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Author Topic: Herbert Fux remembered  (Read 6257 times)

KommissarX

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Herbert Fux remembered
« on: 13 Mar 2010 - 17:05 »



With his rugged face predestined to play screen villains and memorable supporting roles, Herbert Fux was a fixture in European cinema, especially in the 1960s and 70s. I guess most of us will forever remember Fux for his scene-stealing appearances in numerous horror, comedy and erotic b-movies of that era. But his resume also includes a fair share of more reputable and high profile films, among them collaborations with Bergman, Schlöndorff, Verneuil, plus a tremendous amount of TV work throughout the 80s and 90s. He himself considered his rare leading part in Wilder Reiter GmbH (1967) his favourite role, a critically acclaimed satire that put him on the map internationally.



Fux led a very interesting life that would make for a juicy film biography: Apart from his prolific career in the movies he also was a politically committed man. He was a founding member of the Austrian Green Party - at one point even becoming a member of parliament - and a fierce advocate of the preservation of historic townscapes and urban heritage. In the 1970 Fux (and some other guys) revealed the Nazi past of a popular German TV host, sending that fucker into oblivion, and in the early 1980s he was in the centre of a minor media scandal when during his election campaign a fake magazine interview was used against him in an attempt of character assassination. Fux was an adept mountaineer with the odd near death experience, a free thinker and free lover, and first and foremost a funny, likeable and down-to-earth guy. Today it's been exactly 3 years since he committed suicide. I miss him.


Herbert Fux (1927-2007)

What are some of your favourite Fux moments in Eurocult films?
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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #1 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 17:16 »

I didn't know his name but do recognise him from some films.
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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #2 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 17:39 »

Yeah, his face is easily recognisable. I loosely remember an interview where Fux jokingly said something along these lines: "With a face like this I could only ever have become a bogeyman or an actor. I chose the latter."  :-\
If you look at his filmography he was really churning out film after film during the 1970s. Chances are pretty slim for any visitor of this board of not having seen him somewhere before.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #3 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 20:11 »

I'm trying to find an Erwin C. Dietrich production from 1969 he starred in alongside Tamara Baroni titled SCWARZER NERZ AUF ZARTER HAUT (Italian title:Visone nero su pelle morbida).I have a copy of the Bigfilm photonovel but would love to get a dvdr of the actual film,any of our German members know anything about this title?

Btw.his most memorable performance for me has got to be MARK OF THE DEVIL.
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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #4 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 20:13 »


Btw.his most memorable performance for me has got to be MARK OF THE DEVIL.

Snap.
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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #5 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 20:17 »

Btw.his most memorable performance for me has got to be MARK OF THE DEVIL.
Definately
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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #6 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 20:53 »

I wish I could help you out, Stephen, but I haven't seen this one, either. Ofdb says there were 4 releases, so let's keep our fingers crossed that it's not too rare after all:
http://www.ofdb.de/film/45729,Schwarzer-Nerz-auf-zarter-Haut
Have you seen CHAMPAGNER FÜR ZIMMER 17 (same year, directed by Dietrich again) which also features Fux and Baroni? This video sleeve makes it look almost like a porno:
http://www.ofdb.de/view.php?page=fassung&fid=29560&vid=122886

I also enjoyed Fux in ORE DI TERRORE where he plays kind of a David Hess role pre-LHOTL, a bigger part than usual. His unfortunate fisherman in Franco's JACK THE RIPPER is also one of his most memorable bit parts as is his graverobber in LADY FRANKENSTEIN.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #7 on: 13 Mar 2010 - 21:05 »

I wish I could help you out, Stephen, but I haven't seen this one, either. Ofdb says there were 4 releases, so let's keep our fingers crossed that it's not too rare after all:
http://www.ofdb.de/film/45729,Schwarzer-Nerz-auf-zarter-Haut
Wow,many thanks for the info.I didn't realise this had so many video releases,hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to find a copy.

I also enjoyed Fux in ORE DI TERRORE where he plays kind of a David Hess role pre-LHOTL, a bigger part than usual.
I totally forgot he was in this,good choice.
(there's a thread here about the film for anyone interested).
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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #8 on: 28 May 2010 - 20:04 »

I've translated a lengthy interview which the fine folks at http://www.terrorverlag.de conducted with Herbert Fux some 10 years ago. They are the authors of the book on Italian crime movies that was discussed in this thread: http://www.lovelockandload.net/forum/index.php?topic=2510.0

Mr. Thurau kindly allowed me to post the translation. The interview is all over the place with lots of funny anecdotes and stories (Kinski, Herzog, Corbucci, Kier...). There is quite a bit of name-dropping going on so I added a few annotations. I hope some of you will find it an interesting read.
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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #9 on: 28 May 2010 - 20:16 »

THE SALZBURG CONNECTION
An interview with Herbert Fux


Let’s start with your biography.

