27 May 2018

Marie Déa

French actress Marie Déa (1912-1992) became famous through two classics of the French cinema, Marcel Carné 's Les Visiteurs du Soir/The Devil's Envoys (1942) and Jean Cocteau's Orphée/Orpheus (1950).

Marie Déa
French postcard, no. 410. Photo: Discina.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 8. Photo: Pathé Cinema.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 8. Photo: Studio Paz.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil, no. 32. Photo: Discina, Paris.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Edit. Chantal, Rueil, no. 32 A. Photo: Discina, Paris.

No-nonsense and Gutsy

Marie Déa was born as Odette Alice Marie Deupès in Nanterre, France in 1912.

After completing a law studies she followed a drama course and began her career with small roles. In 1939 she appeared in the film Nord-Atlantique/North Atlantic (Maurice Cloche, 1939), which introduced her to the public.

In her next film Pièges/Personal Column (Robert Siodmak, 1939) she starred opposite Maurice Chevalier. In this excellent thriller, Déa plays an amateur detective, whose friend was a victim of a maniac who finds his preys through small ads.

James Travers at Films de France: “Marie Déa is impressive as the no-nonsense and gutsy Adrienne, a refreshing contrast to the feeble, two-dimensional screen heroines of the time. In many ways, Pièges is the template for the crime thriller which would become one of the most popular genres in French cinema in subsequent decades.”

Next she was the leading lady in Premier bal/First Ball (Christian-Jaque, 1941) opposite François Périer, Histoire de rire/Foolish Husbands (Marcel L’Herbier, 1941) with Fernand Gravey, and Le journal tombe à cinq heures/The newspaper falls at five o'clock (Georges Lacombe, 1942) starring Pierre Fresnay.

In 1942 she appeared in Les visiteurs du soir/The Devil's Envoys (Marcel Carné, 1942), one of the timeless masterpieces which came out of the fruitful collaboration between director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. The film was hailed as a major cinematographic achievement upon its release in 1942 and was one of the most popular films made under the Nazi Occupation.

In this tale set in the Middle Ages, Marie Déa plays a baron’s daughter with a pure heart who is lured from her fiancé by a handsome minstrel (Alain Cuny), who is sent by the devil. The minstrel is caught in his own trap and falls in love, and the couple then has to fight the devil.

At IMDb, DB Dumonteil writes: “During the German occupation, it was an alibi: the Devil was meant to represent Hitler and the two lovers the Resistance. But for the people at the time, their hints at French plight were so disguised - or else, it would have been banned by the censorship -, they only saw the escapist movie which they did need.”

Marie Déa and Maurice Chevalier in Pièges (1939)
German postcard. Photo: IFA. Publicity still for Pièges/Personal Column (Robert Siodmak, 1939) with Maurice Chevalier.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions E.C., Paris, no. 32. Photo: Pathé.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Ed. ChantaI, Rueil, Paris, no. 57. Photo: C.P.L.F.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 82. Photo: Studio Paz.

Magical and Entertaining

After the war, Marie Déa continued to play leading roles in French films, but most of them were quite mediocre. Interesting is the remake La maternelle (Henri Diamant-Berger, 1949), in which Déa played a headmistress of a kindergarten in poverty-stricken Ménilmontant. In Spain she appeared opposite Fernando Rey in Aventuras de Juan Lucas/Adventures of Juan Lucas (Rafael Gil, 1949).

Then she appeared in another classic of the French cinema, Jean Cocteau’s Orphée/Orpheus (1950), an update of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in post-war France. Déa played Eurydice to Jean Marais’ modern Orpheus.

RobertF97 at IMDb: "Writer-director Jean Cocteau turns the everyday world into a magical realm. Mirrors turn to pools which are portals to other worlds, car radios pick up coded messages from Death's World. In less talented hands than Cocteau's, the delicate fantasy could have easily become ridiculous but he handles it with brilliance and the film works perfectly. Here Cocteau creates a truly poetic film. The story is magical and entertaining and the film is filled with wondrously surreal images (particularly striking is the frequent use of filming an action performed backwards, and then reversing it which creates a very strange impression).”

During the 1950s, Déa only played incidentally supporting parts in films, such as in the comedy La jument verte/The Green Mare (Claude Autant-Lara, 1959) starring Bourvil.

During the following decade she was seen with Fernandel in L'assassin est dans l'annuaire/Assassin in the Phonebook (Léo Joannon, 1962), and in the crime drama Le glaive et la balance/The Sword and the Balance (André Cayatte, 1963) starring Anthony Perkins. During the 1960s and 1970s, she regularly worked for TV.

Among her later film appearances are Mariage/Marriage (Claude Lelouch, 1974) with Bulle Ogier, L'homme pressé/Man in a Hurry (Edouard Molinaro, 1977) starring Alain Delon, and Subversion (Stanislav Stanojevic, 1979).

In 1992, Marie Déa died accidentally after a fire in Paris. She was 79.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 82. Photo: Carlet.

Marie Déa
French postcard by SERP, Paris, no. 8. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Marie Déa
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 82. Photo: Ch. Vandamme, Les Mirages.

Marie Déa
French postcard. Photo: MGM.

Sources: James Travers (Films de France), DB Dumonteil (IMDb), Robert F87 (IMDb), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

26 May 2018

Carl Möhner

Handsome Austrian film actor Carl Möhner (1921–2005) appeared in over 40 films between 1949 and 1976, including the French gangster classic Du rififi chez les hommes/Rififi (1955).

Carl Möhner in Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorff, no. 1529. Photo: Indus / Prima-S.N. / Pathé / Schorcht. Publicity still for Du rififi chez les hommes/Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955).

Carl Möhner
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 65. Photo: Bayer.

Carl Möhner
German postcard by F.J. Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf. Photo: Gloria.

Perfect Robbery Goes Wrong

Carl Martin Rudolf Möhner (sometimes Karl Mohner) was born in Wien (Vienna), Austria, in 1921.

He visited the theatre school in his hometown in 1937 and went on to work in several German and Austrian theatres. World War II interrupted his career.

After the war he made his film debut in the drama Vagabunden/Vagabonds (Rolf Hansen, 1949) with Paula Wessely. Next he appeared in a supporting part in Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953), based on the popular children’s book by Erich Kästner.

In 1954 he had his breakthrough in Die Leitze Bruecke/The Last Bridge (Helmut Käutner, 1954) filmed in a manner resembling Italian neorealism. The film starring Maria Schell and Bernhard Wicki won the International Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was a commercial success.

During the following years Möhner had a busy international film career. Among his best known films are the classic French gangster film Du rififi chez les hommes/Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955) - one of the best ‘perfect robbery goes wrong’ films, and the WW II thriller Sink the Bismarck (Lewis Gilbert, 1960) in which he played the feared Captain Ernest Lindemann of the fabled German battleship Bismarck which had to be destroyed by the British navy.

In Germany he appeared in Wo die alten Wälder rauschen/Where the old forests rustle (Alfons Stummer, 1956) with Willy Fritsch, Die Geierwally/The Geierwally (Frantisek Cáp, 1956) opposite Barbara Rütting, and Weißer Holunder/Elder White (Paul May, 1957) with Germaine Damar.

In France he again appeared opposite Jean Servais in another fine thriller by Jules Dassin, Celui qui doit mourir/He Who Must Die (1957). In the UK he played in the hospital-set drama Behind the Mask (Brian Desmond-Hurst, 1958) with Vanessa Redgrave, and the war drama The Camp on Blood Island (Val Guest, 1958).

In Turkey, he wrote and directed Istanbul macerasi/The Istanbul Adventure (1958). He also appeared opposite Jayne Mansfield in the British crime drama The Challenge/It Takes a Thief (John Gilling, 1960).

