Monday 30 September 2013

Downton Abbey season 4 .

Downton Abbey season 4 trailer reveals Mary's mourning, Edith's bare shoulders, and the show's first African-American character


Lady Mary Crawley was left devastated when her husband Matthew was killed in a car crash during the Christmas special.
And in the just-released trailer for Downton Abbey's highly-anticipated fourth season, Mary (Michelle Dockery) is now a mourning single mother.
'You have a straightforward choice before you,' the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) tells her granddaughter. 'You must choose either death or life.'
Mary then responds: 'And you think that I should choose life?'
The (mostly) silent one-minute preview then flashes glimpses of emotional moments between characters new and old.
Mary is seen meeting two different potential suitors, and receiving a consoling embrace from Carson the butler (Jim Carter).
Now mother of six-month-old baby George, Mary will be pursued by Lord Anthony Gillingham (Tom Cullen), Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden), and Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks).
'Gillingham is an old family friend. The sisters knew him when we were growing up, and we haven’t seen him since then. A party is organised at the house, and he is invited to it,' the 31-year-old actress told TV Line.
'He’s just a different character. And there’s other potential suitors, as well. It’s not just him. There’s a character called Blake, played by Julian Ovenden. And Evelyn Napier (played by Brendan Patricks) comes back, as well. He was the one who brought the Turkish diplomat along. That was lovely to play scenes with Brendan again because we haven’t seen him since Season 1. They’re very different.
'And this year, we have a few new characters coming in. Mary's beginning to come back to real life again because it takes her a long, long time to even interact with anyone.'
Lady Rose MacClare (Lily James) appears to take a far more central role at Downton, and dances with a jazz singer named Jack (Gary Carr, a British actor who plays an American on the show).
Rose personally welcomes the show's first African-American character, who noticeably enters the lavish estate from downstairs.
The normally dowdy Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) embraces the flapper-filled 1920s by baring her shoulders in a modern halter frock.
Both Daisy the assistant cook (Sophie McShera) and Bates the valet (Brendan Coyle) are seen breaking down in tears.
Widower and single father Tom Branson the estate manager (Allen Leech) gets a love interest, and comforts Matthew's mother Isobel (Penelope Wilton).
And head housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) confronts a mysterious older man in what appears to be a factory.
Set between 1922-1923, the fourth season will premiere in the UK this September on ITV and in the US on January 5 on PBS' Masterpiece Classic.
And while Dan Stevens and Siobhan Finneran have now exited the series - Paul Giamatti, Nigel Harman, Julian Ovendon, and opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa have all joined season four.
And fans of the show will be pleased to know that while season four hasn't even premiered yet, the cast have already signed up for season five.
Michelle said: 'As far as we know, we're all doing season five next year. Beyond that, we really don't know.'
Downton Abbey is up for 12 Emmy nominations on September 22, including nods for Dockery, Smith, Carter, and Hugh Bonneville.

Downton Abbey, ITV, series 4, episode 1, review
The opening episode of series four of ITV's Downton Abbey had laughs, tears and a towering performance from Michelle Dockery, says Serena Davies.

A triumvirate of women made last night’s opening instalment of the fourth series of Downton Abbey (ITV) a glowing success. A great deal rested on this episode. The capacious hole rendered by the death of Matthew Crawley, handsome hero and heir to the estate, was one it wouldn’t be easy to fill. Julian Fellowes did well then to embrace his absence and instead of trying to distract us with too much below stairs frippery, placed Matthew’s grieving wife centre stage.
And how excellently Michelle Dockery filled it. Her character, Lady Mary, was once an ice maiden until Matthew melted her. Here she was back to her frigid best, all hooded eye-lids, chiselled profile, cadaverous frame shrouded in jet black silks: a beautiful raven.
Dockery is blessed with a voice several registers lower than most females, which gave every utterance of misery weight, but it was when she wasn’t speaking that mattered most. The moment of quiet triumph in the episode, the one which signified that Fellowes was Back On Form after the somewhat choppy Matthew-murdering Christmas special, was when Mary came down the grand staircase towards Downton's great hall and was suddenly arrested by the view before her.
She was looking at just an angle of banister and the corner of a room, but it was the spot where she and Matthew had kissed. It was deftly understated, and Dockery wrenched our hearts with the poise of her head and empty eyes. I found myself expecting a spectre of Matthew to appear to look up at her, like Rose remembering Jack on the staircase of Titanic in the James Cameron film, but no such atrocity occurred.
The other marvellous females in the episode were Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess and Penelope Wilton as Matthew’s mother Mrs Crawley. Smith gave us humour, and Wilton gave us a masterclass in how the older generation does tragedy. As often, the Dowager Countess, with her wise counsel, was the engine of the most significant event in the episode: Mary’s recovery, when she finally shed the black for lilac. But Dame Maggie also gave us high hilarity, particularly when sparring off the fine Harriet Walter in a cameo as a neighbouring grandee. While Wilton expressed excoriating pain for the loss of her son just by staring at the chin of whomever she was talking to.
Elsewhere it was business as usual, Lord Grantham bumbled, Cora talked sense. The erstwhile chauffeur (Allen Leech, much better now he’s above stairs) is clearly being groomed for something big. Nothing that happened to the servants seemed to matter much, but then Fellowes has always been better at writing posh than common, or at least making it plausible.
And then there was the masterstroke, the one that indicated that Downton Abbey is now so in touch with the life of the country that it has taken on powers of prescience. Not only had Mary and Matthew’s baby been christened George, but he was referred to as Prince George. It was a joke, I think, but you can’t be sure. This heir apparent is nearly as much the nation’s prince as the real one.

Downton Abbey series four premiere – TV review
Downton Abbey returns, even though some of its best actors haven't – can we bring back the glamour?

Sam Wollaston

Where's the dog? I used to enjoy following Lord Grantham's faithful wagging friend, under the cedar, towards the big house, in the opening credits of Downton Abbey (ITV). Plus it gave me a sense of my own place in the social hierarchy – behind and a little below labrador-arse level. Don't tell me he's gone and upped sticks too, to pursue a career in Hollywood?

Someone else is leaving, sneaking off in the middle of the night. Jesus, they're running like rats from a sinking ship. Drownton. Please make it Bates …

Oh, it's O'Brien, off to the subcontinent. Well, I won't miss that old bag of bitterness much either, not like lovely Lady Sybil. And Matthew is no longer, of course, killed off so suddenly and rudely at Christmas, for Dan Stevens to become the deputy editor of the Guardian in a movie about Wikileaks.

Leaving what behind? A handful of widows, widowers, orphans and ghosts, rattling round Downton Abbey. With all of the energy and kindness and softness drained out of them. Lady Mary is basically Miss Havisham now: she wanders the corridors and staircases, only really there in body and hardly even that. If you touched her she'd surely turn to dust.

Opinions are divided about Nanny West, about the best way to deal with grief, the best way to run the estate, and who should be doing it – like series one all over again. Lord and Lady Grantham are stuck in bed, most probably for ever, not through illness but because O'Brien is no longer there to help them get up. It may be 1922 now – with restaurants, jazz, dancing, kissing even – up in London, but out here in the sticks the toffs are still unable to get dressed by themselves. Oh, Mrs Hughes is going to help, but for one day only. I'd find it so odd having someone else – a person I employed – wandering around my bedroom in the morning. But then I'm lower than a yellow lab, as we've already established.

Downstairs, Daisy gets a Valentine card, from Mrs Patmore – out of pity, not passion, I'm afraid. Carson gets an unwelcome letter from an old pal from another life, now living in the workhouse. Will Downton become a rescue centre perhaps, for the forgotten and the unwanted? Not if Carson has anything to do with it.

Matthew's miserable valet Molesley mopes about without a purpose, his master having spent the past six months six feet under. Bates … AGGGHHH, I HATE BATES, did I mention? Even the new maid, O'Brien's replacement, isn't new; she's worked here before. The most exciting thing is the arrival of a food processor.

It's not the most auspicious of openers to the new season of the posh soap. There's a dustiness and a mustiness about the place, a sense of same-old, same-old. Downton Drabbey. Even Dame Maggie's withering one-liners aren't as sharp as they once were. Dan Stevens's absence leaves an unfilled hole, just as Jessica Brown Findlay's did before. Yes, I do mean there's a dearth of talent about the place, a lack of glamour. That's mostly the point of DA, right?

This is a bit like how it's felt to be an Arsenal supporter recently – with the best players leaving, and the ideas running out. Only Downton didn't get its superstar in the transfer window. OK, so Lady Edith's new fella, this publishing chap in town, says he's willing to become a German in order to be with her. But he ain't Mesut Özil, is he?

How the hell did he get in here? Well, maybe he should be. I'd clean the whole place out, get rid of the lot of them – more car crashes, bad births, hunting accidents, whatever. Any who somehow survive can be forced out by crippling death duties and packed off to live in modest Victorian terraces. Then we can fast-forward 90 years or so, cut to when Downton Abbey has become a posh wedding venue for footballers. With Range Rovers and Bentley Continentals parked up on the gravel, and a luxury spa and gym down in Carson's old kingdom. That would get a bit of sparkle back into the old place. Downton Abi, they might call it.

