08 December 2011

Ann Smyrner

Danish actress Ann Smyrner (1934) was the glamorous star of more than 50 European B-films of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The blonde sex bomb spent most of her screen career in Germany. After appearing in several sex comedies, she retired and started to study theology.

Ann Smyrner
German postcard by WS Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 118. Photo: Hansa-Film.

Ann Smyrner
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden-Wetsf, no. 2909. Photo: Hansa-Film/Deutsche Film-Hansa. Publicity still for Von allen geliebt/Of All Loved (1957, Paul Verhoeven).

The Best BAD Movie Ever Made
Hanne Smyrner was born in 1934 in Frederiksborg, Denmark. Her father, Poul Smyrner, had an acting school in Aarhus; her mother was a concert singer. She started her career in the Theater of Aarhus. At 22 she went to Munich, Germany. In 1957 she made her film debut in Von Allen Geliebt/Of All Loved (1957, Paul Verhoeven) with Magda Schneider and Johannes Heesters. That same year she was chosen among a thousand girls to play the title role opposite Adrian Hoven in the crime comedy Lilli - ein Mädchen aus der Großstadt/Lilli – a Girl from the Big City (1958, Hermann Leitner), based on a comic strip from the boulevard daily Bild. She was presented as a blonde sex bomb in this film and that image stuck with her. Next she was the threat to the love interest of Caterina Valente in Hier bin ich, hier bleib' ich/ Here I Am, Here I Stay (1959, Werner Jacobs), a Schlagerfilm with a guest appearance of Bill Haley and His Comets. In 1960 she became the female lead in the American-Danish Monster film Reptilicus (1961, Poul Bang, Sidney W. Pink), when actress Nora Hayden refused second billing and walked out on the production. This curious Fantasy film by American director Sidney W. Pink about the regeneration of a prehistoric reptile was shot in the botanical garden of Copenhagen. According to the reviewer on IMDb Reptilicus is "without a doubt the best BAD movie ever made". Smyrner appeared in another Fantasy epic by Pink, Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962), starring John Agar. She played one of her better roles as a woman in love in the Austrian 'sachtertorte' Romanze in Venedig/Romance in Venice (1962, Eduard von Borsody) with Walter Reyer.

Ann Smyrner
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden-Westf., no. 423. Photo: Kolibri/Enzwieser.

Ann Smyrner
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 3308. Photo: Rapid/Union. Publicity still for Die Insel der Amazonen/Seven Daring Girls (1960, Otto Meyer).

Ann Smyrner
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 1898, 1963. Retail price: 0,20 DM.

Ann Smyrner
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 3124. Photo: Brigitte Dittner/Deutsche Film Hansa (DFH). Publicity still for Himmel, Amor und Zwirn/Heaven, Cupid and Linen Thread (1960, Ulrich Erfurth).

In 1963 Ann Smyrner started a much publicized affair with co-star Lex Barker while filming the adventure film Das Todesauge von Ceylon/Scarlet Eye (1963, Gerd Oswald, Giovanni Roccardi). She again co-starred with him in the comedy Frühstück im Doppelbett/Breakfast in Bed (1963, Axel von Ambesser) starring O.W. Fischer and Liselotte Pulver. In 1964 while on location in South Africa for her first British film, the detective Victim Five (1964, Robert Lynn) starring Barker again, she became heiress to a 4-5 Million DM fortune. During the 1960’s she mostly appeared in mediocre B-films. Her credits include Die Schwarze Kobra/The Black Cobra (1963, Rudolf Zehetgruber) with Adrian Hoven, the Edgar Wallace mystery Das Siebente Opfer/The Racetrack Murders (1964, Franz Josef Gottlieb) with Hansjörg Felmy, Angélique et le roi/Angelique and the King (1966, Bernard Borderie) starring Michèle Mercier, the action film Kommissar X - Drei gelbe Katzen/Death Is Nimble, Death Is Quick (1966, Rudolf Zehetgruber) starring Tony Kendall and Brad Harris, the Polish Sci-Fi film Kiedy milosc byla zbrodnia/Rassenschande: When Love Was a Crime (1968, Jan Rybkowski), and the spaghetti western Al di là della legge/The Good Die First (1968, Giorgio Stegani) starring Lee Van Cleef. In 1968 she suffered a total breakdown on the Zurich-Rome express. Afterwards she was in a Danish hospital for six weeks. She quickly returned to the screen and appeared in sex comedies like Zu dumm zum.../Too Stupid to… (1971, Henry van Lyck), and the cross-dressing farce Tante Trude aus Buxtehude/Aunt Trude from Buxtehude (1971, Franz Josef Gottlieb), a vehicle for TV star Rudi Carrell. In 1972 Ann Smyrner retired from the cinema and started to study theology. In the early 1990’s she moved to Benalmadena, near Malaga, Spain. She writes books about religious and esoteric subjects. Her longtime companion is Danish journalist Ole Hansen.

Ann Smyrner sings Mr Loverman (1962). Source: Toppcat64 (YouTube).

Danish trailer of Reptilicus (1960). Source: Follinstube (YouTube).

Sources: Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

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