walter schulze-mittendorff bio 14

Walter Schulze-Mittendorff

14. Meeting The Film Director Fritz Lang (1890 - 1976)
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Film as an art form has just been invented, although it is still black-and-white, and silent. And there is no training yet to learn the art of film-making. A film develops with the help and particiption of artists and technicians from many different areas, united through the new art of photography. This is why in France the film is also called the 7th art, where drama, dance, music, architecture, visual arts and dramaturgy are immortilised, all captured together on celluloid.
In 1920, Walter gets to meet the film dirctor Fritz Lang. The painter Robert Herlth, his friend from his years of study, arranges a meeting. While Herlth, coming from the art of painting turns into film architect in his professional career – for Schulze-Mittendorff the meeting with Fritz Lang initially serves to add yet another aspect to his creative field of work. 
In Lang and Schulze-Mittendorff two like-minded people find one another. Both are ambitious and dedicated artists, both strive for perfection and precision, both are endowed with the sensitivity of vision, both share the fate of having served as reserve officers from 1915 in the First World War, Fritz Lang as an Austrian, and both live in the same part of Berlin after the war.

The meeting with Fritz Lang lays the foundations for Walter Schulze-Mittendorffs lifelong workings for the cinema.

Walter Schulze-Mittendorff: 
"With Lang, there was an excellent contact, right from the beginning. We were of the same age and everyone concerned was filled with artistic ambition. Lang in those years was by all means convinced – that it was possible to help develop the film into the actual artform of our times. I always disagreed with him – because I felt the fine arts – above all architecture – to be more 'seminal'. Notwithstanding all endeavour, the film, after all, still carried something of the Schaubude (show booth) – which in my opinion produced the right mixture for a good 'Kintopp' (movie)."   
This committed dispute between two artists about which artform would be more 'seminal', meaning which carries more weight, which is more influential and acknowledged – architecture or the film – takes place in Berlin of the 1920s. Looking at the city of Berlin today, one can readily empathise with the timeliness of this discussion, seeing how these two artforms stand out among all others in Germany's capital city and cultural metropolis, Berlin, where they seem to shake hands at the Potsdamer Platz.

In this written invitation to a preview of 'Metropolis' in November of 1926 – the film's premiere will take place on January 10, 1927 – Fritz Lang also expresses his interest in the sculptor’s latest works:  "NB. Röhrig told me you moved to another studio. Write, and let me know where it is. I would like to see your latest work." The enquiry about the studio relates to Walter Schulze-Mittendorff's new studio at Bleibtreustraße 7 in Charlottenburg.
From 1920 to 1932, Walter Schulze-Mittendorff works as a freelance sculptor for five of Fritz Lang's films. These are:

Handwritten renarration of the meeting with Fritz Lang in 1920 by Walter Schulze-Mittendorff, 1969
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1921:  Der müde Tod (Destiny, lit. Weary Death – see FILM)
1924:  Die Nibelungen (The Nibelungen)
1927:  Metropolis (see FILM)
1928:  Spione (Spies)
1932:  Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (The Testament Of Doctor Mabuse)