MAIL English Version

Thea von Harbou

1888 - 1954

The screen writer and author Thea von Harbou began her active career as an author very early. Already as a young girl she wrote different stories about animals for a province newspaper. She published first poems in 1902, the first novel followed in 1905 in the "Berliner Deutschen Zeitung" with the title "Wenn's Morgen wird".  She became one of the most popular entertainment authors at the end of the empire and the Weimar Republic.
At the age of 18 Thea von Harbou got in touch with the theater for the first time as an actress. During one of her engagements she met the actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge and they got married in 1914.
When Thea von Harbou could celebrate her first great literary success with "Die nach uns kommen" (1910) and "Der Krieg und die Frauen", she retired from the acting and concentrated to the art of writing. 
Harbou and Klein-Rogge moved to Berlin in 1918 where the books of Harbou could be market much better. In 1919 she wrote her first script for a movie called "Die heilige Simplicia/Die Legende von der heiligen Simplicia" (19) for director Joe May.
In the next years Thea von Harbou became the most important female screen writer of the German film and especially her collaboration with Fritz Lang assured her a place in the German film Olympus. 
During the preparations for the film "Das indische Grabmal" (21) for which she wrote the script, she met director Fritz Lang. After her divorce from Klein-Rogge in 1921 they got married the following year. They became a dazzling couple in Berlin of the 20s.
In the next years Thea von Harbou participated in many great movies like "Der müde Tod" (21), "Der brennende Acker" (22), "Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler" (22), "Phantom" (22), "Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs" (23), Die Nibelungen: Siegfried" (24), "Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache" (24), der Klassiker "Metropolis" (26), "Spione" (28) and "Frau im Mond" (29).
In the 30s she continued her film career successfully, first for Fritz Lang again, later for other directors as well.
To these movies belong "M" (31), "Der Läufer von Marathon" (33), "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse" (33), "Der alte und der junge König" (35), "Der Mann mit der Pranke" (35), "Der Herrscher" (37), "Der zerbrochene Krug" (37) and "Die Frau am Scheidewege" (38).
Although her marriage with Fritz Lang came apart some years earlier because of Lang's liaison with the actress Gerda Maurus they only got a divorce in 1933 before Fritz Lang emigrated abroad when the National Socialists came into power.
During wartime she wrote the scripts for "Lauter Liebe" (40), "Annelie" (41), "Gefährtin meines Sommers" (42), "Eine Frau für drei Tage" (44) and "Via Mala" (44).
After the end of the war she was interned for a short time by the British occupying forces, later she wrote synchronous scripts for the "Deutsche London Film" (The Third Man, The Thief of Bagdad). 
In the 50s she could realize only three more scripts - "Es kommt ein Tag" (50), "Dr. Holl" and "Dein Herz ist meine Heimat" (53) and wrote serials for German newspapers.
Besides her activity as a screen writer she also realised two movies as a director with "Elisabeth und der Narr" (33) and "Hanneles Himmelfahrt" (34).
In 1954 one of her first movies - "Der müde Tod" (1921) - was presented in Berlin once more. Thea von Harbou was present as a guest of honor as well. When she left the cinema she slipped in such an unfortunate way that she died some days later as a result of the fall. 

Other movies from Thea von Harbou:
Das wandernde Bild (20) Die Frauen vom Gnadenstein (20) Kämpfende Herzen (21) Die Prinzessin Suwarin (23) Die Austreibung - Die Macht der zweiten Frau (23) Zur Chronik von Grieshuus (24) Michael (24) Das erste Recht des Kindes (32) Hanneles Himmelfahrt (34) Was bin ich ohne dich! (34) Prinzessin Turandot (34) Ein idealer Gatte (35) Ich war Jack Mortimer (35) Die unmögliche Frau (36) Eine Frau ohne Bedeutung (36) Versprich mir nichts! (37) Mutterlied (37) Jugend (38) Verwehte Spuren (38) Hurra! Ich bin Papa! (39) Wie konntest Du, Veronika! (40) Am Abend auf der Heide (41) Mit den Augen einer Frau (42) Die Gattin (43) Fahrt ins Glück (45)