Although not a household name, Karl Freund was “one of the greatest cinematographers in the history of film”, both in Hollywood and in pre-Nazi Germany. [Kinnard: 119] His camera techniques inspired more people than we could ever know, and it would be no overstatement to suggest that any film being made today owes a debt to Freund on some level.
As cameraman, he worked with almost every big name of the Golden Age. He shot Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper and Montgomery Clift, to name a few. He was instrumental in horror classics of the 1930s, working alongside Karloff, Lugosi and Lorre. While he only took home one Oscar, his filming techniques were unmatched.
Cameraman George Folsey, who had been nominated for an Oscar thirteen times, was asked in 1975 why he had not become a director. His answer was simple: being a cameraman makes you too focused on the technical aspects to really have time to be a proficient director. He did, however, say a few cameramen had successfully made that transition. One of those men? Karl Freund. [Stevens: 199]
Karl W. Freund was born in Königinhof, Bohemia (now Dvur Kralove, Czech Republic) on January 16, 1890. His parents are currently unknown to me, but his mother’s maiden name was Hermann. His father is said to be “a well-known business man of that city.” [Evans]
At some point, Freund left his military school and enrolled in the university as an art student. He purchased a camera to help with his drawing lessons, but soon the camera became his primary focus.
Apprenticed as a rubber-stamp manufacturer, he became a projectionist in 1906. After then experimenting with sound projection and making short films with Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (featuring very crude sound), he photographed his first feature film, Der Hauptmann Von Kopenick, in 1907. The movie was a “publicity job” for the King of Serbia outlining the history of the Serbian dynasty.
Karl became a Pathe newsreel cameraman in 1908. While working at Pathe in 1910, he became the first man to take a motion picture camera into the Balkans. He spent the next six years as a newsreel photographer, until he encountered a brief interruption with the outbreak of the First World War. However, even at the relatively young age of 24, he carried a substantial girth that made him unsuitable for military service; 90 days after being called up, he was a civilian again, and back working in movies. To stay out of the military permanently, Freund “ate a lot, to keep fat. Used to drink two gallons of beer a day. But he saw a lot of the war as a newsreel man, anyway.” [Pyle]
Among the more unusual projects with which he was involved during the 1910s, Freund was the photographer in a series of experimental synchronized-sound shorts made of the legendary opera singer Enrico Caruso.
Around 1916 or 1917, Karl daughter Gerda was born. A photo of the two of them can be seen just below and to the right. (Photo courtesy of Rod Martel, please do not copy it.)
Freund started his own film processing lab and joined the Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA) studio in Berlin in 1919. UFA was created during November 1917 in Berlin as a government-owned producer of World War I propaganda and public service films. It was created through the consolidation of most of Germany’s commercial film companies, including Nordisk and Decla. Decla’s former owner, Erich Pommer, served as producer for the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was not only the best example of German Expressionism and an enormously influential film, but also a commercial success. During the same year, UFA opened the UFA-Palast am Zoo theatre in Berlin.
The Arc (1919). According to Freund’s grandson, Rod Martel, this is the production where Karl met his second wife. Neither Martel nor myself know how she was involved, though, as she does not appear on the cast or crew credits.
Die Spinnen, 2. Teil – Das Brillantenschiff (1920). Freund’s first film with director Fritz Lang. The two men fought but were held together by their mutual friendship with producer Erich Pommer.
Satanas (1920). One day, F. W. Murnau came to Freund’s laboratory in Berlin and asked him if he could help Murnau make his first picture. The film was to be the story of Lucrezia Borgia. Murnau directed, Robert Wiene wrote and produced with Conrad Viedt starring. This was a three-part historical film, with episode one taking place in ancient Egypt, the second being based on the Victor Hugo novel “Lucrece Borgia”, and the third episode takes place during the 1917 Russian revolution. The film is presumed lost; a brief fragment of the film, only a few feet from the first episode, has been recovered and exists in the Cinématheque Française film archive.
Der Januskopf (1920). Ans adaptation of “Jekyll and Hyde” directed by F. W. Murnau and featuring an early appearance by Bela Lugosi, who plays the butler to Conrad Veidt’s character. The film was released on September 17, 1920 by the Lipow Company; this is one of Murnau’s lost films. The screenplay was written by Hans Janowitz, who collaborated with Carl Mayer on the script for “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1919). While the film itself does not survive, the scripts and related production notes do – and some of the more salient points of the plot can be pieced together from these scripts and production notes. An intriguing note on the script points to possibly the first instance of a moving camera in cinematic history. When the doctor is climbing the stairs to his laboratory, Janowitz’s notes state “Camera follows him up the stairs”.
In the midwinter between 1920 and 1921, Freund received an urgent phone call summoning him to Fritz Lang’s residence on Hohenzollerndamm. He was forced to walk there due to a great snowstorm that had shut down the streetcars. When he arrived, he was greeted by Erich Pommer and Fritz Arno Wagner. Inside, Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou were being grilled by the police about a body that was draped in the middle of the room: Lang’s wife. Lang and von Harbou insisted it was a suicide. [McGilligan: 77] Freund and many others suspected it was murder — the woman had been found shot in the tub, only minutes after calling a friend to make shopping plans. And Lang was known to be having an affair with von Harbou. How he evaded prosecution is nothing short of a miracle, and only added to Freund’s dislike of him.
Freund claims to have first met Greta Garbo “when she was with Stiller in Berlin.” [Zierold: 88] Pinpointing this is difficult, but we know that Mauritz Stiller met Garbo in 1923, and she came to America on July 6, 1925. I assume the time would be between this or at the latest soon after, as Stiller died in 1928. How Freund plays into this is unclear.
The Last Laugh (Der Letzte Mann) (1924) with writer Carl Mayer and director F. W. Murnau. With its highly mobile camera (according to the Museum of Modern Art Film, the first use ever of a moving camera), and the distinctive uses of distorted lenses and pan-focus effects, the film demonstrated a visual language more sophisticated than any yet seen in cinema, and brought Freund himself nearly as much attention in the industry as it did the director. To film one scene where the main character (Emil Jannings) is intoxicated, Freund strapped his Russian Strachow camera to his chest, batteries to his back for balance, and stumbled about like a drunken man. Crisler noted that Freund’s camera in this film “was a living narrative instrument, as lean and eloquent as the prose of Hemingway at his best.” [Crisler] Initially, Mayer did not think moving cameras were possible, but after Freund assured him, he tore up what he had written and started from scratch.
