Birth name Luise Rainer NationalityGerman Birth 12 january 1910 at Düsseldorf (German) Death 30 december 2014 (at 104 years) at London (United-kingdom) Awards Academy Award for Best Actress, Hollywood Walk of Fame
Luise Rainer (12 January 1910 – 30 December 2014) was a German and American film actress. She was the first actor to win multiple Academy Awards and the first person to win them consecutively. At the time of her death, she was the longest-lived individual ever to have received an Academy Award.
Rainer began acting in Germany at age 16, being trained by Austria's leading stage director, Max Reinhardt. Within a few years, she had become a distinguished Berlin stage actress with Reinhardt's Vienna theater ensemble. Critics "raved" about her acting quality. After years of acting on stage and in films in Austria and Germany, she was discovered by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scouts, who signed her to a three-year contract in Hollywood in 1935. A number of filmmakers envisioned she might become another Greta Garbo, MGM's leading female star at the time.
Her first American film role was in Escapade in 1935. The following year, she was given a supporting part in the musical biography The Great Ziegfeld, where, despite limited appearances, her emotion-filled acting quality so impressed audiences that she was awarded an Oscar as Best Actress. She was later dubbed "the Viennese teardrop", for her dramatic telephone scene in the film. For her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio's disagreement, that she would also be able to play the part of a poor, plain Chinese farm wife in The Good Earth (1937), based on Pearl Buck's novel about hardship in China. The subdued character role was such a dramatic contrast to her previous, vivacious character that she again won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Yet by winning two consecutive Oscars, she later noted, nothing worse could have happened to her, as audience expectations from then on would be too high to fulfill. After a string of unimportant movie parts, MGM and Rainer became disappointed, leading her to end her brief three-year film career, soon returning to Europe. Adding to her rapid decline, some feel, was the poor career advice given her by then husband, playwright Clifford Odets, along with the unexpected death at age 37 of her producer, Irving Thalberg, whom she greatly admired. Some film historians consider her the "most extreme case of an Oscar victim in Hollywood mythology".
Élevée à Hambourg, elle commence à étudier le théâtre en Allemagne à l'âge de 16 ans avec le metteur en scène autrichien Max Reinhardt. Quelques années plus tard, elle est considérée au sein du théâtre viennois que Reinhardt dirige comme « une actrice de théâtre berlinoise caractéristique ». Ses interprétations soulèvent l'enthousiasme de la critique. En 1935, découverte par le biais de dénicheurs de talents de la MGM lors de ses passages sur diverses scènes en Autriche et en Allemagne, elle part pour Hollywood, un contrat de trois ans en poche. Nombre de cinéastes voient en elle la nouvelle Greta Garbo, la principale star féminine de la MGM d'alors.
Cette même année elle tourne son premier film, l'Escapade. En 1936, elle est choisie pour jouer dans Le Grand Ziegfeld. Bien que n'apparaissant que peu, elle séduit le public et remporte en 1937 l'Oscar de la meilleure actrice. C'est dans ce film qu'elle gagne le surnom de « larme viennoise » en tournant une scène au téléphone où s'exprime son grand talent d'actrice dramatique. Pour son film suivant, Visages d'Orient, inspiré du roman de Pearl Buck, le producteur Irving Thalberg l'a convaincue, malgré le désaccord du studio, de jouer le rôle d'une paysanne chinoise pauvre et laide. Ce personnage, aussi effacé qu'était plein de vie son rôle précédent, lui permet de remporter en 1938 pour la seconde année consécutive l'Oscar de la meilleure actrice, événement unique dans l'histoire des Oscars.
Elle devait déclarer cependant quelque temps plus tard qu'en gagnant ces deux Oscars rien de pire ne pouvait lui arriver, car l'attente du public allait être désormais très difficile à satisfaire. Et il est exact qu'elle ne devait plus obtenir de rôles importants à dater de cette époque. À la fin de son contrat de trois ans, ne parvenant pas à se mettre d'accord avec la MGM sur les termes d'un nouveau contrat, elle décide de retourner en Europe, la mort prématurée de son producteur, Irving Thalberg qu'elle admirait grandement, ajoutant au déclin rapide d'une carrière commencée de façon foudroyante. Des historiens du cinéma ont d'ailleurs écrit à son sujet qu'elle était « la pire victime des Oscars d'Hollywood ». De retour en Europe, elle a vécu à Londres où elle s'est éteinte en 2014 à l'âge de 104 ans.
Directed byFrank Tuttle OriginUSA GenresDrama, War ActorsLuise Rainer, Arturo de Córdova, William Bendix, Paul Lukas, Katína Paxinoú, Oskar Homolka Roles Milada Pressinger Rating67% A group of twenty-six Czechoslovakian citizens are jailed as hostages by the Gestapo until the supposed killer of a Nazi officer – who actually committed suicide – is turned in. The hostages include the leader of the underground resistance movement (William Bendix), whose cover is that of an apparently ignorant washroom attendant in the nightclub where the victim was last seen alive.
