & Fratini


Massimo Girotti in La corona di ferro (1941)
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 2150. Photo Pesce / ENIC. Massimo Girotti in La corona di ferro/The Iron Crown (Alessandro Blasetti, 1941).

Vivi Gioi
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4223. Photo: Pesce / I.C.I. Vivi Gioi.

Dina Sassoli in Don Giovanni (1942)
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4301. Photo: Foto Pesce / Scalera Film. Dina Sassoli in Don Giovanni/Loves of Don Juan (Dino Falconi, 1942).

Elli Parvo
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4304. Photo: Foto Pesce / Scalera Film. Elli Parvo's outfit is that of I due Foscari (1942).

Vivi Gioi
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4446-A. Photo: Foto Pesce / E.N.I.C. Vivi Gioi.

Carlo Ninchi in Giarabub (1942)
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4452-A. Photo: Foto Pesce / Scalera Film. Carlo Ninchi in Giarabub (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1942).

Fosco Giachetti in Noi vivi (1942)
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, Editori (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 4457. Photo: Foto Pesce / Scalera Film. Fosco Giachetti in Noi Vivi/We the Living (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1942), an adaptation of the novel 'We the Living' by Ayn Rand.

Scalera Film


During the late 1930s, Pesce often worked for Scalera Film, an Italian film production and distribution company that operated between 1938 and 1950.

Scalera had strong backing from the Italian state, as the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini was keen to build up and centralise the Italian film industry.

Scalera Studios was based in Rome, but in 1943 during the German occupation of Rome, the studio was relocated to Venice in the Italian Social Republic as part of a planned Cinevillaggio film complex developed by Mussolini loyalists.

However, after 1942 there are no postcards with photos by Pesce known.

ASER


Carlo Ninchi
Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scarmiglia Edizioni, Roma), no. 33. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film. Carlo Ninchi.

Annibale Betrone
Italian postcard by ASER, no. 80. Photo Pesce / Scalera Film. Annibale Betrone as count Ranieri in the perod piece La Gorgona (Guido Brignone, 1942).

Paolo Stoppa
Italian postcard by ASER, no. 96. Photo: Pesce. Paolo Stoppa.

Claudio Ermelli
Italian postcard by ASER, no. 97. Photo: Pesce. Claudio Ermelli

Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi in Noi Vivi (1942)
Italian postcard by ASER, no. 224. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film. Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi in Noi Vivi/We the Living (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1942).

Michel Simon
Italian postcard by ASER. Photo: Pesce. Michel Simon in Comédie du bonheur/Comedy of Happiness (Marcel L'Herbier, 1940).

Isa Pola in Lucrezia Borgia (1940)
Italian postcard by Hector, no. 2.20, 1941. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film. Isa Pola in Lucrezia Borgia (Hans Hinrich, 1940).

Laura Nucci in La Signorina (1942)
Italian postcard by Armando Terzoli, Roma, no. 221. Photo: Pesce. Laura Nucci in La Signorina/The young lady (Ladislao Kish, 1942).

Clara Calamai in La Cena delle Beffe (1942)
Italian postcard by Armando Terzoli, Roma, no. 532. Photo: Foto Pesce. Clara Calamai in La Cena delle Beffe/The Jesters' Supper (Alessandro Blasetti, 1942).

Sources: Sentieri selvaggi (Italian), and Wikipedia.

Sally Eilers

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American actress Sally Eilers (1908-1978) was a popular Hollywood star in the early-1930s. She was tagged 'the most beautiful girl in movies'.

Sally Eilers
German cigarette card by Ross Verlag in the 'Künstler im Film' series for Zigarettenfabrik Monopol, Dresden, Serie 1, image 116 (of 200). Photo: Fox-Film.

Sally Eilers
British postcard by Valentine's in the Film Stars and Their Pets series, no. 71131. Photo: Fox.

Sally Eilers
British 'Real Photograph' postcard in the Autograph Series, London, no. A 30.

Sally Eilers
German cigarette card by Ross Verlag in the 'Künstler im Film' series for Zigarettenfabrik Monopol, Dresden, Serie 1, image 104 (of 200). Photo: 20th Century Fox.

The vivacious former brunette


Dorothea Sally Eilers was born in New York City in 1908 to a Jewish-American mother, Paula (née Schoenberger), and an Irish-American father, Hio Peter Eilers, who was an inventor.

She was educated in Los Angeles, California, and went into films because so many of her friends were in pictures. She studied for the stage, specialising in dancing. Her first try was a failure so she tried typing but then went back into pictures and succeeded.

She made her film debut with an uncredited bit part in the comedy The Red Mill (Roscoe Arbuckle as William Goodrich, 1927) with Marion Davies. After several minor roles as an extra, she found work with Mack Sennett. In 1927, he offered her a role in The Good-Bye Kiss (Mack Sennett, 1928), a rare dramatic feature for the studio.

Either Sennett or Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (depending on which version of the story is to be believed) tagged Sally with the publicity line 'the most beautiful girl in movies'. In 1928 she was voted as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, a yearly list of young actresses nominated by exhibitors based on their box-office appeal.

The vivacious former brunette (quickly transformed by Hollywood into a blonde) spent her apprenticeship as a leading actress co-starring with her future husband Hoot Gibson in the Western The Long, Long Trail (Arthur Rosson, 1929) and with Buster Keaton in the comedy Doughboys (Edward Sedgwick, 1930).

Sally Eilers
Belgian postcard by S.A. Cacao et Chocolat Kivou, Vilvoorde / N.V. Cacao en Chocolade Kivou, Vilvoorde. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sally Eilers
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. 558.

Sally Eilers
British postcard in the Film Weekly Series, no. 1.

Sally Eilers
British Real Photograph postcard, no. 27. Photo: Fox Films.

Known for her high spirits and vivacity


Sally Eilers became a popular figure in the early-1930s Hollywood, known for her high spirits and vivacity. In 1931, director Frank Borzage cast her in the depression-era film Bad Girl (1931).

I.S. Mowis
at IMDb: "What could have been maudlin melodrama, was enlivened by excellent direction and some snappy dialogue (winning Academy Awards for both direction and screenplay) and elicited from Sally Eilers in the title role (as 'Dot Haley') the best performance of her career. There were to be other films of note: Reducing (1931) with Marie Dressler, the original State Fair (1933) with Will Rogers (with Sally playing a 'carnie') and Sailor's Luck (1933), with her Bad Girl (1931) co-star James Dunn, where a review described her performance as 'highly satisfactory'."

Her other films were mostly comedies and crime melodramas such as the crime film Quick Millions (Rowland Browne, 1931) with Spencer Tracy and the sparkling mystery comedy Remember Last Night? (James Whale, 1935).

She was married for a short time to cowboy actor Hoot Gibson, though the marriage ended in divorce in 1933. By the end of the decade, her popularity had waned, and her subsequent film appearances were few. She made her final film appearance in 1950.

She was married four times. With her second husband, Harry Joe Brown, she resided in a mansion located in Beverly Hills. They had a son, screenwriter Harry Joe Brown Jr. Her other two husbands were Howard Barney and director Hollingsworth Morse.

During her final years, Sally Eilers suffered poor health, and died from a heart attack in 1978, in Woodland Hills, California. She was 69.

Sally Eilers
British postcard by Milton, no. 27A. Photo: Universal Pictures.

Sally Eilers and James Dunn in Bad Girl (1931)
British postcard in the Film Partners Series, London, no. P 12. Photo: Sally Eilers and James Dunn in Bad Girl (Frank Borzage, 1931).

Sally Eilers
Dutch postcard, no. 25. Photo: Hal Phyfe / Fox Film.

Sally Eilers
British postcard by Valentine's in the Film Stars and Their Pets series, no. 5843 I. Photo: Fox. Sent by mail in 1934.

Sally Eilers
Dutch-Belgian collectors card by N.V. London Caramel Works, Breda (Holland) / Esschen (België), no. 53 (of 120). Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sources: I.S. Mowis (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Tiber Film

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The Tiber Film company of Rome was founded in 1914 by producer Gioacchino Mecheri (1876-1942). Between 1915 and 1919, Tiber Film rivaled the other Roman company, Caesar Film, run by producer Giuseppe Barattolo. Both companies had a leading diva to profile itself with: Hesperia at Tiber Film, and Francesca Bertini at Caesar.

Emilio Ghione and Hesperia in Il potere sovrano (1916)
Spanish collectors card by Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, no. 2 of 6. Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia and Emilio Ghione in Il potere sovrano (Baldassarre Negroni, Percy Nash, 1916).

Il potere sovrano was based on the novel 'Temporal Power' by Marie Corelli. Lotys (Hesperia) is the idol of the people. Therd (Emilio Ghione), a journalist, a man of action, and manager of the paper The Idea, is also beloved by his compatriots. Their ideals unite Lotys and Therd. The King (Ignazio Lupi) lives distanced from his people and has left governing to his ministers. The government threatens Therd with arrest if he doesn't stop his actions.

Hesperia and Emilo Ghione in Il potere sovrano (1916)
Spanish collectors card by Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, no. 6 of 6. Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia and Emilio Ghione in Il potere sovrano (Baldassarre Negroni, Percy Nash, 1916).

Hesperia and Tullio Carminati in La donna abbondanata (1917)
Spanish cromo card by Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, no. 2 of 6 cards. Photo: Tiber-Film, Roma / J. Verdaguer, Barcelona. Hesperia and Tullio Carminati in La donna abbandonata (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

A Parisian 'viveur' is fed of his life and withdraws to a family castle in the countryside. There he sees a mysterious lady, who leads a withdrawn life. Intrigued, he invents a ruse to meet her. She tells him her sorrowful past... The plot was based on a novella by Balzac, but the Italian press found the story too static and interiorised for the medium of film.

