German 43: Exiles and Émigrés

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Wisbar, Frank

(Tilsit 1899–Mainz 1967)

Born as Frank Wysbar. Director. Before making films, Wisbar served twelve years in the German military and co-edited the magazine Theater und Kunst with Georg H. Will. He entered the industry during the rise of the Third Reich under the direction of Carl Böse and Carl Frölich. Although Fährmann Maria (1933) is his most famous film from that era, his second feature, Anna und Elisabeth (1933), was labeled by Nazi critics as too "decadent" for depicting a female faith-healer. In 1938, Wisbar left Germany and traveled to the United States because of his Jewish wife. He did not become an American citizen until 1947, when he changed his last name to "Wisbar." Wisbar's first Hollywood film was a horror remake of Fährmann entitled Strangler of the Swamp (1945). He eventually founded his own production company, Wisbar Productions Inc., and worked on the television series "Fireside Theater" from 1949-55. Wisbar returned to Germany in 1956 to make movies about the fall of the Nazi regime. He thus gave up the fantastic visions of his early work to concentrate on the brutal realities of World War II.

GERMAN 43: Exiles and Émigrés
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