30 May 2017

Jean-Marc Thibault (1923-2017)

Yesterday, 28 May 2017, French actor and comedian Jean-Marc Thibault (1923-2017) passed away. Thibault and his sidekick Roger Pierre (1923-2010) were a popular French comedy duo, which gave countless performances on stage, radio and TV. They also starred in five popular films. Thibault and Pierre both also had solo careers as actors, screenwriters and directors. Thibault was 93.

Roger Pierre, Jean-Marc Thibault
Jean-Marc Thibault is the right guy; Roger Pierre is on the left. French postcard by E.D.U.G. (Editions du Globe), Paris, no. 269. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Jean-Marc Thibault (1923-2017) and Roger Pierre
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 464. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Big Kids

Jean-Marc Thibault was born in Saint-Bris-le-Winey, France in 1923. His sister would later marry politician Lionel Jospin.

After following theatre classes at the course Simon, Thibault worked in dance halls and also played sketches in cabarets. His first appearance in the cinema was in in Premier de cordée/Lead climber (Louis Daquin, 1944).

Roger Pierre was born in Le-Port Marly, France 1923. In 1946 he had made his stage debut in a cabaret and was an extra in the war drama Le Père tranquille/Mr. Orchid (René Clément, 1946) starring Noël-Noël.

In 1947, Pierre worked as a presenter of commercials at Radio-Luxembourg. There he met Thibault whose texts he had to read. It was the start of a long career as a comedy duo in Parisian cabarets like le Tabou, le Caveau de la Terreur, l'Amiral, and le Moulin-Rouge. The men wrote some 3,000 sketches and songs together.

They appeared in many TV shows of Maritie and Gilbert Carpentier and also starred in several film comedies together. These films included La Vie est belle/Life is Beautiful (Roger Pierre, Jean-Marc Thibault, 1956), Vive les vacances/Gimme A Break (Jean-Marc Thibault, 1958) written by Thibault and Pierre, Les Motards/The Motorcycle Cops (Jean Laviron, 1959) also with Francis Blanche and co-written by Thibault and Pierre, Un cheval pour deux/A Horse for Two (Jean-Marc Thibault, 1961) and Faites donc plaisir aux amis/So be happy with friends (Francis Rigaud, 1969).

Together they also appeared in supporting parts in many other film comedies like Nous irons à Deauville/We go to Deauville (Francis Rigaud, 1962) with Louis de Funès, and Les Baratineurs/The talkers (Francis Rigaud, 1965) starring Jean Poiret.

Between 1967 and 1970, Thibault and Pierre presented the TV show Les Grands Enfants/Big Kids. Many French comedians of the day frequented this entertainment show: Jacqueline Maillan, Jean Poiret, Michel Serrault, Sophie Desmarets, Jean Yanne, Marcel Amont and many others.

From 1972 till 1975 they made everybody in France laugh with their historical comedy shows Les maudits rois fainéants/The damned lazy kings and Les z'heureux rois z'Henri/The Happy Kings Henry. Their final films together were the comedies En grandes pompes/With great fanfare (André Teisseire, 1974) with Ginette Leclerc, and Gross Paris (Gilles Grangier, 1975).

Roger Pierre, Jean-Marc Thibault
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 745. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Roger Pierre, Jean-Marc Thibault
French postcard by J.P.B. for Ducretet Thomson.

Interesting Films

In 1976 and after 28 years together, the artistic ways of Jean-Marc Thibault and Roger Pierre parted. In the following years, Pierre appeared in interesting films like Comme sur des roulettes/Comme sur des roulettes (Nina Companeez, 1976), Mon oncle d'Amérique/My American Uncle (Alain Resnais, 1980) with Gérard Depardieu, and Camera d'albergo/Hotel Room (Mario Monicelli, 1981) starring Vittorio Gassman.

Thibault was engaged by prolific director Yves Boisset for the Policier La Femme flic/Woman cop (Yves Boisset, 1978) alongside Miou-Miou. He also appeared that year in Vaudeville (Jean Marboeuf), 1978.

From 1985 to 1993, Thibault dedicated himself to television. He starred in the hit series Maguy, and in La Tête en l'air/The head in the air, for which the screenplay was written by his wife, Sophie Agacinski.

In 2001, Thibault returned to the cinema with two feature films: De l'amour/From love (Jean-Francois Richet, 2001) and Vidocq (Pitof, 2001). The following year, he appeared in Féroc/Fierce (Gilles de Maistre, 2002) alongside Samy Naceri. This TV film denounces the rise of the extreme right in France.

