German film director Karl Ritter (1888 – 1977) scripted, assisted, produced or directed 97 movies and film projects between 1927 and 1945 but his work is known today only to historians and students of National Socialist film. A pamphlet written in 1940 Berlin was the sole biographical sketch on Ritter ever published.
Yet Ritter was the prototype fascist film director who more than any other director in the Third Reich worked tirelessly for the Nazi ideological cause. Ritter first heard Hitler speak in Munich in 1920, knew him personally from 1923, and joined the NSDAP in 1925. His creative skills as a soldier, aviation pioneer, technician, graphic artist and film director came to the fore in 1933 when the Ufa film studio gave him his own production company to make films for the New Germany. His films for Goebbels were called ‘cinematic tanks that belong to the advance guard on the propaganda front’ by the Reichsfilmkammer’s own magazine. Film historian John Altmann labelled Ritter ‘the most irresponsible and dangerous filmmaker of the Third Reich.‘
His WWI trilogy of Patrioten, Unternehmen Michael and Urlaub auf Ehrenwort made him one of Germany’s leading film directors in the late 1930’s, and his anti-Bolshevik films Hitlerjunge Quex, Über alles in der Welt, Kadetten and GPU prompted the Soviets to demand that he stand trial in 1945 for war crimes. His films are still taboo in Germany and Austria to this day.
Karl Ritter – His Life and ‘Zeitfilms’ under National Socialism provides the first study in English which draws on both German film archives and unpublished sources to present Karl Ritter to a new audience. A chronology of his life and film work from Weimar silent films through to the collapse of the Third Reich provides new insights heretofore unexamined.
Translated here for the first time are a 1940 biographical sketch, a 1936 speech on ‘Zeitfilms and Contemporary History’ given by Ritter to a film institute audience in Hamburg, and all the entries in his diaries about Ritter by Dr Joseph Goebbels. Ritter’s dramatic escape from Soviet captivity in May 1945 is told in his own words for the first time. Rare full color reproductions of original posters of Ritter’s most famous films are included, as well as B&W illustrations drawn from Third Reich and Ritter family sources.
Published by German Films Dot Net.
"Painstaking research…. a very interesting book….presents future scholars with a compilation of (very) rare documents by/about Ritter…. " –– Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, –– Vol.33 #2, June 2013.
We strongly recommend that interested visitors to our website check out the Karl Ritter feature film DVDs and books available from International Historic Films, Chicago, IL. in America, which also sells this book.
note: €20 is approximately AUD$30. This price includes domestic postage to addresses in Australia.
NOTE: You will receive the hugely expanded 2nd edition, which has 295 pages ( xxii, 253, plus 20 fuill colour poster plate pages ) and is the most extensive material on Karl Ritter ever published. Autographed by the Author on request.