Hesperia in La donna abbondanata (1917)
Spanish cromo card by Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, no. 4 of 6 cards. Photo: Tiber-Film, Roma / J. Verdaguer, Barcelona. Hesperia in La donna abbandonata (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

Hesperia and Alberto Collo in La Cuccagna (1917)
Italian postcard, no. 5073. Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia and Alberto Collo in La cuccagna (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917). Caption: Renata and Massimo at the ball of Bianca Muller.

La cuccagna was an adaptation of Emile Zola's 'La curée'. Hesperia is Renata/Renée, second wife of the cunning and wealthy Saccard, who married young Renata for her money. She has an affair with Saccard's son Max/Massimo, played by Alberto Collo. In the end money triumphs instead of love, just as in Zola's novel.

Hesperia in La Cuccagna (1917)
Italian postcard, no. 5077. Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia in La cuccagna (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917). Caption: Renata had turned Massimo in an 'viveur'.

Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni Talli in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5103. photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni Talli in L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

The countess of Saint-Servant (Ida Carloni Talli) has raised her son Enrico (Tullio Carminati) to be proud of his name and title and to cherish honour and virtue, symbolised by the feather of her aigrette (egret). In reality, the countess is hunted by creditors, the castle is falling apart. Enrico falls in love with Susanne Leblanc (Hesperia), wife of a banker, and, unknowing to Enrico, in return, she loads his mother with money in order to restore the family castle and pay off the many debts. Her husband Claudio (André Habay) is not so happy with this kind of charity and reveals to Enrico that he and his mother have been living on his lover's expenses for years...

Hesperia, Carminati and Habay in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5108. Photo: Tiber Film, Hesperia, Tullio Carminati and André Habay in L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917). Caption: Claudio, Enrico, and Susanna. Tragic conversation.

Hesperia in La principessa di Bagdad (1918)
Spanish collectors card in the Colec. cromos cinematográficos by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 1 (in a serie of 6 cromos). Photo: Tiber-Film, Roma / J. Verdaguer, Barcelona. Hesperia and André Habay in La principessa di Bagdad (Baldassarre Negroni, 1918).

Lionella (Hesperia) is the illegitimate daughter of the King of Bagdad, and recognized by her stepfather, the count of Quansas. Raised a spoiled brat, when she marries the Count Giovanni de Hun (André Habay), she squanders his richness lightly. A family friend, Nourmandy (Goffredo d'Andrea), secretly in love with Lionella, pays all debts. De Hun believes his wife and Nourmandy are lovers, so he has them arrested by the police just when she is refusing another offer by Nourmandy. Hurt in her pride by her husband's brutal behavior, Lionella decides to leave with her lover, but her little son Raul begs her to refrain from such a step. Lionella's motherly love is bigger than her pride, so she chases the lover and pays off the debts with a generous donation by the dying, and repenting King. Her husband, at last, understands everything.

Hesperia in La principessa di Bagdad (1918)
Spanish collectors card in the Colec. cromos cinematográficos by Chocolat Imperiale, no. 5 (in a serie of 6 cromos). Photo: Tiber-Film, Roma / J. Verdaguer, Barcelona. Hesperia in La principessa di Bagdad (Baldassarre Negroni, 1918).

Hesperia in Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne (1921)
French postcard by Le Deley, Paris. Photo: U.C.I. / Gaumont / Tiber Film. Hesperia in Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne (Baldassarre Negroni, 1921), adapted from the novel by Emile Moreau. Here Hesperia as Madame Sans-Gêne is portrayed similarly to François Gérard's portrait of Juliette Récamier.

In Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne, sergeant Lefèvre (Enrico Scatizzi) meets an ironing lady (Hesperia) at a 'bal populaire' during the celebrations of the first successes of the French Revolution. They marry and have a son, Antonio. Lefèvre proves himself on the European battlefields and he becomes Marshal and Duke of Danzig. His wife becomes Madame Sans-Gêne, Duchess of Danzig. When Antonio (Carlo Troisi) has grown up, he falls in love with a young noble lady (Pauline Polaire), but she is already promised to the seigneur Ambzac, a Royalist conspirator. When the girl marries D'Ambzac, Antonio decides to flee with her and steals money from his father. When the theft is found out, Antonio asks to be sent to the battlefront as punishment.

Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne (1921)
French postcard by Le Deley, Paris. Photo: U.C.I. / Gaumont / Tiber Film. Hesperia in Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne (Baldassarre Negroni, 1921).

Hesperia in La belle Madame Hebert (1922)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia and probably Carlo Troisi in La belle Madame Hebert (Baldassarre Negroni, 1922). The film was an adaptation of the homonymous French play by Abel Hermant.

Diva Dramas and Propaganda films


Before he started Tiber Film, Gioacchino Mecheri had been the director of the Celio company. Tiber Film had its Roman studios at the Pineta Sacchetti.

Tiber Film was known for its diva dramas with Hesperia, such as Il potere sovrano/The Sovereign Power (1916),La cuccagna/The Bonanza (1917), L'aigrette/The Egret (1917), La principessa di Bagdad/The Princess of Bagdad (1918), Il figlio di Madame Sans-Gêne/The Son of Madame Sans-Gêne(1921), and La belle Madame Hebért (1922). Most of these dramas were directed by Hesperia's husband, Baldassarre Negroni.

In addition to these Diva films, Tiber Film profiled itself also with historical films serving the war propaganda. These films included Oberdan/Guglielmo Oberdan, il martire di Trieste (Emilio Ghione, 1915), and Cicueracchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915).

The studio also produced melodramas with Maria Jacobinisuch as Come le foglie/Like the leafs (Gennaro Righelli, 1917), and Resurrezione/Resurrection (Mario Caserini, 1917) and with Diana Karenne, like La peccatrice casta/The chaste sinner (Diana Karenne, Gennaro Righelli, 1919) and Zoya (Giulio Antamoro, 1920).

Tiber also produced the Polidor and Za-la-Mort films, including I topi grigi/The gray mice (Emilio Ghione, 1918), starring Emilio Ghione.

In 1918 the company merged with Film d'Arte Italiana and in 1919 with the Unione Cinematografia Italiana (UCI). When the latter collapsed in 1923, this also meant the end of Tiber Film.

Gastone Monaldi in Ciceruacchio (1915)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Gastone Monaldi as Ciceruacchio in Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Caption: People of Rome! Do you want to bend to slavery by the stranger? No! Do you want to swear with me to die for freedom? Yes! Yes!

Angelo Brunetti, named Ciceruacchio, a Roman trader in cheese and wine, was much beloved by the Roman people, e.g. for his behaviour during the 1837 cholera plague. In a public performance in 1846, he thanked the pope Pius IX for releasing political prisoners, while in 1847 he pressed Pius IX to continue his policy of reform. During the 1848 revolution, he joined the Roman Republican forces and helped the Romans in the siege by the French. But when they were defeated in 1849, he fled with his sons Lorenzo and Luigi and hoped with Garibaldi and allies to liberate Venice from the Austrians. Instead, they were betrayed by locals at Cesenatico and then arrested and executed by the Austrians on 10 August 1849.

Ciceruacchio (1915)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Gastone Monaldi as Ciceruacchio and Alberto Collo as his son Luigi, just before they are executed by the Austrian army in Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Caption: And Ciceruacchio said: Luigi, my son! Let your courage at this moment be the same as when I separated you from your mother. Like never before, the ardent faith of the fatherland will bring you happily to your death.

Alberto Collo and Ida Carloni Talli in Guglielmo Oberdan, il martire di Trieste
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Alberto Collo as Oberdan, and Ida Carloni Talli as his mother in Guglielmo Oberdan, il martire di Trieste (Emilio Ghione 1915). Caption: And his mother said: Go! My most beloved one, remember every suffered insult, every cry of grief. Make sure that the Fatherland will be saved.

In 1882, Guglielmo Oberdan was executed after a failed attempt to assassinate Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph. He became a martyr of the Italian unification movement. Thirty years later, silent film star Alberto Collo played him in Guglielmo Oberdan, il martire di Trieste (Emilio Ghione, 1915), produced by Tiber Films during World War I.

Alberto Collo in Guglielmo Oberdan (1915)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Alberto Collo in Guglielmo Oberdan, il martire di Trieste (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Caption: Italy! May I see you again having grown bigger... or never see you again.

Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Guido Guiducci as Massimo, Maria Jacobini as Nennele and Alberto Collo as her brother Tommy in Come le foglie (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Caption: I won't allow you to speak about my brother in this way.

After a life of spendthrifts, the Rosati (Rosani with Giacosa) family is ruined. Father Giovanni (Ignazio Lupi) accepts work from his cousin Massimo (Guido Guiducci) in Switzerland. Hitherto neglected as too serious and workaholic, Massimo becomes the head of the family and takes care of the son and daughter of Giovanni, Tommy (Alberto Collo) and Nennele (Maria Jacobini), and their stepmother Giulia (Floriana). Tommy and Giulia remain weak spirits. Giulia has an affair with a painter called Helmer, and when none of her own paintings are sold, she tries to steal the golden frame from one of Nennele's paintings. Tommy's idleness is like a dead leaf. He fails two managing jobs arranged by Massimo. Because of his gambling debts with the Russian countess Orloff's gambling table, he is forced to marry her. Massimo proposes to Nennele, advising her not to rebel 'against the wind that blows the leaves', but she refuses him. She is so devastated by her brother and stepmother, she intends to commit suicide, but her father prevents this and unites Nennele with Massimo, who has come to help once more.

