Reinhold Schünzel Poster

Trivia (25)

It has been alleged that he was Adolf Hitler's favorite director until Hitler discovered that Schünzel was one-quarter Jewish.

Father of actress Marianne Stewart.

He was one of Germany's best-known silent film stars after World War I, a period in which films were very influenced by the consequences of the war.

Reinhold Schünzel belongs to the too less considered film workers in the history of the German movie.

He was later neglected badly probably not at least on the basis of the fact that he received the status of an "Ehrenarier" during the Third Reich because of his popularity and capability. This gave rise to assume opportunism behind it. Finally it wasn't proper any longer to mention Schünzel's name laudable or in general at all.

Schünzel went to New York in 1945 to make a debut in Broadway, although he was familiar to New Yorker audiences after he directed and appeared with the Swiss-born German/Austrian actor Emil Jannings in a film called Fortune's Fool, which was released in New York in 1928.

Reinhold Schünzel developed into a crowd-puller and learnt very soon to write and produce his films by himself.

The suitability of Schünzel turned out to be manifold; especially in roles as villains he brought fascinating characters onto the screen. But also as a comedian he was able to convince.

In the sound film era he made a name for himself as director of comedies like "Viktor und Viktoria" (1933) and "Die englische Heirat" (1934).

An important man in Schünzel's career was Richard Oswald with whom he made several movies and from whom he also learnt the trade round the film business.

Among the prizes he received was the Federal West German Film prize for the best supporting role in the movie My Father's Horses.

Already in 1918 he was responsible for direction for the first time.

The work of Schünzel became more and more more difficult in the 30s because of the Third Reich and as a Half-Jew he was depended on a work permit for each further film.

In 1935 he shot the most successful movie of the year - "Amphytrion" - but already in 1937 there were so many interventions in his films that he left the country after finishing of "Land der Liebe" (1937) and before the movie came on market.

He emigrated to the USA where he directed four films, e.g. "Ice Follies of 1939" (1939) and "Balalaika" (1939). Afterwards he became employed as a slogan-like Nazi scoundrel in movies as "Hangmen Also Die" (1942) and "The Hitler Gang" (1944).

When he came back from the United States to Germany he acted only in four movies before he died because of a heart failure.

Well-known directors made use of his acting talent - a climax in his career was the cooperation with Ernst Lubitsch for "Madame Dubarry" (1919).

He made first experiences as a theater actor before he could play his first film part in "Werner Krafft" (1916) through his colleague Erich Kaiser-Titz.

Schuenzel described both the Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler "persons of recognized authority and the worst possible dramatic taste.".

He was equally successful active as an actor as well as a director, writer and producer and he gave valuable impulses for the German movie.

Schünzel had a daughter Marianne Stewart, who was born in Berlin, Germany and followed her father by becoming an actress. She appeared in Broadway plays and she was known for The Facts of Life (1960), Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), and Time Table (1956).

He found that the government, first under Kaiser Wilhelm II and later under Adolf Hitler, interfered with his film projects, impelling him to leave 1937.

On Broadway he acted in Temper the Wind in 1946 and Montserrat in 1949.

He became a U.S citizen in 1943 and he returned to Germany in 1949.

His most memorable performance was as Dr. Anderson, a Nazi conspirator, in the film Notorious in 1946.