A friendly Hello to all readers, friends and Dyanne Thorne
Here's the story of the making of the special for www.Wicked-Vision.com.
I found the Ilsa-Films on VHS tapes at a friend half a year ago. After seeing the movies I asked myself, what did Dyanne Thorne
do today? After searching the internet I wasn't much more clever and so the idea for this special was born. Later on a meeting of the filmclub Buio Omega
I saw "Ilsa The Tigress"
... on the big screen. The main members of the club gave me hints how to find out what is Dyanne
doing now and how to contact her. 2 weeks later I located her and called her on the phone. She was very suprised and first a little bit scared to be contacted by me, and said that she would help me to do the article. One thing forwards: Dyanne Thorne
is very friendly and a highly sympathic person and I'm very happy about to stay in contact with her. After doing the interview (which is the meanpart of this special) it was time for a biography. Through the help of Dyanne
I contacted Steven Swires
, an American writer about screenings, and he gave me the permission to use his Dyanne Thorne Bio.
Finally we are proud to present you the Dyanne Thorne
Greets and special thanks got to
, Steven Swires
, the Wicked-Vision team, The Buio Omega Filmclub
, Christian Kessler
, Ulrich Meczulat
, Martin Tamboers
, Oliver Hülle
and all the fans of Dyanne Thorne
Feel free to mail me
in Novembre 2003
In 1974 Don Edmonds directed the first Ilsa movie, "Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS". Most of fans identify Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa. How do you explain that Ilsa is still in memories of movie fans and gets more and more fans every day after Ilsa appeared nearly 30 years ago?
To me it is a phenomenon. and yet, what actor would not be encouraged to know that they had created a character so strong that fans do not easily forget. It is mystical.
How do you think today about Ilsa and how did you think in the past about Ilsa?
Ilsa was no more to me than a portrayal of an heinous character. At the time we made the film, women rarely had the opportunity to be cast in such a powerful role, and so I enjoyed the challenge.
How did you prepare for the first Ilsa movie? Did you read about the real Ilsa - Ilse Koch?
Yes, I had little time to prepare, yet, I did read everything on the era that I could find. The film script did not help; Ilse Koch was no Greta Garbo, nor was she Mary Poppins. The most difficult challenge was to not judge the creature, but build a characterization that reflected her intensity and psychosis that might also hold the interest of the viewer.
Do you know that the Ilsa films are strongly censored by the German censorship, and the original "She-Wolf of the SS" was never officially released here till today?
That is interesting to learn.
What was your craziest experience with the role of Ilsa or with Ilsa-fans?
A wonderfully funny letter was sent to me signed by a fraternity in Boston, Massachusettes, U.S., medical school; the fraternity for doctors had voted me the body on which they would most like to operate.
Do you often remember the shootings of the Ilsa films?
No. When the work is finished, I focus on the next project. Life is too exciting to look backwards; I always try to enjoy the current adventure.
Did you ever have any doubts to play Ilsa?
Yes. I seriously considered turning it down - the scriptswere all terrible, and the sensationalism was heinous. I trusted the genius of Don Edmonds who said it wouldn't be that way - he wanted to make a quality film despite the limitations.
How do you would describe the Ilsa films and your role?
We tried to make Ilsa "a soldier of fortune" who was a mean mother. Each film story bastardized some horrific and regrettably truthful event in our history, i.e. Holocaust; Middle Eastern kidnapping of young women; Snuff films in Portugal; the days of Stalin ...
Do you still like it today, if people hear the name Dyanne Thorne and automatically think about Ilsa? Or is it boring meanwhile?
"Ilsa" has been such a minor part of my career, that I find it amusing that some persons only know me for that association.
Which Ilsa movie do you like the most and why?
"Tigress" was the most professional of all the projects; "Greta" aka "Wanda", now dubbed as an "Ilsa", was the greatest betrayal.
The shooting on "Ilsa - She-Wolf of the SS" only took 9 days.How many times separate scenes were shot?
Some days we shot around the clock. More than once on both "SS" & "Harem Keeper", we were asked to shoot around the clock - that is not the way to perform your best. Each scene was shot only once, with few exceptions. The script was altered every day. Some scenes we refused to shoot, while others were discarded after completion. The finished film was much much too long.
How many pages does the original Ilsa script got and how exactly was the character Ilsa defined? I mean, how much of Dyanne Thorne's acting skills creates the well known wicked person who hits the screen?
The script did not help. Don Edmonds and myself had an image upon which we elaborated. Beyond the facts of the heinous crimes performed by Ilse Koch, there is little resemblance to her.
How was the work on the Ilsa sequels "Ilsa - Haremkeeper of the oil sheiks" and "Ilsa - Tigress of Siberia"?
Typical low budget pressures, but ultimately great fun to make.
Do you still have contact with members of the Ilsa filming cast & crew?
Yes, a few of us had performed
on stage together prior to filming, and some new acquaintances have been maintained.
Would you ever play Ilsa again if you were asked by a studio?
The work is never about me, it has always been about the success of the project. Ilsa continues to be successful without the participation of Dyanne Thorne.
Did you ever in life cursed the choice to play Ilsa?
