Pages

13 July 2017

Evelyn Holt

Evelyn Holt (1908-2001) was a highly popular German film actress in the late silent and the early sound era. The rise of the Nazis finished her blossoming film career.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4769/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 946. Photo: Lux Film Verleih.

Evelyn Holt
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 947. Photo: National.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1780/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4063/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4422/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Jane Eyre


Evelyn Holt was born as Evelyn Sklarz in Berlin in 1908. She was the daughter of a journalist.

Holt started her film career at UFA even before turning 20. The very attractive girl soon became the star of many German films of the late silent era, and was soon paired with famous actors like Hans Albers.

In the crime film Spitzen/Have an eye (Holger-Madsen, 1926) starring Elisabeth Pinajeff, she still had a secondary part.

In her second film the Charlotte Brönte adaptation Die Waise von Lowood/The Orphan of Lowood (Kurt aka Curtis Bernhardt, 1926), she played the title part of Jane Eyre, while Olaf Fönss played Rochester.

Other silent films were the Arthur Schnitzler adaptation Liebelei/Flirtation (Jakob & Luise Fleck, 1927) with Fred Louis Lerch and Henry Stuart, Die elf Teufel (Zoltan Korda, Carl Boese, 1927) starring Gustav Fröhlich, and Frauenarzt Dr. Schäfer/ Gynecologist Doctor Schaefer (Jakob & Luise Fleck, 1928) starring Iván Petrovich.

In the German-Austrian-British coproduction Der fesche Husar/The Bold Dragoon (Géza von Bolvary, 1928) her co-star was the British matinee idol Ivor Novello, and in Ein Mädel und drei Clowns/The Three Kings (Hans Steinhoff, 1928) she played opposite two other British stars, Henry Edwards and Warwick Ward.

Her films were often directed by the husband and wife team of Jakob and Luise Fleck. They worked together at Das Recht auf Liebe/The Right on Love (Jakob & Louise Fleck, 1929) which was scripted by Magnus Hirschfeld, and also at the crime film Einbruch im Bankhaus Reichenbach/Burglary in the banking house Reichenbach (Jakob & Louise Fleck, 1930). In total Holt appeared in nearly 20 silent films.

Ivan Petrovich and Evelyn Holt in Frauenarzt Dr. Schäfer (1928)
German postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5308. Photo: Hegewald-Film / Lux-Film-Verleih. Publicity still for Frauenarzt Dr. Schäfer/ Gynecologist Doctor Schaefer (Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck, 1928) with Iván Petrovich.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3303/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Hegewald-Film.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3553/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5068/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3157/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3688/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ernst Schneider, Berlin.

Soubrette


Das Wolgamädchen/The Wolga Girl (Robert Wohlmuth, 1930) was probably Evelyn Holt’s first sound film. It costarred Igo Sym en Ellen Schaak. Seven more sound films followed.

Namensheirat/Marriage in Name Only (Heinz Paul, 1930) was scripted by former silent film star Hella Moja. Holt played the lead, and there were many other silent stars in the cast, including Oscar Marion, Grit Haid, Walter Rilla, Hans Mierendorff and Ida Wüst.

Holt again played the lead in Eine Stunde Glück/An Hour of Happiness (1931), directed by former silent star Wilhelm Dieterle, who soon after would pursue a career as director in the US under the name of William Dieterle. He also played the male lead in Eine Stunde Glück. Das Ekel/The Scoundrel (Eugen Schüfftan, Franz Wenzler, 1931) was a comedy on a working day in Berlin.

Holt’s last features were the unemployment comedy Drei von der Stempelstelle/The Three of the Stamp Place (Eugen Thiele, 1932) starring Fritz Kampers, Paul Kemp and Adolf Wohlbrück (the future Anton Walbrook); and the car races film Kampf/Battle (Erich Schonfelder, Haro van Peski, 1932) starring Grand Prix car driver Manfred von Brauchitsch.

In 1933 she also did a commercial for Sanella. After singing lessons Holt was engaged as soubrette at the Große Schauspielhaus in Berlin in 1931.

After only six successful years, Adolf Hitler’s coming to power in 1933, abruptly ended her profession as film actress. The reason: her original name looked too Jewish. She managed to survive by a career as soubrette at the Komische Oper in Berlin, but when she married the Jewish publisher Felix Guggenheim in 1936, her stage career was halted as well.

In 1938 the couple emigrated first to Switzerland, then in 1940 to Britain, and finally to the US. There Felix Guggenheim became the Exil literature publisher of authors such as Thomas Mann, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger and Alfred Döblin. Evelyn Holt stayed in the US until her death in Los Angeles in 2001, but she never performed in a film again.

Evelyn Holt
French postcard by Europe, no. 639. Photo: Hegewald Film.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3014/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard, no. 3963. Photo: Fritz Krapp, Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland).

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4063/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6503, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Jaeger, Berlin.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7332/2, 1932-1933. Photo: Gerstenberg-Dührkoop.

Evelyn Holt
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8535/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Yva, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

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

No comments: