German 43: Exiles and Émigrés
 

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Hollaender, Friedrich

(London 1896–Munich 1976)

Composer. The son of the composer Victor Hollaender, who composed shows in Berlin in the 1890s to 1910s, Friedrich Hollaender received early musical training. Since 1913 he was student of opera composer Engelbert Humperdinck. He started as repetitor at a theater in Prague and became—in spite of his classical training— an important composer of shows and cabaret songs in Berlin in the 1920s. He started working for the UFA film Der Blaue Engel (dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1930) per chance, because Marlene Dietrich wanted him as pianist for her audition for that movie. His only film as director was Ich und die Kaiserin (1933), starring Lilian Harvey, which he made in three versions (German, French and English). After the Nazis came to power he emigrated via France and England to Hollywood, where he got a three months contract. There, he wrote songs and scores for various movies, sometimes collaborating with Leo Robin or Frank Loesser. Especially memorable is his song "The Boys in the Backroom" which Marlene Dietrich sings in Destry Rides Again (dir. George Marshall, 1939), and his score for, and brief appearance in, A Foreign Affair (dir. Billy Wilder, 1948). After the decline of musicals in the mid 1950s he returned in 1956 to Germany, where he continued working for shows and cabaret, this time in Munich. As composer and lyricist he retired in the 1960s, but he kept writing books until the 1970s.


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