TWO PORTRAITS OF GERMAN FILM ACTRESS MARINA VON DITMAR

These two real photo postcards feature German film actress Marina von Ditmar (1914-2014), a leading lady of the 1930’s and 40’s. . She was born in the Russia Empire and was of Baltic German descent. When she moved to Germany she studied acting. Her first roles were appearances at Schauspielhaus, Bremen, and the Altes Theater (Leipzig). In 1937 she joined the ensemble at the Volksbuhne in Berlin and by 1940, she was a permanent actress at this venue. Her first major movie success was in “The Csardas Princess” (1934). In 1943, she starred in “Muchhausen”, a film that had great commercial success. Von Ditmar was also well known for her role in “The Big Shadow” (1942). She appeared in several Nazi propaganda film including Stukas (1941). She married D. Hans-Georg Dehnhardt (1913-2001), a leading physician and owner of a sanitarium,  Soon after her marriage, she retired from acting. The IMDB credits Miss von Ditmar with thirty film roles. The top postcard was published by Film-Forto-Verlag and was part of a series (A 2622/1). The photographer was Baumann and there is an advertising logo for the German film company UFA. The bottom postcard was also published by Film-Foto-Verlag and was part of a series (no. A 3926/1). The photographer was Binz and there is an advertising logo for Prag Films. The Prag company produced 14 films between 1943 and 1945. Many of the people employed to produce these films were Czechs who were forced by war time German authorities to produce these films. The photographer, Tita Binz (1903-1970), was German and she photographed many film stars of the Third Reich, She also made portraits of the soldiers who earned the Knight’s Cross (the highest military award in Nazi Germany). Binz began her career by apprenticing in Paris between 1928 and 1930. She was an apprentice for her uncle, the celebrated photographer, Leopold Reutlinger whose studio was opened in 1850 and became of the worlds most renowned studios. Binz settled in Berlin and worked for various photo studios until opening her own studio in 1938. She specialized in portrait photography and photographed actors, artists, politicians, and other celebrities. One of her clients was the publisher Film-Foto-Verlag (formerly Ross Verlag). The founder of the company, Heinrich Ross was forced out in 1937 by the National Socialists because he was Jewish and Jews were not allowed to own businesses. Ross Verlag retained it’s name until 1941. Film-Foto-Verlag became known for it’s postcard portraits of film stars of the German and Italian cinema. Today, many of Binz’s photo portraits can be found in the collection owned by the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin.

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MARGARET HALSTON: BEAUTIFUL SHAKESPEARIAN ACTRESS AND FILM STAR

Margaret Halston, in her role as Desdemona in Othello, is the subject of this real photo postcard published by Percy Guttenberg of Manchester, England. The postcard is part of the “Revival Series” (no.122). Margaret Halston (1879-1967) was an English actress born in London, England as Clara Maud Hertz. A number of references mention that she was of Jewish descent. She was known for both theater, film, and television performances. Among her popular performances was in “Tell Your Children” (1922), “The Holly and the Ivy” 1952, and “Touch and Go” (1955). She began her acting career in amateur theatre and she made her professional stage debut at the Haymarket Theater in 1895. Her roles became larger over time until she became a leading actress appearing in plays such as  ‘Hamlet   ‘ (1896), “Antony and Cleopatra” (1897), and “The Taming of the Shrew” (1897). At the turn of the century she became part of Frank Benson’s theatre group and took numerous roles in Shakespearian theatre. It is reported that she acted in almost all of Shakespeare’s plays. She later worked in George Alexander and Herbert Beerbohm-Tree’s theater groups. She became involved in film in 1916 when she made her debut with “A Bunch of Violets”. Over the next few years she appeared in a small number of silent movies. She adapted well to sound films and appeared in a number of them. IMDB credits her with appearing in sixteen films between 1917 and 1956. The site also lists three television credits between 1938 and 1955. Miss Halstan was certainly an entertainment star. It is interesting to note that she twice played in the role of “Queen of Transylvania” in the theatrical production of “My Fair Lady” (1957-1958, 1961-1963). There are three portraits of her in the National Portrait Gallery.

