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24 May 2017

Roger Moore (1927-2017)

Yesterday, 23 May 2017, Roger Moore (1927-2017) has died. He will always be remembered as the guy who replaced Sean Connery in the James Bond series, but he was also our favourite Ivanhoe, Saint and Persuader on TV. Roger Moore was 89.

Roger Moore in Ivanhoe
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by Mail in 1963. Photo: still from the TV series Ivanhoe (1958-1959).

The Saint, Roger Moore
Belgian postcard by Publistar, Bruxelles, no. 1295. Photo: POK / Publistar / TPL. Publicity still for the TV series The Saint (1963-1966).

Roger Moore and Marlene Willis in The Saint
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 263. Photo: publicity still for the TV series The Saint (1962-1969) with Marlene Willis.

Maverick, Roger Moore
French postcard by Publistar, Marseille, no. 734. Publicity still for the TV series Maverick (1960-1961).

Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Britt Ekland
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974) with Maud Adams and Britt Ekland.

A Noble knight and Champion of Justice


Sir Roger George Moore was born in 1927 in Stockwell near London as the son of policeman George Alfred Moore and Lillian 'Lily' Moore-Pope.

Moore served in the British military during the Second World War. He first wanted to be an artist, but got into films full time after becoming an extra in productions like Perfect Strangers (Alexander Korda, 1945) and Piccadilly Incident (Herbert Wilcox, 1946).

In the early 1950s, he appeared on television and also worked as a male model, appearing in print advertisements for products like knitwear (earning him the amusing nickname 'The Big Knit'), and toothpaste.

In 1953 the suave and handsome actor got a contract with MGM, but in Hollywood Moore had little success with movies like The Last Time I Saw Paris (Richard Brooks, 1954) and Interrupted Melody (Curtis Bernhardt, 1955).

It was the British TV series Ivanhoe (1958-1959) in which Roger Moore would make his name. As Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, a noble knight and champion of justice during the reign of evil Prince John (Andrew Keir), he became the favourite action hero for millions of European kids.

Other series were The Alaskans (1959) and Maverick (1960-1961), in which he played cousin Beau.

Worldwide he got his big breakthrough as Simon Templar in the TV series The Saint (1962-1969). It was with 118 episodes one of the two longest-running British series of its kind.

Roger Moore as Ivanhoe
Belgian postcard by S. Best (SB), Antwerpen. Photo: still from Ivanhoe. This postcard was a gift from Mary of the A Plethora of Postcards blog.

Roger Moore in Ivanhoe
Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht. Photo: Screen Gems, no. AX 5065.

Roger Moore
Dutch postcard of Roger Moore as Ivanhoe, no. 761.

Roger Moore in Ivanhoe
Dutch postcard by Int. Filmpers P.D.B., Amsterdam. Photo: publicity still for the TV series Ivanhoe (1958-1959).

Roger Moore and Dawn Addams in The Saint
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 553. Publicity still for The Saint (1963-1966) with Dawn Addams.

Roger Moore
Dutch postcard by 't Sticht, Utrecht, no. 6298.

Roger Moore (1927-2017)
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 381. Photo: publicity still for the TV series The Saint (1962-1969).

Roger Moore and Angie Dickinson in The Saint
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 419. Photo: publicity still for the TV series The Saint (1962-1969) with Angie Dickinson.

Roger Moore
Dutch postcard by 't Sticht, no. AX 6370. Sent by mail in 1966.

Roger Moore
Spanish postcard by Raker, no. 36, 1965. Retail price: 5 Ptas. Photo: publicity still for The Saint.

007


In an effort to change this, Roger Moore agreed to star with Tony Curtis as two millionaire playboys in another British TV show, The Persuaders! (1971-1972). It became hugely popular in Europe and Australia, but again it did not catch on in the States and was cancelled there.

Just prior to making the series he starred in the dark The Man Who Haunted Himself (Basil Dearden, 1970), which proved there was more to him than light-hearted roles. He would never become popular with critics though, who often derided his acting as limited and wooden.