Maria Jacobini in Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Maria Jacobini in Come le foglie (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). The man in the middle could be Alberto Collo. Caption: The portrait slipped from the package and fell to the ground.

Resurrezione (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Maria Jacobini in Resurrezione (Mario Caserini, 1917), based on Leo Tolstoy's novel. Caption: Maslova inhaled the tobacco's smoke a few times, then uttered: Forced labour!

Maria Jacobini in Resurrezione (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Maria Jacobini in Resurrezione (Mario Caserini, 1917), based on Leo Tolstoy's novel. Caption: On 17 January in a room of Hotel Mauritania, Smielkov suddenly died.

Diana Karenne in La peccatrice casta (1919)
Spanish cromo by Chocolat Imperiale, Barcelona, no. 3 of 6. Photo: Tiber Film / Verdaguer. Diana Karenne and Alberto Pasquali in La peccatrice casta (Diana Karenne, Gennaro Righelli, 1919).

Wanda (Diana Karenne) is a popular dancer, but very ill. When she collapses during a performance, a count (Alberto Pasquali), comes to aid, falls in love with her, and wants to marry her. Wanda accepts but after the wedding she returns to dancing and her mundane life starts again, which she never could say goodbye to. She ends up falling for another man (Mario Parpagnoli), while her husband, after finding out, bitterly leaves for the US. One year after, the husband returns and finds her alone, with a child, and left by her lover. He reunites with her, pardons her, and accepts the child too.

Diana Karenne in La peccatrice casta (1919)
Spanish cromo by Chocolat Imperiale, Barcelona, no. 6 of 6. Photo: Tiber Film / Verdaguer. Diana Karenne in La peccatrice casta (Diana Karenne, Gennaro Righelli, 1919).

Diana Karenne in Zoya (1920)
Italian postcard by Vettori, Bologna. Photo: Tiber Film. Diana Karenne in Zoya/Zoja (Giulio Antamoro, 1920). The man left might be Mario Parpagnoli.

Emilio Ghione in Senza pietà
Italian postcard by Vettori, Bologna, no. 2011. Photo: Tiber Film / U.C.I. Emilio Ghione in Senza pietà (Emilio Ghione, 1921).

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano, Vol. 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1921-22), Vittorio Martinelli (Za la Mort. Ritratto di Emilio Ghione), and Wikipedia (Italian).

Anne Crawford

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Anne Crawford (1920-1956) was a beautiful, sadly short-lived British leading lady with a gentle, good-humoured personality. From 1938 through 1954 she starred in 24 films.

Anne Crawford
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 153. Photo: Gainsborough.

Anne Crawford
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 866. Photo: Pinnacle Prod.

Anne Crawford
British postcard by Real Photographs Company Ltd, Southport. Photo: Gainsborough.

Posh, selfish but basically a good sort


Anne Crawford was born in 1920 in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel) as Imelda Anne Crawford. She was the child of an English mother and a Scottish father, who worked as a paymaster for the Palestine Railway.

The family returned to Britain when she was 7 years old. Raised in Edinburgh, she went to school at St. Margrets convent in Marchmont.

Afterward, she studied drama in Edinburgh and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. Her professional career started at a repertory theatre in Manchester where she soon was playing juvenile leads.

She changed her name from Imelda to Anne. She had a tiny role in Prison Without Bars (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1938) with Corinne Luchaire and Edna Best, and a better role in They Flew Alone (Herbert Wilcox, 1942) starring Anna Neagle.

It was the smash hit Millions Like Us (Frank Launder, Sydney Gilliat, 1943) that crystalised her star persona: posh, selfish but basically a good sort. During her career, there were a few attempts to get away from this template, notably her poor mill worker in Master of Banksdam (Walter Forde, 1947) with Dennis Price.

During the war, she also appeared in such women's pictures as Two Thousand Women (Frank Launder, 1944) with Phyllis Calvert and Flora Robson, and They Were Sisters (Arthur Crabtree, 1945) with James Mason.

Anne Crawford
British autograph card.

Anne Crawford
Belgian postcard by P.E. (Photo Edition, Brussels), no. 572. Photo: Gaumont / Eagle-Lion.


One of the most startling British films of the 1940s


After the war, Anne Crawford became known for the wild Gainsborough melodrama Caravan (Arthur Crabtree, 1946) starring Stewart Granger and Jean Kent, and the classic horror film Daughter of Darkness (Lance Comfort, 1948).

In his Guide to British Cinema, Geoff Mayer writes, "Daughter of Darkness, with a budget of two hundred thousand pounds and three weeks of location shooting in Cornwall, was not a financial success and represented a setback to Comfort's career, which saw him relegated to low-budget films in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet the film's mixture of gothic and horror establishes it as one of the most startling British films of the 1940s."

In 1953 she starred as Morgan Le Fay in Knights of the Round Table (Richard Thorpe, 1953), with Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner.

She made her West End debut in 1949 in 'Western Wind' at the Piccadilly Theatre, followed by a not very successful stint on Broadway in 1951 in 'The Green Bay Tree'.

Her television career ran in parallel to her film career, and in 1955 she topped a viewers poll for her performance in the BBC teleplay The Leader of the House (Douglas Allen, 1955).

Anne Crawford died in 1956 in London of leukemia. She was only 35. At the time of her death, she was appearing in the Agatha Christie play 'The Spider's Web', at the Savoy Theatre, London. Co-stars Margaret Lockwood, Patrick Barr, and Ronald Howard attended her funeral. Her resting place is the Kensal Green Cemetery.

Crawford was married to James Hartley (1939-?) and stage and television producer/director Wallace Douglas (1953-1956). David Absalom at British Pictures: "For modern audiences, Crawford's perceived poshness can seem a bit distancing, and it's hard to judge how her career would have panned out had she not died so early. I suspect she would have done okay. She showed enough wit and timing in her few comedy outings and there was always something of the grande dame about her to suggest that she would have only improved with age."

Anne Crawford
Dutch postcard by Hemo. Photo: Eagle Lion.

Anne Crawford
British autograph card. Photo: Gainsborough.

Sources: David Absalom (British Pictures), Fritz Tauber (Find A Grave), Find A Grave, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

Maria Melato

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Italian actress Maria Melato (1885-1950) appeared in the theatre, on radio, and in the cinema. Her films included Ritorno/Return (1914), Anna Karenina (1917), and Il volo degli aironi/The flight of the herons (1920). Unfortunately, all her films are considered lost.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Vettori, Bologna. Photo: Trevisani, Bologna.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Foto d'Arte Vettori Bologna, no. 3043.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Neg. Badodi, Milano, no. 186.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard, no. 408. Photo: Massaglia, Torino.

Maturing under the severe and passionate leadership of Virgilio Talli


Maria Melato was born in 1885 in Reggio Emilia, as the daughter of the fencing instructor Silvio Melato and the noble lady Elisa Friggieri. Already in childhood Melato manifested a penchant for acting.

She began her very rich artistic career first at the Berti-Masi company in 1903, then served as a love interest in the company of Teresa Mariani and Vittorio Zampieri. Later she became the first young actress (prima attrice giovane) in the company of Irma Gramatica and Flavio Andò.

But her real maturation occurred under the severe and passionate leadership of Virgilio Talli, the greatest artistic director of his time. It was with him that from 1909 to 1921 Melato composed a famous triad with Annibale Betrone and Alberto Giovannini: until 1918 with a classical repertoire, afterward experiencing with more current texts that treated modern issues such as those by Luigi Pirandello, e.g. 'Così è (se vi pare)', and other authors such as Rosso di San Secondo, Bontempelli, and Gabriele D'Annunzio.

Melato also tried her hand in film acting in a few films. Her debut was Ritorno (Luca Comerio, 1914) with D’Annunzio’s son Gabriellino co-starring. It was followed by a series of films directed by Ugo Falena: Anna Karenina (Ugo Falena, 1917) with Fabienne Fabrèges, Le due Marie (Mario Corsi, Ugo Falena, 1918), Il volo degli aironi (Ugo Falena, 1920) with Ileana Leonidoff, Il trittico d’amore (Ugo Falena, 1920) with Mimi Aylmer and Eduardo Scarpetta, and Le due esistenze (Ugo Falena, Giorgio Ricci). Unfortunately, all are lost.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Ed. Soc. Anon. It. Bettini, Roma, no. 181.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Photo Ed. Soc. Anon. It. Bettini, Roma, no. 182.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Photo Ed. Soc. Anon. It. Bettini, Roma, no. 186.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 884. Photo: Badodi.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by CENV in the Le Dive series, no. 5.

Malicious accusations of 'singing'


In 1921 a turning point happened: Maria Melato left Virgilio Talli’s company and became 'capocomica' (head actor) with Annibale Betrone. Her greatest period of artistic fervor started, in which she was busy with every aspect of 'doing theatre': the direction or adaptation of texts, the formation of actors, as well as designing costumes.

From 1922 onward, she formed various theatre companies. In 1923 and 1925 she brought her stage performances to Latin America with great success. In 1927 she triumphed at the Vittoriale with her interpretation in 'La figlia di Jorio' (Jorio's Daughter) by Gabriele D'Annunzio.

In the 1930s, Melato had to return to more traditional themes and authors, satisfying the guidelines of the moment and forming her own company again with Betrone and with direction by Luigi Carini. Compared by her admirers to Eleanore Duse for their same emotional tension and heightened sensitivity. Se possessed a vocal range that led her to excessive phonic complacency, leading to malicious accusations of 'singing'.

