19 February 2019

Grand Hotel (1932)

Grand Hotel (1932) was an all-star drama, directed by Edmund Goulding and produced by Irving Thalberg for M.G.M. William A. Drake wrote the screenplay based on his own play Grand Hotel (1930) which in turn was based on the German novel Menschen im Hotel (1929) by Vicki Baum. The film won an Oscar for Best Picture and was a box office hit. The phrase "Grand Hotel theme" has come to be used for any film drama following the activities of various people in a large busy place, with some characters' lives overlapping in odd ways and some of them remaining unaware of one another's existence.

Jean Hersholt in Grand Hotel (1932)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7244/1, 1932-1933, distributed in Italy by Casa Editrice Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Jean Hersholt.

Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7249/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Greta Garbo.

Greta Garbo and John Barrymore in Grand Hotel (1932)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7285/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Greta Garbo and John Barrymore.

People come, people go. Nothing ever happens

The setting for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) is Berlin's plushest, most expensive hotel. Lewis Stone plays Doctor Otternschlag, a disfigured veteran of World War I, usually drunk and a permanent resident of the Grand Hotel. He observes: "People coming, going. Nothing ever happens". His statement proves to be false, as the film follows several guests over the course of one tumultuous day.

John Barrymore is Baron Felix von Geigern, who squandered his fortune and supports himself as a card player and occasional jewel thief. He befriends Otto Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a lowly bookkeeper who is dying and has decided to spend his remaining days in the lap of luxury. Kringelein's former employer, industrialist General Director Preysing (Wallace Beery), is at the hotel to close an important deal, and he hires stenographer Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford) to assist him. She aspires to be an actress and shows Preysing some magazine photos for which she posed, implying she is willing to offer him more than typing if he advances her career.

Another guest is the eccentric Russian prima ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo), whose career is on the wane. When the Baron is in her room to steal her pearls and she returns from the theatre, he hides in her room and overhears as she talks to herself about wanting to end it all. He comes out of hiding and engages her in conversation, and Grusinskaya finds herself attracted to him. The following morning, the Baron returns Grusinskaya's jewels, and she forgives his crime. She invites him to accompany her to Vienna, an offer he accepts.

The Baron is desperate for money to pay his way out of the criminal group he had been working with. He and Kringelein get a card game going, and Kringelein wins everything, then becomes intoxicated. When he drops his wallet, the Baron stashes it in his pocket, intending to keep the winnings. However, after Kringelein begins to search for his lost belongings, the Baron – who desperately needs the money but has become very fond of Kringelein – pretends to have discovered the wallet and returns it to him.

As part of a desperate merger plan, Preysing must travel to London, and he asks Flaemmchen to accompany him. Later, when the two are in her room, which opens on to his, Preysing sees the shadow of the Baron rifling through his belongings. He confronts the Baron; the two struggle, and Preysing bludgeons the Baron with the telephone, killing him. Flaemmchen sees what happened and tells Kringelein, who confronts Preysing. He insists he acted in self-defense, but Kringelein summons the police and Preysing is arrested.

Grusinskaya departs for the train station, expecting to find the Baron waiting for her there. Meanwhile, Kringelein offers to take care of Flaemmchen, who suggests they seek a cure for his illness. As they leave the hotel, Doctor Otternschlag again observes, "Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come. People go. Nothing ever happens."

Greta Garbo and John Barrymore in Grand Hotel
Dutch postcard, no. 357. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Greta Garbo and John Barrymore. The subtitle mentions the German release title Menschen im Hotel, also the title of the book by Vicky Baum on which the film was based. The mark on the card is that of the Dutch Board of Film Censors.

Grand Hotel
Dutch postcard, no. 359. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Ferdinand Gottschalk (Pimenov), Greta Garbo (Grusinskaya) and Rafaela Ottiano (Suzette).

Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932)
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 381. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Greta Garbo.

I want to be alone

Producer Irving Thalberg purchased the rights to Vicki Baum's novel Menschen im Hotel for $13,000 and then commissioned William Absalom Drake to adapt it for the stage. It opened on Broadway at the National Theatre on 13 November 1930 and ran for 459 performances. Pleased with its success, Thalberg had Drake and Béla Balázs write the screenplay and budgeted the project at $700,000.

