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23 October 2017

Les Vedettes de l'Écran

Last Saturday, EFSP had a post on the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by French publishing house Éditions Filma. Around the time this series stopped in the early 1920s, Filma started another film star postcard series, Les Vedettes de l'écran (The Stars of the Screen). The numbers of  this new set followed the numbers of the first series. In this post, we focus again on postcards with French 'vedettes', but this series also contains many cards of international stars. Next Saturday we continue with another Les Vedettes du Cinéma series, presented during the late 1920s by Paris publisher André Noyer (A.N.)

Henry Krauss
Henry Krauss. French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 51. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Régina Badet
Régina Badet. French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 94.

During the Belle Epoque, French dancer and actress Régina Badet (1876-1949) was a star of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. She also had a career in the French silent cinema.

Suzanne Delvé
Suzanne Delvé. French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 98.

Suzanne Delvé (1892-1986) was a French film actress, who peaked in the silent era.

Francine Mussey
Francine Mussey. French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 101. Photo: C. Prochazka, Vincennes.

French film actress Francine Mussey (1897-1933) appeared in several French and German films. Her career began in the silent film era of the 1920s and ended in 1933 when she committed suicide by ingesting poison at age 35.

Jean Angelo
Jean Angelo. French postcard by Editions Filma in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series, no. 106. Publicity still for L’Atlantide/Lost Atlantis (Jacques Feyder, 1922).

Jean Angelo
Jean Angelo. French postcard by Editions Filma in the Les vedettes de l'Écran series, no. 107. Publicity still for L’Atlantide/Lost Atlantis (Jacques Feyder, 1922).

Suzanne Bianchetti
Suzanne Bianchetti. French postcard by Editions Filma in Les Vedettes de l'Écran series, no. 109. Photo: Manuel Frères.

Paul Capellani
Paul Capellani. French postcard by Editions Filma in Les Vedettes de l'Écran series, no. 110.

Jaque Catelain
Jaque Catelain. French postcard in the Les Vedettes de l'Écran series by Editions Filma, no. 111.

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

French stage and screen actor and director Pierre Magnier (1869-1959) acted in over 100 films and was known for e.g. La roue (Abel Gance, 1923), Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923) and La règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939).

Aimé Simon-Girard in Les trois mousquetaires (1921)
Aimé Simon-Girard as D'Artagnan in Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1921). French postcard by Editions Filma in the series Les Vedettes de l'Écran, no. 119. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Pierre de Guingand as Aramis
Pierre de Guingand as Aramis in Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1921). French postcard by Editions Filma in the series Les Vedettes de l'Écran, no. 122. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Charles Martinelli as Porthos
Charles Martinelli as Porthos in Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1921). French postcard by Editions Filma in the series Les Vedettes de l'Écran, no. 123. Photo: Pathé Consortium Cinéma.

Source: Ross Verlag Movie Star Postcards History and Checklist.

22 October 2017

In Memoriam Han de Gruiter

Here at EFSP, we love all postcard collectors, but some a little bit more than others. Today we bring a salute to Han de Gruiter, a Dutch collector from The Hague. I once sold him (at Marktplaats, the Dutch equivalent of eBay) a postcard of Brigitte Bardot, his favourite actress, and from then on we corresponded. Like me, he was a fan of another postcard collector, Carla Bosch, with whom he also corresponded. Recently, Carla and I wondered why we did not receive mail anymore from ‘Haegsche Han’, like he called himself. Sadly, Carla discovered our friend had passed away and he is now our guardian angel in film star postcard heaven. Han, Carla and I salute you with this post full of postcards of beautiful women, we know you (would have) loved.

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. German postcard by Ufa / Krüger, no. 902/87. Photo: Sam Lévin, 1957.

Paul: "This is the BB card I sold to Han in 2014. Like every Dutch boy who became a man in the 1950s, he loved Bardot. There was even a Dutch hit song at the time: "Brigitte Bardot, Bardot, die heeft ze niet zo, maar zo." (Sorry non-dutchies, untranslatable :)) Back then, I was not born yet, but I can imagine what a sensation she must have been for him. What an erotic glance! A sensual kitten, prrrr."

Sophia Loren in A Countess From Hong Kong
Sophia Loren. Publicity still for A Countess From Hong Kong (Charles Chaplin, 1966). Source: Doctor Macro's.

