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26 September 2012

Johan Kaart

We're back with our yearly little tradition of the Netherlands Film Star Postcards Festival. During the Netherlands Film Festival (26 September - 5 October 2012) we provide you daily with postcards and bios of Dutch film stars from the past. To be expected are a.o. the Latin Lover of the Dutch silent cinema, the sexy lady who attracted 500 million people to the cinema, and one of the first Dutch soapies who turned into a film star. Today we start with Johan Kaart junior (1897 - 1976), who was for decades a huge star in the Dutch entertainment world. He starred in seven films between 1934 and 1937, and after the war he played in several more films. He also worked often for radio and television, but his main stage was the theater.

Johan Kaart in Malle Gevallen
Dutch postcard, no. 7. Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Film. Publicity still of Johan Kaart junior in the comedy Malle gevallen/Silly Situations (1934).

Johan Kaart and Lau Ezerman in Don Quichot
Dutch postcard for the stage play Don Quichot op de Bruiloft van Kamatcho/ Don Quichot on the Wedding of Kamatcho (1711) by Pieter Langendijk, starring Lau Ezerman as Don Quichotte and Johan Kaart Jr. as Sancho Panza. The play was performed by the Schouwburgtoneel of Jan Musch in the open air theatre in Valkenburg in 1920. In 1925 the play was performed again with Kaart as Sancho Panza at the Amsterdam open air theatre Frankendaal, this time by the company Vereenigd Tooneel.

Theater Dynasty
Johannes Antonius Kaart was born in a theatre dynasty in Amsterdam in 1897. He was the son of small-time actor Johannes Antonius Kaart (senior), and soubrette and actress Isabella Willemsens. When Johan junior was 16, he made his debut as an extra with the in Amsterdam located stage company Het Tooneel of Willem Royaards, against the wishes of his parents. A year later, his father gave in and sent him to acting classes. Soon he became a star in the Dutch entertainment world. He played many classic theater roles, but he also developed himself more and more as a comedian. He made his film debut in one of the first Dutch sound films, De Jantjes/The Tars (1934, Jaap Speyer), based on the popular play by Herman Bouber. Kaart was one of the three tars of the title. The other two were Jan van Ees and Willy Costello. Kaart played 'De Schele' (the Cross-Eyed), a roguish tar with a heart of gold.

Jan van Ees, Willy Costello, Johan Kaart jr.
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod./Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes/The Tars (1934). For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Johan Kaart, Suzy Klein, Willy Castello, Henriette Davids, Jan van Ees and Sylvain Poons in De Jantjes
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod./Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes/The Tars (1934). For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Jan van Ees, Willy Costello, Johan Kaart jr
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod. / Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes (1934).

Marlene Dietrich Impersonation
After De Jantjes had become a surprisingly huge success, Johan Kaart went on to star in six more films between 1934 and 1937. These were all comedies: Malle gevallen/Silly Situations (1934, Jaap Speyer), De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (1935, Jaap Speyer), De vier Mullers/The Four Mullers (1935, Rudolf Meinert) with Johannes Heesters, the army comedy De big van het regiment/The Mascot of the Regiment (1935, Max Nosseck) with Frits van Dongen aka Philip Dorn), 't was een april/It was April Fools' Day (1936, Detlev Sierck aka Douglas Sirk, Jacques van Tol), and Kermisgasten/Carnival People (1936, Jaap Speyer). In the latter he did a hilarious Marlene Dietrich impersonation. Dutch critic Henk van Gelder writes in his biography of Kaart at Historici.nl: "Unlike many of his colleagues, Kaart realized very well that the camera did not allow stage acting. He radiated a natural kind of joviality that made him a crowd favorite. Whether he played a popular type, a slow student or a dedicated policeman, he easily knew how to create a credible character out of every kind of role."

