03 January 2014

Gretl Theimer

Blonde Austrian actress and singer Gretl Theimer (1911-1972) arrived in the German cinema with the sound film and had an impressive career in the 1930s. The war finished her career.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5575/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Balázs.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6007/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Gerstenberg, Berlin.

One of the Most Popular Schlagers of 1930

Gretl Theimer was born in Vienna in 1911. Little Gretl followed ballet classes and danced in the children’s ballet of the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera).

She started her professional career as an operetta singer on Austrian and German stages.

One of the first sound films, the musical Zwei Herzen im Dreivierteltakt/Two Hearts in Waltz Time (Géza von Bolváry, 1930) made her a popular film star.

The title waltz, which she sang with co-star Walter Janssen and was composed by Robert Stolz, became one of the most popular Schlagers of 1930.

That same year she could also be seen in leading roles in Die Csikosbaroneß/The Baroness Csikos (Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck, 1930) with Ernö (Ernst) Verebes, Ihre Majestät die Liebe/Her Majesty Love (Joe May, 1930), and Drei Tage Mittelarrest/Three Days in the Guardhouse (Carl Boese, 1930) starring Max Adalbert and Ida Wüst.

To her other early films belong the Operetta Viktoria und ihr Husar/Victoria and Her Hussar (Richard Oswald, 1931), Walzerparadies/Waltz Paradise (Friedrich Zelnik/Frederic Zelnik, 1931) starring Charlotte Susa, and Jeder fragt nach Erika/Everybody Asks for Erika (Friedrich Zelnik/Frederic Zelnik, 1931) with Lya Mara.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7441/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7441/3, 1932-1933. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Spirited and Attractive Girl

Gretl Theimer became established as the spirited and attractive girl of the Wiener films as In Wien hab' ich einmal ein Mädel geliebt/Once I Loved a Girl in Vienna (Erich Schönfelder, 1931) and other entertainment pictures of the 1930s.

In the next years she played supporting roles in well-known productions as Das Geheimnis um Johann Orth/The Secret about Johann Orth (Willi Wolff, 1932) featuring Karl Ludwig Diehl, and Das Glück von Grinzing/Happiness in Grinzing (Otto Kanturek, 1933) opposite Iván Petrovich.

After the rise of the Nazis, she could continue her career in films like Der müde Theodor/Tired Theodore (Veit Harlan, 1936), Fräulein Veronika/All for Veronica (Veit Harlan, 1936), Die ganz grossen Torheiten/The Big-Time Follies (Carl Froelich, 1937), Der Tanz auf dem Vulkan/The Dance on the Vulcano (Hans Steinhoff, 1938) and Unsterblicher Walzer/Immortal Waltz (E.W. Emo, 1939).

After this decade her career seemed finished. During wartime she only appeared in two more films, Lauter Liebe/Nothing But Love (Heinz Rühmann, 1940) and Falstaff in Wien/Falstaff in Vienna (Leopold Hainisch, 1940).

After the war the engagements dropped further off. In the 1950s and 1960s she only played small roles in films like Der Fürst von Pappenheim/The Prince of Pappenheim (Hans Deppe, 1952), Die Trapp-Familie/The Trapp Family (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1956), Italienreise - Liebe inbegriffen/Voyage to Italy, Complete with Love (Wolfgang Becker, 1958) and Eine Frau für's ganze Leben/A Wife For Life (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1960).

Her last screen appearance was on TV in Walzertraum/Waltz Dream (Fred Kraus, 1969).

Gretl Theimer died in 1972 and was buried at the Waldfriedhof in Munich. In 1991 the actress Annie Markart was buried in the same grave.

This and the fact that Theimer never married made me wonder if the Nazi's knowledge of a lesbian relationship caused the sudden end of her film career in 1940? The film career and marriage of Annie Markart ended around the same time.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8638/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Frhr. von Gudenberg / Ufa.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Das Programm von Heute, Berlin. Photo: Hammer-Tonfilm.

Gretl Theimer
German Postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8825/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Phönix-Film.

Gretl Theimer
German postcard by Das Programm von Heute, Berlin. Photo: Verleih Götz Hofbauer. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German), The Androom Archives and IMDb.

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