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Company sign of UFA / Advertisement
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Company sign of the Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA).
Advertisement in a magazine, c. 1924.
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Fritz Lang (1890 - 1976)
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888 - 1931)
Ernst Lubitsch (1892 - 1947)
Pola Negri (1897 - 1987)
Henny Porten (1890 - 1960)
Marlene Dietrich (1901 - 1992)
Brigitte Helm (1906 - 1996)
Camilla Horn (1903 - 1996)
Lilian Harvey (1906 - 1968)
'The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari' silent film of 1920
'The Nibelung' silent movie of 1924
'Faust' silent film from 1926
'Metropolis' silent film from 1927
Horst von Harbou Collection
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1917 Ufa - Universe Film AG
World brand of German film
Universum-Film AG (Ufa) was founded as a consolidation of private film companies on 18th December 1917 in Berlin, to serve as a state-controlled film corporation, which was supposed to support German politics with propaganda during World War I. After the war, Ufa started to produce elaborate entertainment films such as Sumurun (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920).
In 1921, Ufa was already producing the lion's share of German feature films, and in that same year it was privatized. Starting in 1922, large ateliers in Neubabelsberg (today's Babelsberg Studio) and on Oberlandstraße in Berlin-Tempelhof were made available for film production. In 1926, the facilities were expanded by means of the construction of the largest studio hall in Europe at the time.
It was during this era, that Ufa experienced a further boom and emerged as a direct competitor to Hollywood with films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922), Die Nibelungen (1924),Variety (1925), Faust (1926) and Metropolis (1927).
During the great depression, Ufa found itself in deep financial trouble. In March 1927, with the company facing bankruptcy, Alfred Hugenberg – Chairman of the German National People's Party and owner of the Scherl-Gruppe, a powerful media corporation – bought the company.
Ufa experienced a new commercial boom during the Nazi era, not least due to the government's protectionist measures, which freed the company from domestic and foreign competition. Goebbels systematically brought Ufa and all other media companies under the control of his Propaganda Ministry and on 18th March 1937, the Hugenberg Company was forced to sell all of its Ufa shares.
After the war, the Soviet military government, keen on a speedy reconstruction of the German film industry under Soviet supervision, incorporated the Babelsberg ateliers into DEFA, subsequently the GDR's state film studio.
In 1964, Bertelsmann acquired Universum-Film AG and all other divisions of Ufa-Theater AG. In order to prevent the sale of film rights belonging to the old Ufa, the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation was set up in Wiesbaden on the initiative of the German Federal Government and representatives of the film industry. In 1966, the foundation acquired the rights to Ufa and Bavaria Film – and they have been administering, storing and restoring ever since.
Some of the most famous films by UFA GmbH are:
1919'Madame Dubarry' by Ernst Lubitsch.
1920 'Anna Boleyn' by Ernst Lubitsch.
1922 'The wife of Pharaoh' by Ernst Lubitsch.
1922 'Nosferatu - A symphony of horror' by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau.
1924'The Last Man' by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau.
1924 'The Nibelungen' from Fritz Lang.
1926 'Faust - a German Folk Tale' by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau.
1927 'Metropolis' by Fritz Lang.
1927 'Sunrise - Song of two people' by Wilhelm Murnau.
1931 'M - A city is looking for a murderer' by Fritz Lang.
1933 'The Testament of Dr. Mabuse' by Fritz Lang.