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13 March 2016

Jenny Jugo

Pretty Austrian actress Jenny Jugo (1904-2001) had a prolific career in German cinema, from the late silent era well into the war years. She did particularly well as comedienne and starred between 1931 and 1942 in eleven smart and charming comedies directed by Erich Engel.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3418/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3584/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3706/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4445/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4747/3, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

Talent For Comedy


Jenny Jugo was born as Eugenie Jenny Walter in Mürzzuschlag, Austria-Hungary (now Austria), in 1904, as the daughter of a factory owner. She grew up in Vienna and Graz, where she visited a monastic school.

At the age of 16 Jenny got married with the Italian actor Emo Jugo who took her to Berlin. Already one year later followed their separation. The famous producer Erich Pommer discovered Jenny for the cinema, and in 1924, she got a three-year contract from the Ufa.

She started to play in films like Die Puppe vom Lunapark/The Lunapark Doll (Jaap Speyer, 1925) with Adolphe Engers, Der Turm des Schweigens/The Tower of Silence (Johannes Guter, 1925), Die gefundene Braut/The Found Bride (Rochus Gliese, 1925) both starring Xenia Desni, Blitzzug der Liebe/Love Express Train (Johannes Guter, 1925) with Ossi Oswalda, and Liebe macht blind/Love Makes Us Blind (Lothar Mendes, 1925) with Georg Alexander.

Her dramatic roles were not very succesful and Ufa lent her to the Phoebus-Film A.G. There she made some of her most successful films like Schiff in Not/Ship Stranded (Fred Sauer, 1925) with Gustav Fröhlich, Casanova/The Loves of Casanova (Alexandre Volkoff, 1927) starring Ivan Mozzhukhin, and the Alexander Pushkin adaptation Pique Dame (Aleksandr Razumnyi, 1927).

As the vivacious and much younger wife of bureaucrat Werner Krauss she proved in the farce Die Hose/The Trousers (Hans Behrendt, 1927) her talent for comedy and self irony.

Iwan Mosjukin and Jenny Jugo in Casanova (1927)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 83/4. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Casanova (Alexandre Volkoff, 1927) with Ivan Mozzhukhin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3418/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo and Willy Fritsch in Die Carmen von St. Pauli (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3585/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Die Carmen von St. Pauli/The Carmen of St. Pauli (1928) with Willy Fritsch.

Jenny Jugo, Enrico Benfer
With Enrico Benfer. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4444/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Enrico Benfer and Jenny Jugo
With Enrico Benfer. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4535/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

Enrico Benfer and Jenny Jugo
With Enrico Benfer. German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4749/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Ufa.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5063/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Alex Binder / Atelier Binder, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5433/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Just Naturalness


When the era of the silent film was over and sound film demanded a new acting talent and especially a very clear pronunciation, Jenny Jugo took acting lessons for the first time in her life. In the next years she acted in less important films like Kopfüber ins Glück/Headfirst in Happiness (Hans Steinhoff, 1929) with Fritz Schulz, and Die nackte Wahrheit/The Naked Truth (Karl Anton, 1931).

Starting with Wer nimmt die Liebe ernst?/Who Takes Love Seriously? (Erich Engel, 1931) starring Max Hansen, she began a cooperation with director Erich Engel who knew how to use her comedy talent. Till 1942 they shot eleven films together.

These included Fünf von der Jazzband/Five of the Jazzband (Erich Engel, 1932), the G.B. Shaw adaptation Pygmalion (Erich Engel, 1935) with Gustaf Gründgens, as the young Queen Victoria in Mädchenjahre einer Königin/Girlhood of a Queen (Erich Engel, 1936), Gefährliches Spiel/Dangerous Game (Erich Engel, 1937) opposite Harry Liedtke, Nanette (Erich Engel, 1939) with Hans Söhnker, and Viel Lärm um Nixi/Much Ado About Nixi (Erich Engel, 1942) with Albert Matterstock.

In these films she established an acting style which was described by Bertolt Brecht as "just naturalness". She belonged with Zarah Leander and Paula Wessely to the best-paid actresses of the Ufa.

However, she would play in only three more productions: Die Gattin/The Wife (Georg Jacoby, 1943), Träum' nicht, Anette/Don't Dream, Anette (Eberhard Klagemann, 1949) and Königskinder/Royal Children (Helmut Käutner, 1949) with Peter van Eyck.

In 1950 Jugo married actor Enrico Benfer a.k.a. Friedrich Benfer, with whom she had worked in many of her films. They retired from the film business to a farm in Schönrain near Bad Heilbrunn, Bavaria. In 1971 she was awarded the Filmband in Gold for her long and outstanding contributions to the German cinema. In the 1970s a medical treatment went wrong, and since then Jugo was tied up to a wheelchair.

Jenny Jugo died in 2001 in Schwaighofen near Königsdorf, Germany. She was 96. In the summer of 2006, the film museum of Potsdam acquired a quite special collection: about forty costumes which Jugo had worn in her Ufa films and numerous documents, which the star herself had saved at her High-Bavarian farm.

Jenny Jugo
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 371. Photo: Remaco.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6156/3, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7105/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Alex Binder / Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8641/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Fox. Publicity still for ...heute abend bei mir/Tonight with me (Carl Boese, 1934).

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9007/2, 1934-1935. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9289/1, 1935-1936. Photo: Atelier Sandau, Berlin.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3092/2, 1941-1944. Photo: Markische-Panorama-Schneider-Südost.

Jenny Jugo
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3873/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Quick / Ufa.

Sources: Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-line - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, IMDb and Wikipedia (German).

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