Bismarck (1940)

Directed by: Wolfgang Liebeneiner
Produced by: Heinrich Jonen (executive producer)
Willi Wiesner (executive producer)
Written by: Rolf Lauckner, Wolfgang Liebeneiner
Music by: Norbert Schultze
Cinematography: Bruno Mondi
Edited by: Walter von Bonhorst
Release dates: 1940
Running time: 118 minutes

Starring:

Paul Hartmann: Otto von Bismarck
Friedrich Kayßler: King Wilhelm I
Lil Dagover: Empress Eugénie
Käthe Haack: Johanna von Bismarck
Maria Koppenhöfer: Queen Augusta
Walter Franck: Emperor Napoleon III
Ruth Hellberg: Crown princess Victoria
Werner Hinz: Crown prince Friedrich
Margret Militzer: Countess Marie von Bismarck
Karl Schönböck: Emperor Franz Joseph
Günther Hadank: Minister Moltke
Hellmuth Bergmann: Minister von Roon
Karl Haubenreißer: Dr. Rudolf Virchow
Otto Gebühr: King of Saxony
Jaspar von Oertzen: Prince Friedrich Karl
Harald Paulsen: Benedetti
Karl Meixner: Loewe
Hans Junkermann: Field Marshal Wrangel
Otto Graf: Mr. von Keudell
Franz Schafheitlin: Fürst Metternich
Bruno Hübner: Count Rechberg
Paul Hoffmann: Count von Blome
Otto Stoeckel: Prime Minister Beust
Otto Below: Lothar Bucher
Eduard von Winterstein: General von Manstein
Karl Fochler: Graf Karolyi
Wilhelm P. Krüger: Lackey Kuhn

Summary:

Bismarck stars Paul Hartmann (Ich klage an) as Otto von Bismarck, the creator of Germany’s Second Reich following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. It follows the Prussian chancellor’s fortunes up to the founding of the German Empire in 1871. The film was directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner (Ich klage an) and co-stars Friedrich Kayssler as Wilhelm I and Lil Dagover as Eugénie.

Ufa, Germany’s leading studio, produced the picture as one of their Staatsauftragsfilme (“state-produced films”), which indicated overt political content. Similarities between Bismarck, the architect of the Second German Reich, and Adolf Hitler, who created the Third Reich, are underscored throughout, but as all countries produce hagiographic works on their founding fathers, one is ill-advised to dismiss treatments of Frederick the Great or Bismarck with the pejorative label “propaganda” unless one is prepared to do the same with pictures about Washington or Lincoln.

Bismarck’s sumptuous production values made it the second most popular film made during the Third Reich. Only Veit Harlan’s Der grosse König, a profile of Frederick the Great starring Otto Gebühr, achieved greater success; Die Entlassung (The Dismissal) and Herbert Maisch’s Friedrich Schiller, the third and fourth most popular, were also lavish, celebratory biographies. The picture was a huge hit in Germany, earning almost 2 000 000 Reichsmark. Dr. Goebbels’ propaganda ministry quickly commissioned a sequel, the superior Die Entlassung (The Dismissal), released the following year. Also directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, it starred the always-superb Emil Jannings as an elderly Otto von Bismarck.

Bismarck

One comment on “Bismarck (1940)

  1. Senatssekretär FREISTAAT DANZIG says:

    Reblogged this on Aussiedlerbetreuung und Behinderten – Fragen and commented:
    Weltbewegend und auch einen riesigen Dank an mein Volk, siehe Leben, als Nachkriegskind und da immer noch nicht ausgestorben! Glück, Auf, meine Heimat!

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