04 December 2016

Riccardo Scamarcio

Blue-eyed dreamboat Riccardo Scamarcio (1979) is one of the leading stars of the contemporary Italian cinema. He is known for successful Italian films as Romanzo criminale/Kings of Crime (2005), Mio fratello è figlio unico/My Brother Is an Only Child (2007) and Mine vaganti/Loose Cannons (2010) but also works abroad. He is also a film producer.

Riccardo Scamarcio
Italian postcard in the Collection Cards series, a supplement to the weekly Cioè.

Fodder for the gossip magazines

Ricardo Scamarcio was born in 1979 in Andria, Puglia, Italy. His mother Irene is a painter.

At the age of 16, he left school and went to Rome to train as an actor at the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema. His acting debut was in the TV series Compagni di scuola/Classmates (Tiziana Aristarco, Claudio Norza, 2001).

In 2003 followed a part in La meglio gioventù/The Best of Youth (2003), a four-part mini-series directed by Marco Tullio Giordana that covers expansive times of Italian history through the story of one family. The series was presented at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Un Certain Regard award, and was then given an international theatrical release.

Scamarcio’s first lead role in a feature film was in the teen romance Tre metri sopra il cielo/Three Steps Over Heaven (Luca Lucini, 2004). His role as a handsome bad boy made him immediately a sex symbol in Italy. He co-starred with Italian-Greek actress Valeria Golina in Texas (Fausto Paravidino, 2005). He fell in love with his 14-years older costar and their affair was fodder for the gossip magazines and made him well-known.

He then starred in the criminal drama Romanzo criminale/Kings of Crime (Michele Placido, 2005), with Kim Rossi Stuart. In this highly acclaimed portrait of a Mafiosi community in the 1970s, he played a monosyllabic, enigmatic thug. In 2006 he acted in the TV Mini-series La freccia nera/The Black Arrow (Fabrizio Costa, 2006), adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

He played one of two brothers coming of age in a small Italian town in the 1960s and 1970s in Mio fratello è figlio unico/My Brother Is an Only Child (Daniele Luchetti, 2007), based on the novel Il Fasciocomunista by Antonio Pennacchi. Brothers Accio (Elio Germano) and Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) embody and celebrate opposing political stances, but share an impassioned love of the same woman that threatens to drive them to blows. Luchetti's political comedy observes the brothers over the course of 15 years, against the ever-shifting backdrop of tumultuous Italian sociopolitical history.

Scamarcio played in the local box-office hit Manuale d'amore - Capitoli successivi/Manual of Love 2 (Giovanni Veronesi, 2007), a romantic comedy with Monica Bellucci. Then followed Ho voglia di te/I want you (Luis Prieto, 2007), a sequel to his breakthrough film, Tre metri sopra il cielo/Three Steps Over Heaven (2004), and Go Go Tales (Abel Ferrara, 2007), starring Willem Dafoe.

In the following years, he made the thriller Colpo d'occhio/At a Glance (Sergio Rubini, 2008), the comedy Italians (Giovanni Veronesi, 2009) with Carlo Verdone, and with Luca Argentero Il grande sogno/The Big Dream (Michele Placido, 2009), set at a Roman university in 1968. Scamarcio played an illegal immigrant-cum-innocent abroad in Eden à l'Ouest/Eden Is West (2009), directed by celebrated filmmaker Costa-Gavras. Scamarcio's partner, Valeria Golino, played his sister in the comedy-drama L'uomo nero/The Cézanne Affair (Sergio Rubini, 2009).

Riccardo Scamarcio
Italian postcard in the Collection Cards series, a supplement to the weekly Cioè.

Riccardo Scamarcio
Italian postcard in the Collection Cards series, a supplement to the weekly Cioè.

A gay son of a conservative bourgeois family

Riccardo Scamarcio was very successful as a gay son of a conservative bourgeois family in the comedy Mine vaganti/Loose Cannons (Ferzan Özpetek, 2010). The film was highly praised by film critics and got nominated for thirteen David di Donatello Awards, the Italian Oscars.

In France, Scamarcio appeared in the drama Polisse (2011), written, directed by and starring Maïwenn. The film centres on the Child Protection Unit (Brigade de Protection des Mineurs) of the Paris Police.

Woody Allen directed him in the magical realist romantic comedy To Rome with Love (2012), set in Rome. He had small parts in the British biographical drama Effie Gray (Richard Laxton, 2014), featuring Dakota Fanning, and the British-German-American romance Third Person (Paul Haggis, 2013), starring Liam Neeson.