At the age of 45, Roger Moore accepted the role of James Bond. Live and Let Die (Guy Hamilton, 1973) grossed more than Diamonds Are Forever (Guy Hamilton, 1971) – Sean Connery's last outing as James Bond.

Moore's James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray 007. He often portrayed Bond as a playboy, with his tongue firmly in cheek.

Between 1973 and 1985 he starred in six more Bond films, The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977), Moonraker (Lewis Gilbert, 1979), For Your Eyes Only (John Glen, 1981), Octopussy (John Glen, 1983), and finally A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985).

Roger Moore
Vintage collectors card.

Roger Moore
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor. Photo: this could be a still for the Italian western Un branco di vigliacchi/No Man's Land (Fabrizio Taglioni, 1962). The girl could be Luisa Mattioli, a later Mrs. Moore.

The Persuaders, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis
Danish postcard by Forlaget Holger Danske, no. 119. Photo: publicity still for The Persuaders (1971-1972) with Tony Curtis.

Roger Moore
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Agin.

Roger Moore
French postcard by La Roue Tourne, Paris.

Roger Moore
Vintage postcard.

Roger Moore
French postcard by Editions F.Nugeron. Photo: J. Ritchie.

Sean Connery, Roger Moore
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin. With Sean Connery.

Disastrous Flops


In between the James Bond series, Roger Moore had also starred in other successful films such as The Wild Geese (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1978) and North Sea Hijack (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1979).

The USA finally took completely to him when he starred alongside Burt Reynolds in the big American hit The Cannonball Run (Hal Needham, 1981).

Moore did not act onscreen for five years after he stopped playing Bond.

Later he made a long series of disastrous flops like Feuer, Eis & Dynamit/Fire, Ice and Dynamite (Willy Bogner, 1990), Bullseye! (Michael Winner, 1990), Bed & Breakfast (Robert Ellis Miller, 1991), The Quest (Jean-Claude van Damme, 1996), Spice World (Bob Spiers, 1997), The Enemy (Tom Kinninmont, 2001) and Boat Trip (Mort Nathan, 2002).

Through the years Moore became more of a personality than an actor, appearing on TV chat shows and hosting documentaries.

Since 1991 he is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. For his charity work he was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2003.

He married four times, to skater  Doorn Van Steyn (1946-1953), singer Dorothy Squires (1953-1968), Italian actress Luisa Mattioli (1969-1996) and Danish-Swedish multi-millionaire Christina 'Kiki' Tholstrup (2002-present). He has three children: Geoffrey Moore, Christian Moore and Deborah Moore.

In 2007 (3 days before he turned 80), Roger Moore was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on television and in film. In 2008, the French government appointed Moore a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Despite declaring in 2009 that he had retired from acting, Roger Moore was still active in the cinema. In 2010 he provided the voice of a talking cat called Lazenby in the family action comedy Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Brad Payton, 2010), which contained several references to, and parodies of, Bond films. In 2013 he completed a new TV version of The Saint (Simon West, 2013) in which he played Jasper opposite Adam Rayner as Simon Templar.


Dutch card by Loeb uitgevers, Amsterdam, 1985. Photo: Danjaq S.A. Roger Moore as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973, Guy Hamilton). The Bond girl is British actress Jane Seymour, who played Solitaire.

Roger Moore and Tommy Lane in Live and Let Die
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for Live and Let Die (Guy Hamilton, 1973) with Tommy Lane.

Roger Moore, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, no. 5992805, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974) with Britt Ekland and Maud Adams.

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, no. 5992109, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974) with Christopher Lee.

Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977) with Barbara Bach.

Roger Moore, Barbara Bach
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, no. 5992807, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977) with Barbara Bach.

Roger Moore in Octopussy
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for Octopussy (John Glen, 1983).

Roger Moore in A View to a Kill
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985).

Roger Moore
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A., 1985. Publicity still for A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985).

