11 November 2014

Alphons Fryland

Austrian film actor Alphons Fryland (1888-1953) appeared in 47 Austrian and German films between 1921 and 1933. Sound film finished his career.

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1771/3, 1927-1928. Photo: Hanni Schwarz, Berlin.

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1221/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Lambeck, Berlin.

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1603/1,1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Comet-like Career

Alphons (or Alfons) Fryland was born as Alphons Fritsch in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria), in 1888.

He attended the Exportakademie Wien. From 1914 on he studied music in Graz, München and Paris. He then followed acting classes from Karl Peppler, but during World War I he had to serve in the army.

In 1919, he was engaged by director Fritz Freisler as the leading actor of the film Jagd nach dem Glück/Hunt For Happiness (Fritz Freisler, 1920), produced by Sascha-Film.

He then made a comet-like career in the Austrian and German cinema. In 1921 Fryland starred in four films opposite Hungarian star Lucy Doraine. All four were directed by Doraine's husband Mihály Kertész later better known as Michael Curtiz: Labyrinth des Grauens/Labyrinth of Horror (1921) in which he played a serial killer, Frau Dorothys Bekenntnis/Mrs. Dane's Confession (1921), Herzogin Satanella/Good and Evil (1921) and Mrs. Tutti Frutti (1921).

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1564/1, 1927-1928.

Alphons Fryland
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 616. Photo: Verleih B. Weil & Co.

Alphons Fryland in Quo vadis? (1925)
Italian postcard by Ed. Romeo Biagi, Bologna, no. 666. Photo: Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925).

Alphons Fryland and Lilian Hall-Davis in Quo vadis? (1924)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 699/3, 1919-1924. Photo: Filmhaus Bruckmann. Publicity still for Quo vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925) with Alphons Fryland and Lilian Hall-Davis.

Super Production

Alphons Fryland played both leads and supporting roles in many German and Austrian films of the 1920s and he became quite popular.

His co-star in these silent films was often Liane Haid in such films as the blockbuster Lucrezia Borgia/Lucretia Borgia (Richard Oswald, 1922), and Ich liebe dich/I Love You (Paul L. Stein, 1925).

Among his other popular films were Kean (Rudolf Biebrach, 1921) starring Alexander Moissi, Zwischen Abend und Morgen/Between Evening and Morning (Arthur Robison, 1923) with Werner Krauss, and Arabella (Karl Grune, 1924) with Mae Marsh.

A super production was the German-Italian epic Quo Vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925) based on the novel by Nobel prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz. Fryland played the rather fey hero Vinicius, and he was completely overwhelmed by the other star, the great Emil Jannings as the infamous emperor Nero.

Another big production was Das schicksal derer von Habsburg/The Desiny of the Habsburgs (1928) a dramatic account of the Austrian royal family at the turn of the 20th century. Fryland starred as Sissi's son, Crown Prince Rudolf who committed suicide toggether with his young - and pregnant - mistress, the beautiful baroness Marie Vetsera. He was surrounded by an all-star cast including Erna Morena as empress Sissi, Maly Delschaft as Rudolph's wife, the Belgium's princess Stéphanie and Leni Riefenstahl as Vetsera.

Towards the end of the 1920s his career slowly went into decline. The sound revolution finished his career.

He appeared only in a few sound films: the mountain drama Der Bergführer von Zakopane/The Mountain Guide of Zakopane (Domenico Gambino, Adolf Trotz, 1931), and Die Nacht der Entscheidung/The Night of the Decision (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1931) with Conrad Veidt.

In 1932 he became a NSDAP party member, and he claimed to be discriminated for film parts by the Jewish producer Alfred Zeisler. It didn't help to further his career. He made one last film, Johannisnacht/Midsummer Night (Willy Reiber, 1933) starring Lil Dagover.

After these uninteresting roles, he retired and returned to Graz. There he called himself Alphons Fritsch again. He worked as a consultant at the administrative district office.

Forgotten, Alphons Fryland died in Graz, Austria in 1953, aged 65.

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1771/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Hanni Schwarz, Berlin.

Alphons Fryland
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 751/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Roma.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos - German), Philippe Pelletier (CinéArtistes - French), Nicole Gagne (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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