Back in Italy, he starred in the comedy Una piccola impresa meridionale/A Small Southern Enterprise (2013), written, directed and starred by Rocco Papaleo. He reunited with Willem Dafoe and director Abel Ferrara for Pasolini (2014) about the final days of film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Scamarcio starred opposite Sharon Stone in the comedy-drama Un ragazzo d'oro/A Golden Boy (2014), written and directed by Pupi Avati. Then followed Maraviglioso Boccaccio/Wondrous Boccaccio (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 2015) loosely based on stories from The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.

He got a David di Donatello Award nomination for best actor for the romantic drama Nessuno si salva da solo/You Can't Save Yourself Alone (Sergio Castellitto, 2015). Other recent films in which he appeared are the Italian drama La prima luce/The First Light (Vincenzo Marra, 2015), the American drama Burnt (John Wells, 2015), starring Bradley Cooper, the romantic comedy-drama Io che amo solo te/I only Love You (Marco Ponti, 2015) – a box office hit in Italy, the Italian crime-drama Pericle il nero/Pericle (Stefano Mordini, 2016) and the upcoming American action thriller John Wick: Chapter Two (Chad Stahelski, 2017) in which Keanu Reeves returns as hitman John Wick.

Since 2006, Riccardo Scamarcio is engaged to Valeria Golino. In 2010 they set up the film production company, Buena Onda, with Viola Prestieri. Scamarcio produced Golina’s euthanasia-themed directorial debut Miele/Honey (Valeria Golina, 2013). Scamarcio and Golina live in Rome.

Trailer My Brother Is an Only Child (2007). Source: MovieTrailerNetwork (YouTube).

Trailer Mine vaganti/Loose Cannons (2010). Source: peccadillopictures (YouTube).

Official Trailer Burnt (2015). Source: Movieweb (YouTube).

Sources: AllMovie, Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb.

03 December 2016

Imported from the USA: Joseph Cotten

American film, stage and television actor Joseph Cotten (1905-1994) achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair. He first gained worldwide fame in the Orson Welles films Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and Journey into Fear (1943), for which Cotten was also credited with the screenplay. He went on to become one of the leading Hollywood actors of the 1940s, appearing in films such as Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Duel in the Sun (1946) and the British classic The Third Man (1949). 

Joseph Cotten
Dutch postcard, no. 3067. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

Joseph Cotten
Dutch postcard by Foto Archief Film en Toneel, no. 3335. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

Joseph Cotten
Dutch postcard, no. 2419. Photo: RKO Radio Films.

A brilliant comic actor

Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1905 to a prosperous Southern family. He was the first of three sons of Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster, and Sally Willson Cotten. At an early age, Joseph already showed a passion for story-telling, reciting, and performing acts for his family.

In 1923, when Cotten was 18, he went to Washington D.C. to study at the Hickman School of Expression and then moved to New York City in 1924 to make his way in the theatre world. This was tougher than Cotten had hoped. He ended up working as a shipping clerk for a year before heading south to Miami with friends. In Florida, Cotten supported himself with an odd assortment of jobs, including lifeguard, potato salad merchandiser and as a drama critic for the Miami Herald. That evidently led to appearance in plays at the Miami Civic Theater.

Through a connection at the Miami Herald he managed to land an assistant stage manager job in New York. In 1929 he was engaged for a season at the Copley Theatre in Boston, and there he was able to expand his acting experience, appearing in 30 plays. Cotten made his Broadway debut in 1930 and he began working on radio shows soon after. He also married pianist Lenore La Mont in 1931 and they remained together until her 1960 death.

On the cast of CBS Radio's The American School of the Air, Cotten met in 1934 Orson Welles and the two became friends. Welles regarded Cotten as a brilliant comic actor, and gave him the starring role in his Federal Theatre Project farce, Horse Eats Hats (1936). In 1937, Cotten joined Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre company, where he took the lead in such plays as Shoemaker’s Holiday and Julius Caesar.

Cotten made his film debut in the short, Too Much Johnson (Orson Welles, 1938), a comedy based on William Gillette's 1890 play. The short was occasionally screened before or after Mercury productions, but never received an official release. It was considered lost until it surfaced in 2013.

