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01 November 2011

Karin Hardt

German actress Karin Hardt (1910 - 1992) made her cinema debut as a pure and disarmingly natural backfisch, looking for happiness. Her impressive career with many film, theatre and television appearances lasted for six decades.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1133/1, 1937-1938. Photo: Binder.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7438/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7340/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Disarmingly Natural
Karin Therese Meta Hardt was born in Altona (now Hamburg), Germany in 1910. She was a daughter of a merchant. She had private acting lessons with Alex Otto and soon had theatre engagements in Mönchengladbach, Rheydt and Altenburg. In 1931 she made her film debut in Vater geht auf Reisen/father Goes To Travel (1931, Carl Boese) with Lissi Arna. She was then discovered by director Erich Waschneck, who cast her in Acht Mädels im Boot/Eight Girls in a Boat (1932, Erich Waschneck), which became her breakthrough. She was the pure and disarmingly natural backfisch, who in a girly way angled for happiness.

Karin Hardt in Acht Mädels im Boot
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. 146. Photo: Filma, Amsterdam. Still from Acht Mädels im Boot/Eight Girls in a Boat (1932).

Karin Hardt in Acht Mädels im Boot
Dutch postcard by JosPe. Photo: still from Acht Mädels im Boot/Eight Girls in a Boat (1932).

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag. Published for "Das Programm von Heute" für Film und Theater G.m.b.H, Stuttgart. Photo: Terra-Film.

Naive, Blonde Competitor
In the following years Karin Hardt became a beloved star. Karin Hardt and Erich Waschneck married in 1933, and he would go on to direct her in some of their best films, including An heiligen Wassern/Sacred Waters (1932) and Abel mit der Mundharmonika/Abel with the Mouth Organ (1933). Among her best known films of the 1930’s belong Ein gewisser Herr Gran/A Certain Mr. Gran (1933, Gerhard Lamprecht) next to Hans Albers, Die blonde Christel/Blonde Christel (1933, Frans Seitz), Barcarole (1935, Gerhard Lamprecht), Die Umwege des schönen Karl/The Diversions of Handsome Karl (1938, Carl Froelich) with Heinz Rühmann, and Menschen vom Variete/Vaudeville People (1939, Josef von Báky) as the naive, blonde competitor of La Jana. During the war years her engagements became less, but Karin Hardt appeared for example in films like Kameraden/Comrades (1941, Hans Schweikart) with Willy Birgel, Das Hochzeitshotel/The Marriage Hotel (1944, Carl Boese), and Via Mala (1944-1948, Josef von Báky) as the daughter of Carl Wery.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1285/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Hämmerer/UFA.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7047/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Fanal-Terra Produktion.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3311/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Baumann/Ufa.

Karin Hardt
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3491/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Quick/Terra.

David Bowie
After the war Karin Hardt was again regularly seen in the cinema. Erich Waschneck directed her in the comedy Danke es geht mir gut/Thanks, I’m alright (1948). She appeared as the the queen in the fairytale film Dornröschen/Sleeping Beauty (1955, Fritz Genschow), next to Horst Buchholz in Endstation Liebe/Last Stop Love (1957, Georg Tressler), and with Kirk Douglas in Town Without Pity (1961, Gottfried Reinhardt). She mainly appeared in the theatre, in Berlin, Hamburg, Aachen and in Köln (Cologne). From the 1960’s on she was also often seen on television, in tv-series like Bei uns zu Haus/At Our Home (1963), Der Forellenhof/The Trout Farm (1965) and Die Unternehmungen des Herrn Hans/The Enterprises of Mr. Hans (1976, Charles Kerremans). She also appeared in the film Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo/Just a Gigolo (1979; David Hemmings) with David Bowie. In 1983 she was awarded with the Filmband in Gold for her continuing attributions to the German cinema. Then she had a great comeback in the popular serial Die Schwarzwaldklinik/The Black Forest Clinic (1985-1986). Karin Hardt died of cerebral hemorrhage in 1992 in Berlin. She was married twice. First to Erich Waschneck from 1933 till his death in 1970, and then to Rolf von Goth.


Scene from Ein gewisser Herr Gran/A Certain Mr. Gran (1933). Source: Wilhelm Schmitz (YouTube).

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German), Schwarzwald-TV-Klinik (German), and IMDb.

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