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April 3rd, 2009 · No Comments · Biography, It's just a Book, Movies

Alexander Granach “Da geht ein Mensch”

Alexander Granach “There goes an Actor”

Internationally speaking, his most famous role was that of one of Ninotchka’s comrade’s in Ernst Lubitsch’s film of the same name. As one of Greta Garbo’s Russian sidekicks, he played alongside some of the great Hollywood stars of the 1930s.

But Alexander Granach was a success in his own right long before that. In 1920s Berlin when Max Reinhardt was probably the most famous theatre director in Europe, Granach was one of its stars. Arrived from obscurity in Galicia, Granach was a raw talent who got a lucky well-deserved break. His interpretation of Shylock was legendary at a time when Berlin welcomed artistic geniuses with regularity.

His autobiography, which was published in 1945 in German by a Swedish publisher in exile, recounts his childhood and youth in Austrian Galicia, his acting success in Berlin and his time fighting for the Austrian army in the First World War.

Granach’s style is lyrical, direct and outrageous – his stories not so much autobiographical as wild accounts in the tradition of great Jewish storytellers, embellished here and there. Alexander Granach highlights common truths in his very personal experiences, relating the great human themes of love, hate, war, peace, family and life. Don’t expect this to be an account of “luvvieness” – the most moving stories date back from the times when the teenage Granach was training to be a baker. 

An English translation “There goes an Actor” is also available.

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