16 August 2022

Oscar Beregi, Sr.

Hungarian stage and film actor Oscar Beregi, Sr. (1876-1965) appeared in 27 European and American films between 1916 and 1953. He is best remembered as Dr. Baum in Fritz Lang’s Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933).

Oscar Beregi Sr.
Hungarian postcard by L.D.F., Budapest, Series no. 1343.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
Hungarian postcard by S.S.Bpt., no. 235.

Oscar Beregi Sr. in Vier Nächte einder schönen Frau (1924)
Austrian postcard by Arenberg Verlag, Wien (Vienna), no 576. Photo: Rudo Film, Wien. Oscar Beregi Sr. in Vier Nächte einder schönen Frau/Four nights of a beautiful woman (Josef W. Beyer, 1924).

An attack on the aristocracy

Oscar Beregi, Sr. was born Beregi Oszkár or Oszkár Beregi (according to Wikipedia) or Berger Oszkár (according to IMDb) in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, in 1876.

In the 1910s, he was the leading actor in the National Theatre in Budapest, and would later perform in plays in Vienna and Berlin.

The sources differ about Beregi’s film debut in 1916. Was it with the lead role in the silent Hungarian production Mire megvénülünk/The time we get old (Ödön Uher ifj., 1916) or with the male lead in Hófehérke/Snowwhite (Márton Garas, 1916) with Ica von Lenkeffy?

A year later he starred in the drama A Gólyakalifa/The Stork Caliph (Korda Sándor a.k.a. Alexander Korda, 1917), co-starring Gyula Bartos and Judit Bánky. It was the second film made by the legendary director-producer for his newly established Corvin Film company. Korda pulled off what was considered a literary coup by persuading the author Mihály Babits to allow him to film a version of his 1916 novel of the same name.

Two years later, Beregi appeared in another drama by Korda, Ave Caesar! (Alexander Korda, 1919) with Gábor Rajnay and María Corda. The film tells the story of a debauched Habsburg Prince, who sends out one of his aides-de-camp to bring him back a gipsy girl.

Ave Caesar! was considered an attack on the aristocracy. It was made by Korda for the state-owned film industry during the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Once the regime fell later that year Korda was arrested and eventually compelled to leave Hungary as part of the White Terror.

Beregi also worked with another Hungarian who would later become famous in Hollywood, Mihaly Kertész (later known as Michael Curtiz), on the drama Jön az öcsém/My Brother is Coming (Mihaly Kertész, 1919) with Lucy Doraine.

Like many other Hungarian filmmakers, Oscar Beregi, Sr. fled with his family from the Béla-Kun-Regime and moved to Austria. There he appeared as Cesare Borgia in Meriota, die Tänzerin/Neriota – the dancer (Julius Herska, 1922) opposite Maria Mindzenty as Meriota and Nora Gregor as Lucrezia Borgia.

Later he played Amenmeses opposite María Corda in the epic Die Sklavenkönigin/The Moon of Israel (Mihaly Kertész, 1924), produced by Sascha Kolowrat-Krakowsky and Arnold Pressburger. The script was written by Ladislaus Vajda, based on H. Rider Haggard's novel Moon of Israel, which in its turn was inspired by the Biblical story of the Exodus.

The shooting took place in Vienna with about 5,000 extras, in the studios of Sascha-Film, and outdoors on the Laaer Berg. Vienna was touted as 'the Hollywood of Europe,' and the film brought Kertész to the attention of the American studio head Jack Warner. Warner invited Kertész to Hollywood in 1926, where he rapidly became Michael Curtiz and made a career with Warner Studios.

Die Sklavenkönigin was entirely lost for many years, but in 2005 the film was restored and re-copied by the Filmarchiv Austria and presented in the Wiener Metro Kino.

Beregi then starred in the drama Der Fluch/The Curse (Robert Land, 1924). The film marked the screen debut of Lilian Harvey as a young Jewish woman in an Eastern European shtetl, who struggles to reconcile her aspirations with her duty to her family. As her lifestyle grows wilder, her mother is shocked by her immoral behaviour and commits suicide by drowning - repeating ‘the curse’ which has haunted the family for centuries.

He also starred in the Austrian-Polish coproduction Ssanin (Friedrich Feher, 1924) with Magda Sonja and the Jewish production Jiskor (Sidney M. Goldin, 1924) with Maurice Schwartz and Dagny Servaes.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
German postcard by NPG. Photo: Mátrai, Budapest.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
Hungarian postcard. Photo: Mátrai, Budapest.

