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Lang, Fritz

LANG, Fritz



Nationality: German/American. Born: Vienna, 5 December 1890, became U.S. citizen, 1935. Education: Studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule, Vienna. Family: Married (second time) writer Thea von Harbou, 1924 (separated 1933). Career: Cartoonist, fashion designer, and painter in Paris, 1913; returned to Vienna, served in army, 1914–16; after discharge, worked as scriptwriter and actor, then moved to Berlin, 1918; reader and story editor for Decla, then wrote and directed first film, Halbblut, 1919; worked with von Harbou, from 1920; visited Hollywood, 1924; Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse banned by Nazis, 1933; offered post as supervisor of Nazi film productions by Goebbels, but fled Germany; after working in Paris and London, went to Hollywood, 1934; signed with Paramount, 1940; co-founder, then president, Diana Productions, 1945; quit Hollywood, citing continuing disputes with producers, 1956; directed two films in India, 1958–59, before last film, directed in Germany, 1960. Awards: Officier d'Art et des Lettres, France. Died: In Beverly Hills, 2 August 1976.

Films as Director:

1919

Halbblut (Half Caste) (+ sc); Der Herr der Liebe (The Masterof Love) (+ role); Hara-Kiri; Die Spinnen (The Spiders) Part I: Der Goldene See (The Golden Lake) (+ sc)

1920

Die Spinnen (The Spiders) Part II: Das Brillantenschiff (TheDiamond Ship) (+ sc); Das Wandernde Bild (The Wandering Image) (+ co-sc); Kämpfende Herzen (Die Vier um dieFrau; Four around a Woman) (+ co-sc)

1921

Der müde Tod: Ein Deutsches Volkslied in Sechs Versen (TheWeary Death; Between Two Worlds; Beyond the Wall; Destiny) (+ co-sc)

1921/22

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler; TheFatal Passions) in two parts: Ein Bild der Zeit (Spieler ausLeidenschaft; A Picture of the Time) and Inferno— Menschen der Zeit (Inferno des Verbrechens; Inferno—Men of the Time) (+ co-sc)

1924

Die Nibelungen in two parts: Siegfrieds Tod (Death ofSiegfried) and Kriemhilds Rache (Kriemhild's Revenge) (+ co-sc, uncredited)

1927

Metropolis (+ co-sc, uncredited)

1928

Spione (Spies) (+ pr, co-sc, uncredited)

1929

Die Frau im Mond (By Rocket to the Moon; The Girl in theMoon) (+ pr, co-sc, uncredited)

1931

M, Mörder unter Uns (M) (+ co-sc, uncredited)

1933

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (The Testament of Dr.Mabuse; The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse) (+ co-sc, uncredited) (German and French versions)

1934

Liliom (+ co-sc, uncredited)

1936

Fury (+ co-sc)

1937

You Only Live Once

1938

You and Me (+ pr)

1940

The Return of Frank James

1941

Western Union; Man Hunt; Confirm or Deny (co-d, uncredited)

1942

Moontide (co-d, uncredited)

1943

Hangmen Also Die! (+ pr, co-sc)

1944

Ministry of Fear; The Woman in the Window

1945

Scarlet Street (+ pr)

1946

Cloak and Dagger

1948

Secret beyond the Door (+ co-pr)

1950

House by the River; An American Guerrilla in the Philippines

1952

Rancho Notorious; Clash by Night

1953

The Blue Gardenia; The Big Heat

1954

Human Desire

1955

Moonfleet

1956

While the City Sleeps; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

1959

Der Tiger von Eschnapur (The Tiger of Bengal) and Das Indische Grabmal (The Hindu Tomb) (+ co-sc) (released in cut version as Journey to the Lost City)

1960

Die Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse (The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse) (+ pr, co-sc)



Other Films:

1917

Die Hochzeit im Ekzentrik Klub (The Wedding in the Eccentric Club) (May) (sc); Hilde Warren und der Tod (HildeWarren and Death) (May) (sc, four roles); Joe Debbs (series) (sc)

1918

Die Rache ist mein (Revenge Is Mine) (Neub) (sc); Herrin derWelt (Men of the World) (May) (asst d); Bettler GmbH (sc)

1919

Wolkenbau und Flimmerstern (Castles in the Sky and Rhinestones) (d unknown, co-sc); Totentanz (Dance of Death) (Rippert) (sc); Die Pest in Florenz (Plague in Florence) (Rippert) (sc); Die Frau mit den Orchiden (The Womanwith the Orchid) (Rippert) (sc); Lilith und Ly (sc)

1921

Das Indische Grabmal (in 2 parts: Die Sendung des Yoghi and Der Tiger von Eschnapur) (co-sc)

1963

Le Mépris (Contempt) (Godard) (role as himself)



Publications


By LANG: articles—

"The Freedom of the Screen," 1947 (reprinted in Hollywood Directors 1941–1976, by Richard Koszarski, New York, 1977).

