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Eugen Schüfftan

1886 - 1977


The cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan was not only famous as a cinematographer but also for his technical innovations of special effects. One innovation was called after him "Schüfftan-Verfahren" which he invented together with Ernst Kunstmann. This invention made it possible to save a lot of money for huge scenery by using a mirrir trick which combines two pictures to one. In this way small models appeared like giant buildings.

Before Eugen Schüfftan made a career in the film business he studied at a art college and became a successful painter. Later he was active as an architect and an ornamental painter.
When he met the architect Hans Poelzig who was an important art director in the film business, Eugen Schüfftan came in touch with the film as well. Because he was especially interested in pictures he was fascinated by the camera and its creative possibilities.
Therefore he began to contrive how to create phantastic pictures for the film and one result was the already mentioned  "Schüfftan-Verfahren".
This technique was used for the first time for Fritz Lang's "Die Nibelungen: Siegfried" (24) and culminated in Fritz Lang's "Metropoli" (27).
Eugen Schüfftan was also responsible for the special effects for other movies, among them "Eifersucht" (25), "Varieté" (25), "Manon Lescaut" (26), "Eine Dubarry von heute" (27), "Napoléon" (27) directed by Abel Gance and "Love Me and the World Is Mine" (27).

Finally Eugen Schüfftan became a cinematographer himself and his first movie in this position was "Jagd auf dich" (29).

He became established as a cinematographer in the 30s but his career in Germany came to an abrupt end with the rise of the National Socialist. As a Jew he was no longer able to work from 1933.
Therefore there were only few more German movies like "Gassenhauer" (31), "Das Ekel" (31), "Meine Frau, die Hochstaplerin" (31), "Die Herrin von Atlantis" (32), "Der Läufer von Marathon" (33) and "Unsichtbare Gegner" (33).

Finally he emigrated to France where he continued his film career in France as well as England. Especially his collaboration with the direcor Marcel Carné led to very impressive results.
To his movies during his European migration belong "La voix sans visage" (33), "Du haut en bas" (33), "Le scandale" (34), "Riders to the Sea" (35), "The Invader" (36), "La tendre ennemie" (36), "Mademoiselle Docteur" (37), "Drôle de drame ou L'étrange  aventure du Docteur Molyneux" (37), "Mollenard" (38), "Le quai des brumes" (38), "Le roman de Werther" (38) and "L'émigrante" (40).

But when France became occupied as well the seemingly secure harbor of his escape ended and he went to the USA in 1940. There he was able to continue his film career in the same year.
Till the end of World War II he shot the movies "Hitler's Madman" (43), "It Happened Tomorrow "(44), "Bluebeard" (44) and "Strange Illusion" (45).

After the war Eugen Schüfftan became an international cinematographer who worked regularly in the USA, France and Switzerland in the next years. Only for a pure German production he didn't work again in those years.
To his last cinematical works belong "The Wife of Monte Cristo" (46), "A Scandal in Paris" (46), "Gunman in the Streets" (50), "Le chemin de Damas" (52), "Die Venus vom Tivoli" (53), "La première nuit" (58), "The Bloody Brood" (59), "Les yeux sans visage" (60), "The Hustler" (61), "Something Wild" (61), "Captain Sindbad" (63), "Lilith" (64), "La grande fousse" (64), "Trois chambres à Manhattan" (65) and "Der Arzt stellt fest..." (66).
For "The Hustler" Eugen Schüfftan was awarded with the Oscar as the best cinematographer.

Besides his activity as a cinematographer he remained busy as a special effect artist as well and in this function he was responsible for the productions "The Dark Mirror" (46), "The Magnetic Monster" (53), "Ulisse" (54) and "Marianne de ma jeunesse" (55).
He also realised few movies as a director with "Ins Blaue hinein" (29), "Das Ekel" (31) and "Die Wasserteufel von Hieflau" (32).

Other movies from Eugen Schüfftan (Cinematographer):
Menschen am Sonntag (30) Abschied (30) Das gestohlene Gesicht (30) Les quatre vagabonds (31) Dann schon lieber Lebertran (31) Die Wasserteufel von Hieflau (32) L'Atlantide (32) Zigeuner der Nacht (32) Coeurs jeyeux (32) The Mistress of Atlantis (32) Les requins du pétrole (33) La crise est finie (34) Irish Hearts (34) Children of the Fog (35) Komedie om geld (36) The Robber Symphony (37) Yoshiwara (37) Forfaiture (37) Le drame de Shanghai (38) Les trois valses (38) Mariad de la O (39) Sans lendemain (39) Summer Storm (44) Club Havana (45) Women in the Night (48) Le traqué (50) Les joyeux pélerins (51) Le banquet des fraudeurs (52) La p... Respectueuse (52) Sterren Stralen Overal (53) Mina de Vanghel (53) Le rideau chramoisi (53) Una parigina a Roma (54) Serie "Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (57) Serie "Hudson's Bay (59) La tête contre les murs (59) Un couple (60) Les vierges (63) The Parisienne and the Prudes (64) Chappaqua (66)

The Strange Woman (46)

Production Designer:
Bluebeard (44) The Wife of Monte Cristo (46) Women in the Night (48)