Richard Oswald

Active - 1914 - 1949  |   Born - Nov 5, 1880 in Vienna, Austria  |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Romance

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Launching his career as an actor on the Viennese stage, Richard Oswald made his film directorial debut at age 24 with Das eisener Kreuz (1914). In 1916, Oswald set up his own production company, writing and directing most of the films himself. His pre-1920 efforts include such literary adaptations as The Picture of Dorian Gray (1917), Peer Gynt (1918), and Around the World in 80 Days (1919). Some critics have suggested that Oswald was more prolific than talented, but such films as his 1932 horror omnibus Unholy Tales would seem to refute this statement. During his days of prominence, Oswald discovered and developed the talents of such luminaries as director William Dieterle and actor Conrad Veidt. His Jewish heritage forced him out of Hitler's Germany in 1933 and occupied France in 1940. Emigrating to America, Oswald had trouble lining up anything other than B-pictures. His last production was The Lovable Cheat (1949), an inexpensive but worthwhile adaptation of a Balzac story which boasted an impressive cast (Charles Ruggles, Alan Mowbray, Buster Keaton, et al.). Richard Oswald was the father of director Gerd Oswald. An excellent source for details on his life and work is the 1990 biography Richard Oswald, written by Hans-Michael Beck, Wolfgang Jacobsen, and Jorg Schoening.

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