"Happily Ever After," 1948 (collected in Film Makers on FilmMaking, edited by Harry Geduld, Bloomington, Indiana, 1969).

"Fritz Lang Today," interview with H. Hart, in Films in Review (New York), June/July 1956.

"The Impact of Television on Motion Pictures," interview with G. Bachmann, in Film Culture (New York), December 1957.

Interview with Jean Domarchi and Jacques Rivette, in Cahiers duCinéma (Paris), September 1959.

"On the Problems of Today," in Films and Filming (London), June 1962.

"Fritz Lang Talks about Dr. Mabuse," interview with Mark Shivas, in Movie (London), November 1962.

"Was bin ich, was sind wir?," in Filmkritik (Munich), no.7, 1963.

"La Nuit viennoise: Une Confession de Fritz Lang," edited by Gretchen Berg, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), August 1965 and June 1966.

Interview with Axel Madsen, in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1967.

"Autobiography," in The Celluloid Muse: Hollywood DirectorsSpeak, by Charles Higham and Joel Greenberg, London, 1969.

"Interviews," in Dialogue on Film (Beverly Hills), April 1974.

Interview with Gene Phillips, in Focus on Film (London), Spring 1975.

"Fritz Lang Gives His Last Interview," with Gene Phillips, in VillageVoice (New York), 16 August 1976.


On LANG: books—

Kracauer, Siegfried, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film, Princeton, New Jersey, 1947.

Courtade, Francis, Fritz Lang, Paris, 1963.

Moullet, Luc, Fritz Lang, Paris, 1963.

Eibel, Alfred, editor, Fritz Lang, Paris, 1964.

Bogdanovich, Peter, Fritz Lang in America, New York, 1969.

Eisner, Lotte, The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the GermanCinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt, Berkeley, 1969.

Jensen, Paul, The Cinema of Fritz Lang, New York, 1969.

Johnston, Claire, Fritz Lang, London, 1969.

Grafe, Frieda, Enno Patalas, and Hans Prinzler, Fritz Lang, Munich 1976.

Eisner, Lotte, Fritz Lang, edited by David Robinson, New York, 1977.

Armour, Robert, Fritz Lang, Boston, 1978.

Ott, Frederick, The Films of Fritz Lang, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1979.

Jenkins, Stephen, editor, Fritz Lang: The Image and the Look, London, 1981.

Kaplan, E. Ann, Fritz Lang: A Guide to References and Resources, Boston, 1981.

Maibohm, Ludwig, Fritz Lang: Seine Filme—Sein Leben, Munich, 1981.

Dürrenmatt, Dieter, Fritz Lang: Leben und Werk, Basle, 1982.

Humphries, Reynold, Fritz Lang: Cinéaste Américain, Paris, 1982.

Humphries, Reynold, Fritz Lang: Genre and Representation in HisAmerican Films, Baltimore, 1988.

McGilligan, Patrick, Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast, New York, 1997.

Levin, David J., Richard Wagner, Fritz Lang, and the Nibelungen:The Dramaturgy of Disavowal, Princeton, New Jersey, 1998.

Minden, Michael, and Holger Bachmann, editors, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis": Cinematic Views of Technology and Fear, Rochester, New York, 2000.


On LANG: articles—

Wilson, Harry, "The Genius of Fritz Lang," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Summer 1947.

Truffaut, François, "Aimer Fritz Lang," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), January 1954.

Lambert, Gavin, "Fritz Lang's America," in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1955.

Demonsablon, Phillipe, "La Hautaine Dialectique de Fritz Lang," and Michel Mourlet, "Trajectoire de Fritz Lang," in Cahiers duCinéma (Paris), September 1959.

Franju, Georges, "Le Style de Fritz Lang," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), November 1959.