Cotten appeared in the original Broadway production of The Philadelphia Story (1939–1940) as C. K. Dexter Haven opposite Katharine Hepburn's Tracy Lord. Cotten jumped off the radio and stage and onto the big screen in 1941, making his Hollywood feature debut in Welles’ film debut, Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941). The epic, portrayed the life of a press magnate (played by Welles) who starts out as an idealist but eventually turns into a corrupt, lonely old man. Cotten played the role of Kane's best friend Jedediah Leland, eventually a drama critic for one of Kane's papers.

Cotten would find his finest roles in Welles’ films, and the pair followed Citizen Kane with another masterpiece, The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942), and the Nazi-related thriller Journey Into Fear (Norman Foster, 1943), which was co-written by Cotten and Welles.

Joseph Cotten
Belgian collectors card by De Beukelaer, Antwerp, no A 45. Photo: Warner Bros.

Joseph Cotten
Small German collectors card by Greiling Sammelbilder, Serie E, no. 103. Photo: Paramount.

Joseph Cotten
Italian postcard by Bromostampa, Milano, no. 83.

A very popular romantic leading man

Joseph Cotten had a remarkable film career during the 1940s. He starred as a serial killer in Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Shadow of a Doubt (1943). He then played an eager police detective in the mystery thriller Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944) opposite Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.

Producer David O. Selznick then launched him successfully as a romantic leading man. Cotten starred with Jennifer Jones in four films for Selznick International Pictures: the wartime domestic drama Since You Went Away (John Cromwell, 1944), the romantic drama Love Letters (William Dieterle, 1945), the box office hit Duel in the Sun (King Vidor, 1946), and the critically acclaimed Portrait of Jennie (William Dieterle, 1948), in which he played a melancholy artist who becomes obsessed with a girl who may have died many years before.

He reunited with Hitchcock in the British historical thriller Under Capricorn (Alfred Hitchcock, 1949) as an Australian landowner with a shady past. Another British classic is The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949), in which Orson Welles also plays a pivotal role. Cotten portrays a writer of pulp fiction who travels to postwar Vienna to meet his friend Harry Lime (Welles). When he arrives, he discovers that Lime has died, and is determined to prove to the police that it was murder, but uncovers an even darker secret.

Coten then made a string of less high-profile roles in films such as the dark Civil War Western Two Flags West (Robert Wise, 1950), the Joan Fontaine romance September Affair (William Dieterle, 1950), and the Film Noir Niagara (Henry Hathaway, 1953) in which he played Marilyn Monroe’s jealous husband. He also had a brief role as a member of the Roman Senate in Orson Welles’ The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1951). On Broadway, Cotten created the role of Linus Larrabee, Jr., in the original 1953 production of Sabrina Fair, opposite Margaret Sullavan.

His film career floundered and Cotten found a new home on TV. He appeared on such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and hosting The 20th Century-Fox Hour and The Joseph Cotten Show. In the cinema, Cotten had an uncredited cameo in Welles’ Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958) and a starring role in the film adaptation of Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (Byron Haskin, 1958).

During the 1960s and 1970s, he appeared in a long array of TV and film projects. His most memorable films include the horror classic Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964), with Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland, The Money Trap (Burt Kennedy, 1965), the war film Tora! Tora! Tora! (Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, 1970), the British horror film The Abominable Dr. Phibes (Robert Fuest, 1971) featuring Vincent Price, the Italian horror film La Figlia di Frankenstein/Lady Frankenstein (Mel Welles, 1971) starring Rosalba Neri, The Science Fiction thriller Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973) and the all-star disaster film Airport '77 (Jerry Jameson, 1977).

One of Cotten's last films was the epic flop Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino. 1980). An on-and-off writer, Cotten published his autobiography, Vanity Will Get You Somewhere (1987), just a few years after suffering a stroke and heart attack. Joseph Cotten died of pneumonia in Los Angeles in 1994. He was survived by his second wife, British actress Patricia Medina.

Joseph Cotten
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, offered by Les Carbones Korès, no. 343, 1953. Photo: Warner Bros.

Joseph Cotten and Shirley Temple in I'll Be Seeing You (1944)
Dutch postcard by J. Sleding N.V., Amsterdam, no. 31 HL. Photo: Nederland Film. Publicity still for I'll Be Seeing You (William Dieterle, 1944) with Shirley Temple.

The Third Man
Publicity still of Alida Valli and Joseph Cotten in The Third Man (1949). Collection: Doctor Macro's.

Sources:, Wikipedia and IMDb.

