Paul van Yperen's Blog

August 13, 2020

Tom Mix

American film actor Tom Mix (1880-1940) was the star of many Westerns between 1909 and 1935. He was Hollywood's first Western megastar and helped to define the genre for all cowboy actors who followed. Mix revolutionised the genre by eschewing realism in favour of more fantastical, lighthearted storylines and picturesque visual elements, like his clean, expensively tailored costumes. Mix appeared in 291 films, all but nine of which were silent.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1025/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Fox-Film.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1025/4, 1927-1928. Photo: Fox-Film.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag Foreign, no. 3576/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3904/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4405/4, 1929-1930. Photo: Fox.

Earning and spending millions
Thomas Hezikiah Mix was born in Mix Run, Pennsylvania, in 1880. His parents were Edwin Mix and Elizabeth née Heistand. He grew up in nearby DuBois, Pennsylvania, where his father, a stable master for a wealthy lumber merchant, taught him to ride and love horses.

He spent time working on a local farm owned by John DuBois, a lumber businessman. He had dreams of being in the circus and was rumored to have been caught by his parents practicing knife-throwing tricks against a wall, using his sister as an assistant.

In April 1898, during the Spanish–American War, he enlisted in the Army under the name Thomas E. (Edwin) Mix. His unit never went overseas. In 1902, he deserted the army to marry his first wife, Grace Allin. The marriage was annulled a year later. The fact that he was a deserter did not come up until after his death.

Mix went to Oklahoma and lived in Guthrie, working as a bartender, a night marshall, and other odd jobs. From 1906 till 1909, he was in a series of Wild West shows, such as 'The Miller Bros. Wild West Show', with wife Olive Mix-Stokes in Seattle's 'Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition'; and Will A. Dickey's 'Circle D Ranch'.

The latter supplied the Selig Polyscope Company with cowboys and Indians for films and, in 1910, Mix was hired by Selig to provide and handle horses. His first film was Ranch Life in the Great Southwest (Francis Boggs, 1910) according to Ed Stephan at IMDb , or The Cowboy Millionaire (Francis Boggs, Otis Turner, 1910), according to Wikipedia .

However, he appeared as himself in Ranch Life in the Great Southwest, in which he displayed his skills as a cattle wrangler. Shot at the Selig studio in the Edendale district of Los Angeles (now known as Silver Lake), the film was a success, and Mix became an early motion picture star. Mix performed in more than 100 films for Selig, many of which were filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Mix continued with Selig until 1917, writing and directing as well as acting.

While with Selig he co-starred in several films with Victoria Forde, and they fell in love. He divorced Olive Stokes in 1917. He and Victoria were signed by Fox Film Corporation, in 1917 and he remained with them until 1928, averaging five films a year.

His popularity eclipsed all other great cowboy stars, including Hoot Gibson and even the legendary William S. Hart , of the silent era.

He earned - and spent - millions. He loved sports cars, wild parties, and fancy clothes. He owned a huge Hollywood mansion that had his name emblazoned above it in neon lights and had numerous ex-wives to support.

Tom Mix
British postcard in the Cinema Stars Series by Lilywhite, no. C.M. 23. Photo: Fox.

Tom Mix
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 193. Photo: Fox Film.

Tom Mix
French postcard. Photo: Fox Film.

Tom Mix
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 183.

Tom Mix
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 568. Photo: Fox Film.

A horse called Tony
Tom Mix was the king of the cowboys during the 1920s. At Fox, he developed a comical style, emphasising fast action thrills to a greater extent than had been common in earlier Westerns, and he did his own stunts. These featured action-oriented scripts contrasted with the documentary style of his work with Selig.

In addition to Mix's riding and shooting skills, the films also showcased the talents of his intelligent and handsome horse, Tony. Heroes and villains were sharply defined and a clean-cut cowboy always saved the day. Millions of American children grew up watching his films on Saturday afternoons.

In 1932, he married his fifth wife, Mabel Hubbell Ward. Universal Pictures approached him that year with an offer to perform in 'talkies', which included script and cast approval. He acted in nine films for Universal, but because of injuries he received while filming, he was reluctant to do any more. Mix then appeared with the Sam B. Dill circus, which he reportedly bought two years later, in 1935.

Sound and encroaching middle age were not favourable to Mix. While Mix was a great showman, the combination of the Depression and the high overhead of his traveling shows conspired against his success.