After 1976, Roger Pierre continued to work on stage and television. During the 1980s, he participated in Jeux de 20 heures. He cooperated on the cult TV show Grosses Têtes by Philippe Bouvard. He also appeared in the TV show Incroyable mais vrai! And at 80 he played in the TV film L'Ami d’enfance de Maigret/The childhood friend of Maigret (Laurent Heynemann, 2003), with Bruno Crémer as inspector Jules Maigret. He had his final film role in Les Herbes folles/Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, 2009) with Sabine Azéma.

Pierre and Thibault reunited twice. In 1984 they worked together for the spectacle Nos premiers adieux at the Théâtre Antoine in Paris. They did that again in 1990 at l'Olympia. Roger Pierre, died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 86.

Jean Marc Thibault, who died in Marseille, was 93. He was the father of Xavier and Frédéric Thibault, the leaders of the Grand Orchestre du Splendid, and of actor and director Alexander Thibault.

Roger Pierre and Jean Marc Thibault as Les deux Scouts (1956). Source: Jean-Marie Terrasse (YouTube). Sorry, no subtitles!

Sources: Le (French), Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

29 May 2017

New acquisitions by Didier Hanson

From time to time Didier Hanson sends us scans of great and rare postcards he recently discovered and added to his huge collection. Today EFSP presents an update for you. Sit back and enjoy.

Xenia Desni
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1026/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Ufa.. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Ukrainian actress Xenia Desni (1894-1954) was a star of the German silent cinema.

Lien Deyers in Spione (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 95/1. Photo: Fritz Lang Film. Publicity still for Spione/Spies (Fritz Lang, 1928). Collection: Didier Hanson.

Dutch actress Lien Deijers (1910-1965) - also known as Lien Deyers and Lien Dyers - was discovered by famous director Fritz Lang who gave her a part in Spione (1928). She acted in a stream of late silent and early sound films. After 1935 her star faded rapidly and her life ended in tragedy.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge in Spione (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 96/1. Photo: Fritz Lang Film. Publicity still for Spione/Spies (Fritz Lang, 1928). Collection: Didier Hanson.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge (1888-1955) is best remembered as Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse and as Lang's mad scientist in Metropolis, but he played many more parts in the German cinema.

Pola Negri
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 246, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Pola Negri
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1243/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Paramount. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Polish film actress Pola Negri (1894-1987) achieved notoriety as a femme fatale in silent films between 1910s and 1930s.

Lon Chaney
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5096/1, 1930-1931. Photo: MGM. Collection: Didier Hanson. Could be for Chaney's penultimate film Thunder (William Nigh, 1929).

American stage and film actor, director and screenwriter Lon Chaney (1883-1930) is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema. Between 1912 and 1930 he played more the 150 widely diverse roles. He is renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces’ starred in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925).

Vera Kholodnaya and Ossip Runitsch in Last Tango (1918)
Russian postcard, no. 140. Photo: publicity still for Posledneiye tango/Last Tango (Vyacheslav Viskovsky, 1918). Collection: Didier Hanson.

Vera Kholodnaya (1893-1919) was the first star of the Russian silent cinema. Only 26, the ‘Queen of Screen’ died of the Spanish flu during the pandemic of 1919. Although she worked only three years for the cinema, she must have made between fifty and hundred short films. The Soviet authorities ordered to destroy many of the Kholodnaya features in 1924, and only five of her films still exist.

Russian actor, producer and stage director Ossip Runitsch (1889-1947) was one of the biggest stars of the Russian silent cinema.

Jenny Golder
French postcard by J.R.P.R., Paris, no. 18. Photo: G.L. Maniuel Frères. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Actress and singer Jenny Golder (ca. 1896-1928) was born in Australia to English parents, but grew up in Paris. She first appeared in variety and musical comedy shows in England and in Brussels but it was in Paris where she became well known. According to The Times obituary her personality captivated even critical audiences and her eccentric dancing was as successful as her singing. Golder appeared in many revues with American dancer, Harry Pilcer, who had also been Gaby Deslys's dancing partner. In 1925 she had her greatest success with the Folies Bergères revue at the London Palladium. Didier adds: "After al these successes, Jenny Golder killed herself in her impresario's office by gunshot (allegedly).Why? Nobody knows for sure..."

Feodor Chaliapin as Mephisto
Russian postcard, no.495. Photo: publicity still for the stage production of Arrigo Boito's opera Mefistofele. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Feodor Chaliapin as Boris Godunov
Russian postcard, no.57. Photo: publicity still for the stage production of Modest Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (Russian: Фёдор Ива́нович Шаля́пин) (1873–1938) was a Russian opera singer. The possessor of a large, deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.

