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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ruler
Directed byVeit Harlan
Written byCurt J. Braun
Thea von Harbou
Harald Bratt
Based onThe Ruler by Gerhart Hauptmann
Produced byKarl Julius Fritzsche
StarringEmil Jannings
Hannes Stelzer
Hilde Körber
CinematographyGünther Anders
Werner Brandes
Edited byMartha Dübber
Music byWolfgang Zeller
Distributed byTobis Film
Release date
  • 17 March 1937 (1937-03-17)
Running time
103 minutes

The Ruler (German: Der Herrscher) is a 1937 German drama film directed by Veit Harlan.[1] [2] [3] [4] It was adapted from the play of the same name by Gerhart Hauptmann. Erwin Leiser calls it a propagandistic demonstration of the Führerprinzip of Nazi Germany.[5] The film's sets were designed by the art director Robert Herlth. Location shooting took place around Oberhausen and Pompeii near Naples. It premiered at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin.


Matthias Clausen (Emil Jannings) is the head of Clausen Works, an old and prosperous munitions firm. He falls in love with a secretary in the office (Marianne Hoppe), and his children conspire against him in order to protect their inheritance. Clausen disowns them and bestows the firm on the state, confident that one of his workers capable of carrying on his work will arise.


The movie was based on the play Before Sunset by Nobel Prize recipient Gerhart Hauptmann, but the themes have been utterly altered.[5] A mild-mannered art collector in the play, he becomes the dynamic "first worker" of the movies, who proclaims the firm's duty to provide work and serve the community, and unlike the play, triumphs over his children's machinations.[5]


Some newspapers objected to the anti-capitalist bent inherent in having a man leave his company to the state; the official release contained a postscript by Goebbels repudiating such intentions.[6] Writing for Night and Day in 1937, Graham Greene gave the film a mildly negative review, criticizing the acting and describing Jannings' portrayal as "the meaningless gaze of a sea-lion". Greene noted that he had enjoyed the "pleasantly savage opening", but that as the film continued it was increasingly necessary for the audience to assign emotions to Jannings' "marine" acting.[7] Meanwhile, the critic for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle concluded, "despite its Nazi propaganda influence, 'The Ruler' is nevertheless a skillfully produced photo-drama, distinguished by a powerful performance by Herr Jannings in the role of the sentimental industrialist".[8] And in England, The Evening Standard reviewer told readers, the film had "the marks of good direction, acting and camera-work. And the presence of Jannings is dynamic as ever."[9]



  1. ^ Hal Erickson (2016). "New York Times: Der Herrscher (1937)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  2. ^ Noack p.14
  3. ^ Rentschler p.306
  4. ^ Hake p.145
  5. ^ a b c Leiser, Erwin (1975). Nazi Cinema. Macmillan. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-02-570230-1.
  6. ^ Grunberger, Richard (1971). The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933–1945. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-03-076435-6.
  7. ^ Greene, Graham (1 July 1937). "We from Kronstadt/The Frog/Make Way for Tomorrow/Der Herrscher". Night and Day. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. p. 151. ISBN 0192812866.)
  8. ^ The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 18 October 1937, p8
  9. ^ Evening Standard, 26 June 1937, p9


  • Hake, Sabine. Popular Cinema of the Third Reich. University of Texas Press, 2001.
  • Noack, Frank. Veit Harlan: The Life and Work of a Nazi Filmmaker. University Press of Kentucky, 2016.
  • Rentschler, Eric. The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife. Harvard University Press, 1996.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 July 2023, at 19:46
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