German 43: Exiles and Émigrés
 

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Freund, Karl

(Königsdorf 1890–Santa Monica, California 1969)

Cinematographer and director. He began as a projectionist and a newsreel cameraman in the early part of the century, but by the 1920s he had a contract with Ufa that allowed him to work on some of the most influential films ever produced during the silent era. These features include: Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh (1924), Paul Wegener's The Golem (1920), and E.A. Dupont's Variety (1925). In 1927, he co-produced and co-wrote Walter Ruttmann's landmark documentary, Berlin, Symphony of a City. Enjoying international acclaim for his German work, Freund emigrated to the United States in 1930. There, he filmed several classic fantasy and horror pictures for Universal (1931's Dracula and 1933's The Mummy, which he also directed). His success continued in Hollywood when he received an Academy Award for the cinematography of The Good Earth (1937). He went on to found the Photo Research Corporation in Burbank, California in 1944. As a result of this investment, the Academy bestowed upon Freund a technical award for designing and developing the direct-reading light meter. As if all of this was not a testament to a brilliant career in filmmaking, the films he shot during and just after World War II include classics like Vincente Minnelli's Undercurrent (1946) and John Huston's Key Largo (1948).


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