02 December 2016

EFSP's Dazzling Dozen: photos by Atelier Schenker

This Dazzling Dozen post is inspired by Marlene Pilaete. Recently she did a 'La chambre obscure' post at La Collectionneuse on Atelier Schenker. This was one of the most famous German photo studios between the early 1910s and early 1930s. The two main photographers of the studio, Karl Schenker and Mario von Bucovich had many German film stars of the era for their cameras. The exhibition 'Master of Beauty' on the work of Karl Schenker can be seen at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne till 8 January 2017. And here at EFSP, 12 dazzling film star postcards with pictures by Atelier Schenker.

Gunnar Tolnaes
Gunnar Tolnaes. German postcard by Verlag W.J. Mörlins, Berlin / Vertrieb Ross-Verlag, Berlin, no. 9001/3. Photo: Karl Schenker.

Mia May
Mia May. German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 70/1. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin / May Film.

Alwin Neuss
Alwin Neuss. German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 83/2. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

Lotte Neumann
Lotte Neumann. German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 94/2. Photo: Karl Schenker / NBFMB.

Rosa Porten
Rosa Porten. German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 97/1. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin / Treumann- Larsson Film, Berlin.

Alfred Abel as Voltaire in Fridericus Rex
Alfred Abel is not listed as playing Voltaire in any of the Frederick the Great films, but the back of this postcard states this is for the Fridericus Rex series (1922-1923) by Arzén von Cserépy for his Cserepy Film Co.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 647/9. Photo: Karl Schenker. Caption: Alfred Abel as 'Voltaire, the genial friend of Frederick [the Great]'.

Who was Karl Schenker?

Karl Schenker was born in Bukovina in Romania in 1886. He moved to Berlin via Lviv and Mu­nich around 1912 and opened an 'atelier', a photo studio, in the German capital. Atelier Schenker quickly became a great success and ev­ery­body who was any­body had their por­trait tak­en in his stu­dio on the fa­mous Kur­fürs­ten­damm. He also did fashion photography for magazines like Die Dame.

Cu­ra­tor Miri­am Hal­wani of the Museum Ludwig: "Af­ter all, no one made their sub­jects look bet­ter, and there was no greater mas­ter of re­touch­ing. He wrapped ac­tress­es, dancers, and so­ci­e­ty ladies in tulle and furs be­fore tak­ing their pic­ture—or he paint­ed the fur in­to the pic­ture af­ter­wards."

In 1925, Schenker left for the US, where he stayed for five years. In New York, he main­ly il­lus­trat­ed and paint­ed por­traits un­der the name Karol Schenk­er. His atelier in Berlin was then taken over by Mario von Bucovich. Von Bucovich was born in 1884 in Pula in Istria.

Schenker returned to Berlin in 1930, but when the Nazis took the power in 1933 the Jewish Schenker could not stay in Berlin. He emigrated to England in 1938. There he opened a studio in London on Regent Street and he died in the British capital in 1954.

Mario von Bucovich worked during the 1930s in Wiesbaden, London, Paris and the US, before settling at the end of the decade in Mexico. There he died in a car accident in 1947.

The Mu­se­um Lud­wig re­cent­ly ac­quired around 100 por­traits and took this as an oc­ca­sion to trace Schenk­er’s life and work for the first time and to re­dis­cov­er an un­just­ly for­got­ten artist. Around 250 works are pre­sent­ed in Cologne, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tio­n­al loans: pho­to­graph­ic por­traits of once-fa­mous wo­m­en and men, fashion and wax fig­ure pho­to­graphs, mag­azine cov­ers de­signed by Schenk­er, an orig­i­nal draw­ing, a paint­ing, and yes, even film star post­card­s.

Ossi Oswalda
Ossi Oswalda. German postcard by Photochemie, Berlin, no. K. 3310. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl. German postcard. Photo: Karl Schenker. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Aud Egede Nissen
Aud Egede Nissen. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1144/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

Elisabeth Bergner
Elisabeth Bergner. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3228/2, 1928-1929. Photo: M. v. Bucovich (Atelier K. Schenker). Publicity still for Doña Juana (Paul Czinner, 1928).

Gustav Fröhlich
Gustav Fröhlich. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3018/1, 1928-1929. Photo: M. v. Bucovich (Atelier K. Schenker).

Renate Müller
Renate Müller. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8751/2, 1933-1934. Photo: Atelier Schenker, Berlin.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Sources: Marlene Pilaete (La Collectionneuse - French), Museum Ludwig and Wikipedia (French).