Sunday, August 21, 2011

RIP Werner W. Wallroth

German director Werner W. Wallroth died from a heart attack on August 9, 2011 in Potsdam, Germany. Werner was born on February 28, 1930 in Erfurt, Germany. In 1948 he began his studies at the university but decided to leave school and worked as an assistant at the Cultural Council in Erfurt. There he developed a choir which took part in the World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin in 1951. He then applied for a government grant to study at the German Film Academy in Potsdam-Babelsberg and graduated in 1959. He debuted as a director with "The Raubaukenkabinett". In front of the camera were some of the young actors who would help shape the face of DEFA films in later years, including Ernst-Georg Schwill, Peter Reusse, Günter Junghans and Peter Sindermann. After his movie "Mord in Gateway" (1962), he produced for television "Alaskafüchse" (1964) based on a novel by Wolfgang Schreyer, a political adventure film about reconnaissance flights over Soviet territory in the Arctic Ocean. The plane must make an emergency landing on American soil and their lives are saved by a Soviet submarine. The film is particularly impressive with camera work by Otto Merz, who delivers brilliant flying scenes. In 1975 he directed his only Euro-western "Blood Brothers" with Dean Reed and Gojko Mitic which was one of the most successful East German films of the year. In 1985 he directed the romantic comedy film "Der Doppelgänger". Wallroth was also a songwriter and wrote songs for such singers as Gerry Wolff, Chris Noek, Nina Hagen, Thomas Lück and Holger Biege. Most of his compositions were for his brother singer and composer Wolfgang Roth Wallroth.

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