Robert Herlth - Writer





Art Director. Nationality: German. Born: Robert Paul Fritz Herlth in Wriezen an der Oder, 2 May 1893. Education: Attended High School for Fine Arts, Berlin, 1912–14; Staatliche Kunstegewerbeschule, Berlin, 1919–20. Military Service: 1914–18—served in the German army. Family: Brother of the designer Kurt Herlth. Career: 1916–18—first theatre designs for army theatre, Wilna, with Herman Warm; 1922–36—film designer, often with Walter Röhrig, for UFA; 1937–39—designed for Tobis; 1939–45—designed for Terra; 1946–47—designed for Ulenspiegel; 1947–49—designed for Columbia, Rome; 1949–50—designed for Kamera; 1950–62—freelance film and stage designer. Died: In Munich, 6 January 1962.


Films as Art Director:

1920

Das Lachende Grauen (Meinert); Das Geheimnis von Bom- bay (Holz); Die Toteninsel (Froelich); Irrende Seelen (Froelich)

1921

Schloss Vogelöd (Murnau); Satansketten (Lasko); Der müde Tod ( Between Two Worlds ; Destiny ) (Lang); Das Speil mit dem Feuer (Wiene and Kroll); Die Intriguen der Madame de la Pommeraye (Wendhausen)

1922

Der Taugenichts (Froelich); Der Graf von Essex (Felner); Pariserinnen (Lasko); Fräulein Julie ( Miss Julie ) (Basch); Luise Millerin (Froelich)

1923

Der Schatz ( The Treasure ) (Pabst)

1924

Komödie des Herzens (Gliese); Der letzte Mann ( The Last Laugh ) (Murnau)

1925

Zur Chronik von Grieshuus ( At the Grey House ) (von Gerlach); Tartüff ( Tartuffe ) (Murnau)

1926

Faust (Murnau)

1927

Luther (Kyser)

1928

Looping the Loop (Robison); Rutschbahn (Eichberg)

1929

Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna ( The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrovna ) (Schwarz); Asphalt (May); Manolescu (Tourjansky); The Informer (Robison)

1930

Der unsterbliche Lump (Ucicky); Hokuspokus ( Hocus pocus )(Ucicky); Rosenmontag (Steinhoff); Ein Burschenlied aus Heidelberg (Hartl); Das Flötenkonzert von Sanssouci (Ucicky); Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht (Siodmak)

1931

Der falsche Ehemann (Guter); Nie wieder Liebe (Litvak); Im Genheimdienst (Ucicky); Der kleine Seitensprung (Schünzel); Der Kongress tanzt ( The Congress Dances )(Charell); Yorck (Ucicky)

1932

Die Gräfin von Monte Cristo (Hartl); Mensch ohne Namen ( Man without a Name ) (Ucicky); Der Schwarze Husar ( The Black Hussar ) (Lamprecht)

1933

Morgenrot (Ucicky); Ich und die Kaiserin ( The Only Girl )(Hollaender); Saison in Kairo (Schünzel); Walzerkrieg ( Waltz Time in Vienna ) (Berger); Flüchtlinge (Ucicky)

1934

Die Csardasfürstin (Jacoby); Der junge Baron Neuhaus (Ucicky); Prinzessin Turandot (Lamprecht)

1935

Frischer Wind aus Kanada (Kenter and Holder); Barcarole (Lamprecht); Das Mädchen Johanna (Ucicky); Amphitryon (Schünz el); Königswaltzer (Maisch)

1936

Hans im Glück (+ d + sc); Savoy-Hotel 217 (Ucicky); Unter heissem Himmel (Ucicky)

1937

Der Herrscher ( The Ruler ) (Harlan); Der zerbrochene Krug (Ucicky); Der Maulkorb (Engel)

1938

Olympia (Riefenstahl); Der Spieler (Lamprecht)

1939

Morgen werde ich verhaftet (Stroux); Maria Ilona (vonBolvary); Opernball (von Bolvary)

1940

Kleider machen Leute (Kütner); Rosen in Tirol (von Bolvary)

1941

Die schwedische Nachtigall (Brauer)

1942

Andreas Schlüter (Maisch)

1943

Wenn die Sonne weider scheint (Barlog); Ein Mann mit Grundsaltzen? (von Bolvary)

1944

Melusine (Steinhoff)

1946

Die Fledermaus (von Bolvary)

1947

Zwischen gestern und morgen (Braun); Film ohne Titel ( Film without Title ) (Jugert)

1949

La leggenda di Faust (Gallone); Verspieltes Leben (Meisel); 1 x 1 der Ehe (Jugert); Geliebter Lügner (Schweikart)

1950

Kein Engel ist so rein (Weiss); Das Doppelte Lottchen (vonBaky); Dämonische Liebe ( Der Teufel führt Regie ) (Meisel)

1951

Dr. Holl (Hansen); Das weisse Abenteuer (Rabenalt)

