16 December 2013

Winfried Glatzeder

Tall and lean Winfried Glatzeder (1945) was one of the most popular film stars of former East Germany. He played the charming, gawky Paul in the GDR cult-film Die Legende von Paul und Paula/The Legend of Paul and Paula (1973).

Winfried Glatzeder
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 74/71, 1971. Retail price: 0,20 M. Photo: Linke.


Bold Boxer’s Nose, Bright Eyes and Black Hair

Winfried Glatzeder was born in Zoppot, Germany (now Sopot, Poland) in 1945. His father was a doctor, who died in a Soviet camp for prisoners of war, his mother was a social welfare worker.

During his training as a mechanical engineer, Winfried launched a cabaret group. He worked as a mechanical engineer before he went to study at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen Potsdam-Babelsberg (School of Television and Film in Potsdam) in 1965. In 1969, he graduated with a thesis on the figure of the clown.

He had started his cinema career as an extra in Ein Lord am Alexanderplatz/Lord of Alexander Square (Günter Reisch, 1967). The stars of this DEFA comedy were Erwin Geschonneck, Angelica Domröse and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Several more bit roles followed, but in 1970 he had his first leading part as an oil worker in the romantic drama Zeit der Störche/Time of the Storks (Siegfried Kühn, 1971) opposite Heidemarie Wenzel.

Female critics liked his bold boxer’s nose, bright eyes and black hair. He then had supporting parts in the comedy Der Mann, der nach der Oma kam/The man who came to the grandmother (Roland Oehme, 1972) as a surrogate grandmother, and in the comedy-drama Das zweite Leben des Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow/The Second Life of F.W.G. Platow (Siegfried Kühn, 1973) featuring Fritz Marquardt.

With his role as Paul opposite Angelica Domröse as Paula in Die Legende von Paul und Paula/The Legend of Paul and Paula (Heiner Carow, 1973), he gained enormous popularity in East Germany. The film gives a realistic view of everyday life in East Berlin during the 1970s. It's mainly about the bitter-sweet romance of Paul, a privileged but unhappy secret service agent, and Paula, an underprivileged and single girl with children.

The film was extremely popular on release and had drawn 3,294,985 viewers. However, due to the film's political overtones it was almost not released; East German leader Erich Honecker personally decided to allow it to be shown. Die Legende von Paul und Paula is still so popular that the city of Berlin decided to name a path along the lake Rummelsburger See ‘the Paul und Paula Ufer’ (Paul And Paula Shore) with a Paul and Paula bench to sit on.

Glatzeder then starred in the historic comedy Till Eulenspiegel (Rainer Simon, 1975) with Cox Habbema, Nelken in Aspik (Günter Reisch, 1976) with Armin Mueller-Stahl, and the crime film Für Mord kein Beweis/No evidence for murder (Konrad Petzold, 1979).

Winfried Glatzeder
Big East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 163/73, 1971. Retail price: 0,50 M. Photo: Linke.

From East To West

Although he was one of East Germany's most popular actors, Winfried Glatzeder and his family left the country and emigrated to West Germany in 1982. There he was engaged at the Schillertheater and worked for television.

In the cinema he was seen in the slapstick comedy Didi - Der Doppelgänger/Non-Stop Trouble with My Double (Reinhard Schwabenitzky, 1984) starring comedian Dieter Hallervorden, and the action adventure Danger - Keine Zeit zum Sterben/No Time to Die (Helmut Ashley, 1984) with John Philip Law.

Then he played Antonio Salieri in Vergeßt Mozart/Forget Mozart (Miloslav Luther, 1985) with Armin Mueller-Stahl. The film was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

He had a supporting part in Rosa Luxemburg (Margaretha von Trotta, 1986) featuring Barbara Sukowa. In 1991 he worked again for the DEFA on Tanz auf der Kippe/Dancing at the Dump (Jürgen Brauer, 1991). He also played a closeted gay man falling in love with a young boy in Gossenkind/Street Kid (Peter Kern, 1992).

Interesting was the DEFA production Das Land hinter dem Regenbogen/The Land Beyond the Rainbow (Herwig Kipping, 1992), a harsh yet poetic critique of Stalinism in East Germany. He became well known on TV as Hauptkommissar (chief commissioner) Ernst Roiter in the Krimi series Tatort (1996–1998).

Later films include Die kaukasische Nacht/The Caucasian Night (Gordian Maugg, 1998) and the box office hit Sonnenallee/Sun Alley (Leander Haußmann, 1999), a comedy about life in East Berlin in the late 1970s. Glatzeder makes a brief cameo appearance, reprising his role as Paul from Die Legende von Paul und Paula (1973).

In the meanwhile he also appeared on stage. In 2006 he played the villain Santer at the Karl-May-Festspielen in Bad Segeberg. A year later, he reunited with  Angelica Domröse for the play Filumena at the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam. His most recent film is Die Lebenden/The Dead and the Living (Barbara Albert, 2012).

Since 1970, Winfried Glatzeder is married to Marion Glatzeder and they have two children, Philip (1975) and actor Robert Glatzeder (1971 or 1972) who had made his film debut as Paul’s son in Die Legende von Paul und Paula (1973). Winfried Glatzeder lives in Berlin.

Angelica Domröse
Angelica Domröse. East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin,  no. 4/F/73, 1973. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Linke.

Trailer Die Legende von Paul und Paula/The Legend of Paul and Paula (1973). Source: Defastift (YouTube).

Sources: Ines Walk (Filmzeit.de), Filmportal.de, Prisma (German), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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