Oscar Beregi Sr. in Die Räuber
German postcard by Verlag Louis Blumenthal, Berlin, no. 3150. Photo: Becker & Maass. Oscar Beregi as Karl Moor in the play 'Die Räuber' (The Robbers) by Friedrich Schiller.

A menace to public health and safety

From 1926 on, Oscar Beregi, Sr. appeared in several Hollywood films, including the romantic comedies The Love Thief (John McDermott, 1926) and Butterflies in the Rain (Edward Sloman, 1926), with Laura La Plante.

He also had a supporting part in the silent drama The Flaming Forest (Reginald Barker, 1926) starring Antonio Moreno and Renée Adorée. The film is remarkable while a two-strip Technicolor sequence was shot for the climactic blaze sequence of the film.

When the sound film was introduced in Hollywood, Beregi’s possibilities as an actor were limited and he returned to Europe. He appeared there in several Hungarian films, but he is best remembered for his performance as Dr. Baum in Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse/The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933).

This German crime film is a sound sequel to Lang's silent film Dr. Mabuse der Spieler/Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (Fritz Lang, 1922) and features Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Dr. Mabuse who is in an insane asylum where he is found frantically writing his crime plans. When Mabuse's criminal plans begin to be implemented, Inspector Lohmann (Otto Wernicke) tries to find the solution with clues from the gangster Thomas, the institutionalized Hofmeister and Professor Baum (Beregi) who becomes obsessed with Dr. Mabuse.

According to Wikipedia, the film was scheduled for release on 24 March 1933 at the UFA-Palast am Zoo, but Adolf Hitler came to power at the end of January 1933 and on 14 March, Hitler established the new Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. By 30 March, the Ministry of Propaganda banned Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse as a menace to public health and safety. Goebbels stated that he would not accept the film as it "showed that an extremely dedicated group of people are perfectly capable of overthrowing any state with violence".

On the French release, The New York Times wrote that "It is the French version of Fritz Lang's production, Le Testament du Dr. Mabuse (Dr. Mabuse's Will). It is a hallucinating and horrifying story, depicted with great power and the extraordinary beauty of photography that Lang has led his admirers to expect."

During the Third Reich, he lived in Budapest. Because of the anti-Semitic laws of 1939, he was only allowed to work as a stage actor in Omike, and he just barely escaped the Holocaust.

In the late 1940s, he emigrated to the US where he played a supporting role in the Oscar-winning film Call Me Madam (Walter Lang, 1953) starring Ethel Merman.

Oscar Beregi, Sr. died in 1965 in Hollywood, California. He was the father of actor Oscar Beregi, Jr., who also worked as a film and TV actor in Hollywood.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
German postcard by Verlag Louis Blumenthal, Berlin, no. 3151. Photo: Becker & Maass. Oscar Beregi as Romeo in 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
German postcard by NPG, no. 1275 Photo: Angelo, Budapest, 1918.

Oscar Beregi Sr.
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5103. Photo: Willy Hoffmann.

Sources: Daniel Rudolf (Ralph’s Cinema Trek), Wikipedia (English and German), and IMDb.

15 August 2022

Margaret Leighton

Tall, reedy, thin-browed, light-haired Margaret Leighton (1922-1976) was a British award-winning theatre and film actress. She appeared with her future husband Michael Wilding in the Hitchcock film Under Capricorn (1949). She won two Tony Awards for Broadway performances as Best Actress (Dramatic): in 1957 for 'Separate Tables' and in 1962 for Tennessee Williams' 'The Night of the Iguana'. Leighton received an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award for her role in The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, 1971). She also won an Emmy Award for a 1970 television version of 'Hamlet'.

Margaret Leighton in The Elusive Pimpernel (1949)
Vintage card. Photo: London Films. Margaret Leighton in The Elusive Pimpernel (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1949).

Margaret Leighton
British Real Photograph postcard, no. F.S. 63. Caption: Lovely Margaret Leighton won universal praise for her part as Flora Macdonald in Bonnie Prince Charlie. She is now co-starring with David Niven in The Elusive Pimpernel, an Archer's production for London Films.

