Otto Matiesen - Rotten Tomatoes

Otto Matiesen



An intense supporting actor from Denmark, swarthy-looking Otto Matiesen (often misspelled "Matieson") had graduated from the University of Copenhagen with degrees in fine arts and philosophy. The theater, however, soon took precedence over academia and he made his stage debut at Copenhagen's Casino Theatre in 1911. Emigrating to Great Britain soon after, the darkly handsome youngster became a member of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's famous Shakespearean stock company which, in 1917, brought him to Canada. By then, Matiesen had already made an early screen debut in the British The Jester's Fate (1913) and Napoleon and Josephine, in which he had starred, opened to some acclaim in the U.S. in the very early '20s. Deciding to try his luck in Hollywood, Matiesen was initially helped by fellow Dane Jean Hersholt, who cast him in a pivotal supporting role in the The Golden Trail (1920), an outdoor melodrama filmed on location in Oregon. Throughout the 1920s, the actor would give a series of memorable portrayals in films ranging from Vanity Fair (1923), in which he once again played Napoleon Bonaparte, to Josef Von Sternberg's experimental The Salvation Hunters (1926). Unlike so many of his peers, Matiesen weathered the changeover to sound well, portraying Napoleon Bonaparte for the third and final time in John Ford's talkie experiment Napoleon's Barber (1928) and using Danish to convey his character Joel Cairo's enigmatic background in the first screen version of The Maltese Falcon (1931). Had he lived, this fascinating character actor may have been a familiar name today but, sadly, Otto Matiesen was killed in a car accident outside Flagstaff, AZ, in January of 1932, his upcoming role in MGM's Grand Hotel instead going to old friend Jean Hersholt. Matiesen was married to actress Isabelle Lamore, with whom he had appeared in Paul Fejos' evocative The Lost Moment (1928).

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
67% The Maltese Falcon
  • Joel Cairo
1931
100% The Iron Mask
  • Actor
1929
No Score Yet Old San Francisco
  • Vasquez grandson
1927
No Score Yet Whispering Wires
  • Actor
1926
No Score Yet The Salvation Hunters
  • The Man
1925

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