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Lucie Höflich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lucie Höflich
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-U0920-507, Lucie Höflich.jpg
Höflich as Viola in Twelfth Night in 1907
Helene Lucie von Holwede

(1883-02-20)20 February 1883
Died9 October 1956(1956-10-09) (aged 73)
  • Actress
  • teacher

Lucie Höflich (born Helene Lucie von Holwede; 20 February 1883 – 9 October 1956) was a German actress, teacher and head of the Staatliche Schauspielschule (State Drama School) in Berlin.[1][2] In 1937 she was named the Staats-Schauspielerin (State Actress) and in 1953 she was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz.[3]

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TARTUFFE, the lost film In 1922, a four volume edition of Molière's comedies was published in Munich. In the same year, Eugen Klöpfer appeared in Max Reinhardt's production of TARTUFFE, and Richard Oswald commissioned Carl Mayer to draft a script version of TARTUFFE, which Mayer completed in January of 1923. But Ufa could not decide to produce the movie. Emil Jannings was very interested in the role of Tartuffe. He loved historical costumes and his passion was the Costume film. Then, the producer Erich Pommer resolved to make the film. Ufa got the script in November, 1924 and announced shooting. Murnau, already preparing his FAUST, was suddenly at the centre of this new project and started work, determined to see the production through. In the programme for the premiere he wrote: ''A Carl Mayer manuscript always interests me.'' However, Edgar G. Ulmer went on to say in an interview: ''After THE LAST LAUGH, Murnau wanted to make FAUST, but before he could, he had to complete TARTUFFE against his will. Ufa already had Jannings for TARTUFFE, and Jannings meant commercial success.'' Prior to this, the producer Pommer had relieved Murnau of VAUDEVILLE, another movie with Jannings, which Murnau wanted to direct, but ultimately the movie was given to Ewald André Dupont. According to Theodore Huff, Pommer gave preference to Dupont because the story was ''too sexy for Murnau'', a euphemism, clearly showing he believed that homosexuals like Murnau were unable to convey heterosexual passion. Murnau was also not on best terms with the other Ufa executives. On January 21, 1925, Murnau wrote to Pommer, stating that Ufa executive Felix Kallmann had said he had not liked THE LAST LAUGH as the main character was an old man and the movie lacked intertitles. Kallmann had actually had intertitles made for THE LAST LAUGH and the film passed censorship approval at the end of January. At this time, Murnau was preparing TARTUFFE, which was to be filmed between February and April, and reworking Mayer's script. Murnau had two editions of the script: one, which Lotte H. Eisner submitted to the Cinemathèque Française, had hand written comments by Murnau. In the second, later edition, part of Murnau's estate and housed at the Berlin Film Museum, Murnau had entered these comments, adding further comments. Mayer had freely reworked Molière's original. In the programme for the premiere, he explained it as follows: "This is lessa cinematic rendition of the play,we have rather used Molière's wonderful Tartuff emotif as the basis for a movie." In the original version of the play, Elmire's husband, Orgón, had children from a first marriage. The hypocrite Tartuffe persuades Orgón to disown and disinherit the children in favour of him. Tartuffe also wishes to marry Orgón's daughter. Elmire sets a trap for Tartuffe, and Orgón hiding under the table watches him trying to seduce his wife. Tartuffe is able to further blackmail and pressurize until it transpires that he is a criminal. Mayer drops characters and situations, including Orgón's children and the mother. And this is the story in the film: Elmire awaits the return of Orgón. But when he appears in the doorway, he refuses to kiss her, because -according to Tartuffe- it is to sin. Tartuffe, a hypocrite, moves into the house and gradually takes over everything, splitting the couple with religious Puritanism. Elmire sets a trap, starts flirting with him, while her husband watches from behind a curtain in disbelief. Tartuffe senses he is being watched and pretends he feels nothing for Elmire. The totally distraught Elmire arranges to meet him in her room at night, and Orgón witnesses Tartuffe lowering his ''mask'', attempting to seduce his wife. In the prologue and epilogue, Mayer introduces a contemporary story with a person very similar to Tartuffe: a housekeeper attempts to convince her master to disinherit his grandson and to leave everything to her. But the grandson disguises himself, enters the house and presents a film about Tartuffe. In the epilogue, the grandson discovers the housekeeper is poisoning his grandfather and he throws her out. The finished film presents this story. But the main story in Mayer's script was different. Murnau's changes were radical. In the original script, Elmire returns from a trip and talks about Tartuffe with her servant, Dorine, and discovers he is a guest in her home. Later, Elmire meets her husband in the library. Elmire asks him to kiss her, but Orgón his head in his books responds with confusing and disappointing words: "only in renunciation liestrue happiness-soteaches Tartuffe" Murnau replaces this sentence with : "To kiss is to sin-so teaches my friend Tartuffe" There are photos of these scenes. Murnau also shot this version. Here, we see Elmire dressed in a cloak and hat, as Murnau had her in his notes. Murnau decided to shoot a second version, which ultimately reached cinemas, in which as in Molière's play Orgón returns from a trip and greets Elmire outside. Therefore, the story begins with Orgón's arrival and his refusal to kiss Elmire. ''Elmire, if you knew how happy I am!'' ''Then kiss me!'' "To kiss is to sin -so teaches my friend Tartuffe." ''Tartuffe who is your friend Tartuffe?'' This scene