15 December 2017

Rotary Photo

The British Rotary Photographic Co. Ltd was active in London between 1897 and 1916. It was a huge publisher of real photographic postcards. Real photographic cards were actual photographs produced from negatives directly onto photographic paper that was postcard sized. Rotary published several elegant postcards of actresses and actors. Its series included the S-series and the Rotary Photographic Series. For this post, we chose 12 delicate portraits of female stars of the British stage and the early British cinema.

Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys. British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 11843 Q. Photo: Talbot, Paris. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Isobel Elsom
Isobel Elsom. British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. S.37-1. Photo: Lallie Charles.

Fay Compton
Fay Compton. British postcard by Rotary Photo London, no. S.38-5. Photo: Rita Martin.

Gladys Cooper
Gladys Cooper. British postcard by Rotary Photo, London, no. S.97.3.

Madge Lessing
Madge Lessing. British postcard by Rotary, no. 167 h.

Eva, Decima, Bertha and Jessie Moore
Eva Moore and her sisters Decima, Bertha and Jessie Moore. British postcard in the Rotary Photographic Series, no. 1699 B. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Phyllis Dare, The Belle of Mayfair
Phyllis Dare. British postcard by Rotary Photo E.C., no. 4168 I. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play The Belle of Mayfair (1906).

Mabel Love
Mabel Love. British postcard by Rotary Photo E.C., no. 4337. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Constance Collier in Nero (1906)
Constance Collier. British postcard by Rotary Photo E.C., no. 4039 D. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play Nero (1906) with Constance Collier as Poppaea.

Ada Reeve
Ada Reeve. British postcard by Rotary Photo E.C., no. 4167 A. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield.

Zena Dare
Zena Dare. British postcard by Rotary Photo E.C., no. 4500 D. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. The postcard was sent by mail in 1907.

Lilian Hall-Davis
Lilian Hall-Davis. British postcard by Rotary Postcards E.C.

Sources: Grace's Guide, Postcard Collecting, and Ross Postcards.

It is Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

14 December 2017

Ciceruacchio (1915)

During the First World War, several countries started to make propaganda films. In Italy, Tiber Film produced the historical propaganda film Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915).

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: Among the turmoil of political passions and among the whispers of a heart overwhelmed by the idea of the Fatherland, he then passed his life.

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: The opulent Papal Court. Ciceruacchio (Gastone Monaldi) with Pius IX.

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: A sweet dream that became even sweeter reality.

Intended to raise anti-Austrians sentiment

Ciceruacchio/Martire del piombo austriaco (Martyr of Austrian bullets, 1915) was an Italian historical film by Emilio Ghione, dealing with victims of the Austrian occupation of Italy. The film was intended to raise anti-Austrians sentiment during the First World War when the Northwest part of Italy - the present province of Friuli - was still under Austrian occupation.

Ciceruacchio passed censorship on 22 June 1915, while a week earlier, on 18 June 1915, the film had its first night in Rome. Reputed stage actor Gastone Monaldi, famous for his dialect acting, played the lead of Ciceruacchio, and his partner Fernanda Battiferri played Annetta. Alberto Collo played their son. Ida Carloni Talli played as usual the mother, Brunetti’s mother in this case.

Angelo Brunetti, named Ciceruacchio, a Roman trader in cheese and wine, was much beloved by the Roman people, e.g. for his behaviour during the 1837 cholera plague. In a public performance in 1846 he thanked the pope Pius IX for releasing political prisoners, while in 1847 he pressed Pius IX to continue his policy of reform.

During the 1848 revolution he joined the Roman Republican forces and helped the Romans in the siege by the French. But when they were defeated in 1849, he fled with his sons Lorenzo and Luigi and hoped with Garibaldi and allies to liberate Venice from the Austrians. Instead they were betrayed by locals at Cesenatico and then arrested and executed by the Austrians on 10 August 1849.

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: People of Rome! Do you want to bend to slavery by the stranger? No! Do you want to swear with me to die for freedom? Yes! Yes!

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: The whole city is on fire; only the old and proud Trastevere still resists.

Little fat man

Emilio Ghione was a regular actor for Cines, Celio and Caesar in Rome, before he started to direct films in 1914. For a long time he was most remembered for his Za-la-Mort crime films at Tiber Film, in which he had the lead too. At Tiber he also made various - commissioned - historical propaganda films during the First World War, such as Oberdan (1915) starring Alberto Collo, and Ciceruacchio (1915).

Ciceruacchio (1915) was scripted by Emilio Calve. The plot mostly follows history. The papal police suspects Brunetti, aka Ciceruacchio (meaning little fat man), but when Pius IX hears about Brunetti's bravery during a flood, he gives him a special audience. Brunetti henceforth considers the pope Rome's saviour, while his republican friends think otherwise.

When the pope flees to Gaeta during the revolution, leaving the city to foreign oppressors, Cicueracchio becomes Rome's new leader, but he has to flee after the last stronghold, Trastevere, is conquered. He is betrayed and arrested in Rovigo, and executed with his son Luigi (Alberto Collo). In the film, Ghione suggests Brunetti was killed with only his eldest son, while in reality both sons and also several allies of Brunetti were killed with them.