ENGLISH THEATRE ACTRESS PAMELA GAYTHORNE AND HER NOT SO SUBTLE HAT

This vintage real photo postcard features English stage actress Pamela Gaythorne. She is quite attractive and wearing much jewelry and lace. Note her not so subtle hat. It looks as if a seagull is resting on her head.  Miss Gaythorne is captured in this image as she appeared in “The Fascinating Mr. Vanderveldt. She appeared in this theatre production with Violet Vanbrugh and Arthur Bourchier. The IBDB reveals that Miss Gaythorne appeared in, and often starred in, 12 Broadway productions. Her Broadway career spanned from “Keeping Up Appearances” (1910) through “This Fine-Pretty World” (1923). The New York Times (2/14/1911) reviewed a play named “Nobody’s Daughter”. Gaythorne appeared in this play and in writing about her, the reviewer wrote that he “heartily commends” her performance. The article adds that she played her character with “delightful spontaneity, charm, variety, and suggested youth and spirit, while touching the more sentimental passages with manifest sincerity”. The photographers of this image was Foulsham and Banfield, a prolific celebrity postcard portrait studio. The postcard was produced by Rotary Photo and is part of a series (no. 4107 A). The message on this card is from Bob to Miss Marion Lipman and states “I will come in and see you when I go to the city”. Also written in the message section is what appears to be “The Empire Confectionary”. Perhaps a Cabinet Card Gallery visitor can throw some illumination on that term and also ascertain what nation the stamp of this postcard represents. The postcard is postmarked 1906.

JACQUELINE LOGAN: BEAUTIFUL STAR OF FILM AND STAGE

This vintage real photo postcard features silent film star Jacqueline Logan (1904-1983). Logan had auburn hair and green eyes. She was considered to be very beautiful. Logan was a “WAMPAS Baby Star” of 1922. The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers sponsored the WAMPAS promotional campaign. Each year between 1922 and 1934 the promotion honored 13-15 young actresses who were predicted to be on the cusp of movie stardom. Other honorees besides Logan included Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, Fay Wray, and Ginger Rogers. Jacqueline Logan was born in Corsicana, Texas and grew up in Nebraska. She worked briefly as a journalist in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and than went to Colorado Springs for health issues. She took a journalism course there and than moved to Chicago where she found a job dancing in a stage production. She had told her family she was going to Chicago to attend college. She then went of New York City with a theater troupe. While in New York, she received a small part in the Broadway musical “Florodora (1920). She was noticed by Flo Ziegfeld who hired her as a dancer. She also was selected to model in photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston. By 1921, she began appearing in films. Her first role was in “The Perfect Crime”. Also featured in the film was Carole Lombard, who at the time, was a child actress. Cecile B. DeMille selected Logan to play Mary Magdalene in the film “King of Kings” (1927). The movie broke audience attendance records. With the advent of  “talkies”, Logan had less success. However, she did appear in “Show of Shows” (1929) in which she was a member of an all-star cast. Next, she went to England to do stage work. She received many good reviews. She was then hired by British International Pictures to write and direct films. She was successful in her writing and directing. When she returned to Hollywood she found that studios were not interested in hiring her for behind the camera work. Their resistance was likely predominately due to not wanting a female to direct films. Back in America, she appeared in several Broadway shows including “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Two Strange Women”. In 1934, after her marriage to an industrialist, she retired from films. The IMDB web site reports that Logan has 61 film credits between 1921 and 1931. The Internet Broadway Database lists 3 Broadway play credits for the actress between 1920 and 1935. In her later years, Logan became a conservative political activist and member of the John Birch Society. This real photo portrait postcard was produced in France. It was part of a series (no. 197) called “Les Vedettes de Cinema (Stars of the Cinema)”. The photograph was taken at the Alfred Noyer studio (AN) in Paris. The actual photographer may have been Witze. The postcard includes an advertisement for Fox Film, indicating Logan’s affiliation with the studio at the time of the photograph.