He left the film industry after the 15-episode serial, The Miracle Rider (B. Reeves Eason, Armand Schaefer, 1935) made for Mascot Pictures. It was a huge hit for the small studio, grossing over $1 million.

Tom was married five times. His wives were Grace I. Allen (1902-1903; the marriage was annulled), Jewel 'Kitty' Perrine (1905-1907; divorced), Olive Mix (1909-1918; divorced), Victoria Forde (1918-1932; divorced) and Mabel Hubbell Ward (1932-1940; his death). He had two daughters, Ruth Mix with Olive Mix, and Thomasina Mix with Victoria Forde.

Tom Mix died in an auto accident in 1940. While driving his 1937 Cord Sportsman through the Arizona desert he took a turn too fast, a large aluminum suitcase broke loose and broke his neck and his car plunged into a ravine. He was 60 years old. The ravine was later named 'The Tom Mix Wash' in his honour.

At Tom Mix's funeral Rudy Vallee sang 'Empty Saddles'. His funeral took place at the Little Church of the Flowers in Glendale, California, and was attended by thousands of fans and Hollywood personalities. Mix was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Tom Mix had made over $6,000,000 during his career but an extravagant lifestyle had sharply reduced his estate to a modest amount by the time he died. Mix remained popular on radio and in comic books for more than a decade after his death. Of his 291 films, only about 10% were known to be available for viewing. The 1937 Fox vault fire lost most of the archive of his films made with Fox.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Mix has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street. His cowboy boot prints, palm prints, and the hoof prints of his horse, Tony, are at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard.

Tom Mix in The Canyon of Light (1926)
American postcard. Tom Mix on his horse Tony in The Canyon of Light (Benjamin Stoloff, 1926), shot in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Photo: Fox Film. Co-actors were Barry Norton and Dorothy Dwan.

Tom Mix and Tony
Probably an American collectors card or postcard. Tom Mix and his horse Tony, posing.

Tom Mix
Italian postcard by Ed. G. Vettori, Bologna, no. 614.

Tom Mix
Spanish card by EFB (Editorial Fotografica, Barcelona), no. A-22. Photo: Zerkowitz.

Tom Mix
Spanish postcard. Photo: Albert Witzel.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1025/5. Photo: Fox Film.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3844/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3844/3, 1928-1929. Photo: Fox Film.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4813/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Radio Pictures.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4813/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Radio Pictures Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5026/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Radio Pictures.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5026/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Radio Pictures.

Tom Mix
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5202/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Radio Pictures.

Tom Mix in Amsterdam and Berlin in 1925. Source: Eye Filmmuseum (YouTube).

Sources: (IMDb), Wikipedia, and .
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Published on August 13, 2020 22:00

August 12, 2020

Photo by Paul Boyer

Today we highlight the French photographer Paul Boyer (1861-1953), located in Paris. He was also credited as Boyer, P. Boyer, and as part of Boyer & Bert. Boyer's name can be seen on many French postcards of stage stars of the Belle Epoque. Many of them, including the divine Sarah Bernhardt, would also act in silent films.

Sarah Bernhardt in Théroigne de Méricourt
French postcard. Sent by mail in 1906. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Sarah Bernhardt in the play Théroigne de Méricourt, by M. Paul Hervieu, produced at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in 1902. Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt (1762–1817) was a singer, orator, and organiser in the French Revolution.

Yvonne de Bray
French postcard in the Les Reines de la Mode series by Croissant, Paris, no. 3375. Photo: Paul Boyer. Yvonne de Bray (1887-1954) was a French stage and screen actress, famous for her role as Sophie in Jean Cocteau's film Les parents terribles (1948).

Jules Truffier
French postcard by PMM. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Jules Truffier (1856-1943) was a respected actor of the Comédie-Française. As far as known, he didn't act in a film, but as a teacher at the Conservatoire (from 1906 onward), he trained future screen actors such as Pierre Blanchar .

French postcard by F.C. & Cie., no. 250. Photo: Boyer & Bert, Paris. French singer and actress Polaire (1874-1939) had a career in the entertainment industry which stretched from the early 1890s to the mid-1930s and encompassed the range from music-hall singer to stage and film actress. Her most successful period professionally was from the mid-1890s to the beginning of the First World War.

Régina Badet
French postcard by N.D. Photo., no. 267. Photo: P. Boyer. French actress and dancer Régina Badet (1876-1949) was a star of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. She also had a short career in the French silent cinema.

