E. A. Dupont and His Contribution to British Film: Varieté, Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly, Atlantic, Two Worlds, Cape Forlorn

E. A. Dupont and His Contribution to British Film: Varieté, Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly, Atlantic, Two Worlds, Cape Forlorn

E. A. Dupont and His Contribution to British Film: Varieté, Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly, Atlantic, Two Worlds, Cape Forlorn

E. A. Dupont and His Contribution to British Film: Varieté, Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly, Atlantic, Two Worlds, Cape Forlorn

Synopsis

This book discusses the life and career of German Jewish filmmaker Ewald Andre Dupont (1861-1956), as a journalist, screen writer, and director in Berlin, 1913-25, 1931-33, a director at British International Pictures, 1926-31, and a B-movie director in Hollywood, 1925-26, 1933-56. Having apprenticed with Alfred Hitchcock, F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, and Fritz Lang in Berlin, where he distinguished himself with Das alte Gesetz (1923) and Variete (1925), Dupont launched his career at 'the British Hollywood' of British International Pictures, where he contributed to the studio's international style, experimented with emergent sound technologies, made the world's first multilingual sound pictures, and, in the most creative phase of his career, directed the feature films Moulin Rouge (1928), Piccadilly (1929), Atlantic (1930), Two Worlds (1931), and Cape Forlorn (1931), which along with Variete, provide the focus of this academic study.

Excerpt

When the German film director Ewald André Dupont arrived at British National Studios in December 1926, he was thirty-five years old and at a crossroads in his career. He had a prolific and substantial body of work in Germany. He had seen thirty-two of his screenplays produced 1916–25, and had directed twenty-five films during 1918–25, culminating in Variété (1925), his most ambitious film to date and historically regarded as a masterwork. Yet his most recent professional affiliation had been with Universal Pictures in Hollywood, where he directed his first film outside of Germany, the silent feature Love Me and the World is Mine (November 1927), starring the American actress Mary Philbin (1902–93), who had costarred with Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and who would go on to costar with Conrad Veidt in German director Paul Leni’s The Man Who Laughs (1928), the latter also at Universal Pictures. But whereas The Man Who Laughs did respectable business at the box office and went on to be regarded as a classic in the horror film genre, Love Me and the World is Mine flopped at the box office and led the studio in July 1926 to terminate the three-year contract Dupont had signed in 1925 with Carl Laemmle (1867–1939), the German-born founder and president of Universal Pictures, and to pull out of his next contracted film, Romeo and Juliet, to have starred Philbin.

Dupont and Leni (Paul Josef Levi [1885–1929]) were part of a nouvelle vague of German and Austro-Hungarian filmmakers, which included Fred Zinnemann, F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Lothar Mendes, Edgar Ulmer, Joe May, and Ludwig Berger, who in the 1920s and ‘30s were invited to Hollywood with promises of artistic freedom, economic opportunities, and emergent film, sound, and production technologies to lend their European expertise in the formation of an international style in American cinema.

These film makers, then, were neither poor immigrants fleeing their
country of origin to escape hunger in search of the American dream,
nor were they political exiles and refugees. They were film artists
and cinema professionals who were attracted because of the technol
ogy, resources and rewards that Hollywood could offer. This migra
tion and “talent transfer” is therefore first and foremost an expression
of the extraordinary economic dynamism of the film industry generally

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