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05 March 2012

Theodor Loos

Theodor Loos (1883 - 1954) was a German stage and screen actor between the 1910's and the 1950's. He became famous for his parts in Fritz Lang’s German films.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser. Photo: Becker und Maass, Berlin. Kaiser und Galiläer (Emperor and Galilean) was not a film but a play by Henrik Ibsen, in which Loos played the part of Emperor Julian.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by NPG, no. 957. Photo: Anny Eberth, Berlin.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Photochemie, no. K 237. Photo: A. Binder, Berlin.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by NPG, no. 894. Photo: Käthe Hirschfeld, Berlin.

Homunculus
Theodor August Konrad Loos was born in Zwingenberg, Germany in 1883, as the son of a watchmaker and instruments manufacturer. After leaving school prematurely, he worked at an export firm for musical instruments in Leipzig and afterwards for his uncle, an art dealer in Berlin. Then he decided to become an actor. From 1913 on Loos played in theaters in Leipzig, Danzig and Frankfurt am Main, before performing in Berlin. In 1913 he also played his first film part and two years later his first leading role in the mystery drama Der geheimnisvolle Wanderer/The mysterious wanderer (1915, William Wauer) with Ludwig Trautmann. Loos played in films by renown directors such as Richard Oswald, Stellan Rye, Robert Wiene, Otto Rippert and Robert Reinert. Memorable silent film titles are Die Rache des Homunculus/The Revenge of Homunculus (1916, Otto Rippert) with Olaf Fönss, Christa Hartungen (1917, Rudolf Biebrach) with Henny Porten, Es werde Licht! II/Let there be light II (1917-1918, Richard Oswald) with Eva Speyer, Die singende Hand/The Singing Hand (1918, Arthur Wellin) again with Speyer, Getrennte Welten/Separate Worlds (1918, Arthur Wellin), Die Buße des Richard Solm/The Penance of Richard Solm (1918, Arthur Wellin) with Else Kühne and Lia Borré, Nach dem Gesetz/According to the law (1919, Willy Grunwald) with Asta Nielsen, Der Reigen/The Merry-Go-Round (1919, Richard Oswald) again with Nielsen, Othello (1921-1922, Dimitri Buchowetzki) with Emil Jannings, Hanneles Himmelfahrt/Hannele's Ascension (1922, Urban Gad). Loos played the title role in the humoristic period piece Friedrich Schiller (1922-1923, Curt Goetz) on the adolescent years of the German playwright, shot on location in Stuttgart. The film, the debut of the film director Goetz, was previously considered lost but rediscovered in recent years and fully restored. Loos’ finest hour, however, came when Fritz Lang had him perform the cowardly king Gunther in his two-part sequel Die Nibelungen (1924, Fritz Lang). In the first part, Siegfrieds Tod/Siegfried, Gunther convinces Siegfried (Paul Richter) to conquer Brunhild (Hanna Ralph) for him, but when Brunhild discovers the fraud she urges Gunther to kill Siegfried, which he does with the help of Hagen von Tronje (Hans Adalbert Schlettow). In part two, Kriemhilds Rache/Kriemhild's Revenge, Siegfried’s wife Kriemhild (Margarethe Schön), sister of Gunther, takes revenge on the murderers of Siegfried, including her own brother. A few years later, Lang asked Loos back for the part of the secretary Joseph/Josaphat in his science-fiction film Metropolis (1925-1926, Fritz Lang). Other late silent films with Loos were a.o. Das Lebenslied/The Song of Life (1927, Arthur Bergen) with Erna Morena, Luther (1927, Hans Kyser) starring Eugen Klöpfer, Bigamie/Bigamy (1927, Jaap Speyer) with Maria Jacobini, Anastasia, die falsche Zarentochter/Anastasia, the False Tsar's Daughter (1928, Arthur Bergen) with Elizza La Porta and Camilla von Hollay, Ludwig der Zweite, König von Bayern/Ludwig II, King of Bavaria (1929-1930, William Dieterle) in which Loos played Dr. Von Gudden, and Die stärkere Macht/The increased power (1929, Gennaro Righelli) with Renée Heribel, Fritz Kortner and Alma Taylor.

