23 July 2016

Maria Perschy

Austrian actress Maria Perschy (1938-2004) was the sexy leading lady of many European films of the late 1950s before she made a short career in Hollywood in films by John Huston and Howard Hawks. In the 1970s she appeared in Spanish and Italian low-budget horror films and became a cult figure.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 99. Photo: Klaus Collignon.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/376. Photo: Lothar Winkler.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/403. Photo: Lothar Winkler.

Breeding for the Fatherland

Herta-Maria Perschy was born in 1938 in Eisenstadt, Austria in 1938. She moved to Vienna at the age of 17 to study acting at the prestigious Max Reinhardt Seminar. There she was awarded with the Kunstförderungspreis für Darstellende Kunst der Stadt Wien, an award of the city of Vienna to stimulate young and talented actors.

During her studies, the gorgeous and appealing brunette knockout made her film début with a small role in Roter Mohn/Red Poppy (Franz Antel, 1956) starring Joachim Fuchsberger. After finishing her studies, her teacher Susi Nicoletti helped to get her a contract at the Bavaria Filmstudios in Germany.

Her first major success came with Nasser Asphalt/Wet Asphalt (Frank Wisbar, 1958). In this Film Noir about the dangers of tabloid reporting, she starred opposite the young Horst Buchholz.

Soon this success was followed by films like Der Schwarze Blitz/The Black Lightning (Hans Grimm, 1958) with former ski champion Toni Sailer, Die Landärztin vom Tegernsee/Lady Country Doctor (Paul May, 1958), with Marianne Koch, Natürlich die Autofahrer/Of Course the Drivers (Erich Engels, 1959) with comedian Heinz Erhardt, and Der Held meiner Träume/The Hero of My Dreams (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1960) with Carlos Thompson.

Another commercial success was the clichéd drama Lebensborn/Fountain of Life (Werner Klingler, 1960), loosely based on the super-race propagation plan by Nazi Heinrich Himmler, which recruited men and women for their fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes alone. These specially selected Aryans were ordered to breed, for the Fatherland.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3984. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / Inter-West Film / Europa.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 287. Photo: Europa / Ringpress / Vogelmann.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1546.

Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill

Her acting career would eventually take Maria Perschy to France, Italy, Great Britain and Hollywood. Among her European films were Il Moralista/The Moralist (Giorgio Bianchi, 1959), I Piaceri del sabato notte/Call-Girls (Daniele D'Anza, 1960) with Pierre Brice, Un Amore a Roma/Love In Rome (Dino Risi, 1960) with Mylène Demongeot, and The Password Is Courage (Andrew L. Stone, 1962) starring Dirk Bogarde.

Hal Erickson writes at AllMovie about her short Hollywood career: "Like many attractive European actresses, Perschy tended to be shunted into sexpot roles in her English-language films: her character name in Howard Hawks' Man's Favorite Sport (1964), for example, was 'Easy.' By far, her best non-European film assignment was the part of Magda in John Huston's Freud (1962)."

In this biopic the pioneering psychotherapist himself was played by Montgomery Clift, and Rock Hudson was her leading man in the comedy Man's Favorite Sport?. She also appeared with Cliff Robertson in the routine war film Squadron 633 (Walter Grauman, 1964) and the South-African adventure African Gold (David Millin, 1965).

Perschy lived in Spain and played in Hollywood and in European productions, both films and TV-series. In Germany she appeared in the Edgar Wallace Krimi Der Henker von London/The Mad Executioners (Edwin Zbonek, 1963) with Hansjörg Felmy, as partner of Horst Frank in the Thriller Weiße Fracht für Hongkong/Mystery of the Red Jungle (Helmut Ashley, Giorgio Stegani, 1964) and in the Sci-Fi adventure Der Chef wünscht keine Zeugen/No Survivors, Please (Hans Albin, Peter Berneis, 1964).

Later followed adventure films and Westerns like Die Banditen vom Rio Grande/The Bandits of the Rio Grande (Helmuth M. Backhaus, 1965) with Harald Leipnitz, Kommissar X – Jagd auf Unbekannt/Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill (Gianfranco Parolini, 1966), Mister Dynamit – morgen küsst Euch der Tod/Die Slowly, You'll Enjoy It More (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1967) with Lex Barker, and The Castle of Fu Manchu (Jesus Franco, 1969), featuring Christopher Lee.

Her last big film success in Germany was the comedy Dr. med. Fabian – Lachen ist die beste Medizin/Dr. Fabian: Laughing Is the Best Medicine (Harald Reinl, 1969) in which she starred opposite Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff.

In those years she had longtime relationships with actor Joachim Hansen – her co-star of Lebensborn - and later with skier Roger Staub.

Maria Perschy and Joachim Hansen
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK-4797. Photo: Joe Niczky / Ufa. Publicity still for Lebensborn/Ordered to Love (Werner Klingler, 1961) with Joachim Hansen.

Maria Perschy
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/373. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Low-grade Horror Films

While shooting in Spain in 1971, Maria Perschy's face was burned severely by an accidental fire which required several operations. She was bedridden for an extended period before she could resume her career.

In Italy and Spain she appeared in many low-grade horror films, including El Buque Maldito/Ghost Galleon (Amando De Ossorio, 1974) and the Spanish rip-off of The Exorcist, Exorcismo (Paul Naschy aka Jacinto Molina, 1964). These films made her a kind of cult figure.

In 1976 the Spanish state pressed her to get a Spanish passport, Perschy choose to return to her native Austria. She did not stay long though. From 1977 on she lived in Los Angeles and was married to a writer.

By then her career in America petered out. She only appeared on TV in the daytime soap General Hospital (1977) and as a guest star in Hawaii Five-O (1978), a detective series starring Jack Lord as the head of a special state police unit answering only to the Governor of Hawaii.

