German 43: Exiles and Émigrés
 

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Thiele, William

(Vienna 1890–Los Angeles 1975)

Born as Wilhelm Isersohn. Director and screenwriter. After studying music in Austria, Thiele moved to Germany where he was hired as a stage director, film actor, screenwriter, and director for various projects throughout the 1920s. Although his silent film operettas (Carl Michael Ziehrer, der letzte Walzerkönig, 1922) and comedies (Adieu Mascotte, 1929) were relatively successful, he became famous for his innovative use of sound in Der Liebeswalzer (1929) and Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1930). He eventually acquired the reputation of being the father of the German Tonfilmoperette (sound film operetta). Thiele emigrated in 1933 and found work in Britain, Austria, and New York before moving to Hollywood, where he made his first American film, Lottery Lover, in 1935. Although he would go on to make popular b-movies (Tarzan Triumphs, 1943) and series (The Cavalcade of America, 1952-56), the opportunity never arose for him to direct another musical. His last American projects include documentaries, promotional films, and television shows. Thiele directed two German comedies in 1960 before retiring to Hollywood that same year.


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