Johan Kaart, Sylvain Poons, Hansje Andriesen, Matthieu van Eysden, and Adolphe Engers in De Big van het regiment (1935)
Dutch postcard by Monopole Film N.V. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (1935). Collection: Egbert Barten. For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Johan Kaart in De Big van het Regiment
Dutch postcard by N.V. Monopole Film. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (1935, Max Nosseck). Collection: Egbert Barten.

Frits van Dongen, Cruys Voorbergh, Matthieu van Eysden, Adolphe Engers, and Johan Kaart
Dutch vintage postcard by Monopole Film NV. Photo: Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (1935, Max Nosseck). Collection: Egbert Barten.

Box Office Hit
After the war Johan Kaart returned on the screen in the old fashioned comedy Een koninkrijk voor een huis/A Kingdom for a House (1949), again directed by Jaap Speyer and co-starring Henriëtte Davids. Next he played a cab driver who wants to emigrate to Australia in the comedy Sterren Stralen Overal/Stars Twinkle Everywhere (1953, Gerard Rutten). A huge box office hit in the Netherlands was the drama Ciske de Rat/Ciske the Rat (1955, Wolfgang Staudte) in which Kaart played a supporting part. He played more supporting parts in the comedy Kleren maken de man/Clothes Make the Man (1957, Georg Jacoby) starring Kees Brusse, and the thriller Rififi in Amsterdam (1962, Giovanni Korporaal) with Maxim Hamel.

Louis de Bree, Johan Kaart, Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 1. Photo: Publicity still for the comedy Malle gevallen (1934).

Annie van Duyn, Enny Meunier, Johan Kaart jr., Roland Varno in Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 3. Photo: publicity still for Malle Gevallen/Silly Situations (1934). For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Roland Varno, Louis Borel & Johan Kaart in Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 4. Photo: publicity still for Malle Gevallen/Silly Situations (1934). For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Potash & Perlmutter
Johan Kaart often worked for radio and later also for TV, but his main stage was the theater. Since 1950 he performed the farce Potasch en Perlemoer (Potash & Perlmutter) by Montague Glass for more than 3,500 times. His co-star in this evergreen was Johan Boskamp. He was also acclaimed for his role as Alfred Doolittle in the 1960 Dutch stage version of My Fair Lady. Another big success. On TV he was seen in the popular youth series Ja zuster, nee zuster/Yes Nurse, No Nurse (1967) and Oebele (1968-1971). In 1975 the Johan Kaart Prijs, a Dutch theater entertainment award named after him, was introduced. Johan Kaart died in Amsterdam in 1976. He was married to former actress Maria Wilhelmina Jeanne 'Willy' von Saher from 1920 till his death in 1976. They had one daughter, Freddie (1924). Johan Kaart was also the uncle of the talented film actor and opera singer Hans Kaart.

Johan Kaart in De familie van mijn vrouw
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Productie. Publicity still of Johan Kaart junior in the Dutch comedy De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (1935, Jaap Speyer).

Johan Kaart en Jacques van Bijlevelt in De Vier Mullers
Dutch postcard. Photo: Habé Film. Publicity still of Johan Kaart and Jacques Bijlevelt in the comedy De Vier Mullers (1935), a Dutch version of the Austrian multilingual Alles für die Firma (1935). Both were shot at the Schonbrunn studios in Vienna. The film deals with three quarrelsome generations of textile business owners: granddad Philip (Adolf Bouwmeester), dad Max (Bijlevelt) and son Otto (Johannes Heesters). Kaart plays their go-between Jacob Schat.

Sources: Henk van Gelder (Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis) (Dutch), Wikipedia and IMDb.

2 comments:

Christine Heycke said...

fascinating! In the U.S, we tend to only keep track of American film stars, so this is really refreshing and interesting. Great pictures. Thanks so much.

Robin said...

You're never a disappointment....
Love the post

I would love to see the movie "Carnival People".....just to see the Marlene Dietrich impersonation.
:-)

Have a beautiful weekend