Carla: "One of the first cards I sold to Han was this card of Sophia Loren in A Countess From Hong Kong. It was a Chinese card which was printed on cheap paper, but Han did not care about that. He bought wat he thought was beautiful or of which he had certain, often fond, memories. And whether they were cheap fake Chinese cards or expensive original Kolibri cards did not matter. What mattered were his memories and he liked to write about them. I am afraid I have lost his first emails. I did, however, find some old notebooks in the attic in which I used to write my first transactions. I saw my contact with Han goes back to January 2010. And I don't have this particular card in my possession anymore as Han bought it. I can see why he thought it was beautiful. If I did not see it, Han would make me see it, he would bear no contradiction."

Sophie Hardy
Sophie Hardy. German postcard by Kruger, no. 902/290. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Paul: "Han called Sophie Hardy 'that damn sexy pussycat'. I've never seen a film with her but I guess she was in the France of the 1950s to Brigitte Bardot what Mamie van Doren was in the US to Marilyn Monroe. I like her, but to me the real star of this postcard is the photographer, Bernard of Hollywood. He was a German immigrant who photographed all the glamour ladies of Hollywood, including Marilyn. In the early 1960s, he returned to Germany where he made a series of sizzling pictures for postcards with Jayne Mansfield, Heidi Brühl and Barbara Valentin. And Sophie Hardy."

Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida. German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 3433. Photo: Constantin Film. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Han shouted (in writing) 'Those eyes, those eyes, who can resist those eyes!' when he saw this card of Gina Lollobrigida. Gina's eyes were not the first thing that struck me on this card. The goat did. Yet, again Han convinced me those eyes were special. Another buyer was interested in this card, but when Han decided he liked a card, there was no bidder that could defeat him. So he bought the card and gossiped about this other bidder... When he found out that I wrote with Paul too, he immediately suspected we were gossiping about him. Ill doers are ill deemers (or something like that). He forgot that he was likeable, interesting and funny and that to be talked about did not necessarily mean ill talk."

Senta Berger
Senta Berger. German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 5162. Photo: Terb Agency / Ufa. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Han liked cards of attractive women. He did not buy pin up cards, though I once caught him buying a card of Pamela Anderson in a spectacular red bathing suit. He insisted he liked women who were sexy, but were capable of more than just being beautiful. He acknowledged Pamela was an exception to this rule. Senta Berger was not: apart from being an excellent actress, she was also a shrewd business woman, producer, owner of a film production company.... and pretty. He wrote about her and that is why I look at Senta with different eyes. She had more potential than I thought."

Marina Vlady
Marina Vlady. German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-76. Photo: Unifrance Film.

Paul: "Han was so happy with this - indeed wonderful - postcard of Vlady, another free-spirited French beauty of the 1950s. Very sexy woman, in a natural way. This picture by Sam Lévin captured her natural allure, don't you think? Did you also wonder if there had been a woman in Han's life? He did write about his neighbours, the young girls next door, his brother and about his former colleagues, but he never wrote about a wife or a girlfriend. He certainly was not shy and as a journalist he must have met countless attractive women. But maybe that is what I liked about him: he kept dreaming. Even when you're 80: stay dreaming, hoping, longing, stay collecting."

Juliane Werding
Juliane Werding. German autograph card. Photo: Zill. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "Yet, sometimes I could neither rhyme nor reason his taste. When I asked him why one woman was more attractive than the other, he answered it would be the same if he asked me why the Ardennes were more attractive than the Botlek. He said he apparently liked women who acted cool and unemotional, not like Dutch Linda de Mol (yes, he really wrote that; I still have the email). One such choice was a card of German singer Juliane Werding. Well, yes, she looks rather cool and tough on this card, but he never said why he chose Juliane Werding. Perhaps because of her 1984 hit song Geh' nicht in die Stadt: in 2015 Han bought a card of Juliane Werding. He wrote he was rather concerned about his neighbourhood. All the people he knew had moved away and he now had the feeling that his beloved neighbourhood, once designed by urban designer Berlage, had become a kind of waiting room for people who were waiting to move again. He felt like Methuselah and I think rather lost, but the children who were new in his street were impressed that he survived the war and trusted him. They became a bridge between him and the changing neighbourhood. He felt well again. So I never knew why Juliane Werding, but this story belongs to one of her cards and I found it one of Han's more interesting purchases."

Eva and Pavel Roman
Pavel and Eva Roman. Vintage postcard. No editor. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "I have many cards with a story connected to Han. This one is a rather surprising choice of his too: Czech ice skating brother and sister Pavel and Eva Roman. Han used to be a sports journalist, so that may explain the subject skating. He also showed a genuine interest in people. He wrote it was so sad that Eva died very young. I had read somewhere that Eva Pavel was living together with Jackie Graham and that it was her brother who had died in a car accident. Han asked who Jackie Graham was and said he sometimes doubted his memory and asked me whether I suffered from memory loss too. I read Pavel's story on the internet, so I had no doubts. Han had the memory of an elephant, but he immediately doubted himself when he mis-remembered something."

Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset. Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Paul:  "This is a Romanian Acin card I sold to somebody else. And Han mailed me afterwards that he was so mad that he had missed it! He would have paid much more, et cetera. He loved, loved, loved Bisset, he wrote me. Sadly, I could not find another example for him. So I guess this postcard now deserves a place in this I.M. post for him. Recently I saw Jacqueline Bisset in a new film by François Ozon. She was still as elegantly beautiful as ever."

Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida. German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 1575. Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "A few years ago, I bid on postcards for my collection on Marktplaats. However, there was another bidder who seemed to have a programme on his computer that notified him each time I bid on a card. He would outbid me within a few minutes. It drove me mad. Han noticed this other bidder. I do not know what he did or said, but it suddenly stopped. I received this card of Gina Lollobrigida and Han asked me whether I knew this rival bidder was a man or woman. I guessed it was a man, Han thought it was a woman. He was the expert... Perhaps he persuaded the woman to give up this card and send it to me. Some time ago, something similar happened when I bid on some of Paul's cards. I was immediately outbid by another bidder. A day later this rival had removed all his bids. Han again? It made us think we have a guardian angel."

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. German postcard by WS-Druck Wanne-Eickel. (I cannot read the number, there is glue on it.) Collection: Carla Bosch.

Carla: "This card of Brigitte Bardot I would have chosen to give as a birthday present. I do not know whether he would have chosen it himself, but I am certain he would have liked it and be a bit embarrassed."

Carla: "I know I chose too many cards! I have many more cards and stories that are connected to Han: postcards of Julie Christie, Raquel Welch, Claudia Cardinale, and why, surprisingly, he had nothing with Michelle Pfeiffer. Yet, I don't want to pretend I knew him that well and write a complete biography about him. It is just that when I looked through my cards and re-read Han's emails, so many stories bubbled up. Too many stories. It was fun to read those stories, Han had a great sense of humour, but it also made me sad, because we discovered too late that he had gone..."

Thanks, Carla, and Han of course!

21 October 2017

Quo vadis? (1913)

EFSP contributor Ivo Blom speaks today at 'Alma-Tadema: Antiquity at Home and on Screen'  in London. This symposium aims to air and develop new research inspired by the exhibition Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, still on view at London's Leighton House Museum, its third and final venue, till 29 October 2017. The symposium brings together scholars and students from art and design history, architectural history, garden history, classics, classical reception studies, film studies, theatre history, musicology, and Victorian studies among others. Ivo will speak about ‘Art and Art Decoration: Alma-Tadema and Set Design from Guazzoni to Ridley Scott’. So EFSP repeats its post on Guazzoni's colossal epic Quo vadis? (1913), starring Amleto Novelli and Gustavo Serena. All the postcards are from the collection of Ivo Blom.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: "Ave Caesar, those who are about to die salute you." This image cites a famous 19th century painting (1859) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. It was often quoted, also in the Asterix comics.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The fight of the gladiators in the arena.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The death of the gladiator. This image cites Jean-Léon Gérôme's famous painting Pollice verso (Thumbs down, 1872) and was often used in the publicity for the film. In the back the emperor Nero (Carlo Cattaneo) makes the sign of thumbs down, sign for the conqueror to kill his adversary. Flanking Nero are left Tigellinus (Cesare Moltroni) and right Petronius (Gustavo Serena). Left of the imperial box the Vestal Virgins are seated.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The wild animals destined to tear the Christians to pieces. The lion keepers activate the lions under the circus before sending them above ground.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The last prayer. This scene quotes Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer (1863-1883).

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The Christians in the circus, while the hungry lions approach.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). The beasts have committed the massacre of the Christians.

Where Are You Going?


Quo vadis? is Latin for 'Where are you going?' and alludes to the apocryphal acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom.

Quo vadis? written by Henryk Sienkiewicz tells the love story between a young and beautiful Christian woman, Lygia, and a military tribune and Roman patrician, Marcus Vinicius. The story takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero around AD 64.

Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, Quo vadis? came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.

In 1901, Pathé Frères produced the first screen version, Quo vadis? (Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca, 1901). It is only 65 meters long (duration: about three minutes) and was recently restored by the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) in Paris.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The winner of the chariot race.

