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13 February 2014

Arne Molander

European Film Star Postcards presents the stars of the European cinema, but also lesser known actors whose postcards have survived. The texts in this blog we mainly base on the information about these actors on the net. A curious and fascinating case is Arne Molander. We found three Ross Verlag postcards of this forgotten actor, but there is nearly no trace of him on the net. Who was he - or she?

Arne Molander
German Postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3184/1, 1928-1929.

Red Baron


According to IMDb, Arne Molander appeared in two films, but gives no further information about the actor.

He had a leading part in the war drama Richthofen, der Rote Ritter der Luft/Richthofen (Peter Joseph, Desider Kertesz, 1927-1929) as the son of the famous German Baron and WW I hero, played by Georg Burghardt.

The three Ross Verlag postcards, which were all published in the period 1927-1929, probably were intended to help promote this film.

At Spiegelonline, Ralf Bülow writes that the film that started a complete new genre: "Richthofen was not dead for ten years, when in November 1927 the Dresden actor Carl Walther Meyer started to produce Richthofen, der Rote Ritter der Luft/Richthofen. The film was a mix of a love story and a spy story in which the hero only played a supporting part. The budget reached just for a single flight-capable Dreidecker, and apart from that the film makers helped themselves with film footage from the war archives.

At that time Richthofen ran successfully in cinemas in the Berlin suburbs and in the provinces. Today the film seems to be lost; only the library of the University of Texas has some scenes in their archives." (Translated from German by EFSP).

When the film was shown in the US in 1929, The New York Times wrote: "A carelessly assembled picture is the purported story of the German war ace, Richthofen, in which a love interest has been introduced. At least three-fourths of the film is devoted to an innocuously romantic tale having nothing whatever to do with "the Red Knight," relating as it does an affair of one of his friends. Several disturbing elements enter when daylight and night-time views are mixed indiscriminately. There are several interesting airplane combats. The photography for the most part is deplorable. Egon v. Jordon [Egon von Jordan] as Werner Dewall, Richthofen's friend, comes nearest to giving a performance. The rest is negligible."

Arne Molander
German Postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1131/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Balász, Berlin.

Viktor und Viktoria?


Richthofen did not stimulate Arne Molander's film career.

In the sound era, he played two small film parts, more than five years after his debut. IMDb only mentions one of the films, Der höhere Befehl/The Higher Command (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1935) starring Lil Dagover.

Filmportal.de adds the musical drama Schlussakkord/Final Accord (1936, Detlev Sierck a.k.a. Douglas Sirk, 1936) starring Lil Dagover again and Willy Birgel.

There is not further information about Arne Molander on the internet. Who was he? And what ever happened to him?

SpiegelonLine reproduced in their article the postcard above and adds that Molander was a Swedish actor, but there is no other source which confirms this.

Or was the mysterious Arne Molander in fact a she? Was Arne a real life version of the famous cross dressing comedy Viktor und Viktoria/Victor and Victoria (Reinhold Schünzel, 1933)? Can he have been a real-life drag king who fooled everybody?

I intend to thinks so watching Arne's pictures, the form of his face and the heavy make-up. But it's only a wild guess.

What do you think about Arne? Do you have more information that can put more light on this mysterious actor? Please, share your comments.

Arne Molander
German Postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1131/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Balász, Berlin.

Sources: Ralf Bülow (Spiegelonline), New York Times, Filmportal.de and IMDb.