Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 741. Photo: Residenz-Atelier Wien.
Austrian actor Max Landa (1880-1933) started his career in silent films opposite Asta Nielsen. Later he starred as the cosmopolitan gentleman-detective Joe Deebs in the very popular silent serial.
Max Landa was born in Vienna, then Austria-Hungary, in 1880. He started acting on stage when he was 1919, then acted in several theatres in Austria and Germany, before debuting in film in Die Suffragetten (1913), directed by Urban Gad and starring Asta Nielsen. He then played in several films with Nielsen and by Gad: Engelein (1913/14), Die weisse Rosen (1914), Das Feuer (1914), the sequel Engelein’s Hochzeit(1916), Die ewige Nacht (1916), and Aschenbrödel (1916). In 1914 Landa played together with leading man Ernst Reicher in the Stuart Webbs crime serial films Die geheimnisvolle Villa and Der Man im Keller (both directed by Joe May), before engaging in his own serials around the detective character Joe Deebs, from 1915 on. The Joe Deebs serial films, almost all directed by Joe May, substituted the Stuart Webbs serial when May and Reicher broke up after a successful collaboration and lasted till 1918. The cosmopolitan gentleman-detective Deebs and Landa himself were well-known in Germany and abroad, all during the First World War.
After the war Landa continued to perform as detective in a succession of crime and adventure films by Ewald André Dupont, produced by Stern-Film: Europa postlagernd (1918), Mitternacht (1918), Der Teufel ( 1918), Die Japanerin (1919), Das Geheimnis des Amerika-Docks (1919), Die Apachen (1919), Die Maske (1919), Die Spione (1919), Das Derby (1919), Der Würger der Welt (1919), and Das Grand Hotel Babylon (1919). Max Landa then played the tragic crown prince Rudolf in Kaiserin Elisabeth von Österreich (Rolf Raffé 1920/21). In 1920 Landa played in a series of crime and detective films with actress Hilde Wörner, who had her own production company. He also acted once more with Asta Nielsen in Die Geliebte Roswolskys (Felix Basch 1921), opposite Paul Wegener as Roswolsky. In 1921 Landa also founded his own Max-Landa Film company for which he produced five films in 1921-1922: Der Passagier von Nr. 7 (1921), Die schwarze Schachdame (1922), Die Perlen der Lady Harrison (1922), Der politische Teppich (1922), and Das Licht um Miterbacht (1922). After that, Landa continued to play in German films, but had to satisfy with antagonistic and supporting roles, as in the two-part adventure film Der Flug um den Erdball (Willi Wolf 1924) with Ellen Richter, the Manfred Noa society comedies Soll man heiraten? (1925) and Warum sich scheiden lassen (1926), Die leichte Isabell (Arthur Busch 1927) with Lee Parry and after the operetta by Jean Gilbert, and Anastasia, die falsche Zarentochter (Arthur Bergen 1928), starring Camilla von Hollay. After 1928 Landa quitted playing in film. Max Landa died in Bled, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia); he was only 53 years old.
Sources: www.cyranos.ch/smland-e.htm, IMDB, filmportal.de