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"Karl Ritter – His Life and ‘Zeitfilms’ under National Socialism provides the first study in English which draws on both German film archives and unpublished sources to present Karl Ritter to a new audience."

Karl Ritter – His Life and ‘Zeitfilms’ under National Socialism

Ours was and is the first ever published in any language on controversial German film director, Karl Ritter.

 In the Fall of 2017, International Historic Films of Chicagol, Illinois, by arrangement with German Films Dot Net, will be publishing a special educational institution edition of our 2nd edition KARL RITTER book. The differences in this special edition are that it will have a full Index for the first time, numerous footnote and small factual changes/improvements added into the body of the book thanks to further research efforts; and that the 20 pages of film posters will be printed in high quality black and white rather than in colour. This will allow a more popular pricing for the book to a wider audience of film students and institutions.

***GERMAN EDITION!***  A German publisher shall be publishing a German language edition of the 2nd edition RITTER book in Winter 2017/2018.   A publishing contract was signed in October 2014. The Ritter book's publication has been necessarily delayed from 2015/16 because of  a backlog of –going projects inclkuding a 100th anniversary of Uƒa film studio ‘coffee table‘ book to be published as a matter of priority.  The German publisher also now wishes to integrate much of the new material found in our The Making of the The Crew of the Dora book in the forthcoming German edition as well; which will draw on both of the English language books' contents. More information will follow, and a link to the Munich publisher will be added when the German edition is available.

Karl Ritter – His Life and ‘Zeitfilms’ under National Socialism

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300 pages: (xxii, 258  pages, plus 20 full colour plates), 6 x 9 inch perfect–bound.

 

German film director Karl Ritter (1888 – 1977) scripted, assisted, produced or directed 97 movies and film projects between 1927 and 1945 but his work is known today only to historians and students of National Socialist film. A pamphlet written in war–time Berlin was the sole biographical sketch on Ritter ever published.

Yet Ritter was the prototype fascist film director who more than any other director in the Third Reich worked tirelessly for the Nazi ideological cause. Ritter first heard Hitler speak in Munich in 1920, knew him personally from 1923, and joined the NSDAP in 1925. His creative skills as a soldier, aviation pioneer, technician, graphic artist and film director came to the fore in 1933 when the Ufa film studio gave him his own production company to make films for the New Germany. His films for Goebbels were called ‘cinematic tanks that belong to the advance guard on the propaganda front’ by Germany’s leading film magazine. In 1950 film historian John Altmann labelled Ritter ‘the most irresponsible and dangerous filmmaker of the Third Reich.‘

His WWI trilogy of Patrioten, Unternehmen Michael and Urlaub auf Ehrenwort made him one of Germany’s leading film directors in the late 1930’s, and his anti-Bolshevik films Hitlerjunge Quex, Über alles in der Welt, Kadetten and GPU prompted the Soviets to demand that Ritter stand trial in 1945 for war crimes. His films are still taboo in Germany and Austria to this day.

Karl Ritter – His Life and ‘Zeitfilms’ under National Socialism provides the first study in English which draws on both German film archives and unpublished sources to present Karl Ritter to a new audience. A chronology of his life and film work from Weimar silent films through to the collapse of the Third Reich offers new insights heretofore unexamined.

Translated here for the first time are a speech on ‘Zeitfilms and Contemporary History’ given by Ritter to a 1936 film institute audience in Hamburg, the 1940 biographical sketch, and relevant entries in his diaries about Ritter by Dr Joseph Goebbels. Rare full colour reproductions of original posters of Ritter’s most famous films are included, as well as B&W illustrations drawn from Third Reich and never–before–seen private Ritter family sources.

ISBN 978-0-9808612-2-8

Published by German Films Dot Net.

 

Here are the private, unpublished diaries of Karl Ritter spanning 1911–1977  in the possession of his family in Argentina, to which William Gillespie gained access in two visits in October 2011 and October 2013; to research the 1st and then 2nd editions of the book:

 

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The 2nd edition (shown under the 1st edition) is 110 pages longer

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The prestigious Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television published a review of the book in July 2013 (Vol.33, issue 2) in which the reviewer, the film historian Prof. Roel vande Winkel, Editor of the Palgrave MacMillan book CINEMA & THE SWASTIKA,  praises the book for its "painstaking research into the life and career of Karl Ritter," states that "Gillespie has written a very interesting book" and that "Gillespie presents future scholars with a compilation of (very) rare documents by/about Ritter......"   

 

The book is available through International Historic Films, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The book will be sold in conjunction with forthcoming DVD releases of some of Karl Ritter’s most famous films: STUKAS;  BESATZUNG DORAÜBER ALLES IN DER WELT; POUR LE MÉRITE, KADETTEN, UNTERNEHMEN MICHAEL, IM KAMPF GEGEN DEN WELTFEIND and VERRÄTER.