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Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009)

Eight hundred German filmmakers (cast and crew) fled the Nazis in the 1930s. The film uses voice-overs, archival footage, and film clips to examine Berlin's vital filmmaking in the 1920s; ... See full summary »


Karen Thomas


Karen Thomas




Credited cast:
Sigourney Weaver ... Narrator (voice)
Scott Subiono ... Hans Salter (voice)
Sewell Whitney ... Reporter / Bertolt Brecht (voice)
Scott Beehner ... Henry Koster (voice)
George Alvarez George Alvarez ... Curt Siodmak (voice)
Josh Nathan Josh Nathan ... Frederick Hollander (voice)
Kristin Lindquist ... Salka Viertel (voice)
Lynne Maclean Lynne Maclean ... Boszi Sakall (voice)
Robert Maffia ... Erich Pommer (voice)
Vaughn Armstrong ... Ernst Lubitsch (voice)
Lesli Margherita ... Kitty Koster (voice)
Raphael Sbarge ... Translator (voice)
Kevin Fabian ... Miklos Rozsa (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marlene Dietrich ... Herself (archive footage)
Deanna Durbin ... Herself (archive footage)


Eight hundred German filmmakers (cast and crew) fled the Nazis in the 1930s. The film uses voice-overs, archival footage, and film clips to examine Berlin's vital filmmaking in the 1920s; then it follows a producer, directors, composers, editors, writers, and actors to Hollywood: some succeeded and many found no work. Among those profiled are Erich Pommer, Joseph May, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, and Peter Lorre. Once in Hollywood, these exiles helped each other, housed new arrivals, and raised money so others could escape. Some worked on anti-Nazi films, like Casablanca. The themes and lighting of German Expressionism gave rise in Hollywood to film noir. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

1 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cinema's Exiles See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (PBS Broadcast)


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Did You Know?


Shown in two parts on PBS America in the United Kingdom. See more »


References Follow the Fleet (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

"Leaving wasn't my idea. It was Hitler's"
22 October 2009 | by BNonchalantSee all my reviews

The story of the leading talents of the German film industry of the 1920s has been told before. How the writers, composers,directors, actors, producers and cinematographers, (many, if not most, of whom were Jewish) were forced to leave by the rise of Hitler and how their arrival in Hollywood introduced new styles and new ideas to the world's largest movie factories is a part of every American cinema history book.

This documentary is different. It covers the participants' individual stories in greater depth. While some exiles achieved fame (Marlene Dietrich, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Billy Wilder, Franz Waxman) others, such as Joe May and Erich Pommer were less adaptable and thus left their best efforts behind them.

"Cinema's Exiles" is a visual feast. The film clips are first rate and the home movies are remarkable. There are stills and excerpts and interviews that I had never seen before. The roll call of émigrés from the film "Casablanca" was especially revealing.

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