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|Died||13 September 1948 73) (aged|
Paul Wegener (11 December 1874 – 13 September 1948) was a German actor, writer and film director known for his pioneering role in German expressionist cinema.
German Expressionism consisted of a number of related creative movements in Germany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin during the 1920s. These developments in Germany were part of a larger Expressionist movement in north and central European culture in fields such as architecture, dance, painting, sculpture, as well as cinema. This article deals primarily with developments in German Expressionist cinema before and immediately after World War I.
At the age of 20, Wegener decided to end his law studies and concentrate on acting, touring the provinces before joining Max Reinhardt's acting troupe in 1906. In 1912, he turned to the new medium of motion pictures and appeared in the 1913 version of The Student of Prague . It was while making this film that he first heard the old Jewish legend of the Golem and proceeded to adapt the story to film, co-directing and co-writing the script with Henrik Galeen. His first version of the tale The Golem (1915, now lost) was a success and firmly established Wegener's reputation. In 1917, he made a parody of the story called Der Golem und die Tänzerin, but it was his reworking of the tale, The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920) which stands as one of the classics of German cinema and helped to cement Wegener's place in cinematic history.
The Student of Prague is a 1913 German silent horror film. It is loosely based on "William Wilson", a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the poem The December Night by Alfred de Musset, and Faust. The film was remade in 1926, under the same title The Student of Prague. Other remakes were produced in 1935 and 2004. The film stars Paul Wegener in his film debut. It is generally deemed to be the first independent film in history.
In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing.
Henrik Galeen was an Austrian-born actor, screenwriter and film director considered an influential figure in the development of German Expressionist cinema during the silent era.
Another of his early films was Der Yoghi (1916), in which he played the role of a yogi and young inventor, and which provided him with the opportunity to accommodate three of his interests, trick photography (it was one of the first films to feature invisibility), the supernatural and Eastern mysticism.
A yogi is a practitioner of yoga. In Vedic Sanskrit, yoga means "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" in its most common literal sense, whereas in recent days, especially in the West, yoga often means only the physical exercises of hatha yoga, the asanas. The term yogi is used broadly to refer to sannyasi or practitioners of meditation in a number of Indian religions. The feminine form is yogini, but is not always used, especially in the West.
In 1926 he appeared in his only Hollywood film, Rex Ingram's The Magician , in which he played the Aleister Crowley-esque Oliver Haddo in an adaptation of Somerset Maugham's story, followed by The Strange Case of Captain Ramper in 1927. In 1928, he starred alongside Brigitte Helm in his old collaborator Henrik Galeen's adaptation of Hanns Heinz Ewers' Alraune , playing the Frankenstein-like Professor ten Brinken.
Rex Ingram was an Irish film director, producer, writer and actor. Director Erich von Stroheim once called him "the world's greatest director".
The Magician is a 1926 American silent horror film directed by Rex Ingram about a magician's efforts to acquire the blood of a maiden for his experiments to create life. It was adapted by Ingram from the novel The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham. It stars Alice Terry, Paul Wegener and Iván Petrovich. Critic Carlos Clarens wrote that it was "perhaps the most elusive of lost films." However, since the time Clarens wrote this, various prints of the film have surfaced. Some have screened at independent movie festivals from 1993 onwards, and the film has also been shown on Turner Classic Movies. It remained commercially unavailable until being released on DVD in the Warner Brothers Archive Collection in 2011.
Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.
In 1932 Wegener made his sound debut in Richard Oswald's black comedy/horror film Unheimliche Geschichten , in which he made fun of himself as well as the whole expressionist movie genre.[ citation needed ]
Richard Oswald was an Austrian director, producer, and screenwriter.
Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence, discrimination, disease, sexuality, religion, and barbarism.
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear for entertainment purposes. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
When in 1933 the National Socialists came to political prominence, theatre companies were disbanded and many of the actors and directors were arrested, persecuted or exiled. However Wegener became an actor of the state and appeared in Nazi propaganda films such as Mein Leben für Irland in 1941 and Kolberg , a 1944–45 propaganda film epic about the Napoleonic Wars. [ citation needed ] As the war closed Wegener was one of the first to rebuild cultural life in Berlin. He appeared in the title role in a production of Lessing's "Nathan the Wise" at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in September 1945. Despite ill-health he became president of an organisation to improve standards for its inhabitants.In reality he made an anti-Nazi stance by donating money to resistance groups, hiding vulnerable people in his apartment and writing anti-Hitler slogans on walls.
