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Curt Siodmak Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (8) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Died in Three Rivers, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameKurt Siodmak

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1902, Curt Siodmak worked as an engineer and a newspaper reporter before entering the literary and movie fields. It was as a reporter that he got his first break (of sorts) in films: in 1926 he and his reporter-wife hired on as extras on Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) in order to get a story on the director and his film. One of Siodmak's first film-writing assignments was the screenplay for the German sci-fi picture F.P.1 Doesn't Answer (1932) (US title: "Floating Platform 1 Does Not Answer"), based on his own novel. Compelled to leave Germany after Adolf Hitler and the Nazis took power, Siodmak went to work as a screenwriter in England and then moved to Hollywood in 1937. He got a job at Universal through his director-friend Joe May, helping write the script for May's The Invisible Man Returns (1940). Because the film went over well, Siodmak says, he fell into the horror/science-fiction "groove."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Weaver <TomWeavr@aol.com>

Spouse (1)

Henrietta Siodmak (1931 - 2 September 2000) (his death)

Trivia (21)

Brother of director Robert Siodmak
Nephew of producer Seymour Nebenzal.
Decided to emigrate from his native Germany to England after hearing an anti-Semitic tirade by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
Obtained a PhD in Mathematics before turning to writing novels.
Siodmak spent much time in the small central California mountain town of Three Rivers before moving there permanently in the 1970s, and where he lived until his death. Three Rivers is not far from the city of Visalia--clearly the inspiration for the name of the fictional town of Visaria, the setting for the Wolfman movies.
In 1937 he went to the USA where he already had a good reputation because of his earlier novels. He was introduced to Universal by Joe May, also an emigrated German director, where Siodmak became to the best specialist for science-fiction and horror; especially with movies like "The Invisible Man Returns" (1939), "The Invisible Woman" (1940) and "The Wolf Man" (1941) he created unforgettable works.
He became an American citizen in 1963.
Siodmak also directed some less than impressive low budget monster movies, including Bride of the Gorilla (1951), The Magnetic Monster (1953), and Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956).
He has written an opera, Song of Frankenstein, and a play about Jack the Ripper.
He landed a worldwide success with his novel "Donovan's Brain" in 1942, which was filmed four times till 1962.
In the plots of his work, Siodmak utilized the latest scientific findings combining those with pseudo-scientific motifs like the Jekyll and Hyde complex, the Nazi trauma and the East-West dichotomy.
His final significant genre credit was for Terence Fisher's German production Sherlock Holmes and the Necklace of Death (1962).
He and his brother started in the film business writing German inter-titles for Max Sennett comedies.
Curt Siodmak, whose brother was the famous director Robert Siodmak, studied mathematics, physics and engineer science since 1926 in Zurich.
Siodmak was born Kurt Siodmak in Dresden, Germany, the son of Rosa Philippine (née Blum) and Ignatz Siodmak. His parents were both from Jewish families in Leipzig.
Curt Siodmak's science-fiction novel "F.P. 1 antwortet nicht" attracted great attention and was filmed in 1932 with Hans Albers and Sybille Schmitz. The movie was a great international success. This movie marks simultaneous Siodmak's last cooperation for a German movie before he had to escape to Switzerland in 1933 because of the Nazis. But in Switzerland he was chased away as an illegal immigrant and Curt Siodmak had to go to England via France. There he had his breakthrough with the draft for the movie "The Tunnel" (1935).
He invested early royalties earned by his first books in the movie Menschen am Sonntag (1929) a documentary-style chronicle of the lives of four Berliners on a Sunday based on their own lives. The movie was co-directed by Curt Siodmak's older brother Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, with a script by Billy Wilder in collaboration with Fred Zinneman and cameraman Eugen Schüfftan. Siodmak was the nephew of film producer Seymour Nebenzal, who funded Menschen am Sonntag with funds borrowed from his father, Heinrich Nebenzahl.
An extensive interview with Siodmak about his career in both Germany and Hollywood is found in Eric Leif Davin's Pioneers of Wonder.
In 1928 he wrote scripts for movies for the first time; his idea for the script for "Menschen am Sonntag" (1929) constituted the first success for his brother Robert as a director.
In 1998, he won the Berlinale Camera at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.
His first steps to a writer he did in the 20s with fantastic stories, among others "Die Eier von Tangayika" (1926) and "Helene droht zu platzen" (1929).

Personal Quotes (8)

Every night I say "Heil Hitler", because, without the son of a bitch [Adolf Hitler], I wouldn't be in Three Rivers, California, I'd still be in Berlin.
[about The Wolf Man (1941), one of Universal Pictures' biggest hits of 1941, which he wrote] After "The Wolf Man" made its first million, [producer-director] George Waggner got a diamond ring for his wife and [executive producer] Jack Gross got a $10,000 bonus. I wanted $25 more a week and [Universal] wouldn't give it to me.
[about Peter Lorre, with whom he worked on The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)] He was really a sadistic son of a bitch--liked to look at operations. He really was the type, a very weird character.
My pictures run on television and I don't get a penny out of it. But the guys are all dead, and I'm still alive, so who's winning?
[on Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)] I had no money at the time, so I wrote "Curucu" . . . It was done in Brazil . . . I shot it down there, in the jungles. I never recovered, physically.
[on Donovan's Brain (1953), the second film version of his novel, and its producer, Tom Gries] Tom Gries . . . didn't like me. He had these advertisements made for the film saying, "Based on the famous book". Period. [He] wouldn't let me direct it because of a personal dislike. He was the meanest son of a bitch I had ever seen.
[on The Lady and the Monster (1944), the first film made from his novel, "Donovan's Brain"] It was a piece of shit.
[on Boris Karloff who demanded - and obtained - Bela Lugosi's role in Black Friday (1940) ] Karloff didn't want to play the dual role in Black Friday. He was afraid of it. There was too much acting in it. It was too intricate.

Salary (1)

Donovan's Brain (1953) $1,900 (film rights to his novel)

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