becomes the key to the story: Elmire, left by Orgón, who-due to Tartuffe's eccentric religious ideas- no longer wishes to sleep with her, tries to win him back. ''I do not recognize him.'' ''It's like a religious mania.'' ''I'll bring him to his senses I'll give him a piece of my mind.'' The central Tartuffe theme is religion as an instrument of sexual suppression. Atypical topic for Murnau and one that features in many of his films. In his attack against religion, Murnau goes much further than Mayer or Molière. In the US, the censors had a field day: A quote from " Variety" : ''This picture will prove the delight of the censors. By the time they are finished cutting the suggestive scenes there may be 35 minutes of film left. A degenerate priest trying to ''make'' his benefactor's beautiful wife should go especially well in Catholic districts.'' Comparing the US version to other surviving material, we can reconstruct several cuts made by the censors. Dorine discovers a prayer book in the pocket of Tartuffe's robe ... ... and, in another pocket ... a second prayer book. The American censors edited out the crucifixes and the books that Dorine appears to be laughing about. The other cut is more important: After spying on Elmire and Tartuffe, Orgón leaves the room certain his friend is innocent and almost divine. But Tartuffe knows Orgón has spied on him and tries to benefit from Orgón's guilt. In the first frame, Orgón looks up into the sky, aping Tartuffe... ... in the improved scenes shot later, he looks down, demonstrating his guilt vis à vis the irreproachable Tartuffe. This is very clearly an intervention by the censors. This is where the scene ends in the American version. Here we see the missing fragment: ''Oh, my brother, only now do I truly know what you are to me '' '' Why only now?'' Why did the censors dislike this scene? They were unhappy that an apparently pious man could deceive, control and steal with hypocritical humility. Viewers do not yet know that Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite and would feel anticlerical. Feelings that Tartuffe evoked in every performance. Therefore, Molière after his first version was banned emphasized that Tartuffe was not truly pious. ''Who tempted you to eavesdrop?'' '' Nobody '' ''Not Elmire?!'' ''No!'' "Truly?!" ''I alone gave into temptation!'' The subtext of this scene is quite clear: the hypocrite profits from the guilt of believers. We understand that, basically, religion is a business and morality a universal cure that draws the money out of our pockets. ''As a punishment, you will transfer your entire fortune '' "to me to freely pass on to the poor!" This scene is very important and Murnau added it to the script by hand. He turns a comic, almost mischievous Mayer scene- where Tartuffe demands 3000 thalers from Orgón for the poor to redeem his sin- into a far more dramatic scene in which Tartuffe forces him to change his will, hence relieving him of everything. Murnau turned against religion, because due to his homosexuality he felt suppressed and persecuted by the Church. Helene Luckow, daughter of the film architect Robert Herlth: ''And how he lived was the exact antithesis of the Church, well, he really couldn't have he would have had to keep it very secret.'' Concealing his sexuality would have been hypocrisy and the only sentence in the film from Molière's play is about this hypocrisy. In Molière's play, it says ''Sinning in silence is not sinning'' and in the German translation from 1922: "Hence he does not sin, he who sins in secret. "As in the film itself: "Who sins in secret, does not sin!" Murnau underlines ''secret'' in the script. The sentence was cut by Austrian censors. Sexual hypocrisy was a major issue for Murnau. This Jacques Leman print, where Tartuffe gives Dorine a handkerchief to cover the breasts that excite him ... ... becomes the model for a comic scene in which Orgón Removes a provocative statue. The scene with the handkerchief does not appear in the film, although Tartuffe's obsession with breasts does... ... and Elmire's legs. Lil Dagover had slightly crooked legs and a double had to be found for these scenes. The legs belonged to Camilla Horn, who a few months later played Gretchen in Murnau's FAUST. She was prepared for this role by Dorine from TARTUFFE, Lucie Höflich, who had played Gretchen for Max Reinhardt. Murnau transformed TARTUFFE into a film about sexual desire. Desire sets everything in motion: Tartuffe's libido, which ultimately ensures he loses. And the pressure that Elmire is under... In this frame, Tartuffe stares directly at Elmire's breasts. "Dear Lady--" "- Heaven sent me to you --" In these other, slightly more funny scenes, he is content with swatting her chest with the prayer book, looking into her eyes. Here, we see Murnau directing the comic scene. This very dramatic and confined atmosphere allowed little scope for humour. A quote from " Variety" : ''But French humour, seen through German eyes, and finally placed before an American public is bound to suffer in the process.'' In reality, Murnau's TARTUFFE is not very French. Edgar Ulmer recounts: ''TARTUFFE is very German, playing in Prussia at the time of Frederic the Great.'' When we see the model of Orgón's palace, we see that it was inspired by the French style Sanssouci, which Frederic the Great built in Potsdam. And in the drawings of the set designer, Robert Herlth, we in turn find they were modelled on Sanssouci. The set designers Robert Herlth and Walter Röhrig used drawings by Adolf von Menzel, Frederic the Great's court painter. And they were also influenced by Daniel Chodowiecki. Murnau wanted to achieve a French Rococo style ... and was influenced by French paintings such as ''Woman seals a letter'' by Chardin, in Berlin. Murnau took the religious hypocrite, exuding his sanctimoniousness, from the 1874 oil, ''The Grey Eminence'' by Jean Lèon Gèrome. He also drew on this drawing by Steinlen, published in Simplicissimus. And