On the subject of wags, there is some good cast news. Maybe not a thrilling new glamour signing, but a familiar friendly face at least. Well, arse. The dog, Isis, may have been sacked from the opening credits, but here he is, alive and well, on a tour of the estate with his master. That's a relief.

Downton Abbey Season 4 Trailer

Downton Abbey: Behind the Drama

Sunday 29 September 2013

'The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, Spy’ by Jean-Noel Liaut

Tinker, Tailor, Model, Spy

Chanel mannequin, art-world vixen, Allied spy—Toto Koopman’s remarkable life gets resuscitated in a biography out this week.
Where does one start to tell the story of Toto Koopman? Should we start in Paris, in the ateliers of Coco Chanel and the studios of French Vogue, where a 19-year-old Toto preened for the grand Jazz Age couturiers? Or perhaps in Britain on the brink of another world war, where Toto flitted among three of the country’s most powerful men? Do we start in the prisons of northern Italy, among Mussolini’s anti-Fascist enemies? In the London gallery where avant-garde artists like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud sold their scandalous works? In the green rice paddies of Java? In the lemon groves of Sicily? In the hell of a camp called Ravensbrück?
Now largely forgotten, Toto Koopman was one of those see-and-be-seen It girls of the early part of the 20th century—a woman who, with her striking good looks and insouciant charm, swirled about in the eddies of European high society, befriending (and seducing) some of the most remarkable characters to shape the continent’s wartime culture and its political destiny. She dallied with media moguls, palled around with ambassadors’ wives, and bedded Hollywood actresses and war heroes alike. She also served as a spy for the Allied Resistance and survived the horrors of the Nazi death machine. Now her cinematic life is getting the hagiography treatment in a fascinating and flawed new book, The Many Lives of Miss K, out from Rizzoli this week.
The biography, by French journalist Jean-Noël Liaut, suffers a bit from breathless adulation of its heroine, as well as a frustrating lack of access to Toto’s own voice. (The author interviewed several late-life friends of Toto’s, along with some relatives, but he presents only a few letters between Toto and her closest contemporaries. As a result, the book tends to gloss over some of her more interesting pre-war episodes.) But Liaut is by no means alone in his extreme Toto infatuation. Indeed, he’s just the latest in a long line of men and women who found themselves besotted with the green-eyed model once described as “Ava Gardner’s double.”
Yet Toto’s early years hardly hinted at her future as a grande séductrice. Born in the volcanic foothills of the East Indies in 1908 to a colonel in the Dutch cavalry and his half-Javanese wife, Toto—real name Catharina—got her nickname from her father’s favorite horse. Despite the nascent stirrings of nationalism and resentment of Dutch rule percolating in Indonesia at the time, Toto led a typically colonial childhood. Her family lived in luxurious officers’ quarters amid tea plantations and tropical gardens, tended to by a fleet of native servants and nannies. It was a world of white linen, afternoons spent horseback riding (sidesaddle for the ladies) or swimming in cool mountain pools, and military fêtes by torchlight. It was a world far removed from the Great War ravaging the motherland.
By 1920, Europe had entered into a tenuous peace, and Toto left Java to attend boarding school in the Netherlands. The teen had a talent for languages—she quickly became fluent in French, German, English and Italian—and began to ripen into a sensuous and fashionable young woman. She also had a taste for the independent life, so after a year of finishing school in England, the 19-year-old Toto arrived in Paris to make her way as a model (a profession that fell, at the time, “somewhere between a cabaret dancer and a tart”) and enjoy the raffish café society that had gripped the Entre-deux-guerres capital.
Installing herself in the 17th arrondissement, a rough-and-tumble neighborhood of starving artists and nightclub singers, Toto was soon hired as a house model for Coco Chanel, though she left after a mere six months. (Later, she said she didn’t like the way the intense, demanding Chanel touched her during fashion show fittings.) But Toto’s career began to gain momentum on its own. She served as mannequin and muse to the designers Rochas and Mainbocher, wearing their elegant creations to nights at the opera and grand galas about town. She became a favorite of Vogue photographers Edward Steichen and George Hoyningen-Huene, an émigré baron who had fled the Russian revolution and who became a seminal force at the French edition of the magazine. Hoyningen-Huene cloaked her in minimalist creations by the likes of Vionnet and Augustabernard, clothing so sheer that Toto had to powder her intimate parts to keep the fabric from clinging indecently to her curves. “We were all exhibitionists, show-offs,” Toto reminisced years later. “One dressed up not to please men, but to astound the other women.”
Still, plenty of men seemed pleased and astounded by the biracial beauty. By the early 1930s, Toto had fallen in with the Mdivani brothers, a trio of bogus “princes” and petty aristocrats from the ruined tsarist court whose party antics and playboy conquests were the talk of Paris. While the boys parlayed their dark good looks into advantageous marriages with socialites and film stars, their two sisters managed to ensnare the son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Catalan painter José Maria Sert, whose passionate ménage à trois with the elder Mdivani girl formed the basis for Jean Cocteau’s play Les Monstres Sacrés. Toto befriended Nina Mdivani, the youngest of the clan, and entered into a wild affair with her impulsive, alcoholic brother Alexis, who was married to an Astor at the time. (He would later wed Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton before being decapitated in a horrendous car accident in 1935 at the age of 30.)
As colorful as the Mdivanis were, Toto’s other friends in Paris were equally audacious. Her fellow model Lee Miller swanned about town with her lover, the surrealist painter Man Ray, staging outré gags like carrying around a dissected breast, along with a knife and fork, on a plate. Toto was also close to the poet Caresse Crosby, who with her second husband, Harry, ran the Black Sun Press, publishing the works of Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, and James Joyce, and who hosted elaborate soirees-qua-orgies at their rue de Lille apartment, where the couple courted guests from their bathtub. Another friend was Bettina Jones, the American wife of a high-level French politician and future ambassador for the Vichy regime who fraternized with Salvador Dalí and who kept a vicious little monkey, clad in a tiny Schiaparelli coat, by her side at all times.
The high life in Paris was heady, but like many glamorous young women, Toto felt her future lay in the movies. She traveled to London, where the Hungarian director Alexander Korda was auditioning would-be starlets for bit roles in the upcoming Douglas Fairbanks flick The Private Life of Don Juan. After securing an introduction through a mutual friend, Toto was cast as a Spanish inamorata. None of her scenes made it into the final version, and Toto dropped out of filming halfway through, apparently bored by the endless takes and retakes. But she still attended the movie’s premiere on the arm of a flamboyant new lover, the American actress Tallulah Bankhead, famous for her mordant wit and voracious appetites. (“My father warned me about men and booze,” Bankhead liked to tell people, “but he never said anything about women and cocaine.”)
The bourbon-drinking Broadway star had recently been branded “an extremely immoral woman” by MI5 after she dabbled in “indecent and unnatural practices” with six Eton schoolboys, including the sons of a lord and a baronet. (“It is also said she ‘kept’ a negress in America,” the Home Office noted in a confidential memo on the Bankhead scandal, “and she ‘keeps' a girl in London now. As regards her more natural proclivities, [an] informant tells me that she bestows her favours ‘generously’ without payment.”) Tallulah and Toto’s tryst lasted only a few months, but it was enough to change the course of Toto’s life. During that time, Bankhead introduced the 25-year-old ingénue to a billionaire whose shadow would loom large over Toto’s future and her wartime activities.
The 55-year-old Lord Beaverbrook, a Scottish-Canadian press tycoon né William Aitken, had clawed his way up to the highest echelons of political influence through a combination of tabloid blackmail, strategic alliances, and an unquenchable thirst for power. As the owner of the widely read Daily Express, Sunday Express, and the Evening Standard, he held sway over the reputations of Britain’s most illustrious parliamentarians and public figures. Winston Churchill derisively called him “Machiavelli,” and Evelyn Waugh immortalized him as the imperious Lord Copper in Scoop. Serving as minister of information during World War I, the deeply paranoid Beaverbrook developed a taste for intelligence gathering; later, he would employ private spies to tail the movements of his wife and children. He took Toto as a lover in 1934, and she apparently began to eavesdrop for him in Germany and Italy, under the guise of traveling the seasonal opera circuit. The multilingual Toto mingled with Nazi elite and even reportedly had an affair with Mussolini’s son-in-law, all the while taking notes on the inner circles of Fascist intrigue. It was an advantageous relationship for Beaverbrook, but it was soon ruined by one of his own family members.
A year into their affair, Toto began carrying on in secret with the mogul’s son, Max Aitken. Max was as handsome and athletic as Beaverbrook was ambitious and cunning, an aviator with the royal air force and a notorious cad. When Beaverbrook found out about the clandestine dalliance, he was enraged. Worse still, Max was rumored to be giddily in love and ready to propose. Beaverbrook banned his newspapers from mentioning Toto’s name and threatened to disinherit Max if the marriage went through. When that failed, he offered to pay both Toto and Max large pensions if they signed a contract promising not to wed. “He told Max, ‘I’ll give you a lot of money if you promise not to marry that girl,’” Toto later recalled. “I said [to Max,] ‘Take it!’ So he did, and we had a wonderful time.” Toto and Max used the cash to shack up in a luxe penthouse on Portman Square and became a much-desired society couple. Their relationship was an open one; Max kept a string of lovelies on the side, while Toto seduced Max’s friend Randolph Churchill, the spoiled son of the future prime minister.
