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Max Schreck

Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung (M. Steinlein)

1879 - 1936

The actor Max Schreck belongs to the most fascinating German actors who became a cult figure home and abroad with one specific role.

Before he launched his acting career he attended an apprenticeship. But after the early death of his father he turned to the acting and he completed an education at the Staatstheater in Berlin.

Soon he went on tour with likeminded actors before he was engaged by the theater icon Max Reinhardt.
Because of his special feature he was already engaged for unusual characters during his time at the theater. He often impesonated older figures than he was. He punctuated this with his skill for makeup in order to realise the maximum effect.

While he played numerous bigger parts at the theater his roles in the movies remained small at the beginning of his film career.
He already took part in a movie in 1917 called "Teufelsmädel" (17) but only from the 20s the film business became a fix part of his career.

In those years Max Schreck appeared in many well-known movies like "Der Richter von Zalamea" (20), "Der Roman der Christine von Herre" (21) and "Nathan der Weise" (22) before that movie followed which made him immortal.
In "Nosferatu" (22) directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau he impersonated the terrifying Count Orlak, a vampire who ambuscades his victims.
Because of legal disputes with the descendants of Bram Stoker the director Murnau did not use the name Dracula but changed it to count Orlok.
This movie is regarded as a jewel of the German silent movie film and because of the intensely play of Max Schreck there occured many rumors about him which last till today. The actor Willem Dafoe impersonated Max Schreck in the movie "Shadow of the Vampire" (00) where he demonstrated him as a real vampire.

Max Schreck continued his film career in the next years and he took part in "Der Kaufmann von Venedig" (23), "Die Strasse" (23), "Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs" (24), "Krieg im Frieden" (25), "Am Rande der Welt" (27), "Der alte Fritz" (28), "Luther" (28), "Scampolo" (28) and "Wolga Wolga" (28).

The new arising sound film was no problem for Max Schreck and in the following years he impersonated numerous roles in popular productions like "Boykott" (30), "Peter Voss, der Millionendieb" (32), "Die verkaufte Braut" (32), "Roman einer Nacht" (33), "Der Tunnel" (33), "Peer Gynt" (34), "Knockout" (35) and "Die letzten Vier von Santa Cruz" (36).

In the middle of his creative period Max Schreck died at the age of 56 in 1936.

Max Schreck wa married with the actress Fanny Ott since 1910. He met her already shortly after his acting education. She called her according to her marriage Fanny Schreck and appeared in some movies as well.

Other movies with Max Schreck:
Texas Freds Brautfahrt (20) Der Tanz in den Tod (20) Der zeugende Tod (21) Am Narrenseil (21) Mysterien eines Frisiersalons (23) Dudu, ein Menschenschicksal (24) Der rosa Diamant (26) Der Sohn der Hagar (27) Ramper, der Tiermensch (27) Dona Juana (28) Rasputins Liebesabenteuer (28) Die Republik der Backfische (28) Moderne Piraten (28) Serenissimus und die letzte Jungfrau (28) Der Kampf der Tertia (29) Ludwig der Zweite, König von Bayern (30) Das Land des Lächelns (30) Nacht der Versuchung (32) Liebe im Berghotel (32) Ein Mann  mit Herz (32) Eine Frau wie Du (33) Fräulein Hoffmanns Erzählungen (33) Muss man sich gleich scheiden lassen (33) Ein Kuss in der Sommernacht (33) Das verliebte Hotel (33) Donogoo Tonka (36)