What is there to curse; every role is a blessing. Everything is life is an experience. Only by risking going too far, have I discovered how far I can go. Although I am blonde and blue eyed, I have portrayed a black songstress, a Chinese teacher, as well as a Spanish witch. Work has required that I learn a myriad of dialects. I have found that experience is a hard teacher: experience gives the test first and the lesson afterwards, while the price for that lesson can be exorbitant.
I do believe that every experience is what we label it, and so I choose to call this experience good. Yesterday ended last night, today is a new beginning.
In 1977 you played in Greta the mad butcher (in America released as "Ilsa - The Wicked Warden"
) directed by Jess Franco
was the work with him and how long Franco
shot for a single day?
Jess has a great personality. He directed in 7 languages at once; Howard Maurer and myself were only actors who spoke English. It was fascinating to see his high energy in action. We enjoyed long lunches and an efficient schedule.
You must ask Jess. He is a capable director, but appeared most interested in adding sensationalism, finishing the film, getting paid and moving on.
In which view did Jess Franco saw the character of Greta and what was important for the performing of the role?
Greta was inspired by a real person who ran a sanitorium in Portugal where "snuff" films were made of inmates for profit. Naively, I did not understand that this was planned as a sexploitation film. Mr Franco
is a talented director with whom I had hoped we would create a film of some small significance with the depth of an expose. The joke was on me. He is spontaneous, and when not rushed, has ideas for poignant lighting that add uniquesness to the simplest scene. He has a great sense of humor and remains high on my list of respected human beings - (even if a little "kinky"). We had not yet filmed "Tigress"
, and my trusted producers convinced me that this film they had arranged for me to do in Europe was a good career move; the script was a ltered along the way and the focus became a disappointment. It had the potential of being so much more than a sexploitation flick. The La Paloma true story is a tragic one and warranted telling. Greta was never meant to be Ilsa, but
these women shared a tortured mind; perhaps I have reflected some of that.
Did Franco himself ever work on the camera while filming?
As I recall, only when you thought the camera had been turned off.
Which shooting was the funniest for you and why? Which shooting/role was the worst or the hardest to perform?
Some of the funniest work I enjoyed was shot for television in a supporting capacity when working with first class comedic actors/comedians, such as Steve Allen in "Miss Un-Official Las Vegas Showgirl" and "The Merv Griffin Show".
An experience that is funny in retrospect, is that even at 19, I portrayed a murderess. The film is "Encounter", directed by award winning director Norman Chaipin, and my stepson was played by "little" Bobby DeNiro - now the big star, Robert De Niro.
Time reveals irony.
"Ilsa - She Wolf" was the most challenging for too many reasons to list here. It was all at once horrific and stimulating. One never knew what to expect. It was a creative experience inspite of the worst conditions imaginable. I had to maintain incredible self disciple thru 20 hour shooting days, while the madmen behind the scenes made it clear they were at war with one another. Joe Blasco (now "Blasco Cosmetics") was Ilsa's make-up artiste and perhaps he and his incredible staff were the only sane minds available to me. I have maintained many valued friendships from that bonding experience.
In 1960 you appear
in the original "Star Trek"
serial. How was the work on the set with the members (Shatner
etc.) of the original Enterprise crew?
"A Piece of the Action"
was run efficiently as clockwork, professional and precise. The behind the scenes crew were experienced and amazingly proficient; as I recall, not a minute was wasted. The pace was awesome. I did not meet the stars until we were on the set when Claudio Guzman
said, "action" and they entered. Leonard Nimoy
stayed in character, while William Shatner
put me at ease with charming small talk between "takes".
In 1985 you got a role in the comedy "Real Men". How was your work on the set, especially with James Belushi?
Great Fun! The writer/director Dennis Feldman inspired a positive attitude on that set and encouraged us to share ideas. Comedy is my forte, and few men are more fun, on and off camera, than Jim Belushi and John Ritter. They were both 1st class gentlemen, and easy to work with; we had no clash of egos. James Belushi is a friendly guy, level headed, and smart. All in all, that little scene in "Real Men" may have been my favorite shoot.
What is your favorite non-Dyanne Thorne movie? Do you like fantastic screenings?
The first movies I ever saw remain my favorites: Walt Disney's "Bambi" and "Dumbo"; my favorite actress is still Marlene Dietrich. Screenings are fun if they are someone elses.
Why did you leave Hollywood?
The New York City stage is where I became a professional actress; I chose to accept work that returned me there.
How was working in L.A. during the 70s and what would you say has changed urind that time till today?
The 70s were great fun, and exciting for all artists/talents whether night clubs, theatre, tv or films, there was still work to be found. It was a creative time when a dedicated beginner had safe opportunities to improve their craft. Now there are fewer places to perform, more people who compete, and a totally different value system.
What would Dyanne Thorne say about herself in two sentences?
She is a very fortunate lady. Lucky to have been a working actress/variety performer, earning her way in this world by doing what she loved to do, and contines to experience fun rewards, i.e. this article.
Is there anything left that you would say to our readers and your fans?
Thank you for your loyalty, and many kindnesses through the years. Hearing from a stranger who has any interest in my career, at first was frightening, yet is now, overwhelmingly delightful.You have one by one validated my modest life as an actress, far beyond my personal fulfillment. Dare to pursue your own positive dreams. I value each of you.