William Dieterle

Director, Actor, Producer
Joined Max Reinhardt's theater company in Berlin after WWI and appeared in numerous silent films from 1921. Dieterle began directing two years later, starring in many of his own features, including his first, 1923's ... Read more »
Born: 07/14/1893 in Germany

Filmography

Director (36)

The Confession 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Omar Khayyam 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Elephant Walk 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

Portrait of Jennie 1947 (Movie)

(Director)

This Love of Ours 1945 (Movie)

(Director)

The Devil and Daniel Webster 1940 (Movie)

(Director)

Juarez 1939 (Movie)

(Director)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1938 (Movie)

(Director)

Blockade 1937 (Movie)

(Director)

The Great O'Malley 1936 (Movie)

(Director)

The Life of Emile Zola 1936 (Movie)

(Director)

Satan Met a Lady 1935 (Movie)

(Director)

The Story of Louis Pasteur 1935 (Movie)

(Director)

A Midsummer Night's Dream 1934 (Movie)

(Director)

A Dispatch from Reuters (Movie)

(Director)

Adorable (Movie)

(Director)

Another Dawn (Movie)

(Director)

Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (Movie)

(Director)

Dr. Socrates (Movie)

(Director)

Fashions of 1934 (Movie)

(Director)

Fog over Frisco (Movie)

(Director)

From Headquarters (Movie)

(Director)

Jewel Robbery (Movie)

(Director)

Kismet (Movie)

(Director)

Lawyer Man (Movie)

(Director)

Love Letters (Movie)

(Director)

Man Wanted (Movie)

(Director)

Red Mountain (Movie)

(Director)

Rope of Sand (Movie)

(Director)

September Affair (Movie)

(Director)

Syncopation (Movie)

(Director)

Tennessee Johnson (Movie)

(Director)

The Devil's in Love (Movie)

(Director)

The Searching Wind (Movie)

(Director)

The Secret Bride (Movie)

(Director)

The White Angel (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (1)

Faust 1926 (Movie)

Valentine--Marguerite's Brother (Actor)
Producer (1)

Syncopation (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

Joined Max Reinhardt's theater company in Berlin after WWI and appeared in numerous silent films from 1921. Dieterle began directing two years later, starring in many of his own features, including his first, 1923's "Der Mensch am Wege". (His costar--in her debut leading role--was Marlene Dietrich.)

Dieterle moved to Hollywood in 1930, working for Warner Bros. for a decade and starting out with a stunning series of medium scale "A" films and plenty of fine programmers. Indeed, although he made more "important" films later, some historians rate Dieterle's finest period as between 1931 and 1934. His moving "The Last Flight" (1931) was one of the definitive portraits of the "lost generation" of the 1920s, "Jewel Robbery" (1932) was imitation Lubitsch frippery of a very high order, and "Fog Over Frisco" (1934) has developed a cult following for its incredibly fast pace and technical bravura in telling a fairly standard crime story.

As his successes continued, Dieterle became more of a prestige director, proving himself particularly adept at adding vigor to dignified biopics ("The Story of Louis Pasteur" 1935, "The Life of Emile Zola" 1937, "Juarez" 1939). His 1939 adaptation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) for RKO was easily the finest adaptation to date of the classic Victor Hugo story, and Dieterle scored with another winning adaptation when he made the marvelous "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941) from the Stephen Vincent Benet tale. From 1942 to 1957 he worked for numerous studios before briefly returning to Europe to make several films, and there was a gradual decline in the general quality of his work. Easily Dieterle's finest film from his later period was the delicate yet beautifully handled romantic fantasy "Portrait of Jennie" (1948), but he also did well with the Ginger Rogers-Joseph Cotten wartime romance "I'll Be Seeing You" (1944). Dieterle's wife, Charlotte Hagenbruch, scripted several of his early German productions.

Relationships

Charlotte Hagenbruch

Wife

EDUCATION

attended theater school in Manheim, Germany

Milestones

1958

Returned to Germany

1931

Hollywood English-language directing debut, "The Last Flight"

1930

Moved to US; directed German-language versions of three Hollywood films

1923

Film directing and writing debut (also actor), "Der Mensch am Wege"; co-starring Marlene Dietrich

1921

Feature film acting debut in "Die Geier-Wally"

1918

Joined Max Reinhardt in Berlin

1913

Short film acting debut in "Fiesko"

Bonus Trivia

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Dieterle's trademark while directing was that he always wore gloves on the set.

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