Ernst Stahl Nachbauer, Erna Morena and Paul Günther in Die elf Schill'schen Offiziere (1932)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 151/4. Photo: Märkische Film G.m.b.H. Die elf Schill'schen Offiziere/The eleven Schillian officers (Rudolf Meinert, 1932). Collection: Didier Hanson.

Erna Morena (1885-1962) had an impressive career in German silent cinema in the 1910s and 1920s, and until the mid-1930s she was regularly performing in German sound films.

Many thanks, Didier!

28 May 2017

Imported from the USA: Angie Dickinson

American actress Angie Dickinson (1931) starred on television as Sergeant Leann 'Pepper' Anderson in the successful 1970s crime series Police Woman. Her trade marks are her honey blonde hair, her large brown eyes, a voluptuous figure and her deep sultry voice. She has appeared in more than 50 films, including European productions such as the French thriller Un homme est mort/The Outside Man (Jacques Deray, 1972).

Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo (1959)
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano, no. 1680. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959).

Vespa: Angie Dickinson
Italian postcard by Ed Graphicarta, Pontedera for Piaggio. Kit Postcards Vespa. Dickinson was in Italy for at least two films: Jessica (Jean Negulesco, Oreste Palella, 1962), shot in Sicily but also at the Roman DEAR studios, and Rome Adventure (Delmer Daves 1962), starring Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue.

Beauty Contest

Angie Dickinson was born Angeline Brown (called Angie) in the North Dakota prairie town of Kulm in 1931. She was the second of three daughters of Fredericka (Hehr) and Leo Henry Brown, a newspaper editor and publisher of The Kulm Messenger and The Edgeley Mail.

The family left North Dakota in 1942, when Angie was 11 years old, moving to Burbank, California. She attended Glendale College and Immaculate Heart College. At Glendale College, she met Gene Dickinson, a star on the school's football team. She became Angie Dickinson in 1952, when she married Gene. They divorced in 1959.

In 1953, she entered a local preliminary for the Miss America contest one day before the deadline and took second place. In August of the same year, she was one of five winners in a beauty contest sponsored by NBC and landed a spot as one of six long-stemmed showgirls on The Jimmy Durante Show. On The Jimmy Durante Show she met Frank Sinatra, who was a guest star on the TV show and they would have a 10-year affair.

Dickinson appeared in several television variety shows, including The Colgate Comedy Hour. In the cinema, she got her first bit part in the Doris Day comedy Lucky Me (Jack Donohue, 1954) and gained fame in the television series The Millionaire (1955).

Dickinson had her first leading role in the Western Gun the Man Down (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) with James Arness. It was followed by the Sam Fuller cult film China Gate (1957), which depicted an early view of the First Indochina War. Dickinson played a Eurasian good-time girl whose marriage to Gene Barry is derailed by the birth of her Chinese baby.

In 1959, she got her breakthrough role opposite John Wayne and Dean Martin in the Western Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959). She played a flirtatious gambler called 'Feathers' who becomes attracted to the town sheriff played by her childhood idol John Wayne. Her success then spiralled until she became one of Hollywood's top film stars.

Angie Dickenson
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 194.

A lurid crime drama

Angie Dickinson became one of Hollywood's more prominent leading ladies of the 1960s. She appeared in the heist film Ocean's 11 (Lewis Milestone, 1960) with friends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

She played the title role in Jean Negulesco's Jessica (1962) with Maurice Chevalier, in which she played a young midwife resented by the married women of a Sicilian town.

In The Killers (Don Siegel, 1964), a film originally intended to be the very first made-for-television movie but released to theatres due to its violent content, Dickinson played a femme fatale opposite Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan in his last film role. It was a remake of the 1946 version based on a story by Ernest Hemingway.

She appeared in a star-studded The Chase (Arthur Penn, 1966), along with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, and Robert Duvall.

Dickinson's best film of this era was arguably the cult classic Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967), a lurid crime drama with Lee Marvin as a criminal betrayed by his wife and best friend and out for revenge. The film epitomised the stark urban mood of the period, and its reputation has grown through the years.

Angie Dickinson
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 51.

Angie Dickinson
German postcard by ISV, Sort. 11/6.

A ground-breaking weekly police series

In 1971, Angie Dickinson played a lascivious substitute high school teacher in the dark comedy Pretty Maids All in a Row (Roger Vadim, 1971), in which her character seduces a sexually inexperienced student against the backdrop of a series of murders of female students at the same high school. It was a box-office failure.