In the three years 1937-1940 she was the star of Oscar Wilde's 'The Duchess of Padua' and 'Tosca' by Victorien Sardou, opposite Piero Carnabuci and Gino Sabbatini, while in the postwar years she revisited D'Annunzio, Mario Praga, Dario Niccodemi, Jean Cocteau and others. In particular in 1938, when she was associated with the Company Ninchi-Abba-Pilotto.

During the war years, she played some minor parts in Italian sound films, such as La principessa del sogno (Maria Teresa Ricci, Roberto Savarese, 1942) with Annibale Betrone, Irasema Dilian, and Antonio Centa. She acted opposite Adriana Benetti and Massimo Serato in Quartieri alti (Mario Soldati, 1945), about a young man kept by a rich and old aristocratic lady, who has two actors posing as his parents, to impress his beloved.

Following the vicissitudes of the war, the actress, now in her sixties, began to lose ground. Left for her were just some second category performances and radio work. So she left the stage in 1948 with 'Casa paterna' (Heimat/Homeland) by Hermann Sudermann, before retiring to Versilia.

Maria Melato died in 1950 in Lucca after a bad fall from her train while trying to reach Turin for the radio programme 'La sacra fiamma' (The sacred flame) by W. Somerset Maugham. She was 64. She lies buried next to stage and screen actor Romolo Valli in the monumental cemetery of Reggio Emilia. Maria Melato had a son, Luciano, born in 1909.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 504. Photo: Badodi, Milano.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by A.G.F. Sent by mail in 1919.

Maria Melato
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 349. Photo: A. Badodi, Milano.

Maria Melato
Italian collectors card by S.P.E.R.A. Unione Cooperativa.

Sources: Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb.

Liebe und Diebe (1928)

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We continue our series of Henny Porten film specials with postcards by Ross Verlag. Today, the silent comedy Liebe und Diebe/Love and Thieves (Carl Froehlich, 1928) in which she once again played a double role. Her co-star was Anton Pointner.

Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 92/1. Photo: Alex Schmoll, Berlin / Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion. Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (Carl Froehlich, 1928).

Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 92/2. Photo: Alex Schmoll, Berlin / Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion. Henny Porten in a double role in Liebe und Diebe (Carl Froehlich, 1928).

A thief called Brillanten-Anna


In Liebe und Diebe/Love and Thieves (Carl Froehlich, 1928), Henny Porten plays Baroness Anna von Belling, who is staying in a posh Wiesbaden hotel, when her jewelry, valuable diamonds, are stolen.

The Baroness personally pursues the thief but is promptly mistaken for an impostor whom the police have long sought. Taken into custody, Ms. von Belling is only released when her own uncle confirms her identity.

The hotel guest who, in their eyes, has made himself particularly suspicious, turns out to be a detective and her stolen jewelry proves to be fake. As if by coincidence, the real thief Anna Magdalena Kaludrigkeit, internally called 'Brillanten-Anna' (also Porten), appears.

'Brillanten-Anna' has just returned from a thief tour and has a striking resemblance to her noble namesake. After all the confusion, Baroness Anna and the police commissioner von Langen (Anton Pointner), who handled the case, get closer and get married.

Other actors in the film were Kurt Gerron, Paul Bildt, Adolphe Engers, Karl Geppert, Oreste Bilancia,  Hubert von Meyerinck, and Ellen Kürti. Liebe und Diebe was scripted by Walter Wassermann and Fred Sauer, and cinematographed by Gustav Preiss. Sets were designed by Franz Schroedter, while Porten's husband Wilhelm von Kaufmann was the production manager. The film was shot in November-December 1927 and premiered on 8 March 1928 at the famous Ufa-Palast am Zoo.

Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 92/3. Photo: Alex Schmoll, Berlin / Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion. Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (Carl Froehlich, 1928).

Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 92/4. Photo: Alex Schmoll, Berlin / Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion. Anton Pointner and Henny Porten in Liebe und Diebe (Carl Froehlich, 1928).

Henny Porten and Anton Poiner in Liebe und Diebe (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 92/5. Photo: Alex Schmoll, Berlin / Henny Porten-Froehlich Produktion. Henny Porten and Anton Pointner in Liebe und Diebe (Carl Froehlich, 1928).

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

Jeanne Delvair

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Jeanne Delvair (1877-1943) was an acclaimed French stage actress of the Comédie-Française, but she also had rich career in French silent cinema, mainly at Pathé Frères. She is the sister of actress Germaine Dermoz (1888-1966) and of animal painter Henri Deluermoz (1876-1943).

Jeanne Delvair
French postcard by S.I.P. no. 1239. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris.

Jeanne Delvair
French postcard by Ed. C. Jeangette, Paris for the Comédie Française. Photo: Oricelly.

Jeanne Delvair
French postcard by Edition Pathé Frères. Photo: Félix.

Mingling historical and modern dramas


Jeanne Delvair was born Jeanne Louise Deluermoz in 1877 in Paris, as the daughter of a former gendarme of the Imperial Guard who became a wine merchant.

She entered the Conservatoire where she won the first comedy prize in 1898. In 1899 she entered the Comédie-Françoise, where most of her stage career revolved and where she was Sociétaire between 1910 and 1937.

In 1908 she debuted on film in the title role of the Film d'Art short Marie Stuart/Mary Stuart (Albert Capellani, 1908), also with Henry Krauss, Paul Cappellani and Véra Sergine. The film, focusing on the highlights in the life of Mary Queen of Scots, was well received internationally for its staging, acting and coloring.

Ciné-Ressources suggests she also had a minor part in L'Arlésienne in 1908 but the Seydoux Pathé site does not confirm this. Delvair then played Lady Macbeth in the William Shakespeare adaptation Macbeth (André Calmettes, 1909), with Paul Mounet in the title role.

IMDb claims Delvair had the title role in Capellani's Françoise de Rimini (Albert Capellani, 1910), adapted from Gabriele D'Annunzio, but Ciné-Ressources and Seydoux Pathé indicate this was a film by Film d'Arte Italiana with Francesca Bertini.

Next, Delvair had the title role opposite Edouard De Max in the Jean Racine adaptation Athalie (Michel Carré, Albert Capellani, 1910). Ciné-Ressources also mentions for 1910 the SCAGL film Un clair de lune sous Richelieu/A moonlight under Richelieu (Albert Capellani, 1910), scripted by Abel Gance, but the Pathe website lacks this film in its filmography. Likewise, Ciné-Ressources mentions the film Hernani as being with Delvair, but this was a Film d'Arte Italiana film with Bertini.

From 1910, Jeanne Delvair started to mingle historical dramas with modern dramas as Le Cœur pardonne/L’Amour qui aime (Georges Monca, 1910) opposite Georges Grand, Deux petits Jésus/Les Deux Jésus (Georges Denola, 1910), and Paillasse (Camille de Morlhon, 1910) with Louis Ravet in the title role. In the latter film, art and life mix when an enraged, deceived Paillasse avenges on his unfaithful wife on stage. Slowly, the spectators realise the staged death is a real one.

Jeanne Delvair
French postcard by L.H., Paris. Jeanne Delvair as Sarah Mathison in the play 'Patrie!' by Victorien Sardou, first performed in Paris in 1901 at the Comédie-Française.

Jeanne Delvair in Le Cid
French postcard for the Comédie Française, C. 1900. Jeanne Delvair as Leonor in the classic tragicomedy 'Le Cid' (1636) by Corneille. Delvair's name is misspelled as Delvaire.

Jeanne Delvair
French postcard by SIP, no. not legible. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris. Handwritten date: 3/6/1908.

The Mysteries of Paris


Jeanne Delvair was Baucis opposite Romuald Joubé as Philémon in the Greek mythological tale (updated by La Fontaine) Philémon et Baucis (Georges Denola, 1911). In Les Mains vengeresses (Georges Monca, 1911) a vagabond kills his lookalike and takes his place in a friendly home. The murdered man's wife (Delvair) more and more suspects her supposed man, and when she discovers that he killed her husband, she strangles him with her own hands (hence the film's title). Georges Grand played both men. After that it was time for another adaptation of a classic play, this time Pierre Corneille's Polyeucte (Camille De Morlhon, 1911).

In 1912 Delvair played Miss Sarah MacGrégor in the Eugène Sue adaptation Les Mystères de Paris/Mysteries of Paris (Albert Capellani, 1912), produced by SCAGL. Delvair was part of an all-star cast. Grand duke Rodolphe (Paul Capellani) secretly has a child with Lady Sarah (Delvair). When his father tries to break up their union, Sarah suggests a patricide. When this is revealed, she flees to the US and leaves her child with a farmer's wife near Paris. When Rodolphe searches for his child, the house she is in is burned to the ground. Rodolphe swears revenge against the criminals. He meets the evil Schoolmaster (Henri Etiévant) and his accomplice La Chouette (Eugénie Nau) and discovers his daughter is not dead but works as a beggar for them under the name of Fleur-de-Marie (Andrée Pascal). After many dangers, Rodolphe finds his daughter back and pardons Sarah. Les Mystères de Paris was often filmed, in 1922 (see our blogpost), 1935, 1943, 1957, and 1962.

