Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm
17 March 1908
|Died||11 June 1996 (aged 88)|
|Years active||1927–1935; 1978|
(m. 1928; div. 1934)
Dr. Hugo Kunheim
(m. 1935; died 1986)
Brigitte Helm (born Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm, 17 March 1908 – 11 June 1996) was a German actress, best remembered for her dual role as Maria and her double, the Maschinenmensch, in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis.
Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm was born on 17 March 1908 in Berlin, the daughter of Gretchen Gertrud Martha Schittenhelm (née Tews) and Edwin Alexander Johannes Schittenhelm. Helm's first role was that of Maria in Metropolis which she began work on while only 18 years old. After Metropolis, Helm made over 30 other films, including talking pictures, before retiring in 1935. Her other appearances include The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), Alraune (1928), L'Argent (1928), Gloria (1931), The Blue Danube (1932), L'Atlantide (1932), and Gold (1934). Helm was considered for the title role in Bride of Frankenstein before Elsa Lanchester was given the role.
After a 10-year contract with UFA expired in 1935, Helm married her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist. Helm was also involved in several traffic accidents, and was briefly imprisoned. According to the Nazi Party's Press Chief Obergruppenführer Otto Dietrich's book The Hitler I Knew, Adolf Hitler saw that manslaughter charges against her from an automobile accident were dropped.
Helm retired from films because she was "disgusted with the Nazi takeover of the film industry". In 1935, she moved to Switzerland where she had four children with Kunheim. In her later years, she refused to grant any interviews concerning her film career.
- Metropolis (1927), director: Fritz Lang
- At the Edge of the World, (Am Rande der Welt, 1927), director: Karl Grune
- The Love of Jeanne Ney (Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney , 1927), director: G.W. Pabst
- Alraune (1928), director: Henrik Galeen; title role
- The Devious Path also known as Abwege (1928) director: G.W. Pabst
- Yacht of the Seven Sins (Die Yacht der sieben Sünden, 1928), directors: Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck
- L'Argent (1928), director: Marcel L'Herbier
- Scandal in Baden-Baden (Skandal in Baden-Baden, 1929), director: Erich Waschneck
- The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna (Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna, 1929), director: Hanns Schwarz
- The Singing City (Die singende Stadt, 1930), director Carmine Gallone
- Alraune (1930), director: Richard Oswald; title role
- Gloria (1931), director: Hans Behrendt
- Gloria (1931), director: Yvan Noé
- In the Employ of the Secret Service (Im Geheimdienst, 1931), director: Gustav Ucicky
- The Blue Danube (1932), director: Herbert Wilcox
- The Countess of Monte Cristo (Die Gräfin von Monte-Christo, 1932), director: Karl Hartl
- The Mistress Of Atlantis (Die Herrin von Atlantis, 1932) director: G.W. Pabst
- Three on a Honeymoon (Hochzeitsreise zu dritt, 1932), director: Erich Schmidt
- Honeymoon Trip (Voyage de noces, 1933), directors: Germain Fried, Joe May, Erich Schmidt
- The Marathon Runner (Der Läufer von Marathon, 1933), director: Ewald André Dupont
- Spies at Work (Spione am Werk, 1933), director: Gerhard Lamprecht
- The Star of Valencia (L'Étoile de Valencia, 1933), director: Serge de Poligny
- Happy Days in Aranjuez (Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez, 1933), director: Johannes Meyer
- Inge and the Millions (Inge und die Millionen, 1933), director: Erich Engel
- Gold (1934), director: Karl Hartl
- The Island (Die Insel, 1934), director: Hans Steinhoff
- Count Woronzeff (Fürst Woronzeff, 1934), director: Arthur Robison
- An Ideal Husband (Ein idealer Gatte, 1935), director: Herbert Selpin
- Wie im Traum (1978, short), director: Egon Haase
- "Brigitte Helm". The Androom Archives. April 19, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Curtis, pp. 243–44
- "Die gefährliche Blondine" (in German). Sueddeutsche Zeitung. 17 May 2010.
- Hull, David Stewart (1969). Film in the Third Reich, 1933-1945. University of California Press. p. 127. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Sudendorff, Werner (June 18, 1996). "Obituary: Brigitte Helm". The Independent. London. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Staedeli, Thomas. Portrait of the actress Brigitte Helm Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Cyranos.ch. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
- Dietrich, Otto (2010). The Hitler I Knew: Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 978-1602399723.
- Thomas Jr., Robert Mcg. (June 14, 1996). "Brigitte Helm, 88, Cool Star Of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'". The New York Times. p. B17.
- Curtis, James (June 1, 1998). James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0571199389.
- Semler, Daniel (2008). Brigitte Helm: Der Vamp des deutschen Films. Munich: Belleville. ISBN 978-3936298567.