After four years of frivolity, Max and Toto parted ways. He would go on to become a war hero as an RAF fighter pilot and, in the mid-1940s, a member of Parliament. Meanwhile, in the autumn of 1939, Toto headed south to Italy to rendezvous with some art collector friends. In Florence, she fell for a leader of the Italian Resistance and worked her social connections to help finance his anti-Mussolini activities. She also infiltrated Black Shirt meetings to send reports back to Max and the British government. By 1941, the police had caught on to her stratagems and arrested her “under the old pretense of being Beaverbrook’s mistress,” Toto wrote to a friend. “But once I was in jail…what they wanted was to free me and I was to do some terrible dirty work…of course, I refused flatly.”
Toto was shipped off to rundown prisons in Milan and Lazio before finally escaping from the Massa Martana detention camp and hiding out in the mountains of Perugia. From her refuge, she helped other former detainees connect to Resistance networks and make their way to safety. After being briefly recaptured by the Fascists, Toto fled to Venice, where an aristocratic friend smuggled her into a secret suite at the Danieli Hotel. One night, the friend learned that the Germans intended to search the premises to ferret out spies. In a brazen gambit, the aristocrat threw an opulent dinner for the German general in charge of the operation and seated him directly next to Toto. Dressed to the nines and flirtatious as ever, Toto was so conspicuous that it never occurred to the Germans to suspect her. She survived the raid, only to be informed upon and rearrested within a matter of weeks. Infuriated by the double-crossing debutante, the Italians sent Toto to a much grimmer location: the all-female concentration camp of Ravensbrück in northern Germany.
The largest women’s-only camp in the Third Reich, Ravensbrück housed a mix of political prisoners, gypsies, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and “race defilers,” a term the Nazis used to describe Jewish women suspected of past sexual relations with Aryans. Situated on a marshy plain 50 miles north of Berlin and surrounded by electrified barbed-wire fences, the camp served as one of the main training centers for female SS guards. Prisoners were forced to manufacture components for German rockets, construct new roads, work in the brothels of nearby men’s camps, and mix the ashes from Nazi crematoriums with fecal matter to produce agricultural fertilizer. Ravensbrück was terribly overcrowded and unsanitary—typhus and cholera epidemics regularly swept through the vermin-infested barracks—and after 1943, conditions rapidly deteriorated. Food rations became severely restricted, with each woman receiving one piece of bread and a cup of fetid soup per day, and prisoners too weak to work were gunned down en masse or euthanized. All told, of the 130,000 women to pass through Ravensbrück during the war, some 92,000 died there.
When Toto arrived at the camp in October 1944, the guards were preparing for the construction of a new gas chamber and a second crematorium. (Before Soviet troops liberated the camp in April 1945, the Germans gassed between 5,000 and 6,000 women and children at Ravensbrück.) Initially assigned to road repair, Toto lied to the guards and convinced them that she had training as a nurse. She was sent to work in the infirmary, among the camp’s sickest prisoners. There the German medical staff performed gruesome experiments on the dying, infecting open wounds with strange chemicals and amputating limbs to simulate soldiers’ battle scars. They carried out sterilization measures on women and young girls—Toto would later tell her friends she had been subjected to the “sterilizing projects of the camp”—and drowned or starved newborn babies in front of their mothers. Toward the end of the Third Reich, pregnant women were often forced to undergo abortions or, if Jewish, sent directly to the gas chambers.
During her seven months in the camp infirmary, Toto smuggled food to the sick at great personal risk and tried to ease their suffering. Meanwhile, Randolph Churchill had learned of her plight and sent her care packages full of onions and garlic to help ward off disease. In April 1945, shortly before the Russians arrived to free the camp, the Nazis agreed to release several hundred prisoners to the Swedish Red Cross. Toto was among them. She left the camp carrying one personal effect, a cardboard portrait a fellow prisoner had drawn of her. Relocated to the Swedish city of Göteborg, she found herself completely alone and psychologically fragile. Churchill came to her aid, flying to Sweden to provide her with money and clothing and to help her secure a passport. He also bought her a wig, to hide the fact that the Nazis had shaved her head in the camps. “I was lucky that Randolph Churchill came here,” Toto wrote to an old friend, “and as I am an old love of [his], he made a terrible fuss over me.”
For all her independence, Toto liked to be cared for, often by a powerful benefactor, and this penchant would bleed into her next relationship, the most enduring of all of her infatuations and one that defined the later years of her life. With money from the Red Cross as well as the modest pension she still received from Beaverbrook, Toto decided to settle in the Swiss lakeside town of Ascona, which served as a utopian retreat for hedonistic artist types. She drifted through a series of brief, tumultuous affairs, mostly with women, before meeting a severe, intense German art dealer who had arrived to vacation in Ascona in the winter of 1946.
Erica Brausen had played her own distinguished role in the Resistance. Under the code name “Beryl,” she ran an underground operation out of Majorca helping Jews and socialists evade Franco’s naval blockade and had ferried the writers Michel Leiris and Raymond Queneau to safety aboard a U.S. submarine. After moving to London in the early years of the war, Brausen had endured considerable prejudice due to her German roots, yet was widely known for her tireless work ethic and her unerring eye for talent. What’s more, she’d finally convinced a wealthy investor to help her open her own space, the Hanover Gallery in Mayfair, to exhibit the work of an unknown painter named Francis Bacon, whose violent canvases had caught her attention.
Entranced by Toto, Brausen brought her back to London and doted on her new amante, buying her sumptuous clothes and gifts despite a limited budget. By all accounts, Brausen was madly in love. Toto seemed also to have felt deep affection for Brausen, but she soon drifted back to her old coquettish ways. As Brausen turned a blind eye, Toto circulated in public with Randolph Churchill and even reunited with her former lover Max Aitken. But she also devoted herself to Brausen’s gallery, working her little black book to arrange glittering openings for the Hanover’s artists.
In the fall of 1949, Brausen and Toto promoted Bacon’s first exhibition at the gallery. Provocative and poisonous, Bacon had been shunned by most established dealers, but Brausen found in him a kindred spirit. Upon seeing his Painting (1946) for the first time, with its decaying animal carcasses and grimacing figures, Brausen offered to buy it on the spot. (Later she sold it to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.) Bacon’s shows at the Hanover, full of screaming popes and bloated self-portraits, shocked and titillated the tout-London. They also launched Bacon as one of the most important postwar painters and solidified Brausen’s reputation as a modern-art visionary. Soon, she was representing luminaries such as Max Ernst, Lucian Freud, Marcel Duchamp, and Alberto Giacometti.
While Bacon was the Hanover’s early star, he was also nearly its undoing. His addiction to casinos led him to beg Brausen for stupendous cash advances, which Toto would smuggle to him in Mediterranean gambling dens. Bacon secretly detested Toto for her hold over Brausen’s heart, calling the model the “Javanese whore” behind her back. Meanwhile, the Hanover’s main investor, who disliked both the attention-seeking artist and his morbid canvases, backed out, leaving Brausen in a precarious financial situation. The final blow came in 1958, when Bacon, facing mounting gambling debts, informed Brausen that he’d signed on with another gallery behind her back. Brausen and Toto considered suing, but Bacon had never signed a contract with them.
Perhaps to escape the indignity of losing Bacon to a rival—or perhaps to get Toto out of London and away from her many paramours—Brausen agreed to buy a property for the two women on the idyllic island of Panarea, just north of Sicily. Set among olive groves and rocky grottoes, the land became a sprawling retreat for Toto, Brausen, and their peripatetic social set. Toto decorated the house in a style that was at once minimalist and posh and hosted stately dinner parties for a never-ending stream of guests such as Bruce Chatwin and Alexander Calder. Brausen “went through all her money from the gallery, money that she had worked so hard to earn over the years” to support the Panarea property, one friend remembered.
While Toto settled into a lifestyle of drifting between Panarea and the continent’s cultural capitals, Brausen shuttled back and forth between the island and London, where the Hanover was flourishing. During the 1960s, everyone from Jean Paul Getty to the Beatles and Princess Margaret stopped by the space for its renowned exhibits. But the pressure of running the gallery and “maintaining Toto’s lifestyle” started to wear on Brausen. Already a dour woman, she turned into a scathing harridan with friends and associates alike. She also seemed to be growing more desperate about Toto’s affairs, the latest of which involved a strapping Sicilian carabiniere whom Toto had installed in the guest room of the women’s London apartment. According to those close to the couple, Brausen found a doctor willing to prescribe heady amounts of morphine and became addicted to painkillers. In the spring of 1968, as Toto left town on another trip with her young Italian beau, Brausen was hospitalized with a serious ulcer. Within five years, the Hanover had closed its doors for good.
Remarkably, Toto and Brausen’s relationship managed to survive the gallery’s closing and their interpersonal turmoil, and they settled into a quiet retirement on Panarea, until they had to sell the property to pay for Brausen’s mounting medical problems. Toward the end, Brausen became secretive and controlling. When Toto had a stroke at the age of 82, Brausen squirreled her away in their London home, barring friends from visiting, firing a series of personal nurses, and subjecting Toto to the ministrations of a doctor reputed to be a medical charlatan. Toto’s health rapidly declined, and she died three months later. In a ghastly scene, Brausen locked herself inside Toto’s bedroom for eight days with the body, draping the corpse in rosebuds and cuddling next to it. In death, if not life, Brausen finally had Toto to herself. She only relented when the state-appointed undertaker showed up to demand that she hand over the remains. It was a shocking conclusion to Toto’s long and remarkable life—though one that might have tantalized her old surrealist Parisian pals—and, if anything, serves to demonstrate the cultlike hold Toto had over her lovers. “Toto had the capacity to inflame people’s imaginations in spite of herself,” a friend told the biographer. Decades on, she still does.