 

 

BEAUTIFUL GERMAN ACTRESS: HELI FINKENZELLER

This vintage real photo postcard features pretty German film actress Heli Finkenzeller (1911-1991). During her career she appeared in more than 80 films and television shows between 1935 and 1991. Among her films, she was known for Emil un die Detektive (1954), Teorie und Praxis (1962), and Unser Pauker (1965). She was married twice, to an actor (Will Dohm) and than to a film director (Alfred Bittins).  She is the mother of Gaby Dohm, an Austrian actress. During Finkenzeller’s youth she hoped to become an opera singer. She had an excellent voice but it was too weak for opera. Instead she became an actress. She was discovered for film by director Karl Ritter in 1935. She was popular in films for UFA. a German film company. Later in her career she became active as a stage actress. This postcard was produced by Verlag and is part of a series (no. A 3958/1). The photographer was Star Foto. The logo for Tobis Film appears on the front of the postcard. Tobis was a German film production and distribution company founded n the late 1920’s. The company was discontinued in 1942 when the Nazi controlled government combined it with three other studios (Terra Film, Bavaria Films, UFA) to form a single state controlled film company.

The duet below is from Boccacio (1936) and it features Heli Finkenzeller and Willy Fritsch. One source states that Finkenzeller got “help” with the singing from Rosl Seegers.

 

Published in: on June 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF EARLY FILM ACTRESS ITA RINA

 

The pretty film actress seen in this vintage real photo postcard is Ita Rina (1907-1979). Her unusual name is actually a pseudonym. Italina Lida Kravanja was her given name and it’s understandable that she used a shorter and more catchy moniker. Miss Rina was a Slovenian film actress and beauty queen. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s she was one of the major film stars in Germany and Czechoslovakia. After getting married in 1931 she changed her name to Tamara Dordevic. Rina was a poor student as a child and knew early on that she wanted to be an actress. In 1926 she entered a beauty contest sponsored by a Slovenian magazine and Rina won. She was then slotted to compete in the next level beauty contest but she arrived late and could not participate. No worry though, she was noted by a cinema owner who sent her photograph to German film producer Peter Ostermayer who invited her to Berlin for an audition. In 1927,  Rina went to Berlin without her mother’s permission. She took classes in acting and dancing. She made her debut in the film “What Do Children Hide from Their Parents” (1927). After a number of small film roles, she received some attention for her role in the film “Last Supper” (1928). Her breakthrough occurred in the film “Erotikon (Seduction)” (1929) in which she had a starring role. The film was a great success but upset some moral and Christian organizations for it’s eroticism. Some consider her best role to have been in the Czech sound film “Tonka Sibenice” (1930). Rina received an offer from Hollywood but her husband vetoed it and she decided to stay with her husband. However, she continued her film career until the beginning of World War II. Rina’s IMDB filmography asserts that she appeared in 19 films. This RPPC was produced by Iris Verlag. Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The publishing house  Amag (Albrecht & Meister) is listed on the reverse of the card. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5118). The photographer was Kiesel of Berlin.

 

Published in: on June 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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TWO PORTRAITS OF BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS ALICE CRAWFORD (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature a beautiful actress named Alice Crawford (1882-1931). Miss Crawford was born in Bendigo, Australia. Her sister, Ruby Crawford was also an actress. Miss Crawford came to England with actor Wilson Barret in 1902 after appearing with him in Australia. Her London debut was in 1902 in in the play “The Christian”.  She was in the revival of the play in 1907. Other stage credits include “Antony and Cleopatra (1906), Matt of Merrymount (1908), and “The Passing of the Third Floor, Back” (1908). The New York Times (1909) announced her arrival in New York to perform in “These Are My People”. She is credited with film roles in “False Ambition” (1918) and Glorious Adventure (1922). There are fifteen portraits of Alice Crawford in the National Portrait Gallery, eight of which are by the photographer of the top photo postcard (Alexander Bassano}. Bassano  (1829 –1913) was a leading royal and high society photographer in Victorian London. Crawford was married to George Valentine Williams. He was wounded twice in WW I and was awarded the Military Cross. He later worked as a journalist, mostly in trouble spots. During WW2 he conducted “confidential work” for the British Government. He is best known as an author of Detective Fiction. He died in 1946. This postcard captures Miss Crawford in costume for her role as “Diantha Frothingham” in “Matt of Merrymount” (1908). Alice Crawford certainly qualifies as a “stage beauty” and she has an amazingly engaging smile. Bassano photographed the actress for Rotary Photo’s, Rotary Photographic Series (no.1852 R).                                          

