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December 2nd, 2008
Biography: Erich Pommer

Biography by Gerd Gemünden
Professor of German Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature
Dartmouth College

(b. Hildesheim 1889 – d. Los Angeles 1966)

Erich Pommer citizenship application

Photo from Pommer’s application for U.S. citizenship.
Click to see the application.

Producer. A genius producer and businessman on both sides of the Atlantic, Erich Pommer is the driving force of fifty years of German film history. In 1915, he founded Deutsche Eclair (Decla), a production company that was eventually absorbed by UFA. As a member of UFA’s directorial board, Pommer was able to produce some of Weimar Germany’s most impressive contributions to film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Last Laugh (1924), Variety (1925), Faust (1926), and The Blue Angel (1930). In 1926, he started working in Hollywood, but returned to Germany on loan from his American employers just a year later. After the Nazi takeover, Pommer emigrated first to Paris (1933), then to Hollywood (1934), then to London (1937), and finally back to Hollywood (1940). He returned to Europe as an officer in the U.S. army, supervising the licensing of the first production companies in the post-Nazi film industry. He did not return to California until 1956.

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