Art director Robert Herlth recalled of the opening scene, “The camera was attached to a bicycle and made to descend, focused on the hotel vestibule. The bicycle went across the hall to the porter, and then, with a cut between shots, continued into the street, which had been built on the lot.” On other occasions, “the camera was fixed to Freund’s stomach, sometimes it flew through the air attached to a scaffolding, or moved forward with Freund on a rubber-wheeled trolley I had built.” [Ott: 66]
Carl Dreyer’s Michael (1924). Freund’s only known film as an actor, in which he has a cameo as a sycophantic art dealer who saves the tobacco ashes dropped by a famous painter. Walter Slezak is mysteriously silent about Michael in his autobiography. Beyond saying his screen test “turned out well” and that Carl Theodor Dreyer was “famous”, the film that made him a star gets no mention. [Slezak: 129]
Variety (1925). E. A. Dupont and Erich Pommer. With Freund assisting, Dupont “adapted the methods of the expressionist postwar period to the exigencies of the realistic Dawes Plan period.” [Kracauer: 127] Freund would later explain the process of his camera angles to the New York Times: “the unaccustomed angle was stressed by necessity, owing to cramped quarters in the Berlin Winter Palace, where the picture was made, and this film, curiously enough, was an original source-book of the lying-on-the-stomach school of photography, which has today (1937) reached the proportions of a national craze.” [Crisler] Roger Manvell praises the film’s “fluidity”, admiring how the “camera swings with an acrobat’s-eye-view of the spectators in the Wintergarten; the viewer is made to feel part of the act which is taking place.” [Manvell: 40]
By 1926, it was not unusual to find Freund or Carl Hoffmann in the Ufa studios at Neubabelsberg making test shots and trails in their spare time, trying to perfect the art of camerawork. [Wynne-Jones] (In 1938 Nowawes and Neubabelsberg merged and were incorporated into Potsdam one year later, becoming the district of Potsdam-Babelsberg, near both Potsdam and Berlin.)
Tartuffe (1926) Professor Jan-Christopher Horak notes that “the frame story is shot realistically, with Freund and Murnau consistently emphasizing depth through movement from background to foreground, and by opening and closing doors in such a way that they are literally in the spectator’s face.”
Faust (1926) Freund’s “camera rushed on a roller coaster of his own invention through a vast, studio-built landscape filled with towns, woods and villages, and the views thus obtained enabled the spectators to participate in the aerial trip Mephistopheles undertook with the rejuvenated Faust.” [Kracauer: 148] (Freund’s exact role is unclear to me, as the cinematographer was Carl Hoffmann.)
The Adventures of a Ten-Mark Note (1926), produced by Freund, it was the first German film to feature “New Objectivity”, and had subtle socialist sentiments buried beneath the surface.
Metropolis (1927) Freund, understandably, did not want to work with Fritz Lang after believing him to be a cold-blooded killer. He was persuaded in 1925 by producer and mutual friend Erich Pommer. Production for Metropolis began on May 22, 1925. Freund’s contribution to the movie’s success was immense, many of its visuals and its overall look so striking that its impact across the decades that followed only seemed to increase with time, this despite the fact that it was not that big a success at the box office in 1927-1928. Metropolis marked the culmination of Freund’s work in silent films, but it was only the end of the beginning of his career, and prelude to a period of much greater influence on cinema and his profession. The coming of sound only enhanced Freund’s career and reputation, thanks to his fascination with technical innovation. He was among the very first cinematographers to work with sprocketed magnetic tape as a sound medium, during a period in which several methods were competing for primacy, and which became the standard means of shooting sound film for the next 60 years. At the time of the Metropolis premiere in January 1927, Freund spoke with the Berliner Zeitung:
“We spent fourteen to sixteen hours a day working in there. Every day members of the lighting crew showed symptoms of poisoning, even though they wore gas masks over their faces; every day people called in sick. But we kept on working with only half the crew. We were told to bite the bullet, to just mop our foreheads with a damp sponge and to keep going, so we could get the damned scene done with…The floodlights and the fanlights were on almost all the time but they hardly helped at all. The warmth just disappeared in the huge, high-ceilinged room… Steam condensed and dripped down all over everything continuously like a light drizzle.”
Metropolis was thought to involve much photographic trickery (called “Kniffe” in German), but Freund said this was not always the case. “The giant machines of Metropolis really exploded, and a real fire was lighted under the witch Maria, to say nothing of the hundred scenes which were shot naturally without any tricks.” With regards to the Tower of Babel scene, “No technical trick was really supposed to be used for this sequence,” said Freund. “The hundred barbers who did the shaving could have taken the ‘wool’ from the Rehbergen, where we did our shooting, to Berlin and sold it to a mattress factory. Because we still had only a thousand and needed six we shot these thousand men six times and the six pictures, each with a thousand men, because six thousand in the finished negative.” [Ott: 76-77]
According to film historian Bruce Bennett, Freund “followed the common practice at the time of securing three printable takes of each shot so that three separate camera negatives could be edited and assembled for striking prints.” Unfortunately, two of these were “bowdlerized” by Channing Pollock at Paramount and a British representative when they were cut down due to the film’s incredible length. Ufa cut the third in 1927 to match the Pollock version, leaving no original negative from that point on. The film wrapped on October 30, 1926.
Although not a fan of the advent of sound, Freund was experimenting with a sound system he developed for steel tape in London in 1927.
