Friday, July 10, 2009

The Mighty Quinn

Austrian-born pop idol Freddy Quinn impresses with the size of his golden disc

One's opinion of Freddy Quinn's singing is wholly dependent on your tolerance of "Schlager," the quintessentially German pop form of the 1950's and 1960's. Less debatable are his rather smoldering, charismatic looks - which undoubtedly helped catapult the singing sensation to film stardom.

German musicals being, as a rule, uneasy mixtures of hokey traditionalism and strange imitations of contemporary American pop culture, perhaps it's no surprise that at least one of Mr. Quinn's films appears to be a hybrid Blue Hawaii/Slumdog Millionaire.

More surprising, perhaps, is the fact that America's two reigning, rivaling blonde bombshells traveled to the Continent to appear in films with Freddy - often taking second billing in the adverts, and sometimes not appearing in the marketing imagery at all. Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren were both accustomed to stealing the spotlight wherever they went, so Freddy Quinn's popularity in the German-speaking world was truly massive.

With Jayne Mansfield, Heimweh Nach St. Pauli (1963)

With Mamie Van Doren, The Wild, Wild West (1964)

By the 1970's, Quinn's chart popularity had passed, but he continued performing mostly for receptively nostalgic audiences. He's also nothing if not versatile, having dabbled in everything from tightrope walking to performing as the King in The King and I. We're somehow more dubious about the latter than the former; but then, a man who can upstage Jayne and Mamie can probably do just about anything.


  1. I have a feeling I'd have a "high tolerance" for his "Schlager"

  2. Again, I applaud you for unearthing someone I have never heard of but am glad to discover!