Kolberg is a 1945 German historical film directed by Veit Harlan. One of the last films of the Third Reich, it was intended as a Nazi propaganda piece to bolster the will of the German population to resist the Allies.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
He was married six times, thirdly and sixthly to the actress Lyda Salmonova (his co-star on several occasions), who became his widow. His fourth wife was Greta Schröder (previously married to the dancer Ernst Matray), who had portrayed the leading lady in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). The geographer Alfred Wegener was his cousin and the physicist Prof. Peter P. Wegener was his son.
Wegener's last film was Der Grosse Mandarin (1948). In July 1948 he reprised his old role as Nathan the Wise at the Deutschen Theatre, but in the very first scene he collapsed and the curtain was brought down. Two months later, on 13 September 1948, he died in his sleep.
Ernst Deutsch, also known as Ernest Dorian, was a Jewish Austrian actor. In 1916, his performance as the protagonist in the world première of Walter Hasenclever's Expressionist play The Son in Dresden was praised. Deutsch also played the antihero Famulus in Paul Wegener's The Golem: How He Came into the World in 1920. He is known by English-speaking audiences for his role as Baron Kurtz in Carol Reed's 1949 film noir, The Third Man.
Der Golem is a 1915 German silent horror partially lost film, written and directed by Paul Wegener and Henrik Galeen. It was inspired by an ancient Jewish legend, the most prevalent version of the myth involving 16th century Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who created the Golem to protect his people from anti-Semites. Wegener claimed the film was based on Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel The Golem, but Troy Howarth states "it is more likely that simply drew upon European folklore".
Rochus Gliese was a German actor, director, production designer, and Academy Award-nominated art director of early films from the 1910s and 1920s. He was born in Berlin, Germany.
A golem is an artificial animated being in medieval and Jewish folklore.
Guido Seeber was a German cinematographer and pioneer of early cinema.
The Golem: How He Came into the World is a 1920 silent horror film and a leading example of early German Expressionism. Paul Wegener starred as the titular creature, as well as co-directing the film with Carl Boese and co-writing the script with Henrik Galeen based on Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel. Photographer Karl Freund went on to work on the 1930s classic Universal horror films years later in Hollywood. This was the third of three films that Wegener made featuring the golem, the other two being The Golem (1915) and the short comedy The Golem and the Dancing Girl (1917), in which Wegener dons the golem make-up in order to frighten a young lady with whom he is infatuated. The Golem: How He Came into the World is a prequel to The Golem from 1915 and as the only one of the three films that has not been lost, is the best known of the series.
Unheimliche Geschichten is a 1932 German horror/comedy film directed by the prolific Austrian film director Richard Oswald, starring Paul Wegener, and produced by Gabriel Pascal.
Alraune is a 1928 German silent science fiction, horror film directed by Henrik Galeen and starring Brigitte Helm in which a prostitute is artificially inseminated with the semen of a hanged man. The story is based upon the legend of Alraune and the powers of the mandrake root to impregnate women. In this version the symbiosis caused by the sexual union between the human and the root causes the girl to kill all men who fall in love with her.
Werner Johannes Krauss was a German stage and film actor. Krauss dominated the German stage of the early 20th century. However, his participation in the antisemitic propaganda film Jud Süß and his collaboration with the Nazis made him a controversial figure.
The Student of Prague is a 1926 Expressionist silent film by actor and filmmaker Henrik Galeen.
John Gottowt was a German actor, stage director and film director for theatres and silent movies.
Nils Olaf Chrisander was a Swedish actor and film director in the early part of the twentieth century.
Paul Davidson was a German film producer.
Lyda Salmonova was a Czech stage and film actress. She was married to the actor Paul Wegener and appeared alongside him in a number of films.
The Lost Shadow is a 1921 German silent film directed by Rochus Gliese and starring Paul Wegener, Wilhelm Bendow and Adele Sandrock. The cinematographer was Karl Freund. The film's sets were designed by the art director Kurt Richter. It was shot at the Tempelhof Studios in Berlin. For some reason, the film was only released in the US in 1928. It is today considered a lost film.
Unheimliche Geschichten is a 1919 German silent anthology film directed by Richard Oswald and starring Conrad Veidt. The film is split into five stories: The Apparition, The Hand, The Black Cat, The Suicide Club and Der Spuk.
Hans Trutz in the Land of Plenty is a 1917 German silent fantasy film directed by and starring Paul Wegener and also featuring Lyda Salmonova and Ernst Lubitsch. It was one of a trilogy of fairytale-inspired films made by Wegener, along with Rübezahl's Wedding and The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Rübezahl's Wedding is a 1916 German silent fantasy drama film directed by Rochus Gliese and Paul Wegener and starring Wegener, Lyda Salmonova and Georg Jacoby. It was the first in a trilogy of fairytale films made by Wegener also including Hans Trutz in the Land of Plenty and The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
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