Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Georg Wilhelm Pabst

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.

"The Joyless Street" directed by G.W. Pabst
“The Joyless Street” directed by G.W. Pabst

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.

"White Hell of Pitz Palu" directed by G.W. Pabst
“White Hell of Pitz Palu” directed by G.W. Pabst

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 AtlantisThe Mistress of Atlantis, and L’Atlantide, respectively. In 1933, Pabst directed Don Quixote, once again in German, English, and French versions.

"Don Quijote" movie poster
“Don Quijote” movie poster

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).

Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Georg Wilhelm Pabst

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.

Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Pabst died in Vienna, Austria.  He was interred at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

Additional Resources

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: