20 March 2019

Line Renaud

Line Renaud (1928), is a French singer, stage and screen actress, and AIDS activist. In 1946 Renaud started acting in film and still does so. Her singing skills were often at the heart of her roles. Renaud’s best known film is Dany Boon's comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (2008). This comedy lead to several new roles.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 196. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Line Renaud
French promotion card by Publicis / Pathé Marconi. Photo: Sam Lévin.

The Commander


Line Renaud was born Jacqueline Enté in Pont-de-Nieppe in the north of France in 1928. Her father was a truck driver, her mother a steno typist. Because of her father's activity as a trumpeter in the local brass band, she got into contact with music. At age seven, she won an amateur contest. During the Second World War, her father was mobilised and prisoner of war for five years, so she was raised by her her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Her girlfriends called her "the commander" because she knew what she wanted and you always had to listen to her. Having failed at the age of 14 in the Primary School Certificate, she was spotted at the entrance examination at the Lille Conservatory: the very evening of her audition, the director of Radio-Lille suggested that she joined his orchestra.

The 16-years-old made herself known under the name of Jacqueline Ray, singing the songs of well-known composer Louis 'Loulou' Gasté. She moved to Paris in 1945 and landed her first engagement at the Folies-Belleville.

Through Josette Daydé, she met her songwriter 'Loulou' Gasté, twenty years older than her. He became her mentor and made her take a new stage name. She chose Renaud, borrowing from her grandmother Marguerite Renard her surname, and changing one letter. In 1947, she recorded 'Ma cabane au Canada', which received the Grand Prix du Disque in 1949. In 1950, she married Loulou Gasté, who remained her husband until his death in 1995.

Line Renaud continued her success with titles such as 'Étoile des neiges' (1950), 'Ma p'tite folie' (1952), 'Mademoiselle d'Armentières' (1952), and 'Le Chien dans la vitrine' (1952) whose barking was done by the famous French voice-over Roger Carel, as he explained during his visit to the Tribunal des flagrants délires in 1980.

Line Renaud
French postcard. Photo: Sam Lévin. Editions du Globe, Paris, No. 146.

Johnny Hallyday's godmother


In 1954 Line Renaud sang at the Moulin Rouge, collecting several prizes that year, causing Edith Piaf's jealousy. At the Moulin Rouge, she met Bob Hope.  She left for the United States, and subsequently appeared in five episodes of The Bob Hope Show in the US. During this trip, she also sang at the theatres of New York and Los Angeles, and at the Ed Sullivan Show. In a duet with Dean Martin, she sang 'Relaxez-vous' as ‘Relax ay voo’. At the end of 1955, she was the first French singer to sing a Rock and Roll song: 'Tweedle Dee' by Lavern Baker.

In 1959, she became a revue leader at the Casino de Paris, then she was engaged in Dunes, a casino in Las Vegas between 1963 and 1965. She also sang in London. Frequenting Nate Jacobson, the founder of Caesar’s Palace at Las Vegas, and her lover for 18 years, she was also involved in the creation of this hotel-casino in terms of decoration and the auditorium.

In April 1960, she became Johnny Hallyday's godmother for his first television appearance on Aimée Mortimer's show L'école des vedettes. In the 1970s, she presented on television the 'Line Directe' show. In the same decade, she was the producer of Tony Bennett's shows for the Kings Castle in Las Vegas.

In the 1980s, she produced the television show Telle est Line on Antenne 2, and began a theatre career. In the same decade, she sang 'Le Soir' with Dalida, of whom she was a very close friend.

In the 1990s, while the casino hotel Paris Las Vegas was planned, she contacted the mayor of Paris Jean Tibéri, in order to authorise the construction of a replica of the Eiffel Tower on the building. She became artistic director of the establishment and invited Catherine Deneuve and Charles Aznavour for the inauguration in 1999, while singing on stage with Michel Legrand.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 350. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

A Street in Las Vegas


In 1985, Line Renaud created l'Association des Artistes Contre le Sida and organised televised art events which enabled her to raise funds for helping AIDS scientific research in France. She is the vice-president of the association Sidaction. In 2009, she condemned the statements of Pope Benedict XVI, who claimed condoms promoted behaviour which causes AIDS.

Renaud was president of the jury of the Miss France 2009 election. Ten years later, December 2018, she renewed the experience by presiding the jury of Miss France 2019.

After thirty years of absence, she returned to singing and recorded a new album, entitled 'Rue Washington' (2010), in reference to the recording studio Labomatic located in this street. Directed by Dominique Blanc-Francard, the album includes two duets, the first with Johnny Hallyday, 'Un monde merveilleux', a cover of 'What a Wonderful World', the second with Mylène Farmer, 'C'est pas l'heure', with words by Farmer and music by Laurent Boutonnat. Famous names such as Julien Clerc, Michel Delpech, and Salvatore Adamo, collaborated on this project.

The song 'Torrents d'amour' from the album ranked 24th in the bestseller list at its release in November 2010. On 24 and 25 May 2011, Line Renaud performed for the first time in her career, at the Olympia in Paris.

In October 2017, she opened a street bearing her name in Las Vegas. The path, located near the mythical Strip, the gigantic artery that runs through the city, provides access to a secondary entrance to the casino Caesars Palace. The Line Renaud Road is not far from the streets bearing the names of his friends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions du Globe, no. 218. Photo: Teddy Piaz, Paris.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 362. Photo: Ch. Vandamme, Paris.

The daughter of the local bar owner


In 1946, Line Renaud started acting in films and she still does so. Her singing skills were often at the heart of her roles. Her first part was that of the singer singing 'Tant que tu m'aimeras' in La Foire aux chimères/Devil and the Angel (Pierre Chenal, 1946), starring Madeleine Sologne and Erich von Stroheim.

She had a small part in Une belle garce/A beautiful bitch (Jacques Daroy, 1948) featuring Ginette Leclerc, and played herself in the documentary Au fil des ondes/Over the waves (Pierre Gautherin, 1951).

Renaud became the star of Ils sont dans les vignes/They are in the vineyards... (Robert Vernay, 1952), a musical comedy about a salesman of a non-alcoholic drink, who tries to set up market right in the Burgundy wine area. Renaud is the daughter of the local bar owner and the love interest of the salesman.

In addition to playing herself in more films of the 1950s, she again played the daughter of the local bar owner in La Madelon (Jean Boyer, 1955), in which she has to fight the too brash soldiers during the First World War, but she is a tough girl, so she manages. They go wild for her song 'Madelon', which becomes a kind of hymn to them.

In the police comedy Mademoiselle et son gang/Mademoiselle and her gang (Jean Boyer, 1957), Renaud played the daughter of a police inspector, who under pseudonym writes crime novels, but then gets into trouble with real gangsters. In 1959, she played in another comedy, L’Increvable/The Indestructible (Jean Boyer, 1959) with Darry Cowl as a barman in love with his boss’s wife (Renaud), deciding to draw up a life insurance in favour of his beloved, an act which becomes known.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 52. Photo: Teddy Piaz.

Mothers and grandmothers


After a gap of almost two decades, Renaud returned to the film set with La Folle journée ou le mariage de Figaro (Roger Coggio, 1988). She now played roles of mothers and grandmothers. She alternated comedies such as Ripoux contre ripoux/My New Partner II (Claudi Zidi, 1990) with Philippe Noiret, and Ma femme me quitte/My Woman Is Leaving Me (Didier Kaminka, 1995) with drama such as J’ai sommeil/I Can't Sleep (1994) by Claire Denis, based on the true story of a killer of old ladies who was active in the North of France from the late 1980s. Renaud played a supporting part as hotel owner who teaches self-defense to old ladies.

For her supporting part in the comedy Belle-maman/Step mother (Gabriel Aghion, 1999), starring Vincent Lindon and Catherine Deneuve, Renaud received a César Nomination in 2000. In Coline Serreau’s comedy-drama Chaos (2001), she is the mother-in-law of the protagonist Helen (Catherine Frot), earning her a second César nomination.

After Serreau’s film 18 ans après/18 Years Later (Coline Serreau, 2003), the sequel to Trois hommes et un couffin/Three Men and a Cradle (Coline Serreau, 1985), Renaud appeared in the Claude Lelouch comedy Le Courage d'aimer/The Courage to Love (2005), followed by the comedy La Maison du bonheur/The House of Happiness(Dany Boon, 2006), based on the same play as the classic Mr. Blandings builds his Dream House (H.C. Potter, 1948).

Renaud’s nationally and internationally best known film is Dany Boon’s Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis/Welcome to the Sticks (2008). This comedy, directed and co-scripted by Boon, with Kad Merad and himself in the lead, focuses on a cheating post office director (Merad) forced to move to a little city in the North of France. This region is badly considered in the rest of France, for its heavy dialect, its limited cuisine, its bad weather, and alcoholism. The post man discovers it is not that bad in the end.

The film broke records in France, started tourism towards the North, and inspired an Italian remake. Renaud played the mother of the local hero, Antoine (Boon). Boon himself exploited his success and the North discovery with his comedy La Ch'tite Famille/The Stick Family (2018), with Renaud again playing his mother. It was her third part in a film by Dany Boon.

