Josef von Sternberg

Josef von Sternberg

Infobox actor
name = Josef von Sternberg

imagesize = 220px
birthname = Jonas Sternberg
birthdate = birth date|1894|5|29
birthplace = Vienna, Austria-Hungary
deathdate = death date and age|1969|12|22|1894|5|29
deathplace = Hollywood, California
spouse = Riza Royce (1926-1930)
Jean Avette McBride (1945-1947)
Meri Otis Wilner (1948-1969)

Josef von Sternberg aka Jonas Sternberg (29 May 1894, Vienna, Austria – 22 December 1969, Los Angeles, California) was an Austrian-American film director. He is one of the earliest examples of auteur filmmakers, and performed many other duties on his films besides directing, including cinematographer, writer, and editor. Sternberg's style has had a vast influence on later directors, particularly during the "film noir" movement. His mastery of mise-en-scene, lighting and soft lense is unrivaled, and his collaboration with sultry actress Marlene Dietrich is internationally celebrated.

Life and Work

Josef von Sternberg was born Jonas Sternberg (the false aristocratic title 'von' was later added by a Hollywood studio head to make the name sound more distinctive) to a Jewish family in Vienna but spent much of his childhood in New York City where his father, a former soldier in the army of Austria-Hungary, tried to make a new life for himself. Sternberg grew up in poverty and dropped out of high school. As a youth he got a job cleaning and repairing movie prints and soon found himself apprenticing in the movie industry. He made his directorial debut in 1925 with "The Salvation Hunters" (called by some the first American independent film). Charlie Chaplin was impressed by this film, and worked with Sternberg at his Hollywood Studio. Sternberg had commercial success later in the decade at Paramount Pictures with the remarkable late-period silent films "The Last Command" and "The Docks of New York", both noted for their influential cinematography. His reputation was also advanced by a series of early gangster films including "Underworld" and "Thunderbolt".

His new found prosperity made it possible for him to commission an impressive mini-mansion from the famous architect Richard Neutra. Even after its demolition Von Sternberg house remained an example of modernism in Architecture.

In 1930, Sternberg went to Germany and directed the widely acclaimed film "Der blaue Engel" ("The Blue Angel") in German and English versions simultaneously, the first German-language talkie. It was Sternberg's second film with the then-famous German actor Emil Jannings as the doomed Professor Rath. (The first was "The Last Command".)

Sternberg also cast the then-unknown Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola, the female lead, and overnight made her an international star. Sternberg and Dietrich continued to collaborate on "Morocco", "Dishonored", "Shanghai Express", "Blonde Venus", "The Scarlet Empress", and "The Devil is a Woman".

"Macao" (1952) was one of Sternberg's last Hollywood films.

"Anatahan" (1953) is the story of a group of Japanese soldiers who refused to believe that the Second World War had ended, it was directed, photographed, narrated, and written by von Sternberg. "Anatahan" had limited release, and it was a financial failure. Also, it happened to be Sternberg's final film: even though another Hollywood picture he directed ("Jet Pilot") was released in 1957, it had actually been shot seven years earlier, when he was still under contract with producer Howard Hughes. [ [ The Saga of Anatahan (1953): Joseph von Sternberg ] ]

Sternberg died from a heart attack in 1969, aged 75, and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Sternberg's autobiography is titled "Fun In A Chinese Laundry". Also, over fifty production stills (from the Purviance Family collection), showing von Sternberg work from The Sea Gull (A Woman of the Sea), has been published.


ilent films

*"The Salvation Hunters" (1925)
*"The Exquisite Sinner" (1925, lost)
*"A Woman of the Sea" (1926, also known as "The Sea Gull" or "Sea Gulls", lost)
*"Underworld" (1927)
*"The Last Command" (1928)
*"The Dragnet" (1928, lost)
*"The Docks of New York" (1928)
*"The Case of Lena Smith" (1929, lost)

ound films

*"Thunderbolt" (1929)
*"The Blue Angel" (1930)
*"Morocco" (1930)
*"Dishonored" (1931)
*"An American Tragedy" (1931)
*"Shanghai Express" (1932)
*"Blonde Venus" (1932)
*"The Scarlet Empress" (1934)
*"The Devil is a Woman" (1935)
*"Crime and Punishment" (1935)
*"The King Steps Out" (1936)
*"Sergeant Madden" (1939)
*"The Shanghai Gesture" (1941)
*"The Town" (1943, short film)
*"Macao" (1952)
*"Anatahan" (1952–8, also known as "The Saga of Anatahan")