Berlin – The Symphony of a Great City (1927). Freund “was tired of the studio and its artifices”, making this the perfect project. [Kracauer: 183] “My idea was to trace a day in the life of the city. I wanted to show everything,” Freund said. “Men getting up to go to work, eating breakfast, boarding trams or walking. My characters were drawn from all the walks of life. From the lowest laborer to the bank president.” [Evans] He hypersensitized the stock film to make it work better in poor lighting conditions, developed a special high-speed film stock. “At that time there were no fast films… But fast film was essential, so I made my own. I took the regular stock film of the type that was then on the market and hypersensitized it with an ammonia bath until it was very fast.” [Evans]
He found several ways to hide the camera. Karl had a truck with slots in the side for lenses (an idea suggested by Lupu Pick), and a suitcase he could carry with a camera peeking out — “say I wanted an unposed picture of people eating. I would go into a restaurant, put the box on the table beside me, and shoot to my heart’s content.” [Evans] The entire documentary was reportedly shot without a single person spotting the camera. Freund would later (1939) reflect on this filming style with excitement. “It is the only type of photography that is really art,” he said. “Why? Because with it one is able to portray life. These big negatives, now, where people smirk and grimace and pose. Dodging and pasting and damn tricks. Bah! That’s not photography. But a very fast lens. Shooting life. Realism. Ah, that is photography in its purest form.” [Evans]
There may be some debate over whose film this was. Carl Mayer “wrote” it, though there was no script. Walter Ruttmann “edited the vast quantity of material Freund and others shot”, making him the director of sorts. [Manvell: 45] But the real genius behind the film can be none other than Freund himself, as anything worth noticing in the film was solely his creation. As he says, “Since there was no script, no actors, no crews and settings, I did practically all the work myself.” [Evans]
Freund recalled how he would get his candid shots. “I would go into a public house three or four days before I intended to shoot and bribe the management to install some powerful lights. After a day or two patrons accept the lights and ceased to comment. My camera, electrically driven, I would hide in another room while I would sit in a chair in the bar myself and pressed an electrical contact. I always contrived that an electric fan should be placed near the camera to drown any faint sound that might reach idle ears. Using hypersensitive stock, I managed to get everything I wanted.” [Ott: 86]
Movie Colour Ltd was formed in Britain in 1928.
In the end of 1928, Karl did an interview with Close Up magazine, where he talked about his enthusiasm for color and sound, both emerging fields in the world of cinema. He felt that “the men without culture will have to go.” When it was pointed out that color causes the eye to travel less than monochrome, Freund retorted that sometimes the eye is best not traveling. He expressed his admiration for Russian films, which “convey atmosphere in one shot”, whereas “the German film takes hundreds of feet of film to do it.” He continued: “I admire the Russians; they have groups of educational experts, dramatic critics, cameramen, lighting technicians, who discuss the films. What we want in moving pictures is more of the architect, of discussion and thought. A picture should be cut before it goes into production.” He also expressed admiration for Man Ray. Interestingly, when asked if he would like to go to America, he shrugged his shoulders — but ended up emigrating less than a year later. [Blakeston]
Freund emigrated to the United States with his wife in 1929, where he was employed by the Technicolor Co. to help perfect its color process. Shortly after arriving, he spoke with film columnist Marguerite Tazelaar and said: “I think (being a cameraman) is one of the most interesting jobs in the whole industry. The most important thing is to catch the mood of the scene in a shot. Perhaps it is only a close-up of the heroine’s eyes, yet this instant can be the most significant in the entire film. Each separate scene, each setup, has a meaning to the artist. The mood of the scene is everything.” [Weaver: 65] I assume that this interview was done through his translator, because upon arriving in America he could speak only the most fractured English.
Signed a contract with Universal in 1930.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). Freund was instrumental in this film’s success. On one hand, he was innovative in his use of the first ever sound lap dissolve. But perhaps more importantly, it is Freund who devised the unheroic ending with the butterfly, just three days before the film was to premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre on San Vicente Boulevard in Hollywood. Freund was walking near a bed of California poppies with a few Universal officials when he spotted a butterfly flitting from one poppy to another. “By God, gentleman, the butterfly! There’s your ending,” he exclaimed. [Crisler]
The Lottery Bride (1930) According to the April 13, 1930 New York Times, United Artists asked Freund to film Technicolor sequences for “Lottery Bride” (at the time known as “Bride 66″). Director Paul L. Stein had known Freund from Berlin. Freund was expected to shoot “trick shots and dissolves” and “overlapping and double-exposure” shots. Unfortunately, only the edited 1937 re-release, running 67 minutes, with the original 2-strip Technicolor finale in black and white, seems to have survived.
The Bad Sister (1931). Bette Davis’ first film almost wasn’t, if it hadn’t been for Karl Freund. While the director did not wish to cast her, Freund lobbied for the actress because of her nice eyes. He, of course, won. The film’s flaws were more than just Davis’ doing, as “the script was a travesty”, Sidney Fox was “a mediocre British actress” and Hobart Henley was “an uninspired director”. [Higham: 50] The New York Times reported in April 1931 that “Miss Davis’s interpretation of Laura is too lugubrious and tends to destroy the sympathy the audience is expected to feel for the young woman.” Despite bad reviews, Davis had her contract renewed.
Dracula (1931). Karl Freund was called to photograph “Dracula” by Carl Laemmle, Jr. As Freund’s English was very spotty at this point, he was accompanied by an interpreter wearing white gloves. Freund enthusiastically presented his sketches of Castle Dracula to the art department, and despite not matching the interiors they had designed, a model was built on his specifications for the establishing shot. [Vieira: 32]
Shooting began Monday, September 29, 1930. Actor David Manners recalled the shooting of Dracula as “extremely disorganized” and claimed that it was Freund, the cinematographer, and not director Tod Browning, who directed the picture, or at least every scene involving Manners. “Tod Browning was always off to the side somewhere. I remember being directed by Karl Freund.” Such scenes included the concert hall sequence, several episodes in the drawing-room (including the mirror smashing), and the hunt for and destruction of Dracula beneath Carfax Abbey. [Skal: 121] Manners also claimed that Freund’s direction came through the interpreter wearing white gloves whose name has now been seemingly lost to history. [Skal: 122] While some prefer the Spanish version, Freund’s camerawork is superior in a few ways. The lighting “is far more layered with shadow and highlights” and there is “a misty effect for the midnight rendezvous”, for example. [Lennig: 125] They wrapped on Saturday, November 15 (though retakes were done in early January).
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1931). Freund was the cameraman on this film for director Robert Florey, and Freund “was finally able to display his flair for expressionist composition and mobile camera work”. [Skal: 166] With a plot recycled from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this film would go on to become “the purest homage” of that film that “Hollywood would ever produce.” [Skal: 164] Lennig applauds the “showy film direction” when “the camera is placed in front of the girl on a swing and moves back and forth with her”. [Lennig: 155] He does regret, though, that he scene goes on for too long and was already done by Freund in Variety (1925).
Air Mail (1932). Working under John Ford, Freund was able to provide this picture “with intricate, extremely dark compositions” and “a German expressionist feeling of oppressive doom”. [McBride: 180] Exposing American audiences to German expressionism was quickly becoming Karl’s theme.
