This account of the first great European film studio, which came under the domination of the Nazis as World War II approached, should find a readership beyond students of movie history. From the Berlin soundstages of Universum-Film AG emerged classics such as "Metropolis" and "The Blue Angel" and Hollywood luminaries such as Marlene Dietrich and Billy Wilder. German journalist Klaus Kreimeier crafts a chilling drama of a hotbed of artistic expression gradually perverted by the Nazis into a fascist propaganda factory.
From Publishers Weekly
Universum-Film AG (Ufa) was founded in 1918 at the direction of the German Army Supreme Command for propagandistic purposes, but it went on to become "Germany's very German response to Hollywood." Freelance journalist Kreimeier, former cultural editor for Der Spiegel, traces the growth of the company from its founding through its demise at the end of the Nazi era, during which time it had become, once again, an instrument of the state. Ufa developed such stars as Emil Jannings and Marlene Dietrich, who turned out to be "several sizes too large" for the company and moved on to Hollywood. Kreimeier attributes Ufa's success during the interwar years to its "instinct for business and art... and a feel for what the public wants." In his opinion, the film that best represents the company's aesthetic is Fritz Lang's Metropolis. A plus for his account is that he sets it within the context of the larger German culture. While it is packed with detail and interesting historical references, it is too prolix and discursive for general readers.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.