Paul Mounet
French postcard. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Paul Mounet (1847–1922), born Jean-Paul Sully, was a French actor of the Comédie Française, who also acted in various Film d'Art films around 1910.

Yvette Guilbert
French postcard by F C & Cie., no. 285. Photo: Boyer & Bert, Paris. Yvette Guilbert (1865-1944) was a French cabaret singer and actress of the Belle Époque. Her ingenious delivery of songs charged with risqué meaning made her famous. She also appeared in some classic silent films.

Paul Boyer (1861–1952) was born Paul-Anatole-Marie-Joseph Boyer in Toulon (Var), in 1861. He was the son of the architect Charles Boyer and Séraphine Grec.

Paul studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Later, he invented the use of magnesium for the flash-lamp in photography.

Boyer won many awards. He got the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, a world's fair held in Paris. He also participated in the Moscow exhibition. In 1891, he was nominated Knight of the Legion of Honor.

He had a studio at 35 boulevard des Capucines in Paris. There he made numerous portraits of actors, actresses, and other personalities of his time. These were often published on cabinet cards and on postcards. Several of these postcards were published by F. C. & Cie. (Frederick Charles Cooper), located in Eastbourne, England.

At the Exposition Universelle of 1900, Boyer was a member of the awarding jury. He was also decorated as an officer des Palmes Académiques, officer of Nichan Iftikhar, and officer of Lion and Sun.

Paul Boyer was active until 1908. He passed away in Paris in 1952.

Mistinguett and Max Dearly
French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 283. Photo: Boyer & Bert. Collection: Didier Hanson. Max Dearly (1874-1943) was a French actor, famous for his parts in 1930s French sound film but also for his previous career in Parisian vaudeville. French actress and singer Mistinguett (1875-1956) captivated Paris with her risqué routines. She went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest-paid female entertainer in the world. She appeared more than 60 times in the cinema.

Edouard de Max
French postcard by F.C. et Cie, no. 163. Photo: Paul Boyer. Actor Édouard de Max (1869-1924) was a leading man and monstre sacré of the French stage. He also appeared in silent films of the 1910s and the 1920s, including two versions of the The Three Musketeers.

Marguerite Moreno
French postcard, no. 1/11. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Marguerite Moreno in 'La Sorcière' at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, Paris. Moreno performed in this play by Victorien Sardou in 1903.

Albert Lambert Fils
French postcard by F.C. et Cie, no. 166. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Albert Lambert (1865-1941), aka Albert Lambert fils, was a French stage and screen actor, who was for a long time part of the Comédie-Française. He also played in several early French Film d’Art films, first of all, L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise/The Assassination of the Duke de Guise (1908).

French postcard by F.C. & Cie, no. 244. Photo: Paul Boyer, Paris. Publicity still for the stage play 'Le Passant' by François Coppée (1869). Robinne played the role of Zanetto in travesty. Gabrielle Robinne (1886-1980) was a French stage and film actress, who had the peak of her film career in the 1910s.

Louis Ravet
French postcard, no. 7. Photo: Boyer. Louis Ravet (1870-1933) was a French stage and screen actor. Ravet, who first acted at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and the Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique, was Pensionnaire of the Comédie-Française from 1899 to 1919, playing in the classics by Corneille, Hugo, and most often, Racine.

Pierre Laugier
French postcard by PMM. Photo: Boyer, Paris. Pierre Laugier (1864-1907) was an actor of the Comédie Française from 1885, becoming sociétaire in 1894. Memorable parts he had in 'Tartuffe' (Orgon), 'L'Avare' by Molière, 'Les Folies amoureuses' (Albert) by Jean-François Regnard, 'Le Gendre de M. Poirier' by Emile Augier and Jules Sandeau, 'Il ne faut jurer de rien' by Alfred de Musset, and 'Thermidor' by Victorien Sardou. He died, aged just 42, from scarlet fever at the bedside of one of his two daughters. As far as known he didn't act in films.

Sources: Wikipedia and The Cabinet Card Gallery.
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Published on August 12, 2020 22:00

Trini Lopez (1933-2020)

American singer, guitarist, and actor Trini Lopez died on 11 August at the age of 87. His first hit was 'If I Had a Hammer' in 1963, which earned him a Golden Disc. His other hits included 'Lemon Tree', 'I'm Comin' Home, Cindy' and 'La Bamba'. He appeared in several films and designed two guitars for the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which are now collectors’ items.

