Thea von Harbou

From Academic Kids

Thea von Harbou (December 27, 1888 – July 1, 1954) was a German actress and author.

In 1905, she published her first novel in the Deutsche Roman-Zeitung. However, she then started to work as an actress, starting in 1906 in Düsseldorf, then moving to Weimar (1908), Chemnitz (1911) and Aachen (1913). In Aachen she also met her first husband, the actor and director Rudolf Klein-Rogge, whom she married in 1914.

In 1920, she wrote her first movie script Das indische Grabmal (Mysteries of India), together with Fritz Lang. Fritz Lang became her second husband in 1922, and they collaborated a lot in the following years, for instance in writing the screenplay of the famous film Metropolis togehter. They separated in October 1931 and got divorced in 1933.

In 1932, one year before Adolf Hitler came to power, she joined the NSDAP; This presumably led to the divorce from husband Fritz Lang who left Germany in 1934 for Paris after his latest film Das Testament des Dr. Marbuse had been declared illegal by Nazi officials because of its criticism of Nazi ideology.

Harbou wrote the script for "Der Herrscher" 1937, directed by Veit Harlan and starring Emil Jannings. The movie celebrates unconditional submission under absolute authority, eventually finding reward in total victory.

After the war she was detained by the British military government, and then did some unskilled labor, like cleaning up the rubble from the bombing. After receiving a working permit she did some synchronizing of movies, but also continued to write scripts.

Scripts (selection)

  • Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime) (1922)
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon) (1929)
  • M (1931)

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