The second photo postcard features Miss Crawford looking quite beautiful. Her hair is long and flowing and she has a flower hair band. Her eyes are beautiful and she appears to be holding back a smile. Like the first postcard, this card is also published by Rotary Photo and was part of a series (no. 1852 K). In fact both postcards seen here are part of the same series.  The postcard’s photograph was taken by the Dover Street Studio.  The studio was active between circa 1906 and circa 1912. The gallery specialized in taking theatrical portraits and was located in London, England. They were the successors to the Biograph Studios as well Adart (a studio that took advertising photos). Examination of the reverse of this postcard (see second postcard below) reveals that it was postmarked in 1907. The message on the back of the postcard is quite interesting because it contains comments about the photo on the postcard. The writer reports that she was charmed by a postcard from the addressee and she asks her how she likes “this one”. The writer also states that she was planning to go see “The Thief” at the St. James Theater. Billboard (1907) contains a review of the musical and describes it as an English version of Henry Bernstein’s “Le Voleur”.  The play was produced by Mr George Alexander and it’s cast included Mr. Alexander, Irene Vanbrugh, and Lillian Braithwaite. 

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ESTHER RALSTON: TALENTED FILM AND EARLY TELEVISION ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful actress Esther Ralston (1902-1994). She was born in Bar Harbor, Maine and was active in acting between 1915 an 1962. Her career started while she was still a child. She appeared in a family vaudeville act called “The Ralston Family with Baby Esther, America’s Youngest Juliet”. By the time she was 18, she was appearing in silent films including “Huckleberry Finn” (1920) and “Peter Pan” (1924). In the late 1920’s she appeared in many films for Paramount Pictures. She was successful enough to earn as much as eight thousand dollars per week Although she received good reviews for dramatic roles, Ralston primarily appeared in comedies, often in the role of spirited society girls. Esther’s image was initially “wholesome and fun-loving”. Florenz Ziegfeld Jr repackaged her as “The American Venus” after she appeared in the role of a beauty queen in the film, “American Venus” (1926). Miss Ralston made a successful transition to sound pictures but by the mid 1930’s she was usually appearing in supporting roles. Her final starring role was in “To the Last Man (1933) and her final film was “Tin Pan Alley (1940). That same year she retired from film and focused on stage and radio through the 1940’s. With the advent of television, Ralston spent time appearing in this new medium. Esther Ralston was married three times and divorced three times. All of her husbands worked in the entertainment industry. The imdb lists Ralston as having 108 credits as an actress. She certainly made an impact in the entertainment world and this is reflected by the fact that she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Esther Ralston’s obituary can be found at the web site of  “The Independent”. The obituary states that she was a “captivating blond beauty with an engaging sense of humor”. The article tells the story of Ralston’s reaction to co-starring with Clara Bow and Gary Cooper in “Children of Divorce” (1927) while Bow and Cooper were having an affair. In regard to Clara Bow, Ralston stated “I didn’t really dislike her, but she was pretty loose and I’d been brought up differently”. This photo postcard was pubished by Ross Verlag, a postcard publishing company based in Berlin, Germany. The postcard was produced for Paramount Pictures and is part of a series (No. 3393/1).

