MIA MAY : PRETTY AUSTRIAN SILENT FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features a photo of Austrian actress Mia May (1884-1980). She was born in Vienna, the daughter of a baker. Her older sister was Mitzi Telmont (1879-1958), also an actress. Mia’s stage debut was when she was five years old. She played child roles until reaching age fourteen. As a teenager she appeared as Herma Angelot and performed as an actress and singer. While a high school student, she took ballet lessons. At age 18, she married Austrian, Julius Otto Mandl. The couple’s baby (Eva Maria Mandl) was born seven weeks later. Mia’s husband changed his name to Joe May, upon his entry into the film business. He became a successful film producer and director. This is how Eva adopted her performer name. She appeared in 44 films between 1912 and 1924. Mia’s daughter, Eva May, also became an actress. In 1912, Joe, Mia, and Eva moved to Berlin, where Joe worked as a film director. In 1912 he directed Mia in a film that launched her acting career. By 1914, little Eva May made her screen debut. Joe began his own film company, May-Film Gmb, in 1915. Mia took the position of Managing Director. In 1918, Mia wrote a screen play for “Your Big Secret”. Her movie career flourished in the 1910’s and early 1920’s. From 1919 to 1920 she was the star of an eight part film series (serial) called “Mistress of the World”. Mia reached a level of popularity equivalant to Asta Nielsen, Pola Negri, and Henny Porten. In 1923, she appeared in a film with a young Marlene Dietrich. Mia stated that Marlene Dietrich was “funny and engaging, attractive and original.” She added, “no man could resist her”. Mia May’s last film appearance was in “The Love Letters of Baroness S” (1924). She retired that same year after her daughter Eva committed suicide. In 1933, after seeing the Nazis gaining power, Mia and Joe May fled to America. The couple opened a restaurant (Blue Danube) in Los Angeles but it failed. The photo portrait of Eva May seen on this vintage postcard was taken by Alexander Binder.  The photographer of this terrific image was Alexander Binder (1888-1929). He had the largest photo studio in Europe during the late 1920’s and the 1930’s. Many of his entertainment star portraits appear on Ross Verlag postards. It is thought that Binder was of Swiss origin. He was of the Jewish faith. He studied engineering but did not complete his studies. From 1908 to 1910 he studied photography at a school in Munich, Germany. After the completion of his photography studies, he went to Berlin and in 1913 opened his first photography studio. Before long, he became one of the premier photographers in Berlin.  He primarily focused on fashion and celebrity photography. Since Berlin was the capital of the European film industry, Binder photographed all the stars of the European film industry including, Lilian Harvey, Conrad Veidt, and Lya De Putti. Many of his images were used in popular film portrait postcards. His photographs could be seen in postcards published by Ross Verlag and Photochemie. Binder died in 1929 but new photo cards bearing his signature continued to be published until 1937. It is thought that the real photographer of these new postcards was Hubs Floeter (1910-1974) who was employed at the studio as an operator. The studio continued to be owned by Binder’s widow, Mrs. Binder Alleman and their two daughters. The studio was managed by the Jewish Elisabeth Baroness Vonhedlis Stengel who was later deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1938 the Nazi’s closed Binder’s studio and it was later taken over by an Aryan photographer, Karl Ludwig Haenchen . The postcard was published by Ross Verlag (Berlin) as part of a series (no533/3). Note the “May” logo in the lower right corner of the image. Miss May was working for May-Film at the time this photograph was taken. The stamp box seen on the reverse of this postcard has an interesting story attached to it. “NBC” (Neue Bromsilber Convention) was a price cartel established in 1909 that continued until the 1930’s. The purpose of the cartel was to ensure that the minimum price charged for postcards was kept at a sufficiently profitable level. A number of postcard publishing companies joined the cartel in an effort to stave off the effect of competition on the pricing of postcards. This vintage real photo portrait postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

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Buy this original Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3356

To purchase this item, click on the Pay with PayPal button below

$20.00

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Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) 3356

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$29.00

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