Karl Ritter Biography

Karl Ritter




Karl Ritter was born on November 7, 1888 in Wurzburg, Germany. The son of an opera singer and music professor, Ritter embarked on a military career before studying architecture in Munich.  Turning to the graphic arts and painting, he became involved in the film industry through his employment as a public relations agent for Sudfilm in 1926, editing a book of Walt Disney cartoons.  He subsequently worked as a production manager and screenwriter, also directing a short film for comedian Karl Valentin in 1932.

Owing to his early membership in the Nazi party, Ritter’s film career progressed quickly following his signing a contract with Ufa in 1933.  His first film  as a producer was “Hitlerjunge Quex” (Hitler Youth Quex, 1933), one of the first films of the era to openly glorify the Nazi party.

Ritter was appointed to Ufa board of directors and went on to make “Weiberregement” in 1936, “Capriccio” in 1938, “Patrioten, 1937 and “Stukas” in 1940/41, the story of a young bomber pilot whose depression and apathy was cured by Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung.”  He also did a number of blatant anti French, Russian and British propaganda films. He was taken prisoner by the Soviets but escaped and in 1949 he emigrated to Argentina where Winifred Wagner, Richard Wagner's English daughter-in-law, helped him establish a film production company.  He made the film “El Paraiso” there in 1951.

He returned to West Germany in 1953 where he directed a couple of films, including “Ball der Nationen” with Zsz Zsa Gabor but his films were not well received by the public.  He left Germany to retire in Argentina where he died on April 7, 1977 in Buenos Aires. More information about Ritter and his films can be found at: http://www.germanfilms.net/karl-ritter/