Roger Moore 14
Dutch postcard by Loeb Uitgevers BV, Amsterdam, 1985. Photo: Eon Productions / Gilrose Publications / Danjaq S.A. Publicity still for A View To A Kill (John Glen, 1985).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

23 May 2017

Rellys

French actor Rellys (1905-1991) had an exceptional long career. First he specialised in the Marseille-set operettas by Marcel Pagnol and others. Later he often appeared as a side-kick in comedies with Fernandel.

Rellys
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 199. Photo: Gray-Film.

Brioche


Rellys was born as Henri Roger Marius Bourelly in Marseille, France, in 1905. As a child, Rellys accompanied his parents on a picnic in les pinèdes and there he learned to sing.

Henri Rellys worked as a pastry chef, and earned the nickname ‘Brioche’ (Bun). As a theatre amateur, he won a singing contest at the Alcazar in Marseilles, disguised as a comic trooper in 1925.

After his military service, he was hired under the name of Rellys, for tours along cabarets in the Provence and in North Africa.

He made his film début in Le Tampon du Capiston/The plug of the capiston (Joe Francis, Jean Toulout, 1930). In the revue En plein soleil (In Full Sun) he imitated Maurice Chevalier and ... Josephine Baker.

In 1933, Henri Alibert engaged him for the company of his play Au pays du soleil (In the land of the sun). The film adaptation, Au pays du soleil (Robert Péguy, 1933), helped to launch his career. Marcel Pagnol gave him the chance to play a small part in his film Merlusse (Marcel Pagnol, 1934).

In the beginning, he specialised in Marseille-set operettas, which were flourishing at the time: Trois de la marine/Three of the Navy (Charles Barrois, 1934), César/Cesar (Marcel Pagnol, 1936) with Raimu, and Un de la canebière/One of the canebière (René Pujol, 1937) based on the operetta by Alibert, René Sarvil and Raymond Vincy, and music by Vincent Scotto.

Rellys
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 199. Photo: Gray-Film.

Rellys
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 245. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Sweet and Warm Ways


In the 1940’s, Rellys was noted for his Provençal accent, his sweet and warm ways and his endearing air. He had a real triumph with Narcisse/Narcissus (Ayres d'Aguiar, 1940), in which he played a vaudeville soldier, who has to fly an aeroplane despite himself.

He also played leading roles in Feu Nicolas/Fire Nicolas (Jacques Houssin, 1943), Roger la Honte/Roger the Shame (André Cayatte, 1945), Les Aventures des Pieds Nickelés/The Adventures of Nickeles feet (Marcel Aboulker, 1947), Tabusse (Jean Gehret, 1948) and Manon des Sources/Manon of the Spring (Marcel Pagnol, 1952).

His exceptional long career continued after the war with films like Amédée/Amedeus (Gilles Grangier, 1950), La vie est un jeu/Life is a game (Raymond Leboursier, 1951), and Arènes joyeuses/Joyful Arenas (Maurice de Canonge, 1958).

In many of his later films he supported comedy star Fernandel, including Honoré de Marseille (Maurice Régamey, 1956), Crésus/Croesus (Jean Giono, 1960), L'Âge ingrate/That Tender Age (Gilles Grangier, 1964) starring Jean Gabin, and Heureux qui comme Ulysse/ Happy He Who Like Ulysses (Henri Colpi, 1970).

His last film was L'Ange gardien/The Guardian Angel (Jacques Fournier, 1978) with former first lady of Canada, Margaret Trudeau. He also worked for television, and appeared in episodes of the crime series Les Cinq Dernières Minutes/The Last Five Minutes (1966-1973) and Madame le juge/Madam judges it (1978) starring Simone Signoret.

He returned to the songs of his early operettas in Marseille, when he released his first album in 1977. His last TV appearance was in L'honneur de Barberine/The Honor of Barberine (1982).

Rellys retired in his birthplace Marseille. There he died in 1991, at the age of 86. He had two daughters, Annie and Michèle.


Scene from Les lettres de mon moulin/Letters from My Windmill (Marcel Pagnol, 1954) with Rellys, Fernand Sardou, and Robert Vattier. Source: Marcel Pagnol (Daily Motion).