Line Renaud also appeared in the cruise ship comedy La Croisière/The Cruise (Pascale Pouzadoux, 2011) as an old lady who smuggles her dog aboard, and she regularly acts in TV series and films. A new tragicomedy with Renaud, Let's Dance (Ladislas Chollat, 2019) is set to appear this year.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 52. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Line Renaud
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 196. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Sources: Wikipedia (French, English and German) and IMDb.

19 March 2019

Pratertraum (1924)

Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924) is one of the typical melodramas in which Henny Porten starred during the 1920s. It is partly situated in the Prater, an amusement park in Vienna which includes the Wiener Riesenrad, a Ferris wheel known from The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949).

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/2. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/2. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/3. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten and Claire Lotto in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).


Dark Clouds above the marriage of Countess Annemarie


Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924) is about the sisters Annemarie (Henny Porten) and Franzi (Claire Lotto), who both earn their living as seamstresses in Vienna. Their brother Martin (Carl de Vogt) works as a sailor.

One day, Annemarie meets Count Rynon (Ossip Runitsch) in the Prater, who actually marries her despite all the differences in class. Franzi finds her luck with the locomotive driver Fritz (Johannes Riemann) and becomes his wife.

Soon, however, dark clouds draw on the marriage sky of Countess Annemarie. Marquis de Monroir (Angelo Ferrari), a friend of the Count, tries hard to tie her up with him but is regularly rejected by her. When Franzi visits Annemarie at home, the nobleman tries his luck with her. He hands her a precious piece of jewelry, whereupon Martin reacts very angrily.

The marriages of the two sisters now threaten to break up. In order to make the annoying applicant change his opinion about the married sisters, their brother Martin seeks a conversation with the intrusive. The next day, however, the Marquis is found dead.

Annemarie is suspected of the murder, but it turns out, an unfortunate accident has led to the death of the Marquis. Finally, the two couples reconcile again.

The exteriors of Pratertraum were shot at the Prater amusement park in Vienna and and the Wachau valley in Lower Austria. The film's art direction was by Otto Erdmann and Hans Sohnle. The film was released in November 1924.

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/4. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/5. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).

Henny Porten in Pratertraum (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 694/6. Photo: Atlantic Film / Westi Film. Henny Porten and Angelo Ferrari in Pratertraum/Prater. Die Erlebnisse zweier Nähmädchen (Peter Paul Felner, 1924).

Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

18 March 2019

Colleen Moore

American actress Colleen Moore (1899-1988) was a star of the silent screen who appeared in about 100 films beginning in 1917. During the 1920s, she put her stamp on American social history, creating in dozens of films the image of the wide-eyed, insouciant flapper with her bobbed hair and short skirts.

Colleen Moore
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 212. Photo: First National Pictures.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3683/3, 1928-1929. Photo: First National Pictures.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3469/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Defina / First National Pictures.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3862/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Defina / First-National-Film.

Colleen Moore and Antonio Moreno in Synthetic Sin (1929)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4943/1, 1929-1930. Photo: First National Pictures / Defina. Publicity still for Synthetic Sin (William A. Seiter, 1929) with Antonio Moreno.

Colleen Moore
British Real Photograph postcard.

Colleen was on her way


Colleen Moore was born Kathleen Morrison in Port Huron, Michigan in 1899 (the date which she insisted was correct in her autobiography 'Silent Star' was 1902). Her father was an irrigation engineer and his job was good enough to provide the family a middle-class environment.

She was educated in parochial schools and studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory. As a child she was fascinated with films and stars such as Marguerite Clark and Mary Pickford and kept a scrapbook of those actresses.

By 1917 she was on her way to becoming a star herself. Her uncle, Walter C. Howey, was the editor of the Chicago Tribune and had helped D.W. Griffith make his films The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) more presentable to the censors. Knowing of his niece's acting aspirations, Howey asked Griffith to help her get a start in the film industry.

No sooner had she arrived in Hollywood than she found herself playing in five films that year, The Savage (Rupert Julian, 1917) being her first. Her first starring role was as Annie in Little Orphant Annie (Colin Campbell, 1918).

Colleen was on her way. She also starred in a number of B-films and in Westerns opposite Tom Mix, like The Wilderness Trail (Edward LeSaint, 1919) and The Cyclone (Clifford Smith, 1920).

Colleen Moore
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 178. Photo: Melbourne Spurr.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 731/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Transocean-Film-Co., Berlin.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 731/2, 1925-1926. Photo: Transocean-Film-Co., Berlin.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 896/2, 1925-1926. Photo: First National Pictures, New York.

