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:

1921

Hintertreppe ( Backstairs ) (Jessner)

1923

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

1924

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

1925

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

1926

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

1927

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)

1928

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

1929

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

1930

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

1931

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

1932

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)

1933

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)

1934

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)

1935

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)

1936

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

1937

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

1938

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

1939

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

1940

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

1941

He Found a Star (Carstairs)

1942

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

1943

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

1944

A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger)

1945

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

1946

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

1947

Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger)

1948

Edward, My Son (Cukor)

1949

Conspirator (Saville)

1950

The Miniver Story (Potter)

1951

Calling Bulldog Drummond (Saville); Ivanhoe (Thorpe)

1952

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

1953

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

1954

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)

1955

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

1956

The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Franklin)

1957

A Farewell to Arms (C. Vidor)

Publications

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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