Scene from Manon des Sources/Manon of the Spring (Marcel Pagnol, 1954) with Rellys and Jacqueline Pagnol. Source: Marcel Pagnol (Daily Motion).

Sources: Ciné-Ressources (French), Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

22 May 2017

Imported from the USA: Geraldine Farrar

American soprano opera singer and film actress Geraldine Farrar (1882-1967) was noted for her glamorous beauty, acting ability, and the timbre of her voice. Barely 20, she was already the toast of Berlin. Later at the Met in New York, she had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed ‘Gerry-flappers’. Farrar also starred in more than a dozen silent films from 1915 to 1920. She was married to and co-starred with Dutch matinee idol Lou Tellegen.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard by G.G. & Co., no. 2419.

Geraldine Farrar
French postcard.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard by PH, no. 4116/1. Geraldine Farrar as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust.

Gerry-flappers


Alice Geraldine Farrar was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, in 1882. She was the daughter of baseball player Sidney Farrar, and his wife, Henrietta Barnes. At 5 she began studying music in Boston and by 14 was giving recitals. Later she studied voice with the American soprano Emma Thursby in New York City, in Paris, and finally with the Italian baritone Francesco Graziani in Berlin.

In 1901, Farrar created a sensation at the Berlin Hofoper with her debut as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust. She remained with the company for three years, during which time she continued her studies with legendary Wagnerian soprano Lilli Lehmann. Farrar appeared in the title roles of Ambroise Thomas' Mignon and Jules Massenet's Manon, as well as Juliette in Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

Her admirers in Berlin included Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, with whom she is believed to have had a relationship beginning in 1903. This Berlin period was interspersed with three seasons with the Monte Carlo Opera. Highlights were Pietro Mascagni's Amica (1905), and Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (1906) in which she appeared with Enrico Caruso.

In 1906, she also made her debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera in Romeo et Juliette. The success placed her on a plateau with Caruso as a box-office magnet. The next year, she got raves for her performance as Cio-Cio-San in the Metropolitan premiere of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly in 1907.

Farrar remained a member of the company until her retirement in 1922, singing 29 roles there in 672 performances. She developed a great popular following, especially among New York's young female opera-goers, who were known as Gerry-flappers. Farrar created the title roles in Puccini's Suor Angelica (1918), Umberto Giordano's Madame Sans-Gêne (1915), as well as the Goosegirl in Engelbert Humperdinck's Königskinder (1910), for which Farrar trained her own flock of geese. According to a New York Tribune review of the first performance, "at the close of the opera Miss Farrar caused 'much amusement' by appearing before the curtain with a live goose under her arm."

Her biographer Elizabeth Nash: “Unlike most of the famous bel canto singers of the past who sacrificed dramatic action to tonal perfection, she was more interested in the emotional than in the purely lyrical aspects of her roles.”

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard by K.V.i.B., Dess, no. 1016.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard by K.V.i.B. 12. Dess., no. 4017.

Geraldine Farrar
Vintage postcard, no. 58. Photo: Geraldine Farrar as Elsa in Lohengrin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Cecil B. De Mille


Geraldine Farrar recorded extensively for the Victor Talking Machine Company and was often featured prominently in that firm's advertisements. She was one of the first performers to make a radio broadcast, in a 1907 publicity event singing over Lee De Forest's experimental AM radio transmitter in New York City.

She also starred in more than a dozen silent films from 1915 to 1920, which were filmed between opera seasons. Farrar made her debut with the title role in Cecil B. De Mille's Carmen (1915), based on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée. For her role as the seductive gypsy girl she was extensively praised. For her performance, she came in fourth place in the 1916 Screen Masterpiece contest held by Motion Picture Magazine, ahead of any other actress.

DeMille directed her next in the silent romantic drama Temptation (Cecil B. DeMille, 1915), also with Theodore Roberts, and in the drama Maria Rosa (Cecil B. DeMille, 1916) with Wallace Reid.

