Category Archives: Hollywood

Fasten your seatbelts

A few weeks ago I was talking about the actress Elisabeth Bergner.

But I didn’t mention the curious link between her and the 1950 Academy Award winner All About Eve, starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter.

Elisabeth Bergner was born in 1897 in Drohobych, which is now in the Ukraine but was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her career began in Austria and Germany, but the Nazi takeover forced her to move to London in 1933.

Hans Rewald: Elisabeth Bergner
Hans Rewald: Portrait of Elisabeth Bergner, 1929
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A Nazi drama in seven characters: Act 3

We looked last time at one ‘character’ from Peter Handke‘s The Ride Across Lake Constance who escaped the Nazi regime and one who didn’t manage to.

To complete the seven we now look at an Austrian actor who portrayed Nazis from the safety of Hollywood, and two twins who were born in Nazi Germany.

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A Nazi drama in seven characters: Act 1

We mentioned last time that in Peter Handke‘s The Ride Across Lake Constance the actors do not play characters as such. Instead they ‘are and play themselves at one and the same time’.

To avoid calling them ‘Actor A’, ‘Actor B’ and so on in the published text Handke names the parts after well-known actors. The dramatis personae therefore reads like a who’s who (or wer ist wer?) of 20th Century Germanic cinema, with all that that entails:

Emil Jannings
Heinrich George
Elisabeth Bergner
Henny Porten
Erich von Stroheim
Alice and Ellen Kessler

More on the first two below.

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