Franz Josef Antel was born on June 28, 1913 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Antel worked mainly as a film producer in the interwar years. After World War II, he began writing and directing films on a large scale. In the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s these were mainly comedies for Austrian and German audiences. In between there is quite a sober film about the Oberst (Colonel) Redl affair that shook the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy on the eve of World War I.
From the late 1960s, encouraged by the new opportunities in the film industry brought about by the sexual revolution, Antel gradually switched his main interest to soft porn and ribaldry. It was in particular his series of Wirtin ("hostess") films, directed under the pseudonym François Legrand, with which he tried to win international recognition. Titles included “The Sweet Sins of Sexy Susan” (1967), “Sexy Susan Sins Again” (1969), “Wild, Willing & Sexy” (1969) and “Don't Tell Daddy” (aka “Naughty Nymphs” in the U.S.A.) (1972).
Antel directed one Euro-western: “Trinity, the Clown, the Guitar” (1975) [as François Legrand].
1981 was a turning point in Antel's career when he adapted for the big screen a stage play by Ulrich Becher and Peter Preses. Set from the days of the Anschluss of 1938 until after the end of the war, “Der Bockerer” is about a Viennese butcher named Karl Bockerer (Karl Merkatz) whose common sense rather than intellect tells him to oppose the Nazis and who dares to show resistance just because he is never fully aware of the possible fateful consequences of his actions. While Bockerer and his wife survive the war unscathed, their son joins the SA but, after some internal intrigue, is sent to the front and killed. The film was entered into the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.
Antel died in Vienna, Austria on August 11, 2007.
Today we remember Franz Antel on what would have been his 100th birthday