15 May 2013

Iris Arlan

Beautiful actress Iris Arlan (? - ?) worked for Max Reinhardt’s theatre and appeared in several German and Austrian silent films. Around 1936, after roles in a handful of sound films, she disappeared into oblivion.

Iris Arlan
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5678. Photo: Angelo.

The German answer to Nanook of the North
Very little is known about Iris Arlan, who was sometimes credited as Iris Aslan. We could not find any information about where or when she was born. IMDb indicates that she began her film career in 1927 in the film Die Lindenwirtin am Rhein/The Linden Hostess on the Rhine (1927, Rolf Randolf) with Maly Delschaft and Gerd Briese. That same year she also appeared in supporting parts in Die weiße Spinne/The White Spider (1927, Carl Boese) starring Maria Paudler, and Orientexpress/Orient Express (1927, Wilhelm Thiele) with Lil Dagover. These films were all produced by Phoebus-Film AG, a German company that had produced and distributed films since 1914. The UFA production Milak, der Grönlandjäger/Milak the Greenland Hunter (1928, Georg Asagaroff, Bernhard Villinger), which Filmportal.de calls ‘The German answer to Nanook of the North’, was a curious mix of a documentary about a Greenland expedition (directed by Villinger) and a feature film (directed by Asagaroff), starring Ruth Weyher. In 1927, Arlan also appeared in Austria in Die beiden Seehunde/The two seals (1928, Max Neufeld) with Hans Junkermann, and Glück bei Frauen/Lucky With Women (1928, Hans Otto.) She then appeared in the Hungarian production Mária növér/Sister Maria (1929, Antal Forgács) opposite Werner Pittschau. In 1929 she appeared in five more silent Austrian productions, including Vater Radetzky/Father Radetzky (1929, Karl Reiter).

Iris Arlan
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5516.

Iris Arlan
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5676. Photo: Residenz Atelier.

Max Reinhardt
After the arrival of sound film, there was an interval in Iris Arlan’s film career. A postcard in the collection of Virtual history indicates that she was at one time engaged by Max Reinhardt’s stage company. In 1932, she returned to the cinema in the German historical drama Die Tänzerin von Sans Souci/The Dancer of Sans Souci (1932, Friedrich Zelnik) starring Otto Gebühr as Frederick II. From 1934 on, she played supporting parts in five more films. These included the Austrian production Bretter, die die Welt bedeuten/Boards that mean the world (1935, Kurt Gerron) with Szöke Szakall, and the German comedy Kirschen in Nachbars Garten/ Fruit in the Neighbor's Garden (1935, Erich Engels) with Karl Valentin and Adele Sandrock. Possibly her last film was Arme kleine Inge/Poor Little Inge (1936, Robert Land) with Rolf Wanka. And then, what happened to Iris Aslan?

Iris Arlan
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5513. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Virtual History, Filmportal.de and IMDb.

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