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22 June 2015

Elfriede Heisler

German actress Elfriede Heisler (1885-1919) was a star of the early silent film era. She appeared in 11 German and Austrian films and her career was promising, but at 33, she committed suicide.

Elfriede Heisler in Ich hab dich geliebt bis in den Tod (1918)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2491. Photo: Jupiter-Film Ges. Photo: publicity still for Ich habe dich geliebt bis in den Tod//I have loved you to death (1918).

The wandering Jew


Elfriede Heisler was born Elfriede Quabius in 1885 in Breslau, Germany (according to some sources, she was born in 1889).

She started her acting career in the theatre. Heisler worked in the provinces and later at the Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtischen Schauspielhaus in Berlin. In 1910 she got an engagement at the Königliche Berliner Schauspielhaus, where she played leading roles in light entertainment plays.

In 1912, she made her camera debut and played under the direction of Emil Albes in short silent films like Der Dritte/The Third (Emil Albes, 1912) with Hans Mierendorf, and Fürstenliebe/Royal Love (Emil Albes, 1912) starring Hugo Flink.

IMDb only mentions three of her later films: the patriotic drama Schwert und Herd/Sword and Hearth (Georg Victor Mendel, 1916) starring Carl de Vogt, Die lachende Maske/The Laughing Mask (Willy Zeyn, 1918) with Rosa Valetti, and the biblical epic Das Buch Esther/The Book of Esther (Uwe Jens Krafft, Ernst Reicher, 1919). Co-director Ernst Reicher played Ahasver or the wandering Jew, and Stella Harf played Queen Esther.

Elfriede Heisler in Die Liebe fand den Rechten Weg (1918)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2489. Photo: Jupiter-Film Ges. Photo: publicity still for Die Liebe fand den rechten Weg/Love was on the right path (N.N., 1918).

Suicide


At Steffi-Line, Stephanie D’heil mentions also the film Seltsame Seelen/Strange Souls (Emil Albes, Margot Meyer, 1918), and Thomas Staedeli at Cyranos adds Die Tarantella/The Tarantella (N.N., 1912) with Hugo Flink and Ludwig Trautmann, and Frauchen in Nöten/Owner in trouble (William Karfiol, 1918) with Kurt Vespermann.

In Austria she played for Jupiter Film in Ich habe Dich geliebt bis in den Tod/I have loved you to death (1918), Das Glück im Rinnstein/The happiness in the gutter (1918), and Die Liebe fand den rechten Weg/Love was on the right path (1918), with Erwin Fichtner.

When her final film, Das Buch Esther/The Book of Esther, was first shown in the cinemas in 1919, the star of the film was no longer alive.

Elfriede Heisler had died in 1919 in the aftermath of a suicide attempt with Veronal (barbital). Reportedly, the motive for the suicide attempt was an unhappy love affair. She was only 33.

Elfriede Heisler in Ich hab dich geliebt bis in den Tod (1918)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2492. Photo: Jupiter-Film Ges. Photo: publicity still for Ich habe dich geliebt bis in den Tod/I have loved you to death (N.N., 1918). Her co-star in this film was Erwin Fichtner.

Elfriede Heisler in Ich hab dich geliebt bis in den Tod (1918)
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K.2493. Photo: Jupiter-Film Ges. Photo: publicity still for Ich habe dich geliebt bis in den Tod//I have loved you to death (N.N., 1918).

Sources: Stephanie D’heil (Steffi-Line - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), The German Early Cinema Database, Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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