Emil Jannings

Emil Jannings

[jan-ingz; Ger. yahn-ings]

Emil Jannings (July 23, 1884January 3, 1950) was a German actor and the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Early life

He was christened Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz in Rorschach, Switzerland, the son of a German mother and an American father.


Jannings was a theater actor who eventually started a career in Hollywood. He won the 1928 Oscar for two films, The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. He also starred in F. W. Murnau's The Last Laugh, a film notable in silent cinema for its lack of title cards, and in the 1922 film version of Shakespeare's Othello.

His Hollywood career came to an end when talkies made his thick German accent difficult to understand. He returned to Europe, where he starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 film The Blue Angel, filmed in English simultaneously with its German version Der blaue Engel. He soon spotted that the unknown Dietrich was a star in the making, while his own career was past its peak, and so he was especially spiteful to her throughout the filming, according to her.

Besides The Last Laugh, Jannings worked with Murnau on two other films, playing the title character in Herr Tartüff and Mephistopheles in Faust.

Later life

During the Third Reich, he starred in several films which were intended to promote Nazism, particularly the Führerprinzip: Der Herrscher ("The Ruler" 1937), The Youth of Frederick the Great (1935), and The Dismissal of Bismarck (1942). Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels named him "Artist of the State" in 1941. His involvement with the Nazis ended any chance he may have had for a comeback in the United States.

When troops of the Allied Powers entered Germany in 1945, Jannings reportedly carried his 1928 Best Actor Oscar with him as proof of his former association with Hollywood. However, Jannings' active role in Nazi propaganda meant he was subject to denazification, and any comeback attempt was doomed. He then retired to his farm in Austria. Very proficient in money matters, Jannings was one of the highest paid actors of his time.

Jannings died in 1950 in Strobl, Austria, of cancer. His Best Actor Oscar is now on display at the Filmmuseum in Berlin, Germany.


Year Film Role Other notes
1914 Arme Eva
Im Schützengraben
Passionels Tagebuch
1916 Aus Mangel an Beweisen Dr. Langer
Die Bettlerin von St. Marien Baron Gelsburg
Frau Eva
Im Angesicht des Toten'’ Paul Werner
Das Leben ein Traum
Nächte des Grauens
Stein unter Steinen
1917 Das Fidele Gefängnis Quabbe, the jailer The Merry Jail (Europe: English title)
Wenn vier dasselbe tun Segetoff
Hoheit Radieschen
Die Ehe der Luise Rohrbach Wilhelm Rohrbach
Der Zehnte Pavillon der Zitadelle
Das Geschäft S. H. Haßler
Der Ring der Giuditta Foscari
Die Seeschlacht
1918 Teil Keimendes Leben 1 James Fraenkel, Börsenmarktler
John Smith, amerikanischer Ingenieur
Die Augen der Mumie Ma Radu, an Arab aka The Eyes of the Mummy
Fuhrmann Henschel
Nach zwanzig Jahren Horst Lundin 'Korn'
1919 Rose Bernd Arthur Streckmann
Madame DuBarry Louis XV aka Passion
Vendetta Tomasso
Die Tochter des Mehemed Vaco Juan Riberda, Fabrikbesitzer
Teil Keimendes Leben 2
Der Mann der Tat Jan Miller
1920 Colombine
Anna Boleyn Henry VIII aka Deception
Der Schädel der Pharaonentochter Osorcon, Pharao of Egypt
Algol - Tragödie der Macht Robert Herne
Das Große Licht Lorenz Ferleitner
Kohlhiesels Töchter Peter Xaver aka Kohlhiesel's Daughters
1921 Die Ratten Bruno
Der Schwur des Peter Hergatz
Danton Danton aka All for a Woman
Der Stier von Olivera General François Guillaume
Die Brüder Karamasoff Dimitri Karamasoff aka The Brothers Karamazov
1922 Peter der Große Peter der Große aka Peter the Great (USA)
Othello Othello
Das Weib des Pharao Pharao Amenes aka Loves of the Pharoah
Die Gräfin von Paris aka The Countess of Paris (USA}
1923 Alles für Geld S. I. Rupp All for Money (USA)>
Tragödie der Liebe Ombrade aka The Tragedy of Love (USA)
1924 The Last Laugh Hotelportier (hotel porter) The Last Laugh (USA)
Nju - Eine unverstandene Frau Ehemann aka Husbands or Lovers (USA)
Das Wachsfigurenkabinett Harun al Raschid aka Waxworks
1925 Varieté Boss Huller aka Jealousy (USA)
Quo Vadis? Nerone
Liebe macht blind Emil Jannings aka Love Makes Us Blind
1926 Herr Tartüff Tartüff
Faust - Eine deutsche Volkssage Mephisto
1927 The Way of All Flesh August Schilling Academy Award for Best Actor
1928 Sins of the Fathers Wilhelm Spengler
The Patriot Czar Paul I
Street of Sin Basher Bill
The Last Command Gen. Dolgorucki / Grand Duke Sergius Alexander Academy Award for Best Actor
1929 Betrayal Poldi Moser
Fighting the White Slave Traffic
1930 Liebling der Götter Albert Winkelmann aka Darling of the Gods
Der Blaue Engel Prof. Immanuel Rath aka The Blue Angel (USA)
1932 Stürme der Leidenschaft Gustav Bumke aka Storms of Passion aka Tempest
1933 Die Abenteuer des Königs Pausole King Pausole aka The Adventures of King Pausole
The Merry Monarch King Pausole
1934 Der Schwarze Walfisch Peter Petersen aka The Black Whale (International: English title)
1935 Der Alte und der junge König - Friedrichs des Grossen Jugend Friedrich Wilhelm I. König von Preussen aka The Making of a King (USA)
1936 Traumulus Direktor Prof. Niemeyer aka The Dreamer
1937 Der Zerbrochene Krug Adam, Dorfrichter aka The Broken Jug
Der Herrscher Matthias Clausen aka The Ruler
1939 Robert Koch, der Bekämpfer des Todes Dr. Robert Koch
Der Trichter. (Nr. III) scenes deleted
Ohm Krüger Ohm Krüger aka Uncle Kruger (International: English title)
1942 Die Entlassung Bismarck aka Bismarck's Dismissal (UK)
1943 Altes Herz wird wieder jung Fabrikdirektor Hoffmann
1945 Wo ist Herr Belling? Firmenchef Eberhard Belling aka Where Is Mr. Belling?


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