In the first post I wrote about Mamba's and Tiffany Pictures historical background. In this post I will write about the actors in the leading roles of the film. Unfortunately they are almost forgotten today, at least if you compare them to superstars like Garbo or Gable.
Mamba was very well received by the audience as well as by the press. Tiffany had made sure the film would become a smash hit by hiring some of the most prominent actors at the time for the lead parts.
|Jean Hersholt 1927|
Jean Hersholt was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1886, the son of Clair and Henry Hersholt, both actors at the Danish Folk Theatre. From an early age young Jean went on tour performing with his family all over Europe. Back at home in Copenhagen he went to art school and soon got recognition for his fine pencil drawings.
|Hersholt drawing von Stroheim (1923)|
|Grand Hotel (1932)|
In the early 1940's Hersholt more or less left the movies but stayed in the business working with many different charity projects. In 1939 he funded The Motion Picture Relief Fund, an organization that helped to support industry employees with medical care when they were down on their luck and was used to create the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. This led to the creation in 1956 of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian an honorary Academy Award given to an "individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry". Hersholt was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 1945-49. Another lesser known function he had was as Chairman of the Hollywood chamber of commerce in the early 1950’s and as such he helped negotiate the rights for the Scandinavian Airlines transatlantic flights in 1954. He was very proud of being Danish, throughout his life he helped spread Danish and Scandinavian culture to the world. One of his major achievements was translating all of Hans Christian Andersens stories to the English language. His translations are still regarded as the best.
|Jean Hersholt's home in Hollywood|
|Eleanor Boardman - Photoplay January 1928|
Born in Philadelphia 1898 to strict, Presbyterian parents. After graduation from The Academy of Fine Arts in her home town she left for New York hoping for a career on Broadway. When that didn’t work out as expected, she became a model for Kodak. This worked out splendidly and she eventually became the official Kodak Girl. With her face on posters all over the country she was of course hoping for some movie mogul to spot her and take her to Hollywood.
|Eleanor Boardman early in her career|
|Souls For Sale (1923)|
|With James Murray in The Crowd (1928)|
|Eleanor Boardman and King Vidor|
Mamba was her first talkie and the only film she made in color.
|Ralph Forbes by Clarence Sinclair Bull (1928)|
There is a lot of confusion about Forbes birth date. The date varies from 1896, 1901 to 1904. According to the Civil registration records in the UK, September 30, 1904 is the correct date. Born in an acting family in London, England. Both his parents and little sister were stage actors so the choice of profession might have been easy for young Ralph. He started his career on stage as a teenager in London. This led to some roles in British films, among them the early color movie His Glorious Adventure, shot in Prizmacolor 1922, and also a Swedish version of Charley's Aunt shot in England and Sweden between 1922-26 before leaving for Hollywood in 1926 to play fellow Englishman Ronald Coleman's brother in the Paramount big budgeter Beau Geste.
|Beau Geste (1926)|
|Ralph Forbes and Ruth Chatterton|
|Forbes and Clara Bow in Her Wedding Night (1930)|
|Forbes about to hit John Barrymore in the face in 20th Century (1934)|
|Eleanor Boardman and Jean Hersholt in Mamba|