Trini Lopez (1933-2020)
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 388. Photo: Reprise / Disques Vogues.

A steady engagement at the nightclub PJ's
Trinidad 'Trini' López III was born in the Little Mexico neighbourhood of Dallas, Texas, in 1933 (some sources say 1937). His father, Trinidad Lopez II, worked as a singer, dancer, actor, and musician in Mexico; his mother was Petra Gonzalez.

Lopez has four sisters and a brother, Jesse, who was also a singer. He attended N. R. Crozier Tech High School but had to drop out in his senior year because he needed to earn money to help support the family.

Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. Around 1955, Trini Lopez and his band worked at The Vegas Club, a nightclub owned by Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald, avenging Oswald's assassination of JFK.

In 1957, at the recommendation of Buddy Holly's father, Trini and his group The Big Beats went to producer Norman Petty who secured a contract for them with Columbia Records. Lopez left the group and made his first solo recording, his own composition 'The Right To Rock', for the Dallas-based Volk Records, and then signed with King Records in 1959, recording more than a dozen singles for that label, none of which charted.

In late 1962, after the King contract expired, Lopez followed up on an offer by producer Snuff Garrett to join the post-Holly Crickets as a vocalist. After a few weeks of auditions in Los Angeles, that idea did not go through. He landed a steady engagement at the nightclub PJ's, where his audience grew quickly. He was heard there by Frank Sinatra , who had started his own label, Reprise Records, and who subsequently signed Lopez.

Trini Lopez (1933-2020)
Dutch postcard, no. 1045.

Trini Lopez (1933-2020)
Vintage postcard.

A radio favourite for many years
His debut live album, 'Trini Lopez at PJ's', was released in 1963. The album included a smash rendering of the folk standard 'If I Had a Hammer', which reached number one in 36 countries (no. 3 in the United States), and was a radio favourite for many years. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.

He also performed his own version of the traditional Mexican song 'La Bamba' on the album. It was later reissued as a single in 1966. Lopez knew how to make folk-pop swing. Another live album from PJ's was recorded later that same year under the title 'By Popular Demand More Trini Lopez at PJ's', which contains the song 'Green Green'.

His popularity led the Gibson Guitar Corporation to ask him in 1964 to design a guitar for them. He ended up designing two: the Trini Lopez Standard, a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semihollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe, a variation of a Gibson jazz guitar designed by Barney Kessel. Both of these guitars were in production from 1964 until 1971, and are now highly sought-after among collectors.

Bill Dahl at AllMusic : "Lopez's hits capture the excitement of his live performances, and his driving renditions of 'Kansas City' (1963), 'Lemon Tree' (1965), and 'I'm Comin' Home, Cindy' (1966) were substantial sellers."

In total, Lopez scored 13 chart singles through 1968, including 'Sally Was a Good Old Girl' (1968). On the adult contemporary chart, he racked up 15 hits, including the top-10 singles 'Michael' (1964), 'Gonna Get Along Without Ya' Now' (1967), and 'The Bramble Bush' (1967). Beyond his success on record, he became one of the country's top nightclub performers of that era, regularly headlining in Las Vegas.

In 1968, he recorded an album in Nashville entitled 'Welcome to Trini Country'. In 1969, NBC aired a Trini Lopez variety special featuring surf guitar group The Ventures, and Nancy Ames as guests. The soundtrack, released as 'The Trini Lopez Show', has him singing his hits with The Ventures as his backing band.

Trini Lopez (1933-2020)
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Photo: Imperial.

The Dirty Dozen
During the 1960s and 1970s, Trini Lopez moved into acting, though his film career was not as successful as his music. Lopez's first film role was in Marriage on the Rocks (Jack Donohue, 1965) with Frank Sinatra , Deborah Kerr , and Dean Martin. Lopez made a cameo appearance in a nightclub scene. His soundtrack song, 'Sinner Man', became a hit single.

Next, he appeared in the thriller Poppies Are Also Flowers (Terence Young, 1966) with Senta Berger and Stephen Boyd . He was one of The Dirty Dozen (Robert Aldrich, 1967), but he walked off the set reportedly at the urging of Frank Sinatra who supposedly thought his music career would stall if he continued to work on the film, which had gone over its scheduled shooting date. Another version was that Lopez was fired by director Robert Aldrich for being disagreeable.

