Richard Oswald

Richard Oswald

Additional Names: Richard W. Ornstein (Geburtsname)
Darsteller, Regie, Drehbuch, Produzent, Produktionsleitung
*05.11.1880 Wien, Österreich; †11.09.1963 Düsseldorf

Biography

Richard Oswald was born November 5, 1880 in Vienna. Son to a wealthy businessman, he pursued a career in the theatre, and from 1907 on, he was writing and directing plays in Vienna. After falling victim to Anti-Semitic attacks, he moved to Düsseldorf and worked as an stage actor. In 1911, he appeared in two films of Reinhard Bruck and subsequently established himself as a successful writer for the new medium with the crime caper "Der Hund von Baskerville".

In the wake of WWI, Oswald debuted as a director and his feature "Das eiserne Kreuz" marked the first of many encounters with state censorship. He was hired as a director and author by the Greenbaum-Film GmbH, where he continued his popular "Baskerville"-series. He created the character of German detective Engelbert Fox and directed "Hoffmans Erzählungen", which saw the screen debut of Werner Krauß.

In 1916, Oswald founded the Richard Oswald-Film-Gesellschaft, which produced and released literature adaptations and detective stories under the label "Das unheimliche Haus" (The Haunted House). Based on an idea by Lupu Pick, the feature "Es werde Licht!" became the first of Oswald's "Aufklärungsfilme" – films that explicitly deal with sex-oriented themes and intermingle genre entertainment with public education and socially and politically progressive agenda –, which would become his most successful as well as controversial asset over the next years. These films, which were frequently cast with daring actors like Anita Berber, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauß and Reinhold Schünzel, included "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen", "Dida Ibsens Geschichte" and, most importantly, "Anders als die Anderen", the first motion picture ever to address and condemn the public defamation and prosecution of homosexuals.

Apart from these widely discussed works, Oswald also enjoyed success with more conventional works like "Jettchen Geberts Geschichte", "Die Arche" and "Lady Hamilton", a historical epic which played extremely well in foreign markets.

In 1919, Oswald expanded by opening the Richard-Oswald-Lichtspiele, his own movie theatre in Berlin. Following several flops, his production company had to cope with severe financial problems in the mid-1920s and eventually went bankrupt in 1926. Nevertheless, Oswald remained as busy as ever, producing and directing for other companies like Heinrich Nebenzahl's newly founded Nero Film.

Alternating between popular romps like "Wir sind vom K.uK. Infanterieregiment" and risk-taking dramas like "Feme", which was viciously attacked by the political right, Oswald almost effortlessly made the transition to sound film, his first talkie "Wien, du Stadt der Lieder" proving to be a big success.

Also he remained an expert in delivering entertaining film operettas, comedies and sentimental love stories, his lasting fame as a director in the sound era was again build on three features which expressed his other, far more challenging approach to filmmaking: "Dreyfus", an early court room drama taking on Anti-Semitism and socio-political hypocrisy; "1914-Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand", which re-imagined the the circumstances leading to WWI and caused a censorship scandal, and "Der Hauptmann von Köpenick", a satirical adaptation of Carl Zuckmayer's famous play.

In 1933, the premiere of Oswald's music film "Ein Lied geht um die Welt", featuring Jewish star tenor Joseph Schmidt, was attended by the Nazi-Regime's new Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Still, among the first films to be banned in Nazi-Germany was Oswald's "Ganovenehre" and consequently, Oswald emigrated and finally arrived in the USA in 1930. Like many artists forced into exile, he had a hard time adapting to the Hollywood Studio System and could therefore never achieve the success he had experienced in Germany. One of the few projects he managed to realize was the con-man comedy "The Loveable Cheat", starring fellow emigrant Curt Bois and cinema legend Buster Keaton in minor parts.

While Richard Oswald dabbled in television, his old sound films were re-released in West-Germany. During his travels through Europe, Richard Oswald died in Düsseldorf on September 11, 1963. His son, Gerd Oswald (1919-1989), established himself successfully as a producer and director in Hollywood.

Filmography

1949 The Lovable Cheat
Director, Producer
 
1945 I Was a Criminal
Director
 
1937/1938 Tempete sur l'Asie
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1936 Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben
Director, Screenplay
 
1934 Bleeke Bet
Director, Producer
 
1933/1934 Wenn du jung bist, gehört dir die Welt
Creative supervisor
 
1933 Abenteuer am Lido
Director
 
1933 Ein Lied geht um die Welt
Director, Producer
 
1932/1933 Die Blume von Hawaii
Director, Producer
 
1932 Unheimliche Geschichten
Director, Producer
 
1932 Gräfin Mariza
Director, Producer
 
1932 Ganovenehre. Ein Film aus der Berliner Unterwelt
Director, Producer
 
1931 Viktoria und ihr Husar
Director, Producer
 
1931 Der Hauptmann von Köpenick
Director, Producer
 
1931 Arm wie eine Kirchenmaus
Director, Producer
 
1930/1931 Schuberts Frühlingstraum
Director, Producer
 
1930 Die zärtlichen Verwandten
Director, Producer
 
1930 Wien, du Stadt der Lieder
Director, Producer, Unit production manager
 
1930 Dreyfus
Director, Producer, Unit production manager
 
1930 "1914". Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand
Director, Producer
 
