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15 September 2016

Elga Brink

Blonde German actress Elga Brink (1906-1986) starred in many silent comedies since the middle of the 1920s, often directed by her partner Georg Jacoby. She also starred in dramatic productions such as the epic Quo vadis? (1925), the sex education film Dürfen wir schweigen (1926), the Stefan Zweig adaptation Angst (1928), the early sound film Das Land ohne Frauen (1929), and the science fiction film Der Tunnel (1933).

Elga Brink in Quo vadis?
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 662. Photo: UCI (Unione Cinematografica Italiana). Elga Brink as Domitilla in the epic film Quo vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1924/1925).

Elga Brink
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5201.

Elga Brink
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5687. Photo: F.P.S. / Lux-Film. Publicity still for Das Land ohne Frauen/Land Without Women (Carmine Gallone, 1929).

Elga Brink
Dutch postcard by J.S.A., no. 106. Photo: Cicero-Film.

Cheeky Girl


Elga Brink was born as Elisabeth Margarete Frey in Berlin, Germany in 1906. (Some sources say she was born in 1895 or 1905.) She studied at a commercial school and completed an acting training.

The blonde and slim girl started her film career circa 1922 in the silent cinema. Already in 1924 she acted opposite the famous film star Emil Jannings in the German-Italian coproduction Quo Vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925), a screen adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Soon more roles followed in the comedy Der Stolz der Kompanie/The Pride of the Company (Georg Jacoby, 1926), the sex education film Dürfen wir schweigen?/Should We Be Silent? (Richard Owald, 1926) at Conrad Veidt's side, and Ehe in Not/Marriage in Distress (Richard Oswald, 1929).

She often played the cheeky girl in Georg Jacoby films, like Das Paradies im Schnee/Paradise in the Snow (Georg Jacoby, 1923), Komödianten des Lebens/Life Comedians (Georg Jacoby, 1924), Der Hahn im Korb/The Cock in the Basket (Georg Jacoby, 1925), and Die Ritt in die Sonne/The Ride in the Sun (Georg Jacoby, 1926).

They also worked together on the British productions The Fake (Georg Jacoby, 1927) and The Physician (Georg Jacoby, 1928) with Miles Mander. Privately Elga Brink and Georg Jacoby were a couple too.

Elga Brink
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 620. Photo: Sascha Film.

Elga Brink
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 621. Photo: Sascha Film.

Elga Brink
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 622. Photo: E. Well & Co.

Elga Brink, Gustav Fröhlich
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5767. Photo: Verleih Ella Frischauer / Metro Orplid-Film. Still from Angst - Die schwache Stunde einer Frau (Hans Steinhoff, 1928), with Gustav Fröhlich.

Slowly Disappearing to the Background


The sound film offered Elga Brink more interesting roles. In 1930 she played Goethe's lover Friederike Brion in Die Jugendgeliebte/Goethe's Young Love (Hans Tintner, 1930) opposite Hans Stüwe.

She also appeared in Der Keusche Joseph/The Virtuous Joseph (Georg Jacoby, 1930) with Harry Liedtke, Kriminalreporter Holm/Crime Reporter Holm ( Erich Engels, 1932), and the Science-fiction film Der Tunnel/The Tunnel (Kurt Bernhardt/Curtis Bernhardt, 1933) starring Paul Hartmann.

In the second half of the 1930s and in the 1940s she disappeared slowly to the background. Among her films during this period were Der Kühne Schwimmer/The Daring Swimmer (Georg Jacoby, 1934) and Quax, der Bruchpilot/Launchpad McQuack (Kurt Hoffmann, 1941) with Heinz Rühmann.

After WW II, she worked as a theatre actress for a short period. She appeared also in small parts in two more films, the DEFA production Semmelweis - Retter der Mütter/Dr. Semmelweis (Georg C. Klaren, 1950) and Das fremde Leben/The Strange Life (Johannes Meyer, 1951), starring Winnie Markus.

In 1951 she retired from show business and worked as a consultant at a lawyer’s office under the name Elisabeth Biermann. Elga Brink died in Hamburg in 1985.

Elga Brink in Mavis
French postcard by Consortium Central de Paris. Photo: Dist. Williams & Pritchard. Elga Brink as Mavis Stanton in the British silent film The Fake (Georg Jacoby, 1927), co-starring Henry Edwards and Juliette Compton. The story is about an MP who forces his daughter to marry an aristocrat who is a drug addict. The addict dies when her lover tries to cure him.

Elga Brink
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1765/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Universal - Matador.

Elga Brink
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3282/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Elga Brink
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3915/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Kiesel, Berlin.

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

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