Karlsen, John

the most prolific actors and the best known ones
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Karlsen, John

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:35

John Karlsen in La bestia uccide a sangue freddo (1971)
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John Karlsen was a tall character and bit-part actor who first appeared in several Italian productions in 1958 and who then maintained an Italian film career for almost the next 50 years.

John was born on board a ship travelling from London to Singapore, which was diverted to Australia, on October 20th 1919 (most sites erroneously give his birth place as New Zealand, though one would suppose his nationality was registered as Australian - his parents nationality is unknown). He died, having presumably moved to New Zealand following his belated retirement from acting, in Auckland on July 5th 2017, at the age of 97. A number of sources report his full name as being Charles John Karlsen, a name he was credited under on one occasion.

Little is known of John's life before his arrival in Italy. He spent some time working as a stage actor in Britain, where he had his own repertory company. He first came to Italy to direct a play, where he was discovered by a casting director. He was 39 when his Italian film-career began, but looked somewhat older due to his already-white and receding hair (dyed black on occasion) and gaunt facial features. His looks barely changed for the rest of his career. His appearance tended to get him regularly cast in the roles of butlers, teachers, scientists, doctors, nazis and priests, usually of the more sinister variety. He also directed plays in Rome and worked regularly as a dubbing artist for English-language versions of Italian films.

While his is a quite well-known face, it could be quite possible that there are still a few unknown roles to be discovered.

Some of his biographical details are confirmed by this 2004 interview from the Wanted In Rome website.

Filmography
1958
  1. The Naked Maja .... Inquisitor (credited)
  2. Totò nella luna .... Dr. John Forrester (uncredited)

    1959
  3. The Four Just Men (TV series, episode 1: "The Battle of the Bridge") .... Second sentry (credited)

    1961
  4. Francis of Assisi .... Brother Morico (uncredited)
  5. Il planeta degli uomini spenti .... United Commission representative (uncredited)
  6. Lycanthropus .... Creepy-looking man at the autopsy and funeral (uncredited)
  7. Una vita difficile .... University professor (uncredited)

    1962
  8. Le sette spade del vendicatore .... Actor (uncredited)
  9. Maciste all'inferno .... Burgomeister (credited)
  10. Ponzio Pilato .... Senator (uncredited)
  11. Totò e Peppino divisi a Berlino .... Greta's companion (uncredited)

    1963
  12. 8 1/2 .... Car driver / Priest (uncredited)
  13. Cleopatra .... Egyptian high priest (uncredited)
  14. Il boom .... Doctor (credited)
  15. Le ore dell'amore .... Gay party guest (uncredited)
  16. Totò contro i quattro .... The owner of the villa (uncredited)

    1964
  17. Cleopazza (credited?) .... role?
  18. La cripta e l'incubo .... Franz Kamstein (uncredited)

    1965
  19. Crack in the World .... Dr. Reynolds (credited)
  20. Due mafiosi contro Goldginger .... Commodore Stevenson (credited)
  21. Le bambole .... Alfonso (credited)

    1966
  22. Agente 3S3, massacro al sole .... Mikhailovic's Boss (credited as John Karsten)
  23. El Greco .... Prosecutor (credited)
  24. Il gioco delle spie .... Ambassador (credited)
  25. Il Natale che quasi non fu .... Blossom (credited)
  26. Io, io, io.... e gli altri .... Producer (credited as Charles John Karlsen)
  27. Modesty Blaise .... Oleg (credited)
  28. Requiem per un agente segreto .... Franco (credited)
  29. The She Beast .... Count Von Helsing (credited)

    1967
  30. ...4 ..3 ..2 ..1 ...morte .... Crest (credited as John Karlesen)
  31. Faccia a faccia .... School director (uncredited)
  32. I barbieri di Sicilia .... Nazi chemist (uncredited)
  33. Troppo per vivere... poco per morire .... Photographer in nightclub (uncredited)

    1968
  34. Fenomenal e il tesoro di Tutankamen .... Professor Micklewitz (credited)
  35. Galileo .... Priest who understands the importance of science (credited)
  36. L'oro di Londra .... Ed (credited)
  37. Più tardi Claire, più tardi... .... Priest (uncredited)
  38. Tre passi nel delirio .... Schoolmaster (uncredited)

