1902 - 1994
The actor Heinz Rühmann achieved a career in German film history which is unique till today. As a short man he became one of the greatest stars and banished the audience for more than 40 years with his predominant comedy movies.
It all began in 1919 when Heinz Rühmann decided to take acting lessons. Already six months after this important step he got his first theater engagement at the Lobe and Thalia theater. It followed stages in Hannover, Bremen, Munich and Berlin.
Only few are aware today that Heinz Rühmann began his film career in the silent movie era. But the two movies "Das deutsche Mutterherz" (26) and "Das Mädchen mit den fünf Nullen" (27) didn't mean the breakthrough but merely a short excursion to a new medium.
When Erich Pommer engaged the young actor Rühmann for the movie "Die Drei von der Tankstelle" (30) at the side of the dream couple Willy Fritsch and Lilian Harvey, it was the starting shot for a unique career. Heinr Rühmann was signed on by the Ufa and he became one of the most popular comedians who conquered the heart of the audience with his pert appearance and his cheeky and cheerful way to act.
To his well-known movies of the 30's belong among others "Bomben auf Monte Carlo" (31), "Der Stolz der 3. Kompagnie" (31), "Lachende Erben (33), "Heinz im Mond" (34), "Der Himmel auf Erden" (35), "Allotria" (36), " Die Umwege des schönen Karl" (37), "Fünf Millionen suchen einen Erben" (38), "Nanu, Sie kennen Korff nocht nicht!" (38) and "Paradies der Junggesellen" (39). Despite this great variety of successful productions there stood two movies out in these years which also marked the height of his career - "Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war" (37) and "Der Mustergatte" (37).
Even the great Heinz Rühman wasn't spared from the political confusions in Germany. In 1938 he had get a divorce from his Jewish wife Maria. She got married with the Swedish actor Rolf von Nauckhoff and got by it the departure permission to Sweden. There she was financially supported by Heinz Rühmann during the war.
Heinz Rühmann got married with the actress Hertha
Feiler in 1939 who he already worked together in a movie.
After the war he was confronted with a working prohibition by the Allies. He played at theaters before he founded together with Alf Teichs the film company Comedia in 1947. From 1948 he was working in front of the camera again and had a succès d'estime with "Berliner Ballade" (48). But the other movies didn't attract the interest of the audience and the film company went bankrupt. This failure had a great effect on Heinz Rühmann's life whose fees were seized to 50 % till 1959.
When producer Gyula Trebitsch helped the failed Heinz Rühmann to
get a comeback, this was the begin of his second career. With "Keine Angst
vor grossen Tieren" (53) he found the kind of role which was accepted and
rewarded by the public.
He carried out a gradual change from a comedian to a pensive character actor in the 60's. His working intensity kept undiminished and he entertained the public with movies like "Mein Schulfreund" (60), "Der brave Soldat Schwejk" (60), "Das schwarze Schaf" (60), "Der Lügner" (61), "Max, der Taschendieb" (62), "Das Haus in Montevideo" (63), "Ship of Fools - Das Narrenschiff" (65), Grieche sucht Griechin" (66) and "Der Tod des Handlungsreisenden" (68).
In the 70's his activity in movies decreased noticeable. He took part
in "Der Kapitän" (71), "Oh Jonathan - oh Jonathan" (73), "Das chinesische
Wunder" (76) and eventually "Gefundenes Fressen" (76) - his temporary last
feature movie. It followed several appearances on TV, among others with
readings at Christmas, before he gave his farewell performance with Wim
Wender's "In weiter Ferne, so nah" (93).
Other movies with Heinz Rühmann: