Eduard von Winterstein

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Eduard von Winterstein
Eduard von Winterstein2.jpg
Eduard von Winterstein
Born (1871-08-01)1 August 1871
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 22 July 1961(1961-07-22) (aged 89)
Berlin, Germany
Years active 1919–1958
Spouse(s) Minna Menger, m. (1894)
Children Gustav von Wangenheim

Eduard Clemens Franz Anna Freiherr von Wangenheim,[1] commonly referred to as Eduard von Winterstein (1 August 1871 – 22 July 1961) was an Austrian film actor who appeared in over one hundred fifty German films during the silent and sound eras. He was also a noted theater actor.

Biography[edit]

Winterstein was born in Vienna on 1 August 1871.[2] His predecessors were the Barons of Wangenheim. He took acting lessons from his mother Luise von Wangenheim-Dub,[2] an actress of Hungarian origin who had played at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Winterstein came to Gera in 1889 and acted in theaters along with his mother and sister Clementine, where he had "undeservedly forgotten" experiences. He acted in the play Ersten Held und Liebhaber in 1893.[3] The same year, he played the title role in Egmont at the opening of a theater in Annaberg on 2 April 1893. "I was re-born in Annaberg and became like a completely different person. In this small town I had really become an actor. [...] So the Anna Berger time was one of the best in my profession." he wrote in his autobiography. At this theater he met the actress Minna Menger, whom he married in 1894. They had a son, Gustav von Wangenheim (1895–1975), who went on to become an actor. The Theater in Annaberg-Buchholz is named Eduard von Winterstein Theater (de) today.[3]

Since 1895, he played at the Schiller Theater which had signed him for a three-year contract[4] and from 1898 at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin under Otto Brahm.[5] He married Hedwig Pauly (1866-1965) in 1899.[3] Next he worked at the Lessing theater and acted in Gorky's Nachtasyl at Kleinen Theater. Later he worked under Max Reinhardt.[6] When he moved up Winterstein enthusiastically commented about the country with the following words:

Berlin! It was at that time much more than today, the long-awaited paradise, after each German actor strove with all their might... Here in the big city flourished a lively theater life. The theater almanac from 1895 lists twenty-four theaters for Berlin. [...] I had found temporary accommodation with relatives with my family in the Großbeerenstraße... I was happy that I was just in Berlin to debut in this role (as Tellheim in Minna von Barnhelm).[7]"

He taught acting from 1905 to 1920 at a theater school founded by Max Reinhardt.[3] From 1913, Winterstein also started acting in films. In the period after the Second World War, he worked with the ensemble of the Deutsches Theater. There he played the role of Nathan approximately four hundred times. He won the Best male actor award at the Film Festival in Karlovy Vary for his portrayal of the title role in Die Sonnenbrucks (1951).[3] He soon became a popular German film actor[8] and was cast to play the roles of energetic elders as generals, judges, landlords and directors. He won the national award thrice — for his acting in Georg C. Klaren-directed Semmelweis - Retter der Mütter (1950), Wolfgang Staudte-directed Der Untertan (film) (1951) and Martin Hellberg-directed Emilia Galotti (1958 film) (de).[3] Unlike the theater, however, Winterstein's appearances were limited in the film mostly on a few scenes. He appeared in 150 films[6] and was the part of various intercom panel discussions, including even in old age the ring story from Nathan the Wise for the East German recording label Eterna. His last film was Der schweigende Stern (1960).[6]

Winterstein deliberately chose a life in the East Germany, a fact which the country's cultural policy took advantage. After his death, the New Germany gave him a special page on which a text winter stone was printed with the title "choice of the better". Its final passage reads:

I have experienced a lot of changes: under three emperors, the first world war, the pseudo-democracy of the Second Empire, the Weimar Republic, the terrible twelve years of National Socialism and that induced the complete collapse of the German Empire, until I take sigh of relief from free will and will join the new progressive spirit and am now proud to call a citizen of the German Democratic Republic and this is insight and reason for choosing the better.[9]

A street in Potsdam is named in his honour.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]

Eduard von Winterstein (Center) as Nathan The Wise, 1960
Memorial plaque in Berlin

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jerzy Maśnicki (2006). Niemy Kraj: Polskie Motywy W Europejskim Kinie Niemym (1896–1930). Wydawn. Słowo/obraz terytoria. p. 295. ISBN 978-83-7453-633-2. 
  2. ^ a b Hans-Michael Bock and Tim Bergfelder (2009). The Concise Cinegraph: An Encyclopedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books. p. 534. ISBN 978-0-85745-565-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Eduard von Winterstein" (in German). DEFA. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Kosta, Barbara (2009). Willing Seduction: The Blue Angel, Marlene Dietrich, and Mass Culture. Berghahn Books. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-84545-914-7. 
  5. ^ William Grange (2006). Historical Dictionary of German Theater. Scarecrow Press. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-8108-6489-4. 
  6. ^ a b c Kosta 2009, p. 177.
  7. ^ Eduard von Winterstein: Mein Leben und meine Zeit. Ein halbes Jahrhundert deutscher Theatergeschichte. Henschel, Berlin 1951; zitiert in Neue Berliner Illustrierte (de), 1970 in the Serie Das war und ist Berlin.
  8. ^ Mariusz Kotowski (2014). Pola Negri: Hollywood's First Femme Fatale. University Press of Kentucky. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-8131-4490-0. 
  9. ^ Neues Deutschland. Version No. 203, date 25 July 1961, page 4.

External links[edit]