Later Lopez appeared as himself in The Phynx (Lee H. Katzin, 1970) and played the title role opposite Larry Hagman in Antonio (Claudio Guzman, 1973). Lopez hosted his own network TV variety program. He also made two appearances (playing different characters) on the television program Adam-12 (1971-1972). In 1977, he played the role of Julio Ramirez in The Mystery of the Silent Scream (John J. Dumas, 1977) which was part of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series.

Lopez continued his musical career with extensive tours of Europe and Latin America during this period; an attempt to break out by releasing a disco album in 1978 proved a flop. Lopez produced a single promoting the Coca-Cola soft drink Fresca in 1967. In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.

In 2002, Lopez teamed with Art Greenhaw for 'Legacy: My Texas Roots'. The album used the Texas Roots Combo including Lopez, Greenhaw, and Lopez's brother, Jesse. Reviewer Steve Leggett on All Music Guide : "The album has an easygoing feel very similar to Lopez's classic live sets from the 1960s, only it rocks a good deal harder."

Thereafter, Lopez did charitable work and received honours such as being inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003. Lopez was still recording and appearing live in the years leading up to his death. In 2013, he appeared as a guest performer in a number of shows held in Maastricht in the Netherlands with the Dutch violinist and composer André Rieu.

He continued to record. 'El Immortal' was released in 2010, and the following year he released his 65th album, 'Into The Future' Lopez remained a lifelong bachelor and had no children. His nephew, Trini Martinez, was the drummer for the Dallas indie rock band Bedhead.

Trini Lopez died in 2020, at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California. He was 83 and suffered from complications of COVID-19.

Trini Lopez performs 'If I Had A Hammer' (1963). Source: the rockabillie (YouTube).

Official Trailer Dirty Dozen (1967). Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers (YouTube).

Sources: Bill Dahl (AllMusic), Steve Leggett (All Music Guide), (IMDb), Les Gens du CinémaWikipedia, and .
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Published on August 12, 2020 11:45

August 11, 2020

Ugo Piperno

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

Ugo Piperno
Italian postcard by Fotocelere.

Stuck in New York
Ugo Piperno was born in Livorno in 1870 (though IMDb claims 1862).

He debuted on stage in 1891 with the company of C. Rossi. In 1896 he played with Ermete Zacconi , later also with Ruggero Ruggeri . In 1898 Piperno played with the company Lorenzo-Andò, e.g. in the Enrico Annibale Butti play 'La fine di un ideale' (The end of an ideal).

Around 1900 he acted at the stage company Talli-Grammatica-Calabresi company e.g. in 'Lucifero' (Lucifer) by Enrico Annibale Butti in 1900-1901.

In 1912 he founded with Lyda Borelli and Antonio Gandusio the Drammatica Compagnia Italiana Borelli-Gandusio-Piperno, in which also Wanda Capodaglio , Lola Braccini, Tullio Carminati , Memo Benassi, Luigi Almirante, and a young Renzo Ricci acted.

In Rome the company acted at the Teatro Valle. In 1914 the company did a Latin American tour but got stuck in New York when the First World War broke out. Eventually, they managed to get back. Borelli left the company in 1915 but returned in 1916-1918. Around 1918 Piperno led the so-called Compagnia di Propaganda per le Terre Redente.

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

Ugo Piperno
Italian postcard. hoto: Unione Cinematografica Italiana.

Piperno and the film divas
In the 1910s Ugo Piperno worked at the Roman Cines film studio. In 1914 he debuted on screen in the Maria Carmi drama Retaggio d'odio/The Inheritance of Hate (Nino Oxilia, 1914), also with Bruto Castellani and Pina Menichelli .

In La donna nuda/The Naked Truth (Carmine Gallone, 1914), Piperno played the old painter Rouchard opposite - now film diva - Lyda Borelli as the model Lolette, Lamberto Picasso as the young painter Pierre Bernier who cheats on her, and Wanda Capodaglio as the flirtatious princess who steals Pierre, and drives Lolette to madness.

After La casa di nessuno/The House of Nobody (Enrico Guazzoni, 1915) with Pina Menichelli , Piperno again acted opposite Lyda Borelli in La storia dei tredici/The Thirteenth Man (1917), after Honoré de Balzac, and today one of the few lost films of Borelli.

Then followed Il tesoro di Isaaco/Isaac's Treasure (Mario Caserini, 1918), Primerose (Caserini, 1919) with Elena Sangro , La notte del 24 aprile/The night of 24 April (1919) with Thea (Teresa Termini), and L'odissea di San Giovanni/The odyssey of San Giovanni (Vasco Salvini, 1919).