Stunning portrayals of neurotic, brittle matrons

Margaret Leighton was born in Barnt Green, Worchestershire, England, in 1922, the daughter of a businessman. Expressing an early desire to act, she quit school at age 15 and auditioned and joined Sir Barry Jackson's Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Becoming one of his star students, he hired her as a stage manager and offered her the small role of Dorothy in the stage play 'Laugh with Me' (1938). Thereby, the play marked her professional debut on stage. The play was immediately taken to BBC-TV, Laugh with Me (Herbert C. Prentice, 1938). During these productive repertory years, she involved herself in the classical plays by Chekov, Shakespeare, and Shaw.

In 1944, Margaret made her London debut for the Old Vic Company playing the daughter of the troll king in 'Peer Gynt'. Joining the company under the auspices of Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Ralph Richardson, she earned distinction as a classical stage actress. In 1946, she made her Broadway debut as the Queen in 'Henry IV', starring Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson during a visit of the Old Vic to the U.S. The company performed a total of five plays from its repertoire before returning to London.

The opulent actress with the strikingly odd, yet fascinating facial features stole more than a few plays and films away from the stars with her stunning portrayals of neurotic, brittle matrons. Her unique brand of sophisticated eccentricity went on to captivate both Broadway and London audiences with her many theatre offerings, particularly her portrayals of Celia Coplestone in 'The Cocktail Party (1950) and Orinthia in a revival of 'The Apple Cart' (1953). Her New York performance as Mrs. Shankland in Terence Rattigan's drama 'Separate Tables' (1956) earned her a Tony Award.

She returned to Broadway to play Beatrice in William Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' in 1959, before returning in 1962 as Hannah in 'The Night of the Iguana' and earning her second Best Actress Tony trophy. She would continue to return to Broadway throughout the 1960s with the plays 'Tchin-Tchin', 'The Chinese Prime Minister', 'Slapstick Tragedy' and the heralded production of 'The Little Foxes (1967)', first playing Birdie before taking over the role of Regina.

Margaret Leighton in A Midsummer Night's Dream
British postcard in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre series number 20. Photo: Angus McBean. Margaret Leighton as Ariel in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', Stratford-upon-Avon, 1952.

Alternating between films in London and Hollywood

During the 1950s and 1960s, Margaret Leighton would alternate between British and U.S. filming. She made her British debut as Catherine Winslow in Terrence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy (Anthony Asquith, 1948) starring Robert Donat. Then she co-starred opposite David Niven in the period biopic Bonnie Prince Charlie (Anthony Kimmins, 1948).

Hitchcock used her next in one of his lesser-known romantic crime films Under Capricorn (Alfred Hitchcock, 1949) before entangling herself in a romantic triangle with Celia Johnson and Noël Coward in The Astonished Heart (1950), which was both written and directed by Coward.

In the crime film Calling Bulldog Drummond (Victor Saville, 1951), Margaret plays a Scotland Yard sergeant who pulls the master sleuth (Walter Pidgeon) out of retirement to infiltrate a vicious gang together, while in the mystery crime drama, Home at Seven (Ralph Richardson, 1952), the touching drama The Holly and the Ivy (George More O'Ferrall, 1952) and the saucy comedy The Passionate Stranger (Muriel Box, 1957), she reunited with her Old Vic theatre mentor Sir Ralph Richardson.

Richardson was her frequent co-star on both stage and screen. She had played Roxane to his Cyrano in the 1946 London stage revival of 'Cyrano de Bergerac', one of Richardson's greatest stage successes.

Margaret married (1947) and divorced (1955) noted publisher Max Reinhardt (of Reinhardt & Evans), known for his collection of letters and photographs from playwright and novelist George Bernard Shaw. Her second husband would be actor Laurence Harvey who starred in the British crime thriller The Good Die Young (Lewis Gilbert, 1954) in which Margaret made a co-starring appearance as his abused wife. They would marry in 1957.

Margaret Leighton
Vintage card.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Margaret Leighton earned her first top cinematic billing as Helen Teckman in The Teckman Mystery (Wendy Toye, 1954) and reunited with David Niven in the military film Carrington V.C. (Anthony Asquith, 1954). Playing a Southern aristocrat in the U.S. filming of William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (Martin Ritt, 1959) starring Yul Brynner, she followed that in the 1960s with a co-starring part opposite Peter Sellers in the comedy Waltz of the Toreadors (John Guillermin, 1962) and an all-star American cast headed by Henry Fonda in the potent political drama The Best Man (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1964).

