The Life and Works of Richard Wagner, directed by Carl Froehlich (aka Carl Frohlich), was originally released on 20 November 1913. It was the first ever full length biopic. Frohlich’s film runs for over 80 minutes. This silent movie predates D.W. Griffiths and The Birth of A Nation, usually described as the first ‘long’ silent. At that time most silents ran for no more than 10 minutes.
Directed by Carl Froelich and William Wauer (uncredited)
Giuseppe Becce: Richard Wagner
Olga Engl: Cosima von Bülow
Manny Ziener: Minna Planer
Ernst Reicher: Ludwig II.
Miriam Horwitz: Mathilde Wesendonk
Original Music by Giuseppe Becce
Cinematography by Carl Froelich
Production Design by William Wauer
Director Carl Froelich
Carl Froelich (1875-1953) was a German film pioneer and film director who made 77 films between 1912 and 1951. The biopic Richard Wagner (1913) was his directorial debut. In 1920 he founded his own production company, Froelich-Film GmbH, among the productions of which were Kabale und Liebe (1921) and Mutter und Kind (1924). In 1929 Froelich made the first German sound film, Die Nacht gehört uns. In 1931 he was advisor, as “senior artistic director”, to Leontine Sagan’s famous boarding-school film and later lesbian classic, Mädchen in Uniform (“Girls in Uniform”) (1931).
Fröhlich’s film runs for over 80 minutes ! Made when Cosima Wagner was very
much in the ascendance, and newly restored with English inter-titles, but
preserving the original 1913 tinting, this film is a revelation about many
aspects of Wagner’s life.
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