Toto Koopman: model, muse, mistress - and spy
Toto Koopman is little known now but the bisexual model and war heroine used to be infamous. As a new biography is published, Nisha Lilia Diu recalls her life

Back when he was a nobody, Francis Bacon somehow got invited to a famous model’s birthday party in Paris. She was a Vogue cover girl called Toto Koopman, part of a fast-living gang of jet-set Parisians that included Russian princes and American heiresses. They wore Schiaparelli, accessorised their outfits with live parrots and monkeys, and all slept with each other. Bacon was entranced.
He met her again 15 years later, in 1946, in London. By then she had lived all over Europe, been mistress to the press baron Lord Beaverbrook and Winston Churchill’s son, Randolph, spied for the Italian resistance and almost died in the concentration camp at Ravensbruck. Bacon was still a nobody, though that was about to change thanks to Koopman’s girlfriend, the art gallerist Erica Brausen, who launched him onto the London scene (almost bankrupting herself in the process).
The writer Jean-Noel Liaut has unearthed an extraordinary character for his book, The Many Lives of Miss K. It’s the first biography of Koopman, which is odd given how famous her image is. The photograph George Hoyningen-Huene took of her in a backless black and white gown by Augusta Bernard (for Vogue’s September 1933 issue) has become one of the era’s most iconic fashion photographs.
That a mixed-race woman was a model at all at this time was unusual. She was certainly beautiful, with knowing green eyes and a languid elegance that photographers and painters from Cecil Beaton to Joseph Oppenheimer loved. But intense racism was an accepted part of polite society.
Koopman was born in October 1908 in Java, the daughter of a Dutch cavalry officer and a half-Dutch, half-Indonesian mother. She was named Catharina after her mother, and nicknamed Toto after her father’s favourite horse. The latter stuck.
Her parents’ marriage was a scandal. As “green Dutchmen” (as mixed-race people were called), her family was shunned. A friend of Koopman’s who also grew up in Java, the daughter of a Chinese sugar magnate called Hui-Lan Wellington-Koo, wrote angrily in her memoirs about the discrimination she faced. But Koopman, as Liaut points out, “had mastered the art of selective memory” by the time she reached adulthood.
Her stories were of tea plantations, rice fields and exotic pets brought home from her father’s travels. She had a kangaroo and even a baby elephant, a gift from the King of Siam. Unlike the actress, Merle Oberon, who was so ashamed of her Indian mother she passed her off as her maid, Koopman flaunted her ethnicity, telling people about her part-Chinese great-grandmother who had (apparently) been part of the Sultan of Solo’s harem.
She flaunted her sexuality, too. In 1934, she attended the premiere of Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Don Juan in London on the arm of Tallulah Bankhead, with whom she was having a fling. Koopman didn’t lack attitude. When Coco Chanel hired her as her in-house model, their formidable personalities clashed so badly Koopman quit after six months. She never revealed exactly what had happened, saying only that she “didn’t like the way Chanel touched me during fittings”.
It was Bankhead that introduced Koopman to Lord Beaverbrook, the immensely wealthy and powerful owner of the Express and Evening Standard newspapers. She was 25 and notorious, he was 55 and married – but they were soon in a relationship. Koopman was a lifelong opera fan and travelled constantly around Europe attending the best performances. By some accounts, her trips through Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy throughout 1935 had an additional purpose: gathering information from her high-society circle for Beaverbrook.
Their cosy set-up blew up spectacularly when Beaverbrook found out that Koopman was also sleeping with his son, Max Aitken. Liaut defends her behaviour, saying that Toto was merely “behaving like a man”. But Beaverbrook was so furious that he used his papers to run a series of scandalous stories about her, successfully ejecting her from London society.
Aitken refused to give her up, though. He had fallen madly in love with her and the pair lived together in Portman Square for four years. They eventually broke up when Koopman refused to marry him – she’d signed a contract with Beaverbrook promising not to, in exchange for a lifetime’s pension.
She left for Italy in 1939, where she fell in love with a leader of the resistance. He quickly realised she made the perfect spy: she had no family ties, no fear, was fluent in six languages, and had impressive international contacts. Yet her years as a spy were forever off-limits to her friends. “Nobody ever dared ask her about the espionage,” her friend, Lady Deirdre Curteis, told Liaut.
However, we do know that she sold her furs and jewellery to help fund her lover’s activity, and that she was imprisoned and escaped twice from the Fascists. In October 1944, her luck ran out. A few days before her 36th birthday, she was captured by the Nazis and deported to Ravensbruck. Between 1938 and 1945, 132,000 women were sent to Ravensbruck of whom 90,000 were killed.
By the time the camp was liberated in April 1945, Koopman was in terrible health, emaciated and mutilated by medical experiments. Randolph Churchill, who had been her lover ten years earlier in London, came to find her. He brought her money, clothes and a wig for her shaved head and arranged for a new passport. When he attended the reopening of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden the following year, he took her with him.
Churchill wasn’t the reason Koopman had returned to London, though. While recuperating on the shores of Lake Maggiore she had met a German art dealer called Erica Brausen. Brausen worked for London’s Redfern Gallery but wanted to strike out on her own. She was excited about a shocking artist she had just discovered: Francis Bacon.
The couple opened the now-legendary Hanover Gallery. Brausen put on shows by Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, Marcel Duchamp and countless others. The extravagant openings were attended by the likes of Penelope Tree, Rudolf Nureyev, Jean Paul Getty and Princess Margaret. Of course, the art was first rate but this was a time when homosexuality was a criminal offence, and “people also came out of curiosity,” says a friend of Koopman’s who Liaut identifies only as F.C. “They wanted a first-hand look at the unusual lesbian couple about whom so many stories circulated.” According to another friend, Malitte Matta, “Toto was aware of it but pretended not to notice. I don’t think it even bothered her. Toto never really cared about how others saw her.”
By all accounts, Koopman was devoted to Brausen – they stayed together for the rest of their lives – but a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Koopman travelled incessantly and had endless affairs. One, with a much younger Italian carabiniere, went on for years. She even moved him into a bedroom at her and Brausen’s home in The Boltons. Brausen had her own affair, with a banker’s wife (“Toto liked Erica’s mistress so much she often invited her to lunch,” says Liaut) but was not quite the free-living hedonist her girlfriend was.
A friend from the art world, Gianna Sistu, told Liaut, “I could see that Erica was much more in love than Toto was, and that Erica was really terrified at the thought that Toto might ever leave her.”
She indulged Koopman’s every whim. In 1959, Koopman bought a property on the Italian volcanic island of Panarea and embarked on an enormous construction project. She built six luxury villas and had soil and water shipped in from Naples for her terraced gardens. She entertained lavishly there: the Sicilian jeweller, Fulco di Verdura, Luchino Visconti’s sister, Ida, and Marina Volpi, the daughter of the founder of the Venice Film Festival, were all Panarea regulars.
“Vegetables, butter, milk and cheese were all brought in from Naples and cost them a fortune,” says F.C. “One day, I calculated that it would cost them less to live at the Ritz.” As their friend the French Vogue editor, Edmonde Charles-Roux, put it, “Toto was expensive”.
Age eventually caught up with them. They closed the gallery and lived a (slightly) quieter life until they passed away within 18 months of each other in the early 1990s. When Koopman died in 1991, aged 82, Brausen locked herself in a room with the body for eight days, emerging only to buy fresh roses that she would arrange around Koopman’s face every morning – a macabre and suitably bizarre epilogue to an astonishing life.
'The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, Spy’ by Jean-Noel Liaut is published on Tuesday (Rizzoli; £15.95)

Toto Koopman: She made the perfect spy: she had no family ties, no fear and was fluent in six languages  Photo: GETTY

Friday 27 September 2013

Architect Allan Greenberg and the Dream of an Ideal Home

Gepubliceerd op 21 aug 2013
Take a look inside the new monograph "Allan Greenberg: Classical Architect", from Rizzoli New York, while architect Allan Greenberg discusses the dream of an ideal home and his role in helping his clients achieve that dream.

