Max Reinhardt was among the greatest theater and cinematic directors of the late 19th and early twentieth century. Born Maximilian Goldman to Jewish-Austrian parents in 1873, he spent his childhood and early 20s acting in several theater productions under the stage name 'Max Reinhardt'. But it was his talent as a director that would define his career.
From 1900 to 1930, Reinhardt managed the German Theater in Berlin. He is said to have produced over 450 plays during these years, including a whopping 48 productions between 1916-1917.
He is not only remembered for the volume of his output, but also for the artistic choices he made. Reinhardt's usage of visual and sound elements, staging and set design, choreography, and music set a new standard in theater.
He was forced to flee Germany when Hitler took power. And settling in the United States, he not only continued his career in theater, but was also reborn in Hollywood as a film director. Unlike many of his theater colleagues, Reinhardt had been actively involved in films from their earliest days. And having directed and produced a number of films in Germany, he made a fairly quick transition into American film-making. His best-known Hollywood production is 1935’s A Midsummer Night's Dream which starred James Cagney and Mickey Rooney. The film also included the music of Felix Mendelssohn and fellow émigré Erich Korngold, who you can hear about in prompt 134.
Max Reinhard remained in the United States until his death in 1943.