|The German Silent Movie.|
|Oskar Messter is regarded as the first successful film pioneer of Germany
who founded the so-called "Bewegungstheater" and was well received by the
audience. Already in 1897 he market 84 movies. Germany became a demanded
place for the foreign countries in the following years because the development
of the gadget production got ahead faster than abroad. From it grew a distribution
system soon which belonged to the standard run in 1910 to the still new
business. The movie shows shifted from the fair to the new built cinemas
and first movie books and magazines were on the market. Besides they adopted
In those years the market was controlled by Oskar Messter's company who had the first German movie star Henny Porten under contract and by Paul Davidson's Projektion-AG Union. Beside it especially the French corporation Pathé and the Danish corporation Nordisk commercialized their movies very successful in Germany.
The cinema was often smiled at in the time of creation, especially from
theater stars who have made their marks, who looked at the wriggling movie
actors condescendingly. Paul Davidson tried to give a better reputation
to the new medium and got involved in filming reputable plays by well-known
theater director and adequate actors. He convinced the "King of Theater"
Max Reinhardt to direct the movies "Die Insel der Seligen" (13) and "Venezianische
The movie "Der Andere" (13), directed by Max Mack, is designated as the first great artistic movie, in which the famous theater actor Albert Bassermann impersonated the leading role. When Paul Wegener also appeared in the cinema in 1913 with the movie "Der Student von Prag" (13), he baffled the audience with his double role and his twice appearance in the same scene. He became a pioneer of the fantastic cinema with other highlights like the trilogy of "Der Golem" (14), "Der Golem und die Tänzerin" (17) and "Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam" (20).
The main part of the early German movie were so-called comedies, melodramas and the extremely popular detective movies which were producded as serials.
With the outbreak of World War I there was a import stop for foreign
movies and the German industry flourished. In those years the number of
produced movies increased tenfold from 25 to 250 movies a year. The dominant
film companies were "Deutsche Lichtspiel-Gesellschaft (Deulig), which was
founded by the government in 1916 and the Universum Film AG (UFA), which
was created with the fusion of Messter, Davidson and the Nordisk.
The great successes after the war were "Carmen" (18), "Veritas vincit
(18), "Die Spinnen" (19) or "Herrin der Welt" (20). When the censorship
was abolished for a short time they produced a whole string of so-called
sex education films, especially director Richars Oswald made many great
movies for this genre.
The 20's produced a multitude of movies and genres, for example Arnold Fanck's "mountain movies" like "Das Wunder des Schneeschuhs" (20) and "Der heilige Berg" (26), the silhouette movies of Lotte Reiniger, the action movies with a great Harry Piel and the historical movie - especially about Friedrich the Great with a inspired Otto Gebühr in the leading role (Fridericus Rex (22), Die Mühle von Sanssouci (26)).
There was a special trend in the second half of the 20's to movies towards topics with factual content. G.W. Pabst started this trend with "Die freudlose Gasse" (25), it followed movies like "Die Abenteuer eines Zehnmarkscheines" (26), "Berlin - Die Sinfonie der Grossstadt" (27) and "Menschen am Sonntag" (29). But also the most popular movie of the 20's was created in those years - "Metropolis" (26) - a fantastic science-fiction movie with socio-critical message.
The glorious era of the German movie was brought to an end in 1929 with the arising talkies. The silent movies were replaced through a new acting and production art in which musicals predominated especially in the starting time.