Perfectly capable of moving audiences both in theatre and on the movie screen, the actress Liane Haid, in the course of a career spanning some forty years, has made a name for herself not only in Austria, but also in Germany, even turning down an offer from Hollywood.
From silent to sound cinema
Gentle features and elegant bearing. A face so expressive that it could convey the most diverse emotions even without the need for words. It is no coincidence that the versatile actress and dancer Liane Haid is considered to be the first true Austrian diva in film history. Perfectly capable of moving audiences both in theatre and on the movie screen, the actress, in the course of a career spanning some forty years, has made a name for herself not only in Austria, but also in Germany, even turning down an offer from Hollywood.
Born in Vienna on August 16, 1895, Juliane Haid was the daughter of a musical instrument maker (Georg Haid) and his wife Juliane Kiendl and had two younger sisters, Grit (also an actress, who died prematurely in a plane crash) and Johanna. Interested in the world of entertainment from a very young age, young Liane first took singing lessons (which would be very helpful in the years to come) and then performed in operas and operettas, working mainly as a dancer.
Soon, however, the film world began to take an interest in her. And this happened in 1915, when Liane Haid made her screen debut with Louise Kolm-Fleck and Jakob Fleck in Mit Herz und Hand fürs Vaterland. She worked with the two pioneers of Austrian cinema many more times, taking part in the feature films The Hoboes (1916), Auf der Höhe (1916), Lebenswogen (1917) and The Ancestress (1919), just to name a few. Her lovely face, but also her extraordinary ability to adapt to any role, soon made her famous even abroad. And so it was that, in the course of her long and prolific career, Liane Haid became one of the best known faces in German-speaking cinema, taking part in feature films such as Der Roman eines Dienstmädchens (Reinhold Schünzel, 1921), Lady Hamilton (Richard Oswald, 1921) and Lucrezia Borgia (Richard Oswald, 1922).
As we all know, when first in the United States and then in Europe sound films began to spread, many actors had a hard time adapting to this new invention, since they would have had to adopt a new acting style that would not have been in their style and they did not always have the right voice for acting. Many of these artists, in fact, ended their careers at the very end of the silent era. This, however, was not the case for our Liane Haid, who, precisely because she had studied singing for many years in the past, was able to adapt perfectly to this new context.
Haid’s most successful years were, in fact, the 1930s (in 1933 alone, the actress took part in no fewer than nine films). To this period, for instance, date back the films The Song Is Ended (Géza von Bolváry, 1930), The Prince from Arcadien (Karl Hartl, 1932), Story of a Night (Carl Boese, 1933) and Wer zuletzt küßt… (E. W. Emo, 1936), probably her most famous film. After World War II, Liane Haid stopped working for cinema and began to devote herself mainly to theatre, later moving, together with her third husband, doctor Carl Spycher, permanently to Switzerland “because of the regime, because everything has been bombed here and because all the good directors have left”
After the war, Haid only took part in one film, Die fünf Karnickel, directed by Kurt Steinwendner and Paul Löwinger in 1953. From then on, she preferred to devote herself to her family, often accompanying her husband to the tropics during his business trips. Yet, the myth of Liane Haid had already existed for some time. Audiences loved her and not only some of the films she starred in, but also many of the songs she sang for the occasion had become cult hits.
Married three times (her first husband, Baron Fritz von Haymerle even founded a production company for her, the Micco-Film) and mother of the jazz musician Pierre Spycher, awarded the Filmband in Gold in 1969 for her contribution to German cinema and the Rosenhügel-Preis in Austria in 1992, Liane Haid lived for the rest of her life in Germany, in her home in Wabern. Here her son took care of her until her death on November 28, 2000, at the age of 105. And even though our Liane had left her homeland for several years by then, Austria still honoured her diva by naming an avenue in Vienna’s 17th district after her, the Liane-Haid-Weg, and by holding her important, precious legacy at the Filmarchiv Austria.