Born in Vienna, Austria in 1980, Fritz Lang is one of the most influential film directors ever. Coming from Germany's school of Expressionism to the big screens of Hollywood, Fritz did it all, but most will agree, darkness was his forte.
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang lived an average life, studying art, painting and traveling, until he enrolled in the army during World War I. He was wounded three times and discharged with the rank of lieutenant in 1918. He wrote many film ideas during his recovery period. He moved to Berlin to write but quickly became invested in directing.
He was active during the Weimar years and was known for mixing Expressionism with elements of popular genres. From this era come some of his most renowned works, such as Metropolis (1927) and M (1931). The work from his time in Germany constantly includes characteristics both thematic and stylistic that are now attributed to the genre of Film Noir.
Around 1933, shortly after his film The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was banned by the newly elected Nazi regime as it was thought to incite public disorder, Lang left Germany. His wife began to sympathize with Nazi's and they soon divorced. Fearing for his life, as his mother was Jewish, Lang fled Europe and emigrated to America.
His Hollywood career spanned from 1936-1957 and is perceived unfavorably when compared to his earlier works. Regardless, his films are still renowned as integral to the evolution of some American genres, such as Film Noir. The Big Heat (1953) is itself a noir and it is possible to see where his experience with Expressionism lends itself handy.
If you're not familiar with any of his work, well, you probably should be. His films are unlikely to be available for instant streaming on Netflix, but I guarantee you can find them online.
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