22 August 2014

Carola Toelle

Carola Toelle (1893-1958) was a German actress, in particular in German silent cinema of the late 1910s and early 1920s.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, Berlin-Wilm., no. 369/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder / Decla.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, Berlin, no. 262/5, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder / Decla.

Fritz Lang

Carola Toelle, also written as Tölle, was born in Berlin in 1893.

In 1916 she got an engagement at the Deutsche Theater in Berlin. She also started to appear in films by Deutsche Bioscop.

Soon she played leading roles, first at Deutsche Bioscop and later on at other studios.

Her first film was probably Prinz Waldemar und Waldemar Prinz/Prince Waldemar and Waldemar Prince  (Emil Albes, 1916/1917), starring Bruno Kastner and Max Gülstorff.

This was followed by a series of films with Carl de Vogt as the leading actor: Liebe/Love (Robert Reinert, 1917), Erloschene Augen/Extinct eyes (Josef Stein, 1917), Der lebende Tote/The living dead (Robert Reinert, 1917/1918), Der Knute entflohen/Escaped from the lash (Josef Stein, 1917), and Das Licht des Lebens/The Light of Life (Josef Stein, 1918).

By and by, Toelle became the leading star of her films. In Das Lied der Colombine/The song of Colombine (Emil Justitz, 1918), Toelle plays a woman whose jealous fiancé (Hans Albers) unjustly suspects her of having a lover. After he breaks their engagement, her parents kick her out. Thanks to an old musician, she becomes a professional singer and while performing she meets her former fiancé again…

In 1919 Toelle shifted from Deutsche Bioscop to Erich Pommer’s company Decla. For Decla she did Um Ruhm und Frauenglück/For fame and the happiness of a woman (Ernst Fiedler-Spiess, 1919/1920), Opfer/Sacrifice (Ernst Fiedler-Spiess, 1919), Die blonde Loo/Blond Loo (Josef Coenen, 1919), Die Ehe der Frau Mary/The Marriage of Mrs Mary (Josef Coenen, 1919), Der falsche Schein/The false appearance (Emil Justitz, 1919), and Das ewige Rätsel/The eternal mystery (Josef Coenen, 1919).

In Die Insel der Glückligen/The island of the happy people (Josef Coenen, 1919), she played the daughter of a revolutionary. The girl loves a prince (Paul Otto), who has been forced into an unhappy marriage. They hide their romance on a little island at the prince’s estate.

In 1920 Toelle continued at Decla with Tötendes Schweigen/The killing silence (Arthur Holz, 1920) and Kämpfende Herzen/Vier um die Frau/Four around a woman (Fritz Lang, 1920/1921), scripted by Lang and Thea von Harbou. In Kämpfende Herzen, Toelle played a wife suspected of infidelity by her husband (Ludwig Hartau). While buying a precious piece of jewellery with forged money he discovers a man in a criminal bar who looks like a portrait his wife has.

Also memorable was the now considered lost film Johannes Goth (Karl Gerhardt, 1920), scripted by Carl Mayer. In the film, a writer (Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur) who is sure his book on reality will be a big success, meets a publisher (Werner Krauss) who funds him. When the publisher dies, the truth is revealed: the publisher only funded him because he had an affair with the writer’s wife (Toelle). On the day of the publication the writer commits suicide.

Next Toelle played in the only film directed by Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur: Der siebente Tag/The seventh day (1920). Then followed Um den Sohn/About the son (Frederik Larsen, 1921), Hazard (Frederik Larsen, 1921), and Das Mädchen das wartet/The girl who waits (Frederik Larsen, 1921).

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 187/1. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 187/3. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin no. K 1842. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.


Carola Toelle traded Decla for the Carl Wilhelm company, where she starred in Menschenopfer/Human sacrifice (Carl Wilhelm, 1921/1922) and Landstrasse und Grossstadt/Highway and City (Carl Wilhelm, 1921).

After that she played for many different companies, resulting in films like the Maxim-Film productions Kean (Rudolf Biebrach, 1921), with Alexander Moissi in the title role, and Die Schuld des Grafen Weronski/The guilt of Count Weronski (Rudolf Biebrach, 1921).

Toelle played the wife of a Maharaja (Viggo Larsen) in Die Perle des Orients/The Pearl of the Orient (Karlheinz Martin, 1921) and the daughter of a state secretary (Friedrich Ulmer) in Der einzige Zeuge/The only witness (Kurt Neukircher, 1921/1922).

With her sister Ushi Elleot she played in Der Spielmann/The minstrel (Karl Otto Krause, 1921), and with Paul Heidemann in his own production Der Meisterdieb/The Master Thief (Ernst Fiedler-Spiess, 1922).

Toelle then acted in some 'strong men' adventure films: Man soll es nicht für möglich halten/Maciste und die Javanerin/Maciste and the Javanese (Uwe Jens Krafft, 1922), starring Bartolomeo Pagano alias Maciste, and Der Mann aus Stahl/The Man of Steel (Joseph Delmont, 1923) with Luciano Albertini.

She was the flirt of Gunnar Tolnaes count in Die Flucht in die Ehe. Der grosse Flirt/The flight to the marriage. The big flirt (Artur Retzbach-Erasiny, 1922).

Carl Boese directed her in Ein Kind - ein Hund/A child - a dog (1922/1923) and Max Mack did so in Die Tragödie in Haus Bang/The tragedy of the Bang house (1922).

Toelle’s last two films were Christoph Columbus/Christopher Columbus (Marton Garas, 1922) with Albert Bassermann in the title role and Toelle as the daughter of the Duke of Medina-Celli (Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur), and Der rote Reiter/The red rider (Franz W. Koebner, 1923) which had Toelle in a supporting role while the female lead was for Fern Andra.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 1433. Photo: Filmatelier Hansa.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1841. Photo: Alex Binder.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 1844. Photo: Alex Binder.

Return to the stage

After a highly intense film career of six years, Carola Toelle returned to the stage and pursued her career there.

As an independent actress she performed at the Deutsche Künstlertheater and the Deutsche Theater in Berlin, as well at the Kleinen Haus der Städtischen Bühnen in Frankfurt am Main.

During the Second World War, she had some supporting roles in films like Hochzeit auf dem Bärenhof/Wedding at Bärenhof (Carl Froehlich, 1942) with Heinrich George, Immensee (Veit Harlan, 1943) with Kristina Söderbaum, Der verzauberte Tag/The Enchanted Day (Peter Pewas, 1944) with Winnie Markus, Seinerzeit zu meiner Zeit/His time, my time (Boleslaw Barlog, 1943/1944) with Hannelore Schroth, and Tierarzt Dr. Vlimmen/Veterinarian Dr. Vlimmen (Boleslaw Barlog, 1944/1945), an adaptation of the popular Dutch novel written by Anton Roothaert.

After the war, Toelle performed with the Staatsschauspiel Dresden and from 1951 on at the Renaissance-Theater in Berlin.

Carola Toelle died in 1958 in Berlin-Grunewald. She was married to actor Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur and her sister was actress Uschi Elleot.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Wolff, Berlin., no. F.44. Photo: Alex Binder.

Carola Toelle
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, Berlin-Wilm., no. 369/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder / Decla.

Carola Tölle
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 187/2. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Sources: Filmportal.de, Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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