Waldfriedhof Gerresheim Düsseldorf, Stadtkreis Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Richard Oswald (5 November 1880 – 11 September 1963) was an Austrian director, producer, and screenwriter. Different from the Others is a German film produced during the Weimar Republic. It was first released in 1919 and stars Conrad Veidt and Reinhold Schünzel. The story was co-written by Richard Oswald and Magnus Hirschfeld, who also had a small part in the film and partially funded the production through his Institute for Sexual Science. The film was intended as a polemic against the then-current laws under Germany's Paragraph 175, which made homosexuality a criminal offense. It is believed to be the first pro-gay film in the world. The cinematography was by Max Fassbender, who two years previously had worked on Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray, one of the earliest cinematic treatments of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Director Richard Oswald later became a director of more mainstream films, as did his son Gerd. Veidt became a major film star the year after Anders was released, in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Anders als die Andern is one of the first sympathetic portrayals of homosexuals in cinema. The film's basic plot was used again in the 1961 UK film, Victim, starring Dirk Bogarde. Censorship laws enacted in reaction to films like Anders als die Andern eventually restricted viewing of this movie to doctors and medical researchers, and prints of the film were among the many "decadent" works burned by the Nazis after they came to power in 1933.
Richard Oswald, born in Vienna as Richard W. Ornstein, began his career as an actor on the Viennese stage. He made his film directorial debut at age 34 with The Iron Cross (1914) and worked a number of times for Jules Greenbaum. In 1916, Oswald set up his own production company in Germany, writing and directing most of his films himself. His pre-1920 efforts include such literary adaptations as The Picture of Dorian Gray (1917), Peer Gynt (1919), the once scandalous Different from the Others (1919) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1919). Oswald directed nearly 100 films. Some critics have suggested that Oswald was more prolific than talented, but such films as his horror film Unheimliche Geschichten (1932), produced by no less than Gabriel Pascal, would seem to refute this claim as it is viewed by some to be a forgotten classic. He made a significant number of Operetta films during his career.
Being Jewish, Oswald was forced to flee Nazi Germany, first for occupied France and later emigrating to the United States. His last production was The Lovable Cheat (1949), an inexpensive but worthwhile adaptation of a Balzac story which boasted an impressive cast including Charles Ruggles, Alan Mowbray, and Buster Keaton. Oswald later returned to Germany following the end of the Second World War and died in Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1963.
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