The German expressionist cinema was but a short stylistic step away from the exaggerated gestures which actor Werner Krauss had been trained to do for the European stage. In films from 1916, Krauss became a worldwide sensation for his demonic portrayal of the titular medico in Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). His heavy, declamatory technique was perfect for such roles as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1924) and Jack the Ripper in The Wax Works (1924). When Hitler came to power, Krauss clutched the Nazi ideology firmly to his bosom. He was made an Actor of the State by Joseph Goebbels, thanks in no small part to his vicious portrayal of the title role in the execrable anti-Semitic epic Jud Suess (1940). Good roles were few and far between for Werner Krauss after the war, though he was "forgiven" to the extent of being invited to several German film festivals, where he elicited loud applause for such noncontroversial declarations as "I tell you my friends, the show-house is my life!"
by Hal Erickson biography