This chapter deals with events of Harlan’s childhood that may have had an influence on his later films. Because of his small size, the boy in 1899 has to perform daredevil stunts in front of his family, resulting in a head injury that causes lifelong pain. In addition, he becomes the object of a nightly rescue operation on a lake, an experience he will re-create in several of his films, including Jud Süss. He gains some stage experience at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater, participates in World War I, suffers the pains of unrequited love and a heart attack, becomes a member of Berlin’s small but well-regarded Volksbühne theater, goes on tour, and marries the Jewish actress Dora Gerson.
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