Thalberg made it into MGM's first 'all star' film with an A-list of star performers: the divine Garbo, not one but two Barrymores, Wallace BeeryJoan Crawford, Lewis Stone, and with Jean Hersholt, Rafaela Ottiano and Ferdinand Gottschalk in sterling supporting roles. There was concern that putting so much talent into one film, instead of spreading the stars out over 4 or 5 films, would lose the studio money. But Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) was a great success, critically and financially.

Grand Hotel (1932) was seen as an artistic achievement in its art direction and production quality. The art director, Cedric Gibbons, was one of the most important and influential in the history of American film. The lobby scenes were extremely well done, portraying a 360° desk. This allowed audiences to watch the hotel action from all around the characters. It changed the way sets were made from that point onward.

Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times praised in 1932 the performances of Greta Garbo and John Barrymore, in a mostly positive review. "So far as the direction is concerned, Edmund Goulding has done an excellent piece of work, but occasionally it seems as though he relies too much on close-ups. Nevertheless he has sustained a steady momentum in darting here and there in the busy hostelry and working up to an effective dramatic pitch at the psychological moment. (...) Miss Garbo, possibly appreciating that she was supported by a galaxy of efficient performers, decided that she would do her utmost to make her role shine. And she succeeds admirably. She is stunning in her early scenes and charming in the love scene with Baron Geigern, portrayed by John Barrymore with his usual savoir faire."

More than 80 years later, Ron Oliver reviews at IMDb: "Watch how the plot weaves the threads of the characters' lives into a finished tapestry. One of the great movies. Tremendously satisfying." And Richard Gilliam at AllMovie adds: "Grand Hotel is the prototype for the all-star ensemble film and an excellent example of the rich and glamorous escapist entertainment, often from MGM, that took on enhanced prominence during the Depression. Produced by Irving Thalberg using top-end ingredients and state-of-the-art technology, it is yet another example of MGM's dominance during the 1930s for this type of film."

At the time of the shooting, there was some controversy about Greta Garbo, with her strong Swedish accent, impersonating the Russian dancer Grusinskaya, played on the stage by Eugenie Leontovich. She delivers the line "I want to be alone" and, immediately following, "I just want to be alone." Soon after, in conversation with Baron Felix von Gaigern (John Barrymore), she says "And I want to be alone." Referring to its legendary use as a characterisation of her personal reclusive life, Garbo later insisted, "I never said I want to be alone; I only said 'I want to be let alone.' There is all the difference.

Grand Hotel
British postcard by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, and John Barrymore.

Grand Hotel
British postcard by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Greta Garbo and John Barrymore.

Grand Hotel
British postcard by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore.

Grand Hotel
British postcard by Film Weekly. Photo: M.G.M. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932) with Joan Crawford and John Barrymore.

Sources: Mordaunt Hall (New York Times), Ron Oliver (IMDb), Richard Gilliam (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

18 February 2019

John Gilbert

American actor, screenwriter and director John Gilbert (1899-1936) rose to fame during the silent film era and became a popular leading man known as 'The Great Lover'.

John Gilbert
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1578/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer / FaNaMet. Collection: Didier Hanson.

John Gilbert in The Big Parade
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, Paris, no. 393. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for The Big Parade (King Vidor, 1925).

John Gilbert and Mae Murray in The Merry Widow (1925)
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 383. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Film. Publicity still for The Merry Widow (Erich von Stroheim, 1925) with Mae Murray.

Lillian Gish and John Gilbert in La Bohème (1926)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 63/1. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) / Parufamet. Publicity still for La Bohème (King Vidor, 1926) with Lillian Gish.

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Flesh and the Devil (1926)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1886/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926) with Greta Garbo.

Turning from villain to leading man

John Gilbert was born John Cecil Pringle in Logan, Utah, in 1899. His parents, John Pringle (1865–1929) and Ida Apperly Gilbert (1877–1913), were both stock-company actors. His father was a comic with the Pringle Stock Company. John struggled through a childhood of abuse and neglect. His family moved frequently and Gilbert attended several schools throughout the United States. After his family settled in California, he attended Hitchcock Military Academy in San Rafael, California.

