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Alexander Granach

1890 - 1945


The actor Alexander Granach was born as Jessaja Szajko Gronach in Werbiwici, East Galizien. When he had finished his apprenticeship with a baker he came in contact with Russian-Jewish students and he sympathized with the revolutionary movement in Russia.

He came via Vienna to Berlin in 1906 where he earned his living as a baker for the time being. Besides he joined the Yiddish theater where he could make his first acting experiences.

When he joined the acting school of Max Reinhardt in 1909 it marked the begin of an interesting theater career and later in film business too. He appeared as a substitute for an ill falling colleague in the play "Hamlet" and attracted attention for the first time. In the following twenty years he became established as a great theater actor, only between 1914 and 1918 his career came to a stop because of the conscription into the Austrian army.

Alexander Granach made his film debut in 1920 with the movie "Die Liebe vom Zigeuner stammt..." (20). Already his next movies belong to the milestones of the German film history. He appeared in Murnau's "Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens" (21), Oswald's "Lucrezia Borgia" (22) and Jesserer's "Erdgeist" (23). 

The critics of in this time blamed him for his overdoing gestures in his performances. Very nice is the description of a critic for the Film-Kurier in 1923 on the occasion of the movie "Qualen der Nacht" (25):

"Fantastic in the conception, unfortunately too strong orchestrated in the carrying out. Each gesture a Meyerbeer orchestra."

To Alexander Granach's other well-known silent movies belong "I.N.R.I." (23), "Fridericus Rex" (23), "Der Mensch am Wege" (23), "Ein Sommernachtstraum" (25) and "Svengali" (27).

With the transition to the sound film era he could only took part in some more movies like "1914 - Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand" (30), "Danton" (31) and "Kameradschaft" (31) before he had to emigrate to Russia.
There he appeared in two movies - "Poslednij Tabor - Das letzte Zigeunerlager" (35) and "Borcy - Kämpfer" (36). When the purge of Stalin began in Russia, Alexander Granach was arrested. Thanks of the intervention of Lion Feuchtwanger he got an exit visa to Zurich in a short time. In Zurich he celebrated his last appearances in Europe at the Stadttheater Zurich.

With his emigration to the USA he began a new film career in Hollywood. He acted among others in the movies "Ninotschka" at Greta Garbo's side, in "Foreign Correspondent" (40), "Joan of Ozark" (42), "Hangmen Also Die!" (42), "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (43), "The Hitler Gang" (44) and "The Seventh Cross" (44) - typically enough often in the role of a Nazi.

Alexander Granach was married in second marriage with the actress Lotte Lieven-Stiefel.

Other movies with Alexander Granach:
Der grosse Chef (21) Die Tänzerin Navarro (22) Mignon (22) Paganini (23) Schatten (23) Ein Weib, ein Tier, ein Diamant (23) Die Radio-Heirat (24) Die berühmte Frau (27) Ich hatte einst ein schönes Vaterland (27) Das letzte Fort (28) Freie Fahrt! (28) Der Adjutant des Zaren (28) Grossstadtschmetterling (29) Flucht in die Fremdenlegion (29) Kampf ums Leben (29) Die letzte Kompanie (30) Der Raub der Mona Lisa (31) So Ends Our Night (41) A Man Betrayed (41) Half Way to Shanghai (41) Joan of Paris (42) Wrecking Crew (42) Mission to Moscow - Botschafter in Moskau (43) Three Russian Girls (43) Voice in the Wind (44) My Buddy (43)