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.

                                                                                                                REVERSE TOP POSTCARD

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PORTRAIT OF A CHARMING LITTLE GIRL AND HER DOLL

This vintage hand-colored real photo postcard features a charming little girl holding her doll. The child has a wonderful smile. She is wearing a fancy white lace dress, a necklace, and a hair bow. The postcard was published in 1904 by Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG) which was located in Berlin and Stuttgart, Germany.The company was in business between 1894 and 1948. It was founded by Arthur Black (1862-1943) and it became one of the most well known and largest companies involved in the production of postcards.The postcard is an Oranotypie. An oranotype is a trade name for a type of glossy real photo postcard published by NPG at the beginning of the 20th century.The postcard was mailed to someone in Paris, France and is postmarked in either 1906 or 1908 (it is difficult to decipher which date).

Published in: on July 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG GIRL WITH LONG HAIR IN BRUNN, GERMANY

A solemn young girl poses for her portrait at the Mayssl studio in Brunn, Germany. The girl has very long hair. A name is written in the top right corner of the cabinet card. The name likely belongs to the child seen in this image. The photographer, Mayssl had advertising printed on the reverse of the cabinet card. Included in the advertising are drawings of six medals that he had won in various photographic exhibitions.Included are London (1871), Vienna (1873), Paris (1874). The dates of these awards indicate that this cabinet card is likely from the 1870’s. There is also a German phrase on the back of the cabinet card that roughly translates to “Professor of Characters Art” (thank you Google Translate). Perhaps Mayssle was a teacher of photography.

Published in: on June 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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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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).

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).

 

PRETTY ITALIAN ACTRESS AND WRITER MARCELLA ALBANI

 

Marcella Albani (1899-1959) was an Italian film actress that appeared in 50 films between 1919 and 1936. Albani was “discovered” by writer/director Guido Parish (Schamberg) when she was twenty years old. They became a very successful film couple until 1924 when they parted ways. Their movies were predominately tear jerkers and adventure stories. The actress also worked with other famous directors such as Joe May, Friedrich Zelnik, and Wilhelm Dieterle. Albani was a major star in the European cinema in the late 1920’s. Her films were made in five different European countries. Many of Albani’s roles were portraying elegant Latin beauties. She certainly looks elegant and beautiful in this postcard portrait. She is dressed exquisitely and her hat is a fashion statement in itself. At the advent of sound movies, Miss Albani turned to writing. One of her several novels was turned into a movie. She continued to act until 1936. Albani was married to director Mario Franchini in 1931. This vintage real photo postcard is of German origin by Ross Verlag of Berlin. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1521/1). The photo is by Aafa film. According to one reliable source, the postcard was issued sometime between 1927 and 1928.

UNUSUAL POST MORTEM PHOTOGRAPH FROM SCHWABACH, GERMANY

This post mortem cabinet card image features an older bearded man partially covered with flowers. The card on the bottom right hand corner of the image likely has the words of a prayer or a religious reading. The image has amazing clarity. The deceased gentleman is lying at an unusual angle. The photographer of this cabinet card image is the Kandel studio which was located in Schwabach, Germany. The town is near Nuremberg and in the center of the Franconia region in North Bavaria. Hopefully, visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery will not find this image offensive. Photographs of deceased family members were commonplace during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in America and Europe. The images helped surviving loved ones through the grieving process. In addition, sometimes the post mortem photographs were the only images possessed by the deceased’s family.

Published in: on March 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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ETHEL BARRYMORE: STAGE BEAUTY

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Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) was an outstanding American actress and a member of the famous theatrical Barrymore family. She was born Ethel Mae Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were actors and she was the sister of John and Lionel Barrymore.  She was the great aunt of modern day actress Drew Barrymore.

Ethel Barrymore was considered by many to be the greatest actress of her generation. She was a major Broadway performer and first appeared there in 1895. She had roles in A Dolls House by Ibsen (1905).  She was a strong supporter of the Actors’ Equity Association and played a major role in the 1919 strike. She played in Somerset Maugham’s comedy, The Constant Wife (1926). She also starred in motion pictures beginning her film career in 1914.  Notable films included None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Spiral Staircase (1946). Around 1900, Winston Churchill proposed marriage to Barrymore but she refused. She later married Russell Griswold Colt in 1909 and had three children. She died of cardiovascular disease in 1959 at her home in California. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City is named in her honor.

The top cabinet card portrait of Ethel Barrymore was photographed by Phillips Photographers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To view other photographs by Phillips, click on the category “Photographer: Phillips”. The second cabinet card image of the actress was produced by Sarony, the famous celebrity photographer who’s studio was located in New York City. To see other Sarony photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

The third portrait of Miss Barrymore appears on a postcard published by the Rotograph Company who operated in  New York City and Germany. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago photographer William Morrison. He is well known for his excellent portraits of theatrical stars. He produced both real photo postcards and cabinet cards. This postcard is number HB/1422 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image on this postcard is color tinted. This postcard has been mailed and postmarked (1907). The reverse of this postcard can be seen below.To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”.

The fourth portrait of Ethel Barrymore is an uncommon one. The image provides a lovely profile view of this legendary actress. If you search for this exact postcard online, you likely won’t find it. This postcard was published by E. Frey & Company who operated in  New York City . Research reveals that postcards displaying the printed name of  “E. Frey” were actually published by the Souvenir Post Card Company which existed between 1905 and 1914. It was located at 268 Canal Street in New York City. The company was purchased by Valentine & Sons and the combined company became Valentine – Souvenir. This postcard was printed in Germany and is in good condition (see scan).

The fifth photograph of Miss Barrymore was published by the Rotograph Company. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago celebrity photographer William Morrison.This postcard is number B 662 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image has excellent clarity.

The sixth image is a vintage real photo postcard portrait of Ethel Barrymore. The postcard was published by Albert Hahn who was based in New York City (200 Broadway) and Hamburg. Hahn operated his company between 1901 and 1919. The postcard was produced in Germany sometime in the decade of 1900-1910. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5271),

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                                            REVERSE OF THIRD IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                                             REVERSE OF FIFTH IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                              REVERSE OF THE SIXTH IMAGE (POSTCARD BY ALBERT HAHN)