Leopold Jessner

Leopold Jessner

Leopold Jessner (March 3, 1878–December 13, 1945) was a noted producer and director of German Expressionist theater and cinema. His first film, "Hintertreppe" (1921), is considered a major turning point which paved the way for the later German Expressionist experiments of German filmmakers F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, and G.W. Pabst.

A native of Königsberg, Jessner was a touring actor in his youth and turned to directing in 1911. He was director of the Berlin State Theatre from 1919-1925 and was known for bare stages in which flights of steps served as different spaces for scenes and directing actors to act in an oversimplified, unnatural manner.

"Hintertreppe" (German: "Backstairs"), Jesnner's first film (co-directed with Paul Leni), highlighted Jessner's use of these heavily stylised staircases. These staircases would become regular fixtures in later German films, nicknamed "Jessnertreppe" in Jessner's honor, and would be used to full effect in the 1926 German Expressionist film "Faust", directed by F.W. Murnau. Jessner's direction is often considered heavy-handed and clusmy in regards to this picture, and critics accuse Jessner of forcing inappropriate theatrical conventions into the cinema.

Being both Jewish and a Socialist, he was forced to emigrate to the United States in 1933, after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. He worked in film anonymously in the United States until his death, in Los Angeles.

Filmography

*"Hintertreppe" (1921) (aka "Backstairs") (Directed with Paul Leni)
*"Erdgeist" (1923) (aka "Earth Spirit")
*"Maria Stuart, Teil 1 und 2" (1927) (aka "Mary Queen of Scots") (Directed with Friedrich Feher)
*"Children of the Fog" (1935) (Directed with John Quin)

External links

*imdb|0422226|Leopold Jessner

For an extended biography of Leopold Jessner, see the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book (London), vol. XLVIII (2003), 110-133.


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  • Jessner — Leopold Jessner (* 3. März 1878 in Königsberg; † 13. Dezember 1945 in Hollywood) war ein deutscher Theater und Filmregisseur. Er gilt als wichtiger Vertreter des Bühnenexpressionismus und des politischen Theaters der zwanziger Jahre. Bekannt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leopold Jeßner — Leopold Jessner (* 3. März 1878 in Königsberg; † 13. Dezember 1945 in Hollywood) war ein deutscher Theater und Filmregisseur. Er gilt als wichtiger Vertreter des Bühnenexpressionismus und des politischen Theaters der zwanziger Jahre. Bekannt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • JESSNER, LEOPOLD — (1878–1945), German theatrical director and manager. Starting as an actor, Jessner was director at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg (1904–15). He later directed the Neues Schauspielhaus in his birthplace Koenigsberg (1915–19). From 1919 to 1930 he… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jessner, Leopold — (1878 1945)    Director. Jessner was best known for his work during the Weimar Republic, when he was appointed intendant of the Prussian State Theater, the tradition bound, Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed Royal Theater on Gendarme Square near… …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Jessner, Leopold — ▪ German director and producer born March 3, 1878, Königsberg, Germany [now Kaliningrad, Russia] died October 30, 1945, Los Angeles, California, U.S.       theatrical producer and director associated with the German Expressionist (Expressionism)… …   Universalium

  • Jessner, Leopold — (1878 1945), actor, director, and theater* manager; Berlin s* most renowned director in the Republic s early years. Born in Kö nigsberg, he began his stage career in 1897 as an actor with the Cottbus Stadt theater. Soon after 1900 he acted and… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Fritz Jessner — (* 19. August 1889 in Stolp in Hinterpommern; † 9. Juli 1946 in Boston, USA) war ein deutsch amerikanischer Theaterdirektor und Regisseur. Jessners Vater war Samuel Jeßner, ein Dermatologe in Königsberg. Fritz Jessner studierte an der Universität …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jessner, Leopold —    см. Йеснер, Леопольд …   Энциклопедический словарь экспрессионизма

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