Piperno acted opposite diva Francesca Bertini in Spiritismo/His Friend's Wife (Camillo De Riso, 1919) and La contessa Sara/Countess Sara (Roberto Roberti, 1920), shot for Bertini Film/Caesar Film. Piperno had the title role in Papà Lebonnard/Dear Old Dad (1920) by Mario Bonnard , with whom he had also collaborated in La stretta/The Grip (1919). Opposite Hesperia , Piperno acted in Chimere (Baldassarre Negroni, 1920).

His final film was again with Mario Bonnard , the latter's Stendhal adaptation Il rosso e il nero/The red and the black (1920). Two years after, in 1922, Ugo Piperno died in Casalecchio di Reno, near Bologna. He was 60. Piperno was a mason since 1905 and became a grandmaster in 1908.

Ugo Piperno
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 21. Photo: Badodi, Milano.

Sources: Roberto Galimberti (Blog dell' Arco Reale - Rito di York - Italian), and .
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Published on August 11, 2020 22:00

August 10, 2020

Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930)

One of Henny Porten's biggest successes during the silent era was Ernst Lubitsch's Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920). The comedy was extremely popular at the box office and was re-released more than once. So when sound film was introduced Henny Porten once again played the two sisters, sweet-natured Gretel and notoriously bad-tempered Liesel in Kohlhiesels Töchter/Gretel and Liesl (Hans Behrendt, 1930).

Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 126/1. Photo: Atelier Schmoll, Berlin / Nero-Porten-Film. Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Hans Behrendt, 1930).

Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930 sound version)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 126/2. Photo: Atelier Schmoll, Berlin / Nero-Porten-Film. Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Hans Behrendt, 1930).

Henny Porten sings!
In the sound version, Kohlhiesels Töchter/Gretel and Liesl (Hans Behrendt, 1930), Henny Porten starred again as both sisters, this time opposite Fritz Kampers and Leo Peukert . Again it was an adaptation of the play Kohlhiesel's Daughters by Hanns Kräly, adapted by Julius Urgiß and Wilhelm Raff.

The plot centers on innkeeper Kohlhiesel's daughters, the beautiful Liesl, and the homely Gretel. The local butcher (Kampers) wants to marry Liesl, but Kohlhiesel (Peukert) refuses to bless their union until he finds a husband for older sister Gretel. Callously, the butcher proposes to Gretel, intending to divorce her and then marry Liesl. But guess what happens instead.

Henny sang two songs in the film, 'In Oberammergau, da blueht der Flieder' and 'Ich moecht ein Bild von Dir auf meinem Herzen tragen', both written by Robert Gilbert.

Hal Erickson at AllMovie : "Fritz Kampers assumes the Jannings role in the 1930 version, and while critics felt that he wasn't quite as talented as his predecessor, all agreed that Kampers did full justice to the part."

Just like Ernst Lubitsch's Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920) had been, the remake was a significant success at the box office. The comedy established Henny Porten as a sound star.

In the following decades two more versions would follow. In Kohlhiesels Töchter (Kurt Hoffmann, 1943), Heli Finkenzeller and Margaretha Haagen played the two sisters. And Liselotte Pulver played a double role in Kohlhiesels Töchter (Axel von Ambesser, 1962).

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

Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 126/4. Photo: Atelier Schmoll, Berlin / Nero-Porten-Film. Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Hans Behrendt, 1930).

Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter (1930)
German collectors card by Ross Verlag in the series 'Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst - Der Tonfilm', album no. 11, picture no. 145. Photo: Atelier Schmoll, Berlin / Nero-Porten-Film. Henny Porten in Kohlhiesels Töchter/Kohlhiesel's Daughters (Hans Behrendt, 1930).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.
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Published on August 10, 2020 22:00

August 9, 2020

Ernst Rückert

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:, Wikipedia (German), and .
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Published on August 09, 2020 22:00

August 8, 2020

Dana Andrews

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 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 .
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Published on August 08, 2020 22:00

August 7, 2020

The Cinema of Jan Vanderheyden

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 .
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Published on August 07, 2020 22:00

August 6, 2020

Luigi Almirante

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 actress Italia 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 .
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Published on August 06, 2020 22:00

August 5, 2020

Photo by Sciutto

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.

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 Bernardi and 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).
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Published on August 05, 2020 22:00

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