17 October 2012

Claus Holm

German actor Claus Holm (1918 - 1996) was a star of Heimatfilms in the 1950’s. Later he was seen in three Edgar Wallace detectives as well as in films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Claus Holm
German postcard by UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-89. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Ufa.

Miner and Boxer
Claus Holm was born as Helmut Gerhard Ozygus in Bochum-Werne, Germany in 1918. He started out as a miner and by 1937 he was a boxer. In the mid 1940’s he became an actor in Berlin. He played supporting parts in films like Das Bad auf der Tenne/The Bath on the Trashing Floor (1943, Volker von Collande) with Heli Finkenzeller. After the war he was responsible for the Kurmärkische Theater in Salzwedel, and he made 18 films for the East-German film company DEFA, among them Ehe in Schatten/Marriage in the Shadows (1947, Kurt Maetzig) with Paul Klinger, and Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor/The Merry Wives of Windsor (1950, Georg Wildhagen) with Sonja Ziemann.

Claus Holm
German postcard by Kolibri-Verloag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf., no. D 24. Photo: Real-Film/Haenchen.

Claus Holm
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 160. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Dührkoop.

In 1953 Claus Holm fled from the DDR to West-Berlin, where he was engaged at the Schillertheater and the Schlosspark-Theater. He starred in the Heimatfilms Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld/The Priest from Kirchfeld (1955, Hans Deppe) with Ulla Jacobsson, Wenn die Alpenrosen blüh'n/When the Alpine Roses Blossom (1955, Hans Deppe, Richard Häussler) with Hertha Feiler, and Zwei blaue Augen/Two Blue Eyes (1955, Gustav Ucicky) with Marianne Koch. He appeared next opposite Adrian Hoven and Marianne Hold in ...wie einst Lili Marleen/As Once Lili Marleen (1956, Paul Verhoeven). In 1957 he played commissionary Axel Kersten in the Oscar nominated thriller Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam/The Devil Strikes at Night (1957, Robert Siodmak). It was the true story of Bruno Luebke who raped and strangled several young women in Hamburg during the last months of WW II. Holm also appeared in the remake of Der Tiger von Eschnapur/The Tiger of Bengal (1959, Fritz Lang) and its sequel Das Indische Grabmal/The Indian Tomb (1959, Fritz Lang) with Debra Paget and Paul Hubschmid. In the USA the films were shown together in an edited version as Journey to the Lost City (1960).

Claus Holm
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 111. Photo: Ringpress/Vogelmann.

Edgar Wallace thrillers
In the 1960’s, Claus Holm played in three popular Edgar Wallace thrillers: Der Fluch der gelben Schlange/The Curse of the Yellow Snake (1963, Franz Josef Gottlieb), Der Mönch mit der Peitsche/The Monk With the Whip (1967, Alfred Vohrer), and Der Gorilla von Soho/Gorilla Gang (1968, Alfred Vohrer), and in the Jerry Cotton detective film Dynamit in grüner Seide/Dynamite in Green Silk (1968, Harald Reinl), starring George Nader. Holm was well known to TV audiences as Commandor Hasso Sigbjörnsen in the cult SF-series Raumpatrouille Orion/Space Patrol (1966). From the late 1960’s onwards he could mainly be seen in the theatre, but in 1978 he returned to the screen in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's hit film Die Ehe der Maria Braun/The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) starring Hanna Schygulla. This was followed by parts in Die Dritte Generation/The Third Generation (1979, Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, Rainer Werner Fassbinder), the sweeping 16-hour-long TV drama based on the novel by Alfred Döblin. In 1996, Claus Holm died in Berlin. He was married to the singer Dagmar Holm.

Scene from Raumpatrouille Orion/Space Patrol (1966). Source: Permafrost38 (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie d'Heil (Steffi-line) (German), Androom, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

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