Frank Wisbar

The Director of Ferryman Maria, from Germany to America and Back

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About the Book

German director Frank Wisbar (1899–1967) had the misfortune of achieving success as a filmmaker just as Hitler came to power. While critics praised his work, Nazi cultural watchdogs were scornful of his attempts to chart “the landscape of the soul” in films like Ferryman Maria (1936) and Anna and Elisabeth (1933). Wisbar fled to America, where Hollywood saw him as no more than a technician, good for churning out low-budget horror like Strangler of the Swamp (1945) and Devil Bat’s Daughter (1946).
A successful stint in early television allowed him to return home to a very different Germany, where he abandoned his earlier mystical themes to tackle questions of war and peace, tabloid journalism and racial conflict. The author examines the films and career of an under-appreciated auteur who ultimately lost faith in his own vision.

About the Author(s)

Henry Nicolella, of Syracuse, New York, retired from a ministry of working for the homeless.

Bibliographic Details

Henry Nicolella
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6688-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2976-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Biography: The Stranger from the Other Shore 4

The Films and Television Programs

Im Bann des Eulenspiegels (Under the Spell of the Owl Mirror) (1932)  23

Anna und Elisabeth (Anna and Elisabeth) (1933)  29

Rivalen der Luft (Rivals of the Air) (1934)  48

Hermine und die seiben Aufrechten (Hermine and the Seven Upright Men) (1935)  56

Die Werft zum Grauen Hecht (The Grey Pikes Wharf) (1935)  62

Fährmann Maria (Ferryman Maria) (1936)  65

Die Unbekannte (The Unknown) (1936)  82

Ball im Metropol (Ball in Metropol) (1937)  94

Petermann ist dagegen! (Petermann Is Against It!) (1937)  98

Women in Bondage (1943)  104

Strangler of the Swamp (1946)  112

Devil Bat’s Daughter (1946)  120

Secrets of a Sorority Girl (1946)  129

Lighthouse (1947)  134

The Prairie (1948)  140

Madonna of the Desert (1948)  147

The Mozart Story (1948)  149

Rimfire (1949)  153

Fireside Theater (1949)  156

Haie und kleine Fische (Sharks and Little Fish) (1957)  166

Nasser Asphalt (Wet Asphalt) (1958)  170

Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben? (Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever?) (1959)  178

Nacht fiel über Gotenhafen (Darkness Fell on Gotenhafen) (1960)  183

Fabrik der Offiziere (The Officer Factory) (1960)  192

Barbara (1961)  196

Commando (1962)  205

Durchbruch Lok 234 (Breakthrough Locomotive 234) (1963)  209

West German TV  212

Bibliography 221

Index 223