After he left school Gilbert worked as a rubber goods salesman in San Francisco, then as a stage manager in stock company in Spokane, Washington in 1915. He lost his job when the company folded. He decided to try acting and got work in films as an extra. Gilbert first appeared in a short directed by Wilfred Lucas, The Mother Instinct (1915). He found work as an extra with the Thomas Ince Studios on films such as the historical war drama The Coward (Reginald Barker, 1915), the drama Aloha Oe (Richard Stanton, Charles Swickard, Gilbert P. Hamilton, 1915), and William S. Hart's Western Hell's Hinges (Charles Swickard, William S. Hart, Clifford Smith, 1916).

Gilbert began to get parts at Kay-Bee Pictures, billed as 'Jack Gilbert' in the Western The Aryan (William S. Hart, Reginald Barker, Clifford Smith, 1916) with William S. Hart, and the war film Shell 43 (Reginald Barker, 1916) with H.B. Warner. He had an early leading part in Kay-Bee's The Apostle of Vengeance (William S. Hart, Clifford Smith, 1916).

His first leading role was in Princess of the Dark (Charles Miller, 1917) with Enid Bennett, but the film was not a big success and he went back to supporting roles in The Dark Road (Charles Miller, 1917), Happiness (Reginald Barker, 1917), and the drama The Hater of Men (Charles Miller, 1917). Gilbert did The White Heather (Maurice Tourneur, 1919) for Maurice Tourneur, Widow by Proxy (Walter Edwards, 1919) for Paramount, and Heart o' the Hills (Joseph De Grasse, Sidney Franklin, 1919) for Mary Pickford.

Tourneur signed him to a contract to both write and act in films. Gilbert acted in and co-wrote The White Circle (Maurice Tourneur, 1920), The Great Redeemer (Clarence Brown, Maurice Tourneur, 1921) and Deep Waters (Maurice Tourneur, 1921). As a writer only he worked on The Bait (Maurice Tourneur, 1921), starring and produced by Hope Hampton. For Hampton, Gilbert wrote and directed, but did not appear in Love's Penalty (1921).

In 1921 he signed a three-year contract with Fox Films. His popularity continued to soar and he was turning from villain to leading man. Fox gave Gilbert his first real starring part in Shame (Emmett J. Flynn, 1921). He followed it with leading roles in such films as Arabian Love (Jerome Storm, 1922) with Barbara LaMarr, Monte Cristo (Emmett J. Flynn, 1922) an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' 'The Count of Monte Cristo', and A California Romance (1922). Many of these films were written by Jules Furthman.

He returned to Tourneur to costar with Lon Chaney in While Paris Sleeps (Maurice Tourneur, 1923). Back at Fox, Gilbert starred in Truxton King (Jerome Storm, 1923), St. Elmo (Jerome Storm, 1923) with Barbara LaMarr and Bessie Love, and the drama Cameo Kirby (1923), directed by John Ford, and co-starring Jean Arthur in her film debut. He appeared in The Wolf Man (Edmund Mortimer, 1923) with Norma Shearer. It was not a horror film, but the story of a man who believes he murdered his fiancee's brother while drunk.

In 1924 he signed with MGM which put him into His Hour (King Vidor, 1924), written by Elinor Glyn and co-starring Aileen Pringle. It was a big success. He followed this with such high profile films as He Who Gets Slapped (Victor Sjöström, 1924) co-starring Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer; and The Merry Widow (Erich von Stroheim, 1925), co-starring Mae Murray. The latter was a huge box office success.

Gilbert was once again directed by Vidor in the war epic The Big Parade (King Vidor, 1925), which became the second-highest grossing silent film and the most profitable film of the silent era. His performance in this film made him a major star. Now at the height of his career, Gilbert rivalled Rudolph Valentino, another silent film era leading man, as a box office draw. Lillian Gish, who had a new contract with MGM, picked Gilbert to co-star with her in La Bohème (King Vidor, 1926). He then did another with Vidor, Bardelys the Magnificent (King Vidor, 1926).

John Gilbert
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3254/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

John Gilbert  and Aileen Pringle in His Hour (1924)
Italian postcard. Photo: MGM. John Gilbert and Aileen Pringle in the American silent drama His Hour (King Vidor, 1924).

John Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman in Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 322. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Production. Publicity still for Bardelys the Magnificent (King Vidor, 1926) with Eleonor Boardman.

John Gilbert in The Cossacks (1928)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3778/1. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Cossacks (George Hill, Clarence Brown, 1928).

