13 September 2012

Lau Ezerman

Actor and stage director Lau Ezerman (1892 - 1940) played in several Dutch films from the pre-WWII era.

Lau Ezerman
Dutch Postcard by m.d. This postcard was probably produced for Ezerman's jubilee as an artist in 1938.

Lost and Found
Laurens Ezerman was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1892. His debut was Nederland en Oranje/Netherlands and Orange (1913, Louis Chrispijn sr), a short silent film that portrayed in twenty scenes highlights from the Dutch history. He became one of the actors of the ‘troupe’ of the Filmfabriek-Hollandia, the most active producer of silent films in The Netherlands. The company’s main directors were Maurits Binger, Louis Chrispijn sr and Theo Frenkel sr. Chrispijn directed Lau Ezerman in such melodramas as Zijn viool/His Violin (1914), Gebroken levens/Broken Lives (1914) starring the grand Louis Bouwmeester) and Weergevonden/Lost and Found (1914). Most of these films are presumed missing, but Weergevonden was literally found again in 1976. In 1920 Hollandia united with a British company and Ezerman played in their historical adventure film De zwarte tulp/The Black Tulip (1921, Maurits Binger, Frank Richardson) and their crime film Bulldog Drummond (1922, Oscar Apfel), based on a popular novel and play by Sapper (Herman C. McNeile).

Johan Kaart and Lau Ezerman in Don Quichot
Dutch postcard for the stage play Don Quichot op de Bruiloft van Kamatcho/Don Quichot on the Wedding of Kamatcho (1711) by Pieter Langendijk, starring Lau Ezerman as Don Quichotte and Johan Kaart jr. as Sancho Panza. The play was performed by the Schouwburgtoneel of Jan Musch in the open air theatre in Valkenburg in 1920. In 1925 the play was performed again with Kaart as Sancho Panza at the Amsterdam open air theatre Frankendaal, this time by the company Vereenigd Tooneel.

In 1934 film companies competed to produce the first Dutch talkie. Lau Ezerman played in the ‘winner’, Willem van Oranje (1934, Jan Teunissen). This historical drama was shot at the Philips Studios ('Philiwood') in Eindhoven, using the Philips-Miller Filmband, a new system for recording sound. In the 1930’s, directors like Detlev Sierck (Douglas Sirk) and Ludwig Berger and script writers like Walter Schlee went in exile from Nazi Germany and gave the Dutch film industry a healthy impulse. Ezerman played character parts in such films as the comedy Bleeke Bet/Pale Beth (1934, Richard Oswald, Alex Benno), Het meisje met den blauwen hoed/The Girl With the Blue Hat (1934, Rudolf Meinert) with Truus van Aalten, Komedie om geld/The Trouble with Money (1936, Max Ophüls), the popular romcom Vadertje Langbeen/Daddy Long Legs (1938, Frederic (Friedrich) Zelnik) starring Lily Bouwmeester, Morgen gaat het beter/Tomorrow It Will Be Better (1939, Frederic Zelnik), and the thriller De spooktrein (1939, Carl (Karel) Lamac), based on the play The Ghost Train (1925) by Arnold Ridley. In 1941 the Nazis censured films such as Bleeke Bet for reissues and all the Jewish actors such as Lau Ezerman were cut from the film, but he himself would never know that. In 1940 Lau Ezerman had committed suicide in the city of Amersfoort.

Fien de la Mar in Bleeke Bet
Lau Ezerman and other cast members in Bleeke Bet (1934). Dutch Postcard by Monopole Film, Rotterdam. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag (The Hague).

Roland Varno, Truus van Aalten, Dries Krijn en Lou Bandy in Het meisje met de blauwe hoed
Roland Varno, Truus van Aalten, Dries Krijn en Lou Bandy in Het meisje met den blauwen hoed (1934). Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Filma.

Sources: Geoffrey Donaldson (Of Joy and Sorrow) and IMDb.

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