Directed byFrank Tuttle OriginUSA GenresDrama, War ActorsLuise Rainer, Arturo de Córdova, William Bendix, Paul Lukas, Katína Paxinoú, Oskar Homolka Roles Milada Pressinger Rating67% A group of 26 Czechoslovakian citizens are jailed as hostages by the Gestapo until the supposed killer of a Nazi officer – who actually committed suicide – is turned in. The hostages include the leader of the underground resistance movement (William Bendix), whose cover is that of an apparently ignorant washroom attendant in the nightclub where the victim was last seen alive.
, 11minutes Directed byHerman Hoffman OriginUSA GenresDocumentary ThemesDocumentary films about business, Documentary films about the film industry, Documentary films about cities ActorsFreddie Bartholomew, Frank Capra, William H. Daniels, Clark Gable, Betty Ross Clarke, Myrna Loy Roles Herself (uncredited) Rating60% The film starts with a brief reprise of the previous film, before cutting to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City, California where assistant cameraman Bill Reilly picks up the film from the lab for Marie Antoinette (1938) which he passes on to cameraman William H. Daniels. Behind the scenes footage shows W.S. Van Dyke directing a scene between Norma Shearer and Robert Morley before the negative is taken to the lab to be developed, dried and polished by lab technician John M. Nickolaus. The test strips are then read and delivered to the print room for printing. A tram takes the viewer on a quick tour of the studio complete with behind the scenes footage of George B. Seitz directing Judge Hardy's Children (1938), Freddie Bartholomew training with elephants for the then unproduced Kim, Luise Rainer doing a costume test for The Toy Wife (1938), and candid footage of Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy. The film concludes with a montage from trailers for coming MGM pictures and footage of Louis B. Mayer, Frank Capra, Luise Rainer and Louise Tracy at the 10th Academy Awards banquet.
, 1h20 Directed byRobert B. Sinclair OriginUSA GenresDrama, Romance ThemesFilms about television, Films based on plays ActorsLuise Rainer, Paulette Goddard, Alan Marshal, Lana Turner, John Hubbard, Genevieve Tobin Roles Louise Mauban Rating63% Aspiring actress Louise Mauban (Luise Rainer) attends the Paris School of Drama while working at a dreary factory job. Her fellow students begin to suspect that her stories of a luxurious life and her wealthy, handsome boyfriend, Marquis Andre D'Abbencourt (Alan Marshal), are just fantasies that she weaves to relieve her humdrum life. One of them, Nana (Paulette Goddard), maliciously invites Louise to her "birthday party", having arranged for Andre to attend. However, the plan backfires. Andre is enchanted by Louise and the lie turns into the truth. He showers her with gifts and takes her out every night.
, 1h35 Directed byRichard Thorpe OriginUSA GenresDrama ActorsLuise Rainer, Melvyn Douglas, Robert Young, Barbara O'Neil, H. B. Warner, Alma Kruger Roles Gilberte 'Frou Frou' Brigard Rating59% Set during the American Civil War, The Toy Wife tells the story of Frou-Frou, a 16-year-old coquette. She has been in France to attend a prestigious school, but is now returning to her family plantation in Louisiana. Craving to go to New Orleans, she fakes a toothache to visit a dentist there. She is chaperoned by Madame Vallaire, but soon ditches her to attend a ball. There, she meets Vaillare's son Andre, a wastral whom she is immediately attracted to.
, 10minutes OriginUSA GenresDocumentary ThemesDocumentary films about business, Documentary films about the film industry ActorsAdrian, Cliff Edwards, Clark Gable, Gladys George, Virginia Grey, Robert Montgomery Rating47% The film starts with a brief look at cotton being picked on a plantation in the southern USA, before cutting to the Kodak plant in Rochester, New York where the raw cotton is processed into cellulose which is treated with silver and other materials to make film stock. Behind the scenes at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City, California, where sets are being constructed, we see make-up artist Jack Dawn demonstrating his Abraham Lincoln make-up, costume designer Adrian sketching a dress for Jeanette MacDonald in The Firefly (1937), composer Herbert Stothart conducting the music for Conquest (1937), Virginia Grey doing her first screen test with Clark Gable, and candid footage of Robert Montgomery, Cliff Edwards, Rosalind Russell, Gladys George, Jessie Ralph, Maureen O'Sullivan and studio trainer Don Loomis. The film concludes with a montage from trailers for coming MGM pictures featuring the studio's parade of stars.
, 1h32 Directed byRobert Z. Leonard OriginUSA GenresComedy, Romantic comedy, Romance ActorsWilliam Powell, Luise Rainer, Frank Morgan, Virginia Bruce, Mady Christians, Reginald Owen Roles Leopoldine Dur Rating69% Set somewhere in Vienna in the 1900s (decade), the film opens with a successful surgeon (Morgan), feeing for the affection of his wife (Bruce). As does his brother, a concert conductor (Owen), for his flirtatious gal (Christians). Both women have something in common: they are in love with a philandering painter (Powell). The surgeon's wife contacts the artist and allows herself to be painted while only dressed in furs, with her face covered by a mask. The painting headlines the newspapers, and the entire city wonders who the mysterious masked lady is. The surgeon recognizes his fiancee's wife's furs in the painting, and is troubled. He is unaware that his own wife has borrowed the fur, though, and feels terribly sorry for his brother.