Theodor Loos in Die Buße des Richard Solm (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot. in the Film-Sterne series, no. 539/3. Photo: Theodor Loos in Die Buße des Richard Solm (1918). The woman is probably Lia Borré.

Theodor Loos in Getrennte Welten (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot. in the Film-Sterne series, no. 540/2. Photo: Theodor Loos in Getrennte Welten (1918).

Theodor Loos in Die singende Hand (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot. in the Film-Sterne series, no. 530/1. Photo: Theodor Loos in Die singende Hand (1918).

Theodor Loos in Die singende Hand (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot. in the Film-Sterne series, no. 530/3. Photo: Theodor Loos in Die singende Hand (1918).

Staatsschauspieler
Theodor Loos’ first sound film was the comedy Die grosse Sehnsucht/The Great Desire (1930, Stefan Szekely), in which he played the lead as a film director who turns an extra (Camilla Horn) into a star. Other early sound films with Loos were Ariane (1931, Paul Czinner) with Elisabeth Bergner, Die andere Seite/The Other Side (1931, Heinz Paul) with Conrad Veidt, Trenck (1932, Ernst Neubach, Heinz Paul) with Hans Stüwe and Dorothea Wieck, and Acht Mädels im Boot/Eight girls in the boat (1932, Erich Waschneck) with Karin Hardt. Returning to Fritz Lang, Loos was police commissioner Groeber in his masterpiece M (1931, Fritz Lang) and Dr. Kramm in Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse/The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). The last mentioned film was forbidden by the nazi’s because of its hidden criticism of Hitler and the nazi regime, so it premiered in Budapest. In the 1930's Loos played not only countless film parts but also classic theater: Shakespeare, Schiller, Hauptmann, Ibsen, Strindberg, among which over 400 times in Peer Gynt. Under the nazi regime he was appointed 'Staatsschauspieler' (state actor), performing in a.o. Thea von Harbou’s directorial debut Elisabeth und der Narr/Elizabeth and the Fool (1934) with Hertha Thiele and Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Der Student von Prag/The Student of Prague (1935, Artur Robison) with Loos as the devilish Dr. Carpis, Schlussakkord/Final Accord (1936, Douglas Sirk) with Maria von Tasnady and Peter Bosse, Schatten über St. Pauli/Shadows Over St. Pauli (1938, Fritz Kirchhoff) with Harald Paulsen, Veit Harlan’s films Der Herrscher/The Ruler (1936-1937) with Emil Jannings, and Jud Süß/Jew Süss (1940) with Ferdinand Marian, and Hans Steinhoff’s films Der alte und der junge König/The Making of a King (1934-1935) with Jannings, Robert Koch (1939) with again Jannings, Rembrandt (1942) in which Loos played Jan Six, and Gabriel Dambrone (1943). Other titles from the war era were Herbert Maisch’s Andreas Schlüter (1941-1942), in which Loos played prince-elector Frederick III, opposite Henrich George in the title role, and Titanic (1943, Werner Klingler, Herbert Selpin) which starred Sybille Schmitz and Hans Nielsen, and in which Loos played a German scientist. During the war Loos was head of Künstlerischen Wortsendungen (artistic verbal emissions) at the German Radio. He was also in high places in artistic and cultural boards. Loos didn’t have to serve in the war because of his parts in (propaganda-) films but his two sons did and they both died in the war. At the end of the war Loos fled via Prague to Salzburg, but was rehabilitated by the French military government in 1947. He then performed again on stage in Tübingen and Stuttgart, and also became a radio announcer. In 1954 Loos played his last film part as a minister in Rosen aus dem Süden/Roses from the South (1954, Franz Antel), starring Maria Holst, and in the same year he was awarded with the Grossverdienstkreuz of the Bundesrepublik. Theodor Loos died in 1954 in Stuttgart. He had played in over 170 films.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3680/1. Photo Binz, Berlin / Terra Film.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3912/1. Photo Star Foto Atelier / Tobis.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3530/1, 1941 - 1944. Photo: Binz, Berlin.

Theodor Loos
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7349/1, 1932-1933. Photo: O. Stein.

Sources: Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.

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