Later, the story of Ciceruacchio would be filmed again in In nome del popolo sovrano (1990) by Luigi Magni, in which Nino Manfredi performed Brunetti. Ciceruacchio was also recreated in Camicie rosse (1952) by Goffredo Alesandrini and Francesco Rosi and returned in the recent mini-series Anita Garibaldi (2012).

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: The arrest of Angelo Brunetti named Ciceruacchio and his son. Gastone Monaldi as Cicueracchio and Alberto Collo as his son Luigi.

Italian postcard for Ciceruacchio (Emilio Ghione, 1915). Photo: Tiber Film. Caption: The most coward spirit of the Austrians, our eternal enemies, like always and still does confirm its cowardice.

Source: Denis Lotti (Emilio Ghione. L’ ultimo apache - Italian), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

13 December 2017

Suzanna Leigh (1945-2017)

On 11 December 2017, blonde British actress Suzanna Leigh (1945-2017) passed away. She was known for her film and television roles in the 1960s and 1970s, including Hammer horror films and a Hawaii musical with Elvis Presley.

Suzanna Leigh (1945-2017)
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscar Color S.A., Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 592.

Costumed as Madame Du Barry

Suzanna Leigh was born Sandra Eileen Anne Smith in 1945 in Belgrave (some sources say Berkshire), England. Her father was an auto engine manufacturer and professional gambler. Her mother’s a millionaire property developer. Her father died when she was six.

Leigh grew up in Berkshire (some sources say Belgravia, London), and later went to convent schools outside London. She began working in films while still a child, appearing as an extra in British productions. These included the romantic comedy The Silken Affair (Roy Kellino, 1956) starring David Niven and Geneviève Page, and the fantasy-musical Tom Thumb (George Pal, 1958). 7

She changed her name to Suzanna Leigh after entering film, after actress Vivien Leigh. A few years later, she was the star of the 13-episode French TV series, Trois étoiles en Touraine (Maurice Régamey, 1966), which every week featured Leigh, her racing car and a different male lead.

Planning to attend London's Opera Ball, costumed as Madame Du Barry, Leigh had a sedan chair made, along with costumes for five footmen who carried it (and her) through the streets of the city. American producer Hal B. Wallis saw newspaper photos of Leigh's elaborate stunt and imported the 20-year-old blonde to Hollywood.

Leigh's American film roles included a stewardess in the American bedroom farce Boeing Boeing (John Rich, 1965) starring Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis, and the love interest of Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Michael D. Moore, 1966). In 1966 her US career hit a snag when the Hollywood and English acting guilds got into a tangle, and she returned to England.

Elvis Presley, Suzanna Leigh
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Michael D. Moore, 1966) with Elvis Presley and Suzanna Leigh. Collection: Veronique3.

Richard Johnson (1927-2015)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. Photo: publicity still for Deadlier than the male (Ralph Thomas, 1967) with Richard Johnson and Suzanna Leigh.

The Kate Winslet of her Day

Back in England, Suzanna Leigh became the frail heroine in a couple of Hammer films such as The Lost Continent (Michael Carreras, 1968) with Eric Porter and Hildegard Knef, and Lust for a Vampire (Jimmy Sangster, 1971).

She also starred in the cult horror films The Deadly Bees (Freddie Francis, 1966) and The Fiend (Robert Hartford-Davis, 1972) with Ann Todd. In 1974 she starred as Amber in the musical comedy Son of Dracula (Freddie Francis, 1974) starring Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr.

Hester Lacey called Leigh in The Independent "the Kate Winslet of her day: a beautiful, feted young British actress who made it big in Hollywood. She lived a champagne lifestyle, mixed with the beautiful people and drove a Rolls Royce. She was presented to the Queen at a Royal Command Performance."

She met Tim Hue-Williams, to be the father of her daughter, Natalia, at Ascot in 1972. This led to a 10-year relationship which ended when Hue-Williams deserted her for a rich heiress, his best friend's fiancee, when Leigh was four months pregnant.

Her heydays were over and after a long and painful divorce, she retired to a small rented flat in a London suburb, with her daughter Natalia and her sheltie dog Sukie. She worked as an interior designer, gave etiquette lessons and sold the Encyclopedia Britannica at Heathrow Airport.

In 2000, she published the autobiography, Paradise, Suzanna Style. In 2015, she was a featured player in the American film, Grace of the Father (De Miller, 2015).

In September 2016, Suzanna Leigh was diagnosed with ‘stage-four’ liver cancer and she died on 11 December 2017.

Trailer Boeing Boeing (1965). Source: Classic Airliners & Vintage Pop Culture (YouTube).

Trailer Lust for a Vampire (1971). Source: kaijindaigo (YouTube).

Sources: Hester Lacey (The Independent), Tom Weaver (IMDb), Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia and IMDb.