The Mummy (1932). Allegedly, Karl Freund wanted to direct and after “All Quiet on the Western Front”, the studio owed him a favor. Short on time and money, they gave him three weeks. It is said that Freund was assigned the job Saturday, “cast it on Sunday and started shooting Monday.” [Vieira: 56] One way to save on time was filming all of Karloff’s mummy scenes in one day, due to the extensive makeup involved. David Skal sees this as Freund’s chance to remake Dracula. Indeed, “virtually every plot element as well as key performers (not to mention some props and set decorations) were recycled” from the vampire classic. [Skal: 168] Shooting began in September 1932. Right from the beginning, there was a dispute between Freund and producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. about how the opening should be shot. According to producer Richard Gordon, “Karloff told me that Laemmle Jr. and director Karl Freund almost came to blows over the opening sequence. Laemmle wanted the Mummy to come to life and be introduced in a series of stylized close-ups like those that James Whale used in Frankenstein. Freund insisted that the Mummy should not be shown at all after its first stirrings of life in the sarcophagus and that audiences would be far more horrified by the specter of Fletcher’s descent into madness, and his maniacal laughter, if they didn’t see what drove him to it. Fortunately Freund prevailed and the sequence is one of the most revered in Universal’s horror classics.” [Weaver: 69] Freund “sadistically abused (Zita) Johann on The Mummy — everything from threatening her with a nude scene to making sure she didn’t get a chair with her name on it on the set to working her so cruelly that late one Saturday night, playing a scene with Karloff, she passed out cold.” [Mank: 124] Allegedly, the crew “prayed” her back to consciousness, as no doctor could be summoned so late. Johann herself said, “Karl Freund made life very unpleasant. It was his first picture as a director, and he felt he needed a scapegoat in case he didn’t come in on schedule. Well, I was cast as the scapegoat — and I saw through it right away!” [Weaver: 66] The film wrapped October 30, ahead of schedule and under budget.
The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933). Freund agreed to shoot this film as a favor to James Whale. Whale had wanted to work with Freund for a while, as his work on Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” had influenced the look of “Frankenstein”. [Curtis: 191] Whale was not afraid to put Freund to the test, at one point calling for a full 360-degree pan of the courtroom. Freund would have to focus on Frank Morgan, Paul Lukas and Nancy Carroll while fifty actors and extras surrounded them, remaining frozen in place. The pan shot was free of blurring and the lighting was uniform. The film was previewed at the Criterion Theater in Santa Monica on March 2, 1933, and the Hollywood Reporter, amidst a dreadful review, said, “The photography of Karl Freund stood out like a sore thumb.” [Curtis: 194]
Moonlight and Pretzels (1933) Arguably the most extraordinary and unexpected film of his career. A delightfully topical musical romp inspired in part by Lloyd Bacon’s (and Busby Berkeley’s) 42nd Street and shot in the summer of 1933 at the Astoria Studios in New York at a budget of $115,000, the film combined songs and dances, the drama of backstage romance, backbiting, and double-dealing, and an amazing closing production number that encompassed images seemingly derived from Metropolis, with the overall look of a German expressionist classic. It was one of the most visually striking and finely paced musicals of its period (with very effective comedy as well), but ended up all but forgotten after its successful original run. However, Moonlight and Pretzels was a big hit anew in 2007, when it ran as part of a musical retrospective at New York’s Film Forum.
Madame Spy (1934). Fay Wray recalls Freund being on the set, and how his skills were able to take a Universal B-movie and make it feel like something more. Freund “was a full and mature personality. He and his wife were warm and life-loving.” During the filming, Wray walked in on her husband, screenwriter John Monk Saunders, having an affair with a secretary. A few days later, Freund had to film Wray crying in a muddy trench — the tears came naturally. [Wray: 156-57] Wray and Saunders would not get divorced until 1939, and he hanged himself less than a year later. Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times reviewed the film favorably, saying, “If there be a weak spot Mr. Freund atones for it by his direction and his remarkable eye for camera angles.” Freund is further described as “experienced” and possessing a “fine hand”.
The Countess of Monte Cristo (1934). Again, Freund was directing with Fay Wray as his star for Universal. Wray mentions nothing of the film in her autobiography, and reviews are sparse. She would later tell Roy Kinnard “nothing but positive remarks… praising his craftsmanship, skill and artistry.” [Kinnard: 122]
Reports around January 1934 claimed Karl Freund would be the director for “The Man Who Reclaimed His Head” (1934). [Weaver: 102] That job ultimately went to Russian-born Edward Ludwig, who had been known for his short films. Freund had nothing to do with the final project.
Gift of Gab (1934). Freund ended up directing this picture, but it was not one he excelled at. Freund was “utterly flummoxed in his attempt to turn (Edmund) Lowe into anything remotely resembling a sympathetic hero.” [Weaver: 571] In smaller roles, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi also appear.
On Saturday, February 2, 1935, according to the February 4th Hollywood Reporter, Freund was signed on to MGM as a director with help from talent agent Nat Goldstone, being attached to producer John W. Considine’s unit. He was reported to be specializing in “unusual themes”. They further speculated his first film would likely be an original, which is not strictly correct.
On March 7, Hollywood Reporter announced what Freund’s first MGM job would be: directing Mad Love, an American remake of The Hands of Orlac, a 1924 German film directed by Robert Wiene. [Mank: 125] Given the source material, Freund seems a natural fit. Script conferences began in early April, with Freund, John Considine, P. J. Wolfwon and Guy Endore involved. [Mank: 129] While preparing for the film, Freund asked to see Universal’s Life Returns (1935) as “homework” for how surgical techniques should be done. The director of that film, Dr. Eugene Frenke, was honored at Freund’s request and paid $100 of his own money to create a print for him. Freund and star Peter Lorre also prepared by visiting the local Lutheran Hospital for a day and observing how surgery was done. [Youngkin: 116] (The Hollywood Reporter‘s “rambling reporter” wrote they were watching operations “for their own amazement”.)
