Louis V. Arco

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Louis V. Arco
Born Lutz Altschul
(1899-07-24)24 July 1899
Baden, Austria-Hungary
Died 3 April 1975(1975-04-03) (aged 75)
Zürich, Switzerland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1925–1972

Louis V. Arco (24 July 1899 – 3 April 1975) was an Austrian-born actor who was born Lutz Altschul in Baden, Austria-Hungary (now Austria), about 5 miles south of Vienna.

His first film was the German silent movie Liebesfeuer in 1925. Two years later, Altschul starred as Nicola Sacco in the Austrian silent film Sacco und Vanzetti. In 1929, he appeared in his last silent movie Napoleon auf St. Helena about Napoleon's last days. This movie was directed by Lupu Pick, who loved making silent movies so much that he couldn't handle the switch to talkies and ended up poisoning himself in Berlin in 1931.

His first talkie was the film Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) in 1930. The following year, he appeared in Yorck (about the life of the Prussian general Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg who fought against Napoleon). In 1932, Altschul appeared in his last German movie, Der Schwarze Husar (The Black Husar) starring Conrad Veidt. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Altschul went home to Austria.

After Hitler's forces took over Austria in the Anschluss of 1938, Altschul came to America and changed his name to Louis V. Arco. His first movie in America was the 1939 war drama Nurse Edith Cavell. In 1941, he received a small role in Warner Bros. war drama Underground directed by Vincent Sherman. Like many other German and Austrian actors who fled the Nazis, he ended up portraying them in films.

In 1941, Arco received a fairly good role in the Hal B. Wallis film Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet starring Edward G. Robinson. In 1942, Arco plays a Nazi radio censor who is ultimately sent to the Russian Front in Warner Bros.' anti-Nazi movie Berlin Correspondent, with Dana Andrews. Later that year, Arco received one scene as a refugee in Casablanca. He is seen in the introduction to Rick's Cafe looking very depressed. He has one line, "waiting, waiting, waiting....I'll never get out of here....I'll die in Casablanca."

In 1943, Arco appeared in 14 films, mostly playing Nazis and mostly uncredited. In Edge of Darkness, starring Errol Flynn, he played a German lieutenant confiscating materials such as food and clothing from a Norwegian town in an extremely arrogant way. Jack L. Warner wanted to leave no doubt as to his opinion of the morals of the Nazis. He played a German alpine officer in Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas, a wartime movie on German-occupied Yugoslavia by Twentieth Century-Fox. In Hitler's Madman, he portrayed a sergeant.

Later, Arco appeared in Warner Bros.'s controversial film Mission to Moscow, starring Walter Huston. Arco played another Nazi in Hostages. In The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler, Arco portrayed a Gestapo officer. Arco again played a Nazi in The Cross of Lorraine. In The Song of Bernadette, Arco got to get away from the Nazi image by portraying a Franciscan monk. He also had a small role as a German submarine commander in another Humphrey Bogart movie, Action in the North Atlantic.

Arco's roles started to diminish as the war came to a close. In 1945, he appeared in only one film, as a German colonel in the war drama Counter-Attack. After the Second World War ended in 1945, Arco returned to Europe. In 1949, he was working in West Germany and filmed Duell mit dem Tod where he used his birth name Lutz Altschul. He would only appear in three more films after this. He did Bergheimat in Austria in 1952 and later played Herr Dörfl in Question 7 in West Germany in 1961. Arco's last film was done in Switzerland, a Swiss melodrama/documentary on abortion called Der Arzt stellt fest... in 1966. In 1972, while in his 70's, Arco appeared in a television episode of Kung Fu starring David Carradine.

Arco died at age 75, not in Casablanca, as his character stated in the movie, but in Zürich, Switzerland.

Selected filmography[edit]


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