Another notable screen role was as Joan of Arc in Joan the Woman (1917). This was Cecil DeMille's first historical drama. The screenplay is based on Friedrich Schiller's 1801 play Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans).

She next played the daughter of an Aztec king in the silent romance The Woman God Forgot (Cecil B. DeMille, 1917). In the film she falls in love with a Spanish captain (Wallace Reid) whose army has come to convert the Aztecs to Christianity. Her last film for Paramount Pictures was the romance The Devil-Stone (Cecil B. DeMille, 1917), again with Wallace Reid. The film had sequences filmed in the Handschiegl Color Process, but only two of six reels are known to survive.

For Goldwyn Pictures she appeared in such films as The Turn of the Wheel (Reginald Barker, 1918) with Herbert Rawlinson and Percy Marmont, the Western The Hell Cat (Reginald Barker, 1918), Shadows (Reginald Barker, 1918) and the melodrama The Stronger Vow (Reginald Barker, 1919), the latter three with Milton Sills. All four films are considered lost.

She co-starred with her husband Lou Tellegen in the dramas The World and Its Woman (Frank Lloyd, 1919), Flame of the Desert (Reginald Barker, 1919), and The Woman and the Puppet (Reginald Barker, 1920). Her final film was the silent drama The Riddle: Woman (Edward José, 1920), in which her co-star was Montagu Love.

Geraldine Farrar
French postcard. Publicity for Vins Désiles. Photo SIP, Boyer. G. Farrar de l'Opéra Impéraile de Berlin. Caption: J'ai plaisir à recommander l'excellent Vin Désiles (I enjoy recommending the excellent Vin Désiles).

Geraldine Farrar
French postcard. Editor unknown. Postcard sent in 1907. Geraldine Farrar in the opera Mignon.

Geraldine Farrar
French postcard.

A messy and very public divorce


Geraldine Farrar had a seven-year love affair with the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini. It was rumoured that she gave him an ultimatum that he must choose either her or his wife and children in Italy. It resulted in Toscanini's abrupt resignation as principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in 1915.

Farrar was close friends with the star tenor Enrico Caruso and there has been speculation that they too had a love affair, but no conclusive evidence of this has surfaced.

In 1916, she married Dutch film actor Lou Tellegen. Their marriage was the source of considerable scandal, and it ended, as a result of her husband's numerous affairs, in a messy and very public divorce in 1923. The circumstances of the divorce were brought again to public recollection by Tellegen's bizarre 1934 suicide in Hollywood. When told of her ex-husband's death, she replied "Why should that interest me?"

Farrar retired from opera in 1922 at the age of 40. Her final performance was as Ruggero Leoncavallo's Zazà. By this stage, her voice was in premature decline due to overwork. Farrar quickly transitioned into concert recitals, and was signed within several weeks of announcing her opera retirement to an appearance at Hershey Park on Memorial Day 1922.

She continued to make recordings and give recitals throughout the 1920s and was briefly the intermission commentator for the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts during the 1934–1935 season. Her rather bizarre autobiography, Such Sweet Compulsion (1938), was written in alternating chapters purporting to be her own words and those of her mother, with Mrs. Farrar rather floridly recounting her daughter's many accomplishments.

In 1967, Geraldine Farrar died in Ridgefield, Connecticut of heart disease aged 85, and was buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. She had no children.

Recently I read an excellent biographical novel about Farrar and her great love Lou Tellegen by Dutch author Susan Smit, De eerste vrouw (The first woman). Hopefully there will be a translation soon. Anyway highly recommended.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard by G.G. & Co., no. 2414. Photo: publicity still for Mignon. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard G.G. & Co., no. 478/4. Photo: Gerlach.

Geraldine Farrar
German postcard G.G. & Co., no. 579/5. Photo: Gerlach.

Sources: Andrea Suhm-Binder (Cantabile subito), Bob Hufford (Find A Grave), Wikipedia and IMDb.