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Showing posts with label Ellen Kessler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellen Kessler. Show all posts

13 January 2012

The Kessler Twins

In the 1950’s and 1960’s the gorgeous twin sisters Alice & Ellen Kessler (1936) were very popular in Europe, especially in Germany and Italy. In 1959 the singing, dancing and acting duo represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/199. Photo: Gérard Decaux.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel. Photo: Gloria-Film.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/154. Photo: UFA.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof), no. CK-115. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Joe Niczky/UFA.

Featherlight
The German twin sisters Alice and Ellen Kessler (originally Kaessler) were born in Nerchau, Germany in 1936. They are usually credited as the Kessler Twins (Die Kessler-Zwillinge in Germany and Le Gemelle Kessler in Italy). Their parents, Paul and Elsa Kaessler, sent them to ballet classes at the age of six, and they joined the Leipzig Opera's child ballet program at age 11. In 1952, their parents used a visitor's visa to escape to West Germany, where the 18 year old twins performed at the Palladium in Düsseldorf. Soon followed parts in such featherlight films like Solang' es hübsche Mädchen gibt/Beautiful Girls (1955, Arthur Maria Rabenalt) with Georg Thomalla, Der bettelstudent/The Beggar Student (1955, Werner Jacobs) and Der Graf von Luxemburg (1957, Werner Jacobs) with Gerhard Riedmann. Between 1955 and 1960 they also performed at the famous Lido variety hall at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and they also appeared in French musical films as La garçonne (1957, Jacqueline Audry) with Fernand Gravey, and Tabarin (1958, Richard Pottier) starring Michel Piccoli. A year later, the twins represented West Germany at the 1959 Eurovision Song Contest. They finished in 8th place with Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh'n (Tonight we want to go dancing).

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 398. Photo: Polydor/Seitz/Constantin/Looschen.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by Netter's Star Verlag, Berlin.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 305. Photo: Defir.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 734. Photo: Polydor/Collignon.

Alice & Ellen Kessler
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2964.

Alice and Ellen Kessler
German Postcard printed by WS Druck, Wanne-Eickel. Photo: Carlton-Gloria, Niczky.

Playboy
Alice & Ellen Kessler moved to Italy in 1960. There they had already appeared as themselves in Le bellissime gambe di Sabrina/The Beautiful Legs of Sabrina (1959, Camillo Mastrocinque) featuring American sex symbol Mamie van Doren. Gradually they got more serious roles in such films as the adventure film Gli Invasori/Erik the Conqueror (1961, Mario Bava) starring Cameron Mitchell and Sodom and Gomorrah (1962, Robert Aldrich) starring Stewart Granger. In the USA, they were not as popular, but in 1963 they appeared on the cover of Life Magazine and during the 1960's they often worked for TV and in Las Vegas. During the following decades they worked mostly for TV in Europe. At the age of 40, they agreed to pose on the cover of the Italian edition of Playboy. That issue became reportedly the fastest-selling Italian Playboy up until that point. They moved back to Germany in 1986 and currently live in Munich. They received the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande (highest German order) in 1987 and the Premio Capo Circe for their achievements in German-Italian understanding. Recently, Alice and Ellen Kessler played in the episode Das Dorf/The Village (2011, Justus von Dohnányi) of the popular Krimi series Tatort.


The Kessler Twins and Peter Alexander perform Ich spiel mit dir (1962). Source: Fritz51251 (YouTube).


French scopitone of the Kessler Twins. Source: NYRainbow5 (YouTube).


The Kessler Twins sing Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh'n at the 1959 Eurovision Song Contest. Source: Joao Velado (YouTube).


'Gemelle' Kessler sing Le sirene siamo noi. Source: Mr. Dante Fonana (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.