13 March 2014

Will Dohm

German film actor Will Dohm (1897–1948) appeared in more than fifty films between 1926 and 1946.

German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2760/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Endemann / Terra.

Dance on the Volcano

Wilhelm Dohm was born in Köln (Cologne), Germany in 1897. His father was a postal worker.

After the end of World War I, Dohm worked as a bank clerk in Dresden and at the same time he took private acting lessons by former theatre director Georg Kiesau. This was followed by engagements in theatres in Dresden and München (Munich).

In 1928, Dohm made his film debut in Waterloo (Karl Grüne, 1929) with Charles Vanel as Napoleon. In 1932 Dohm played in the sound film remake of the war film Kreuzer Emden/Cruiser Emden (Louis Ralph, 1932). In the cast were also the young and still unknown O. E. Hasse and Helmut Käutner.

One of Dohm’s best known films is Peter Voss – Der Millionendieb/Peter Voss Who Stole Millions (Ewald André Dupont, 1932).

More roles followed in the science fiction film Der Tunnel/The Tunnel (Kurt Bernhardt, 1933), the drama Barcarole (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1935) starring Lida Baarová, the romantic comedy Allotria/Hokum (Willi Forst, 1936) starring Renate Müller and Heinz Rühmann, and the drama Tanz auf dem Vulkan/Dance on the Volcano (Hans Steinhoff, 1938) with Gustaf Gründgens in the leading role.

German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 3114/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Sandau, Berlin.

German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3957/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Star-Foto-Atelier / Tobis.

The German Voice of Oliver Hardy

In most of his over 50 films, Will Dohm embodied comic characters in sympathetic supporting parts.

Popular examples were his roles as journalist Charles Forestier in the box office hit Bel Ami (Willi Forst, 1939) and as agent Möller in the musical Kora Terry (Georg Jacoby, 1940) starring Marika Rökk.

Another example was his final film role as prison director Michel Falke opposite Marte Harell and Johannes Heesters in Die Fledermaus/The Bat (Géza von Bolváry, 1946), based on the operetta by Johan Strauss.

Dohm also worked as a voice actor for the radio (including the radio play Hans Sonnenstössers Höllenfahrt/Hans Sonnenstössers descent into hell, 1937) and for film synchronization.

He was the German voice of American stars like Lionel Barrymore and Oliver Hardy in Bonnie Scotland (James W. Horne, 1935).

In 1948 Will Dohm died in Munich. He was only 51. Dohm was married to actress Heli Finkenzeller. They had two children: Michel Dohm and Gaby Dohm, who became also a well-known actress.

Heli Finkenzeller. German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3746/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Star-Foto-Atelier / Tobis.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Film Zeit.de, Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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