Gustavo Serena and Amleto Novelli in Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Gustavo Serena as Petronius Arbiter and Amleto Novelli as Marcus Vinicius. Caption: Vinicius tells Petronius of his acts. Vinicius started to talk about the war (Chapter I).

Lea Giunchi and Bruto Castellani in Quo vadis?
Italian postcard by Uff.Rev. St. Terni. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Lygia (Lea Giunchi) saves Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) from the hands of Ursus (Bruto Castellani). Ursus, protector of Lygia, has just killed a gladiator who had been charged by Vinicius to kill Ursus while he himself planned to abduct Lygia.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The devotion of the slave Eunice (Amelia Cattaneo) to Petronius (Gustavo Serena).

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The litter of Petronius. In front of Nero's palace, Petronius (Gustavo Serena) says goodbye to his cousin Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) and promises to have a good word to Nero about Vinicius getting Lygia.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) is presented to Nero (Carlo Cattaneo). Behind Nero stands Petronius (Gustavo Serena).

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). A Roman banquet. In the front Lea Giunchi as Lygia and Amleto Novelli as Vinicius.

Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, Cines 1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: A banquet on the Palatine. The fat and drunken man in front is Giuseppe Gambardella (Vitellius), who was also famous as Checco in short Italian comedies.

A colossal epic


Ten years later, Italian director Enrico Guazzoni made a colossal epic starring Amleto Novelli and Gustavo Serena. He masterly combined huge spectacle with intimate scenes.

In 1913, Guazzoni's Quo vadis? premiered and the results at the box office quickly proved it a smashing success. Wikipedia: "It was arguably the first blockbuster in the history of cinema, with 5,000 extras, lavish sets, and a running time of two hours, setting the standard for 'superspectacles' for decades to come."

Throughout the world, Quo vadis? became popular not only among readers but also among fans of the new phenomenon, cinema. The film influenced Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria 1914) and D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916).

Hal Erickson at AllMovie: "Quo Vadis? is nonetheless an important milestone in movie history. The film ran 12 reels (approximately three hours) at a time when most American productions were still within the 1- to 4-reel length. American film distributor George Kleine pared the film down to 8 reels for US distribution, but this still was an uncommonly long production for its day."

 In 1997 the film was restored by the Dutch Filmmuseum (now Eye Institute) in Amsterdam and since then it was shown on several festivals. Tonight it will be screened in Rome.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Helped by Acte, Nero's former mistress, Ursus (Bruto Castellani) subtracts Lygia (Lea Giunchi) from the orgy of the imperial banquet, where the drunken Roman Vinicius tries to rape her.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). The Giant Ursus (Bruto Castellani) awaits the bull in the circus. After his long captivity Ursus is almost blinded when he enters the arena. Then a wild bull enters the arena on which back Lygia is bound. Ursus will kill the bull with his bare hands, much to the delight of the audience and the emperor.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Ursus (Bruto Castellani) and Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) implore the audience and emperor Nero to grace the Christian Lygia (Lea Giunchi), after Ursus has killed the bull on whch back Lygia had been bound. The audience raves because of Ursus' tour de force. Vinicius has stripped his cloth to show his scars from the wars, while Ursus holds up Lygia. All around Nero hold their thumbs up for grace, even if this sign seems to have been a 19th century invention and historically incorrect.

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The apostle Peter (Giovanni Gizzi) preaching to the Christians in the catacombs.

Quo vadis (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Ursus (Bruto Castellani) and Chilo Chilonides (Augusto Mastripietri).

Bruto Castellani in Quo vadis (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) sweettalks to Ursus (Bruto Castellani) to find out where Lygia is hidden. Caption: Chilo talks to Ursus about the traitors of the Christians. (Ursus:) Go to the Christians, go to their godhouses and ask for the brothers of Glaucus. (Chapter XVII of the book).

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Vinicius (Amleto Novelli) finds back Lygia (Lea Giunchi) at the catacombs of Ostriano. Left of Lygia is St. Peter (Giovanni Gizzi), right of her protector Ursus (Bruto Castellani). Vinicius plots to abduct Lygia, with the help of the Greek Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) and a gladiator.

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: Chilo (Augusto Mastripietri) is baptised by the apostle Paul (of Tarsus). Chilon! I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen! (Chapter LXI of the book).

Quo vadis? (1913)
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The historical death of Petronius (Gustavo Serena) and Eunice (Amelia Cattaneo). "Friends, confess that with us perishes..." (Chapter LXXIII).

Quo vadis?
Italian postcard. Photo: Cines. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913). Caption: The fire of Rome.

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.