1952

Herz der Welt (Braun); Hinter Kostermann (Reinl); Die Försterchristl (Rabenalt); Der grosse Zapfeinstreich (Hurdalek); Alraune (Rab enalt); Im weissen Rössl (Forst); Der Kaplan von San Lorenzo (Ucicky)

1953

Das Dorf unter Himmel (Häussler); Musik bei Nacht (Hoffmann); Die geschiendene Frau (Jacoby); Hochzeitglocken (Wildhagen)

1954

Sauerbruch—Das war mein Leben (Hansen); Das fliegende Klassenzimmer (Hoffman); Der letzte Sommer (Braun); Geliebte Feindin (Hansen)

1955

Solang' es hübsche Mädchen gibt (Rabenalt); Hanussen (Fischer and Marischka); Der letzte Mann (Braun); Teufel in Seide ( Devil in Silk ) (Hansen); Regine (Braun)

1956

Magic Fire (Dieterle); Heute heiratet mein Mann (Hoffmann); Die Trapp-Familie (Liebeneiner); Heisse Ernte (König)

1957

Die Letzten werden die Ersten sein (Hansen); Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull ( The Confessions of Felix Krull ) (Hoffmann); . . . und führe uns nicht in Versuchung (Hansen); Das Wirtshaus im Spessart ( The Spessart Inn )(Hoffmann)

1958

Taiga (Liebeneiner); Auferstehung ( Resurrection ) (Hansen); Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika (Liebeneiner) (condensedversion of two Trapp Family films released as The Trapp Family , 1958); Ein gewisser Judas (Werner); Dorothea Angermann (Siodmak)

1959

Das schöne Abenteuer (Hoffmann); Buddenbrooks (Weidenmann—2 parts); Ein Tag, der nie zu Ende geht (Wirth)

1960

Eine Frau fürs ganze Leben (Liebeneiner); Gustav Adolfs Page (Hansen)

1961

Die Auster und die Perle (Schnell)

1962

Jack Mortimer (Kahlmann)

1963

Herr und Hund (van den Berg); In einer Fremden Stadt (Hess); Zum Tee bei Dr. Borsig (Hess); Millionär für 3 Tage (Sedlmayer)



Publications


By HERLTH: book—


Filmarchitektur , Munich, 1965.


By HERLTH: articles—

"With Murnau on the Set," in Murnau , by Lotte H. Eisner, Paris, 1964, London, 1973.

Contracampo (Madrid), no. 38, Winter 1985.


On HERLTH: articles—

Kaul, Walter, in Schöpferische Filmarchitektur , Berlin, 1971.

Retro (Munich), May-June 1981.

Richter, Arno, in Cinématographe (Paris), February 1982.

Skrien (Amsterdam), February-March 1990.

Film-Dienst (Cologne), 25 May 1993.


* * *


If the pinnacle of German art direction occurred from the late 1910s through the early 1930s, then Robert Herlth, Walter Röhrig, and Hermann Warm represented that period's preeminent set designers. They fully visualized the distorted Expressionist film style as well as the more naturalistic Kammerspiel . Together they were responsible for the impressive UFA films by such important directors as Fritz Lang, Gustav Ucicky, Gerhard Lamprecht, Reinhold Schünzel, and F.W. Murnau.

Though he worked within the Expressionistic mode, Herlth's designs were not as severe as Röhrig's and Warm's, especially when compared to their extreme The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari . Herlth seemed more interested in exploiting the liberating romantic potentials of the movement's visual Helldunkel then its claustrophobic psychoses. His collaboration with Murnau and Röhrig on Der letzte Mann , Tartuffe and Faust demonstrates this direction. They modified Expressionism by pushing beyond its strict borders towards a naturalism that ironically permitted more fantasy and psychological investigation. As large baroque sets became simpler and sparser, camera stasis yielded to camera action. Instead of designing "expressive" spaces that limited action and camera movement and into which an actor was placed and frequently dwarfed, Herlth and Röhrig provided psychological impetus for movement based on locations suggested by an actor's situation. Herlth said that they attempted to adapt the space to the actor; the set could function only when the actor filled and controlled the space. Under these circumstances, the "moving camera," or Entfesselte Kamera as it was originally known, was born during the filming of Der letzte Mann . Karl Freund's incessantly moving camera perfectly complemented the interior psychology and dreams of the film as expressed by the art direction and narrative.

Herlth, Röhrig, Murnau, and Freund continued this experimentation in Tartuffe , by suggesting a historical era through evocative yet partial sets, and in the definitive screen version of Faust (Freund was replaced by Carl Hoffmann), by adopting unusual point-of-view shots, for example, Mephisto soaring over an expansive miniature landscape.

Herlth and Röhrig settled down to much less adventurous careers after Murnau's untimely death. Both worked during the period of the Third Reich, their Kammerspiel style giving way to social realism in the guise of propaganda. Herlth collaborated with Leni Riefenstahl for the visual strategies of the epic Olympia . After the war, Herlth was a prolific designer for routine studio productions and television until the early 1960s.

—Greg S. Faller

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA

Other articles you might like:

Follow City-Data.com Founder
on our Forum or Twitter