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The History of German Cinema: 1926-1930











Tartuffe (1926)




  25/1 -

F. W. Murnau’s Tartuffe premieres at the newly-opened Gloria Palast cinema in Berlin.[ADD]

  26/4 -

Sergei Eisenstein completes a study trip in Berlin during which he meet leading directors F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, actor Emil Jannings and cinematographer Karl Freund. [ADD]

  3/9 -

Lotte Reiniger’s Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed), the oldest existing (and possibly the first) feature-length animated film, is released. [ADD]

  30/10 -

Fritz Lang wraps shooting of Metropolis.[ADD]


UFA and SF form Alliance Cinematographique European (ACEE) [ADD]





Metropolis (1927)

  10/1 -

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premieres in front of an audience of 2,500 at the UFA Palast in Berlin. [ADD]

  Mar -

Hugenberg Konzern, headed by Alfred Hugenberg, gains control of UFA, and installs Ludwig Kitszch as Chief Executive. [ADD]

  23/9 -

Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, an observation of one day in the life of the city, is released. [ADD]


– German releases account for 46.3% of films screened, while US imports account for 36.8%.  [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1927

    Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (1927)

Alraune (Henrik Galeen) [ADD]


Der Weltkreig (Leo Lasko) [ADD]


Hoppla, wir leben! (Walther Ruttmann) [ADD]


Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (G. W. Pabst) [ADD]


Dirnentragodie (Bruno Rahn) [ADD]




Spione (1928)

  22/3 -

Fritz Lang’s Spione (Spies), starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus and Willy Fritsch, is released. [ADD]

  31/8 -

Carl Froelich’s Zuflucht (The Refuge), starring Henny Porten is released. [ADD]

  24/10 -

William Dieterle’s Geschlecht in Fesseln - Die Sexualnot der Gefangenen (Sex in Chains) explores the subject of homosexual relationships in prison. [ADD]

  30/10 -

UFA’s 1,791-seat Universum cinema, equipped with Oskalyd organs, opens in Berlin. [ADD]

  5/12 -

A fire in a UFA laboratory destroys a number of films, amongst them prints of Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. [ADD]


– Two sound film companies are founded in this year: Ton-Bild Syndikat, owner of the Tri-Ergon patents, has only a minority German stake, with Swiss and Dutch venture capitalists owning the major shares.   The second company, Klangfilm, is backed by AEG and Siemens. [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1928

    Vormittagspuk (Hans Richter) [ADD]





Pandora's Box (1929)

  17/1 -

An experimental screening of two short sound films takes place at the Tauentzienplast in Berlin. [ADD]

  9/2 -

G. W. Pabst’s Buchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) is released.   Starring American actress Louise Brooks, the film features, in Alice Robert’s Countess Anna Geschwitz, what is considered to be cinema’s first lesbian character. [ADD]

  12/3 -

Walter Ruttmann’s Melodie der Wlet, Germany’s first talking picture, is released. [ADD]

  29/4 -

Curtis Bernhardt’s Die Frau nach der man sich sehnt (The Woman Men Yearn For), starring Marlene Dietrich, premieres in Berlin. [ADD]

  3/6 -

The Singing Fool, the first American sound film to be screened in Germany, opens at the Gloria Palast in Berlin.   Within a week it is seen by over 30,000 people. [ADD]

  5/9 -

While attending the stage show Zwei Kravatten in Berlin to watch actor Hans Alber, director Josef von Sternberg is impressed enough by leading lady Marlene Dietrich to sign her for the role of Lola for his forthcoming film, Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel). [ADD]

  15/10 -

Director G. W. Pabst is re-united with Louise Brooks, the American star of Die Busche der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) for Tagebuch einer Verloren (Diary of a Lost Girl). [ADD]

  21/11 -

Die Konigsloge, directed by Bryan Foy for Warner Brothers is released in Berlin.   It is the first foreign-language film to be made in the US. [ADD]

  16/12 -

UFA’s first sound film, Melodie des Herzens, premieres at the UFA Palast am Zoo cinema in Berlin.   Directed by Hans Schwarz, the film stars Dita Parlo and Willy Fritsch. [ADD]


UFA begin construction of sound film studios in Neubabelsberg at an estimated cost of 6 million marks.   The studio consists of four sound stages in the form of a cross (Tonkreuz) and is ready for production on the 24th September. [ADD]


Tobis and Klangfilm combine to compete against American sound film technology, and claim German patent rights in sound film. [ADD]


– Germany has a total of 83 film production companies in 1929. [ADD]


Other Key German Films of 1929


Bruder (Werner Hochbaum) [ADD]


Die Frau im Mond (Fritz Lang) [ADD]


Heimkehr (Joe May) [ADD]


Menschen am Sonntag (Robert Siodmak) [ADD]


Um’s tagliche Brot (Piel Jutzi) [ADD]


Die weisse Holle vom Piz Palu (Arnold Fanck, G. W. Pabst) [ADD]


Die Wunderbare Luge der Nina Petrowna (Hans Schwarz) [ADD]




Westfront 1918 (1930)

  4/2 –

Curt and Robert Siodmak’s Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) is released and becomes a major hit. [ADD]

  1/4 –

Josef von Sternberg’s Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) starring Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings premieres at the Gloria Palast cinema in Berlin.   It is UFA studio’s first talking picture and is filmed in both German and English. [ADD]

  23/5 –

G. W. Pabst’s Westfront 1918 is released.   The film realistically chronicles the lives of German soldiers in the trenches during the Great War. [ADD]

  15/9 –

UFA’s first operetta, Die Drei von der Tankstelle (Three Good Friends) is released.   It stars English-born singer Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch – although his role is taken by Henri Garat in the French version. [ADD]

  5/12 –

A presentation of Lewis Milestone’s pacifist war film, All Quiet on the Western Front, is disrupted by Nazis. [ADD]

  11/12 –

Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front is banned nationwide. [ADD]


Disney’s Mickey Mouse cartoon The Barnyard Battle is banned by censors because, ‘the wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which opposes a militia of mice is offensive to the national dignity.’ [ADD]

Other Key German Films of 1930
    Abschied (Robert Siodmak) [ADD]



Germany: 1921-1925

Germany: 1931-1935




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