Mad Love (1935). Freund here was given another chance to create “an homage to German expressionism”, this time as director. [Skal: 181] Shooting began May 6, 1935. Where Rue Morgue had been a take on Caligari, this film was a remake of another film starring Conrad Veidt, The Hands of Orlac. Actress Frances Drake has memories of the film being difficult: “Freund kept wanting to be the cinematographer at the same time (as directing). And Gregg Toland was a marvelous cameraman. And he was such a dear little man, sort of slender, and he looked rather hunted when this wretched big fat man (Freund) would say, ‘Now, now, we’ll do it this way!’ You never knew who was directing.” [Mank: 140] She further said that Freund “couldn’t leave the camera alone, which suited Peter very well.” [Youngkin: 116] The film wrapped on June 8, 1935 at a cost of $257,562.14 — one week over schedule and $40,000 over budget. Postshooting rumors immediately started suggesting that Freund would go to work for Paramount or abroad to direct Chevalier. [Mank: 147]
The immediate reaction to “Mad Love” was not good, with the film actually losing $39,000 at the box office. Time called it “one of the most completely horrible stories of the year.” The New York Times felt it was “an interesting but pretty trivial adventure in Grand Guignol horror.” Even Variety, which called the camerawork “far above average”, still finds the film “disappointing”.
Latter-day criticism for “Mad Love” has been largely positive. S. S. Prawer points out the way that Freund “lights Lorre’s bald head in such a way that one side remains in complete darkness while the other is no less brightly illuminated, directly suggesting a split personality”. [Prawer: 235] Others would draw a direct line from Freund’s influence on cameraman Gregg Toland to Toland’s later work with Orson Welles.
In an interview in 1950, Freund reflected on why he had stopped directing and focused on camerawork. “I gave up directing because of a dull routine of stories. The camera at least gives some latitude for special creativeness.” Another interview later on had him being even more dismissive: “Anyone can make a good cake if he has the right ingredients. It all depends on story, cast and circumstances.” [Weaver: 72]
Camille (1936). Freund was put on this Greta Garbo and Lionel Barrymore film, directed by George Cukor, by a stroke of luck. Cameraman Bill Daniels “disappeared for three days toward the end of production. It was later discovered that he had gone on a drinking jag.” [Swenson: 358] After Hal Rosson temporarily took over, Freund was appointed to camera duties. Karl would later claim that Garbo appreciated the way he filmed the final scene so much that she kissed his hand. Interestingly, Camille had Garbo dying of tuberculosis — in prior films she died of drowning, crashing, firing squad and being run over by a train. Camille was “widely regarded as her greatest performance.” [Bainbridge: 187]
The Good Earth (1937). Karl was called in to producer Irving Thalberg’s office before the film began, and asked him what he “thought about it” and what his “approach would be.” Karl explained it could be made two different ways, either a “beautiful composition” with “a series of lovely scenes” or his preferred method, what he called the “keyhole” approach. [Evans] By this, he meant shooting with realism, as if those being filmed were not aware of it. Thalberg allegedly said, “You know more about photography than I’ll ever know. If that’s the way you see it, go ahead. The assignment is yours.” [Evans] Thalberg died of lobar pneumonia on September 14, 1936.
Although he had never been to China, Karl claims that “in preparation for that picture I read hundreds of books and studied everything I could find pertaining to Chinese life. The studio has a tremendous reference library, and I got much of my information there.” Freund credits Austrian novelist Vicki Baum as his “off-the-record technical adviser.” [Evans]
Freund noticed that the light seemed different in China, somehow, so he reproduced the effect when he filmed most of the picture in Hollywood. He accomplished this with transparent colored discs placed in a wheel which revolved in front of the lens. By changing the discs, he obtained morning, noon and evening densities, all fairly authentically Chinese. He developed a similar device to produce shadows simulating clouds so that even on a bright day of outdoor shooting, the Chinese peasants could run from advancing thunderstorms. He won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
Parnell (1937). During the filming of “Parnell”, sometime in early December 1936, Freund spent a day with journalist Ernie Pyle. Pyle was impressed with how early Freund awoke — ringing the doorbell “half an hour after daylight”, Freund answered the door fully dressed. He also claimed to have been up until 3a.m. reading the script, but didn’t look sleepy. Freund was on a diet, and it showed, “His pants-flop all over when
he walks.” Breakfast consisted of a single glass of juice. “This is my liquid day,” he said. “Two days a week. This is one-third pineapple juice, two-thirds water. I’ve lost 52 pounds in five months. Used to weigh 272. The first three weeks I almost died with a headache. Now I feel fine. I’ve lost nine inches around the waist. Cost me a lot of money. Had to have all new’ clothes.” Pyle and Freund drove thirty miles into the hills, arriving on location at 8 a.m., where they prepared to shoot the day’s scene: Clark Gable watching Irish peasants being evicted. [Pyle]
Interestingly, Freund did not run the camera at all, but simply tells others how to run it. In fact, union rules forbid him to run it more than 25 percent of the time. “I don’t care anything at all for the camera itself,” he says. “I’ve almost forgotten how to run one. It’s just something to play on, like you have a piano to play on. I talk with a camera.” Filming ended at 4p.m. and after dinner, Pyle and Freund went to the MGM laboratories to look at the day’s film after it was “devil-upped” (how Karl pronounced “developed”). Pyle estimated that at this point, Freund was making between $750 and $1000 a week, but had no firm source for that guess. [Pyle]
The film lost $637,000 at the box office and is considered by many to be the worst flop in Clark Gable’s and Myrna Loy’s distinguished careers.
The filming of “Parnell” also shows Clark Gable’s character. When Joan Crawford turned down a part in Parnell, Gable “stopped speaking to her and remained icy toward her for five years.” [Tornabene: 213] Gable “blamed the failure of Parnell on Crawford’s refusal to do it.” [Wayne: 152] Reviewer Bob Wagner of Script put the blame elsewhere when he said this was Gable’s “worst miscasting”, though he does say Loy is “stodgy and unbending.” F. S. Nugent of the New York Times called the whole picture “pallid, tedious and unconvincing”.
Karl became a naturalized citizen of the United States in February 1937, eight years after immigrating.
Conquest (1937). Filming began March 3, 1937. Greta Garbo had many things to say about this film, almost all negative. “I seemed to have no allies in my struggle to make a good film. Even director Clarence Brown went along with Mayer, whose only consideration, as always, was money. The cameraman, Karl Freund, betrayed me. Whether this was intentional or not I do not know. What I do know is that he didn’t know how to photograph.” [Gronowicz: 351] Her complaints in general are warranted; this film lost more money for MGM than any other of its films during the period from 1920 to 1949. Conquest “turned out to be a shambling, episodic, pedestrian affair.” [Bainbridge: 189]
Interestingly, MGM security guard Ralph O’Dell saw a different side of Garbo on the set. She would often stay after shooting “to gossip with [Charles] Boyer or Karl Freund” and “played catch with a baseball” with the director. [Swenson: 365] Did the same Greta Garbo “gossip” with Freund and later insult his camera skills?
