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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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(p.91) 9 Prestige
Veit Harlan

Frank Noack

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter deals with Harlan’s switch from fast-paced comedies to high-minded, brooding art films. Maria, die Magd (Maria, the maid, 1936) is both a showcase for his wife Hilde Körber, who has never acted in a film before, and an exploitation of her intense humorlessness that borders on hysteria. It also features a future Harlan trademark, a rescue operation at night on a lake, something Harlan himself experienced as a child. As expected, it is more an artistic than a commercial success, but it brings Harlan to the attention of two internationally famous stars, silent-screen legends Lil Dagover and Emil Jannings. Dagover, who enjoys a measure of independence as a producer-actress, chooses Harlan to direct an adaptation a Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Die Kreutzersonate (The Kreutzer Sonata, 1937), which despite its unremitting bleakness turns out to be a popular success and is distributed by UFA, Germany’s most prestigious film company.

Keywords:   art films, artistic success, exploitation, Hilde Körber, Maria, die Magd, hysteria, literary adaptation, unremitting bleakness, Die Kreutzersonate, UFA

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