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Friedrich II in Film and TV Productions


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The most famous actor to ever portray Friedrich II in film and television was probably Otto Gebühr. Between 1920 and 1942 over 12 films were made by the UFA company in Potsdam-Babelsberg, which in later years stood under direct control of Goebels' Reichspropagandaministerium.

Goebels was so impressed by Otto Gebühr, that he posted him as "als ein von Gott begnadeter Schauspieler" and "unabkömmlich" - no conscription for military service. The first of the films were all silent films with no tone. The first sound film under these productions was "Das Flötenkonzert von Sans Souci", in 1930. One film after another followed. The Goebels' Propagandaministerium found it important, especially in the war years to produce patriotic historical films to boost morale, and these films were produced under difficult conditions to the very end, the last two great films being "Colberg 1807" in 1944/45 and "Waterloo" in the same year.

 

Other well known films about Friedrich played by Otto Gebühr were:

Der Große König 1942

Der Alte Fritz 1927/8

Fridericus 1936

Der Choral von Leuthen 1933

 

After the war, Otto Gebühr carried on as an actor, mostly with, as before, Veit Harlan as the Regisseur or film director.

 

Photos, extracts from films:

Friedrich in conference with his generals

A battle scene from one of the films

Friedrich amidst his famous generals

Feldwebel Tresckow is accused of desertion

 

Some of these films are available present day as DVD. However, in Germany we still have even more censorship than in the postwar years and many films of the period are still banned, cannot be seen, nor imported. Penalties can be imposed.

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2012 was the 300th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich (1712-1786). A tv-documentary "Friedrich" was launched, and the role of Fritz was this time played by a woman. Katharine Thalbach (57) took on this role, and astonishingly well. Thalbach has taken part in many historical roles, mostly about DDR history. Photo of Katharine maskerading as "Fritz".

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is a good film - Fridericus, Der Alte Fritz - UFA Production, 1936 I believe.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Horst Casper played the rôle of Gneisenau in the film "Colberg". Gneisnau took over the position of Stadtkommandant of Colberg from the incapable Generalmajor de Lucadou, and was able to reorganise the defence of the city against Napoleons troops, holding out till the armistice of 1807. Géneralmajeur de Lucadou had been hitherto a capable general, but due to age and a stroke, and the fact that he spoke with a French accent, and did not understand "Platt", the dialect that was spoken in the region, Bürgermeister Joachim Nettelbeck, and the citizens of Colberg distrusted him and refused to cooperate with his measures. Paul Wegener (photo below) played the part of Lucadou in the film

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  • 6 months later...

Cinema Trailer, late 1930s - early 1940s

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hohenfriedberger

 

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