17 October 2019

A gift: Cinema publicity in Amsterdam

Some years ago, our friend and cinema photo collector Roloff de Jeu arrived at a birthday party with a huge gift for us. He carried a big and heavy wooden frame with him, which had been once part of an exhibition of the NVBF, the Dutch cinema Association. The frame contained old photos of cinema publicity and fronts of cinemas in our hometown Amsterdam. Of course we liked the gift and for years we left the pictures behind the glass in the huge wooden frame. But now it's time to share a selection of the photos with you. With thanks to Roloff!

Rembrandt Theater, Amsterdam

Leise flehen meine Lieder (1933)  in the Rembrandt Theater
Dutch photo. Front of the Rembrandt Theater in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On show was Leise flehen meine Lieder (Willi Forst, 1933), starring Marta Eggerth, Hans Jaray and Hans Moser.

The Austrian actor Willi Forst (1903-1980) was a darling of the German-speaking public. He was also one of the most significant directors, producers, writers and stars of the 'Wiener Filme', the light Viennese musical comedies of the 1930s. On stage he played in operettas and revues, but also worked with Erwin Piscator and Max Reinhardt.

Bacarole at the Rembrandt Theater, Amsterdam
Dutch photo. Front of the Rembrandt Theater in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On show was Barcarole (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1936), starring Gustav Fröhlich and Lida Baarová.

Beautiful Lída Baarová (1914-2000) was a glamorous Czech film star who worked in Prague, Berlin and Rome. A dangerous affair with Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich, first enhanced and later seriously damaged her career.

Smart German actor Gustav Fröhlich (1902-1987) played Freder Fredersen in the classic Metropolis (1927) and became a popular star in light comedies. After the war he tried to escape from the standard roles of a charming gentleman with the part of a doomed painter in Die Sünderin/The Sinner (1951), but the effort went down in a scandal.

Walt Disney Classics

Pinocchio Cinema front
Dutch photo. Front of the City Theatre in Amsterdam, late 1940s of early 1950s. On show was Pinocchio (Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, a.o., 1940).

The second full length animated Disney classic, Pinocchio (Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, a.o., 1940), is based on the 19th century Italian novel of the same name by Carlo Collodi. The kind woodcarver Geppetto creates a wooden marionette, which he calls Pinocchio. His wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy is unexpectedly granted by a fairy. The fairy assigns Jiminy Cricket to act as Pinocchio's 'conscience' and keep him out of trouble. Pinocchio is weak-willed and Jiminy is not too successful in his endeavour. Pinocchio doesn't always listen to reason and most of the film he is deep in trouble.

The story has never a dull moment. In fact Pinocchio is about childhood and temptation. Tasting jam, stealing, not going to school, lying, childhood is full of temptations. Everything is new then everything looks pretty. When the standard for kids is to obey to authoritarian figures who know the best for them, the most precious lesson in Pinocchio is not to obey for the sake of obedience but to follow your conscience. Differentiate between right or wrong. That's what being a real boy is about, being unselfish, trustful and brave, not being obedient.

Bambi etalage
Dutch photo. Dutch publicity for Bambi (David Hand, 1942). The film was shown in Amsterdam in 1948 in three cinemas, Rialto, Nöggerath and Cineac Damrak. Roloff de Jeu suggests this was the large corner window of De Bijenkorf, the most famous department store of Amsterdam. He's probably right while Cineac Damrak was located across the street from De Bijenkorf.

Bambi (David Hand, 1942) was the fifth animated feature produced by Walt Disney. It is based on the book Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures in 1942, and received three Academy Award nominations: Best Sound (Sam Slyfield), Best Song (for Love Is a Song sung by Donald Novis) and Original Music Score.

The main characters of Bambi (David Hand, 1942) are Bambi, a mule deer and his parents, the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother. His friends are Thumper, a pink-nosed rabbit; and Flower, a skunk. and his childhood friend and future mate, Faline. For the film, Disney took the liberty of changing Bambi's species into a mule deer from his original species of roe deer, since roe deer are not native to North America, and the mule deer is more widespread in the United States.

English film historian Leslie Halliwell wrote that Bambi was "one of Disney's most memorable and brilliant achievements with a great comic character in Thumper and a climactic forest fire sequence that is genuinely thrilling". He concluded his review that it was "a triumph of the animator's arts". Hal Erickson at AllMovie adds: "In the grand Disney tradition, Bambi is brimming with unforgettable sequences, notably the young deer's attempts to negotiate an iced-over pond, and most especially the death of Bambi's mother - and if this moment doesn't move you to tears, you're made of stone (many subsequent Disney films, including Lion King, have tried, most in vain, to match the horror and pathos of this one scene).

Check out at Flickr, Roloff's albums with
Cinema postcards from the Netherlands, Cinema postcards from Europe and Cinema postcards of the Americas.

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