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25 February 2016

Elizza La Porta

Romanian born actress Elizza La Porta (1904-1997) had a short lived career in the late silent cinema of Germany. Her main claim of fame was her starring role in Der Student von Prag/The Man Who Cheated Life (1926).

Elizza La Porta
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1694/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Sokal Film. Sokal produced Der Student von Prag/The Man Who Cheated Life (1926).

Elizza La Porta
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3041/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

Doppelgänger


Elizza La Porta was born in Craiova, Romania, in 1902. (Some sources say 1904).

She started her film career in 1926 in such German productions as Schenk mir das Leben/Give me the life (Klaus Fery, 1926), Der Herr der Nacht/Man of the Night (Carl Heinz Wolff, 1926) starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, and the comedy Die Spork'schen Jäger/The Secret of the Night (Holger-Madsen, 1926) with Otto Gebühr and Walter Rilla.

La Porta flamed in the horror film Der Student von Prag/The Man Who Cheated Life (Henrik Galeen, 1926) as the flower girl Lyduschka, who is in love with the student Balduin (Conrad Veidt). The penniless Balduin sells his mirror image to a mysterious merchant (Werner Krauss), and his reflection becomes a devilish Doppelgänger.

This first remake of the classic film from 1913 with Paul Wegener is largely based on the original screenplay by Hanns Heinz Ewers. Der Student von Prag made La Porta a well-known actress.

Elizza La Porta
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3198/1 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

Elizza La Porta
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3353/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

Elizza La Porta, Harry Liedtke
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3596/1, 1928-1929 (Autograph of La Porta signed in 1928). Photo: Aafa-Film. Publicity still for the comedy Robert und Bertram/Robert and Bertram (Rudolf Walther-Fein, 1928) with Harry Liedtke. Collection: Didier Hanson

Sound

Subsequently, Elizza La Porta acted in films like Leichte Kavallerie/Light Cavalry (Rolf Randolf, 1927) with Alphons Fryland, and Laster der Menschheit/Vice of Mankind (Rudolf Meinert, 1927) with Asta Nielsen.

The next year she played in Die Frauengasse von Algier/The Street of Women of Algiers (Wolfgang Hoffmann-Harnisch, 1928) with Maria Jacobini, and Robert und Bertram/Robert and Bertram (Rudolf Walther-Fein, 1928) with Harry Liedtke and Fritz Kampers.

In the late 1920s La Porta played female leads in a few German sound films including Engel im Separée (Ernö Mayer, 1929), and Grossstadtpiraten/Big City Pirates (Hans Schönlank, 1930).

Her last film appearance was a supporting part in Fundvogel/Finding bird (Wolfgang Hoffmann-Harnisch, 1930), starring Paul Wegener and Camilla Horn.

When sound film arrived, Elizza La Porta completely retired from film acting. During her four year career she had made 18 films.

About the rest of her life we could not find information on the net. The only known fact is that she died in 1997 in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA. She was 95.

Elizza La Porta
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3609/1. Photo: Atelier Manassé, Wien (Vienna). Collection: Didier Hanson.

Elizza La Porta
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5047. Photo: Kiko-Film.


First scenes of Der Student von Prag/The Man Who Cheated Life (1926). Source: Silent Film Democracy (YouTube).

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

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