Gustav Fröhlich

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For the German swimmer, see Gustav Fröhlich (swimmer).
Gustav Fröhlich
Gustav Frolich.jpg
in 1931
Born (1902-03-21)21 March 1902
Hannover, Germany
Died 22 December 1987(1987-12-22) (aged 85)
Lugano, Switzerland
Years active 1922–largely 1956
Spouse(s) Gitta Alpar (1931-1935, divorced) (1 child)
Maria Hajek (1941-1987, her death)

Gustav Fröhlich (21 March 1902 – 22 December 1987) was a German actor and film director. He landed secondary roles in a number of films and plays before landing his breakthrough role of Freder Fredersen in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis. He remained a popular film star in Germany until the 1950s.

Biography[edit]

Early life and Weimar Republic[edit]

Gustav Fröhlich was born an illegitimate child in Hanover, Germany, and was raised by foster parents. Before becoming an actor, he worked for a short time as an editor of a provincial newspaper and as the author of popular novels. During World War I he also volunteered for duty in occupied Brussels as a press supervisor.

Gustav Fröhlich began his stage career in the early 1920s at minor theatres in Germany. He quickly achieved more important roles and appeared as The Prince of Homburg at the Deutsche Theater under the direction of Max Reinhardt. One of Fröhlich's first film roles was composer Franz Liszt in Paganini in 1922. This was followed by a string of bit parts and supporting roles in film. He landed his breakthrough role as Freder Fredersen in Fritz Lang's film epic Metropolis (1927). Although the film itself was a financial failure, it established him as a leading film star in Germany. He was also notable for his appearance in Asphalt (1929), in which his restrained performance is still impressive today. In 1930 he was called to Hollywood to play roles in German versions of American films such as Die heilige Flamme and Kismet. He often appeared in musicals or comedies as a romantic hero and smart gentleman.

Third Reich[edit]

Gustav Fröhlich in 1929

In 1933, Fröhlich directed the film, Rakoczy-Marsch, in which he also portrayed the leading role. He would direct another seven films and was screenwriter on five, until the 1950s.

During the Third Reich, Gustav Fröhlich remained one of the foremost male stars in German film (along with Hans Albers, Willy Fritsch and Heinz Rühmann). Between 1931 and 1935, Fröhlich was married to Hungarian opera star, and actress Gitta Alpár, with whom he had a child, Julika. He was engaged to the actress Lida Baarova until she became involved with the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. There is also an unconfirmed story that Fröhlich slapped Goebbels in a fit of jealous rage.[1] In 1937, he rented his house in Berchtesgaden to Hitler's architect, Albert Speer. In 1941, he served in the Wehrmacht Landschützen-Regiment and in the same year, married Maria Hajek. They remained married until her death in 1987.

Later life[edit]

Gustav Fröhlich was seldom involved in Nazi Propaganda films, a fact that helped him to the establish a new film career after World War II. He remained a busy actor after the war but his roles changed from leading men to supporting parts as he got older. His best-known role during this time was perhaps in Die Sünderin (1951) with Hildegard Knef, in which Fröhlich portrayed a terminally ill painter. Die Sünderin caused a scandal because of its open treatment of several taboos such as nudity, suicide and euthanasia.

Fröhlich generally retired from film business in 1956, but he still managed to make occasional film and television appearances until the early 1980s. In 1973, he received the German Film Award for Lifetime Achievements. From 1956, Fröhlich lived in Lugano, Switzerland, where he died in 1987, from complications after surgery.

Filmography[edit]

