Anny Ondra

Anny Ondra (born Anna Sophie Ondráková; 15 May 1903 – 28 February 1987) was a Czech film actress. She began her career in 1920 and appeared in Czech, German, Austrian, French and English films. In 1933, she married German boxing champion Max Schmeling.

Anny Ondra
Anny Ondra by Jaroslav Balzar.jpg
Ondra, c. 1930
Born
Anna Sophie Ondráková

(1903-05-15)15 May 1903
Died28 February 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 83)
Resting placeSaint Andreas Friedhof, Hollenstedt, West Germany
NationalityCzech
Years active1919–1951
Spouse(s)Max Schmeling (1933–1987)
Partner(s)Karel Lamač

LifeEdit

Ondra was born in Tarnów to Czech parents, Bohumír Ondrák, an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and Anna Ondráková (née Mracek). She had two brothers, Tomáš and Jindřich. She spent her childhood in Tarnów, Pula and Prague. At seventeen she acted in the theatre and in her first film, which was directed by her then boyfriend, director and actor Karel Lamač.[1] When her family learned of it, they had a shouting match in which the teenager received a beating from her father - to be an actress, soon after the First World War, was socially almost at the level of a being a beggar. Anna had been educated at a convent school and her father had found an official government position for her. Anna preferred a film career and began to live with Karel Lamač. "I swim like a fish, ride like a cowboy, and I would do it all if the film required it," summarised the nineteen-year-old. After some years she wanted to start a family, but Lamač did not want to marry. So, after a three-year romance, on 6 July 1933 in Bad Saarow, Ondra married German boxer Max Schmeling. Schmeling had acquired the summer house in Bad Saarow belonging to the expressionist painter Bruno Krauskopf, who had fled exile from the Nazis, in 1933. Ondra and Schmeling appeared together in the film Knock-out (1935).

 
Wedding of Anny Ondra and Max Schmeling (1933)

Throughout their marriage, German fascists tried to exploit the fame and popularity of Ondra and Schmeling. They were often seen in photos with Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler - Schmeling portrayed as a German superman (he was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932) and Ondra as a blonde Aryan, despite her Slavic origins. However, they never collaborated: Schmeling refused to accept honours and even secretly helped to hide two Jewish children, saving their lives; in Nazi Germany this was a capital offence. After the war, they were penalised financially for collaboration, and an arrest warrant was issued in Czechoslovakia. Nazi propaganda was taken literally and Schmeling never visited Ondra's homeland.

After the war, they were left without funds and assets. In 1949 they moved to Hollenstedt near Hamburg, and in the 1950s Schmeling began working for The Coca-Cola Company.

Their marriage was a happy one, although childless: Ondra miscarried after a car accident in 1936, and it was to be her only pregnancy. Later, Ondra sponsored the granddaughter of her friend Hermann Gronen, born in 1942, who was married to Rosa Gronen (née Schmeling) in his first marriage. Max Schmeling gave the granddaughter Rosa Maria Gronen (today Winters) a pair of boxing gloves at her christening.

Ondra and Schmeling were married until her death in 1987. Lamač remained her friend throughout his lifetime. He died in her arms in 1952 in Hamburg.

 
Plaque marking Max Schmeling’s and Anny Ondra’s house in Berlin

Ondra was buried in the Saint Andreas Friedhof cemetery in Hollenstedt, West Germany. Schmeling died in 2005 and was buried next to her.[2]

Film careerEdit

Her breakthrough was in the 1920 film Gilly in Prague for the First Time, and she acted in Czech and Austrian comedies in the 1920s. With the films Eve's Daughters (1928) and Sinful and Sweet (1929) she conquered the German market.

 
In Blackmail (1929)
 
Test take for Blackmail

She also appeared in some British dramas, most notably Alfred Hitchcock's The Manxman and Blackmail (both 1929); in the latter, her character is the first “Hitchcock blonde". Blackmail was started as a silent film; in the course of production, however, it was decided to make it the first English sound film. A minute-long test film where Ondra speaks English has survived, in which Hitchcock teases her to get an emotional response by asking if she is a "bad woman" and if she slept with men, making her laugh out of embarrassment.[3] Ondra's accent was considered unacceptable, but Hitchcock didn't want to do without her as an actress, so he had her part dubbed by British actress Joan Barry. Barry thus became the first voice actress and Anny Ondra the first foreign-language dubbed actress in film history, the dubbing taking place in an unusual way: Ondra moved her lips, Barry spoke the text outside the picture.

After returning to Germany, Ondra formed a production company, Ondra-Lamač-Films, with Karel Lamač, which lasted until 1936.[4] Lamač directed her in several silent films, acted with her in films directed by other filmmakers, and continued to work together after her marriage to Max Schmeling.[5] She played her first self-spoken sound film role alongside Sig Arno in Fairground People (1930).

