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 began acting at an early age under the stage name Max Reinhardt and spent most of his teenage and early 20s in various theatre productions. However, beginning in 1900 it was his talent as a director that defined 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 is remembered for the unique combination of visual and sound elements he employed. Additionally, he introduced used staging, set design, choreography, and music in ways that they had never before been combined.
Reinhardt was forced to flee Germany when Hitler took power. Settling in the United States, he not only continued his career in theater, but also underwent a rebirth in Hollywood as a film director. Unlike many of his theater colleagues, Reinhardt had been actively involved in films from their earliest days. Having directed and produced a number of films in Germany, he made a fairly quick transition into American filmmaking. 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.