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21 February 2012

Olaf Storm

Danish actor Olaf Storm (1894 – 1931) appeared in supporting roles in ca. 30 silent German films, including three major classics of this period. He worked often with director Franz Hofer. Storm edited a film and also produced another film.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1374/2. Photo: Alex Binder.

Nat Pinkerton
Olaf Storm was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark in 1994. He started his film career with a supporting part in the German production Das Erbe vom Lilienhof/The legacy of Lilienhof (1919, Franz Hofer). Hofer had been one of the true auteurs of the early German cinema. The Encyclopedia of European Cinema indicates that “Hofer’s work is marked by stunning formal qualities and bizarre twists of plot.” Storm played supporting parts in more Hofer films such as Ferréol (1920, Franz Hofer) with Margit Barnay and Ernst Deutsch, Ein nettes Früchtchen/A nice little fruit (1920, Franz Hofer), and Der Riesenschmuggel/The giant smuggling (1920, Franz Hofer) as the fiancée of Erika Glässner. Then he got the leading role in the detective serial Nat Pinkerton im Kampf/Nat Pinkerton in the fight (1920, Wolfgang Neff). The young Béla Lugosi played a gang leader in this film serial. Meanwhile Storm kept appearing in Hofer productions, including Begierde/Desire (1921, Franz Hofer) and Aus den Akten einer anständigen Frau/From the files of a respectable woman (1921, Franz Hofer), both with Margit Barnay. Storm produced as well as acted in Die Minderjährige - Zu jung fürs Leben/The minors - Too young for life (1921, Alfred Tostary) with Hanni Weisse. A year later he both edited and acted in Das Straßenmädchen von Berlin/The prostitute from Berlin (1922, Richard Eichberg) with Lee Parry. That year he also played a supporting part in Fräulein Julie/Miss Julie (1922, Felix Basch), an adaptation of the August Strindberg play starring Danish diva Asta Nielsen.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 774/3, 1925-1926. Photo: Arenberg Atelier, Wien.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 444/5, 1919-1924.

Three Classics of the German Cinema
Olaf Storm played small parts in a three of the classics of the German silent cinema. He had an uncredited part in Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit/Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) featuring Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the arch criminal Dr. Mabuse. Two years later he played a young hotel guest in Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Der Lezte Mann/The Last Laugh (1924, F.W. Murnau). Emil Jannings starred in this beautiful film as an ageing hotel doorman who is fired from his prestigious position and re-assigned to the lowly position of washroom attendant. The third classic is the Sci-Fi epic Metropolis (1926, Fritz Lang), the biggest-budgeted film ever produced at the Ufa studio. Storm played the uncredited part of Jan. During these years he also played bigger parts in lesser known films. In Die Tochter des Wucherers/The daughter of the moneylender (1922, Fritz Bernhardt), he costarred with Lee Parry. He had also a notable part in Die vom anderen Ufer/Those from the Other Side (1926, Arthur Bergen) with Bruno Kastner. His other roles were mostly smaller parts and a year later he made his last two films: the drama Verbotene Liebe/Forbidden Love (1927, Friedrich Feher) with Magda Sonja, and Wochenendzauber/Weekend Magic (1927, Rudolf Walther-Fein) starring Harry Liedtke. Four years later, in 1931, Olaf Storm died at the age of 37. We could not find information about why his film career had halted, nor how he died at such a young age. If you know more about Olaf Storm, please share it.

Olaf Storm
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 774/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Arenberg Atelier, Wien.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), The Encyclopedia of European Cinema, Filmportal.de and IMDb.

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