Leontine Sagan

Active - 1931 - 1946  |   Born - Jan 1, 1899   |   Died - Jan 1, 1974   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy Drama

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Filmmaker Leontine Sagan only made two films during her long career; her first Maedchen in Uniform (1931) is her best known. She is one of only three women to have directed a German film before 1960 -- the other two were Thea von Harbou and Leni Riefenstahl. Maedchen, based on the play Gestern und Heute by Christa Winsloe, is also interesting in that it featured an all-female cast as it told the tale of a boarding school student and her teacher; it was filled with homoerotic overtones that while overlooked by critics of the day who viewed the film as a critique of the authoritarian Prussian education system, quickly made it a lesbian cult classic. Sagan was born in Austria, but spent her childhood in South Africa; she returned to Austria in 1910. Prior to becoming a director, Sagan studied at the Max Rheinhart School in Berlin before launching a highly successful career as an actress and theatrical director in Germany and Austria. In 1932, Sagan emigrated to Britain where she made a film for Alexander Korda, Men of Tomorrow. She later returned to South Africa where she spent the rest of her life working with the National Theater in Jonhannesburg.