Colleen Moore in The Desert Flower (1925)
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 565-1. Photo: First-National-Film. Publicity still for The Desert Flower (Irving Cummings, 1925).

Colleen Moore in The Desert Flower (1925)
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 565-2. Photo: First-National-Film. Publicity still for The Desert Flower (Irving Cummings, 1925).

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1184/1, 1927-1928. Photo: First National Pictures.

The inventor of the 'flapper' look


The film which defined Colleen Moore  as the inventor of the 'flapper' look was Flaming Youth (John Francis Dillon, 1923), in which she played Patricia Fentriss. Her Dutch bob in the film was soon copied by hairdressers across America and her air of an emancipated young woman inspired countless imitations.

In 1923, she married the first of her four husbands, Frank McCormick, production head of First National Pictures, later part of Warner Brothers. There followed such films as The Perfect Flapper (John Francis Dillon, 1924), The Desert Flower (Irving Cummings, 1925), Ella Cinders (Alfred E. Green, 1926) and Her Wild Oat (Marshall Neilan, 1927).

By 1927 she was the top box-office draw in the US, making $12,500 a week. Her second husband was a New York broker, Albert F. Scott. Moore put her money into the stock market, making very shrewd investments. She took a hiatus from acting between 1929 and 1933, just as sound film was introduced. Her four sound pictures released in 1933 and 1934 were not financial successes. Moore then retired permanently from screen acting. Her final film role was as Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (Robert G. Vignola, 1934).

In 1937 she married her third husband, Homer Hargrave, again a stockbroker, and ended her film career. After she retired she wrote two books on investing and she travelled widely, frequently to China.At 83, she married her fourth husband, builder Paul Maginot. In 1988, Colleen Moore died of an undisclosed ailment in Paso Robles, California. She was 88. At the time of her death she was writing a novel, a Hollywood murder mystery centred around a Mae West type.

Tragically, approximately half of Moore's films are now considered lost. Of her most celebrated film, Flaming Youth (1923), only one reel survives. Antti Alanen in his Film Diary: "She herself valued her work, guarded the nitrate reels, and in 1944 deposited them with the Museum of Modern Art Film Department, trusting that they would safeguard them in the way that they had conserved the work of Griffith and Fairbanks. In the 1950s she went back, only to discover that the First National films had gone. What had happened in between has produced a complex web of evasive myth and individual blame, too late and still too contentious to exhume."

Antti Alanen: "For decades, Why be Good? and Synthetic Sin were thought to be lost films. They were rediscovered through the perseverance of film historian Joseph Yranski and Ron Hutchinson of the Vitaphone Project. The search began many years ago when Joseph interviewed Colleen Moore, who told him that a copy of the film survived in an Italian film archive. Ron Hutchinson was able to find the 16" Vitaphone discs containing the soundtrack of Why Be Good?, and the task of locating the missing picture began. Gian Luca Farinelli of the Cineteca di Bologna contacted Matteo Pavesi of Cineteca Italiana di Milano, who graciously allowed access to the 35mm nitrate dupe negatives for the restoration of both pictures at L’Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna, in conjunction with Warner Bros.”"

Why Be Good? had its re-premiere at the Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna in 2014. Synthetic Sin's re-premiere followed in 2015 during the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone.

Colleen Moore
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5855. Photo: First National-Film.

Colleen Moore
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 311.

Colleen Moore as Madame Butterfly.
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 572. Photo: Roman Freulich /First National. The photo was specially posed for Motion Picture magazine in 1928.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1184/21, 1927-1928. Photo: First National Pictures.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1871/1, 1927-1928. Photo: First National Pictures / Fanamet.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3298/1, 1928-1929. Photo: E.O. Hoppé.

Gary Cooper and Colleen Moore in Lilac Time (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4365/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Defina / First National. Publicity still for Lilac Time (George Fitzmaurice, 1928) with Gary Cooper.

Colleen Moore in Oh Kay! (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4366/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Defina / First-National-Film. Publicity still for Oh Kay! (Mervyn LeRoy, 1928).

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4560/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Defina / First National.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4560/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Defina / First National Pictures.

Colleen Moore
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5188/1, 1930-1931. Photo: First National / Defina.

Colleen Moore and Neil Hamilton in Why Be Good (1929)
British postcard, no. 9. Photo: First National Pictures. Colleen Moore and Neil Hamilton in Why Be Good? (William A. Seiter, 1929).

Sources: Glenn Fowler (The New York Times), Denny Jackson (IMDb), Antti Alanen (Antti Alanen: Film Diary) Ed Stephan (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.