Paul Lukas - Actors and Actresses




Born: Pal Lukasz in Budapest, Hungary, 26 May 1895. Education: Attended College of Budapest; National Theatre Actors School. Military Service: Served in the Hungarian army, 1913–15: invalided out. Family: Married 1) Daisy Benes, 1927 (died 1962); 2) Annette Dreisens. Career: 1916—stage debut with National Theatre; 1917—Hungarian film debut in Sphinx ; 1918–27—member of the Comedy Theatre, Budapest; also appeared in Max Reinhardt productions in

Paul Lukas (right) with (from left) George Coulouris, Donald Woods, Lucile Watson, and Bette Davis in Watch On the Rhine
Paul Lukas (right) with (from left) George Coulouris, Donald Woods, Lucile Watson, and Bette Davis in Watch On the Rhine
Vienna and Berlin; 1922—German film debut in Samson und Delilah ; 1927—invited to Hollywood by Zukor, but U.S. film debut delayed while he learned English: debut in Two Lovers , 1928; also appeared on U.S. stage, most notably in Watch on the Rhine , 1941 (also in film version); also appeared on television, in series The F.B.I. and Hotel Paradis . Awards: Best Actor Academy Award, and Best Actor, New York Film Critics, for Watch on the Rhine , 1943. Died: 15 August 1971.


Films as Actor:

1915

Man of the Earth

1917

Spynx ( Sphinx ) (Balogh); Udvari levego ( Song of the Heart ) (Balogh)

1920

Sarga Arnyèk (Garas); Little Fox (Garas); Castle without a Name ; Masamod ( The Milliner ) (Markus); Szinèszno ( The Actress ) (Forgacs); Nevtelen vàr (Garas); Olavi (Lajthay)

1921

New York expresz kabel ( Telegram from New York ) (Garas); Hetszàzeves szerelem (Garas); Love of the Eighteenth Century

1922

The Lady in Grey ; A szurkerahàs hölgy (Deesy); Samson und Delilah ( Samson and Delilah ) (Curtiz); Lady Violette (Geroffy); Eine Versunkene Welt

1923

The Glorious Life ; Diadalmas elet (Gaël); Egy fiunak a fele (von Bolvary); A Girl's Way ; Das unbekannte Morgen (Korda)

1928

Two Lovers (Niblo) (as Ramón de Linea); Three Sinners (Lee) (as Count Dietrich Wallentin); Loves of an Actress (Lee) (as Dr. Durande); Hot News (Badger) (as James Clayton); The Night Watch (Korda) (as Captain Corlais); The Woman from Moscow (Berger) (as Vladimir); Manhattan Cocktail (Arzner) (as Renov)

1929

The World of Wall Street (Lee) (as David Tyler); The Shopworn Angel (Wallace) (as Bailey); Illusion (Mendes) (as Count Fortuny); Half-Way to Heaven (Abbott) (as Nick)

1930

Slightly Scarlet (Gasnier and Knopf) (as Malatroff); Behind the Make-Up (Milton) (as Boris); Young Eagles (Wellman) (as Von Baden); Grumpy (Cukor and Gardner) (as Berci); The Benson Murder Case (Tuttle) (as Adolph Mohler); The Devil's Holiday (Goulding) (as Dr. Reynolds); Anybody's Woman (Arzner) (as Gustav Saxon); The Right to Love (Wallace) (as Eric Helge)

1931

City Street (Mamoulian); Unfaithful (Cromwell); The Vice Squad (Cromwell); Women Love Once (Goodman); Strictly Dishonorable (Stahl); The Beloved Bachelor (Corrigan); Working Girls (Arzner)

1932

No One Man (Corrigan) (as Dr. Karl Bemis); Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Wallace); Thunder Below (Wallace); A Passport to Hell (Lloyd); Rockabye (Cukor); Downstairs (Bell)

1933

Grand Slam (Dieterle); The Kiss before the Mirror (Whale); Sing Sinner Sing (Christy); Captured! (Del Ruth); Secret of the Blue Room (Neumann); Little Women (Cukor) (as Professor Bhaer)

1934

By Candlelight (Whale); Glamour (Wyler); The Countess of Monte Cristo (Freund); Affairs of a Gentleman (Marin); I Give My Love (Freund); The Fountain (Cromwell); Gift of Gab (Freund)

1935

The Casino Murder Case (Fenton); Father Brown—Detective (Sedgwick) (title role); Age of Indiscretion (Ludwig); I Found Stella Parish (LeRoy); The Three Musketeers (Lee)