A leading exponent of classical architecture, Allan Greenberg's work is renowned for its historically inspired façades, its classical detail, and the highest level of craftsmanship. Collaborating with leading sculptors, wood-carvers, mosaicists, metalworkers, and ornamental plasterers to create beautiful details that make his work unique, Greenberg has produced buildings that radiate a sense of classic beauty and artistic integrity.

"Allan Greenberg: Classical Architect" celebrates Greenberg's esteemed career by showcasing in depth his private houses, apartments, university buildings, and civic buildings that demonstrate his lifelong commitment to traditional styles, unparalleled quality, and decorative expression.

Allan Greenberg: Classical Architect

Written by Allan Greenberg
Foreword by Carolyne Roehm

On Sale: October 1, 2013
Price: $75.00
ISBN: 978-0-8478-4073-1

To learn more, visit:

Tuesday 24 September 2013

The Return of the beard.The 100 Beards Project by Jonathan Daniel Pryce.

The 100 Beards Project is one year old. You can pre-order a copy of the book at

Jonathan Daniel Pryce
'When I first started the 100 Beards project, I had a lot of people Tweeting me asking if I had a beard myself. I didn't, and so as tribute I decided to try growing one for the first time'

Beards make men look like they could save you from danger... and let baldies have a different hairstyle everyday: Face fuzz celebrated in brilliant new blog
Jonathan Daniel Pryce takes photos of beards, man's 'ultimate accessory'
Women of the web have gone into frenzy over 'hunky pictures'
'Beards rule for baldies. Only way we can get a fresh hairstyle'

PUBLISHED: 11:50 GMT, 2 August 2013 | UPDATED: 15:49 GMT, 2 August 2013/

George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck and that John Lewis model all have one thing in common: a brilliant, bang-on-trend beard.
Facial fuzz has become the must-have accessory for stylish men about town, from grey-flecked designer stubble on the Central Line to fearsome facial furniture being displayed at your local pub.
And now the women of Britain can't seem to get enough as news of photo project 100 Beards 100 Days spreads like wildfire through social media.
Fashion blogger Jonathan Daniel Pryce set about trying to capture this furry fashion moment through the photo series - a celebration of all things beardy.
The 100 Beard project started in 2012 and has been so successful Pryce has carried on taking pictures and is now at well over 200. And the women of the web are sharing the love for his work.
Natasha Louisa Davie says beards on men such as those featured in Pryce's project look like they have a 'stronger jaw'.
'They look more manly, and beards are fun to run my fingers through.'
Zoe Liana Brockett went a step further sharing her love of Pryce's bearded blokes lies in the fact: 'They look like they could save you from danger, like a fire or if you were stuck on a mountain!'
A self-confessed bearded baldie said: 'Beards rule for baldies. Only way we can get a fresh hairstyle.'
Deborah-Louise Grant said: 'They look like they're too busy building things and rocking out to care about shaving,' while Victoria Morgan commented bears like these make men 'look more manly'.
Georgia Frost said: 'They are just sexier, more manly. A man with a clean shaven face looks like a boy,' as Julie Jones confessed 'in our world of well-groomed metrosexuals us girls need a little caveman to remind us of the Alpha'.
The girls of Twitter have also got in a flutter as @apalanca shared a link to the blog saying 'Hunky men with beards,' as @amylilyhowes said: 'How about ALL of the beards in ALL of the days?'
Pryce, the blog's founder, men's style expert and editor of style site said:
'Over the past few years, the beard has re-established itself as the ultimate accessory for the modern gentleman. To document this, every day for 100 days I photographed a new beard on the streets of London.
'From big and bushy to trendy and trimmed, I found men from all cultures and creeds who signed up to the cult of the beard.
'For me, the beard represents authenticity and masculinity in equal parts. In a time of uncertainty, like a global financial crisis, it makes sense that this is how men want to be seen. Also if we consider the beard as a fashion trend, it's the best accessory a man can own - it's free, completely unique, very personal and not too flashy,' says Pryce.
'As a trend, the beard won't last. That's the nature of trends - they come and go. However, I reckon the resurgence of the appreciate of the hirsute is here to stay for a while. Once you've dedicated time and energy cultivating a beard it's unlikely you'll be giving it up at the drop of a hat. For many of the men I photographed their beard wasn't trend-led, it was as much a form of personal expression as the hair on their head.
'It's so difficult to place as there is a huge variety. For me I think density, colour and shape are all important factors. I've photographed one man with a huge sprawling white beard  - completely unkempt and natural. That's equally as impressive as then gent with a tightly clipped thick bright red beard.
'The 100 Beards, 100 Days project started on July 1st 2012 and the original concept was simple. I went out to different neighbourhoods in London every day for the next 100 days until October 8th, and over that period the blog had really exploded. In the final month, nearly every guy I stopped to be photographed had heard of the blog which was incredible. I was receiving comments, Tweets & emails en mass from fans of facial hair asking to continue documenting London's beards, so I decided to continue.
'I've been taking beard portraits for 13 months now, mostly in London but also in Paris, Milan and Berlin. I've now reached number 146 on the blog, but I'm planning to have 200 beard portraits for the release of the book next month. Possibly the hardest part of this kind of work is selecting the portraits to use. I've photographed more than 200 men, but only the right portraits get used. The book will include funny quotes and anecdotes about their beards from the subjects.
'When I first started the 100 Beards project, I had a lot of people Tweeting me asking if I had a beard myself. I didn't, and so as tribute I decided to try growing one for the first time. I spent about 8 weeks working on getting some good growth and on Day 100 took a self-portrait to complete the first chapter.
'One of the reasons I became interested in beards was my own inability to grow a good one. Beards have this mysterious masculinity attached to them and to grow a strong one is like the holy grail of authenticity. Once I got past the itchy phase of the beard I started to enjoy it, but mine pales in comparison to the men I photographed so it's now gone. Stubble will have to be enough for me.
'During the 100 days, from July 1 to October 8 2012, the 100 beard project received a huge amount of support, so much so I decided to continue. I want to thank everyone from readers to press who shared the project and appreciated the work.'
The initial 100 Beard project has already been immortalised in a book, with another on the way, but more recently it has seen a slew of new interest from female fans of facial hair, as women around Britain have been sharing Jonathan's Tumblr account via Facebook and Twitter, often with 1,500 comments per picture.

 'This was one of the most popular photographs I captured. Ricki Hall is a model and has an incredible beard. One search on Google will reveal why the photo got such a great response - he has a huge fan base'

 Lloyd: Carnaby Street, London. Number 67 from 5 Sep 2012. Pryce: 'Photographed on Canaby Street, Lloyd is one of the youngest guys I photographed. For me, it's his photo which shows why the beard is popular for young men - it's their first chance to experiment with being a grown-up man and tell that to the world'

 An intense photograph of Daniel on Old Church Street, London. Number 51. from 20 Aug 2012

Brendan sports an auburn beard as he stands on Henrietta Street, London. Number 123. from 26 Apr 2013

James takes a slow drag on a cigarette as he leans against a wall on Greek St, London on 18 Jul 2012

 'Patrick Grant is a Saville Row tailor for Etautz and has become something of a British style institution. He's certainly one of London's best dress men and was recently a judge on the BBC's Great British Sewing Bee'

Joey: Gees Court, London. Number 141. from 15 Jul 2013

Monday 23 September 2013

Hitler in Hollywood.

Does 'The Collaboration' Overstate Hollywood's Cooperation With Hitler?

Brandeis professor Thomas Doherty, who wrote an earlier book on Hollywood and Hitler, calls the controversial "The Collaboration," which is excerpted in THR, "slanderous and ahistorical."

Ben Urwand's new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler, has sparked a debate among scholars and others about the nature of Hollywood's relationship to Hitler and the Nazi party in the 1930s before the outbreak of war in Europe. Drawing upon extensive archival research, much of it not previously known, Urwand makes the case that the major American movie studios went to extraordinary lengths to cooperate with the Nazis to protect access to the German market.

Hitler's Hollywood: The Films Nazis Loved and Hated
Urwand has prominent defenders, including University of Cambridge professor Richard J. Evans, the noted historian of the Third Reich, who called the book, "full of startling revelations presented in examplary fashion." Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust historian at Emory University has said it "could be a blockbuster." 
PHOTOS: Hitler's Hollywood: The Films Nazis Loved and Hated
But his most forceful critic has been Brandeis University historian Thomas Doherty, the author of a competing narrative, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39, published earlier this year. Here Doherty summarizes his criticism of Urwand's book for The Hollywood Reporter.  -- Andy Lewis
Ben Urwand's The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler, to be published in September by Harvard University Press, dovetails in some ways with my own book, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939, published last April by Columbia University Press. 
Urwand's study has already generated an extraordinary amount of buzz due to the incendiary charges emblazoned in its title: that Hollywood was a hotbed of Nazi collaboration, a nest of craven greedheads whose pact with the devil made the American motion picture industry -- particularly the mostly Jewish moguls who ran the studio system -- complicit in the rise of Nazism and, presumably, the horrors that came after. 
I consider Urwand's charges slanderous and ahistorical -- slanderous because they smear an industry that struggled to alert America to the menace brewing in Germany and ahistorical because they read the past through the eyes of the present.
The trouble begins with the title on the marquee. "Collaboration" is how you describe the Vichy government during the Nazi Occupation of France or Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian double-crosser whose name became synonymous with treason. To call a Hollywood mogul a collaborator is to assert that he worked consciously and purposefully, out of cowardice or greed, under the guidance of Nazi overlords.

