21 February 2017

André Mattoni

André Mattoni (1900-1985) was an Austrian stage and film actor, performing mainly in the German, Austrian and Italian cinema. He worked with Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau on Tartüff (1925), but his dream role in another classic of the German silent cinema fell through.

Walter Slezak and André Mattoni in Die gefundene Braut (1925)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1027/1, 1926-1927. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Die gefundene Braut/The Found Bride (1925) with Walter Slezak.

André Mattoni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3064/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Freundlich.

André Mattoni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3745/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Willinger, Berlin.

Karlsbad mineral water dynasty

André Mattoni was born Andreas Leo Heinrich Edler von Mattoni in Karlsbad, Austria-Hungary (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic) in 1900. He stemmed from the Karlsbad mineral water dynasty Mattoni.

Andreas visited the Theresianum in Vienna and had an acting training from the Burgtheater actor Franz Herterich. In the 1922-1923 season he had his stage début at the Burgtheater, the most prestigious theatre of Vienna. Subsequently he acted with the Wiener Kammerspiele, and then toured around Austria.

In 1924 Mattoni went to Berlin to pursue a stage career there. Right away he started to appear in films as well. He played Lysander in the William Shakespeare adaptation Ein Sommernachtstraum/A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hans Neumann, 1925) and soon he had leads in films like Die gefundene Braut/The Found Bride (Rochus Gliese, 1925) opposite Xenia Desni, and Das Fräulein von Amt/Love and Telephone (Hanns Schwarz, 1925).

Then followed a major part in Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s masterly modernisation of Molière’s Tartüff/Tartuffe (F.W. Murnau, 1925), as the grandson in the modern section of the film. And then Mattoni was preselected as the protagonist Freder for Fritz Lang’s masterpiece Metropolis (1927). However after some weeks of shooting, Lang was unsatisfied and the part went to Gustav Fröhlich. (IMDb indicates that it was Mattoni himself who decided "- for whatever reason - to leave the production for good".)

In 1927 Mattoni stayed in Hollywood for a while, where he played a small part in The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927), starring Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer.

André Mattoni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1013/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

André Mattoni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1121/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

André Mattoni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1121/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.

Gallant lover

After embodying the gallant lover in some twenty silent German and Austrian films André Mattoni seemed to make the passage from silent to sound cinema relatively easy.

In the course of the early 1930s his film career slowed down though. In 1933 he returned to Austria and performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt. He appeared in the cinema in the operetta Hoheit tanzt Walzer/Majesty Dances Waltzes (Max Neufeld, 1935), shot in Prague, and in the Austrian production Immer wenn ich glucklich bin/Waltz Melodies (Carl Lamac, 1938) with Marta Eggerth.

Then Mattoni followed director Max Neufeld to Italy, and later performed in his Taverna Rossa/Red Tavern (Max Neufeld, 1940), starring Alida Valli. he was billed in Italy as Andrea Mattoni. From 1938 on, he lived in Rome, and worked in Italian films and in German films shot in Roman film studios (often directed by Ernst Marischka).

In 1942 Mattoni returned to Vienna, which became his homestead henceforth. In the postwar era he became production manager for films. He had one last film part in Willi Forst’s Wiener Mädeln/Viennese Girls (1949).

Between 1957 and 1964 Mattoni was an important collaborator of the Wiener Staatsoper under Herbert von Karajan. In 1978 he performed as the older Lord in the opera Der junge Lord.

André Mattoni died in Vienna in 1985. He was 84.

Alida Valli and Andrea Mattoni
Romanian postcard. Photo: Ciolfi. Publicity still for Taverna Rossa/Red Tavern (Max Neufeld, 1940) with Alida Valli.

Complete version of Tartuffe (1925). Source: ександр Ющинский (YouTube). Dubbed in Russian!

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

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