  • De bruut (1922)
  • Der Weg zum Licht (1923)
  • Paganini (1923)
  • The Woman Who Did (1925)
  • Friesenblut (1925)
  • Schiff in Not (1925)
  • Die Frau die nicht nein sagen kann (1926)
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • The Master of Nuremberg (1927)
  • Light-Hearted Isabel (1927)
  • Die Elf Teufel (1927)
  • Gehetzte Frauen (1927)
  • Jahrmarkt des Lebens (1927)
  • Jugendrausch (1927)
  • Tough Guys, Easy Girls (1927)
  • Homecoming (1928)
  • Angst (1928)
  • The Duty to Remain Silent (1928)
  • The Green Alley (1928)
  • Hurrah! I Live! (1928)
  • Eva und der Grashüpfer (1928)
  • Asphalt (1929)
  • The Burning Heart (1929)
  • High Treason (1929)
  • Zwei Menschen (1930)
  • Brand in der Oper (1930)
  • Der Unsterbliche Lump (1930)
  • II Kismet (1930)
  • Liebeslied (1930)
  • Die Heilige Flamme (1931)
  • Die Verliebte Firma (1931)
  • Gloria (1931)
  • Liebeskommando (1931)
  • Sang viennois (1931)
  • My Leopold (1931)
  • A Waltz by Strauss (1931)
  • Inquest (1931)
  • Ein Lied, ein Kuß, ein Mädel (1932)
  • Gitta entdeckt ihr Herz (1932)
  • Ich will nicht wissen, wer du bist (1932)
  • A Man with Heart (1932)
  • Mein Leopold (1932)
  • Unter falscher Flagge (1932)
  • The Racokzi March (1933, also directed)[2]
  • Die Nacht der großen Liebe (1933)
  • Gardez le sourire (1933)
  • Rund um eine Million (1933)
  • Sonnenstrahl (1933)
  • What Women Dream (1933)
  • Abenteuer eines jungen Herrn in Polen (1934, also directed)
  • Der Flüchtling von Chicago (1934)
  • Sergeant Schwenke (1934)
  • Barcarole (1935)
  • Es flüstert die Liebe (1935)
  • Leutnant Bobby, der Teufelskerl (1935)
  • Liebesleute (1935)
  • Nacht der Verwandlung (1935)
  • Stradivari (1935)
  • Die Entführung (1936)
  • Die Stunde der Versuchung (1936)
  • Inkognito (1936)
  • The Impossible Woman (1936)
  • City of Anatol (1936)
  • Alarm in Peking (1937)
  • Gabriele: eins, zwei, drei (1937)
  • Gleisdreieck (1937)
  • The Great and the Little Love (1938)
  • Frau Sixta (1938)
  • In geheimer Mission (1938)
  • Adieu Vienne (1939)
  • Alarm auf Station III (1939)
  • Renate in the Quartet (1939)
  • Alles Schwindel (1940)
  • Herz - modern möbliert (1940)
  • Herz geht vor Anker (1940)
  • Ihr Privatsekretär (1940)
  • Clarissa (1941)
  • Sechs Tage Heimaturlaub (1941)
  • Der Große König (1942)
  • Mit den Augen einer Frau (1942)
  • Tolle Nacht (1943)
  • Der Große Preis (1944)
  • The Buchholz Family (1944)
  • Das Konzert (1944)
  • Neigungsehe (1944)
  • Wege im Zwielicht (1945, only director)
  • Sag' die Wahrheit (1946)
  • Das Verlorene Gesicht (1948)
  • Eine Alltägliche Geschichte (1948)
  • Wege im Zwielicht (1948, also director)
  • Diese Nacht vergess ich nie (1949)
  • Der Große Fall (1949)
  • Der Bagnosträfling (1949, only director)
  • Dieser Mann gehört mir (1950)
  • Die Lüge (1950, only director)
  • Die Sünderin (1951)
  • Stips (1951)
  • Torreani (1951, also directed)
  • Abenteuer in Wien (de) (1952)
  • Haus des Lebens (1952)
  • Ehe für eine Nacht (1953)
  • Von Liebe reden wir später (1953)
  • Ball der Nationen (1954)
  • Die Kleine Stadt will schlafen gehen (1954)
  • Rosen aus dem Süden (1954)
  • His Daughter is Called Peter (1955, only director)
  • Der Erste Frühlingstag (1956)
  • Vergiß wenn Du kannst (1956)
  • Sag nicht addio (1956)
  • Das gab's nur einmal (1958)
  • …und keiner schämte sich (1960)
  • Das Kriminalmuseum (TV series, 1963)
  • Die Dubarry (TV movie, 1963)
  • Laubenkolonie (TV movie, 1968)
  • Schicht in Weiß (TV series, 1980)
  • Pommi Stern (TV movie, 1981)

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDb
  2. ^ IMDB page on Rakoczy-Marsch (accessed 5.9.2013)

External links[edit]