tried to get closer to the original Tartuffe... According to Ulmer, Murnau was fearful and unsure: "There is a Tartuffe standard you must respect that of the Comédie Française." Tartuffe has been taken from this picture by Edmond Geffroy at the Comèdie Française in Paris. Murnau also oriented himself on the 19th C. illustration by Jacques Leman and Maurice Leloir. In his house in Berlin, Murnau had an edition of Molière's comedies with prints by Tony Johannot, published in Munich in 1922. We do not know which other books the set designers used. Helene Luckow: ''Well, he used, above all, books when he made costumes, he also made costumes for many films. So, he also had lots of books, about costume design.'' Murnau's library was in part destroyed in Tahiti as was, in the war, that of Robert Herlth. ''My parents took everything out, because of the bombing and hardly anything remained, it was all destroyed, the pictures survived because they were kept in the shed, the house burned down and everything in the house was gone.'' Murnau was very pedantic and checked every detail: He insisted that Tartuffe held his book in his left hand. Precise instructions for the costumes. The yellow dress for Elmire. He accurately describes Tartuffe's breakfast: Fried potatoes Whipped cream 5 lamb ribs Fruit Jams Baked chicken giblets. Alexandre Astruc reports: ''Lil Dagover... told me how Murnau very precisely ensured that even the smallest details were as requested and insisted on every singles mall accessory for the scene, silver ware or cutlery." Robert Herlth wrote in a letter to Lotte Eisner: Rooms were small and round, cream white and smooth, plainly painted. Ledges were hand crafted and the iron banisters were hand made by blacksmiths. The selection of actors was wonderful. Emil Jannings' performance was reminiscent of his competitor and friend, Eugen Klöpfer. Murnau noted in the script: Tartuffe always pessimistic, almost evil, distant. Jannings compared his role to Rasputin: The powerful, mysterious... taking control, bearing down on his surroundings, like the living dead. Jannings deeply and thoroughly immersed himself into the eerie personality. In 1925, he said himself: ''My wife was happy TARTUFFE was finished. I returned home in such a mood, I was so unbearable, the entire house suffered.'' Jannings had only recently married the actress Gussy Holl... ... and had been married to Lucie Höflich, whose Dorine is wonderful. Werner Krauss is a disheartened Orgón. He had worked with Murnau in 1922, on THE BURNING SOIL. And Lil Dagover had also worked with Murnau, on PHANTOM, and like Murnau she felt drawn to magic and the occult. Lil Dagover appreciated the intelligence of her role. ''Elmire knows she is a woman and uses the weapons only women have: cunning and coquetry.'' According to Murnau's recordings, the main roles, and Rosa Valetti as the old man's fraudulent housekeeper were clear from the very start. Hermann Picha was his second choice... ... and we see that Murnau did not find an actor for the grandson, considering Hermann Thimig and other young actors, before choosing Andrè Mattoni, who he met through the director Rochus Gliese. In November, 1924, while Murnau was editing THE LAST LAUGH, Gliese was making a film with Mattoni, DIE GEFUNDENE BRAUT. Murnau and Gliese were good friends and Murnau visited the set, meeting Mattoni. Rochus Gliese frequently worked as a set designer for Murnau and they jointly wrote the script for the film COMEDY OF THE HEART, which Gliese directed. The cameraman for TARTUFFE was Karl Freund, having made THE LAST LAUGH with Murnau and Jannings. In 1929, Freund reports in ''Close Up'' magazine: ''The beginning and the end I took in the modern style, allowing the artist no make up, and using ''angles''; while the middle section is soft focus, gauzed and artificial.'' The "angles", a fashionable term at the time, Describes an unusual camera position such as in the case of these shoes. Murnau conceived the camera settings and studied the movements of his actors using little sketches, which he drew from the sets. Shooting began in February 1925 in Studio 1 at Tempelhof. The entire set was constructed in a false perspective so that it appeared to be much larger than it was. Murnau had already used this technique in THE LAST LAUGH for example, in the hotel restaurant. The actors stood on a platform ... and behind them, the extras moved around in front of a curtain on which even more extras were painted... The ceiling was a painted surface... The vanishing points of the elements did not correspond. In the fore ground, we see the actors here... ... and the background with the painted figures... ... and the ceiling as an optical illusion. Once again, Murnau worked with surfaces and false perspective in TARTUFFE. The false perspective created differing vanishing points. Or impossible vanishing points. First the present-time scenes were filmed. Murnau, under the critical eye of his young assistant, Erich Holder, explains to Rosa Valetti how she has to shave Hermann Picha. Using mercury tubes with green light, Karl Freund provided the lighting and shoots using a French Pathè Industriel camera. During this time, Murnau reworked the main story within the script and filmed it between March and April, 1925. The final edited version was finished in early May. On May 16, the film composer, Giuseppe Becce, announced that he had started his work, which he had 4 months to complete. The film was passed by the censors under the title ''Herr Tartüff'', but premiered in Berlin in January, 1926, On the occasion of the unveiling of the luxurious Gloria Palast cinema. An elaborate programme was published and figurines were produced, of which three pairs were raffled off among the audience after each show. Every day at five, the viewers were offered free tea. Of the accompanying music, composed by Giuseppe Becce, a piano score still exists. The lost score included a particularly dramatic trick. The leitmotif for