Taylor, John, "The Nine Lives of Dr. Mabuse," in Sight and Sound (London), Winter 1961.

Sarris, Andrew, "Fritz Lang," in Film Culture (New York), Spring 1963.

Rhode, Eric, "Fritz Lang (The German Period, 1919–1933)," in Tower of Babel (London), 1966.

"Lang Issue" of Image et Son (Paris), April 1968.

Joannides, Paul, "Aspects of Fritz Lang," in Cinema (London), August 1970.

Burch, Noel, "De Mabuse à M: Le Travail de Fritz Lang," in special issue of Revue d'esthétique (Paris), 1973.

Appel, Alfred Jr., "Film Noir: The Director Fritz Lang's American Nightmare," in Film Comment (New York), November/December 1974.

Gersch, Wolfgang, and others, "Hangmen Also Die!: Fritz Lang und Bertolt Brecht," in Filmkritik (Munich), July 1975.

Sarris, Andrew, "Fritz Lang (1890–1976) Was the Prophet of Our Paranoia," in Village Voice (New York), 16 August 1976.

Overby, David, "Fritz Lang, 1890–1976," in Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1976.

Kuntzel, Thierry, "The Film-Work," in Enclitic (Minneapolis), Spring 1978.

Willis, Don, "Fritz Lang: Only Melodrama," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Winter 1979/80.

Magny, Joel, and others, "Actualité de Fritz Lang," in Cinéma (Paris), June 1982.

Neale, Steve, "Authors and Genres," in Screen (London), July/August 1982.

Duval, B., "Le crime de M. Lang. Portrait d'un Fritz en artisan de Hollywood," in Image et Son (Paris), November 1982.

McGivern, William P., "Roman Holiday," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), October 1983.

Rotondi, C.J., and E. Gerstein, "The 1984 Review. The 1927 review. Fritz Lang: The Maker of Metropolis," in Films in Review (New York), October 1984.

"Lang section" of Positif (Paris), November 1984.

"Der Tiger von Eschnapur Issue" of Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), April 1985.

"Das indische Grabmal Issue" of Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), May 1985.

"Fritz Lang," in Film Dope (London), November 1985.

Giesen, R., "Der Trickfilm," in Cinefex (Riverside, California), February 1986.

Bernstein, M., "Fritz Lang, Incorporated," in Velvet Light Trap (Madison, Wisconsin), no. 22, 1986.

Pelinq, M., in Jeune Cinéma (Paris), April/May and June/July 1989.

Smedley, N., "Fritz Lang Outfoxed: The German Genius as Contract Employee," in Film History (London), vol. 4, no. 4, 1990.

Werner, G., "Fritz Lang and Goebbels: Myth and Facts," in FilmQuarterly (Berkeley), vol. 43, no. 3, Spring 1990.


Saada, N., J. Douchet, and M. Piccoli, "Lang, le cinéma absolument," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), no. 437, November 1990.

Smedley, N., "Fritz Lang's Trilogy: The Rise and Fall of a European Social Commentator," in Film History (London), vol. 5, no. 1, March 1993.

Sturm, G., "Fritz Lang, une ascendance viennoise," in Cinémathèque (Paris), no. 6, Autumn 1994.

"Special Section," in Positif (Paris), no. 405, November 1994.

Dolgenos, Peter, "The Star on C. A. Rotwang's Door: Turning Kracauer on Its Head," in Journal of Popular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.), vol. 25, no. 2, Summer 1997.


On LANG: films—

Luft, Friedrich, and Guido Schütte, Künstlerporträt: Fritz Lang, for TV, Germany, 1959.

Fleischmann, Peter, Begegnung mit Fritz Lang, Germany, 1963.

Leiser, Erwin, Das war die Ufa, Germany, 1964.

Leiser, Erwin, Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang, for TV, Germany, 1968.

Dütsch, Werner, Die Schweren Träume des Fritz Lang, for TV, Germany, 1974.