THE COVER STORY: The Chilling History of How Hollywood Helped Hitler (Exclusive)
The subtitled designation "pact" doubles down on the J'accuse! by echoing the two infamous treaties that abetted the forward march of Nazism: the Munich Pact, signed on Sept. 30, 1938, in which the French and the British bowed before Hitler's "last territorial demand" and acquiesced to the carving up of Czechoslovakia; and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of Aug. 23, 1939, in which Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed an alliance that gave the green light for World War II. This is very nasty company for the likes of Louis B. Mayer, Carl Laemmle and Jack Warner.
The counterpoint is so basic it should go without saying were not historical amnesia a pervasive condition.
In the 1930s, the Nazis were not yet the Nazis of our history, our imagination. They had not yet started World War II, they had not yet implemented the Holocaust and they had not yet become what they are now: a universal emblem for absolute evil. From our perspective, the rise of Nazism looks like a linear trajectory, a series of accelerating events terminating inevitably at the gates of Auschwitz.
At the time, the endgame of Nazism was not so clear.
Most Americans, including the Hollywood moguls, had no inkling of the horrors to come, no understanding that dealing with the new regime in Germany was not business as usual. While sifting through the trade press accounts (including those in The Hollywood Reporter) and industry memos from the 1930s, I saw some greed and cupidity, to be sure, but mainly I saw confusion, wishful thinking, and disbelief. How did a nation Hollywood had long considered sane and rational become so pathological? Was this a permanent affliction or would the fever break?
Today, any dealing with the Nazis seems unimaginable. In the 1930s, it just wasn't.
Appreciating the constraints under which the Hollywood studio system operated is equally important. In the 1930s, motion pictures possessed no First Amendment rights. (Cinema was not put under the umbrella of the U.S. Constitution until the U.S. Supreme Court's Miracle decision in 1952.) Censorship of all kinds -- from foreign governments, from state censor boards, and from the industry's own in-house regulatory agency, the Production Code Administration -- was an accepted fact of life.

STORY: How Jack Warner Tried to Crush the Postwar German Film Industry (Book Excerpt)
A movie was not considered an inviolable work of art; it was a malleable product that could be tailor-made to suit the whims of the customer -- take a little off here, add something over there. Hollywood had been editing films to foreign specifications since at least 1918, when the sinister Asian villain in Cecil B. DeMille's The Cheat (1915) morphed from Japanese to Burmese after protests from the Japanese government.
Of course, the Hollywood studios tried to negotiate with Germany to leverage their films into a lucrative marketplace. This is hardly a news bulletin.
Some, like Universal and Warner Bros., found dealing with the Nazis impossible and pulled up stakes. Others, like Paramount, Fox, and MGM, stuck it out until the outbreak of war in Europe. After all, Germany was officially a "friendly nation" and the United States was not a signatory to the Versailles Treaty. In addition to the immediate profit motive, the studios sought to maintain a foothold for their distribution infrastructure; no one expected the Third Reich to last for a thousand years.
Perhaps most importantly, a fixation on the mechanics of the import market ignores the action on the homefront--a story of passionate anti-Nazi activity in Hollywood. No Popular Front group in the 1930s did more to alert Americans to the looming threat from Nazism than the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League for the Defense of Democracy (HANL).  Founded in 1936 and numbering some 5,000 artists-activists from all ranks of the motion picture industry, HANL worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the menace of Nazism--holding rallies, broadcasting radio shows, and doing its best to inject anti-Nazi sentiments into Hollywood cinema (no easy task given the obstacles set up by the internal and external censors who always sought to denude American cinema of overt political content).
It would be unfortunate if the headlines about Hollywood "collaboration" were to tar the reputations of those moguls who stood tall and firm against Nazi ideology.
The work of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures, is especially praiseworthy. Like many German-born Jews of his generation, he had an abiding affection for what he called his "fatherland" (the word gave off no unpleasant aroma then).  He was astonished when the Universal production he was proudest of--the antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)-- precipitated riots in Berlin, incited by Joseph Goebbels himself.
With the rise of Hitler in 1933, Laemmle soon came to understand that the Germany he fondly remembered was no more.  He wrote checks to the European Film Fund, a refugee charity co-founded by agent Paul Kohner and director Ernst Lubitsch, and signed hundreds of affidavits to facilitate the immigration of Jewish refugees into the United States (and thereby singlehandedly saved more Jews from annihilation than the U.S. State Department).
At Warner Bros., which had pulled out of Germany in 1933 after the head of its Berlin office was beaten up by Nazi thugs, Jack and Harry Warner consistently placed their pocketbooks and studio in service to the anti-Nazi cause--dunning their employees for "donations" to HANL, opening up the airwaves on radio station KFWB for anti-Nazi commentary and entertainment fare, and producing a series of anti-Nazi allegories emphasizing democratic aspiration and religious tolerance.
The meaning between the lines could be read by any sentient spectator in films such as Black Legion (1937), a preachment against domestic fascism; The Life of Emile Zola (1937), a tribute to freedom of expression built around the French author's advocacy for the railroaded Jewish artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus; The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938),  an Errol Flynn swashbuckler that doubles as a broadside against tyranny; and the biopic Juarez (1939), in which dark Mexican peasants triumph over Aryan invaders. The allegory finally became explicit with the first real shot across the bow, the groundbreaking Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939).
No wonder, in 1938, at a gathering of anti-Nazi activists at the home of Edward G. Robinson, Groucho Marx, in one of his few recorded straight lines, raised his glass and offered up a toast to Warner Bros.--"the only studio with any guts."
"I never knock the other fellow's merchandise," says insurance agent Walter Neff in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944)--a good policy as well for an author peddling a book. Still, I am obliged to say that I am always leery of history that encourages the present to feel morally superior to the past, that makes today's readers think: "Ah, if I were alive in 1935, I would have been far more far-sighted and morally scrupulous than those benighted and ethically compromised scoundrels who ran the studios."
My own conclusion on the subject of Hollywood and Hitler in the 1930s? On balance, and given the restrictions of the time, Hollywood did more than any other for-profit business to sound the alarm against Nazism. It is a story of not of collaboration but resistance.

Thomas Doherty is professor of American Studies at Brandeis University and the author of Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (Columbia University Press, 2013).

Ben Urwand

As a Hays Office censor, Joseph Breen (center) was able to suppress anti-Nazi films.
Hitler in Hollywood

Did the studios collaborate?
by David Denby

In 1937, Warner Bros. departed from its usual fare of jittery urban dramas and emotionally saturated women’s pictures. In a burst of ambition, it mounted a historical spectacle set in late-nineteenth-century Paris, “The Life of Emile Zola,” starring Paul Muni. “Zola” is meant to be a stirring man-of-conscience movie: after early struggles, followed by huge success, the writer, in self-satisfied middle age, gets drawn, with increasing fury, into the Dreyfus affair. “Zola,” which was directed by the German émigré William Dieterle, includes episodes that were interpreted at the time as indirect attacks on Nazi Germany: scenes of state-inspired mob agitation launched first against Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French Army who is falsely accused of treason; and then against Zola for defending him—his books are publicly burned. At the end, in an outpouring of the progressive rhetoric that was typical of the thirties, Zola makes a grandiloquent speech on behalf of justice and truth and against nationalist war frenzy. “The Life of Emile Zola” was a big hit for Warners. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards—Muni, formerly a star of the Yiddish theatre in New York (he was born Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund), was nominated for best actor—and it won three, including best picture. But there is a pervasive oddity about the film: the word “Jew” is never spoken in it, and anti-Semitism is never mentioned. There were four instances of “Jew” in the original screenplay, but three were cut, leaving a single appearance of the word, on a printed page. As the French general staff scan a list of officers, the words “Religion: Jew” appear onscreen next to Dreyfus’s name. The shot lasts about a second and a half.

Was the undeleted word an error? A solitary act of defiance? “The Life of Emile Zola” is a perfect example of the half-boldness, half-cowardice, and outright confusion that marked Hollywood’s response to Nazism and anti-Semitism in the nineteen-thirties. In that decade, the industry produced a generally good-hearted and liberal cinema that celebrated such democratic American virtues as easy manners, tolerance, heroic individualism, and loathing of mob violence—all of which can be seen as a de-facto rebuke to Nazism. At the same time, the studios cancelled several explicitly anti-Nazi films planned for production, and deleted from several other movies anything that could be construed as critical of the Nazis, along with anything that might be seen as favorable to the Jews—or even a simple acknowledgment that they existed. Except for Twentieth Century Fox, headed by Darryl Zanuck, a shrewd and tough Gentile from Nebraska, the studios were run by Jews, who controlled many hectares of Los Angeles turf and worldwide distribution networks—an enormous power base that makes their timidity regarding Nazism a matter of psychological and cultural as well as political interest.

