Austrian photo by Willinger, Wien. From Tatiana. Xenia Desni and Livio Pavanelli in the German silent film Die letzte Einquartierung aka Küssen ist keine Sünd'/Kissing is no sin (Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926).
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 886/2, 1925-1926. Photo: Decla / Ufa. From Tatiana.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 886/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Decla / Ufa. From Tatiana.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1069/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. From Tatiana.
Ukrainian-born actress Xenia Desni (1894-1954) was a star of the German silent cinema. Xenia - also known as Dada - was born in Kiev, but travelled at the beginning of the 1920s to Berlin.
She made her film debut with Sappho (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1921). She often worked with director Johannes Guter such as for her breakthrough film Die Prinzessin Suwarin/The Princess Suwarin (1923) starring Lil Dagover.
In the next years followed other successful productions such as Die Andere/The Other (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1924). An international hit became the silent operetta Ein Walzertraum/A Waltz Dream (Ludwig Berger, 1925) with Willy Fritsch.
This was followed by Familie Schimeck/The Schimeck Family (Alfred Halm, Rudolf Dworsky, 1926), Madame wagt einen Seitensprung/Madam dares an Escapade (Hans Otto, 1927), and Erzherzog Johann/Archduke John (Max Neufeld, 1929).
After the coming of sound film, her career soon ended. But Xenia helped to shape the film and stage career of her beautiful daughter.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1026/4, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. From Tatiana.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1028/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. From Tatiana.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1026/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa. From Tatiana.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 571/3, 1919-1924. Photo: A. Eberth, Berlin. From Tatiana.
Tamara Desni (1910–2008) started her stage and film career as a child in Berlin. Tamara acted in three German sound films before leaving with her mother to Great Britain.
In 1931, she made her triumphant London stage debut in the operetta White Horse Inn. For this spectacular production, the entire Coliseum theatre was transformed into the Tyrol. The production was based on the German operetta Im weissen Roessl. White Horse Inn was a smash hit and ran for 500 performances at the Coliseum. The production is even credited with saving the theatre, which was faltering as a music hall.
Tamara followed this up with another leading role in a German import at the Coliseum, the musical Casanova, featuring music by Johann Strauss, Jr.
Desni's British film career took off with the comedy Falling for You (Robert Stevenson, Jack Hulbert, 1933), supporting the popular musical comedy team of Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge.
Later films included the thriller Forbidden Territory (Phil Rosen, 1934), another Jack Hulbert comedy Jack Ahoy (Walter Forde, 1935) and the historical drama Fire Over England (William K. Howard, 1937), with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
Tamara Desni’s film career continued through 1950. After that she moved to the South of France, where her bar and restaurant L'Auberge Chez Tamara, became a popular attraction around Grasse in the Alpes Maritimes.
German postcard for Otto Kurt Vogelsang Lichtbildner, Berlin. From Tatiana.
British postcard. From Tatiana.
British postcard. From Tatiana.
British photo by Vivienne 20th Century Studios Ltd, London. From Tatiana.
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