The black comedy The Loved One (Tony Richardson, 1965) and the dramatic 7 Women (John Ford, 1966), playing one of several ladies in peril at a Chinese mission, followed. Appearing in TV-movie versions of literary classics including 'Arms and the Man', 'As You Like It' and 'The Confidential Clerk', Margaret began to make guest appearances on TV programs such as 'Suspicion,' 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour', 'Playhouse 90', 'Ben Casey', 'Burke's Law', 'The F.B.I.', 'The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.' and 'Judd for the Defense', in addition to a recurring role on 'Dr. Kildare'.

Divorced from Laurence Harvey in 1961, Margaret's third and final marriage to actor Michael Wilding in 1964 was an enduring matchup. The couple went on to co-star in the period piece Lady Caroline Lamb (Robert Bolt, 1972) starring Sarah Miles. Other notable screen credits around that time include The Madwoman of Chaillot (Bryan Forbes, 1969) and the TV movie Great Expectations (Joseph Hardy, 1974) as Miss Havisham. Margaret would receive her only Oscar nomination for her support role in The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, 1971) starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates as Christie's manipulative, class-conscious mother.

In 1971, Margaret was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but didn't let it slow her down for quite some time. She continued to perform in such films as Zee and Co. (Brian G. Hutton, 1972) with Elizabeth Taylor, Bequest to the Nation (James Cellan Jones, 1973), and the TV horror offering Frankenstein: The True Story (Jack Smight, 1973).

By 1975 when she was no longer capable of walking, she continued to act giving an over-the-top comic performance in Trial by Combat (Kevin Connor, 1976). Her final TV performance was in the first season of Space: 1999 where she played Queen Arra in the episode "Collision Course. She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1974 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama. She breathed her last in 1976 in Chichester hospital in Chichester, Sussex, at the age of 56. Margaret Leighton had no children in any of her marriages.

Margaret Leighton
British autograph card.

Sources: Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Wikipedia (Dutch and English), and IMDb.

14 August 2022

Photo by Walery

Stanisław Julian Ignacy Ostroróg also known as Walery (1863-1929) was a Polish photographer active in London and Paris between 1890 and 1929. After inheriting his father's name and photographic studio in London, he continued with portraiture for about a decade until the turn of the century when he moved definitively to Paris. There he achieved celebrity as an innovator and accomplished photographer of cabaret stars and of the female form.

Josephine Baker
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition (CE), no. 531. Photo: Walery, Paris. Josephine Baker in La revue des revues/Parisian Pleasures (Joe Francis, 1927). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was well-known as a singer and dancer. In 1925 she became an instant success in Paris, because of her erotic dance. She also performed in a handful of silent and early sound films, La Sirene des Tropiques (1927), Zouzou (1934) and La princesse TamTam (1935).

Josephine Baker
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 967. Photo: Walery. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. You will notice a difference between this postcard and the previous one: a bra covering Josephine Bakers breasts. Italian editor Traldi chose to censor Josephine’s nakedness and print a retouched photo, possibly in a bout of prudery?

John Martin Harvey
British postcard by Beagles Postcards, no. 707 C. Photo: Ellis & Walery. Publicity still for the stage play 'The Only Way'.

British Actor-manager Sir John Martin Harvey (1863-1944) was one of the last great romantic actors in the English theatre. His most famous play was 'The Only Way' (1899), an adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'. 25 years later, he also featured in the film version, as well as in a few other silent and sound films.

George Alexander
British postcard by J. Beagles & Co, London, no. 515 S. Photo: Ellis & Walery.

Sir George Alexander (1858-1918) was an English actor and theatre manager. One of his most famous stage roles was in 'The Prisoner of Zenda' by Anthony Hope, which premiered in 1896.

Matheson Lang
British postcard by Rotary, no. 1212C. Photo: Ellis & Walery. Publicity still for the play 'The Devil's Disciple' (1907).

Tall and good-looking Matheson Lang (1879-1948) was a Canadian-born stage and film actor and playwright in the early 20th century. He is best known for his Shakespearean roles in British productions of 'Hamlet', 'Macbeth', and 'Romeo and Juliet' and for his role as Mr. Wu. He was one of the first major stars of the British theatre who acted in a silent film and during the 1920s, he became a popular film star in Great Britain.

A Regent Street studio

Stanisław Julian Ignacy Ostroróg was born in 1863 in London into a family of political emigrants of Polish noble descent. He was the eldest child of Count Stanisław Julian Ostroróg, a British subject and his Polish wife, Teodozja Waleria, née Gwozdecka. His father was born in the Russian Partition of what had once been the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, not long after the November uprising of 1830 which led to severe repression of the insurgents, of which the family had been part.

