This week in the War, 25–31 October 1943: Austrian-born actor & director Max Reinhardt dies in New York City

A scene from Max Reinhardt's 1935 movie, A Midsummer Night's Dream [Public domain]

A scene from Max Reinhardt’s 1935 movie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [Public domain]

Austrian-born actor and director Max Reinhardt died this week in the war, on 30 October 1943.

During his early years as a stage director in Austria-Hungary and later in Berlin he was considered one of the most original and innovative figures in European theatre. His plays were sometimes staged in circuses, cathedrals or amphitheatres and made use of contrasting light and shade to bring out an element of fantasy.

Being Jewish, Reinhardt left Germany in 1933, when the Nazis came to power. Eventually, he settled in the United States.

His one Hollywood movie was his 1935 film version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast of stars included James Cagney (in the role of Bottom), Mickey Rooney (as Puck), and Olivia de Havilland (as the beautiful Hermia). She is on the right in the scene above. Four years later, she would star as Melanie in the blockbuster Gone with the Wind.

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