L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Anton Walbrook and smoke

Anton Walbrook (19 November 1896, Vienna - 9 August 1967, Garatshausen), Austrian actor who later settled in Great Britain, best remembered for his performance as the tyrannical impresario Lermontov in The Red Shoes in 1948.

Born Adolf Anton Wilhelm Wohlbrück, he was descended from ten generations of actors, though his father broke with tradition and was a circus clown. Walbrook studied with the legendary director Max Reinhardt and built a successful career in Austrian and German theater and cinema. He changed his name to Anton Walbrook in 1937 when he began to work in English language films. (His billing would occasionally revert to Adolf Wohlbrück after the war when once again performing in German films.) With the rise of Hitler and the Anschluss of Austria,Walbrook, who was classified under the Nuremberg Laws as "half-Jewish" as his mother was Jewish, and was also homosexual, settled in England, where he continued working as a film actor, making a specialty of playing continental Europeans.

Aside from The Red Shoes, his best known films were the original Viktor und Viktoria, Victoria the Great, the first version of Gaslight, Dangerous Moonlight, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Queen of Spades, and he was the ubiquitous ringmaster in Max Ophüls' brilliant La Ronde.

He retired from films at the end of the 1950s and in later years appeared on the European stage and television. He died of a heart attack in Bavaria at the age of seventy. His ashes were interred in the churchyard of St. John's Church in London, as he had wished.


  1. Thank you for your blog for it is nurtured with everything I love in this world.
    The Red Shoes is among my favourite films.
    A long time ago, I went to that cemetery in London on Kay Kendall's grave, to find out Anton Walbrook was burried there too.
    Long live Gods and Foolish Grandeur.

  2. I always found him devastating in movies, and these photos show why. Thank you for this wonderful round-up.