PRISCILLA DEAN: TALENTED SILENT FILM ACTRESS AND LESS TALENTED “TALKIE” ACTRESS

Priscilla Dean (1896-1987) was a popular American actress who appeared in both silent films and theatre productions. Her career spanned two decades. She was born in New York to a theatrical family. Her mother and father were actors. She attended a convent school until she was fourteen and than launched her film career. Priscilla made her stage debut at the ripe old age of four and, as previously stated, her film debut at fourteen in films produced by Biograph and several other studios. She was signed to a contract by Universal (IMP) in 1911 and soon gained popularity as the female lead in the comedy series of Eddie Lyons and Lee Moran. She reached stardom after appearing in “The Gray Ghost” (1917). The advent of sound to the film industry impaired Dean’s career. She was relegated to low-budget films for minor independent studio during the 1930’s and her career fizzled out. Priscilla Dean has been called “an unlikely Diva”. She was described as being a plain woman, but cheerful. She is said to have had heavy features, a crooked smile, and an “unfashionably curvaceous figure”. However, her intensity on screen was considered “unmatched”. Dean was married to actor Wheeler Oakman (1890-1949) who was also under contract at Universal. The couple appeared together in “The Virgin of Stamboul”  (1920)and “Outside the Law” (1920). The pair divorced in the mid 1920’s and a few years later she married Leslie Arnold, a famous aviator. Dean died at the age of 91. Perusal of Miss Dean’s filmography reveals that she has 95 credits as an actress between 1912 and 1932. To view Miss Dean in the talkie film “Behind Stone Walls” (1932), click the You Tube link below. Keep in mind that she was considered a significantly better silent film actress than a “talkie” actress. This postcard was published  by Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany. It was part of a series (No. 547/2) and was produced for Universal Studios. It was published sometime between 119 and 1924. The photographer of this portrait was Roman Freulich (1924-1974). Freulich was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. He learned his trade from New York photographer Samuel Lumiere. He moved to Hollywood in the mid 1920’s where his brother Jack was a portrait photographer at Universal Pictures. Roman became a still photographer for Universal and produced many portraits of their major stars. He stayed at Universal until 1944 when he moved to Republic Studios. After Republic stopped production, Freulich did much work for United Artists.

 

HENNY PORTEN: MAJOR GERMAN FILM ACTRESS WITH ADMIRABLE PRINCIPLES (RESISTED THE NAZI GOVERNMENT)

 

Henny Porten (1890-1960) is the subject of this real photo postcard. Porten was a German actress and film producer of the silent era. She was Germany’s first major film star and appeared in more than 170 films produced between 1906 and 1955. Along with Asta Nielsen and Pola Negri, she was one of the three most popular German actresses. Her father was a film director and her sister was an actress/screenwriter. She began her film career without any stage experience which was an unusual phenomenon for German actresses. Porten was not well known outside of Germany. A large number of her early films were directed by her husband, Curt Stark. Stark died during World War I (1916) while serving on the Eastern Front. In 1921 she remarried a Jewish man named Wilhelm von Kaufmann. When the Nazis took power, she received much pressure to divorce her husband. She refused to comply and her career plummeted. She was denied a visa to emigrate. Her career blossomed again after World War II. The photograph of Miss Porten seen on this postcard is by the Becker & Maass studio of Berlin, Germany. The photographers were well known for portrait and fashion photography in the first decades of the twentieth century. They photographed dozens of German film stars for magazines and postcards. You can view more of this studios photographs by clicking on the category “Photographer: Becker & Maass”.  The postcard is published by Rotophot which began publishing “RPH” postcards in 1916. There were three different series: Buhnen-Sterne (stage star), Film Sterne (film star), and Film Sterne (displayed scenes). This postcard is from the Film Sterne series and was no. 216/3. The film star series ran from number 61 through number 224. The front of the Film Sterne cards included the name of the film studio represented. This card advertises Messter-Films of Berlin. These postcards were continued by the Ross Verlag company who’s origins can be traced back to the earlier Rotophot postcard company. The You Tube clip below presents Henny Porten in some scenes from “24 Hours from the Life of a Woman” (1931).