Another story around this time has Freund asking her, “G. G., what do you do when you go home?” She replied in German, “I rest a bit, the maid brings me dinner, then I study the next day’s script and go to bed. I’ve been in my new house for three months and would you believe it, I’ve never seen the living room. I eat, study, and sleep.” Freund asked, “And what else do you do?” “I sometimes play checkers, with myself.” Freund then asked, “what do you do about sex?” She said, “Once in a while I go out, when I meet a man I like who enjoys me. When he arrives I peek out at him to see what he’s wearing and then I dress accordingly. Many of the men who ask me out go crazy about my Swedish maid, who is very pretty. They pat her on the cheek and flirt with her, but for me, at the end of the evening they say, ‘Thank you, Miss Garbo,’ and they tell me how wonderful it was but not one ever says, ‘Let’s go to bed.’” Freund responded, “That’s the price you pay for being famous.” [Zierold: 88-89]
Later in 1937, he went to Germany to bring his only daughter, Gerda Maria Freund (now roughly 20), back to the United States, saving her from almost certain death in the concentration camps. Karl’s ex-wife, Susette Liepmannssohn Freund, remained in Germany where she was interned at the Ravensbrück concentration camp and eventually taken in March, 1942 to Bernburg Euthanasia Center where she was murdered.
In October 1937, two hundred motion picture editors, the motion picture chairmen of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the motion picture chairmen of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae awarded Karl Freund a Blue Ribbon Award for his photography In MGM’s “The Good Earth.”
In November 1937, an interview appeared in the New York Times, revealing some interesting personal information about Freund. For one, he “is capable of eating enormous frankfurters with sauerkraut at midnight, waving an eloquent fork”. He revealed that certain stars could only be lit in certain ways to have “prominent jaws de-accented” and to hide “a nose-tip which catched light in an embarrassing way”. Although Freund did not believe that any woman photographed perfectly, he revealed who he felt came the closest: Greta Garbo, despite her less-than-thrilled opinion of him. Freund informed the interviewer that he was a believer in astrology and happened to be a Capricorn. Capricorns, he said are “down to earth” and “if they want something they never give up.” [Crisler]
Man-Proof (1938). Starring Myrna Loy and Rosalind Russell.
Port of Seven Seas (1938). James Whale directing.
A February 1939 interview claimed that Karl was “one of Hollywood’s table-tennis champions” as well as “an accomplished violinist and a collector of rare books.” [Evans]
Golden Boy (1939). Starring Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden in his first major role.
We Who Are Young (1940). Freund became ill while photographing this picture, and was replaced by John F. Seitz.
Pride and Prejudice (1940). Actress Karen Morley recalls shooting this film in the spring of 1940 while Hitler was invading Belgium and the Netherlands. She would approach Freund, whom she called a “marvelous cinematographer”, because he was German, and ask, “How could it have happened?” [Troyan: 107]
Green Hell (1940) Freund was again working for James Whale. Filming began on August 21, 1939, during some of the hottest weather in recent memory. Freund struggled to light the 45,000 square feet of the Amazon jungle, causing the floor to reach temperatures of 120 degrees, and two whole days of shooting being wasted. [Curtis: 340] Interestingly, Vincent Price was filming “Tower of London” on another stage at the exact same time.
Possibly Freund’s greatest achievement was a film he had not even been involved in: Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece “Citizen Kane”. Pauline Kael says, comparing it to “Mad Love”, “Not only is the large room with the fireplace at Xanadu similar to Lorre’s domain as a mad doctor, with similar lighting and similar placement of figures, but Kane’s appearance and make-up in some sequences might be a facsimile of Lorre’s.” [Kael: 64] Perhaps this can be attributed in part to the films sharing cinematographer Gregg Toland. A white cockatoo, not something you see in many movies, also shows up in both films.
Blossoms in the Dust (1941) Around November of 1940, Karl shot a test reel of Greer Garson, a short called “The Miracle of Sound”. Director Mervyn Leroy saw the test. Raving about it, he went into a huddle at once with the producer on shooting “Blossoms in the Dust” in color. They agreed that a Greer Garson picture in black-and-white would be practically a waste of Greer Garson. The plans were changed immediately, the black-and-white idea shelved, and color ordered. The switch from black and white to color actually pushed the filming back eight weeks. Garson told Freund of her concerns over doing MGM’s first Technicolor drama. “I know my limitations well, and color photography can do terrible things to you.” [Troyan: 113]
Karl weighed in on the importance of color to the picture. “It’s not as if it were a musical, in which the public expects a lot of color in costuming; nor as If It were an outdoor film, in which nature’s colors can be fairly riotous. This is a drama. There must never be any intrusion of color, and yet the backgrounds must be natural. Also, since we are shooting in color solely to make the most of Miss Garson’s looks, the sets must flatter her coloring.”
Du Barry Was a Lady (1943). On this film, cameraman Freund first worked with Lucille Ball, making her appear “blithe and glamorous.” [Kanfer: 89] Her respect for him would pay off for both of them within the decade. Desi Arnaz would also show up on set sometimes, and recalled Freund as “a big, fat, jolly man who waddled around all over the set carrying a Thermos full of martinis and giving orders in his thick German accent… I never saw him drunk, though, and he was a kind and brilliant man. Everybody called him Papa.” [Kanfer: 127-128]
He was also the founder of the Photo Research Corporation in Burbank, California, a manufacturer of camera equipment, which he ran from 1944 until shortly before his death. Among other achievements, he developed the Norwood (sometimes called Norwich, probably incorrectly) incident light meter.
The Seventh Cross (1944). Production began in November 1943. Actor Hume Cronyn recalls Freund being “an absolute bastard” and making life miserable for first-time director Fred Zinnemann (who would go on to make such classics as “High Noon”). [Mank: 153] Zinnemann had actually been an extra on “All Quiet on the Western Front” for six weeks in 1930, but there is no evidence that Freund and Zinnemann had spoke before now. Cronyn complained of the seemingly endless delays to perfect the lighting. Freund was “surly, but very well established, he always seemed to feel that he knew better than the director. His lighting took hours. Walking onto the set, threading one’s way through the light stands, was like entering a bamboo thicket, and some lamp or other would inevitably get nudged and have to be refocused. [Cronyn: 168] It is unclear if Cronyn knew who the Oscar-winning Freund was, as his autobiography only refers to the cameraman as the “German”.
