Frederic Zelnik

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Friedrich Zelnik
Friedrich Zelnik.jpg
Zelnik prior to 1931
Born
Friedrich Zelnik

(1885-05-17)17 May 1885
Died29 November 1950(1950-11-29) (aged 65)
London, England
Occupation
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Actor
Years active19141939
Spouse(s)
(m. 1918)

Frederic Zelnik (born Friedrich Zelnik, 17 May 1885 – 29 November 1950) was a Ukrainian producer, director, and actor. He was one of the most important producers-directors of the German silent cinema. Zelnik achieved success through period operetta films in the 1920s and 1930s. [1]

Contents

Biography

Friedrich Zelnik was born into a Jewish family in Czernowitz, today in Ukraine, at the time the capital of the Duchy of Bukovina in the Austrian part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. After studying in Vienna, Friedrich Zelnik worked as an actor in theaters in Nürnberg, Aachen, Worms, Prague and finally Berlin - in the theaters Theater an der Königsgrätzer Straße, Berliner Theater, and Komödienhaus.

In 1914 Friedrich Zelnik began acting in films, and after 1915 producing and directing movies while still appearing in roles as an actor in other director'films. In 1918 he married a young Polish ballet dancer turned film actress named Lya Mara and promoted her to stardom by producing and directing movies for her. In 1920 he established a film production firm Zelnik-Mara-Film GmbH.

Popular, operetta style costume films like The Blue Danube , The Bohemian Dancer , Dancing Vienna , Mariett Dances Today brought Lya Mara and Zelnik enormous success in Germany and beyond. Several of his collaborators, such as cameraman Frederik Fuglsang and production designer André Andrejew are perceived today as important artists of the German silent cinema.

Upon the introduction of sound film, Friedrich Zelnik became the first director in Europe to postsynchronize a movie, The Crimson Circle (1929), using the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process. In 1930, Zelnik traveled to Hollywood, California and upon his return to Germany, directed his first full sound film, a new version of his silent success The Bohemian Dancer .

After Hitler took power in 1933, Zelnik and Lya Mara left Germany for London. In the following years, Zelnik continued to direct and produce movies in Great Britain and The Netherlands. He also legally changed his name to Frederic Zelnik and took British citizenship.

Zelnik died in 1950 in London.

Selected filmography

Director

Producer

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<i>The Bohemian Dancer</i> (1926 film) 1926 film

The Bohemian Dancer is a 1926 German silent drama film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Harry Liedtke, and William Dieterle. It premiered in Berlin on 5 March 1926. It is based on the operetta 1907 Die Försterchristl composed by Georg Jarno with a libretto by Bernhard Buchbinder. The film's art direction was by Gustav A. Knauer and Andrej Andrejew. The film is set in Vienna and Hungary during the 18th century.

<i>Dancing Vienna</i> 1927 film

Dancing Vienna is a 1927 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Ben Lyon and Alfred Abel. The film's art direction was by Andrej Andrejew, Ferdinand Bellan and Erich Kettelhut. It was one of several prototypes of the Heimatfilm made by Zelnik in the 1920s. The film was intended as a loose sequel to Zelnik's The Blue Danube (1926).

Frederik Fuglsang (1887–1953) was a Danish cinematographer who worked largely in the German film industry. Fuglsang was employed by Nordisk Film, who initially brought him to Germany. He worked frequently during the Weimar era on films such as Vanina (1922) and Frederic Zelnik's The Weavers (1927). He was married to the actress Käte Fuglsang.

Heinrich Peer Austrian actor

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<i>Mariett Dances Today</i> 1928 film

Mariett Dances Today is a 1928 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Fred Louis Lerch and Harry Halm.

<i>Lyda Ssanin</i> 1923 film

Lyda Ssanin is a 1923 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Hans Albers and Rudolf Forster.

<i>The Mistress of the King</i> 1922 film

The Mistress of the King is a 1922 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara and Hans Albers. It premiered at the Marmorhaus in Berlin.

<i>Miss Beryll</i> 1921 film

Miss Beryll is a 1921 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Erich Kaiser-Titz, and Fritz Schulz.

<i>Memoirs of a Film Actress</i> 1921 film

Memoirs of a Film Actress is a 1921 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Ernst Hofmann and Wilhelm Diegelmann. It premiered at the Marmorhaus in Berlin.

Resurrection is a 1923 German silent drama film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Rudolf Forster and Lydia Potechina. It premiered at the Marmorhaus in Berlin.

Nelly, the Bride Without a Husband is a 1924 German silent comedy film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Erich Kaiser-Titz and Else Berna.

<i>Kri-Kri, the Duchess of Tarabac</i> 1920 film

Kri-Kri, the Duchess of Tarabac is a 1920 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Johannes Riemann, and Gisela Werbisek. It premiered at the Marmorhaus in Berlin.

References

  1. Bock & Bergfelder 2009, pp. 548–549.