Detlef Sierck

Detlef Sierck

Additional Names: Hans Detlef Sierck (Geburtsname); Douglas Sirk (Weiterer Name)
Darsteller, Regie, Drehbuch, Musik, Produzent
*26.04.1897 Hamburg; †14.01.1987 Lugano, Schweiz

Biography

Douglas Sirk
(Hans Detlef Sierck)

The son of a teacher, Hans Detlef Sierck was born in Hamburg on April 26th, 1897. After completing his military service in the navy, he started studying in 1917, first in Jena and then in Munich, Freiburg and Hamburg. Beginning his studies in law, he later changed to philosophy, becoming eventually a newspaper editor at the Neuen Hamburger Zeitung. Between 1920/21 he was an assistant dramaturgist at the Deutschen Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, while his debut as director was in 1923. Sierck is director and head of productions at theaters in both Chemnitz and Bremen until 1938 as well as theater manager at the Altes Theater in Leipzig between 1929 and 1935. Having trouble with the Nazis, he cancels his contract, moving to Berlin, where he continues to direct. From 1934, he shoots short films for the Ufa Studios.

While his first full-length feature is the comedy "April, April!" (1935), his first big success is "Schlußakkord" (1936) with Lil Dagover and Willy Birgel. With the melodramas "Zu neuen Ufern" and "La Habanera" in 1937, Sierck makes Zarah Leander into a star. After a trip to rome at the end of 1937, Sierck doesn't return to Germany and works on various film projects in Switzerland and the Netherlands. Receiving a contract from Warner Bros. in 1939, he goes to the USA.

The émigré and producer Seymour Nebenzahl engages Sierck, who now calls himself Douglas Sirk, as director for the film "The Hangman" in 1942. "Hitler’s Madman", a film dealing with the Heydrich assassination and subsequent destruction of the town of Lidice is brought out by MGM in 1943. Sirk also shoots some independent B-movie productions. After 1950 he directs for Universal Pictures several comedies, "Americana" and adventure films as well as the melodrama "Magnificent Obsession" in 1953.

From 1955 onwards, Sirk directs a series of brilliant melodramas primarily with Rock Hudson in the main role: "All That Heaven Allows", "Written on the Wind" (1955/56), "Interlude" (1956), "The Tarnished Angels" (1956/57), "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" (1957/58) and "Imitation of Life" (1958).

Moving to Lugano-Tessin in 1959, Sirk stage directs in Munich and Hamburg off and on from 1963 to 1969. As assistant professor at the University for Television and Film in Munich between 1974 and 1978, he is in charge of taking care of three short films. Involved among others is Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who considers Sirk’s work to be exemplary.

Douglas Sirk died in Lugano on the 15th of January, 1987.

Filmography

2005 Filmlegenden. Deutsch
Participation
 
1994/1995 A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
Participation
 
1980 Douglas Sirk : Über Stars
Participation
 
1978/1979 Bourbon Street Blues
Director, Screenplay
 
1977 Sylvesternacht
Creative supervisor, Screenplay
 
1975 Sprich zu mir wie der Regen
Creative supervisor
 
1959 Imitation of Life
Director
 
1958 A Time to Love and a Time to Die
Director
 
1957/1958 Das gab's nur einmal
Participation
 
1957 The Tarnished Angels
Director
 
1957 Interlude
Director
 
1956/1957 Battle Hymn
Director
 
1956 Written on the Wind
Director
 
1955/1956 Never Say Goodbye
Director
 
1955/1956 There's Always Tomorrow
Director
 
1955 All That Heaven Allows
Cast
 
1954/1955 Captain Lightfoot
Director
 
1954 Sign of the Pagan
Director
 
1954 Magnificent Obsession
Director
 
1953/1954 Taza, Son of Cochise
Director
 
1953 All I Desire
Director
 
1953 Take Me to Town
Director
 
1952/1953 Meet Me at the Fair
Director
 
1952 Has Anybody Seen My Gal
Director
 
1952 No Room for the Groom
Director
 
1951 Week-End with Father
Director
 
1951 The Lady Pays Off
Director
 
1951 Thunder on the Hill
Director
 
1951 The First Legion
Director, Producer
 
1950 Mystery Submarine
Director
 
1948/1949 Slightly French
Director
 
1948/1949 Shockproof
Director
 
1948 Sleep, My Love
Director
 
1947 Lured
Director
 
1946 The Strange Woman
Director
 
1946 A Scandal in Paris
Director
 
1944 Summer Storm
Director, Adaptation
 
1943 Hitler's Madman
Director
 
1939 Boefje
Director
 
1938 Accord final
Director
 
1938 Dreiklang
Screenplay
 
1937 La Habanera
Director, Lyrics
 
1937 Zu neuen Ufern
Director, Screenplay
 
1937 Liebling der Matrosen
Screenplay
 
1936 Das Hofkonzert
Director, Screenplay
 
1936 Schlußakkord
Director, Screenplay
 
1936 La chanson du souvenir. Concert à la cour
Director, Screenplay
 
1935/1936 't was een april
Director
 
1935 Stützen der Gesellschaft
Director
 
1935 Das Mädchen vom Moorhof
Director
 
1935 April, April!
Director
 
1935 3 x Ehe
Director
 
1934/1935 Der eingebildete Kranke
Director
 
1934 Zwei Windhunde
Director