Lang, Fritz

Lang, Fritz
   director; deemed the most ingenious filmmaker of the Weimar era. Born in Vienna, he studied architecture at the city's Tech-nische Hochschule. But an interest in art led him to the Kunstakademie and then to Munich's Kunstgewerbeschule. He ended his studies in 1911 and traveled extensively before settling in Paris in 1913 and working as a painter, fashion designer, and cabaret performer.
   The war forced Lang's return to Austria.* After enlisting, he was wounded at the front and thereafter acted for the troops during his convalescence. He also began writing about motion pictures. An interest in scriptwriting and acting led him in 1918 to Berlin,* where he became an editor at Decla for Eric Pommer. He eventually took German citizenship and in 1922 married the writer Thea von Harbou, who assisted him with several films.
   Lang wrote and directed his first film,* Halbblut (Half caste) in 1919, com-pleting production in five days. About a dozen films followed before the ap-pearance in 1922 of Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, the gambler), his first hit. His two-part Nibelungen appeared in 1924, and his well-known Me-tropolis was made with a seven-million-mark budget in 1927. Fusing Expres-sionist, psychological, and realistic elements, he was among UFA's* leading directors by the mid-1920s and a member of Berlin's cultural elite. Judging film an art form and an extension of the theater,* he resented the claim that movies were simply commercial entertainment. Much of his early work was marked by shadows, moving light, and a use of imposing architecture. M, which appeared in 1931, was his first sound film and his final German triumph. Matching the success of Metropolis, M confronts the melodrama of a psychopathic murderer of little girls unable to control his actions; based on a true story, it was Lang's favorite film. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (The last will of Dr. Mabuse), filmed in 1932, is an allegory on Nazi terrorism that the NSDAP banned.
   Goebbels invited Lang to head Germany's film industry in 1933 but Lang, who had visited Hollywood in 1924, forfeited status and wealth and, after work-ing briefly in Paris and London, returned to California. He also left Thea von Harbou, a committed Nazi. The decision was difficult chiefly because he viewed America as a cultural wasteland—a country devoted to greed rather than artistic quality. Nevertheless, he was attracted by America's technical superiority. His first major American film, Fury, appeared in 1936. After signing a contract with Paramount in 1940, he created his own company, Diana Productions, in 1945. More interested in aesthetic issues than his American contemporaries, Lang was accused of unnecessary perfectionism and found himself repeatedly in con-flict with studios and producers. His last American success was Beyond a Rea-sonable Doubt, filmed in 1956. He left Hollywood the same year and spent his final years in Germany.
   REFERENCES:Bogdanovich, Fritz Lang in America; Lotte Eisner, Fritz Lang; Kreimeier, Ufa Story; Masterworks of the German Cinema; NDB, vol. 13; Ott, Films of Fritz Lang.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • LANG, FRITZ — (1890–1976), Austrian film director and screenwriter; son of a non Jewish father and a Jewish mother (Pauline Schlesinger) who converted to Catholicism when Lang was 10 years old. Born in Vienna, Lang went to Berlin in 1919 and, after writing… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lang,Fritz — Lang, Fritz. 1890 1976. Austrian born American filmmaker. He made Metropolis (1927), M (1931), and a number of other expressionist films before fleeing to Hollywood from Nazi Germany. His American films include Fury (1936) and The Ministry of… …   Universalium

  • Lang, Fritz — born Dec. 5, 1890, Vienna, Austria Hungary died Aug. 2, 1976, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S. Austrian born U.S. film director. He studied architecture in Vienna and served in the Austrian army in World War I. While recovering from war wounds, he began …   Universalium

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  • Lang, Fritz — (1890 1976)    Austrian film director. He initially was a painter in Paris, but returned to Austria at the outbreak of World War I. In 1919 he began directing and produced a number of films. He was offered the directorship of the film industry of …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Lang, Fritz — ► (1890 1976) Realizador cinematográfico alemán, de tendencia expresionista. Dirigió: Metrópolis (1926) y El testamento del doctor Mabuse (1933), entre otras. * * * (5 dic. 1890, Viena, Austria Hungría–2 ago. 1976, Los Ángeles, Cal., EE.UU.).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Fritz Lang — Nombre real Fritz Anton Christian Lang Nacimiento 5 de diciembre de 1890 Viena,  Imperio austrohúngaro …   Wikipedia Español

  • Fritz Lang (Arzt) — Fritz Lang (* 26. Februar 1902 in Zürich; † 5. Juni 1976 in Luzern, heimatberechtigt in Luzern) war ein Schweizer Unfallmediziner. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Ehrung 3 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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