In recent years, a variety of scholars, including Neal Gabler, J. Hoberman, Jeffrey Shandler, Lester D. Friedman, Steven Carr, and Felicia Herman, have worked on different aspects of this complicated history. But the story has been charged up by the appearance of two new books: “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler” (Harvard), by Ben Urwand, a junior fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard; and “Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939” (Columbia), by Thomas Doherty, a professor of American studies at Brandeis. Doherty’s book is much the better of the two. A witty writer familiar with Hollywood history and manners, Doherty places the studios’ craven behavior within a general account of the political culture of the movies in the thirties and forties. He finds both greed and fear in studio practice, but in a recent Times report on the controversy he strongly objects to Urwand’s use of the word “collaboration.” Urwand, an Australian, and the grandson of Hungarian Jews who spent the war years in hiding, flings many accusations. He speaks of Hitler’s victory “on the other side of the globe,” by which he means Hollywood, and he claims to see “the great mark that Hitler left on American culture.” Throughout the book, he gives the impression that the studios were merely doing the Nazis’ bidding. In that same Times article, he says that Hollywood was “collaborating with Adolf Hitler, the person and human being.”

Urwand has established the existence of multiple contacts between the studios and German government officials, and, in an apparent coup, he makes central use of a figure whom Doherty summons only sparingly: the Nazi consul in Los Angeles, Georg Gyssling, a former diplomat whose suavely threatening manner resembles the polite menace of Conrad Veidt’s Major Strasser, in “Casablanca.” Urwand shows that the studios occasionally allowed Gyssling to read scripts, to see early cuts of movies, and to demand—sometimes successfully—deletions from finished films. But are Urwand’s extreme conclusions warranted by what he has discovered? And, intentionally or not, his accusations stir up an old, sore question: should the Jews have done more to fight the persecutions that eventually enveloped them?

“The Americans are so natural. Far superior to us,” Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, confided to his diary in 1935, after seeing “It Happened One Night.” American films, including musicals, were popular in Germany; they had a relaxed, colloquial way about them that German filmmakers, who tended toward agonized expressionism in the nineteen-twenties and rigid didacticism during the Nazi period, couldn’t match. Goebbels’s wistful appreciation of American ease is one of the bizarre ironies of the story, since he was intent on purging the cinema of anything that didn’t comport with Nazi ideology. Among other things, he removed Jewish artists and workers from the German film industry and pushed out Jews who worked for the distribution arms of American studios.

The Nazis saw every movie as a potential threat to their immaculacy. Urwand quotes some solemn colloquies among Nazi officials, including a mental-health expert. Would “King Kong” (giant ape with Nordic-looking blonde) offend the “healthy racial feelings” of the German people? How about “Tarzan” (shirtless jungle man with white woman)? “King Kong” was released, “Tarzan” banned. So was the violent “Scarface,” Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” and all the later films of Marlene Dietrich, an outspoken critic of the Nazis. Goebbels’s ministry also found out which American actors and crew members were Jewish or anti-Nazi, and refused to import films on which they had worked.

All this censoring and interdiction came at the German end of the distribution chain. Georg Gyssling was installed at the production end. After arriving in Los Angeles, in 1933, he began scouring the trade press. If he thought that a movie announced for production might contain elements “detrimental to German prestige,” or if he went to a screening (at the studio’s invitation) of such a movie when it was finished, he would write a letter detailing cuts that he wanted made. For instance, after seeing “The Lancer Spy,” a 1937 Fox picture set after the First World War, he objected to the way German officials were portrayed, and sent a list of changes, which, according to Urwand, were made before the film was released. The list was sent not to Fox but to the Hays Office, which administered the Production Code. “The production of a film of such a character will arouse very bad feeling in Germany against the producing company and may lead to serious difficulties which should be avoided in mutual interests,” he wrote, by which he meant that the film, at his suggestion, could be banned in Germany.

Gyssling protested other films about the First World War period—“Captured!,” set in a German prison camp, and “The Road Back,” based on Erich Maria Remarque’s sequel to “All Quiet on the Western Front” (a pacifist novel and movie that the Nazis hated). Urwand speculates that Gyssling, by harping on the past, was trying to forestall even more negative images of Germany set in the Nazi present. Gyssling played both the short game and the long, and, occasionally, he overplayed. In 1937, when Universal ignored his remonstrations and began adapting “The Road Back,” he sent letters to the cast and crew warning that any movies they worked on in the future might be banned in Germany. The impudent letter got into the press, an uproar ensued, and the German Foreign Office had to assure the State Department that no further threats would be made against American citizens. Yet Gyssling brazened it out and remained in place.

Why did the studio bosses listen to him at all? They were not thoughtful men who revealed themselves in diaries and letters; they ruled by meetings and telephone calls, so we know virtually nothing about their thinking on such sensitive matters. An obvious reason, which both Doherty and Urwand give, is that the studios wanted to hold on to the German market. Neither author, however, gives many figures, though Urwand notes that Paramount actually lost a little money in Germany in 1936. Tino Balio, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert on the American film industry, says that the German market was much smaller than that of Great Britain, and that it got smaller still as the decade went on. Warners left Germany in 1934, the year Nazi thugs assaulted its representative there (an English Jew), and, as Urwand admits, by 1936 only Paramount, M-G-M, and Fox were still distributing films in the country. In any case, the studios did not have immediate access to their returns, which were frozen in German banks—something that Urwand waits until the middle of his book to tell us.

No doubt the studio bosses accommodated the Nazis because they hoped for a more amenable regime in the future; they were businessmen, and acted as businessmen. Fox and Paramount, eager to claim some part of the frozen assets, made newsreels, with Nazi coöperation, chronicling Party activities, and sold them to overseas markets. Urwand scores a point here: these were propaganda films, though we don’t know if audiences reacted to them with pleasure or with loathing. A second attempt to get at the frozen assets: at the suggestion of an American trade commissioner, M-G-M loaned money to German companies in return for the companies’ bonds, which it sold at a discount. Some of those companies made arms, and Urwand concludes that the studio “helped to finance the German war machine.” Yet the studio executives could hardly have known in the mid-thirties that another war was coming.

Given all the restrictions on studio operations in Germany, Gyssling’s threats could not have been very plausible by the middle of the decade. Isn’t it likely that the studios were responding to other pressures and fears as well?

What many people don’t know about the Production Code is that the studios imposed it on themselves. In 1922, they realized that, as a new and increasingly scandalous industry, they needed an organization to represent them in Washington. They formed the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, under the direction of the former Postmaster General Will H. Hays, an Indiana Republican and a Presbyterian. (It still represents the studios, under the title Motion Picture Association of America.) It also set up a moral guide, which was intended to ward off both national and local censorship. The Code was toothless until 1934, when the Legion of Decency—a conservative Catholic organization—claimed that Hollywood, with its racy productions, was polluting the nation’s youth. The organization threatened to get Catholics to boycott any films that it saw as unfit. From that point, a movie couldn’t get widespread distribution unless it received a Production Code seal, which certified that its morals and its politics had withstood scrutiny. Hays appointed as censor-in-chief Joseph I. Breen, a prominent Catholic layman and contributor to Catholic journals. He was also an anti-Semite. Two years before he was appointed, as Doherty reports, Breen wrote to a friend that “people whose daily morals would not be tolerated in the toilet of a pest house hold the good jobs out here and wax fat on it. Ninety-five percent of these folks are Jews of an Eastern European lineage. They are, probably, the scum of the scum of the earth.”

Most of Breen’s rules centered on sex and language, but the code also included this stricture: “The history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry of all nations shall be represented fairly.” The statement was so loose in meaning that it could be used to ban any critical look at a foreign country. By 1934, then, Breen and Gyssling had overlapping briefs. Breen read every script before it went into production, and he used the “fairness” justification to limit or kill any film that touched on Nazi Germany. As J. Hoberman and Jeffrey Shandler put it in their volume “Entertaining America” (2003), a history of Jews and the media, “Breen and his ecclesiastical supporters saw Hitler’s rise as instrumental in their campaign to reform Hollywood. Nazi politics and anti-Semitic agitation had made Jewish studio executives newly vulnerable.”

At several points in the mid-nineteen-thirties, an agent named Al Rosen—eager to become a producer—attempted to raise money for a project called “The Mad Dog of Europe.” The screenplay, which had been bouncing around Hollywood since 1933, was about the destruction of a German-Jewish family during Hitler’s rise to power. No studio had attached itself to the project, but the script got to Breen’s office, and Breen took the matter seriously. In a long memo, he wrote:

Because of the large number of Jews active in the motion picture industry in this country, the charge is certain to be made that the Jews, as a class, are behind an anti-Hitler picture and using the entertainment screen for their own personal propaganda purposes. The entire industry, because of this, is likely to be indicted for the action of a mere handful.

This kind of reasoning, with its open threat, effectively killed the project and maimed many others.

In 1936, M-G-M acquired Sinclair Lewis’s best-seller “It Can’t Happen Here,” a semi-satirical fantasia about American totalitarianism: a Huey Long-type demagogue takes over the Presidency, and rules by means of the secret police. When M-G-M geared up to shoot the movie, with prominent actors, including Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart, Breen wrote a letter to Will Hays, saying, “It is hardly more than a story portraying the Hitlerization of the United States of America. It is an attempt to bring home to American citizens, through the instrumentality of the screen, that which is transpiring in Germany today.” (That it certainly was.) Breen also wrote Louis B. Mayer, the president of M-G-M, a seven-page letter proposing sixty cuts in the screenplay—in effect, making a Production Code seal hostage to impossible demands. Even if the cuts were made, he wrote to Mayer, the movie would be subject “to the most minute criticism on all sides,” which “may result in enormous difficulty to your studio.” Mayer cancelled the project.

Breen continued to pressure the studios not to mention Nazism right up to the outbreak of war. In 1938, when M-G-M wanted to adapt “Three Comrades,” an explicitly anti-Nazi novel by Remarque, Breen insisted that the movie be set earlier in time. “Thus we will get away from any possible suggestion that we are dealing with Nazi violence or terrorism.” The pattern was clear: no matter how vicious Nazi conduct was, any representation of it could be deemed a violation of the code’s demand that foreign countries be treated “fairly.” In practice, the more cruel and irrational the Nazis got, the safer they were from any Hollywood dramatization of their actions. Breen warned the studios of the danger to their German earnings, but his real intent was probably to remind the men running Hollywood that they should never feel safe.

At times, Gyssling alerted Breen that something was amiss, and they worked together. At other times, Breen worked alone, and he was definitely the more powerful of the two; withholding a Production Code seal could severely restrict a movie’s commercial chances in the American market. You can discover the truth of Breen’s greater power from Urwand’s book, but only by patient deduction. Urwand accounts for Breen’s activities (without quoting his anti-Semitic letter), but he pumps up Gyssling’s role even when he’s not sure that Gyssling deserves the credit. For instance, Urwand writes that Gyssling, in 1934, “probably” intervened to get “Mad Dog” killed, though “the evidence is inconclusive.” And, after admitting that he has no proof that Gyssling caused M-G-M to abandon “It Can’t Happen Here,” he nevertheless insists that Gyssling’s “presence in Los Angeles undoubtedly affected M-G-M’s decision.” His account of what happened with “The Life of Emile Zola” is even shakier. When Gyssling heard, in 1937, that the movie was in the works, he called the producer, Henry Blanke, who, as he later wrote, placated Gyssling with a lie. Blanke told Gyssling that the Dreyfus affair would play only a small role in “Zola.” Urwand writes, “Just a few days after this phone call took place, Jack Warner dictated some important changes to the Dreyfus picture”—the three infamous deletions. But, as Felicia Herman notes, in a 2001 article in American Jewish History, citing a letter from Breen to Warner, it was the Production Code chief who persuaded the studio to make the cuts. Urwand quotes numerous letters from Gyssling to Breen but explicitly cites only one letter from Gyssling to a studio. At one point, he says that a threatening Gyssling letter to Warners has been lost, but he then reconstructs what the letter “would” have said, based on the single letter he cites (without ever quoting it). It’s hard to imagine how authoritative scholarship and furious accusations can be based on missing documents, the conditional mood, and conjecture.

Gyssling continued operating in Hollywood until June, 1941, when Franklin Roosevelt broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, and the Nazi consul, regretting his separation from his “thousands of friends” in Los Angeles, abruptly left town. He made a lot of mischief in his eight years, but neither he nor even Breen was as significant a force as the studio bosses’ own fears.

The future moguls came from the backwaters of Eastern Europe and arrived in the United States with nothing, not even fathers (who were mostly feckless or missing). Desperate for respectability and for cash, they worked at whatever trade lay at hand: peddling scrap metal, furs, gloves. Then, soon after the emergence of storefront nickelodeons, in 1905, they threw in their lot with a new, primitive art form that many regarded as a passing fad. Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Jesse Lasky, and the four Warner brothers built their enterprises with a speed that even now, in the age of venture capital and mobile-app entrepreneurs, seems remarkable. And yet, outside their domain, as Neal Gabler has chronicled in his 1988 history, “An Empire of Their Own,” they were silent or utterly conventional. They acted as if all their power and their personal wealth could be taken away if they made a mistake.

Their fears were not entirely irrational, since anti-Semitism was widespread in America in the twenties and thirties. It could be found in the radio broadcasts of demagogues like Father Coughlin, in the street rallies of Nazi and pro-German groups in New York and other cities. The Jews were blamed in some quarters for the worldwide economic crisis. Henry Ford, Theodore Dreiser, and Charles Lindbergh, along with a variety of outraged organizations, fulminated over Jewish control of the movie business, whose leaders were variously excoriated as “Asiatics,” greedy buffoons, sexual predators, and Bolsheviks.

In response, the studio bosses wrapped themselves in Americanism, generating in their movies, as Gabler points out, an ideal country: “It would be an America where fathers were strong, families stable, people attractive, resilient, resourceful, and decent.” In that America, there was no room for the kind of Jewish characters and actors who had appeared in the silent and early-sound-period movies—the ghetto dwellers, the Yiddish dialogue comics, the Jewish boy in the first sound film (from 1927), “The Jazz Singer,” who turns his back on the Lower East Side and assimilates into American society.

By acting as they did, the studio bosses fell into the trap that they had allowed men like Gyssling and Breen to set for them. Because they were Jews, they believed, they couldn’t make anti-Nazi movies or movies about Jews, for this would be seen as special pleading or warmongering. (The Nazi appeaser Joseph P. Kennedy, the Ambassador to Great Britain, said as much to the studio heads as late as 1940, when the Wehrmacht was all over Europe.) Breen tormented them with the spectre of what anti-Semites might do as a way of stifling their response to what anti-Semitism was already doing—and would do, in Europe, with annihilating violence. It’s as if the Hollywood Jews had become responsible for anti-Semitism. Of all the filmmakers in the world, they became the last who could criticize the Nazis. Their situation was both tragic and absurd.

In their hesitations and their timidity, they were supported, as both Doherty and Urwand demonstrate, by such organizations as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee, both of which took the line that the Jews had to be careful about thrusting themselves before the public. “They will get tired of us,” Cyrus Adler, the head of the A.J.C., said. “What I want them to do is to get tired of Hitler”—a line that is too sad for tears. These organizations, adding to Breen’s efforts, lobbied successfully against the making of “The Mad Dog of Europe” and “It Can’t Happen Here.” But were they overestimating the dangers of domestic anti-Semitism? In 1934, they did everything possible to get Fox to halt its production of “The House of Rothschild,” a historical account of the rise of the Rothschild banking family. What troubled them most was the early scenes, set in the eighteenth century, in which Mayer Rothschild (George Arliss) attempts to hide some taxable money from a collector. Later, Mayer instructs his sons to set up banks in multiple European cities as a way of attaining power and dignity, which the movie, in its second half, shows them achieving. The film is a celebration, and, when it opened, it was widely admired by Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike. The feared anti-Semitic reaction in the United States never materialized, though the Anti-Defamation League remained unhappy. Apparently, no Jew should be shown as greedy and power-seeking. Urwand quotes a representative of the A.D.L. saying of the film, “It’s too bad that it was made at this time, for it corroborates the basic Nazi propaganda, and this corroboration is furnished by Jews.” The A.D.L. quickly remedied the situation, in 1934, by holding a meeting with a group of studio bosses and production heads, the result of which was that Jewish characters were banned altogether.

Oddly, Urwand seems to think that “The House of Rothschild” was a disaster for the Jews, and he cites the fact that the Nazis used passages of it for their own propaganda as an example of the harm it did. But the Nazis would use anything for their own purposes. In 1935, they loved Henry Hathaway’s paean to British imperialism in India, “The Lives of a Bengal Lancer,” with Gary Cooper enduring torture rather than betray his friends. The film’s endorsement of “the leader principle,” Urwand says, “enforced this central aspect of Nazi ideology,” and he calls “Lives,” a likably silly adventure film, Nazi propaganda. In his own way, Urwand thinks like an ideologue—or a censor. For instance, he writes of a movie as if its entire emotional effect could be summarized by recounting its story—as if acting, directing, cinematography, and innumerable details of emphasis and atmosphere didn’t shape our responses as much as plot does. Even Goebbels seemed to realize that American entertainment breathed freedom in a great many ways.

That a man like Georg Gyssling was allowed past the front gate of an American film studio is a disgrace, and Urwand deserves credit for bringing his role out of obscurity. But the charge of “collaboration” is inaccurate and unfair—a case of scholarly sensationalism. The studios didn’t advance Nazism; they failed to oppose it. In that failure, they were joined, and even surpassed, by other American businesses, including General Motors, DuPont, I.B.M., and Ford, which operated in Nazi Germany and, in some cases, continued to operate there after the war began. None of this makes Hollywood any less cowardly, but Urwand, writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, which few people in the mid-thirties could have imagined, recasts every act of evasion as the darkest complicity. And he is too enraged to pose the obvious practical questions: What if the studios had made a slew of anti-Nazi movies? Would many people have gone to them? Could the studios have alerted the world to the threat of Nazism? It’s hard to say. Still, it would have been nice if they had tried. ♦
As a Hays Office censor, Joseph Breen (center) was able to suppress anti-Nazi films.