Stemmle, Robert A.


Robert A. Stemmle was born in Madgeburg on June 10, 1903. After working as a schoolteacher, he studied literature and theater in Berlin. He wrote several plays, including Kampf um Kitsch, which was a huge success at the Berliner Volksbühne. Stemmle collaborated with Max Reinhardt and was an assistant to theater director Eric Charell. In the 1930s, he worked for daily papers, radio, and theater, as well as for major German film production companies, including for Ufa starting in 1935. There he participated in several popular film productions of the Nazi era.


Throughout his career, Stemmle worked as both a director and scriptwriter. His debut as a scriptwriter was Der Rebell, which was based on an idea by Luis Trenker, who was also the film’s co-director and played a leading role; the comedy So ein Flegel, with the popular film star Heinz Rühmann, was his directorial debut. Like many of his contemporaries, Stemmle also worked in Hollywood, where Desire (the 1936 remake of his 1933 co-authored comedy, Die schönen Tage in Aranjuez), was produced with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. Much later, he returned to the U.S. to work on the script for the Walt Disney production, Almost Angels.


After the war, Stemmle worked as a theater and film director in all four sectors of occupied Germany, including for the DEFA film studio in the Soviet zone. He wrote scripts for three DEFA productions: Affaire Blum, Die Kuckucks and the comedy, Der Biberpelz. In 1962, Stemmle directed a remake of Affaire Blum for West German television; then, in 1979, he published a novel by the same name.


Stemmle became one of the most successful and prolific West German directors and writers in the late 1940s and 50s. One of his most successful films was Berliner Ballade, a satirical postwar story told from the vantage point of the year 2048. As of the mid-1960s, Stemmle worked mainly in television. His oeuvre includes almost one hundred children’s films (Emil und die Detektive), crime and detective stories (Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war) and Westerns (Old Shatterhand). He collaborated with many internationally known directors, including Wolfgang Staudte (Der letzte Zeuge), Falk Harnack (Jeder stirbt für sich allein), Josef von Báky (Die seltsame Gräfin), Robert Siodmak (Der Schatz der Azteken) and Helmut Käutner (Epilog).


Robert A. Stemmle died on February 24, 1974.



Festivals & Awards:

1974 German Film Award in Gold for Lifetime Achievement
1949 Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival for Berliner Ballade



(D = Director    |    S = Screenplay)
1973-1974 Unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit (Closed Hearing, TV series, D, S)
1969-1970 Recht oder Unrecht (Justice or Injustice, TV series, S)
1966 Die Ersten und die Letzten (The First and the Last, TV, S)
1964 Old Shatterhand (S)
1962 Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone, TV, S)
1962 Almost Angels (S)
1961 Die seltsame Gräfin (The Odd Countess, S)
1960 Der letzte Zeuge (The Last Witness, S)
1954 Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives, D, S)
1952 Toxi (D, S)
1951 Sündige Grenze (Illegal Border, D, S)
1950 Epilog (Epilogue, S)
1949 Der Biberpelz (The Beaver Coat, S)
1948 Berliner Ballade (Berlin Ballad, S)
1948 Die Kuckucks (The Cuckoos, S)
1948 Affaire Blum (The Blum Affair, S)
1941 Quax, der Bruchpilot (Quax, the Crash-Happy Pilot, S)
1939 Mann für Mann (One After the Other, D, S)
1937 Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war (The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes, S)
1934 Charleys Tante (Charley’s Aunt, D, S)
1933 So ein Flegel (Such a Boor, D, S)
1932 Die unsichtbare Front (The Invisible Front, S)
1932 Der Rebell (The Rebel, S)

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