German-Speaking Emigrés
in British Cinema

A Biographical Database


Part of an AHRC-funded project, this database covers extensive information on the hundred most influential émigrés in British cinema, from the 1920s through to the post-World War II period.

From the mid-1920s onwards, film personnel from Central Europe contributed immensely to the British film industry. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, their number grew steadily due to their expulsion from German studios, the great majority of them being of Jewish origin. This influx was instrumental in providing British cinema with expertise and knowledge hitherto unknown in the UK: producers such as Alexander Korda and Max Schach, directors such as Berthold Viertel, Paul Czinner and E.A. Dupont, screenwriters such as Emeric Pressburger, film architects such as Alfred Junge, Erno Metzner and Vincent Korda, cameramen such as Curt Courant, Gunther Krampf and Mutz Greenbaum, costume designers such as Joe Strassner, composers such as Hans May and Ernst H. Meyer, and actors such as Anton Walbrook, Elisabeth Bergner and Richard Tauber brought British films international acclaim.

The influence of these émigrés, especially on future British filmmakers, cannot be overestimated. In all, roughly 400 Central European film artists found refuge in the United Kingdom .

The database covers extensive information on the most significant émigrés, including valuable information for further research (bibliographies, filmographies), constituting the first and pioneering effort to chart their achievements. Its aim is to provide the first comprehensive database on the subject, piecing together scattered or incomplete information already existing on the web or in encyclopaedias and other printed materials.

The primary objective is to provide access to personal and professional information (including data on an individual’s work in other media and data on awards an individual may have received). The database also covers articles in the trade press, biographical accounts, and critical/academic assessments. Individuals can be searched by first name, surname, aliases, or profession. In addition, a separate list of film, television and stage play titles can be searched alphabetically.

Browse the database: Films...Television...Radio...Stage

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