1936

Dodsworth (Wyler); Ladies in Love (Griffith)

1937

Espionage (Neumann); Dinner at the Ritz (Schuster); Brief Ecstasy (Gréville)

1938

The Mutiny on the Elsinore (Lockwood); The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock) (as Dr. Hartz); Dangerous Secrets (Gréville)

1939

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (Litvak) (as Dr. Kassel); Lady in Distress (Mason); Captain Fury (Roach)

1940

The Ghost Breakers (Marshall); Strange Cargo (Borzage) (as Hessler)

1941

The Monster and the Girl (Heisler); They Dare Not Love (Whale); The Chinese Bungalow ( Chinese Den ) (G. King) (as Yuan Sing)

1943

Watch on the Rhine (Sherman and Shumlin) (as Kurt Mueller); Hostages (Tuttle)

1944

Uncertain Glory (Walsh); Address Unknown (Menzies); Experiment Perilous (Tourneur)

1946

Deadline at Dawn (Chapman); Temptation (Pichel)

1947

Whispering City (Ozep)

1948

Berlin Express (Tourneur)

1950

Kim (Saville)

1954

20,000 Leagues under the Sea (Fleischer) (as Professor Aronnax)

1958

The Roots of Heaven (Huston)

1960

Scent of Mystery ( Holiday in Spain ) (Todd and Cardiff); Tender Is the Night (King) (as Dr. Dohmler)

1962

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Minnelli) (as Karl von Hartrott)

1963

Fifty-Five Days at Peking (Ray) (as Dr. Steinfeldt); Fun in Acapulco (Thorpe) (as Maximillian)

1965

Lord Jim (Brooks) (as Stein)

1968

Sol Madrid (Hutton) (as Capo Riccione)

1970

The Challenge (Smithee)



Publications


On LUKAS: book—

Parish, James Robert, and William T. Leonard, Hollywood Players: The Thirties , New Rochelle, New York, 1976.

On LUKAS: articles—

Photoplay (New York), December 1930, June 1931, January 1932, June 1933, November 1934, and September 1940.

Time (New York), 14 April 1941.

New Yorker , 10 May 1941.

Ciné Revue (Paris), 30 April 1984.


* * *


In his more than 40 years in Hollywood, Hungarian-born Paul Lukas enjoyed an active career playing a combination of the suave, continental leading man to some of the screen's most glamorous actresses—Ruth Chatterton in Anybody's Woman , Sylvia Sidney in City Streets , Constance Bennett in Rockabye , and Loretta Young in Grand Slam —to the suave, continental villain in numerous Nazi-based war films. Rarely were his roles substantial enough for him to draw upon his extensive theatrical training. However, he did achieve top-ranking star status with his portrayal of Kurt Mueller in Watch on the Rhine in 1943.

Few of his films of the 1930s stand out, but he was particularly memorable as Professor Bhaer in Little Women . He played detective Philo Vance in The Casino Murder Case , Athos in The Three Musketeers , and Arnold Iselin in William Wyler's excellent Dodsworth . He was appropriately mysterious as the charming Dr. Hartz in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes , but probably his best 1930s role was as Dr. Kassel, the propaganda chief, in Confessions of a Nazi Spy . This was patriotic wartime melodrama brilliantly acted by Edward G. Robinson, Francis Lederer, and Lukas with swiftly paced direction by Anatole Litvak.

It was the Nazism of World War II that also set the scene for Lukas's greatest film success, Watch on the Rhine . He had starred in the 1941 New York stage version of this, Lillian Hellman's most subtly written play. His portrayal of Kurt Mueller, the German émigré with an American wife, was universally lauded by critics. Brooks Atkinson wrote in the New York Time , "As the enemy of fascism, Mr. Lukas' haggard, loving, resourceful determination becomes heroic by virtue of his sincerity and his superior abilities as an actor." When Warner Brothers produced the film version, they hired five members of the original Broadway cast, including Lukas, and the director, Herman Schumlin. They enlisted Hellman's friend Dashiell Hammett to write the screenplay and cast Bette Davis as Mueller's wife to ensure box-office success. However, it was Lukas's film, and he received the Academy Award and the New York Film Critics Award for his moving performance.

Despite the success of Watch on the Rhine , Lukas's career remained one of fairly cardboard leading roles opposite beautiful actresses (for example Hedy Lamarr in Experiment Perilous ), and eventually evolved into mature character roles: he was Professor Aronnax in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and Stein in Lord Jim .

—Ronald Bowers

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