In 1912, Jeanne Delvair also played Jocaste in the Eclipse production Oedipe-roi (Gaston Roudès, 1912) with Jean Hervé as the young Oedipus, Mounet-Sully as king Oedipus and his father, and Paul Mounet as Tiresias. That year, she also played in the François Coppée adaptation Pour la couronne, directed by Henri Pouctal for Film d'Art. Pouctal also directed Delvair in the Eugène Brieux adaptation La Robe rouge (Henri Pouctal, 1912), again for Film d'Art.

IMDb attributes Pathé's Anna Karénine/Anna Karenina also to Delvair and Paul Capellani, but this was a Russian production with Russian actors, made for Pathé's Moscow studio. In 1913 Delvair worked for the company Cosmograph in the film, playing Queen Elisabeth in Les Enfants d'Edouard/Edward's Children (Henri Andréani, 1913), and Miss Ketty in Jacques l'Honneur (Henri Andréani, 1913). At Pathé, she had he lead in Le Baiser suprême (Edmond Floury, 1913). In 1914 she acted in the title role of Marie Tudor/Mary Tudor (Albert Capellani, 1914), but the film was only released in 1917. Again Delvair was surrounded by famous faces: Paul Capellani, Romuald Joubé, Léon Bernard, and Andrée Pascal.

After years of absence from the sets during WWI, Delvair returned in 1917 for the modern crime drama Blessée au coeur/Wounded in the heart, for whom the director is unknown. Jean Ayme, René Rocher and Georges Tréville were her co-actors, but the press focused on her presence. After another gap, she returned in 1920 with La Double existence du docteur Morart/The Double Life of Doctor Morart by Jacques Grétillat, with the director in the male lead as a surgeon whose wife (Delvair) suspects him of infidelity, but whose son (Jean Debucourt) discovers instead he is an alcoholic.

Delvair's last parts were in the Émile Zola adaptation Le Rêve/The Dream (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1921) with Gabriel Signoret, and in Le loup-garou/The Werewolf (Jacques Roullet, Pierre Bressol, 1923). Delvair stopped film acting after that, but continued her stage career.

Jeanne Delvair died in Levallois-Perret in 1949. She was 71. Delvair was buried with her husband Georges Le Roy (1885-1965), who was also a member of the Comédie-Française, in the cemetery of Marly-le-Roi (Yvelines).

Jeanne Delvair and René Rocher in Blessée au coeur (1917)
Spanish postcard for Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, by Ed. Auber y Pla, Barcelona, no. 2 (of 6 cards). Photo: Pathé Frères / Vilaseca y Ledesma. Jeanne Delvair and René Rocher in Blessée au coeur (N.N., 1917). The Spanish release title of the film was Herida del corazon.

Jeanne Delvair and Jean Ayme in Blessée au coeur (1917)
Spanish postcard for Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, by Ed. Auber y Pla, Barcelona, no. 3 (of 6 cards). Photo: Pathé Frères / Vilaseca y Ledesma. Jeanne Delvair and Jeam Ayme in Blessée au coeur (N.N., 1917). The Spanish release title of the film was Herida del corazon.

Georges Tréville, René Rocher and Jeanne Delvair in Blessée au coeur (1917)
Spanish postcard for Chocolate Pi, Barcelona, by Ed. Auber y Pla, Barcelona, no. 6 (of 6 cards). Photo: Pathé Frères / Vilaseca y Ledesma. Georges Tréville, René Rocher and Jeanne Delvair in Blessée au coeur (N.N., 1917). The Spanish release title of the film was Herida del corazon.

Sources: Fondation Seydoux Pathé (French), Ciné-Ressources (French), Gallica (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

Photo by Sciutto

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Gigi Sciutto was a famous Genovese photographer in the early 1900s. He supposedly shot the first film footage on Genova around 1897. His brother Carlo continued the family's photo studio for 40 years, until his death in 1950. Between 1895 and 1910 the brothers made countless portraits of the famous stage actors of Italy at the time.

Ugo Piperno
Italian postcard, no. 45. Photo: Sciutto.

Ugo Piperno (1862-1922) was a renowned Italian stage actor and director, who from 1914 also played several parts in Italian silent cinema for Roman film companies such as Cines, Caesar, and Tiber Film.

Irma Gramatica
Italian postcard, no. 48. Photo Sciutto, Genoa.

Irma Gramatica (1867-1962) was an Italian stage and screen actress, known for her qualities but also her temper.

Mercedes Brignone
Italian postcard, no. 58. Photo: Sciutto.

Mercedes Brignone  (1885-1967) was an Italian theatre, film, and television actress. The peak of her career was during the silent era. Brignone was directed several times on-screen by her brother, Guido Brignone.

Ermete Zacconi
Italian postcard, no. 76. Photo: Sciutto.

Ermete Zacconi
Italian postcard, no. 77. Photo: Sciutto.

Ermete Zacconi
Italian postcard, no. 78. Photo Sciutto.

Ermete Zacconi (1857-1948) was a monstre sacré of the Italian theater, He also acted in various Italian silent and sound films.

Fregoli
Italian postcard, no. 86. Photo: Sciutto. Sent by mail in 1912.

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

A maximum of detail or 'flou effects'


The photo studio Sciutto was founded by father Giovanni Battista/Giambattista Sciutto (1817-1877) in 1862, in Genoa, in Palazzo Adorno, Via Garibaldi (then Via Nuova). At his death, his widow Eugenia, and from 1895 his son Gigi (Giambattista, like his father) Sciutto, took over.

In 1885 the studio G.B. Sciutto moved to the piano nobile of the palazzo of the Marchese Balestrino del Carretto in Piazza Fontane Marose 18. In 1900 the company changed the name, becoming Fratelli Sciutto.

At the death of mama Eugenia in 1909, the company moved to Palazzo delle Cupole in Via XX Settembre, where the same year the company was taken over by Gigi's brother Carlo Sciutto, who in 1911 became the sole owner.

Gigi began to occupy himself with film, becoming one of the pioneers in the city - his first film experiments date of 1897, and founding his own company in 1908, after which he emigrated to Brasil in 1916. Carlo continued the photo studio for 40 years, until his death in 1950. Meanwhile, the studio moved to Via Maragliano.

While Gigi was looking for portraits with a maximum of detail, Carlo experimented with 'flou effects'. Between 1895 and 1910 the brothers made countless portraits of the famous stage actors such as Ermete Zacconi, Emma and Irma Grammatica, Eleonora Duse, Ruggero Ruggeri, etc.

Many of their portraits were published in illustrated magazines such as Illustrazione Italiana, in which they also published their outdoor photography such as visits by the Italian Royal family, the Italian Navy, and visits of writer Edmondo de Amicis.

With his new style of photo portraiture, Gigi Sciutto set the tone and deviated from the small-sized 19th-century photo portraits with their limited aesthetics. This also shows e.g. in a series of photos he made for the staging in Genova in 1901 of Eleonora Duse in 'La città morta' by Gabriele D'Annunzio. He captured her as the blind Anna, who notices her husband Alessandro and a young woman, Bianca Maria, have an affair, but she doesn't really care.

Eleonora Duse in La città morta
Italian postcard, no. 127. Photo: Sciutto, Genova. Eleonora Duse in the play 'La città morta' (The Dead City) by Gabriele D'Annunzio. The photo was made for the performance of Duse in Genoa, Teatro Paganini, in April 1901. The blind Anna holds Bianca Maria onto her lap. She understands that the girl is in love with her own husband Alessandro.

Eleonora Duse
Italian postcard, no. 128. Photo: Sciutto, Genova. Publicity still for the play 'La Città morta'. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) is considered one of the greatest stage actresses of the 19th and early 20th century. Her performances have been considered innovative for the Italian theatre.

Giovanni Grasso
Italian postcard, no. 604. Photo: Sciutto.

Giovanni Grasso (1873-1930) was an Italian stage and screen actor. While he goes as the best Sicilian tragic actor and one of the best in Italy, he also had a limited but important career in Italian silent cinema.

Lyda Borelli
Italian postcard, no. 623. Photo: Sciutto. Possibly for the stage play 'La figlia di Jorio' (Jorio's daughter) by Gabriele D'Annunzio.

Lyda Borelli (1887-1959). La Borelli was already an acclaimed stage actress before she became a star of the Italian silent cinema. The fascinating diva caused a craze among female fans, which was called 'Borellismo'.

Ruggero Ruggeri
Italian postcard, no. 624. Photo: Sciutto.

Ruggero Ruggeri (1871-1953) was one the most important Italian stage actors of the first half of the twentieth century, who often performed the plays by Luigi Pirandello. He did perform in films too, both in silent and sound films. Nowadays, he is best remembered as the voice of Jesus in the Don Camillo films.

Italia Vitaliani
Italian postcard by NPG, no. 643. Photo: Sciutto.

Italia Vitaliani (1866-1938) was an Italian stage and screen actress and artistic director.

Emma Gramatica
Italian postcard, no. 655. Photo: Sciutto, Genoa.

Emma Gramatica (1874-1965) was not only a ‘monstre sacré’ of the Italian stage but also played many old ladies in Italian sound cinema of the 1930s to the 1950s.

Totò Majorana
Italian postcard. Photo by Sciutto.

Totò Majorana (1874–1944) was an Italian stage and screen actor. He was a member of the major dialectical theatre companies in Sicily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With Giovanni Grasso he had an artistic bond and they went on long tours in 1910-1911. While in London, both were successful in William Shakespeare's 'Othello', with Grasso playing Othello and Majorana Jago. Majorana debuted as a film actor with the Turinese company Savoia in 1913, in various films with Maria Jacobini and Dillo Lombardi. In 1914 he went to Rome to act at Morgana Films, and played opposite Giovanni Grasso in two famous lost films in a realist style, Capitan Blanco (1914) and Sperduti nel buio (1914), both by Nino Martoglio. After WWI, Majorana returned in films by Cines, acting in a large string of films often starring Nerio Bernardiand directed by Mario Caserini in 1920-1923.

