chapter
50 Pages

K

Oskar Kalbus’s significance in the history of German documentary filmmaking is not really visible in films. In fact, he directed only two-Henny Porten – Leben und Laufbahn einer Filmku¨nstlerin (1928) and Rund um die Liebe (1929), both of which he compiled-and served as an executive producer on several feature films in the 1950s. The Henny Porten compilation was early proof of his interest in the history of film, which led him later on to write a two-volume history of the German film VomWerden deutscher Filmkunst (1935). In the 1920s Kalbus, as of 1920 a consultant for

the Ufa-Kulturabteilung, was working behind the scenes, promulgating in numerous lectures and publications a documentary style in films that were to tackle ‘‘modern scientific problems rather than presenting them in an old-fashioned neutrally stale manner, as was hitherto the custom.’’ The feature-length ‘‘Kulturfilme’’ Wege zu Kraft und Scho¨nheit (1925, Wilhelm Prager) and Wunder der Scho¨pfung (1925, Hanns Walter Kornblum) have always been cited by film historians as examples for the implementation of Kalbus’s concept. His ultimate goal was the popularization of science through film.