After the war, his father settled in London and was granted citizenship in 1862 and married. After the birth of Stanisław junior, the family headed to Marseille to set up a photographic studio. In 1866 the family were back in Warsaw, but the following year after the death of the second son, they left for Paris in time for the birth of the third son, Leon. There Ostroróg senior resumed his successful photographic career under the brand name "Walery" (without an accent), in honour of his wife's first name.

In 1878 his creditor's financial difficulties forced him to give up trading and the family moved back to London in 1880. He opened a Regent Street studio where Stanisław junior was eventually to join his father.

Although born in England, Stanisław junior was sent to Poland, presumably to relatives, to learn Polish while his parents returned to France where his father developed his photographic career. In 1871, during the Paris Commune, he was sent there for his schooling. During that period, his parents divorced and his father remarried. At around 18 years of age and following family tradition, he obtained a commission in the army, only this time in the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. This was short-lived as he evinced an interest in his father's business and resigned from the army.

At his father's insistence, he went to Paris for two years to study the techniques of photography, including portraiture. He returned to England to rejoin his father, who by then was enjoying great success and found he was not needed in the studio and so accepted a proposal to go to Mexico for a year helping in the construction of a railway and opening up a colony. He spent the next few years travelling with a camera and survey instruments in Africa, to places like Natal and Zululand. The sudden death of his father from an aneurism brought him back to London, where he took over the management of his father's studio in 1890.

Eva Moore and Graham Browne
British postcard by J. Beagles & Co., London, no. 1408. Photo: Ellis & Walery.

English actress Eva Moore (1870–1955) had a career on stage and in the film which spanned six decades. She was active in the women's suffrage movement, and from 1920 on she appeared in over two dozen films.

H.B. Irving and Dorothea Baird in The Lyons Mail (1905)
British postcard by J. Beagles & Co., London, no. 747 E. Photo: Ellis and Walery. Publicity still for the stage production of The Lyons Mail (1905).

The play 'The Courier of Lyons' (1854) by Charles Reade was a very popular stage work of the Victorian era. A respectable French gentleman is mistaken for his doppelganger, a notorious highwayman. The double roles of the villain Dubosc and the hero Lesurques had been previously played by Henry Irving and, after his death, were taken on by his son, H.B. Irving. His stage version of The Lyons Mail was in 1916 turned into a British silent film with Irving again as Lesurques / Dubosc, but now without his wife Dorothea Baird in the cast. The film version was directed by Fred Paul and produced by the Ideal Film Company, one of the leading British silent film studios.

John Martin Harvey in The Breed of the Treshams
British postcard. Photo: Ellis & Walery. Publicity photo for a stage production of 'The Breed of the Treshams'.

John Martin Harvey played Reresby 'the Rat' in many stage productions between 19003 and 1934 as well as in the film The Breed of the Treshams (Kenelm Foss, 1920) with Mary Odette.

George Alexander
British postcard by J. Beagles & Co., Ltd., Printers & Publishers, no. 516 B. Photo: Ellis & Walery. Publicity photo for a stage production of 'The Prisoner of Zenda'.

Sir George Alexander (1858-1918) was an English actor and theatre manager. One of his most famous stage roles was in 'The Prisoner of Zenda' by Anthony Hope, which premiered in 1896.

H.B. Irving
British postcard by J. Beagles & Co., no. 273 L. Photo: Ellis & Walery. Photo: publicity still for the stage production of 'The Lyons Mail' (1905) with Irving as Lesurques.

H.B. Irving (1870-1919) was a British stage actor and actor-manager. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Irving. Despite his many roles on stage and in the silent cinema, Irving is now best known for 'A Book of Remarkable Criminals' (1918), which he wrote as a legal expert.

A Paris studio in rue de Londres

Stanisław Ostroróg junior was inspired to learn photographic techniques by his photographer father. He had worked briefly alongside him in the London studio named after his mother, Walery Ltd. After his father's death, however, he found the business side a struggle and soon went into partnership with the ambitious young English theatrical photographer, Alfred Ellis (1854–1930) and began trading as Ellis & Walery from new premises in Baker Street until 1908.

