28 August 2013

Else Bötticher

In the early 20th century, German actress Else Bötticher (1880-1966) performed with famous stage stars in international theatres. During the 1910s, she made several silent films. In the sound era, she returned to the cinema but then only played small roles as wives and mothers.

Else Bötticher, Vilma Conti
With Vilma Conti. German postcard by BNK, no. 33 583/1. Collection: Didier Hanson.
Caption: "Fuss-Tanz-Duett. So ein Damesfüsschen zierlich und klein. Die Tanzhusaren" (Foot-dance duet. Such a dainty and small lady foot. The Dance Hussars).

Acting Greats

Else Bötticher began her career at age 18 in the province. Then she played for two years Nora in theatres in the US.

Back in Germany, she was a partner of such acting greats as Josef Kainz and Max Pallenberg.

Max Reinhardt engaged her several times for his guest directions in Munich. Bötticher also repeatedly did guest performances in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and France.

However, she worked mainly in German theatres such as the Königlichen Hoftheater zu Stuttgart (Royal Court Theatre in Stuttgart) and especially, since shortly before the First World War, in Berlin theatres such as the Trianon-Theater.

In the later years of the Weimar Republic, she was seen at the Neues Theater am Zoo and other stages.

Else Bötticher, Vilma Conti
With Vilma Conti. German postcard by BNK, no. 33 583/2. Collection: Didier Hanson.
Caption: "Fuss-Tanz-Duett. Fährt man erst per Untergrund.... Die Tanzhusaren." (Foot-dance duet. You can learn only on the ground.... The Dance Hussars).

Forgotten Silent Productions

According to Wikipedia and other sources, for a long time, the cinema seemed to play only a minor role in the artistic work of Else Bötticher. However, The German Early Cinema Database shows that Bötticher appeared in several now forgotten productions during the 1910s.

Her first film was the Messter production Fräulein Leutnant/Miss Lieutenant (Carl Wilhelm, 1914) in which she played the title role opposite Albert Paulig and Hans Mierendorff.

She also appeared in the sequel Fräulein Feldgrau/Miss Feldgrau (Carl Wilhelm, 1914) again with Albert Paulig.

Her other silent films included Die Nicht aus Amerika/The Niece from America (1917), Frau Hempels Tochter/Mrs. Hempel’s Daughter (Julius Dewald, Edmund Edel, 1919) and De Profundis (Georg Jacoby, 1919) starring Ellen Richter.

Ellen Richter
Ellen Richter. German postcard by NBC, no. 120/3. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Mothers And Wives

After the seizure of power by the National Socialists, Else Bötticher again regularly performed before the camera. She received mostly small roles – as mothers and wives.

She played the Rectors wife and mother of Annemarie Sörensen in So ein Flegel/Such a Boor (Robert A. Stemmle, 1933) starring Heinz Rühmann in a double role, the earlier version of the hit film Die Feuerzangenbowle/The Punch Bowl (Helmut Weiss, 1943).

In 1933, she also returned to a the Berlin stage and performed at the Metropolitan Theater.

With the outbreak of the war in 1939, she ended her film work for a long time. Her theatrical commitments were also limited.

After the war, the elderly actress only played guest roles.

Her final film appearance was a bit part in Mein Vater, der Schauspieler/My Father the Actor (Robert Siodmak, 1956) starring O.W. Fischer.

In 1966, Else Bötticher died in Berlin. She was 85.

Heinz Rühmann
Heinz Rühmann. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6564/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Sources: The German Early Cinema Database, Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

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