Moira Shearer died on this day, eleven years ago. After The Red Shoes she went on to appear in other film roles: as Olympia in The Tales Of Hoffmann (Powell and Pressburger, 1950), Paula Woodward in The Story Of Three Loves (Minnelli/Reinhardt, 1952), multiple parts in The Man Who Loved Redheads (French, 1955), Vivian in Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960) and Roxanne in Black Tights. Most of these roles showcased her dancing talents.
She worked with AW again – on the stage this time – in Walter Hasenclever’s play Man of Distinction, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh during the 1957 Festival, before moving south for a three weeks of performances in what was the termed ‘the provinces’ (including Leeds, Manchester and Blackpool) before showing at at the Princes Theatre, London. Set in Berlin in the 1920s, Hasenclever’s comedy Ein besserer Herr was written in Paris and Nice in the summer of 1926 and mocks the hypocrisies, materialism and delusions of the Weimar republic. Hugo Mobius is a fraudster who specialises in conning wealthy ladies into marriage, a scheme that founders when he finds himself genuinely falling in love. Prunella Scales played the part of Aline, next to Walbrook’s Hugo Mobius, while Moira Shearer played the part of Lia Compass.
This is the cover of the Curzon Mayfair programme for La Ronde (Ophuls, 1950) which was screened here for almost eighteen months in 1951-2. The film was one of the first in Britain to receive the new ‘X’ certificate which replaced the old ‘H’ for ‘Horrific’ – a recognition that film-makers were now treating adult themes that were not necessarily related to horror. Only those over the age of sixteen could be admitted. For a long time the Curzon was the only place the film could be seen, as controversy about its content hindered nationwide release. The original cinema – depicted inside the cover – was built in 1934 but demolished in 1963 to be replaced with the current building. There is a small photograph and biography of AW inside, emphasising his Viennese origins.
Having been rather pressed for time of late, I’ve fallen behind with various blog posts I’d planned about my AW research, as well as the ever-popular series on the actor and his ‘Leading Ladies.’ Another post on that topic should follow in the very near future, but in the meantime I am starting a new weekly series of short posts which will go up each Friday, showcasing a single item from my collection. This could be a photograph, document, lobby card, poster, vinyl record, rare book…whatever appeals to me at that moment, and these won’t appear in chronological order. This series gives me the opportunity to show some interesting images accompanied by a brief description, without the requirement to prepare much text in advance. So, to start things off, here’s a Spanish handbill advertising the French language film Michel Strogoff (Baroncelli/Eichberg, 1936) that pays grisly homage to the movie’s most notorious scene:
Today marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Anton Walbrook, and to celebrate the occasion I am posting a selection of photographs that show the actor at work. During his long career, AW was privileged to collaborate with some of the most distinguished film-makers of the time, and so here are some photographs showing them together.
Director Karl Hartl with some of his extras in the countryside near Potsdam, filming ‘Zigeunerbaron’ – FIlmwelt 18 November 1934
With Willi Forst on the set of ‘Allotria’ – from ‘Filmwelt’ 5 April 1936
This photo shows AW, Hilde Hildebrand and Heinz Ruhmann being directed by Willi Forst, with whom AW had previously worked in Maskerade (1934.)
With Thorold Dickinson on the set of ‘The Queen of Spades’ – from The Picturegoer 8 May 1948
AW worked twice with Dickinson, who drew brilliant performances from him in both Gaslight (1940) and The Queen of Spades (1949). This photo also shows cinematographer Otto Heller (1896-1970) who filmed AW no less than four times. Born in Prague, he worked with fellow Czech Carl Lamac on Baby (1932) and Die vertauschte Braut (1934), in both of which AW co-starred with Lamac’s wife Anny Ondra. Port Arthur (Farkas, 1936) was filmed in Prague and was AW’s last film before leaving Nazi Germany. Heller followed him to the UK in 1940.
A photo taken in 1951 during the filming of ‘Vienna Walzes’, with director Emil Reinert on the right
With Michael Powell during the filming of ‘Oh, Rosalinda!!’
Oh, Rosalinda!! was the fourth and final of AW’s films with Powell and Pressburger, after 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and The Red Shoes (1948). Many of these films shared the same cast and crew members – a reflection of the close-knit collaborative nature of Powell and Pressburger’s own creative partnership.
With Emeric Pressburger during the filming of ‘Oh, Rosalinda!!’