Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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The Life Story of Anton Walbrook
Picture Show Magazine, January 14th, 1956
Anton Walbrook, whose latest film is Oh... Rosalinda!!, was born on November 19th, 1900, in Vienna, but he was granted British nationality in 1947. He has accomplished the wonderful achievement of becoming a star in four different countries and playing leading roles in three languages - English, French and German.
It is not very surprising that he chose to become an actor, for it can certainly be said that acting is in his blood. His family has been connected with the art for over three hundred years, a record which, it is alleged, is only equalled by the famous Lupino family of the British theatre.
Anton's father was a circus clown, and it was his hope that his son would follow in his footsteps. [In clown shoes? :) ] It was the legitimate theatre, however, which attracted young Anton, and after his education, received in schools in Germany, France and other countries, he went on the stage at the age of sixteen. He commenced by playing minor roles in Reinhardt productions. This excellent foundation to his career led to many engagements in Shakespearian productions, and he also played leading roles in Oscar Wilde's comedies and in Bernard Shaw's Candida.
A New Career
Anton Walbrook had been on the stage fifteen years when he commenced a new career, that of motion pictures. His first film, made in Berlin, was, strangely enough, a picture dealing with circus life. In it he played opposite Anna Sten. It was not long before he was an established Continental star, playing in both German and French films.
He was invited to go to Hollywood to play in Michael Strogoff, which he had already made in French and German versions. In America he created something of a record by learning enough English in three weeks to star in the English version of this film.
His next appointment was in England to play the role of the Prince Consort in Herbert Wilcox's productions based on the life of Queen Victoria, Victoria the Great and Sixty Glorious Years. Round about the same time he also appeared in The Rat, again for Herbert Wilcox. In this he was teamed with Ruth Chatterton. Eventually he had one of his greatest wishes fulfilled - to appear on the London stage.
Films in which we have seen Anton Walbrook over the past fifteen years have been Gaslight, Port Arthur, Dangerous Moonlight (the film in which we heard the wonderful Warsaw Concerto), 49th Parallel, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Man From Morocco, The Red Shoes, The Queen of Spades and La Ronde.
As well as being a dramatic actor, he is also a first-rate singer and dancer. Brown-haired and blue-eyed, he is six feet tall. He has all the charm which is usually associated with the Continental actor, combined with a dashing personality, which right from the start ensured his success as a star of the screen.
When he was an actor on the Continent he appeared under his own name of Adolf Wohlbruck, but when he went to Hollywood for Michael Strogoff he became Anton Walbrook. It was from his father that he inherited his ability to master languages. When he first began to learn English, he devoted no less than four or five hours a day to studying the language, and was not satisfied until he could almost converse without a trace a trace of accent.
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