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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Alma Mahler-Werfel

                                                    Marisa Mell as “Alma Mahler-Werfel”

Alma Maria Mahler Gropius Werfel, born Alma Margaretha Maria Schindler; 31 August 1879 – 11 December 1964, was a Viennese-born composer, author, editor and socialite. At age fifteen, she was mentored by Max Burckhard. Musically active from her early years, she was the composer of at least 17 songs for voice and piano. In her early years, she fell in love with composer and conductor Alexander von Zemlinsky, but their relationship did not last long. She became the wife of composer Gustav Mahler, who did not approve of her continuing to compose music. Eventually she fell into depression from being artistically stifled. While her marriage was struggling, she had an affair with Walter Gropius. Gustav started to encourage Alma's composing and helped prepare some of her compositions for publication, but died soon after this attempted reconciliation in 1911. Alma married Gropius in 1915 and the couple had a daughter together, Manon Gropius. During her marriage to Gropius, Alma had an affair with Franz Werfel. Alma and Werfel were eventually married after Alma separated from Gropius. In 1938, after the Anschluss, Werfel and Alma were forced to flee Austria as it was unsafe for Jews. Eventually the couple settled in Los Angeles. In later years, her salon became part of the artistic scene, first in Vienna, then in Los Angeles and in New York.

Alma Mahler-Werfel died 11 December 1964 in New York City. She was buried on 8 February 1965 in the Grinzing Cemetery of Vienna, in the same cemetery as her daughter Manon Gropius and her first husband Gustav Mahler.

This was a theatre production in honor of poet Franz Werfel's 100th anniversary of his birthday on September 10th 1990. The production "Dort und Hier" started in Graz-Austria, Marisa Mell's home town, and did presumably go on tour in Austria. Sadly there is not much information known of this production, even André Schneider, author of the great Marisa Mell book "Die Feuerblume -Über Marisa Mell und ihre Filme, has not much information about this production. Sadly it was one of the last theatre productions of Marisa Mell because soon after she became very ill leading up to her untimely death! 

A young Alma Mahler-Werfel

Thanks to André Schneider for providing this wonderful theatre broschure which is quite hard to find. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Cannes Film Festival-May 8th 1969

Marisa Mell arrives at the Cannes Film Festival on May 8th 1969

Saturday, May 25, 2019

"Everybody Has Something To Hide" Reprise (Mata Hari)

In the autumn of 1967, Marisa Mell was in full rehearsal mode for the opening of the musical Mata Hari, planned for January 13th 1968 at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. So dress fittings were also on her agenda. This is a very rare photo from one of the dress fittings with famous costume designer Irene Sharaff, who did almost all famous Broadway musical productions of that era like Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly! with Barbra Streisand, and of course movies like Cleopatra with Elisabeth Taylor or the King and I with Yul Brynner. And as always Marisa Mell, being a heavy chain smoker, is smoking a cigarette during the dress fitting. 

Friday, May 17, 2019