* * *

Fritz Lang's career can be divided conveniently into three parts: the first German period, 1919–1933, from Halbblut to the second Mabuse film, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse; the American period, 1936–1956, from Fury to Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; and the second German period, 1959–60, which includes the two films made in India and his last film, Die tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse. Lang's apprentice years as a scriptwriter and director were spent in the studios in Berlin where he adopted certain elements of expressionism and was imbued with the artistic seriousness with which the Germans went about making their films. In Hollywood this seriousness would earn Lang a reputation for unnecessary perfectionism, a criticism also thrown at fellow émigrés von Stroheim and von Sternberg. Except for several films for Twentieth Century-Fox, Lang never worked long for a single studio in the United States, and he often preferred to work on underbudgeted projects which he could produce, and therefore control, himself. The rather radical dissimilarities between the two studio worlds within which Lang spent most of his creative years not surprisingly resulted in products which look quite different from one another, and it is the difference in look or image which has produced the critical confusion most often associated with an assessment of Lang's films.

One critical approach to Lang's work, most recently articulated by Gavin Lambert, argues that Lang produced very little of artistic interest after he left Germany; the Cahiers du Cinéma auteurists argue the opposite, namely that Lang's films made in America are superior to his European films because the former were clogged with self-conscious artistry and romantic didacticism which the leanness of his American studio work eliminated. A third approach, suggested by Robin Wood and others, examines Lang's films as a whole, avoiding the German-American division by looking at characteristic thematic and visual motifs. Lang's films can be discussed as exhibiting certain distinguishing features—economy, functional precision, detachment—and as containing basic motifs such as the trap, a suppressed underworld, the revenge motive, and the abuse of power. Investigating the films from this perspective reveals a more consistent development of Lang as a creative artist and helps to minimize the superficial anomalies shaped by his career.

In spite of the narrowness of examining only half of a filmmaker's creative output, the sheer number of Lang's German movies which have received substantial critical attention as "classic" films has tended to submerge the critical attempt at breadth and comprehensiveness. Not only did these earlier films form an important intellectual center for the German film industry during the years between the wars, as Siegfried Kracauer later pointed out, but they had a wide international impact as well and were extensively reviewed in the Anglo-American press. Lang's reputation preceded him to America, and although it had little effect ultimately on his working relationship, such as it was, with the Hollywood moguls, it has affected Lang's subsequent treatment by film critics.

If Lang is a "flawed genius," as one critic has described him, it is less a wonder that he is "flawed" than that his genius had a chance to develop at all. The working conditions Lang survived after his defection would have daunted a less dedicated director. Lang, however, not only survived but flourished, producing films of undisputed quality: the four war movies, Man Hunt, Hangmen Also Die!, Ministry of Fear, and Cloak and Dagger, and the urban crime films of the 1950s, Clash by Night, The Blue Gardenia, The Big Heat, Human Desire, and While the City Sleeps. These American films reflect a more mature director, tighter mise-en-scène, and more control as a result of Lang's American experience. The films also reveal continuity. As Robin Wood has written, the formal symmetry of his individual films is mirrored in the symmetry of his career, beginning and ending in Germany. All through his life, Lang adjusted his talent to meet the changes in his environment, and in so doing produced a body of creative work of unquestionable importance in the development of the history of cinema.

—Charles L.P. Silet

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Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang

Austrian-born Fritz Lang (1890-1976) was one of the world's great film directors. He played a major role in shaping two national cinemas: the German during the 1920s and early 1930s (with films such as Metropolis and M), and the American during the 1940s and 1950s (with films such as You Only Live Once.

Born in Vienna, Austria, on December 5, 1890, to Anton and Paula (née Schlesinger) Lang, Fritz grew up in middle-class comfort. Always a visual person, his most important early impressions were of the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Fair) in his native city. He also loved the theater and read a great deal, both popular and more demanding literature and philosophy. Expected to take up his father's profession—he was a municipal architect—Lang enrolled at the Technische Hochschule of Vienna, but did not stay long. He soon left home altogether to study his real interest, painting, and to wander around the world (Russia, Asia Minor, Africa). By 1913 he was in Paris, supporting himself through fashion design, painting postcards, and drawing cartoons. At the outbreak of World War I he returned to Vienna where he was soon called up to join the Austrian army. While recuperating from wounds which would cost him the sight of one eye, he began to write film scripts and to act in the theater. In 1918 an invitation from Decla, the leading German film studio, brought him to Berlin.