John Gilbert
French postcard by Europe, no. 21. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

A torrid off-screen affair

Then came Greta Garbo. In 1926, Gilbert made Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926), his first film with Garbo. They soon began a highly publicised, torrid off-screen affair, much to the delight of their fans. The screen chemistry between the two was incredible, and the studio publicity department worked overtime to publicise the romance between the two. The couple starred together again in Love (Edmund Goulding, 1927), and A Woman of Affairs (Clarence Brown, 1928).

When it came time to marry, John was reportedly left at the altar. His performances after that were devoid of the sparkle that he once had and he began to drink heavily. Gilbert's popularity began to wane when silent pictures gave way to talkies. Though Gilbert was often cited as one of the high-profile examples of an actor who was unsuccessful in making the transition to talkies, his decline as a star had far more to do with studio politics and money than with the sound of his screen voice, which was rich and distinctive. Throughout his time at MGM, Gilbert frequently clashed with studio head Louis B. Mayer over creative, social and financial matters.

Audiences awaited Gilbert's first romantic role on the talking screen. The vehicle was the Ruritanian romance His Glorious Night (1929), directed by Lionel Barrymore. According to reviewers, audiences laughed nervously at Gilbert's performance. The fault was not Gilbert's voice, it was said, but the awkward scenario along with overly ardent love scenes. In one, Gilbert keeps kissing his leading lady, (Catherine Dale Owen), while saying "I love you" over and over again. The scene was parodied in the MGM musical Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, 1952) in which a preview of the fictional The Dueling Cavalier flops disastrously.

Garbo tried to restore some of his image when she insisted that he played opposite her in Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933), but by then it was too late. Columbia Pictures gave him what would be his final chance for a comeback in The Captain Hates the Sea (Lewis Milestone, 1934). The film involves a Grand Hotel-style series of intertwining stories involving the passengers on a cruise ship and Gilbert gave a capable performance as a frustrated playwright. But the off-screen cast of heavy drinkers encouraged his alcoholism and the film was his last. By 1934, alcoholism had severely damaged Gilbert's health. He suffered a serious heart attack in December 1935, which left him in poor health. Gilbert suffered a second heart attack at his Bel Air home on 9 January 1936, which was fatal.

Gilbert was married four times. His first marriage was to Olivia Burwell (1918-1921). In February 1921, Gilbert announced his engagement to actress Leatrice Joy. They married in Tijuana in November 1921. As Gilbert had failed to secure a divorce from his first wife and the legality of Gilbert and Joy's Mexican marriage was questionable, the couple separated and had the marriage annulled to avoid a scandal. They remarried in March 1922. The marriage was tumultuous and, in June 1923, Joy filed for legal separation after she claimed that Gilbert slapped her face after a night of heavy drinking. They reconciled several months later. In August 1924, Joy, who was pregnant with the couple's first child, filed for divorce. Joy later said she left Gilbert after discovering he was having an affair with actress Laurette Taylor. Joy also claimed that Gilbert had conducted affairs with Barbara La Marr, Lila Lee and Bebe Daniels. Gilbert and Joy had a daughter, Leatrice Gilbert (1924-2015). Joy was granted a divorce in May 1925.

In 1929, Gilbert eloped with actress Ina Claire to Las Vegas. They separated in February 1931 and divorced six months later. Gilbert's fourth and final marriage was in August 1932, to actress Virginia Bruce, who had recently costarred with him on the MGM film Downstairs (Monta Bell, 1932). Bruce retired briefly from acting following the birth of their daughter Susan Ann; however, she resumed her career after their divorce in May 1934.

John Gilbert
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 6017. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn Pictures.

John Gilbert in His Glorious Night (1929)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4510/2, 1929-1930. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for His Glorious Night (Lionel Barrymore, 1929).

John Gilbert in Redemption (1930)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5089/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Redemption (Fred Niblo, 1930).

John Gilbert in Way for a Sailor
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5361/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. John Gilbert in the American pre-Code sound film Way for a Sailor (Sam Wood, 1930).

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, Queen Christina (1933)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 194/3. Photo: MGM. Publicity still for Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933) with Greta Garbo.

