Reinhold Schünzel (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸
On a walk in a park in a European city, a little boy used to stand and watch the Punch and Judy show presented daily for the children. Day after day he returned, absorbing the puppet drama with rapt attention. He dreamed of becoming a great actor. He dreamed little plays as he watched.
This was the impetus that started the career of Reinhold Schünzel, stage star, later film star, and today directing pictures in America after rising to the rank of the outstanding director on the Continent. Schünzel was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, when he met Louis B. Mayer at Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, following his triumphs with “Amphytrion,” “The Girl Irene,” “Her Excellency’s Tobacco Shop,” and other films that made European history.
The director is the son of Herman Schünzel, a merchant, and his wife, Dorothea, a pianist. From his mother he inherits the musical train of thought that has resulted in music figuring prominently in the drama of all his pictures. He was educated in private schools, then attended art school, and during his school days was a noted track athlete, particularly in the 100-meter dash.
Graduating from art school, he tried designing in a textile establishment, then decided he wanted to be a newspaperman, and for some years was with the great Scherl Press, a powerful chain of European papers. But the dream of acting was still in him, so he resigned from the newspaper job, and became general worker in a small theatre. Here he did all sorts of work, began acting in small parts, gradually rose to prominence. Finally, he was starring in Ibsen, Shaw, Shakespeare and Strindberg, together with many modern and some other classical dramas. He has lived in Paris, London, Vienna, Budapest and many other cities.
Enters Film Studio
Meantime, the European picture industry was taking form, and after ten years on the stage he joined a studio. One of his first acting assignments was with Pola Negri in “Passion,” the picture which brought Miss Negri and its director, Ernst Lubitsch, to fame. Lubitsch came to America. Schünzel remained in Europe as a screen star, and in ten years appeared in 120 plays. In 1931, he became a director.
In one of his film plays, some years ago, his director, Wolff, asked him if he’d mind having a leading lady who was beautiful, but had never acted before; a Miss Dietrich. Schünzel agreed. Thus, Marlene Dietrich played her first role in a picture.
With the advent of sound in 1931, Schünzel started directing, having a new idea as to musical form in pictures. His first picture was his own original, “The Low Card,” following which he directed “Ronny,” “The Beautiful Adventure,” “Victor and Victoria,” another of his own originals; “Her Excellency’s Tobacco Shop,” by Bús-Fekete, European playwright now also under contract to M-G-M, “Amphytrion,” “The Girl Irene,” and “Land of Love.”
He is married to Maria Kamradek, noted actress. They have one daughter, Annamarie, now attending the Beverly Hills school.
Tall and athletic, an ardent golfer and a fine boxer, (he formerly headed a boxing society in Europe), Schünzel is crisp and direct in speech, punctiliously polite after the European fashion, an omnivorous reader of all types of literature, and an ardent candid camera enthusiast. Among his friends in Hollywood are Bús-Fekete, Marlene Dietrich, and others in the screen colony’s “foreign set.”