German Films: 1919-1933

Little evidence remains of Lang's earliest work in Berlin. He scripted films for Joe May and Otto Rippert, acted in minor roles, and soon began directing as well. Halbblut (Half Caste), his debut, was quickly followed by Der Herr der Liebe (The Master of Love); Die Spinnen (The Spiders), Part One: Der goldene See (The Golden Lake); and Harakiri, all released in 1919. Lang was also being considered for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but had to give up participation in this eventually famous film for a sequel to his popular Spiders, Part Two: Das Brillanten Schiff (The Diamond Ship) (1920). His next films from the same year, Das wandernde Bild (The Wandering Image) and Vier um die Frau (Four around a Woman), were already written in collaboration with Thea von Harbou, who in 1921 became Lang's second wife and continued to coauthor all screenplays for his subsequent films until he left Germany in 1933. (She joined the Nazi party, stayed, and continued to write scripts for the cinema of the Third Reich.)

Lang's first major film was Der müde Tod (Destiny) (1921). Its theme, man's fight against fate, was to become central to all of his work. Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler) (1922), one of three pictures Lang was to make about this master criminal, followed. Then came two very ambitious and very different projects, Die Nibelungen (Part One: Siegfried, Part Two: Kriemhilds Rache [Kriemhild's Revenge], 1924), a powerful rendition of the old Germanic myth, and Metropolis (1926), a striking vision of the city of the future and its social relations. These films showed Lang in full command of his theme and technique and established his reputation as a major director in Germany and abroad. In their tendency to abstraction, stylization of form, anonymity of character, and "architectural" use of human figures, they adopted elements of German Expressionism, but as a whole Lang had developed his own unmistakably individual style. He put his early training as an architect and painter to superb use and showed an attention to detail and a perfectionism which would remain characteristic of all his work, as would his ability to create a mood on screen. The French directors of the Nouvelle Vague would later admire him as the great master of "mise en scène."

Another story about a criminal, Die Spione (Spies) (1928), and another futuristic tale, Die Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon) (1929), were Lang's last silent films. His first sound picture, M (1931), immediately made excellent use of the new medium to heighten atmosphere and tension and became a classic, the prototype of murder-mystery which, in addition to providing the suspense of a chase, also explores the mind of the killer and the problems of guilt and punishment.

Lang's second Mabuse film, Das Testament von Dr. Mabuse (The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse) (1933) could not be shown in Germany. It suggested parallels between the criminal, who dominated others even from inside an insane asylum, and Adolf Hitler, the new ruler of Germany, which were not missed by the Nazis. Still, because of his earlier films which Hitler admired, Lang was offered an important position in the Nazi film industry. His response was to leave the country immediately for Paris. There he received an offer to do a film version of Ferenc Molnar's play Liliom (1934) and successfully transposed the setting from the original Vienna to Paris.

American Films: 1936-1956

In 1934 Lang left Europe for Hollywood with a contract from Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) already in his pocket. Yet the new start—and indeed Lang's whole career in the United States under the unaccustomed pressures of the American studio system and eventual blacklisting during the McCarthy era—were rocky. He had trouble getting to make his first film for MGM (Fury, 1936) and then moved from studio to studio, quickly gaining the reputation of being a difficult director—too demanding, too perfectionist. To avoid unemployment he was often forced to take whatever work he could get. Still, judged by the impulses it gave him and by the films it produced, Lang's American period was highly successful.

Fury was followed by You Only Live Once (1937), considered a model for Bonnie and Clyde, and You and Me (1938), both also illustrating the solid grasp of vital aspects of American life which the newcomer had taken pains to acquire. The next assignments were Westerns, The Return of Frank James (1940) and Western Union (1941), to which Lang gave his own stamp. At the outbreak of World War II he turned to anti-Nazi films expressing his own hatred and disdain: Man Hunt (1941), Hangmen Also Die (1943), Ministry of Fear (1944), and Cloak and Dagger (1946). In 1950 Lang came out with one more war film, An American Guerilla in the Philippines, with the Japanese as the enemy, and in 1952 with one more Western, probably his best, Rancho Notorious.

With the exception of Moonfleet (1955, in its historical setting an unusual film for the American period), Lang concentrated all his energies during the last war years and the rest of the 1940s and most of the 1950s on his old interest in mysteries and the workings of the human psyche: The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), Secret Beyond the Door (1948), House by the River (1950), Clash by Night (1952), The Blue Gardenia (1953), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), While the City Sleeps (1956), and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956). These films reflect Lang's social awareness and include some of his best American work.

