This page uses content from the Joe May biography page on the English version of Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This list of authors can be seen in the page history. Rotten Tomatoes disclaims any and all warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of the content.
Joe May (November 7, 1880 in Vienna - April 29, 1954 in Hollywood), born Joseph Mandel or Julius Otto Mandl, was an Austrian film director and film producer, one of the pioneers of German cinema.
After studying in Berlin and a variety of odd jobs, he began his career as a stage director of operettas in Hamburg before starting to make films from 1912 in Berlin. In 1902 he had married the actress Mia May (born Hermine Pfleger) and took his stage name from hers.
In 1914 he founded his own film production company, May-Film, and began to produce a successful series of crime films, whose detective hero went by the name of Joe Deebs. Some of these were directed by May himself, others by Harry Piel. (Around the same time May also worked on the Stuart Webbs series of detective films for another company). In 1917 he gave Fritz Lang one of his earliest breaks in the film industry as screenwriter on the film Die Hochzeit im Excentricclub (Wedding in the Eccentric Club) and Lang also worked on other May films at this time.
After the end of World War I in 1918 May's company built film studios in Woltersdorf, Brandenburg a little way outside Berlin. There he went on to produce and direct a series of popular and exotic adventure films, among them Veritas vincit (1919), the Herrin der Welt (Mistress of the World) series (1919-20) and the Das indische Grabmal (The Indian Tomb) series (1921). These featured Mia May in leading roles and she regularly worked under her husband's direction as did their teenage daughter Eva May (who was to commit suicide in 1924). Towards the end of the 1920s, May moved away from adventure films and produced more realist works, notable among them the World War I love-triangle Heimkehr (The Return Home) (1928) and the contemporary thriller Asphalt (1929).
In 1933, having already directed several French films in the early 1930s, he and Mia, along with many others in the German film industry, emigrated to the United States where he was able to establish himself as director, mainly for Universal Pictures, although his work was mainly on what would be regarded as B movies. His most notable work of this period was The Invisible Man Returns (1941).
This article is based on the corresponding German Wikipedia article which quotes the following references: -
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