“ARTIST AMD PULP STORYTELLER, PESSIMIST AND ENTERTAINER”: PHOTOGRAPH OF DIRECTOR FRITZ LANG, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY HIM
LANG, Fritz. Photograph signed. Beverly Hills, 1972. Measures approximately 4-3/4 by 3-1/2 inches.
Black-and-white photograph of film director Lang sitting at his desk, inscribed: “To Eduardo Sola’-Franco, with my very best wishes, Fritz Lang, Bev. Hills, July 72.”
Austrian film director Fritz Lang is best known for two of his early films, both made in Germany: the futuristic silent film Metropolis (1927) and the disturbing M (1931), Germany’s first sound film. His 1933 film The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was banned by Joseph Goebbels for its anti-Nazi sentiments, but Goebbels nevertheless asked Lang to oversee Nazi film production. Lang declined the job and fled to the United States in 1934, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1939. Working in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, Lang made a prodigious number of film noir movies, including The Big Heat in 1953 and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt in 1957. Lang died in 1976. “His career coincided almost exactly with Alfred Hitchcock’s, and the comparison between the two directors is often made. Both thrived in silent film, but easily adjusted to sound. Both moved from Europe to America and recreated their genius in a new culture. Yet while Hitchcock is instantly recognizable and his films are easily seen, Lang’s work and reputation are much more obscure… Certain themes and preoccupations are constant. Lang seems always to have been interested in what happens to individuals who come up against the larger power of organizations, bureaucracies, criminal networks–all the modern apparatus of surveillance and control. Almost always these individuals are destroyed by the encounter: they don’t find justice even if they have the truth on their side, events always spin beyond their control. If this seems like the world of Kafka, it also belongs to Raymond Chandler. Lang is a mix of artist and pulp storyteller, pessimist and entertainer” (Rob White, British Film Institute).