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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

German–speaking Émigrés in British Cinema, 1925–1950- Event

Conference poster
15 - 17 July 2005
University of Southampton, Avenue Campus

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Christian Cargnelli on +44 (0)23 8059 2605 or email .

Event details

An International Conference at the University of Southampton, Avenue Campus

This event, the first major conference on this topic, aims to determine the influence of German-speaking émigrés on British cinema from the late silent film era to the immediate post-World War Two period, focussing on areas such as exile, genre, technological transfer, professional training and education, cross-cultural exchange and representation. More than 300 filmmaking personnel found refuge in the United Kingdom from the mid-1920s to the late 1940s, and papers will address the careers and contributions by producers such as Alexander Korda and Max Schach, directors Berthold Viertel and Paul L. Stein, actors and actresses Anton Walbrook, Lilli Palmer and Conrad Veidt, screenwriters Carl Mayer and Emeric Pressburger, cinematographers Gunther Krampf and Curt Courant, designers Alfred Junge, Ernö Metzner and Hein Heckroth, and composers Hans May, Ernst Meyer, Matyas Seiber and Allan Gray.

The conference fills significant gaps in our knowledge of British cinema and exile studies, and of the development of cinema aesthetics and technology more generally for the period under consideration. It will shed light on a hitherto neglected area of exile studies: the instrumental role European film artists played in Britain during the 1930s to 1950s. As film historian Kevin Gough-Yates put it:

"The major writers, photographers, producers, and even directors of feature films in Britain throughout the 1930s were not British. When we consider the films of the 1930s in which the Europeans played a lesser role, the list of important films is small."

Viennese-born director of photography and London resident Wolf Suschitzky, active in British cinema since the 1940s, will attend as Guest of Honour and introduce a screening of GET CARTER (1971) which he photographed. The conference will further include selected screenings, and a special panel on undertaking cross-European research on film history and exile. Participating in this panel will be the directors of two major European film historical research centres, Hans-Michael Bock (CineGraph, Hamburg), and Brigitte Mayr (Synema, Vienna). The conference will also facilitate exchanges between established scholars and younger researchers.

Speakers include:

  • Charles Barr, University of East Anglia
  • Pam Cook, University of Southampton
  • Kevin Donnelly, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • Laurie Ede, University of Portsmouth
  • Gerd Gemünden, Dartmouth College
  • Kevin Gough-Yates, London
  • Andrew Moor, University of Wales , Bangor
  • Amy Sargeant, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Sarah Street, University of Bristol


Friday, 15 July

from 14.30:       Registration
15.30                Welcome with Guest of Honour: Wolf Suschitzky
15.45                Unresolved Questions of Film Exile in Britain after 1928
                         (Kevin Gough­Yates) - Respondent: Christian Cargnelli
16.45                Discussion
17.00                Tea
17.15                British Theatre and Cinema Europe - The Case of Arnold
                         Ridley and Geza von Bolvary (Lawrence Napper)
17.45                "A foundling asylum" - Werner Brandes and BIP
                         (Kelly Robinson)
18.15                Discussion
18.30                Dinner (own arrangements)
20.30                Harbour Lights Cinema: Wolf Suschitzky, Director of
                         Photography -
                         An Introduction to GET CARTER
21.00                Harbour Lights Cinema (Film Screening):
                         GET CARTER ( UK 1971)

Saturday, 16 July

9.30                  Extending Frames and Exploring Spaces: Alfred Junge, 
                         Set Design and Genre in British Cinema of the
                         1930s (Sarah Street)
10.00                THE GHOUL (1933) and the 'English Gothic'
                         (James Chapman)
10.30                Coffee
11.00                Kamera: Krampf - From Weimar Cinema to
                         Gaumont-British and Beyond (Michael Omasta)
11.30                Passages: Curt Courant's Work in British Exile
                         (Robert Müller)
12.00                Discussion
12.15                Lunch (Avenue Campus Café)
13.30                Panel: Researching the History of German and
                         Austrian Cinema - CineGraph and SYNEMA
                         (Brigitte Mayr, Michael Omasta, Hans Michael Bock)
14.00                Discussion
14.15                'German , or still more horrible thought Russian - at any
                         rate, it is un- English!': A Wide Shot of Exile, Emigré
                         and Itinerant Activity in the British Film Industry in the
                         1930s (Amy Sargeant)
14.45                Hein Heckroth at The Archers
                         (Andrew Moor)
15.15                Lost in Siberia: Erno Metzner in Britain
                         (Laurie N. Ede)
15.45                Discussion
16.00                DVD Screening
16.15                Tea
16.30                Allegories of Displacement: Conradt Veidt's British Films
                         (Gerd Gemünden)
17.00                Lilli Palmer in Britain - A German Actress Became an
                         International Star (Barbara Ziereis)
17.30                Anton Walbrook: The Continental Consort
                         (Michael Williams)
18.00                Discussion
18.30                Dinner (own arrangements)
20.30                Film Screening (Lecture Theatre A): THE PASSING OF THE
                         THIRD FLOOR BACK ( UK 1935)

Sunday, 17 July

9.30                  Down and out in London - Carl Mayer (1894-1944)
                         (Brigitte Mayr)
10.00                DVD Screening
10.30                Coffee
11.00                Emigrés Against Hitler: British Anti-Nazi Films and
                         German-speaking Film Personnel (Tobias Hochscherf)
12.00                Discussion
12.15                Lunch (Avenue Campus Café)
13.30                My Song Goes Round the World: Escapism and Social 
                         Comment in the Music of Hans May and Ernst Meyer
                         (Geoff Brown)
14.00                I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING: Hearing Germanic Music in the
                         Scottish Isles (Kevin Donnelly)
14.30                Musical Avant-garde Meets Film: THE MAGIC CANVAS and
                         Matyas Seiber's Impact Upon British Film Music
                         (Florian Scheding)
15.00                Discussion
15.30                Film Exile and Identity - The Influence of Continental
                         Filmmakers on British Cinema (Charles Barr, Pam Cook, 
                         Kevin Gough-Yates, Sarah Street / Chair: Tim Bergfelder)
16.30                Tea 

Funded by:

Bundeskanzleramt Kunst
Austrian Cultural Forum London

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