Dutch postcard by Ed. Weenenk & Snel, The Hague.
Gusta Chrispijn-Mulder was born Augusta Geertruida Maria Mulder in Amsterdam in 1876. Her parents were Herman Mulder and Augusta Maria Hilverdink.
As ‘Guusje Mulder’ she debuted in 1893 at the Amsterdam Salon des Variétés under direction of M. Kreukniet and H. Poolman. She then acted with the Van Lier Brothers in plays such as Victorien Sardou’s Frou-frou.
Subsequently she was engaged for 10 years by the Nederlandsch Toneel. In 1911 she went to the Toneelvereniging and performed in the major Dutch plays Vorstenschool (Kings School) by Multatuli and Allerzielen (All Souls) by Herman Heijermans.
Chrispijn-Mulder also worked at the Rotterdams Toneel. In 1917 she moved to the Hofstad Toneel in The Hague, in 1924 at the Odeon-Theatre in the same city.
Louis Chrispijn junior. Dutch postcard by Weenenk & Snel, Den Haag. Photo: Willem Coret.
Famous for her clear declamation
In 1902 Gusta Chrispijn was married to actor-director Louis Chrispijn junior (1876-1931) and was the mother of actress Lous (Louise) Chrispijn (1898-1940). Apparently their daughter was born before they were married.
While her husband had been active as director and actor in silent cinema in the 1910s, Gusta didn’t act in silent films. When sound cinema set in in the Netherlands, though, Gusta Chrispijn-Mulder, who was famous for her clear declamation, often played supporting parts.
She was often casted as negative characters, such as the acrimonious Arabella who is taught a lesson in the Dutch comedy De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935), starring Sylvain Poons as Arabella’s husband Josef.
Other parts followed in the comedies Het meisje met den blauwen hoed/The Girl with the Blue Hat (Rudolf Meinert 1934), starring Truus van Aalten and Roland Varno, Malle gevallen/Silly Situations (Jaap Speyer, 1934), starring Louis Borel, Roland Varno and Jopie Koopman, De vier Mullers/The four Mullers (Rudolf Meinert, 1934), starring Johan Heesters, and Amsterdam bij nacht/Amsterdam by Night (Alex Benno, 1936), starring Louis de Bree and Annie van Duyn.
In 1937-1938 she did a 10-months stage tour with the company of Cor Ruys through the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).
Her last film part was as director of the orphanage in Vadertje Langbeen/Daddy Longlegs (Friedrich Zelnik, 1938), based on Jean Webster’s novella Daddy-Long-Legs and its subsequent play, and starring Lily Bouwmeester as the girl who falls in love with her benefactor (Paul Storm).
Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Film. Publicity still for De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935) with Mary Smithuysen and Sylvain Poons.
Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Film. Publicity still for De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935) with Loesje Bouwmeester, Sylvain Poons and Tilly Perin-Bouwmeester.
Expelled from the stage for five years
During the Second World War Gusta Chrispijn-Mulder, who had already lost her husband in 1931 also lost her daughter, who died at the age of 42 in July 1940.
During the war Gusta didn’t act in films, though some of her 1930s films were still shown in cinemas. There had been a plan in late 1940 to act in short films by director Gerard Rutten, but this project never materialised.
In addition to some radio work and declamation lessons, she mainly acted on stage at the theatre companies De Voortrekkers, Noordhollands Toneel and De Komedianten. At the Noordhollands Toneel she was one of the best paid actresses, earning 5000 guilders per year, and in plays directed by Jan de Vos she had leads, though being in her sixties already.
Because of this she was sentenced in 1945 to be expelled from the stage for five years, but in 1947 this was withdrawn.
Gusta Chrispijn-Mulder died at age 78 in Amsterdam in 1955. She was buried on the Amsterdam cemetery Zorgvlied.
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Filma. Publicity still for Het Meisje met de Blauwe Hoed/The Girl with the Blue Hat (Rudolf Meinert, 1934) with a.o. Roland Varno and Truus van Aalten.
Clip from De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935). Source: Eye (YouTube).
Clip from Amsterdam bij nacht/Amsterdam by Night (Alex Benno, 1936). Source: Eye (YouTube).
Sources: Eyefilm, Delpher and IMDb.