ELISABETH PINAJEFF: EUROPEAN ACTRESS, ARTIST, AND PART OF THE “BALLETS ROSES SCANDAL”

This vintage real photo postcard features German actress Elisabeth Pinajeff (1900-1995). In the 1920’s and 1930’s she starred in French and German films. Her first sound film was in 1929. The actress was born in Russia. Her father was an architect and her mother was a countess. In the 1910’s Pinajeff studied drama in the Ukraine. When she was 19 years old she married an engineer and his career required the couple to move to Germany. In 1929, Pinajeff met Austrian photographer, Alex Binder. Binder will be a familiar name to those that follow the cabinet card gallery. Many of his beautiful postcard portraits of theater stars can be found in the gallery (you can see his photos by placing his name, “Binder”, in the search box).  Binder had the largest photo studio in Europe during the 1920’s. Pinajeff modeled for Binder and later, married him. The couple lived in Paris. There is some debate about the years that they were together.The IMDb reports that Pinajeff appeared in 35 films between 1922 and 1938. After appearing in a bit part in a 1938 film about Rasputin, she retired from acting and focused on her painting. In 1950, Pinajeff became a friend of Andre Le Troquer, a “very connected” lawyer and politician. The couple surrounded themselves with political, artistic, and intellectual leaders.   In 1959, she was involved in a scandal known as the “Ballets Roses Scandal”. She was one of more than twenty people enmeshed in the scandal. She was accused of organizing erotic ballets with underaged girls for an “elite” audience. Some prospective show biz mother’s had consented to their daughters participation in this ballet with hopes that it would help launch their performance career.  Although Pinajeff was not convicted. Miss Pinajeff had artistic talent. She painted a number of famous personalities including the British Queen. She successfully exhibited a number of her paintings. This postcard is somewhat risque in that the photograph shows Miss Pinajeff’s bare back. The actress was a very pretty woman and had an engaging smile. This postcard was published by Russ Verlag and is part of a series (no. 2060/1). The photographer was the aforementioned Alex Binder and the photo was taken in Berlin.

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THREE PORTRAITS OF PRETTY EUROPEAN STAGE ACTRESS LIANE HAID

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These vintage real photo postcards features European film star Liane Haid (1895-2000). In the top postcard she poses holding a tennis racket and wearing a hair band to keep her hair out of her eyes. She is quite beautiful but how can we interpret her facial expression. To me, it looks like she is rolling her eyes as if she is bothered by something. Who is Liane Haid? She was born in Vienna, Austria and received training in both dance and singing. She gained the nickname of “Sweet Viennese Girl”. Haid was a prima ballerina, dancer, singer and stage actress. She worked in Budapest and Vienna as a dancer. Her stage career was mostly in Berlin and Vienna. She became a popular pin-up star through the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her first movie role was in a World War I propaganda film. She was employed by UFA and appeared in a number of comedy films  alongside other movie stars including Willi Forst, Bruno Kastner, and Georg Alexander. UFA was a major German Film producer and distributor that operated between 1917 through the end of World War II. Liane Haid refused a number of Hollywood offers but in 1942, she escaped Nazi Germany and went to Switzerland according to Wikipedia, “because of the regime, because everything was bombed, and because all the good directors had left”. Soon thereafter she got married and retired from films. She was married three times. The IMDB web site states that she has 92 film credits from 1915 through 1953. Notable films include “Lady Hamilton” (1921), “Lucrezia Borgia” (1926), and “The Song is Ended” (1930). The photographer of this terrific image was Alexander Binder (1888-1929). He had the largest photo studio in Europe during the late 1920’s and the 1930’s. Many of his entertainment star portraits appear on Ross Verlag postards. It is thought that Binder was of Swiss origin. He was of the Jewish faith. He studied engineering but did not complete his studies. From 1908 to 1910 he studied photography at a school in Munich, Germany. After the completion of his photography studies, he went to Berlin and in 1913 opened his first photography studio. Before long, he became one of the premier photographers in Berlin.  He primarily focussed on fashion and celebrity photography. Since Berlin was the capital of the European film industry, Binder photographed all the stars of the European film industry including, Lilian Harvey, Conrad Veidt, and Lya De Putti. Many of his images were used in popular film portrait postcards. His photographs could be seen in postcards published by Ross Verlag and Photochemie. Binder died in 1929 but new photo cards bearing his signature continued to be published until 1937. It is thought that the real photographer of these new postcards was Hubs Floeter (1910-1974) who was employed at the studio as an operator. The studio continued to be owned by Binder’s widow, Mrs. Binder Alleman and their two daughters. The studio was managed by the Jewish Elisabeth Baroness Vonhedlis Stengel who was later deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1938 the Nazi’s closed Binder’s studio and it was later taken over by an Aryan photographer, Karl Ludwig Haenchen . Haenchen continued to produce celebrity portraits for postcards. His publishers included Film-Foto-Verlag. After World War II the studio was taken over by the Hasse und Wiese company.                                                          The second vintage postcard portrait of Miss Haid was also the work of Alexander Binder. The actress looks beautiful in her art deco lace headdress. Her eyes can be described as spell binding. The postcard was published by Germany’s Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no. 544/4). Also credited for this photograph is “Micco Film”. Before working for Micco Film, Haid was employed by Kunstfilm. She was very successful working for the company but in 1920 she sued the company for physically exploiting her (placing her in dangerous situations) and for making her financially responsible for her own makeup and costuming. Haid’s husband, industrialist Fritz  von Haymerle, built her a studio (Micco-Film) in Vienna to further promote her career.                                                                               The third real photo postcard, seen above, was produced by publisher Ross Verlag (Berlin). Once again, Liane Haid appears beautiful in her portrait. The photograph was taken by the Ring studio in Vienna, Austria. A logo for Micco-Film appears in the lower right hand corner of the postcard. 

haid-1              REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD

haid-1                                                                                                REVERSE OF SECOND POSTCARD

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 REVERSE OF BOTTOM POSTCARD