Alfred Junge - Writer

Art Director. Nationality: German. Born: Görlitz, 29 January 1886. Education: Studied in Germany and Italy. Career: Joined Görlitz City Theatre at age 18 as actor/factotum; then designed sets for Berlin State Opera and State Theatre; 1920—joined UFA as art director; 1928—worked for Dupont in England, and briefly in France; then settled in England: late 1940s—head of MGM British studios. Award: Academy Award for Black Narcissus , 1947. Died: In 1964.

Films as Art Director:


Hintertreppe ( Backstairs ) (Jessner)


Die grüne Manuela ( The Green Manuela ) (Dupont) (co); Das alte Gesetz ( The Ancient Law; Baruch ) (Dupont) (co)


Das Wachsfigurenkabinett ( Waxworks ) (Leni) (uncredited); Mensch gegen Mensch (Steinhoff) (co); Der Mann um Mitternacht (Holger-Madsen)


Die Kleine aus der Kongektion ( Gross-stadtkavaliere ) (Neff); Athleten (Zelnik); Sündelbabel (David); Ein Lebenskünstler (Holger-Madsen); Der vertauschte Braut (Wilhelm); Der Kampfgegen Berlin (Reichmann)


Spitzen ( Der Ei des Fürsten Ulrich ) (Holger-Madsen); Brennende Grenze (Waschneck); Liebeshandel (Speyer)


Die Tragödie eines Verlorenen (Steinhoff); Da hält die Welt den Aten an ( Maquillage ) (Basch) (co); Mata Hari ( Die rote Tanzerin ) (Feher); Regine, die Tragödie einer Frau (Waschneck)


Die Carmen von St. Pauli (Waschneck); Moulin Rouge (Du-pont); Piccadilly (Dupont)


Der Günstling von Schönbrunn (Waschneck and Reichmann); Ich lebe für dich ( Triumph des Lebens ) (Dieterle); Die Drei um Edith (Waschneck)


Two Worlds (Dupont); Cape Forlorn ( The Love Storm ) (Dupont)


Salto mortale ( The Circus of Sin ) (Dupont); Marius (A. Korda); Die Nächte von Port Said (Mittler)


Teilnehmer antwortet nicht (Katscher and Sorkin); Acht Mädels im Boot (Waschneck); After the Ball (Rosmer); Service for Ladies ( Reserved for Ladies ) (A. Korda); The Midshipman (de Courville); Fanny (Allégret)


The Good Companions (Saville); Sleeping Car (Litvak); Waltz Time (Thiele); Orders Is Orders (Forde); Britannia of Billingsgate (Hill); The Ghoul (Hunter); I Was a Spy (Saville); The Fire Raisers (Powell); Just Smith (Walls); Channel Crossing (Rosmer); A Cuckoo in the Nest (Walls); Friday the Thirteenth (Saville) (co); Turkey Time (Walls); Waltzes from Vienna ( Strauss's Great Waltz ) (Hitchcock)


Jack Ahoy! (Forde); Red Ensign ( Strike! ) (Powell); The Night of the Party ( The Murder Party ) (Powell); Evergreen (Saville); A Cup of Kindness (Walls); Wild Boy (de Courville); My Song for You (Elvey); Little Friend (Viertel); Evensong (Saville); Jew Süss ( Power ) (Mendes); Lady in Danger (Walls); Road House (Elvey); The Iron Duke (Saville); Dirty Work (Walls); The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock)


Bulldog Jack (Forde); The Clairvoyant (Elvey); Brown on Revolution ( Forever England ; Born for Glory ) (Forde); Me and Marlborough (Saville); Car of Dreams (Cutts and Melford); The Guv'nor ( Mister Hobo ) (Rosmer)


It's Love Again (Saville); His Lordship (Mason); Everything Is Thunder (Rosmer); Cesar (Pagnol)


Head over Heels (Hale); King Solomon's Mines (Stevenson); Gangway (Hale); Young and Innocent ( The Girl Was Young ) (Hitchcock)


Sailing Along (Hale); Climbing High (Reed); The Citadel (K. Vidor) (co)


The Mind of Mr. Reeder (Raymond); Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Wood)


