Brigitte Helm

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brigitte Helm (1928)

Brigitte Helm (born March 17, 1908 in Schöneberg, in Berlin since 1920 ; † June 11, 1996 in Ascona ; actually Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm ) was a German film actress . She is best known for her leading role in the German silent film Metropolis from 1927, which was also her film debut.


Her father was the businessman Edwin Alexander Johannes Schittenhelm (1871–1913), her mother was Gretchen Gertrud Martha née Tews (1877–1955).

Brigitte Helm went to school in the Johannaheim, an orphanage for girls donated by the landowner Eduard Arnhold with an attached school at the old Werftpfuhl customs station in Hirschfelde (today Werneuchen - Hirschfelde , Brandenburg ). There she played, among other things. at a private performance of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night 's Dream . At the age of sixteen she wrote to Fritz Lang because, convinced of her talent, she wanted to become a film actress. In Neubabelsberg she played Elisabeth from Maria Stuart for Lang . Impressed i.a. Because of her choice of the role Elisabeth, her “flexible expression” and her ability to improvise, he recommended her to the UFA , through which Helm received an education. After an unsuccessful audition with another director, Lang decided, despite numerous concerns, to cast Brigitte Helm in the double role of Maria / machine man in his film Metropolis .

After completing her apprenticeship, Brigitte Helm signed a ten-year contract with Ufa in 1925 and played almost exclusively leading roles during this time. In order not to be tied to roles as a femme fatale , she sued Ufa, reached a settlement and from then on also played other roles. In 1930 she made her first sound film The Singing City . Since it was customary at the time to produce sound films in different language versions, she was also seen in France and England in the respective versions of her successful German films.

In 1935 she shot An Ideal Husband for Terra Film ; that was her last film. Despite efforts on the part of Ufa, Helm withdrew from the film business because of differences of opinion with the Nazi regime. She married the industrialist Hugo Eduard Kunheim (1902–1986) for the second time and had four children with him. Since her second husband was of Jewish descent, she moved with him to Switzerland. She never returned to the film business.

Brigitte Helm died on June 11, 1996 at the age of 88 in Ascona. Her grave is in the municipal cemetery of Ascona in the canton of Ticino .



Silent films

Sound films


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The female movie star. In: Vossische Zeitung , No. 12 of January 8, 1927, first supplement.
  2. Werner Breunig, Jürgen Wetzel (eds.): Five months in Berlin: Letters from Edgar N. Johnson from 1946 (= series of publications by the Berlin State Archives; 18). De Gruyter, Berlin, ISBN 3-486-73566-7 , p. 117, FN 19.
  3. Died: Brigitte Helm. In: Der Spiegel 25/1996. June 17, 1996, p. 210 , archived from the original on July 7, 2014 ; accessed on June 11, 2021 .
  4. Brigitte Helm: Memorial. In: Find a Grave . August 13, 2000, accessed June 11, 2021 . Klaus Nerger: Brigitte Helm. In: Retrieved February 11, 2020 .