OBITUARY: MARIA SCHELL ; Actress Known for Her Beauty and Her Tears
Vallance, Tom, The Independent (London, England)
Maria Schell was a beautiful, intensely emotional actress who never achieved the international recognition of her younger brother, Maximilian, but made sporadic appearances in English-speaking films and was very popular in Germany. Her overtly soulful, often tearful performances did not appeal to German critics, who rarely gave her good reviews, but she was a great favourite with audiences. She achieved particular stature in the Fifties, winning awards at both the Cannes and Venice festivals, acting for Visconti, and playing Grushenka, a role coveted by Marilyn Monroe, in Hollywood's version of The Brothers Karamazov.
She was born in 1926 in Vienna, one of four children of a Swiss poet- playwright and an Austrian actress, and was brought up partly in Switzerland, where her family had fled after the Anschluss of 1938. Her film dbut, billed as Gritli Schell, was in the Swiss films Steibruch and Maturareise (both 1942). Her first German film after the Second World War, Der Engel mit der Posaune (1948), the saga of a Viennese piano-making family over 60 years, brought her acclaim, and the following year she repeated her role in a ponderous British version, The Angel with the Trumpet. She had a second English- speaking role when cast in a typically lachrymose role as the first wife of William Friese-Greene in the official Festival of Britain film, the star-laden The Magic Box (1952).
She then starred with Marius Goring in Compton Bennett's So Little Time (1952), as a Belgian who has an ill-fated affair with a German officer during the war. It was a personal favourite of Goring "
a touching little film . . . Maria Schell was beautiful and extremely good. It was too soon after the war and people still thought every German was a horror. A year later, and it would have been all right.
Schell had a similarly downbeat role as the mistress of a married police commissioner (Trevor Howard) in a screen version of Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter …
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Publication information: Article title: OBITUARY: MARIA SCHELL ; Actress Known for Her Beauty and Her Tears. Contributors: Vallance, Tom - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 29, 2005. Page number: 57. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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