Around 1916 Rotophot began publishing three new series of postcards with the RPH symbol:
1. Bühnen-Sterne (Stage Star) was a series of German theater actors postcards. It ran from #1 to #30. It is a mystery why it had such a limited run, although, of course, Rotophot had already been printing theater stars postcards, although those were mainly of British performers.
2. Film Sterne (Film Star) portrait cards with ran from #61 to #224. It is unknown why the series started at #61. Perhaps the first 60 cards had been set aside for the theater cards.
The first Film Sterne card 61/1
3. Film Sterne film scene cards which ran from #500 through #567. These showed scenes from German films, with both the name of the film and the actor(s) printed on the card. The cards of a particular series could have more than one film on the multiple numbers, unlike with the later Ross Verlag cards. For example, the #500 has 12 card numbers with nine different films.
The release dates for the nine #500 films are (the films themselves, and not the cards):
Die Räuberbraut September 29, 1916
Gelöste Ketten December 29, 1916
Die Ehe dre Luise Rohrback February 2, 1917
Feenhände January 26, 1917
Christa Hartungen May 4, 1917
Das wandende Licht September 1, 1916
Die Prinzessin von Neutralien June 1, 1917
Der liebesbrief der Königin March 30, 1917
Der Ruf der Liebe October 27, 1916
The final card #567 was of Die blaue Laterne, with the film release date of November 29, 1918.
The first Film Sterne film scene postcard 500/1
From the last series of Film Sterne film scene cards,
before they were renamed Ross Verlag.
On the back of the Film Sterne film scene cards were printed the words "Film Kunst" (Film Art). There were two different styles of these. They were not printed on the back of the regular portrait cards. This was carried over, however, in the transition to the Ross Verlag film scene cards. It continued on until around the #645 Anna Boleyn Ross cards.
Ross applied for the "Film Kunst" trademark on June 16, 1917 and it was registered on October 29, 1917. Thanks to Klaas Dierks for his hard work in discovering this registration information!
The two variations of the Film Kunst symbol on the back
of Film Sterne and early Ross Verlag film scene cards.
Here is an interesting example of a Henny Porten card that had been printed both as a Rotophot card and as a Film Sterne card. Note also the number (16) on the right underneath the film studio logo. The early Henny Porten cards seemed to have their own numbers for the photos, although they did not always go in the same order as the Film Sterne numbers.
The Film Sterne cards would usually have the name of the film studio on the card (Decla in this example) and the name of the photographer's studio responsible for the photo (Becker & Maass for this shot). This format was continued with the Ross Verlag cards.
Here is an interesting "artistic" Film Sterne card which is part photo and part drawing, with a blank background. Note also how some of the cards had "signature" versions of the actors name, while others were just set in type (See above Hella Mojo card).
Some of the cards seemed to have been printed in a black and white version, along with the regular brown tone (sepia) style.
Although they were not very common, Film Sterne did have some hand tinted color cards.
One peculiarity were some Henny Porten cards that were printed in two different sizes. The smaller cards were not trimmed, but reduced proportionally in size.
Here are examples of a horizontal film scene card with a standard type, and a vertical card with a more Gothic type script. Note too, how the 500/6 card shows a different film than the 500/1 card previously shown above.
This is an unusual example of the same card printed in two different typefaces.
This card was for the film "Veritas Vincit," which told three different stories. It shows a scene from Part 1. Later Ross Verlag cards would similarly have the film's name underneath and the actors names put into the photograph.
These two card were also for the film "Veritas Vincit," naming the leading actors (Die Hauptdarsteller), and a poem about the motto of the movie. They have an unusual number: 566a and 566b. This is the same number as the above "Veritas Vincit" card, but with a letter following it. I have one card of the film also with a perforated edge. One possible explanation is that perforated cards were included in German film trade journals like "Film Kurier" (not the same as the more well known "Illustrierter Film- Kurier"), as a promotion for the set. Thanks to Klaas Dierks for this information.
Unusual card of a silent film version of the opera "Der Trompter von Säkkingen." Includes verse from the opera.
Interesting card that translates: "One Day in the Life of a Film Star" "Studying the role." Thanks to Klaus Wunderlich for this photo!
Film Sterne also printed the "K" series, which were larger sized "art" photographs. These continued on with Ross Verlag.
"THE HISTORY OF ROSS VERLAG"
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