The following year, she played opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant in the French thriller Un homme est mort/The Outside Man (Jacques Deray, 1972), which was shot in LA.

One of Dickinson's best known and most sexually provocative roles was the tawdry widow Wilma McClatchie from the Great Depression romp Big Bad Mama (Steve Carver, 1974) with William Shatner and Tom Skerritt. Although well into her forties at the time, she appeared nude in several scenes, which created interest in the film and a new generation of male fans for Dickinson.

In 1974, she returned to TV to play in an episode in the hit anthology series Police Story. That one guest appearance proved to be so popular that NBC offered Dickinson her own television show which became a ground-breaking weekly police series called Police Woman, the first successful dramatic television series to feature a woman in the title role.

Sam Kashner in Vanity Fair: Her Sergeant Suzanne 'Pepper' Anderson was among the first of a new wave of tough, resourceful female action heroes who could hold their own in a man’s world. She was perfect for the role—that independent spirit coupled with a willingness to go undercover as a hooker or a moll, to be 'eye candy'" The show became a hit, reaching number one in many countries, and ran from 1974 to 1978. Dickinson won a Golden Globe award, and received Emmy nominations for three consecutive years.

Angie Dickenson
American postcard by Coral-Lee, Rancho Cordova, no. CL/Personality # 52. Photo: Douglas Kirkland, 1980.

A seductress with an enigmatic, ladylike reserve

Angie Dickinson returned to the cinema in the erotic thriller Dressed to Kill (Brian De Palma, 1980). The role of Kate Miller, a sleek, elegantly dressed, unsatisfied wife who embarks on a daytime tryst with a stranger, earned her a 1981 Saturn Award for Best Actress. Dressed to Kill was a sensation at the box office, in part because of the controversy over the film’s mingling of sex and violence.

She then starred in several TV movies, and had a pivotal role in the mini-series Hollywood Wives (Robert Day, 1985), based on a novel by Jackie Collins. Dickinson reprised her role as Wilma McClatchie for Big Bad Mama II (Jim Wynorski, 1987). In the TV miniseries Wild Palms (1993), produced by Oliver Stone, she was the sadistic, militant sister of Senator Tony Kruetzer (Robert Loggia).

That same year, she starred as a ruthless Montana spa owner in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Gus Van Sant, 1993) with Uma Thurman. Sydney Pollack cast her as the prospective mother-in-law of Greg Kinnear in the romantic comedy Sabrina (1995) starring Harrison Ford, a remake of the Billy Wilder classic.

During the first decade of the Third Millennium, Dickinson acted out the alcoholic, homeless mother of Helen Hunt's character in Pay It Forward (Mimi Leder, 2000); the grandmother of Gwyneth Paltrow's character in the road trip film Duets (Bruce Paltrow, 2000), and made a brief cameo in the remake Ocean's 11 (Steven Soderbergh, 2001) with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

After her divorce from Gene Dickinson in 1960, she married Burt Bacharach in 1965. They remained a married couple for 15 years. Their daughter, Lea Nikki, known as Nikki, arrived a year after they were married. Born three months prematurely, Nikki suffered from chronic health problems, including visual impairment; she was later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Burt composed the music of the song Nikki for their fragile young daughter, and Angie rejected many roles to focus on caring for their daughter. In 2007, the 40-years-old Nikki killed herself by suffocation in her apartment in the Ventura County suburb of Thousand Oaks.

Angie Dickenson's most recent feature film is Elvis Has Left the Building (Joel Zwick, 2004), starring Kim Basinger as a cosmetics saleswoman who accidentally kills a series of Elvis impersonators as they travel to a convention in Las Vegas. Dickinson plays Basinger's mother, a former mechanic for the real Elvis.

Her last acting role to date was in the TV film Mending Fences (Stephen Bridgewater, 2009). For The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley reviewed the film: "This made-for-television movie is plodding and predictable, but Ms. Dickinson is anything but. At 77 she still has an odd and beguiling incongruity — a seductress with an enigmatic, ladylike reserve. She was saucy, but also delicate, as Sgt. Pepper Anderson on Police Woman; in Brian De Palma’s thriller Dressed to Kill Ms. Dickinson was both forward and fragile. Even as a cranky, elderly rancher fighting off casino developers, she has feminine allure."

Trailer Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967). Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault (YouTube).

Trailer Dressed to Kill (Brian De Palma, 1980). Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault (YouTube).

Sources: Sam Kashner (Vanity Fair), Alessandra Stanley (The New York Times),,
Wikipedia and IMDb.