Contraband (Powell) (co); Gaslight ( Angel Street ) (Dickinson) (supervisor); Busman's Honeymoon ( Haunted Honey-moon ) (Woods)


He Found a Star (Carstairs)


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp ( Colonel Blimp )(Powell and Pressburger)


The Silver Fleet (Sewell and Wellesley); The Volunteer (Powell and Pressburger—short)


A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger)


I Know Where I'm Going! (Powell and Pressburger)


A Matter of Life and Death ( Stairway to Heaven ) (Powell and Pressburger)


Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger)


Edward, My Son (Cukor)


Conspirator (Saville)


The Miniver Story (Potter)


Calling Bulldog Drummond (Saville); Ivanhoe (Thorpe)


The Hour of 13 (French); Time Bomb ( Terror on a Train ) (Tetzlaff)


Never Let Me Go (Daves); Mogambo (Ford); Knights of the Round Table (Thorpe) (co)


The Flame and the Flesh (Brooks); Betrayed (Reinhardt); Seagulls over Sorrento ( Crest of the Wave ) (J. & R. Boulting); Beau Brummell (Bernhardt); Bedevilled (Leisen); Invitation to the Dance (Kelly) (co)


That Lady (Young) (uncredited); The Adventures of Quentin Durward ( Quentin Durward ) (Thorpe)


The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Franklin)


A Farewell to Arms (C. Vidor)


By JUNGE: article—

"The Art Director and His Work," in Artist (London), May-June 1944.

On JUNGE: articles—

Carrick, Edward, in Art and Design in the British Film , London, 1948.

Film Dope (Nottingham), December 1983.

* * *

Before settling in England permanently in 1932, set designer Alfred Junge had established a reputation through his work in German cinema for superb technical skill. His background as a painter, costume designer, lighting technician, and set builder in theater and, later, as a designer for UFA and other German film companies had given him an excellent, broad background on which he based a wide interpretation of the importance and influence of design in film art. Junge's vast output of work for various British film companies after 1932 and, in particular, his work for MGM rested on his considerable managerial skill in overseeing the many complex and interrelated aspects of the film's appearance.

Junge's personal artistic flair is apparent in his set design drawings, often done in wash, which show a draftsmanship of great delicacy and charm. His drawing style was fluid and immediate and yet had a sparseness of composition and an atmospheric lightness. This economy of means, using a few carefully selected details to convey an appropriate atmosphere, was translated directly to the screen in Junge's best work, such as the staircase setting used in A Matter of Life and Death . Here, an essentially fantastic narrative is given credibility by a setting which is at once ephemeral in its spatial relations and highly concrete in its structure and detailing.

During the 1930s, Junge was in charge of all art direction for Michael Balcon at his Lime Grove Studios in Shepherds Bush. There, he became the first supervising art director in the British film industry. Junge worked on Hitchcock's Young and Innocent , Waltzes from Vienna , and his first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much , but met with only mixed success. Junge's greatest collaboration was with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Beginning with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp , Junge's work for Powell and Pressburger generated some of the most memorable images of England and Empire. In Goodbye, Mr. Chips , directed by Sam Wood, Junge used combinations of some of the largest sets built for a British film up to that time with glass shots to evoke what is still a standard view of English public school life. Junge's versatility is apparent in Black Narcissus , which won an Academy Award for both Art Direction and Set Decoration. In this film Junge convincingly recreated the exotic interiors and exteriors of an Indian palace, all in the studio, and in the new medium of Technicolor.

Junge had worked with color since Colonel Blimp , the first British color film. But it was with A Matter of Life and Death that color became a mature tool in the exploration of the poetic potential of a narrative. Junge was required to produce sets in black-and-white for the hereafter sequences and color to describe the world of the living. Thus, design in color became an essential element in the fabric of the film.

From his early work under the direction of Dupont through his Hitchcock films, the collaboration with Powell and Pressburger, and, ultimately, his direction of MGM's art department throughout the 1950s, Junge contributed substantially to establishing the importance of design in British cinema. Throughout his career, he strongly supported the recognition of set design as an artistic rather than a technical element of film.

—Gregory Votolato

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