For four years between 1890 and 1894, he worked on developing a Heliogravure process for the reproduction of art, although that did not produce the results he desired until much later in Paris. In the meantime, he continued with portraits of society people including royalty as his father had done earlier. The NPG records that Walery, father and son, is associated with 197 portraits, including comedian Dan Leno and King George V, while Ellis has 180 portraits to his name, mainly of "theatrical royalty". They appear to have kept their authorship and sitters separate while sharing studio facilities.

Around 1900, Stanisław Ostroróg opened a Paris studio on his own account, in his father's former premises, at 9bis rue de Londres, where initially he specialised in theatre and cabaret artists including Mata Hari and produced Cabinet cards. As his French business prospered he gave up his London interest in 1908. His Parisian clients included the Folies Bergères, the Société de Géographie, the salons de peintures, and a series for Les Grandes Figures médicales contemporaines. He was the official photographer for the 1912 Russian Season in Paris.

In the 1920s he focused on Art Photography and experimented with the figure of the model, entirely eschewing aspects of background and other perquisites. During this period he used the pseudonym "Laryew" and under that name produced a book of 100 heliogravures, entitled Nus – Cent Photographies Originales. He achieved the greatest acclaim with his series of photographs of Josephine Baker, published in 1926. He also produced studies of the female nude destined for anatomy and art students.

Stanisław Ostroróg married Joyce Audrey Rede Fowke (1877–1930), a granddaughter of Sir Henry Cole, in 1897 in Chelsea. They had four children, Francis who died in infancy, Stanislaus John, Joyce and Sally. During his career, he used numerous pseudonyms such as Lucien Waléry, Stanislas Walery, Laryew or Yrelaw (an anagram of Walery), the latter two perhaps to conceal a production of pictures of an erotic nature. Stanisław Julian Ignacy Ostroróg died in Paris in 1929. After his death, the studio was taken over by Charles Auguste Varsavaux (1866-1935).

Mayol and Arlette Dorgère in Cinderella (1906)
French postcard. Photo: Walery, Paris. Mayol as Dandy and Arlette Dorgère as Prince Charming in the stage production 'Cinderella' (1906) at Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris. Caption: en route.

Félix Mayol (1872-1941) was a popular French singer of the Belle Epoque. He became a success in Paris in 1895 as a singer performing in a campy, effeminate way. His hair tassel inspired many imitators. In 1905, he performed at Gaumont in 14 phonoscènes under the direction of Alice Guy.

Gaby Deslys
French postcard by Étoile, Série no. 677 - Th. 50. Papier Guileminot. Photo: Walery, Paris. Caption: la Theatre Marigny.

French dancer and actress Gaby Deslys (1881-1920) (aka Gaby Delys) was an internationally celebrated - and notorious - star of the early 20th Century. She was famous for her extravagant clothes, jewels, and millinery. She had many admirers, most notably King Manuel II of Portugal, and during World War I, she reportedly worked as a spy for the French government. Before her tragic early death, she also made a series of silent films.

Georges Milton in L'auberge du cheval blanc
French postcard by Editions P-C, Paris, no. 114. Photo: Walery, Paris. Georges Milton sang the one-step march 'Adieu... Adieu...' (Adieu, mon petit officier) in the stage operetta 'L'auberge du cheval blanc' (The White Horse Inn). Text by René Dorin and music by Robert Stolz (music). Copyright: Alrobi, Berlin / Editions Salabert, Paris, in 1930.

Georges Milton (1886-1970) was a French singer and actor. With his daring, merry songs Milton expressed the atmosphere of the French roaring twenties. He peaked in the French cinema of the 1930s as the character Bouboule.

Georges Wague
French postcard by Editions artistique de Walery. Photo: Walery, Paris. Publicity still for the play 'Giska la Bohémienne' (1908) by Ed. Leroy.

Georges Wague (1874-1965) was a French mime, teacher and silent film actor. Between 1907 and 1922 he also performed in more than forty films. He started his film career with the silent film L'Enfant prodigue/The Prodigal Son (Michel Carré, 1907), where he played a Pierrot. His last film performance was in Faust (Gérard Bourgeois, 1922).

Josephine Baker
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5293. Photo: Walery, Paris.

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was well-known as a singer and dancer. In 1925 she became an instant success in Paris, because of her erotic dance. She also performed in a handful of silent and early sound films, La Sirene des Tropiques (1927), Zouzou (1934) and La princesse TamTam (1935).

Sources: Wikipedia (French and English).