Friday, January 20, 2012

Miss Brigitte Helm

I want to apologize really quick. I have a few comments on some posts that I want to respond too, but for some reason, I can't. I can publish the comments and they get added to the post, but I can't respond to them. The page loads completely blank, no clue why. So, hopefully soon I will be able to respond and discuss stuff with you guys. Stay tuned.

So, I talked about Metropolis, gotta talk a little more about Brigitte Helm, because she was pretty amazing. But, for some reason, like fellow silent stars Barbara Kent and Marceline Day, Brigitte refused to talk about her film past. Makes her even more intriguing.

Brigitte Helm was born Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm on March 17, 1906 in Berlin, Germany.

Her early life? No clue. There isn't much info about her that I can find. And the website dedicated to in German, which I don't read/speak fluently, sorry. I tried to translate it, but the translation makes no sense. I failed. I'm sorry :(

What I have found is that she enjoyed acting in school plays, but she only saw it as something fun to do. She didn't want to pursue acting as a career. In fact, she wanted to work as an astronomer.

Brigitte on the set of Metropolis

When she was 18, her mother sent in her picture to director Fritz Lang in order to help her secure a role in his new film. And, she got it! Pretty groovy to think an 18 year old girl did such a stellar job in TWO roles in such a landmark film.

After her breakthrough role, she appeared in around 30 films including The Countess of Monte Cristo and The Blue Danube, both in 1932. She did appear in some talkies, and was actually up for the role of The Bride of Frankenstein before it was finally given to Elsa Lanchester.

Apparently, her studio wanted her to only appear in vamp roles, which annoyed her. She eventually sued the studio, but lost her case. She really only took later roles to help pay off her court costs.

Her career came to an abrupt and sad end in the 1930s when her studio contract expired AND she was put on the Nazi's watch list after she married a man who was Jewish. On the flip side, Metropolis was reportedly Hitler's favorite movie, so there were a few times when he personally helped Brigitte out of jams when she was involved in a couple of traffic collisions.

After she retired, she moved with her family to Switzerland, and refused to talk about about her film career past. Her son was once approached about asking his mother to do an interview about her career. He said that his mother would disinherit him if he even asked!

Brigitte Helm passed away on June 11, 1996 in Ascona, Switzerland.

She was buried at the Ascona Cemetery in Ticino, Switzerland.

Brigitte was married twice. First to a man named Rudolf Weissbach, but don't know the dates. Her second husband was industrialist Dr. Hugo von Kuehnheim, who she married in 1935. Together, they had four sons. I am pretty sure they remained married until her death, but not 100% sure.

She was Josef Von Sternberg's first choice for Lola in The Blue Angel.

"There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator." ~ Maria in Metropolis


  1. Two suggestions on the comments, though it might be a temporary glitch. If you use Google Chrome as a browser, leaving comments or responding to them should be seamless. (What a surprise, since Google hosts Blogger.) With Explorer, try signing out; then sign back in but uncheck the "stay signed in" box.

    Thanks for the Brigitte info.

  2. Hey there RB! I can finally respond! I asked through the Help section, and they said the same thing about Google Chrome. I was gonna try it out, but now it is working. *shakes head* Who knows!! I will try Google Chrome from now on though. Thanks!

  3. Hey, thanks for the info about this beautiful but mysterious woman! I felt in love with her since the first time I saw Metropolis, I think her eyes were disturbingly beautiful! Whatever, greetings from Chile!