For a while she worked as a translator ans she also worked in the antique retail. Her husband committed suicide in 1983 and she returned again to Austria in 1985.

She performed in stage plays such as A. R. Curney's Love Letters and the mystery play Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. She continued to play in TV series like the popular Krimi Tatort (1998) and Rosamunde Pilcher (1998).

Her last feature films were the low-budget shocker Vultures (Paul Leder, 1983) starring Stuart Whitman, and the romantic comedy Eine Frau namens Harry/Harry and Harriet (Cyril Frankel, 1990).

In 2004 Maria Perschy died of cancer in Vienna. She was 66. She had been married twice and had one daughter.

American trailer for Lebensborn/Ordered to Love (1961). Source: Video Detective (YouTube).

Trailer for Squadron 633(1964). Source: Michael Appert (YouTube).

Trailer Freud (1962). Source: Cliff Held (YouTube).

El buque maldito/Ghost Galleon (1974). Source: 2ombieboy (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie d’Heil (Steffi-line), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

22 July 2016

EFSP's Animal House

Today in our series EFSP's Dazzling Dozen twelve postcards of stars with their pets. We did already a dazzling post on stars and their best friends, so dogs are excluded this time. But we easily can fill a zoo with all the other animals that had to go on a picture for a postcard with a film star. And did these pets always love the camera? Mwah. Just watch that grumpy cat in the arms of Yvonne De Carlo. We start and finish this post with that animal lover supreme, Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. Dutch postcard by Gebr, Spanjersberg N.V. , Rotterdam, no. 1024, Dutch licency holder for UFA. Sent by mail in 1959. Photo: UFA.

Anita Berber
Anita Berber. German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series. Photo: Becker & Maass. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Evi Eva
Evi Eva. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1790/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Cilly Feindt
Cilly Feindt. German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 3277/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers. Dutch postcard. Photo: Republic Pictures.

Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo. Dutch postcard by Takken, no. 3538. Photo: Universal International, 1949.

Lex Barker
Lex Barker. German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 449. Photo: RKO Radio Film.

Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre. Dutch postcard, no. 850. Photo: Warner Bros.

Romy Schneider
Romy Schneider. Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1093. Photo: Ufa.

Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers
Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers. East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 86/89, 1969.

Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean-Paul Belmondo. Italian postcard. Photo: Dear Film. Publicity still for Les tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine/Chinese Adventures in China (Philippe de Broca, 1965).

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot. French postcard by Editions Lyna, Paris, no. 2104. Caption: Tu deviens reponsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé. Antoine de St-Exupéry

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

21 July 2016

Gaby Sylvia

Gaby Sylvia (1920-1980) had a remarkable career in French cinema of the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. She had an even more intense career on the French stage starring in plays by Jean Giraudoux and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Gaby Sylvia
French postcard by Ed. Chantal, Paris, no. 6. Photo: Filmsonor.

Gaby Sylvia
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 36. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

The First French Colour Film

Gaby Sylvia was born Gabriella Zignani in Cesena, Italy, in 1920. She was still a child, when her family moved to France.

While she already played secondary roles in films in the late 1930s and the war years, Gaby Sylvia started to have leading parts in the immediate postwar era.

In 1947 she had the female lead in Capitaine Blomet/ aptain Blomet (Andrée Feix, 1947), staring Fernand Gravey, as well as in the Pierre Loti adaptation Le Marriage de Ramuntcho/The Marriage of Ramuntcho (Max de Vaucorbeil, 1947), considered the first French colour film. The title role was played by André Dassary.

In the late 1940s her most interesting films include the resistance film Mission à Tanger (André Hunebelle, 1949), starring Raymond Rouleau, and the comedy L'Amant de paille/The Straw Lover (Gilles Grangier, 1950), with a debuting Louis de Funès and Jean-Pierre Aumont.

Gaby Sylvia
French postcard, no. 116. Photo: Roger-Carlet.

Gaby Sylvia
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 104. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Wealthy Baby Killer

Gaby Sylvia played Sylvia, a wealthy baby killer Estelle Rigault opposite Arletty in the Jean-Paul Sartre adaptation Huis clos/No Exit (Jacqueline Audry, 1954). She had also played Estelle in the first stage version of Huis clos, which had its first night on 27 May 1944, at the Théàtre du Vieux-Colombier, and was directed by Raymond Rouleau.

In addition to her role in Sartre's Huis clos, which she repeated on stage in 1961, Sylvia often played in plays by Jean Giraudoux, such as Amphytryon (1956, 1958), and also repeatedly performed in the comedy Piège pour un homme seul (1960, 1962, 1971) by Robert Thomas.

Her reperetory ranged from classics like Molière and Racine to modern writers like Giraudoux, Sarte and Thomas. Between the late 1930s and late 1950s Rouleau directed her in various stage plays.

From the late 1950s on, her stage directors were men like Raymond Gérôme (late 1950s), Jacques Charon (early 1960s), Antoine Bourseiller (mid-1960s), and Andréas Voutsinas (1970s). In 1976 Gaby Sylvia said goodbye to the stage with a performance in Huis clos, directed by Voutsinas.

In 1977 she also played her last film role in the comedy Nous irons tous au paradis/We Will All Meet in Paradise by Yves Robert.

Just turned sixty, Gaby Sylvia died in 1980 in Chamalières (Puy-de-Dôme) in the French Auvergne, because of a brain haemorrhage.

Gaby Sylvia
French postcard by Collection Chantal, Paris, no. 578. Photo: Discina, Paris.

Huis Clos/No Exit (1954). Sorry, no subtitles. Source: Classic Movies (YouTube).

Sources: Simon Condès (CinéArtistes - French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.