    1969
  39. Fellini Satyricon .... Man riding in carriage (uncredited)
  40. Femina ridens .... Manservant (uncredited)
  41. Femmine insaziabili .... Fletcher (uncredited)
  42. Vedo nudo .... Psychiatrist (uncredited)

    1970
  43. Mademoiselle De Sade e i suoi vizi .... Marquis Foro (credited)

    1971
  44. La bestia uccide a sangue freddo .... Professor Osterman (credited)
  45. Stanza 17-17 palazzo delle tasse, ufficio imposte .... Safe salesman (uncredited)
  46. Storie dell'anno mille (TV series, episode 1) .... Priest (credited)

    1972
  47. Che?.... Edward (uncredited)
  48. Fratello sole, sorella luna .... Cardinal (uncredited)

    1973
  49. Polvere di stelle .... Nazi commander (uncredited)
  50. Società a responsabilità molto limitata .... Hospital patient (uncredited)

    1974
  51. Il bacio .... Friedrich (uncredited)

    1975
  52. Conviene far bene l'amore .... British agent (uncredited)
  53. Il messia .... Calaphas (credited)
  54. Le orme .... Alfredo Laurenti (credited as John Carlsen)
  55. Prete, fai un miracolo .... Bishop Ritter (poster credit - role unconfirmed)
  56. The Count of Monte-Cristo .... Barrois (uncredited)

    1976
  57. Il Casanova di Federico Fellini .... Lord Talou (credited)
  58. San Pasquale Baylonne protettore delle donne .... Wedding guest (uncredited)

    1979
  59. I contrabbandieri di Santa Lucia .... Man at the police meeting (credited)
  60. Mani di velluto .... President of the insurance company (uncredited)
  61. The Black Stallion .... Archaeologist (credited as John Karlson)

    1980
  62. L'avvertimento .... Ferdinando Violante (credited)
  63. Sam et Sally (TV series, season 2, episode 4: "Les collectionneurs") .... Von Trapp (credited)

    1981
  64. Camera d'albergo .... Shaving priest (uncredited)
  65. The Borgias (TV mini-series, episode 7) .... Bishop Francesco Soderini (credited)

    1982
  66. Pronto... Lucia .... Doctor (credited)

    1983
  67. La chambre des dames (TV mini-series, episode 2) .... Sires Vives Yehel (credited)
  68. Marco Polo (TV mini-series, episode 8) .... Judge (credited as John Karsen)
  69. The Winds of War (TV mini-series, episode 2: "The Storm Breaks") .... Reverend Glenville (credited)

    1984
  70. Dagobert .... Doctor (credited)

    1986
  71. Asilo di polizia .... Museum guide (credited)

    1987
  72. I Love N.Y. .... Butler (credited)
  73. La monaca di Monza .... Don Carlo (credited)

    1988
  74. Il piccolo diavolo .... Priest from Anzio (credited)
  75. La partita .... Sir Candioni (credited)
  76. Stradivari .... Grand chamberlain (credited)

    1989
  77. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure .... Evil Duke (credited)
  78. La chiesa .... Heinrich (credited)
  79. Valentina (TV series, episode 11: "Caduta angeli") .... Rolandi (credited)

    1990
  80. Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound .... Parson (credited)
  81. Stasera a casa di Alice .... Saverio's father-in-law (credited as John Charles Karlsen)

    1991
  82. Il conte Max .... Butler (credited)

    1993
  83. E.T.A. Hoffmanns Der Sandmann .... Spalanzini (credited)
  84. Killer Rules (TV movie) .... Lord Elston (credited)

    1999
  85. Svitati .... Dr. Caputo (credited)

    2003
  86. The Order .... Eden's manservant (credited)

    2007
  87. Il nascondiglio .... (credit only)

