08 August 2012

Helga Sommerfeld

German stage and film actress Helga Sommerfeld (1941 - 1991) appeared in more than 35 films and did countless theatre performances. She appeared in several European crime and spy films of the 1960’s.

Helga Sommerfeld
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/278. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Heimatfilms and Schlagerfilms
Helga Sommerfeld was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1941. After grammar school in Berlin, she attended the Ufa-Film- und Schauspielschule (The Ufa Film and Theatre Academy). Through mediation by Ada Tschechowa, Helga already played her first film roles during her studies. She appeared in Heimat films and Schlager films like Mein Schatz ist aus Tirol/My Dear is from Tyrol (1958, Hans Quest) with Marianne Hold, Wenn die Conny mit dem Peter/When Conny and Peter Do It Together (1958, Fritz Umgelter) starring Conny Froboess, Freddy unter fremden Sternen/Freddy Under Strange Stars (1959, Wolfgang Schleif) with Freddy Quinn, and Schlagerraketen (1960, Erik Ode), in which she played her first leading part.

Helga Sommerfeld
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/235. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Krimis and Eurowesterns
During the 1960’s Helga Sommerfeld appeared mainly in crime and adventure films. Among the Krimis were Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Koffer/The Secret of the Black Trunk (1961, Werner Klingler) based on a novel by Bryan Edgar Wallace (the son of), Die Nylonschlinge/Nylon Noose (1963, Rudolf Zehetgruber) with Dietmar Schönherr, and another creepy Bryan Edgar Wallace adaptation - Das Phantom von Soho/The Phantom of Soho (1964, Franz Josef Gottlieb) with Dieter Borsche. She then appeared in the Eurowesterns Die schwarzen Adler von Santa Fe/Black Eagle of Santa Fe (1965, Alberto Cardone, Ernst Hofbauer) with Brad Harris, and Aventuras del Oeste/Seven Hours of Gunfire (1965, Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent) with Rik Van Nutter. She appeared in more international productions. Her leading men in the Beirut-set suspense film 24 Hours to Kill (1964, Peter Bezencenet) were Mickey Rooney and Lex Barker, in the spy thriller Das Geheimnis der drei Dschunken/Code Name Alpha (1965, Ernst Hofbauer) she appeared with Stewart Granger and Rosanna Schiaffino and in another spy adventure, Corrida pour un espion/Code Name: Jaguar (1965, Maurice Labro) the stars were Ray Danton and Pascale Petit. Other films in which she appeared in supporting parts were the crime comedy Lange Beine - lange Finger/Long Legs, Long Fingers (1966, Alfred Vohrer) with Senta Berger and the spy thriller Da Berlino l'apocalisse/Spy Pit (1967, Mario Maffei) with Roger Hanin and Margaret Lee. She starred in the prostitution crime drama Jungfrau aus zweiter Hand/Second-hand Virgin (1967, Ákos Ráthonyi, Udo N. von Tyrol) with Ingrid von Bergen.

Helga Sommerfeld
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/324. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood.

Theatre and Television
At the end of the 1960’s the spy and horror craze in the European cinema halted, and so did Helga Sommerfeld’s film career. Helga started to focus on the stage and appeared in countless stage plays in the German speaking regions. Her last theatre appearance was in the play Die geliebte Stimme auf der Bühne (The Beloved Voice of the Stage), which toured through Germany from 1986 till 1988. During the 1980’s she often appeared in TV productions by Sender Freies Berlin. Incidentally she appeared in films. She co-wrote and co-edited Der Stromtreiber - Der Mann im roten Kahn/Stream Drifter (1979, Peter Frederik Schneider), in which she also co-starred with Wolf Zehren. Her last leading part in a film was in Der Callboy/The Callboy (1985, Axel Schulz). Helga Sommerfeld died in Berlin in 1991.

American trailer for the Europsy adventure Anónima de asesinos/Man on a Spying Trapeze (1967, Juan de Orduña, starring Wayde Preston, Helga Sommerfeld and Reinhard Kolldehoff. Source: OurManInHavana (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia (German), AllMovie and IMDb.

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