This postcard is a vintage real photo card featuring stunning French actress, Martine Carol (1920-1967). She was France’s major sex symbol of the early 1950’s. “Sex Symbol” is an awful term, but it certainly was spoken without much controversy when this postcard was published. Her popularity was short term. She was succeeded by another beautiful French actress, Brigitte Bardot. Little is known about Carol’s childhood. A random encounter with French film and stage actor, Andre Luguet, led her to seek a career in the theatre. She made her stage debut in 1940. Her first film role was in Wolf Farm (1943) and although she was a photogenic beauty and was at ease in front of the camera; her acting ability was limited. Throughout the 1940’s Martine acted in supporting roles and became a popular pin-up. She also appeared in stage roles. Martine was often considered the French version of American actress, Marilyn Monroe. After an affair with married actor Georges Marechal ended poorly, Martine attempted suicide by overdosing on alcohol and drugs, and jumping into the Seine River. The taxi cab driver that took her to the river, rescued her. The unhappy business of her suicide attempt resulted in renewed fan interest in the actress. In 1950, she had her first major film success in “Caroline Cherie”. At least part of her success was attributed to her semi-nude scenes and displays of “seductive sexuality”. She continued to appear in several films that IMDb refers to as  “costumed teasers”. Her last popular role was starring in “Lola Montes” (1955). Later roles failed to peak moviegoers interests and Martine became depressed. A severe accident, and substance abuse in the 1960’s, sabotaged her career. At age 46, Martine died of cardiac arrest in the bathroom of a Monaco hotel. News accounts suggested that she died of a drug overdose but the story was never confirmed. Martine was married and divorced three times and left her fourth husband a widower. Her longest marriage was just short of five years duration. An interesting side note is that she was once kidnapped by French gangster, Pierre Loutrel (AKA Crazy Pete). The kidnapping was brief, and the kidnapper sent her roses the next day as a gesture of apology. Martine Carol’s filmography, according to IMDb, includes 50 film credits between 1941 and 1967. The photographer of this portrait photo is Sam Levin (1904-1992). He was born in the Ukraine but emigrated to France when he was two years of age. He is famous for his stage photographs and his portraits of movie stars. His studio was in Paris. Levin was a film photographer for 75 films. He was arrested by the Nazis during World War II and was sent to a camp. His crime was, being Jewish. The fact that he was sent to a detention camp rather than a death camp, indicates there was a high ranking Nazi official acting as his guardian angel. He photographed nearly all the major French and European movie stars of the 1950’s and 1960’s. He is particularly celebrated for his photos of Brigitte Bardot. Levin did over 180 magazine covers in the United States. This postcard was published by the Globe Edition (Paris) and is part of a series (no. 132). The card is in good condition (see scans). SOLD


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