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Does anyone know what happened to European Director Carl Lamac (1887-1952)?


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He was born in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. (now in Czech Republic) and he became an actor and director in Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Holland, and England.


He seems to have made popular comedy films in Germany in the 1930s and until 1943, then he made a film in Holland and a few films in England.


He was the main director of Anny Ondra's German films.


So, how did he get out of Germany and into England in 1943?


He made De Spooktrein (1939) in Holland in 1939, in the Dutch language. This story was remade by a British crew in England in 1941 as The Ghost Train.


Anny Ondra was from Poland. She was the cute girl in Hitchcock's first sound film, Blackmail in 1929. Hitchcock considered her voice to have too much of a non-English accent, and her final voice on the film was dubbed by an English actress, Joan Barry. That must have been one of the first cases of voice dubbing in any sound film, most likely done by looping optical sound tracks as the English lady tried to match her lip movements Anny's.


Here is a rare sound test with Hitchcock talking to Anny in 1929.



Anny married German boxer Max Schmeling in 1933. Max was beaten in a world-famous boxing match by Joe Lewis in 1938. He had previously beaten Joe Lewis in a big fight in 1936.




Another interesting part of this story is that Anny was said to have been married to director Carl Lamac in the early 1930s, but there seem to be no accurate dates of their marriage or divorce. She married Schmeling in 1933 but continued to be directed by Carl Lamac.


In 1929 Hitchcock made a silent film with Anny in England, titled The Manxman (1929).


Before and after that, Lamac made several films with Anny in Germany and Czechoslovakia.


It's amazing to me that somehow Lamac got away from the Germans and wound up in England during the war, while Anny survived in and around Germany, and survived past the Nazi era and retired in Germany with her husband.


It seems to me that this story would make a good film biography. This was really big-time news stuff back in those days.


Here?s Anny at a reception with her husband and Hitler, a few years after they were married.:




So, back to my original question: How did Director Carl Lamac get away from Germany and the Nazis and into England by 1943, where he made anti-Nazi movies?


Has anyone here ever seen any Carl Lamac films??


Has anyone seen any Anny Ondra films other than Blackmail??

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}Thanks for the information.


> They seem like naturals for bio-pix. :)


> Here are some clips on YouTube:


> His name was also spelled: Karel Lamac.


> There seem to be a lot of old German movies from the 1930s that are available on DVD in the original language, but with no English track or titles:


> Der Hund von Baskerville (1936/37):

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4F1QLRNF2s


> Der Zinker (1931)

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip5_Lxqy69g&feature=relmfu


> Die vom Rummelplatz (AKA: Das Micky Maus Girl), Anny Ondra directed by Carl Lamac, 1930:

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy1D5V3-D1k



Information about Lamac at this Czech site (in English):



That article above contains a link that is about his 1943 film "Schweik's New Adventures/It Started at Night" that features a young Richard Attenborough: http://www.cyranos.ch/schwej-e.htm


Another Czech site (in English) mentions Lamac and Anny Ondra (Anny Ondrakova, her birth name):



Article about Czech cinematographer Otto Heller, who worked with Lamac, and Ondra, and who managed to end up in England like Lamac did:



The article above states that: "Otto Heller, actress Anny Ondra [Anny Ondráková, 1902-87], director Karel [Carl] Lamač [1887-1952] and writer Václav Wasserman [1898-1967] were called the 'Great Four of Czech Film'."


I imagine the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London in 1940 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovak_Government-in-Exile) had something to do with helping Lamac get to England.


Yes, Germans and Czechs watch old classic movies too.

And obviously the film industries of those countries in the 1920s and 1930s were very good.

Anyway, many of them are aired on TV in those countries today.

Many Czech film people like Lamac worked out of Berlin and they made films in German and in Czech. Or they made films in Czech and dubbed them in German. Or vice versa.

Important to realize that in those days German was still regarded as the language of "culture" in many parts of Eastern Europe.

Poland and Romania were exceptions. The French influence in Poland going back to Napoleon meant that French was often the second language of the upper classes there. In Romania, it was Italian due to Romania being a part of the Roman Empire at one time.

Elsewhere educated people generally knew German as a second language.

Also, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Crotia, etc., all had belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire where German was an important language to know.

Anyway, so Czechs often knew German and could work in Germany as well as in Czechoslovakia.


The Czechs had a very good film industry going in those days with many talented people.

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Fedya, thanks for the information from you and RM. That helps me, since I've been researching film clips of his and Anny's. I'll read over RM's links tomorrow.



Anny was so cute, and Carl Lamac seems to have been a good director of both drama and comedies.


This is Anny and Carl (as the professor), being directed by their friend, Martin Fric:



Here is more from:

Die vom Rummelplatz 2



Die vom Rummelplatz 3



Die vom Rummelplatz 4



On a jeho sestra 2 I think this is in the Czech language:



On a jeho sestra 5 (same song?):



Polsk? krev 4


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Yep, Anny Ondra was a major film star in Europe in the 1920's and 1930's.

She mainly did comedies but also musicals.

Too bad her accent kept her out of English-language films.

Hitchcock tried to introduce her to English-speaking audiences with "The Manxman" (silent film) and "Blackmail" (silent and sound), but her accent was too heavy (for the standard at the time, today her accent might not matter so much?).

BTW, Hitchcock would have known her from his "apprenticeship" period in Berlin in 1924/25 when he basically watched greats like F.W. Murnau make movies. Hitchcock's first (completed) film as director, "The Pleasure Garden" was made from the UFA Studios in Berlin, for example.


Edited by: RMeingast on Nov 4, 2012 12:37 AM

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}I would like to see all of the 1930s German films that are still available.


> Here is Hitchcock with Anny Ondra on the set of Blackmail, 1929:



Well, depending on how old you are, it might be a little late to start that. Germany had a large film industry and there were as many as 600 films a year made and there were at least some 230 film companies in Berlin alone during the Weimar Period. So during the 1930s in the Weimar Period and under the Nazis, you're talking about many hundreds, if not thousands of films. Libraries of books have been written about the films.

I mean, you're talking about something similar to the amount of classic films shown on TCM and made by Hollywood.


I don't know how old you are, but if you watched films 24/7/365 it might take you a year or so to see all of them (maybe less, but that's every hour of every day watching movies).


Of course, North Americans are only familiar with a relatively small number that have been cherry-picked by critics in the English-language speaking world. For Americans, it'd be like if Chinese or some other nationality picked a small number of movies as representative of all Hollywood films.

They would certainly miss an awful lot of Hollywood films, for example.


But anyway, good luck!


Wiki has a list of "notable" films that you can check out:






It would be best if you knew German and could read German articles on their films and film history, of course, as well as watching the films in German. Otherwise, to use an example, it would be like Chinese reading what Chinese scholars thought about Hollywood films, rather than reading what Americans thought about Hollywood films.


As for "Blackmail," that was a British film from 1929.

The first full-length British sound film: http://explore.bfi.org.uk/4ce2b6a55273b

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>Well, depending on how old you are, it might be a little late to start that.


That's not a polite thing to say to and old guy.


I suppose I should just give up trying to watch German films in the time I have left. I hope I can make it to The Grapes of Wrath tomorrow.

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