Sunday, February 12, 2017

Born Today February 12: Friedrich de La Motte


German romantic writer Friedrich de La Motte, Baron Fouque' was born on this day in Brandenburg, Prussia--then part of the Holy Roman Empire.  His family was of French Huguenot ancestry, and his grandfather had been a general to Frederick The Great.  Originally intended for university by his military father, he instead quit and joined the army. He was thrice married, with his second wife Caroline Philippine von Briest being a novelist herself.  Though he was an extremely prolific writer, it mostly by one tale that he is exclusively known by today: Undine, which appeared in 1811.  Every film that has been produced using his work is based on this tale.  The very first film made from his work came in 1912 called Neptune's Daughter was made by the famous Essanay Film Manufacturing here in the U.S.  In all, 4 films from this source would be made in the silent era; all of which were made by American production companies, the last of which dates from the year 1918.  It would not be until 1955 that the tale would again be used as source for a film; that was a West German production, and the first in the sound era.  The most recent film of this work used in a film, came in 1992 with a full theatrical release--that was a German production as well.  La Motte died on the 23rd of January in Berlin, just a few weeks shy of his 66th birthday.  He is buried in Berlin at the Alter Garnisonfriedhof.

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