As the star was Spencer Tracy, his love interest Katharine Hepburn was known to show up on set, though Tracy’s attitude toward her at this time was “callous”. [Andersen: 170] And regardless of what Freund thought of Zinnemann, Tracy seemed to think highly of him. According to MGM’s publicist Emily Torchia, “Tracy surprised the publicity department by announcing he wanted to give interviews, to let people know what a fine director Zinnemann was; thus he helped Zinnemann get a major reputation in a hurry.” [Swindell: 195] The film wrapped in May 1944 and was released in September.
Without Love (1945). Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn co-starred this time, with a smaller role for Lucille Ball.
The Thin Man Goes Home (1945). This was the fifth of six popular “Thin Man” movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, filmed May 8 through July 14, 1944. Unfortunately, this one was not well received. Loy’s biographer sums it up: “Tedious in pace, uninventive in conception, it should by all rules of common sense have been the last gasp of the Thin Man line.” [Quirk: 225]
Key Largo (1948). Production began in December 1947, and was to include two of the strangest incidents in Karl Freund’s professional career. Director John Huston and Freund were a good match — Huston had a “fluid use of the camera” and Freund was able to have Huston’s vision “echoed and augmented”. [Sperber: 410] One day on set, Freund approached screenwriter Richard Brooks and said, “I hear you are going to be a director.” Brooks confirmed that he hoped to be. “I am going to give you the first lesson on how to direct a movie,” he said. The next day, Freund brought Brooks two brown paper bags containing 16mm film on 400-foot rolls. He said, “You look at these pictures. Lesson number one.” Brooks took them home and watched them twice, and they turned out to be pornographic films with men wearing socks and having long sideburns. Brooks told Freund they were “terrific”. Freund responded, “I produced both of them. I write, I direct, I don’t act, but everything else I do. My pictures. 1922.” He clarified how this was a lesson in directing: “Many times you will be wondering, do you put the camera here or up down here? Do you make the scene a little bigger, a little smaller?” The lesson here: “Get to the fucking point.” Brooks would later credit his conversation with helping him break into directing. [Stevens: 536]
The film also brought attention to, of all things, Lauren Bacall’s ears, which had previously been hidden under her hair. “Indeed,” said Freund to reporters, “the lady has shapely ears. They cling closely to her head and they have nicely rounded lobes — not too prominent. Neat, I guess, is the word for those cute little ears.”
After the film wrapped, Huston, Brooks and Freund all peed on the floor of the set. This ritual was witnessed by editor Rudi Fehr, who was confused and “shocked”, having never seen such an act before or since. [Grobel: 316] The film wrapped in March 1948.
Montana (1950). Freund’s final work in film, starring Errol Flynn, was filmed in 1948.
At the beginning of the 1950s, he was persuaded by Desi Arnaz to be the cinematographer for Arnaz’s television series “I Love Lucy”. Lucille Ball suggested Freund to associate producer Al Simon, praising the work they had done together in 1942. Freund refused, saying, “I’m not interested in TV. I’m an Academy Award winner.” Simon met with him in person, but Freund again refused, saying it would be too difficult beause each shot would require different lighting. [Sanders: 42]
Desi called Freund while he was working in Washington, DC at a government film research lab. He explained what he wanted to do: shoot multiple shots simultaneously, to which Freund again responded it was impossible due to lighting changes between wideshots and close-ups. Arnaz pushed and said if anyone can find a way, it would be Freund. And he was right. Critics have credited Freund for the show’s lustrous black and white cinematography, but more importantly, Freund also perfected the simultaneous three-camera coverage of the show as it was performed in front of an audience, which remains the primary method for shooting a sitcom.
Desilu executive Martin N. Leeds suggests another important part of Freund’s involvement. “Lucy had, shall we say, slights beginnings of wattles under her neck, which would have made her look older, so he designed putting lights up at the foot of the camera, removing all the shadows on her face. That was really his major contribution.” [Sanders: 42] Freund had agreed to do all this simply for the challenge and as a favor to Lucy — he had no need for money, collecting income from his light meter and orange trees he owned in the San Fernando Valley.
When Eve Arden gave birth to her son Douglas Brooks West on September 17, 1954, “Papa” Freund made an appearance in the hospital to visit Arden. She recalled that Freund said that Doug was too “pyootiful” to be a newborn and that Arden herself looked twenty years younger and should be photographed right there. Freund, whom Arden called “outsized”, advised that children “should be sent avay to school at five, und not come home until tventy-one — vell-trained und mit pyootiful manners”. [Arden: 98]
Around 1955, after shooting over 400 telepix for Desilu (including 149 episodes of “I Love Lucy”), Karl Freund relinquished his position as “Lucy” director of photography. The mantle would go to Robert deGrasse and then Sid Hickox. [Sanders: 105]
Also in 1955, his work at Photo Research Corp. was honored with a special technical award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, for his design of the direct-reading light meter. He also represented the United States at the International Conference on Illumination in Switzerland.
Greta Garbo, Karl’s long-time friend, received an honorary Oscar in 1955 despite not appearing in a film for twenty years. Freund commented to reporters, “I don’t believe she would ever accept a film role just to exploit her beauty alone. It would take a terrific dramatic role — a life and death story — to lure her back to the screen. She’s a very warm, sensitive person, and one of the most cooperative people I have ever worked with. Dry ice looks cold, but it burns if you touch it! She wasn’t a ham. She couldn’t perform before a goggling audience. She didn’t want to destroy the illusion of her performance.” If she came back, she would be “just as great today as she ever was.” Commenting on Louise Rainier, another actress who fled Hollywood, “She was a very fine actress; “I believe she was misguided in her career.”
Freund retired from “I Love Lucy” in 1956, having “worked longer and harder than he had ever expected to”. [Kanfer: 185]
In 1960, after a decade as the most important and influential photographer in television, Freund retired at the age of 70, though he continued to work at Photo Research well into the 1960s.