Maria Schell and Carl Möhner in Die letzte Brücke (1954)
German collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Die Letzte Brücke/The Last Bridge (Helmut Käutner, 1954) with Maria Schell.

Carl Möhner
German postcard by Ufa, no. FK 1723. Photo: Kossler/Ringfilm.

Carl Möhner
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden/Westf., no. 2309. Photo: Gloria. Publicity still for Wo die alten Wälder rauschen//Where the old forests rustle (1956).

Campy Euro-trash

By the early 1960s, Carl Möhner began to dedicate himself to painting. Soon he had exhibitions in several European cities. In 1963 he won the gold medal in the IX Premio Internationale de Pittura San Vitto Romano.

Later on, he was awarded several times more. His style is characterised as ‘simple’ and ‘childlike innocent’.

In Italy he starred in the Peplum Il Crollo di Roma/The Fall of Rome (Antonio Margheriti aka Anthony M. Dawson, 1963).

Möhner also appeared in three Euro-Westerns: Jim il Primo/The Last Gun (Sergio Bergonzelli aka Serge Bergon, 1964) with Cameron Mitchell, L'uomo dalla pistola d'oro/The Man Who Came to Kill (Alfonso Balcázar, 1965), and 30 Winchester per El Diabolo/30 Winchesters for El Diablo (Frank G. Carroll, 1967).

He appeared in campy euro-trash as the shocker Cave of the Living Dead (Akos Rathonyi, 1965), the sexploitation classic Carmen, Baby (Radley Metzger, 1967), and Nazi-sexploiter Eine Armee Gretchen/She Devils of the SS (Erwin C. Dietrich, 1974) featuring Birgit Bergen.

His final film was the French drama Une Femme à Sa Fenetre/A Woman at her Window (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1976) starring Romy Schneider.

Then Möhner retired from the film business, and moved to Texas to work on his paintings. Carl Möhner died in McAllen, Texas from Parkinson's disease. He was 83. Since 1978, Möhner was married to Wilma Langhamer and they had two sons, Gunther and Gernot Möhner, who also worked as an actor.

Carl Möhner in Der Geierwally (1956)
German postcard by Kolibri Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf., no. 2322. Photo: Ostermayr / Unitas. Publicity still for Der Geierwally/Vulture Wally (Frantisek Cáp, 1956).

Carl Möhner
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 259. Photo: Bayer/Divina/Gloria.

Carl Möhner
German postcard distributed by Rodenstock-Sonnenbrille. Photo: Rodenstock/Roth. In his film Weisser Holunder/White Elder (1957) Carl Möhner wore Rodenstock sunglasses.

Sources: Carl Mohner Artist.com, Tom B. (Westerns All’Italiana), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

25 May 2018

Editions O.P.

French publisher Editions O.P., based in Paris, published postcards in two formats, as you can see below. The bigger formats were probably published before and during the war. After the war O.P. started counting again with the smaller formats. Most of the O.P. postcards were in black and white, but for this post we chose 15 hand-coloured gems.

Fernandel. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 9. Photo: Star.

Yves Montand
Yves Montand. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 11. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Josette Day
Josette Day. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 15. Photo: Star.

Edith Piaf
Édith Piaf. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 18. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret. French postcard by Editions O.P., no. 19. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Mireille Balin
Mireille Balin. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 23. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Jean-Pierre Aumont
Jean-Pierre Aumont. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris no. 45. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Odette Joyeux
Odette Joyeux. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 46. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Dita Parlo
Dita Parlo. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 46. Photo: Star.

Louise Carletti
Louise Carletti. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 53. Photo: Le Studio.

Edwige Feuillère
Edwige Feuillère. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 64. Photo: Star.

Jean Marais
Jean Marais. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 91. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Jules Berry
Jules Berry. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 103. Photo: Star.

Bijou. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 119. Photo: Star.

Madeleine Sologne
Madeleine Sologne. French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 210. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

This is - for now - the final post in our series on publishers of film star postcards.

Source: Mark Goffee (Ross Verlag).