1929/1930 Alraune
Director, Producer
 
1929 Ehe in Not
Director
 
1929 Der Hund von Baskerville
Director
 
1929 Frühlings Erwachen. Eine Kindertragödie
Director, Producer
 
1929 Die Herrin und ihr Knecht
Director
 
1928/1929 Cagliostro
Director
 
1928 Villa Falconieri
Director, Producer
 
1927/1928 Die Rothausgasse
Director, Producer
 
1927/1928 Geächtet. Die Tragödie eines Homosexuellen
Director
 
1927 Dr. Bessels Verwandlung
Director, Producer
 
1927 Gesetze der Liebe
Director
 
1927 Feme
Director, Producer
 
1927 Gehetzte Frauen
Director, Producer
 
1927 Funkzauber. Ein Volksstück von der Liebe und des Rundfunks Wellen
Director, Producer
 
1926/1927 Lützows wilde verwegene Jagd
Director, Producer
 
1926/1927 Eine tolle Nacht
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1926 Im weißen Rößl
Director, Producer
 
1926 Wir sind vom K.u.K. Infanterie-Regiment
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1926 Dürfen wir schweigen?
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1926 Als ich wiederkam
Director, Producer
 
1925 Vorderhaus und Hinterhaus
Director, Screenplay
 
1925 Halbseide
Director, Screenplay
 
1925 Die Frau von vierzig Jahren
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1924 Lumpen und Seide
Director, Producer
 
1923/1924 Don Carlos und Elisabeth
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1922/1923 Paganini
Producer
 
1922/1923 Erdgeist
Producer
 
1922 Lucrezia Borgia
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1922 Die Dame und ihr Friseur
Producer
 
1921/1922 Das Logierhaus für Gentlemen
Producer
 
1921 Lady Hamilton
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1921 Das Haus in der Dragonergasse
Director, Producer
 
1921 Die goldene Pest
Producer
 
1921 Dr. Gyllenborgs doppeltes Gesicht
Producer
 
1920/1921 Die Liebschaften des Hektor Dalmore
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1920/1921 Ein Königsdrama
Director, Producer
 
1920 Die Geheimnisse von London. Die Tragödie eines Kindes
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1920 Das vierte Gebot
Director, Screenplay
 
1920 Manolescus Memoiren
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1920 Kurfürstendamm
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1920 Die Nacht auf Goldenhall
Producer
 
1919/1920 Der Reigen
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1919/1920 Nachtgestalten
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1919 Unheimliche Geschichten
Director, Screenplay, based on, Producer
 
1919 Wahnsinn
Producer
 
1919 Die Arche
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1919 Die letzten Menschen. Die Arche. 2. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1919 Die Prostitution, 2. Teil - Die sich verkaufen
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1919 Der Tod des andern
Screenplay
 
1918/1919 Anders als die Andern
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918/1919 Peer Gynts Jugend
Creative supervisor, Producer
 
1918/1919 Peer Gynts Wanderjahre und Tod
Creative supervisor, Producer
 
1918/1919 Die Prostitution, 1. Teil - Das gelbe Haus
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918/1919 Die Reise um die Erde in 80 Tagen
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Jettchen Geberts Geschichte. 2. Henriette Jacoby
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Sündige Mütter (Strafgesetz § 218). Es werde Licht! 4. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Jettchen Geberts Geschichte. 1. Jettchen Gebert
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Das Dreimäderlhaus. Schuberts Liebesroman
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Es werde Licht! 3. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Dida Ibsens Geschichte. Ein Finale zum "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" von Margarete Böhme
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Der lebende Leichnam
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1918 Die seltsame Geschichte des Baron Torelli
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917/1918 Es werde Licht! 2. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917/1918 Der ewige Zweifel
Director
 
1917/1918 Das Perlenhalsband
Director
 
1917/1918 Rennfieber
Director, Producer
 
1917 Hulda, die verloren gegangene Dame. Das unheimliche Haus 587. Teil
Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Des Goldes Fluch
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Das Kainszeichen
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Der Schloßherr von Hohenstein
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Der Weg ins Freie
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Die zweite Frau
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1917 Königliche Bettler
Director, Producer
 
1917 Der Tod des Baumeisters Olsen
Producer
 
1917 Die Seeschlacht
Director
 
1916/1917 Es werde Licht!
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Das unheimliche Haus
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Zirkusblut
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Der chinesische Götze. Das unheimliche Haus. 3. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Freitag, der 13. Das unheimliche Haus. 2. Teil
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Die Rache der Toten
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1916 Hoffmanns Erzählungen
Cast, Director, Screenplay, Unit production manager
 
1916 Seine letzte Maske
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1915 Und wandern sollst Du ruhelos
Director, Screenplay, Unit production manager
 
1915 Schlemihl
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Die verschleierte Dame
Director, Screenplay, Unit production manager
 
1915 Die silberne Kugel
Director, Unit production manager
 
1915 Der Hund von Baskerville: Die Sage vom Hund von Baskerville
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Der Fund im Neubau
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Dämon und Mensch
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Der Hund von Baskerville: Das unheimliche Zimmer
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Das Laster
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 Hampels Abenteuer
Director, Screenplay
 
1915 So rächt sich die Sonne
Screenplay
 
1915 Die Goldfelder von Jacksonville
Screenplay
 
1914 Die Geschichte der stillen Mühle
Director, Screenplay
 
1914 Detektiv Braun
Screenplay
 
1914 Ivan Koschula
Director, Screenplay
 
1914 Das eiserne Kreuz
Director, Screenplay
 
1914 Der Hund von Baskerville: Das einsame Haus
Screenplay
 
1914 Wollen Sie meine Tochter heiraten?
Screenplay
 
1914 Der Hund von Baskerville
Screenplay
 
1914 Lache, Bajazzo!
Director, Screenplay
 
1914 Sein eigner Mörder
Screenplay
 
1914 Sie kann nicht nein sagen
Screenplay
 
1911 Zouza
Cast
 
1911 Halbwelt
Cast
 

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