Karl W. Freund - Rotten Tomatoes

Karl W. Freund

Highest Rated:   100% Mad Love (1935)
Lowest Rated:   88% Michael (1924)
Birthday:   Not Available
Birthplace:   Not Available
Karl W. Freund was born in Koniginhof, Bohemia, in what later became Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), in 1890. He entered the film industry as a projectionist in 1907, but his interests lay in the other end of the business and the lens, and a year later he joined the Berlin branch of Pathé Films as a newsreel cameraman. He spent the next six years as a newsreel photographer, until he encountered a brief interruption with the outbreak of the First World War. However, even at the relatively young age of 24, he carried a substantial girth that made him unsuitable for military service; 90 days after being called up, he was a civilian again, and back working in movies. Even during this early phase of his career, Freund displayed an adventurous nature within his profession and a fascination with technological advances that put him at the cutting edge of cinematography. Freund joined Germany's Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), and was involved with such notable productions as Richard Oswald's The Arc (1919), during which he met the actress Gertrude Hoffman, who would become his wife. That same year, Freund worked for the first time with directors Fritz Lang (Spiders, Part 1), Ernst Lubitsch (Rausch), and F.W. Murnau (The Blue Boy, aka Emerald of Death). All of these films were well photographed, but there were a handful on which he distinguished himself sufficiently to begin attracting an international reputation -- among them were Der Golem (1920), co-directed by Carl Boese and Paul Wegener, and Murnau's The Last Laugh (1924). Freund also made a unique contribution to the visual style of Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927); but it was somewhat overshadowed by his work during that same period on a movie that would overwhelm much of the cinematic world with its impact, visual and thematic: Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Freund's contribution to the movie's success was immense, many of its visuals and its overall look so striking that its impact across the decades that followed only seemed to increase with time, this despite the fact that it was not that big a success at the box office in 1927-1928. The coming of sound only enhanced Freund's career and reputation, thanks to his fascination with technical innovation. He was among the very first cinematographers to work with sprocketed magnetic tape as a sound medium, during a period in which several methods were competing for primacy, and which became the standard means of shooting sound film for the next 60 years. He was also involved with experimental color film shooting in England at the end of the 1920s. He might well have made his career in England, but Hollywood beckoned -- in 1930, he was signed to Universal, where his first project moved him into the director's chair. Freund had two directorial credits in Germany during the early '20s, for Der Tote Gast (1921) and Der Grosse Sensationsprozess (1923), but otherwise had spent the rest working from the camera. Despite his relative lack of experience, however, Universal turned over to him the task of overseeing the reshooting of the denouement of its biggest production of 1930, Lewis Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front, which had run into serious problems in its previews and was due to open in just a few weeks. That assignment only removed Freund temporarily from his cinematography duties, however, and over the next two years he busied himself photographing such movies as Tod Browning's Dracula (1931), John M. Stahl's Strictly Dishonorable (1931, from a script by Preston Sturges), and Robert Florey's Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). That same year, he made an official return to the director's chair on The Mummy (1932), starring Boris Karloff and Zita Johann. Widely considered among the best of the early Universal horror films, the movie has held up amazingly well across more than 75 years. Soon after this horror classic, h

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
100% Mad Love
  • Director
1935
No Score Yet Gift of Gab
  • Director
1934
93% The Mummy
  • Director
1932
88% Michael
  • Leblanc arl dealer
1924

Quotes from Karl W. Freund's Characters

No quotes approved yet.