Fritz Lang (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Lang was a pioneer in twentieth century filmmaking. The silent films that he directed in Germany in the 1920’s established his reputation as a creative innovator and skilled cinematic craftsman. His sound films in the early 1930’s and Hollywood films of the 1940’s and 1950’s demonstrated his remarkable ability to adapt to changing technical and cultural settings without sacrificing cinematic integrity.
Fritz Lang was born in Vienna on December 5, 1890. His father was the municipal architect, and Lang followed in his father’s footsteps, studying engineering and architecture at Vienna’s technical university (1908-1910). Though he grew increasingly disenchanted with conventional middle-class life and finally broke with his father and family to study modern art in Munich and Paris, he never lost the architect’s eye for space, light, and alignment.
In the years before World War I, Lang lived a bohemian existence. He traveled to Asia, North Africa, and the South Seas, exotic places that figured occasionally in later films. Even more important for his subsequent development as a director was his immersion in prewar expressionism, a German cultural revolt that challenged most existing standards. Like other youthful artists in this movement, Lang repudiated the urban bourgeois values of his parents’ generation, turning in his case to the orient, the works of Friedrich...
(The entire section is 1957 words.)
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