TARTUFFE was the chorus ''Vom Himmel hoch...'' and the oscillations generated by the music conveyed Tartuffe's varying mood swings to the audience. Theo Matejko designed the poster... ... and the film was distributed throughout the world between 1925 and 1928. The lost negative Not a single original negative of TARTUFFE has survived. But four copies, originating from three different negatives, survive in various archives. One at Gosfilmofond in Moscow, which the Soviets confiscated from the Ufa archives in Berlin in 1945, which has German intertitles added in the 1960s. Two are held by the Cinèmathèque Suisse in Lausanne, one of which has Spanish intertitles and originates from Argentina... ... and an extremely incomplete, two language, German and French, version from the original Swiss distribution company. The Library of Congress in Washington also had a copy with English intertitles, one of the initial distribution in the United States. This copy is currently in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin. This version of the US negative, dated 1928, also has texts, which were made only for the US and which are very similar to the original German titles. Below, we see the modern intertitles, which were added to the Russian copy. All texts were copied in English. The lack of this scene in the Russian copy shows that it was not made using the German negative, but using an export negative. All scenes with text were added to the Russian copy after the war and came from a lost copy. The double filmed frames clearly show that this is a copy. And the intertitles have also been added, copied from the censor card, but do not correspond to the original graphic design. The Argentinian copy was made in 1928 using the same export negative, containing the original Argentinian intertitles. Neither of these copies was created using the German negative. Nor was the Swiss copy, whose negative shows scenes in French. This is a negative that was manufactured for France. The scene with the poison bottle was actually shot for the American version, but then included in the French and replaced by an intertitle in the American. On the left, we see the French version, the American on the right and the export negative below. We see errors in all the negatives, the German negative, which is of the best quality, has disappeared, and the American version is the best of the surviving negatives. In the export version, Tartuffe exits the picture and it would appear that he will not be returning. In the export version, Elmire serves the sugar with her left hand. And the scene in which she puts the sugar down is repeated. She puts the sugar on the tray... ... and puts it down again. In the French version, Tartuffe does not succeed in disrobing Elmire. In the export version, Orgón's cramped hands disappear. Here, a frame is missing in the American version ... ... and in the French version,the same frame is repeated. The export version initially seems better, but on closer inspection, we see that one frame is duplicated from the French version. Maybe Jannings just didn't allow himself to be slapped in the face often enough to provide sufficient frames for all versions. Maybe he just didn't like the fact that his ex wife seemed to be enjoying the scene so much. The black dots are more intensive in the duplicate. Of this scene, only the export version-left, here-has survived, and the American version, right, here. The frames for the export negative are frequently too wide. In the American version, the grandson puts down his shoes with greater care. The frame in which the grandson rises is missing in the export version. The extinguishing of the candle in the export version does not correspond to the light. In the American version, this has been solved in a better way. The animation of the horses in the model is very clumsy in the export version. It was shortened in the American version. The framing in this scene is completely different. This is the inaccurate frame in the American version. This frame is the same. The original frame is in the American version, the duplicate in the export version. There are further duplicated frames, showing there was insufficient material for all versions. The actual negative has been lost. The German intertitles have also been lost. Only one photograph has survived, which was published by a Berlin daily newspaper in 1927. The graphic design is the same as the one used by Ufa for the advertisement. This was the lettering chosen for the titles. As we have seen, none of the material from the first Negative survives. And although four different versions have survived, we still have to regard TARTUFFE as a lost movie. As the German version no longer exists, we have opted for the American, the best of the surviving versions, and have replaced the titles, in the lettering of the lost original. EPILOGUE We will now show the complete epilogue from the short Swiss version, as this reel in the American copy has been badly damaged. Here, Mayer draws on Molière's original idea, In which the hypocrite succeeds inforcing the main character to disinherit his son. Here, the grandfather talks of the shame of his grandson becoming an actor. It would almost appear that the concept of the grandfather shunning the grandson Due to the fact that he chose to become an artist a came from Molière's personal experiences. Molière was an actor, and actors were shunned by the church at the time. Because he was an actor, he was not permitted to be buried in consecrated ground after his death and had to replace his actual family name, Poquelin, with his pseudonym Molière, to ensure that the good name of his family did not suffer disgrace. Murnau was also an actor and was confronted with the same problem. He had to change his family name, Plumpe, to Murnau, because his father had forbidden him to have his name appear on theatre posters. So, the problematic issues dealt with in TARTUFFE were of a very personal nature to Murnau himself�

Stage appearances

Höflich as Kätchen in Kleist's Das Käthchen von Heilbronn in 1905
Höflich as Kätchen in Kleist's Das Käthchen von Heilbronn in 1905

Lucie Höflich was born in Hanover and debuted at the age of 16 at the Bromberg City Theater and in 1901 moved to the Intime Theater von Nürnberg, and then to the Raimund-Theater in Vienna.[1] In 1903 Max Reinhardt recruited her to the Deutsches Theater in Berlin[1] where she performed until 1932.[3]

Examples of her appearances were as Kätchen in Heinrich von Kleist's Das Käthchen von Heilbronn in 1905 and as Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in 1907. While still active on stage she appeared in her first film, the Gendarm Möbius in 1913.

She died in West Berlin in 1956, aged 73.[1]

Selected filmography

Among the films she acted in were Maria Magdalene in 1929, Die Straße in 1923, Tartüff in 1925, the 1936 The Abduction of the Sabine Women, the Nazi Propaganda Film Ohm Krüger in 1941, with her last being the 1956 The Story of Anastasia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lucie Höflich - Biografie[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Lucie Höflich | Biographies. FemBio
  3. ^ a b Porträt der Schauspielerin Lucie Höflich by Thomas Staedeli (in German), retrieved 14 April 2009

External links

This page was last edited on 23 April 2023, at 15:57
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