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The Life and Works of Richard Wagner, directed by Carl Fröhlich, was first released on 20th November 1913. It was the first ever ‘bio-pic’, and as such about who else but Wagner? What is extraordinary, however, is that it predates D.W.Griffiths and Birth of a Nation, usually described as the first ‘long’ silent, at a time when most silents ran for 10 minutes at most. Fröhlich’s film runs for over 80 minutes!
Starring Guiseppe Becce as the composer (he later became a distinguished composer himself for almost 100 talkies), and made when Wagner’s widow Cosima was still omnipotent in Germany, it raises the question for instance of who exactly was Wagner’s father? Was it Ludwig Geyer, the Jew?
Fröhlich went on to have a chequered career. A member of the Nazi party from 1933, he was eventually appointed President of the Reichsfilmkammer, the Nazi trade organisation which controlled access to all film activities. At the end of the war he was arrested and although de-Nazified in 1948, his studio having been badly damaged during the war never resumed production. His films were then confiscated by the Federal Republic.
Available for the first time on DVD, restored from the original print and keeping the authentic tints to ensure it is as close to what Carl Fröhlich would have wanted you to see, this DVD will be of enormous interest to Wagner scholars and aficionados the world over.
Region 0 NTSC 4:3 Aspect Ratio