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Anton Walbrook

A Life of Masks and Mirrors

Series:

James Downs

Viennese-born actor Adolf Wohlbrück enjoyed huge success on both stage and screen in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, becoming one of the first truly international stars. After leaving Nazi Germany for Hollywood in 1936, he changed his name to Anton Walbrook and then settled in Britain, where he won filmgoers’ hearts with his portrayal of Prince Albert in two lavish biopics of Queen Victoria. Further film success followed with Dangerous Moonlight and Gaslight, several collaborations with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger – including his striking performance as Lermontov in The Red Shoes – and later work with Max Ophuls and Otto Preminger.

Despite great popularity and a prolifi c career of some forty films, alongside theatre, radio and television work, Walbrook was an intensely private individual who kept much of his personal life hidden from view. His reticence created an aura of mystery and «otherness» about him, which coloured both his acting performances and the way he was perceived by the public – an image that was reinforced in Britain by his continental background.

Remarkably, this is the first full-length biography of Walbrook, drawing on over a decade of extensive archival research to document his life and acting career.

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Contents

Extract



List of Illustrations

Introduction and Acknowledgements

Part I   Wohlbrück

CHAPTER 1Circuses, Cloisters and Barbed Wire: Early Years, 1896–1919

CHAPTER 2‘I suppose one doesn’t count as a human being withouta uniform.’ Stage, Silence and Sound, 1920–1932

CHAPTER 3‘You underestimate the lion.’ Stardom and Society, 1933–1934

CHAPTER 4‘Sentimental Dreamer … one cannot change one’s own skin.’Filmmaking under the New Regime, 1934–1935

CHAPTER 5‘Will take the next ship … Useless to stop us.’ Leaving Germanyfor Hollywood, 1935–1936

Part II   Walbrook

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