Henry Blanke

Active - 1931 - 1962  |   Born - Dec 30, 1901 in Berlin-Steglitz, Germany  |   Died - May 28, 1981 in California  |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Mention the name Henry Blanke to the casual filmgoer and you're likely to draw a blank (without the "e"); then mention the films that the German-born Blanke produced during his Hollywood career, and suddenly the bell of recognition will ring. The son of a painter, Blanke was hired by the Berlin-based UFA Film company at the age of 20, where he became the assistant to star director Ernst Lubitsch. Lubitsch took Blanke with him to the US in 1922, but Blanke returned to Germany to work as Fritz Lang's production manager on the UFA sci-fi spectacular Metropolis. From 1928 through 1930, Blanke remained in Berlin supervising the German-based output of Hollywood's Warner Bros. Back at Warners' Burbank studios in 1930, Blanke oversaw the company's foreign-language efforts (multilingual versions of English-language films); the following year, he was made supervisor of all Warners productions. From 1933 through 1961, Blanke was a Warners staff producer, guiding such memorable productions as The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Sea Hawk (1940), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1941), Come Fill the Cup (1951) and The Nun's Story (1959). Blanke was well-liked by such temperamental Warners directors as Michael Curtiz and William Dieterle because he was sympathetic to their point of view -- the direct opposite of the autocratic "my way or no way" studio head Jack Warner. Just before his retirement in 1962, Henry Blanke produced one last film for Paramount Pictures, Hell is for Heroes (1962).

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