Georg Wilhelm Pabst (25 August 1885 – 29 May 1967) was an Austrian film director. Pabst was born in Raudnitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (today’s Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic), the son of a railroad employee. Returning from the United States, he was in France when World War I began. He was interned there near Brest until 1919.
Some of his most famous films concern the plight of women in German society, including The Joyless Street (1925) with Greta Garbo and Asta Nielsen, Geheimnisse einer Seele (1926) with Lili Damita, The Loves of Jeanne Ney (1927) with Brigitte Helm, Pandora’s Box (1929), and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) with American actress Louise Brooks. He also co-directed with Arnold Fanck a mountain film entitled The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929) starring Leni Riefenstahl.
After the coming of sound he made a trilogy of films that secured his reputation: Westfront 1918 (1930), The Threepenny Opera (1931) with Lotte Lenya (based on the Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill musical), and Kameradschaft (1931). Pabst also filmed three versions of Pierre Benoit’s novel L’Atlantide in 1932, in German, English, and French, titled Die Herrin von Atlantis, The Mistress of Atlantis, and L’Atlantide, respectively. In 1933, Pabst directed Don Quixote, once again in German, English, and French versions.
After making A Modern Hero (1934) in the U.S. and Mademoiselle Docteur (1936) in France, Pabst returned to Austria and Germany in 1938—to take care of family business, he later claimed. During World War II, he made two films in Germany, Komödianten (1941) and Paracelsus (1943).
In 1953, Pabst directed four opera productions in Italy: La forza del destino for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence (conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, the cast included Renata Tebaldi, Fedora Barbieri,Mario del Monaco, Aldo Protti, Cesare Siepi), and a few weeks later, for the Arena di Verona Festival, a spectacular Aïda, with Maria Callas in the title role (conducted by Tullio Serafin, with del Monaco), Il trovatore and again La forza del destino.
Pabst died in Vienna, Austria. He was interred at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.