Fans’ memories

” To answer your question regarding my grandfather David Oliver’s friendship with Conrad Veidt, they knew each other from the Berlin cinema. My grandfather was the managing director of a film company called Decla and (along with Rudolf Meinert and Erik Pommer) helped produce “The Cabinet of Caligari”. After “Caligari” he went on to found the Universum Film-Amstellung, better known as UFA. All of these activities in the film world of Germany came to an end in march, 1934 when my grandfather’s car was bombed by the Nazis. He and his family fled to Spain where he began producing films with the Ibérica Films company. After Franco’s conquest of Spain, David Oliver accepted an offer from his old friend Sir Alexander Korda to come to England and work at Korda’s Denham Film studios in Buckinghamshire. It would be at Denham that David Oliver,silent film producer would be reunited with the great star of “Caligari”. My father (who was just a young boy of 13 at the time) was given the task of “helping dear old Connie with English grammar and pronunciation”. My father told many stories of their time together on the studio backlot, and of how people were incredibly deferential to Conrad Veidt, a man of immense charisma and dignity.”

–  Mark Oliver

“Since 2010 I have lived with a debilitating impairment which has thus caused me to live day to day with chronic pain. The doctors tried every treatment that they knew of, but nothing seemed to work. That same year my Film History teacher presented the film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” in class. Watching this film and seeing Conrad Veidt act with such precision on screen seemed to spark a sense of worth and gratitude within me. After watching “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” I began looking for more films to see starring Conrad Veidt. Each film was astounding, unique,and versatile in its own certain way, and Conrad Veidt played each role with the same precision which I saw that night watching “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”  Moreover, it seemed whenever I watched any of Conrad’s films my pain lessened, which caused me to feel semi-normal. This may have been a placebo effect but I didn’t care. Conrad Veidt seemed to give me a unspoken purpose in my life, I now had a reason to wake up every morning, and keep pressing forward day after day. I still live with my impairment and chronic pain, but I have learned to accept this part of my life, and with that purpose I continue to press on day to day and thrive.”

-Cristina Tomme

“I retired from my City of Seattle employment in January 2009.  After purchasing a laptop to keep in touch with everyone, I began viewing YouTube videos.  I became interested in movies made in the early 20’s and throughout the 40’s.

There was a movie that caught my attention called: “The Student of Prague”.  This was the first movie that Connie was in and he attracted me to no avail.  So, I started researching the other movies that were posted online; such as: The Man Who Laughed, Under the Red Rob”, Eerie Tales, and several others.

I began ordering movies on Amazon and then I met Monica Ilie-Prica, who I entered into a friendship with and we mostly spoke about Connie.  She had informed me that she had every movie he had made so I purchased several more from her.
I was a bit upset that I could not speak German or French so I was unable to understand some of the other movies I purchased, nevertheless, after viewing them over and over, I began to understand the plots and enjoyed them just as much.
To date, Connie is one of my favorite Silent Screen actors, as well as is performance in “talkies”.  He is an outstanding actor that to date, no one can compare to and I feel he deserves much more credit than he has received, which isn’t much.
Another German Actor, Gustav Frohlich, also caught my eye and I purchases several of his movies, but as I mentioned, there is no one in the movie industry today that compares to Conrad Veidt.
I continue viewing his films each week and never tire of any of them.”
-Susanne (Sue) Bass

“It seems there has been much, and yet, not enough written about the mesmerism of Conrad Veidt. I feel I cannot describe those hypnotic eyes in a way that has not already been expressed, but what I can do is describe their effect on me.
My introduction to Conrad was a common one; that milestone of cinema, The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari. Besides the fact it is a prolific film, it was the mysterious, silent beyond silent Conrad Veidt who locked my mind’s eye with his piercingly emotive set. With it, came a yearning to experience all of this most entrancing person’s list of credits, which, sadly, a great many are lost.
I have never witnessed an actor with more magnetism, power, and innocent compassion, than Conrad. Able to portray a raving lunatic and loneliest of lover, in one fell swoop. His expression is one that is lost amongst the bland attempts at subtly in more modern acting; few appreciating it’s resonating impact. He acts with his entire being: body and soul. He seems to be lost in the role or character, not simply acting, but reacting. He is fire and ice on screen. As stoically rigid and precise as a Gothic temple, or as heartbreakingly crumbling as a forgotten grave. The man had presence, in whatever form it was called to take. When he entered a scene, it was he who was compelling the eye and calling you to feel with him.
The more one delves into Mr. Veidt’s films, the more one delves into the inspiring man behind the tragically heroic, or devious, characters. His intolerance of bigotry and repression, coupled with his determination and drive, in an era of vast change and fear, is nothing short of inspiring. The fearlessness of Conrad was transmitted through the screen. Beyond admiring the man for his film work, you can admire the man himself. Once one truly experiences Conrad, I believe has been made a fan for life.
I was very taken with the performance and actions of this most remarkable individual. In the pantheon of silent, silver ghosts, one haunts me, and the screen, above all; Conrad Veidt.
This brilliant star has not yet faded, as long as those who have been transfixed by it’s radiance can share it’s light within their own world, to inspire many, many more to come.”

-Alex Murd

“Last summer I was looking for a story that would have to do with inner beauty. I had already read Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera and watched movies like Beauty and the Beast and Edward Scissorhands. There was an article something along the lines of “top ten disfigured characters”. While scrolling through a very disturbing picture, at the time, showed up on the screen. I’ll admit it freaked me out and I continued to scroll down, but then I read the synopsis after finding the rest of the list to be exhausted of what I had already watched or read. It turned out to be The Man Who Laughs, and it is by far my favorite love story of all time (and the pic doesn’t freak me out anymore, even though that is probably a detail not really needed to be expressed). 
I looked up the actor, curious as to what he really looked like. With that I admired his humanitarian efforts, his progressive thinking, as well as his exceptional (and not over-the-top) acting. Besides The Man Who Laughs, I’d have to say Passing of the Third Floor Back and Nazi Agent are on my top of the list.”

-Ache Beir


3 thoughts on “Fans’ memories

  1. To Sue Bass. Well, if you wish you could speak German or French, why not learn a language? Start today! Don’t believe people who say older people can’t learn new languages. I did. If you would be too shy to attend a language class, study online or buy a “Teach Yourself …” book or CDs. Learn at your own pace and enjoy!
    As for my story – my mother and I seemed to have little in common and our relationship was poor. One day I mentioned to her that Conrad Veidt is my favorite actor. Hers too, it turned out! We became friends through watching his films and talking about the qualities that made him interesting and great. Best wishes to all of you. Karen

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