*"The Fashion Side of Hollywood" (1935)

Other projects

*"The Masked Bride" (1925, directed with Christy Cabanne, uncredited)
*"It" (1927, directed with Clarence G. Badger, uncredited)
*"Children of Divorse" (1927, directed with Frank Lloyd, uncredited)
*"Street of Sin" (1928, directed with Mauritz Stiller, uncredited)
*"I, Claudius" (1937, unfinished)
*"The Great Waltz" (1938, directed with Julien Duvivier, uncredited)
*"I Take This Woman" (1940, directed with W.S. Van Dyke, uncredited)
*"Duel in the Sun" (1946, directed with King Vidor, uncredited)
*"Jet Pilot" (1957; Sternberg only directed a small portion of this film, in 1950, while still under contract to Howard Hughes)

External links

*imdb name|id=0903049|name=Josef von Sternberg
* [ Senses Of Cinema: Josef von Sternberg]
* [ Josef von Sternberg's Photo & Gravesite]
* [ Josef von Sternberg. The Case of Lena Smith] Book on Josef von Sternberg's last silent movie - one of the legendary lost masterpieces of the American cinema; Published by the [ Austrian Film Museum]


NAME= Sternberg, Josef von
DATE OF BIRTH= (29 May 1894
DATE OF DEATH= 22 December 1969

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  • Josef von Sternberg — (bürgerlich Jonas Sternberg; * 29. Mai 1894 in Wien; † 22. Dezember 1969 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA) war ein österreichisch US amerikanischer Regisseur. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Anfang der Karriere …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Josef von Sternberg — Nacimiento 29 de mayo de 1894 Viena, Imperio austrohúngaro Fallecimiento 22 de diciembre de 1969 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Josef Von Sternberg — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sternberg. Josef von Sternberg Nom de naissance Jonas Sternberg Naissance 29 mai 1894 Vienne …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josef von sternberg — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sternberg. Josef von Sternberg Nom de naissance Jonas Sternberg Naissance 29 mai 1894 Vienne …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josef von Sternberg — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sternberg. Josef von Sternberg Données clés Nom de naissance Jonas Sternberg Naissance 29 mai 1894 Vienne …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josef von Sternberg — noun United States film maker (born in Austria) whose films made Marlene Dietrich an international star (1894 1969) • Syn: ↑von Sternberg • Instance Hypernyms: ↑film maker, ↑filmmaker, ↑film producer, ↑movie maker …   Useful english dictionary

  • STERNBERG, JOSEF VON — (1894–1969), film director. Von Sternberg, born in Vienna (though the von was a Hollywood addition), was one of the best known film directors of the 1920s and 1930s. He used the camera as it had not been used before, capturing the play of light… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Von Sternberg House — was a single bedroom (servant bedrooms excluded) mini mansion designed by the architect Richard Neutra. It was built in 1935 in Northridge, California in the then rural San Fernando Valley for the movie director Josef von Sternberg. It was… …   Wikipedia

  • Von Sternberg — may refer to:* Josef von Sternberg, German film director * Kaspar Maria von Sternberg (1761–1838), Bohemian theologian and botanist * Richard M. von Sternberg, American creation scientist Ungern Sternberg Family * Roman Ungern von Sternberg… …   Wikipedia

  • Sternberg, Josef von — orig. Jonas Stern born May 29, 1894, Vienna, Austria died Dec. 22, 1969, Hollywood, Calif., U.S. Austrian born U.S. film director. He immigrated with his Orthodox Jewish family to New York as a boy. By 1923 he was a scriptwriter and cameraman in… …   Universalium

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