Ondra made some forty more films in the sound era, the last in 1957, and in total over 90 films.

Ondra was portrayed by Britt Ekland in the television movie Ring of Passion (1978), wherein the character was named "Amy Ondra Schmeling". She was also portrayed by Peta Wilson in the historical boxing docudrama Joe and Max (2002).

Selected filmographyEdit

Year Title Role Language Notes
1920 Gilly in Prague for the First Time Girl Silent
1920 Lady with the Small Foot Dandy's friend Silent
1921 The Poisoned Light Grant's daughter Anny Silent
1922 Look After Your Daughters Silent
Gypsy Love Silent
Lead Us Not into Temptation Silent
1923 The Kidnapping of Fux the Banker Fux's daughter Daisy Silent
1924 White Paradise Nina Mirelová Silent
1925 Chyt'te ho! Lilly Wardová Silent with Karel Lamač
1926 The Countess from Podskalí Liduška Silent
Trude Silent
Never the Twain Zuzka Pestová / Lili Weberová Silent
1927 Die Pratermizzi Pratermizzi Silent
Pantáta Bezoušek Melanka Silent
Hotel Erzherzogin Viktoria Steffi Haidegger Silent
Anicko, vrat se! Anicka Karesová Silent
Květ ze Šumavy Dáňa Silent
The Lovers of an Old Criminal Fifi Hrazánková Silent with Vlasta Burian
1928 Eve's Daughters Nina Laval / Anny de Lavais Silent
God's Clay Angela Clifford Silent Directed by Graham Cutts
Glorious Youth Eileen Silent Directed by Graham Cutts
The First Kiss Anny Cord Silent
Suzy Saxophone Anni von Aspen Silent
1929 The Manxman Kate Cregeen Silent Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Sinful and Sweet Musette Silent
Blackmail Alice White English Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The Girl with the Whip Anny Nebenkrug Silent
1930 The Caviar Princess Annemarie Silent
Das Mädel aus U.S.A. Annemarie German
Fairground People Anny Flock German
Eine Freundin, so goldig wie Du Anny German
1931 Him and His Sister Anny Brabcová Czech with Vlasta Burian
Er und seine Schwester Anny Spatz German with Vlasta Burian
Die Fledermaus Adele German with Iván Petrovich and Georg Alexander
1932 Mamsell Nitouche Mamsell Nitouche German with Georg Alexander
A Night in Paradise Monika Böhnicke German with Hermann Thimig
La Chauve-Souris [fr] Arlette French with Iván Petrovich
Une nuit au paradis Monique Béchue French
Faut-il les marier ? Anny French with Jean-Pierre Aumont
Die grausame Freundin Welgunda German
Kiki Kiki German with Hermann Thimig
Kiki Kiki French with Pierre Richard-Willm
Baby [6] Baby German with Anton Walbrook
1933 Baby [7] Baby French with Pierre Richard-Willm
The Ideal Schoolmaster Věra Matysová Czech
Daughter of the Regiment Mary Dreizehn German
La fille du régiment Mary French with Pierre Richard-Willm
Fräulein Hoffmanns Erzählungen Anita Limann German with Mathias Wieman
The Love Hotel Hanne Boll German with Mathias Wieman
1934 Die vertauschte Braut Virginia Vanderloo / Colly German with Anton Walbrook
L'amour en cage La baronne de Rèze / Anny French
Little Dorrit Amy Dorrit German with Mathias Wieman
Polish Blood Helena Zaremba German with Hans Moser and Iván Petrovich
Polská krev Helena Zarembová Czech
1935 Knockout Marianne Plümke German with her husband Max Schmeling
Großreinemachen Bessie German with Wolf Albach-Retty
The Young Count Billy German with Hans Söhnker
1936 Donogoo Tonka Josette German Directed by Reinhold Schünzel
Flitterwochen Ingeborg German with Hans Söhnker
1937 A Girl from the Chorus Henriette Lange German
Vor Liebe wird gewarnt Anny Palme German
Cause for Divorce Anny German
Důvod k rozvodu Anny Plavcova Czech
The Irresistible Man Claudette Renier German with Hans Söhnker
1938 Narren im Schnee Dorothee Heinemann German
1941 The Gasman Erika Knittel German with Heinz Rühmann
1943 Heaven, We Inherit a Castle German
1951 You Have to be Beautiful Rode de Lila German with Sonja Ziemann
1957 The Zurich Engagement Anny Ondra German with Liselotte Pulver

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "Boxing legend Max Schmeling dies at 99". USA Today. Berlin: The Associated Press. February 4, 2005.
  3. ^ "Blackmail Test Take (1929) - Alfred Hitchcock".
  4. ^ Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. Archived from the original on 2009-03-25.
  5. ^ "Funny Ladies 1". La Cineteca del Friuli. 2002.
  6. ^ Baby (1932) on IMDb
  7. ^ Baby (1933) on IMDb

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit