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The History of German Cinema: 1921-1925








Nosferatu (1922)



  14/7 -

Dr. Wilhelm von Kaufmann, actress Henny Porten’s new husband, gives up his medical practice in order to produce his wife’s films. [ADD]


Der Mude Tod (1921)

  6/10 -

Fritz Lang’s Der Mude Tod premieres in Berlin.   The film is co-written with his future wife Thea von Harbou. [ADD]

  22/12 -

Paul Leni and Leopold Jessner’s Hintertreppe is released.   The expressionist work stars Henny Porten, William Dieterle and Fritz Korner. [ADD]


Ufa production company takes over Decla-Bioskop[ADD]


– Partially financed by secret state investment, the Ufa production company opens new studios at Neubabelsberg, near Potsdam. [ADD]


– German film production reaches a peak of 646 films. [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1921

    Die Bergkatze (1921)

Die Bergkatze (Ernst Lubitsch) [ADD]


Der Gang in die Nacht (F. W. Murnau) [ADD]


Das Indische Grabmal (Joe May) [ADD]


Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter) [ADD]


Schloss Vogelod (F. W. Murnau) [ADD]




Nosferatu (1922)

  4/3 -

F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, premieres in Berlin.   Although clearly based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the names of the characters are changed to avoid litigation by the author’s widow.   Max Schreck stars as the eponymous vampire. [ADD]

  7/9 -

Marlene Dietrich plays the lead in Franz Wedekind’s Pandora’s Box on the Berlin stage. [ADD]

  17/9 -

An invited audience of 1,000 people watch sound-on-films productions using Joseph Engl, Joseph Masolle and Hans Vogt’s 1919 Tri-Ergon process.   This system, when merged with others, will eventually become the industry standard for sound film. [ADD]

  22/9 -

The government loses 2 million marks a day following the cinema industry’s strike against taxes. [ADD]

  Sep -

Lee DeForest demonstrates a sound-on-film system in which both picture and sound are combined on a single film. [ADD]

  31/12 -

64% of all films shown in Germany in 1922 are domestic productions while the number of production companies in the country reached the three hundred mark. [ADD]


– The Ufa film company releases 472 films and is restructured amidst hyperinflation. [ADD]


Ufa produce the first film with an optical soundtrack. [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1922

    Dr Mabuse der Spieler (1922)

Der Brennende Acker (F. W. Murnau) [ADD]


Dr Mabuse der Spieler (Fritz Lang) [ADD]


Scherben (Lubu Pick) [ADD]



  12/6 -

William Dieterle’s Der Mensch am Wege (Man by the Roadside) is released.   It features Marlene Dietrich in a small role. [ADD]

  11/9 -

Die Flamme, director Ernst Lubitsch’s last German film before departing for the United States, is released.   Pola Negri stars. [ADD]


UFA releases a total of 347 films. [ADD]


Erich Pommer


Former Decla founder Erich Pommer becomes UFA head of production. [ADD]


Spitzenorganisation der deutschen Filmwirtschaft (SPIO) is founded. [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1923

Der Schatz (1923)

Die Buddenbrooks (Gerhardt Lamprecht) [ADD]


Diagonal Sinfonie (Viking Eggeling) [ADD]


I.N.R.I. (Robert Wiene) [ADD]


Raskolnikov (Robert Wiene) [ADD]


Schatten (Arthur Robison) [ADD]


Der Schatz (Georg Wilhelm Pabst) [ADD]


Sylvester (Lupu Pick) [ADD]




Waxworks (1924)

  26/4 -

Kriemhild’s Revenge, Fritz Lang’s sequel to Siegfried, is released.   The film is adapted for the screen by Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou. [ADD]

  26/10 -

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s film Michael is released.   It was filmed in Germany with Benjamin Christensen, Nora Gregor and Walter Slezak in starring roles. [ADD]

  13/11 -

Leo Birinski and Paul Leni’s Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks), a collection of three stories, is released.   The cast includes John Gottowt, William Dieterle, Olga Belajeff, Emil Jannings, Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt. [ADD]

  23/12 -

F. W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh is released.   Emil Jannings stars as an old hotel doorman, stripped of his uniform and dignity and forced to work as a lavatory cleaner. [ADD]


– A mutual film distribution agreement is reached between Germany’s Ufa and Etablissements Aubert of France. [ADD]




Orlacs Hande (1925)

  31/1 -

Robert Wiene’s Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac) is released.   The film stars Fritz Kortner and Conrad Veidt. [ADD]

  22/5 -

Fritz Lang begins filming Metropolis in the UFA studios from a script written by the director and his wife Thea von Harbou.   The film costs $1.5 million to produce, takes 310 days and 60 nights to shoot and employs 36,000 extras. [ADD]

  24/9 -

The Ufa-Palast am Zoo reopens its doors. [ADD]

  19/12 -

UFA is rescued from financial collapse by signing a reciprocal agreement (The Parufamet Treaty) with Paramount and MGM for the importation of films between Germany and the USA. [ADD]

  17/12 -

Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (The Little Match-girl) is produced by UFA in collaboration with the Swiss firm Tri-Ergon AG.   The film contains a dialogue and sound-on-film track, but is unsuccessful due to technical shortcomings. [ADD]

    – American films exceed the share of German films for the first time with a market share of 42%.  [ADD]



Germany: 1916-1920

Germany: 1926-1930




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