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Veit HarlanThe Life and Work of a Nazi Filmmaker$
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Frank Noack

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167008

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167008.001.0001

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Telling Others How to Act

Telling Others How to Act

(p.75) 7 Telling Others How to Act
Veit Harlan

Frank Noack

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter deals with Harlan’s sudden and successful switch from acting to directing, despite no experience in the latter field. Fortunately for him, the void left by emigrated directors is not as easy to fill as the void left by emigrated actors, with the result that both theater and film producers are looking for and giving more opportunities to newcomers. Harlan finds such opportunities at Berlin’s Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, a legendary place since the premiere of Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera and after the Nazi takeover still a theater with a distinctly proletarian touch. Within one year, by 1935, Harlan directs three contemporary comedies about working-class people and one classic by the Spanish poet Pedro Calderón. Reviewers take note of the filmic effects he uses onstage and his habit of giving his actors too little freedom. In films, he switches from supporting actor to coscenarist and dialogue director.

Keywords:   Brecht/Weill legacy, dialogue director, opportunities for newcomers, switch to directing, Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, void left by emigrants, working-class comedies

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