German 43: Exiles and Émigrés

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Photo of Victor TrivasTrivas, Victor

(St. Petersburg 1896–New York 1970)

Born Viktor Aleksandrovich Trivas. Set designer, director, screenwriter. A student of architecture in St. Petersburg, Trivas works in the Moscow theater after the end of World War I. He is involved in avant-garde productions and a set designer for Aleksis Granovsky's Jewish Theater. After being incarcerated for 31 days as alleged enemy of the state in 1920, he and his wife leave for Berlin where he is responsible for the set design of G. W. Pabst's Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (1927). Aufruhr des Blutes, a German-Czech co-production, is Trivas's first work as director (1930). The anti-war film Niemandsland (1931), a Kammerspiel-like film set in the trenches of World War I, turns Trivas into a famous director. Yet the rise of anti-semitism forces him to emigrate to Paris. Dans les rue (1933), a film in the style of Pabst's sober realism, is his third film as director; collaborators include fellow-exiles Hanns Eisler, Rudolph Maté, and Wladimir Sokoloff. In 1941, Trivas and his family arrive in New York on board the 'Ciudad de Sevilla.' Although he cannot continue his career as director, he becomes successful as writer of Russian material. His most successful script is for Orson Welles's The Stranger (1946), which wins him an Academy Award nomination. He also collaborates on Otto Preminger's Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950). A US citizen as of 1947, Trivas returns to West Germany for four years as co-author of several films. His fourth and last film as director is Die Nackte und der Satan (1959), a horror film which is widely attacked in the press.

GERMAN 43: Exiles and Émigrés
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