Source: Marianna Zannoni (Il Teatro in Fotografia. L'immagine della prima attrice Italiana fra otto e novecento - Italian).

Luigi Almirante

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Luigi Almirante (1886–1963) was an Italian stage and screen actor. His slender body and his wiry face made him an incisive comic actor. In the 1930s, he established himself at the new Cinecittà studios in the telefoni bianchi films.

Luigi Almirante
Italian postcard by Ed. A Traldi, Milano, no. 44. Photo: Trevisani, Bologna.

Six Characters in Search of an Author


In 1886, Luigi Almirante was born in Tunis, French Protectorate of Tunisia (now Tunisia), where his father's stage company was touring at the time. He was the son of the actor Nunzio Almirante, brother of the actors Ernesto and Giacomo Almirante, and the director Mario Almirante. He was also the nephew of the silent film actressItalia Almirante Manzini.

Luigi Almirante began his career on stage at the age of 14 or 15 (sources differ), reciting small parts in the company of Angelo Pezzaglia. He appeared together with Pezzaglia's young niece Paola Pezzaglia, with whom he would later also work in the company of Dina Galli. Active in humorous roles since 1907, Almirante had his acting breakthrough in 1909 with the 'Grand Guignol' stage company directed by Alfredo Sainati.

During World War I, he served at the Soldier's Theatre in Udine, under Renato Simoni. After the war, he was part of the Antonio Gandusio company for three years, and then joined the Theater Company Niccodemi, staying there until 1923. He obtained a resounding success with the plays by Luigi Pirandello. He was very successful in the drama 'Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore' (Six Characters in Search of an Author), in his first performance at the Teatro Valle in Rome, on 9 May 1921.

In 1926, he made his cinema debut with the silent film La bellezza del mondo/Beauty of the World, directed by Mario Almirante. He starred alongside his aunt Italia. From then on, he also devoted himself to the cinema. With the advent of sound film, he began to emerge in comical roles, favoured by his slender body and his wiry face, which made him an incisive comic actor.

Equipped with a shrill and perfect voice to provoke ironic effects, he was considered one of the best character actors of his time, as demonstrated in the film Il presidente della Ba.Ce.Cre.Mi./The President of the Ba.Ce.Cre.Mi. (Gennaro Righelli, 1933). Also in 1933, he played Francis Flute in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by William Shakespeare, directed by Max Reinhardt. In 1935 he was the antiquarian in 'Savonarola' by Rino Alessi, staged at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

Luigi Almirante
Italian postcard by Ed. Stab. Capecchi, Livorno, no. 209.

Luigi Almirante
Italian postcard, no. 539. Photo: Scoffone.

Telefoni bianchi at the new Cinecittà studios


In the thirties, Luigi Almirante often acted alongside Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo, Assia Noris, Vivi Gioi, Franco Coop, and Anna Magnani. He established himself at the new Cinecittà studios in the telefoni bianchi films, where he made friends with the greatest Italian directors of the time, such as Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, Mario Camerini, Mario Bonnard, Guido Brignone, Alberto Lattuada, Carmine Gallone, and Mario Mattoli.

Examples pf his telefoni bianchi are the comedy O la borsa o la vita/Your Money or Your Life (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1932) with Sergio Tofano, Darò un milione/I'll give a million (Mario Camerini, 1935), with Vittorio De Sica and Assia Noris, and Batticuore/Heartbeat (Mario Camerini, 1939) with, again, Noris, and Maurizio D'Ancora.

During the Second World War, and in the immediate postwar era, Almirante continued to work with the great names of Italian cinema, such as Delia Scala, Camillo Pilotto, Ave and Carlo Ninchi, Silvana Jachino, Totò Mignone, Alida Valli, Massimo Girotti, Giuditta Rissone, Umberto Spadaro, Totò, and Isa Barzizza.

He acted in many comedies, often directed by Mario Mattoli, but also in dramas by Carmine Gallone, Amleto Palermi, and others. The last film Almirante played in was Gli ultimi cinque minuti/The Last Five Minutes (Giuseppe Amato, 1955). He retired from the stage the following year. He was also active as a teacher at the Accademia d'Arte Drammatica.

Luigi Almirante married Ebe Brigliadori in 1928. In 1951 he was forced to abandon his activity as an actor due to a severe nervous breakdown. Two years before his death he was struck by a serious loss, the death of his son Nunzio. He was the uncle of the politician Giorgio Almirante. Luigi Almirante passed away in Rome in 1963, at the age of 76.

Luigi Almirante
Italian postcard, no. 183. Photo: Vettori, Bologna.

Source: Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb.

The Cinema of Jan Vanderheyden

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Outside of Belgium, little is known about the history of the Flemish cinema. The first Flemish sound film, De Witte/Whitey (1934) was an enormous success. The film's director, Jan Vanderheyden, and his wife, German scriptwriter Edith Kiel, made a series of popular folk comedies during the 1930s and early 1940s. The young star of De Witte, Jef Bruyninckx, grew up in their films. Lately, we found a series of rare postcards of the 1940s with some of the stars of the Jan Vanderheyden films.

Jef Bruyninckx in De Witte (1934)
Belgian postcard by Esclamator. Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film. Jef Bruyninckx in De Witte/Whitey (Jan Vanderheyden, 1934), based on the eponymous novel by Ernest Claes. In 1980 a new adaptation by Robbe De Hert would follow.

Jef Bruyninckx (1919-1995) was an important and popular Flemish actor and film and television director. He was one of the founders of both Flemish film production and Flemish television, in which he continued to play an important role later. Bruyninckx was also an editor and taught editing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent.

Nini de Boël
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Nini de Boël (1898-1982) was a Flemish actress and soprano who was known as the 'Antwerp Nightingale'. She starred in many revues and operettas in the first half of the 20th century, and also appeared in several Flemish films, including the comedy Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939).

René Bertal
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

René Bertal (1898-1962) was a Belgian actor who acted in Flemish folk films of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.  Bertal played the title role in the comedy Antoon, de flierefluiter/Anton, the Village Casanova (Jan Vanderheyden, 1942) with Nand Buyl. After this feature,  he appeared in two shorts, the escapist musical short film Muziek is schoon/Music is beautiful (Jan Vanderheyden, 1943), and Een zondags uitstapje/A Trip on Sunday (Jan Vanderheyden, 1943).


Martha Dua
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Belgian actress Martha Dua is known for three Vanderheyden films: the comedy Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939) with Charles Janssens, the sequel Janssens en Peeters dikke vrienden/Janssens and Peeters are close friends (Jan Vanderheyden, 1940) and the soccer comedy Wit is troef/White is Trump (Jan Vanderheyden, 1940).

Jan Vanderheyden


Jan Vanderheyden (1890-1961) was both a film producer and director. He was married to the German filmmaker Edith Kiel, who wrote the scripts for his films.

Their first film, De Witte/Whitey (1934), was also the first Flemish film production with sound. It was also very successful. Weeks after the première in Antwerp's Cinema Colosseum the public kept coming to the picture.

The story describes the boyishnesses of Louis Verheyden (Jef Bruyninckx), a white-haired rascal, nicknamed 'De Witte' (the white one) in Zichem, a village in the countryside. In the film, everything happens from the child's perspective. Edith Kiel added a love story to the original storyline made by Ernest Claes, something the original author did not like. Another adaptation with which the Church instead had difficulties was the minimalised role of the village priest.

In the following years, Vanderheyden and Kiel made such films as Alleen voor U/Only for you (Jan Vanderheyden, 1935), Uilenspiegel leeft nog/Uilenspiegel Still Lives (Jan Vanderheyden, 1935), De wonderdokter/The miracle doctor (Jan Vanderheyden, 1936), Havenmuziek/Music in the Harbour (Jan Vanderheyden, 1937), and Drie flinke kerels/Three good guys (Jan Vanderheyden, 1938). In most of these films, the boys Jef Bruyninckx and Nand Buyl played leading roles.

A huge success was the comedy Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939) starring Charles Janssens, Louisa Lausanne and Jef Bruyninckx. The following year, the sequel Janssens en Peeters dikke vrienden/Janssens and Peeters as good friends (Jan Vanderheyden, 1940) was released.

During the German occupation of Belgium between 1940 and 1944, Vanderheuyden produced four of the six films made by Belgian companies in a market that was otherwise flooded by imported German films. His films included Veel geluk, Monika/Good Luck, Monique! (Jan Vanderheyden, 1941) featuring Louisa Colpeyn, and Antoon, de flierefluiter/Anton, the Village Casanova (Jan Vanderheyden, 1942) with René Bertal.

Vanderheyden hoped to benefit from the Flamenpolitik instituted by the Germans, as Belgian cinema had traditionally been dominated by English and French language films. Vanderheyden made his last film in 1942, after which Belgian feature film production was suspended due to an increasing shortage of film stock.

Antoon Janssens
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Flemish actor Antoon Janssens (1866–1958) is better known as Toontje Janssens. He was one of Belgium's most popular comedians. Since 1929, he appeared in several Belgian films including the comedy Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939) in which he played Granddad Peeters, the soccer comedy Wit is troef/White is Trump (Jan Vanderheyden, 1940) with soccer player Raymond Braine, and the sequel Janssens en Peeters dikke vrienden/Janssens and Peeters as good friends (Jan Vanderheyden, 1940).

Louisa Colpeyn
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Louisa Colpeyn (1918-2015) was a Belgian actress, who worked both in the theatre and in the film. In 1942, she moved to Paris. She appeared in more than thirty films from 1939 to 1983, including Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939) and Veel geluk, Monika/Good luck Monique! (Jan Vanderheyden, 1941) in which she played the title role. Her son is the acclaimed author Patrick Modiano.

Fred Engelen
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Fred Engelen (1912-1967) was a celebrated Belgian stage actor and director in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. He also acted in Flemish films such as Met den helm geboren/Born with the helmet (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939), starring Jef Bruyninckx and Nand Buyl, the comedies Janssens tegen Peeters/Janssens against Peeters (Willem Benoy, Jan Vanderheyden, 1939), Een engel van een man/A man like an angel (Jan Vanderheyden, 1939), and Antoon, de flierefluiter/Anton, the Village Casanova (Jan Vanderheyden, 1942).

Jef Bruyninckx
Belgian postcard by Huis Ern. Thill, Brussel (Brussels). Photo: Jan Vanderheyden-Film.

Jef Bruyninckx (1919-1995) was an important and popular Flemish actor and film and television director. He gained fame through his leading role as De Witte van Zichem in the eponymous Flemish success film De Witte/Whitey by Jan Vanderheyden (1934). In the following series of folk films by Vanderheyden, he also always played one of the main roles. He was one of the founders of both Flemish film production and Flemish television, in which he continued to play an important role later. Bruyninckx was also an editor and taught editing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent.

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

Dana Andrews

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American film actor Dana Andrews (1909-1992) was a major Hollywood star during the 1940s. He continued acting in less prestigious roles into the 1980s. He is remembered for his roles as a police detective-lieutenant in the Film Noir Laura (1944) and as war veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), the latter being the role for which he received the most critical praise. During his career, he worked with such directors as Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, Jean Renoir, and Elia Kazan.

Dana Andrews in Deep Waters (1948)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 250. Photo: RKO Radio Films. Dana Andrews in Deep Waters (Henry King, 1948).

Dana Andrews
Uruguayan postcard by CF. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

An innocent lynching victim


Carver Dana Andrews was born on a farmstead near Collins in southern Mississippi in Covington County in 1909. He was the third of 13 children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife, the former Annis Speed. The family relocated subsequently to Huntsville in Walker County, Texas, the birthplace of his younger siblings, including future Hollywood actor Steve Forrest.

Andrews attended college at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville and studied business administration in Houston. He left school in 1929 to take a job as an accountant with the Texas oil company Gulf. In 1931, at the height of the Great Depression, he quit his job, and hitchhiked to Los Angeles, hoping to break into show business.

He worked in various jobs, such as working at a gas station in the nearby community of Van Nuys. To help Andrews study music at night, the station owners stepped in ... with a deal: $50 a week for full-time study, in exchange for a five-year share of possible later earnings. Andrews studied opera and also entered the Pasadena Community Playhouse, the famed theatre company, and drama school. He appeared in scores of plays there in the 1930s, becoming a favourite of the company. He played opposite future star Robert Preston in a play about composers Gilbert and Sullivan, and soon thereafter was offered a contract by Samuel Goldwyn. Andrews signed the contract, but it still took two years before Goldwyn and 20th Century-Fox to whom Goldwyn had sold half of Andrews' contract had work for him.

Finally, nine years after arriving in Los Angeles, he made his film debut at 20th Century Fox in Lucky Cisco Kid (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1940) starring Cesar Romero. He was in Sailor's Lady (Allan Dwan, 1940), developed by Goldwyn but sold to Fox. Andrews was loaned to Edward Small to appear in Kit Carson (George B. Seitz, 1940) before Goldwyn used him for the first time in a Goldwyn production: William Wyler's The Westerner (1940), featuring Gary Cooper. Andrews had support parts in Fox films Tobacco Road (1941), directed by John Ford; Belle Starr (Irving Cummings, 1941), with Gene Tierney, billed third; and Swamp Water (1941), directed by Jean Renoir. His next film for Goldwyn was the comedy Ball of Fire (Billy Wilder, 1941), again teaming with Cooper, where Andrews played a gangster.

Back at Fox, Andrews was given his first lead, in the B-movie Berlin Correspondent (Eugene Forde, 1942). He was second lead to Tyrone Power in Crash Dive (Archie Mayo, 1943) and then appeared in the film adaptation of The Ox-Bow Incident (William A. Wellman, 1943) with Henry Fonda. He played an innocent lynching victim, a role often cited as one of his best. Andrews then went back to Goldwyn for The North Star (Lewis Milestone, 1943). He worked on a government propaganda film December 7th: The Movie (John Ford, Gregg Toland, 1943), then was used by Goldwyn again in Up in Arms (Elliott Nugent, 1944), supporting Danny Kaye. Andrews was reunited with Milestone at Fox for The Purple Heart (Lewis Milestone, 1944), then was in Wing and a Prayer (Henry Hathaway, 1944).

Dana Andrews
Dutch postcard by Fotoarchief Film en Toneel, no. 3503. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Dana Andrews
Dutch postcard, no. a.x. 230. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

A laconic city detective


One of his Dana Andrews's famous roles was as a detective in Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944) with Gene Tierney at Fox. His matter-of-fact, deadpan acting style was perfectly suited to laconic city detective Mark McPherson. The Los Angeles Times: "The story of a cynical detective falling in love with a portrait of a supposed murder victim became a classic and seemed to vault Dana Andrews to a level of stardom that he would inhabit for the rest of his career."

He co-featured with Jeanne Crain in the musical State Fair (Walter Lang, 1945), a huge hit, and was reunited with Preminger for Fallen Angel (Otto Preminger, 1945). In 1946, he co-featured with Susan Hayward in an excellent Western, Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946). Andrews did another war film with Milestone, A Walk in the Sun (Lewis Milestone, 1945), then was loaned to Walter Wanger for a Western, Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946).

Andrews's second film with William Wyler, also for Goldwyn, was his most successful: The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946). It was both a popular and critical success with seven Oscars and became the role for which Andrews is best known. Andrews appeared in Boomerang! (1947), directed by Elia Kazan; opposite Merle Oberon in Night Song (John Cromwell, 1947), at RKO; and in Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger, 1947).

In 1947, he was voted the 23rd most popular actor in the U.S. Andrews starred in the anti-communist The Iron Curtain (William A. Wellman, 1948), reuniting him with Gene Tierney, then Deep Waters (1948). He made the comedy No Minor Vices (Lewis Milestone, 1948), then went to England for Britannia Mews (Jean Negulesco, 1949). Andrews went to Universal for Sword in the Desert (George Sherman, 1949), then Goldwyn called him back for My Foolish Heart (Mark Robson, 1949) with Susan Hayward. He also played a brutal police officer in Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger, 1950), also with Tierney.

Around this time, alcoholism began to damage Andrews's career, and on two occasions it nearly cost him his life as he drove a car. Edge of Doom (Mark Robson, 1950) for Goldwyn was a flop. He went to RKO to make Sealed Cargo (Alfred L. Werker, 1951) which was the only film he made with his brother, Steve Forrest. At Fox, he was in The Frogmen (Lloyd Bacon, 1951). Goldwyn cast him in I Want You (Mark Robson, 1951), an unsuccessful attempt to repeat the success of The Best Years of Our Lives. From 1952 to 1954, Andrews was featured in the radio series, 'I Was a Communist for the FBI', about the experiences of Matt Cvetic, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Communist Party of the United States of America.

Dana Andrews
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 676. Photo: Universal.

Farley Granger and Dana Andrews in Edge of Doom (1950)
Publicity still by Goldwyn Production / RKO Radio Pictures. Farley Granger and Dana Andrews in Edge of Doom (Mark Robson, 1950).

A young hero who no longer looked the part


Dana Andrews's film career struggled in the 1950s. In 1952, with his studio contracts expired, he began to free-lance and formed his own production company, Lawrence Productions. Assignment: Paris (Robert Parrish, 1952) was not widely seen. He did Elephant Walk (William Dieterle, 1954) in Ceylon, a film better known for Vivien Leigh's nervous breakdown and replacement by Elizabeth Taylor.

Duel in the Jungle (George Marshall, 1954) was an adventure tale; Three Hours to Kill (Alfred L. Werker, 1954) and Smoke Signal (Jerry Hopper, 1955) were Westerns; Strange Lady in Town (Mervyn LeRoy, 1955) was a Greer Garson vehicle; Comanche (George Sherman, 1956), another Western. By the middle 1950s, Andrews was acting almost exclusively in B-movies.

However, his acting in two films for Fritz Lang during 1956, While The City Sleeps and Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, and two for Jacques Tourneur, Curse of the Demon (1957) and The Fearmakers (1958), is well regarded. Around this time he also appeared in Spring Reunion (Robert Pirosh, 1957), Zero Hour! (Hall Bartlett, 1957), and Enchanted Island (Allan Dwan, 1958).

By the late 1950s, work was increasingly harder to get. He was typed in films as a young hero, but he no longer looked the part. His hair was turning white. In 1952, Andrews had toured with his wife, Mary Todd, in 'The Glass Menagerie', and in 1958, he replaced Henry Fonda on Broadway in 'Two for the Seesaw'. He stayed in the play for a year, co-starring with Anne Bancroft. It briefly revitalised his career. Andrews began appearing on television on such shows as Playhouse 90, General Electric Theatre, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The Twilight Zone, and The Dick Powell Theatre. He also continued to make films like Madison Avenue (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1961). He went to Broadway for 'The Captains and the Kings', which had a short run in 1962.