English-language dubbing filmography
  • Gli invincibili tre (1964) - voice of King Igos (Carlo Tamberlani)
  • La rivincita di Ivanhoe (1965) - voice of the Prior of Essex (Nando Tamberlani)
  • Le spie uccidono in silenzio (1966) - voice of Professor Bergson (Jesús Tordesillas)
  • Fellini - Block notes di un regista (1969) - voice of The Professor (Professor Genius)
  • Concerto per pistola solista (1970) - voice of Peter the butler (Ballard Berkeley)
  • Gli occhi freddi della paura (1971) - voice of Hawkins (Leon Lenoir)
  • 7 scialli di seta gialla (1972) - voice of Burton (Umberto Raho)
  • Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (1972) - voice of Mr. Erickson (Giancarlo Badessi)
  • L'età di Cosimo de Medici (1972) (TV mini-series) - voice of Pope Nicholas V (John Bartha)
  • Zambo, il dominatore della foresta (1972) - voice of Professor Woodward (Attilio Dottesio)
  • Amarcord (1973) - voice of The lawyer (Luigi Rossi)
  • La morte negli occhi del gatto (1973) - voice of Priest (Franco Ressel)
  • Roma drogata: la polizia non può intervenire (1975) - voice of Giovanni (Umberto Raho)
  • California (1977) - voice of Full (Franco Ressel)
  • Il cinico, l'infame, il violento (1977) - voice of Di Maggio's accountant (Dante Cleri)
  • Il mondo porno di due sorelle (1979) - voice of Andy (Daniele Dublino)
  • John Travolto... da un insolito destino (1979) - voice of Hotel manager (Giulio Farnese)
  • L'infermiera nella corsia dei militari (1979) - voice of Ottavio (Gino Pagnani)
  • Un'ombra nell'ombra (1979) - voice of Paul (Frank Finlay)
  • Bakterion (1982) - voice of Vince (Miguel Herrera)
  • Tempi di guerra (1987) - voice of Nazi officer (Demeter Bitenc)

More John!
There are still a few movies where John is credited by various online sources that I have been unable to find, so if anybody has images of him in the films below you know what to do.
  • Un affare tranquillo (a.k.a. Un commerce tranquille) (1964) as Priest [IMDb]
  • Cool Million (TV series, 1972) - episode "Mask of Marcella" as Werner [IMDb]
  • Francesco di Assisi (1972) [ANICA]
  • Waterfront (TV series, 1984) - episodes 1, 2 & 3 as Professor Chieri [IMDb]
  • Blaues Blut (TV series, 1989) - episode "Dunkle Pfade" as Sir Thomas Milton [IMDb]
  • Caro dolce amore (a.k.a. Honey Sweet love) (1994) as Sir John Atherton [ANICA]

Kein Karlsen!
Movies where John is credited as appearing somewhere online, but does not appear. There always has to be one!.
  • Io piaccio (1955) ANICA as Doctor. It is similar-looking Renato Navarrini in the role
  • La ciociara (1960) Mentioned in the interview. Johan says he has searched for Karlsen without success
  • It Happened in Athens (1962) IMDb as King of Greece. It is not John in the role.
  • Amarcord (1973) IMDb, mentioned in the trivia section on IMDb (but not the filmography). John does not appear, though he did do some dubbing for the English version
Last edited by Johan Melle on 10/05/2021, 21:31, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:39

Le bellissime gambe di Sabrina (1958) as Security guard at Jewellery store.

This vehicle for American star Mamie Van Doren was reportedly John's Italian film debut.
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:42

The Naked Maja (La maja desnuda) (1958) credited, as Inquisitor
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Last edited by PeplumParadise on 12/06/2021, 22:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:46

Totò nella luna (1958) as Dr. John Forrester
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:48

Francis of Assisi (1961) as Brother Morico
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:51

Il planeta degli uomini spenti (1961) as United Commission representative
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 21:59

Lycanthropus (1961) The best role description I can come up with is Creepy-looking man at the autopsy and funeral, since he is only seen hovering in the background in both scenes without seeming to be there for any particular purpose, though he's probably actually meant to be part of the investigative team!
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 22:05

Una vita difficile (1961) as University professor
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 22:07

Le sette spade del vendicatore (1962) as Actor
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Re: John Karlsen

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/03/2021, 22:10

Maciste all'inferno (1962) credited, as Burgomeister
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