A student from the Theater Arts department of UCLA interviewed Freund on June 1, 1964. Among other things, he compared German cinema to Hollywood, favoring Germany. “The director has the most to say in Berlin. Here the producer has more to say. Also, in Germany, I didn’t have a picture if I didn’t want to… Here you have to make the picture whether you like it or not.” [Youngkin: 510]
On January 14, 1967, Freund’s wife Gertrude Elizabeth Freund died at home (10046 Cielo Drive) in a house fire at the age of 65. Gertrude was called a semi-invalid by the newspapers, and it was said she was found behind a door and pronounced dead of asphyxiation at UCLA Medical Center. The blaze’s origins were unclear, having started at 5 a.m. and $15,000 in damages were done to two bedrooms and a hallway. The house’s total value was deemed to be $100,000. Five fire units under the command of battalion chief Ray Gale were summoned by a gardener who lived in a cottage on the grounds and the fire was out in 30 minutes. Karl was not home at the time of the fire, as the couple was separated and Karl now lived at 7023 Sunset Boulevard. Of interest to some may be that 10050 Cielo Drive was the site of the so-called Manson Murders a mere two years later…
In 1968, the Kollmergen Corporation bought out Freund’s Photo Research Corporation.
Universal City prepared theatrical reissues of Dracula and Frankenstein in November 1968, making Karl Freund a guest of honor. Freund, who by now had “mellowed” into “a great big teddy bear” according to writer Bill Warren, remarked, “They’re so young to be interested in these pictures!” [Mank: 153]
Freund died May 3, 1969 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Freund lived in Beverly Hills at the time. He was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles. At the time of his death, he was survived by a daughter, Mrs. Gerda Martel, and three grandchildren.
The Academy Award that Freund won in 1937 was stolen from his daughter Gerda Martel’s home in Chicago in 1975. In September 1990, the Oscar was handed over to police after a woman advertised it for sale in the Los Angeles Times. Police said a friend on the West Coast saw the ad and contacted the family. The unidentified woman told police she got the Oscar from a friend who owed her money.
As of July 2007, Gerda “is still alive and kicking in Minneapolis. She spends much of her time watching Turner Classic Movies Channel,” according to her son Rod.
Works referenced in this article:
Andersen, Christopher. An Affair to Remember: The Remarkable Love Story of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy William Morrow and Company, 1997.
Arden, Eve. Three Phases of Eve St. Martin’s Press, 1985.
Bainbridge, John. Garbo. Doubleday and Company, 1955.
Blakeston, Oswell. “Interview with Carl Freund”, Close Up, IV (January 1929), no. 1: 58-61.
Crisler, B. R., “The Friendly Mr. Freund,” New York Times, November 21, 1937.
Cronyn, Hume. A Terrible Liar: A Memoir William Morrow & Co, 1991.
Curtis, James. James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters Faber and Faber, 1998.
Evans, Wick. “Karl Freund, Candid Cinematographer”, Popular Photography, IV (Chicago, February 1939), no. 2: 51, 88-89.
Grobel, Lawrence. The Hustons Scribner, 1989.
Gronowicz, Antoni. Garbo: Her Story Simon and Schuster, 1990.
Higham, Charles. Bette: The Life of Bette Davis. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981.
Kael, Pauline. The Citizen Kane Book Paladin, 1974.
Kanfer, Stefan. Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
Kinnard, Roy and Tony Crnkovich. The Films of Fay Wray McFarland and Company, 2005.
Kracauer, Siegfried. From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film Princeton University Press, 1947.
Lennig, Arthur. The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi University Press of Kentucky, 2003.
McBride, Joseph. Searching For John Ford : A Life St. Martin’s Press, 2001.
McGilligan, Patrick. Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Mank, Gregory William. Hollywood Cauldron: 13 Horror Films from the Genres’s Golden Age McFarland and Company, 1994.
Manvell, Roger and Heinrich Fraenkel. German Cinema Praeger Publishers, 1971.
Maxford, Howard. The A-Z of Horror Films Indiana University Press, 1997.
Ott, Frederick W. The Great German Films Citadel Press, 1986.
Prawer, S. S. Caligari’s Children: The Film As Tale Of Terror Oxford University Press, 1980.
Pyle, Ernie. “A Day With Crack Movie Cameraman; Karl Freund Never Touches the Box”, El Paso Herald-Post, December 12, 1936.
Quirk, Lawrence J. The Films of Myrna Loy Citadel Press, 1980.
Sanders, Coyne S. and Tom Gilbert. Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz William Morrow and Company, 1993.
Skal, David J. The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror Penguin Books, 1993.
Slezak, Walter. What Time’s the Next Swan? Doubleday and Company, 1962.
Sperber, A. M. and Eric Lax. Bogart William Morrow & Co, 1997.
Sterling, Philip. “Artists in Exile”, New York Times. September 25, 1938.
Stevens, George. Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age at the American Film Institute Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Swenson, Karen. Greta Garbo: A Life Apart Scribner, 1997.
Swindell, Larry. Spencer Tracy; a biography World Publishing, 1969.
Tornabene, Lyn. Long live The King: A Biography of Clark Gable. Pocket Books, 1976.
Troyan, Michael. A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson University Press of Kentucky, 1998.
Vieira, Mark A. Hollywood Horror: From Gothic To Cosmic Harry N. Abrams, 2003.
Wayne, Jane Ellen. Clark Gable: Portrait of a Misfit. St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
Weaver, Tom with Michael Brunas and John Brunas. Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931-1946 McFarland and Company, 2007.
Wray, Fay. On the Other Hand: A Life Story St. Martin’s Press, 1989.
Wynne-Jones, Frederick. “When the Camera’s Eye Lies for Entertainment”, New York Times, May 2, 1926.
Youngkin, Stephen D. The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre University Press of Kentucky, 2005.
Zierold, Norman. Garbo Stein and Day, 1969.
Works read but not referenced here:
Bojarski, Richard. The Films of Boris Karloff Citadel Press Inc., 1974.
Bosworth, Patricia. Montgomery Clift: A Biography Limelight Editions, 2004.
Bryant, Roger. William Powell: The Life and Films McFarland and Company, 2006.
Daum, Raymond. Walking With Garbo: Conversations and Recollections. HarperCollins, 1991. (This book would probably be useful, but has no index and is written in no particular order. Add an index, and it may be the greatest Garbo book ever written.)
Essoe, Gabe. Films of Clark Gable. Citadel Press, 1970.
Koepnick, Lutz. The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood University of California Press, 2002.
Lambert, Gavin. On Cukor Rizzoli International Publications, 2000.
Masterworks of the German Cinema: The Golem – Nosferatu – M -The Threepenny Opera Lorrimer Publishing, 1973.