In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. In 1965, Andrews resumed film work with supporting roles in The Satan Bug (John Sturges, 1965) and In Harm's Way (Otto Preminger, 1965). He also had the lead in Crack in the World (Andrew Marton, 1965), and Brainstorm (William Conrad, 1965). However, he was cast increasingly in supporting roles: such as in the Eurospy film Berlino appuntamento per le spie (Operazione Polifemo)/Berlin, Appointment for the Spies (Vittorio Sala, 1965), The Loved One (Tony Richardson, 1965), and Battle of the Bulge (Ken Annakin, 1965) starring Henry Fonda.

Andrews still played leads in low-budget films like Hot Rods to Hell (John Brahm, 1967). By this time, Andrews had evolved into a character actor, as in the war film The Devil's Brigade (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1968) and the Italian production I diamanti che nessuno voleva rubare/No Diamonds for Ursula (Gino Mangini, 1967). Later, Andrews returned to the leading role of college president Tom Boswell on the soap opera Bright Promise (1969-1971).

Dana Andrews
Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 3532. Photo: RKO Radio Films Foto archief: Film en Toneel.

Dana Andrews
Vintage postcard. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

Controlling his alcoholism


Dana Andrews' increasing alcoholism caused him to lose the confidence of some producers. Andrews took steps to curb his addiction and eventually controlled his alcoholism. He worked actively with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and appeared in a television public service advertisement concerning the subject in 1972.

Andrews spent the 1970s in supporting Hollywood roles such as The Last Tycoon (Elia Kazan, 1976) starring Robert de Niro, and the TV film The Last Hurrah (Vincent Sherman, 1977), with Carroll O'Connor. He also appeared regularly on TV in such shows as Ironside, Get Christie Love!, Ellery Queen, The American Girls, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, and The Love Boat.

It was at this time, the 1970s, that Andrews became involved in the real estate business. Andrews's final roles included the Mini-series Ike: The War Years (Boris Sagal, Melville Shavelson, 1979) in which he played General George C. Marshall, The Pilot (Cliff Robertson, 1980), and the soap opera Falcon Crest (1982-1983). His last film was Prince Jack (Bert Lovitt, 1985).

Andrews had married Janet Murray in 1932. Murray died in 1935 as a result of pneumonia. Their son, David (1933–1964), was a musician and composer who died from a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1939, Andrews married a Pasadena Playhouse actress, Mary Todd, by whom he had three children: Katharine, Stephen, and Susan. For two decades, the family lived in Toluca Lake, California.

During the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He spent his final years living at the John Douglas French Center for Alzheimer's Disease in Los Alamitos, California. On 17 December 1992, 15 days before his 84th birthday, Andrews died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. His wife died in 2003 at the age of 86.

Dana Andrews in Sword in the Desert (1949)
Dutch postcard, no. 395. Photo: Universal International. Dana Andrews in Sword in the Desert (George Sherman, 1949).

Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews in My Foolish Heart (1949)
Belgian card, no. 850. Photo: R.K.O. Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews in My Foolish Heart (Mark Robson, 1949).


Trailer Laura (1944). Source: BFI Trailers (YouTube).

Source: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Los Angeles Times, Wikipedia, and IMDb.
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Ernst Rückert

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Ernst Rückert (1886-1950) was a German stage and screen actor. In the 1910s he was a popular film actor, while in the mid-1920s he starred in so-called Prussian films.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 220. Photo: Atelier Elite, Berlin.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Verl. Herm. Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 226. Photo: Atelier 'Elite', Berlin.

Ernst Rückert
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 686. Photo: Naxos-Film / Verleih E. Weil & Co.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Verlag Ross, Berlin, no. 1062/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Elite, Berlin W.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4023/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Mac Walten, Berlin.

A sought-after silent film actor


Ernst Rückert was born Anton Ernst Rücker (without -t) in Berlin, Germany, in 1886 (according to IMDb in 1892).

He began his theatre career in 1908 and appeared on stage in Bleicherode, Königsberg, and Kiel, among others. In 1910, he started an engagement at the Luisentheater in Berlin. From 1911, he was a sought-after silent film actor, initially in leading roles at the company Continental Kunstfilm.

In 1912 he played the first officer of the Titanic in the Continental production In Nacht und Eis/In Night and Ice, directed by Mime Misu. The film was produced by Continental-Kunstfilm of Berlin, and while most of its footage was shot in a glasshouse studio, some footage was shot in Hamburg, and some footage was possibly done aboard the German ocean liner SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, then docked at Hamburg. With a running time of 35 minutes, In Nacht und Eis was three times longer than the average film of 1912. Shot in black and white, various scenes were tinted to heighten their impact, such as night scenes in dark blue and a shot of a stoker feeding a burner in red.

From 1914 to 1917, he took part in the First World War. In 1917 he continued his film career and continued to receive leading roles and important supporting roles. In the late 1910s, he was at Deutsche Mutoskop & Biograph  (DMB) the film partner of Lotte Neumann in such films as Hinter verschlossenen Türen/Behind Closed Doors (Paul von Woringen, 1917) and the two-part film Schweigen im Walde/The Silence in the Forest (Paul von Woringen, 1918).

When Neumann left the Deutsche Mutoskop und Biograph, he was the partner of Magda Madeleine in e.g. Die lachende Maske/The laughing mask (Willy Zeyn Sr., 1918).

In the early 1920s, Rückert alternated the various Berlin studios with that of Emelka and in particular Union-Film in Munich. At Union, Franz Seitz was Rückert's regular director, while Dary Holm often had the female lead. At Emelka, Rückert often acted opposite Fritz Greiner, in e.g. the rural drama Der Ochsenkrieg/The War of the Oxen (Franz Osten, 1920).

Rückert was reunited with Lotte Neumann, but while, she played Julia, he had to be satisfied with playing the father of Romeo (Gustav von Wangenheim) in Ernst Lubitsch's Shakespeare spoof Romeo und Julia im Schnee/Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (1920), set in a 19th-century Alpine village. Rückert was enormously productive acting in well 24 films in the year 1920 alone. These were supporting parts, either major ones as the antagonist of the male leads, or smaller parts.

Lotte Neumann in Hinter verschlossenen Türen (1917)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, K. 2097. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film, Berlin. Lotte Neumann and Ernst Rückert in Hinter verschlossenen Türen/Behind Closed Doors (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

Lotte Neumann in Hinter verschlossenen Türen (1917)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, K. 2098. Photo: Lotte Neumann-Film, Berlin. Lotte Neumann and Ernst Rückert in Hinter verschlossenen Türen/Behind Closed Doors (Paul von Woringen, 1917).

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

Ernst Rückert in Was Steine erzählen (1925)
German postcard by Verlag Ross, Berlin, no. 1062/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Elite, Berlin. Ernst Rückert as Theodor Körner in Was Steine erzählen/What the Stones Tell (Rolf Randolf, 1925).

Ernst Rückert in Die elf Schill'schen Offiziere
German postcard. Ernst Rückert as Fritz von Wedel in Die elf Schill'schen Offiziere/The Eleven Schill Officers (Rudolf Meinert, 1926).

Historical films about the German resistance during the Napoleonic wars


In the mid-1920s, Ernst Rückert had major parts in the so-called Prussian films, historical films about the resistance of the Germans during the Napoleonic wars. In 1925 Rückert starred as Theodor Körner in the period piece Was Steine erzählen/What the Stones Tell (Rolf Randolf, 1925).

In Die elf schill'schen Offiziere/The Eleven Schill Officers (Rudolf Meinert, 1926), Rückert played a major part as Fritz von Wedel, one of a group of Prussian officers who have resisted the Napoleonic army. Their Major, Von Schill is killed and the others are captured, including Udo (Werner Pittschau), in love with Fritz's sister Marie. Fritz takes Udo's place, so Udo can flee with Marie (Mary Nolan). When Udo hears of the death sentence against the officers he runs back but too late.

Rückert had once more the lead as Theodor Körner in another patriotic film with a Prussian theme, Lützows wilde verwegene Jagd/Lützow's Wild Hunt (Richard Oswald, 1927), with Arthur Wellin in the title role. The film deals with a combination of the amorous encounters with a stage actress (Mary Kid) and a modern Jeanne d'Arc (Wera Engels), and the fight of the Germans against Napoleon (Paul Bildt) and his army, and this all in the year 1813, in which Körner died himself.

Less serious was Rückert's part as the Prince in Franz Hofer's remake of his own film, Das rosa Pantoffelchen/The Pink Slippers (Franz Hofer, 1927), with Hanni Reinwald in the female lead.

In the 1930s, Rückert became a minor, often uncredited actor in films. He also rarely got engagements in theater, such as in 1933 at the open-air stage of the Märkisches Museum. Until 1935, he regularly worked in film, with the last bit part in Parkstrasse (Jürgen von Alten, 1939), starring Olga Tschechova. In 1940 he was drafted, in the season 1941/1942, he was an actor and director at the Berlin Tourneetheater Gastspieldirektion IX. Finally, he was assigned to the K.d.F. front theater.

Ernst Rückert survived the war and died in 1950. He was 63 or 57 (the sources differ). According to IMDb, he acted in over 150 films.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, no. 910. Photo: Atelier Eberth, Berlin.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 3000. Photo: Mac Walten, Berlin.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 3001. Photo: Mac Walten, Berlin.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Verlag Ross, Berlin, no. 1062/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Elite, Berlin W.

Ernst Rückert
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4023/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Mac Walten.

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