John Gilbert
German postcard by Ross Verlag Foreign, no. 3938/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sources: Tony Fontana (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

17 February 2019

Bruno Ganz (1941-2019)

Yesterday, 15 January 2019, Swiss actor Bruno Ganz passed away. Ganz established himself in Germany, first as co-founder of the Schaubuhne Theatre company, then as a romantic lead in films. International renown came Ganz' way when he starred in Eric Rohmer's The Marquise of O (1976). Subsequent film roles ranged from Jonathan Harker in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu/Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night (1979) with Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani, to misplaced angel Damiel in Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin/Wings of Desire (1987). He also starred in international features by Franklin J. Schaffner, Jonathan Demme and Francis Ford Coppola, and he played Adolf Hitler in the Academy Award-nominated film Der Untergang/Downfall (2004). Bruno Ganz was 77.

Bruno Ganz (1941-2019)
German autograph card.

A spirited argument with Dennis Hopper about acting technique

Bruno Ganz was born in 1941 in Zürich-Seebach, Switzerland. His parents were a Swiss mechanic father and a northern Italian mother.

Bruno had decided to pursue an acting career by the time he entered university. His film debut was Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone/The Gentleman in the Black Derby (Karl Suter, 1960), which was not a success.

He debuted at the theatre in 1961 and gained a reputation as a reflexive, charismatic and technically brilliant stage actor. In 1970 he founded with Peter Stein the theatre company 'Schaubühne' in Berlin.

In cinema, Ganz slowly became one of the best-known and most acclaimed actors in the German language. He collaborated with many of the most respected European directors of his time, most notably Eric Rohmer, Werner Herzog and especially Wim Wenders.

Probably his most memorable collaboration with Wenders was Der Amerikanische Freund/The American Friend (Wim Wenders, 1977), an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel 'Ripley's Game'. Ganz regarded it as one of his favourite films, even though he and co-star Dennis Hopper came to blows during a spirited argument about acting technique.

His performance as the angel Damiel in Der Himmel über Berlin/Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987) became so iconic, that he could make a short and silent appearance as the same character in Börn náttúrunnar (Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, 1991) without confusing the audience. Later, he would reprise the role in the sequel In weiter Ferne, so nah!/Faraway, So Close (Wim Wenders, 1993).

Bruno Ganz (1941-2019)
German autograph card. Photo: Ruth Walz.

The German-speaking actor judged 'most significant and worthy'

Bruno Ganz acted in three features nominated for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' Academy Award: Börn náttúrunnar/Children of Nature (Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, 1991), Der Untergang/Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004) and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex/The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008) with Martina Gedeck and Moritz Bleibtreu. He also appeared in a feature nominated for 'Best Picture': The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008) with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes.

Der Untergang/Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004) told the story of Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker. It grossed $92m at box offices around the world when it was released.

On stage, Ganz portrayed Dr. Heinrich Faust in Peter Stein's the 11-hour staging of 'Faust, Part One' and 'Faust, Part Two' in 2000. His great performance was also filmed for TV in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust I (Peter Schönhofer, 2001) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust II (Thomas Grimm, 2001).

Among his more recent films were Unknown (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2011) with Liam Neeson, The Counselor (Ridley Scott, 2013) with Michael Fassbinder, and he played a pseudo-scientific healer in Sally Potter's The Party (2017).

One of his last roles was in Lars von Trier's psychological horror art film The House that Jack Built (2018) on a serial killer, played by Matt Dillon.

At the time of his death, Bruno Ganz was the holder of the Republic of Austria's Iffland-Ring, a 200 years old accolade to the German-speaking actor judged 'most significant and worthy'. In 1996, Ganz inherited it from his colleague Josef Meinrad. The ring is passed from person to person, and it is not yet clear who Ganz had intended it to transfer to on the occasion of his death.

On 15 February 2019, Bruno Ganz died of colon cancer in his hometown Zürich, Switzerland. He was married to Sabine Ganz and the couple had one son, Daniel (1972). They lived separate, and Ganz's longtime companion was the photographer Ruth Walz.

Trailer Der Amerikanische Freund/The American Friend (1977). Source: Dionysus Cinema (YouTube).

Trailer Der Untergang/Downfall (2004). Source: pagontradLT (YouTube).

Trailer The House that Jack Built (2018). Source: IFC Films (YouTube).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Volker Böhm (IMDb), BBC News, Wikipedia and IMDb.