German Films Again: 1959-1960

By 1956 Lang had become increasingly frustrated with Hollywood and decided to quit its studios. Thus the offer from a German producer to film Der Tiger von Eschnapur (The Tiger of Bengal) and its sequel Das indische Grabmal (The Hindu Tomb) (1959), based on a scenario he and The a von Harbou had written in the early 1920s, was most welcome. Their fairy tale splendor made these movies a popular success in post-war Germany, while French critics and directors (for example, Godard and Chabrol) admired their lucidity and formal perfection. Lang's last film as a director was Die tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse (The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse) (1960), a new variation on his old master criminal. His last film altogether was Jean-Luc Godard's Le Mépris (Contempt) (1960) in which he played the role of a film director by the name of Fritz Lang.

On August 2, 1976, Lang died in Beverly Hills where he had spent his final years.

Assessment

Critical approaches to Lang's work have often tried to distinguish between his German and American periods, not only in terms of the obvious differences in look, image, and rhythm, but also in terms of artistic quality. Some maintain that only the German films up to 1933 deserve acclaim, others argue that these much discussed classics are too self-consciously artistic and therefore not as good as the leaner American films. Such discussions tend to overlook the basic continuity of Lang's work and his ability to adjust his talent to meet the changes in his environment. All his films became, in his own words, "somehow a picture of their time," and they are distinctly "Langian" in their formal symmetry, functional precision, and humane detachment. Although often called an "austere pessimist" Lang ultimately believed what he said in Le Mépris: "Death is no solution."

Further Reading

Lang thought that a director should express himself through his films and not through writing or speaking. Yet he wrote a number of interesting and revealing articles about himself and gave quite a few interviews, particularly later in his life. The most important articles are "Happily Ever After" (from 1948, reprinted in Film Makers on Film Making, edited by Harry Geduld, 1969) and "The Freedom of the Screen" (from 1947, reprinted in Hollywood Directors 1941-1976 by Richard Koszarski, 1977). There are also a few pages of "Autobiography," most accessible in Lotte Eisner's Fritz Lang (1977). In addition, this book, translated from the French, contains a detailed study of all of Lang's films by Eisner, a perceptive film critic and close friend of Lang's.

Other books on Lang and his work are Peter Bogdanovich, Fritz Lang in America (1967); Paul Jensen, The Cinema of Fritz Lang (1969); Robert Armour, Fritz Lang (1977); Frederick Ott, The Films of Fritz Lang (1979); Stephen Jenkins, editor, Fritz Lang: The Image and the Look (London, 1981), and E. Ann Kaplan, Fritz Lang: A Guide to References and Resources (1981), with thorough bibliographies and filmography and a synopsis of each of Lang's films.

Additional Sources

Armour, Robert A., Fritz Lang, Boston: Twayne, 1978.

Schnauber, Cornelius, Fritz Lang in Hollywood, Vienna: Europaverlag, 1986. □

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Lang, Fritz

Fritz Lang (läng), 1890–1976, German-American film director, b. Vienna. His silent and early sound films, notably the iconic masterpiece Metropolis (1926) with its dystopian vision of the future, are marked by brilliant expressionist technique. The film premiered (1927) in Berlin and shortly thereafter was abridged by about 25 minutes; the missing footage was found in the early 21st cent. and restored in 2010. Lang gained worldwide acclaim with M (1933), a study of a child molester and murderer. After directing 15 films, Lang fled Nazi Germany (1933) to avoid collaborating with the government and settled in the United States. His 20 Hollywood films continued his exploration of criminality and the cruel fate that can overtake the unwary. His notable American works include Fury (1936), You Only Live Once (1937), Hangmen Also Die (1943), The Big Heat (1953), and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956).

See studies by P. Bogdanovich (1967), L. Eisner (1972), R. A. Armour (1978), F. W. Ott (1979), S. Jenkins (1981), C. Schnauber (1986), P. McGilligan (1997), and T. Gunning (2000).

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Lang, Fritz

Lang, Fritz (1890–1976) Austrian director of silent and early sound films. His debut feature was Halbblut (1919). Lang's first major success was the two-part crime thriller Dr Mabuse (1922). His best-known film, Metropolis (1926), has become a science-fiction classic. Perhaps his greatest film was his first sound feature, M (1931), an expressionist, psychological thriller. Fleeing Nazism, Lang moved to the USA. His first film in Hollywood was Fury (1936). Later films include The Big Heat (1953) and While the City Sleeps (1956).

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