I was born in 1927 in Hallein, about 10km outside of Salzburg. I went to primary school in Salzburg, moved on to secondary school and eventually attended drama school.

What motivated you to become an actor?

At that time my mother and my father weren’t married anymore, my father had died in 1933. My - let’s call him stepfather was the impresario in Salzburg [Franz Wettig of the Salzburg State Theatre]. That’s why I was running about in the theatre at the age of six. As long as I can remember I’ve always been in contact with the theatre. And then there was another thing to consider: My uncle was a lawyer and he was often involved with jury trials. He would sometimes sneak me into the courtroom, which also impressed me a lot. So I was undecided about what to do. At first I took a look at law studies, but I felt it was too dry - the legal issues and all that, it didn’t turn out to be the right thing.

You broke into film rather late.

I attended acting classes at the Mozarteum until 1951 and went on to play theatre, a few plays in Salzburg. The only permanent engagement in my whole life happened to be in Vorarlberg - a typical rookie theatre where you would always get the big parts. The reason why I accepted their engagement only once was because of the impresario, who tried to show off his power. He said: “You are a young fellow, now you should learn to obey authority or nothing will become of you. You are unruly.” He simply didn’t give me any parts anymore. So I went to him and asked him what the matter was. He responded: “Everything is fine. I just want to show you that I am the boss.” That’s when I decided only to do plays and not commit to another permanent engagement. The following 10 years I played at different stages: Schillertheater, Volkstheater, etc. Arthur Maria Rabenalt was preparing a film in Vienna at that time and he saw a performance of Tankred Dorst’s “Die Kurve”, where I was playing the lead. He hired me for MANN IM SCHATTEN, the first film where [Helmut] Qualtinger played the inspector. I played a murder suspect. Then I scored a few roles with [Karl] Spiehs and the Wiener Stadthalle Film before I moved to Munich and did a lot of work for Constantin Film.

GESTÄNDNIS EINER 16-JÄHRIGEN, was that your first film?

I don’t think so. I had done a film with Franz Antel in Salzkammergut before. That was back in the 50s.

There are some movies where you are listed in the credits but apparently do not appear in.

I know that my part in LA BANDA J.S.: CRONACA CRIMINALE DEL FAR WEST was cut. That was a mafia production if you care to know. That was incredible! I had 25 shooting days with Corbucci plus 20 additional days. The first three months had already passed when I asked who would bear the financial consequences. And they told me: “You’ve got to take care of that yourself. Our involvement with this film ends now. You need to make arrangements with the Italians.” I had to stay down there while everyone else was driving home for Christmas. At that time I already had 20 extra days and I told the producer, so he would know about the costs. Something like 50 or 60,000 DM - today, it would be double that figure. He said “Ah, interesting…” and crossed out the zero right before my eyes, so there were only 2 shooting days to pay for. Which resulted in a violent argument, I actually went for his throat. I told him: “I’ll get that money!” And he: “Write me a postcard.” With the money outstanding, I still had to do a few scenes. Then one day I see bullet holes in my uniform and I am told: “Today is your death scene.” I said: “But there are still a few scenes missing.” - “Yes, Corbucci has deleted them.” The very last day of shooting everyone was in a terrible rush with me. Suddenly I saw the treasurer 50 metres away from me. And just when Corbucci yelled “Motore!” I turned my horse around and left the scene. 200 horses, all moving, and I went off in the other direction. Of course the result was total turmoil. I demanded: “I want my money!” And they finally gave it to me in cash. That was obviously my last shooting day. In Munich I showed a lawyer my contract with the zero crossed out. We then went to the lawyer in charge of the film industry in Italy. We won the lawsuit because the struck out digit had not been notarised. But I didn’t get any money. I told my lawyer: “We’ve won the lawsuit, now we should sue for money.” But he only said: “That’s not gonna help much. Your contract is not there anymore. The secretary in Italy informed me after we’d won that somebody had called her, telling her: ‘We don’t like it that you are representing Fux.’” And that was that. They knew immediately what to do. I had not been aware that the Italian mafia had a finger in the pie…

LA BANDA J.S.: CRONACA CRIMINALE DEL FAR WEST also featured Dan van Husen.

Yes, I got him the part. He was in Italy at the time, and I told Corbucci he should hire him. Up until that confrontation I was on good terms with Corbucci.

What kind of director was Corbucci?

Corbucci was at that time, alongside Sergio Leone, the great western director. There only were those two. He made a lot of westerns. They were making them by the hundreds in Italy. I only played in one other western, together with Kinski. We had a dispute in that one. We were standing there and I asked him: “What’s the matter with you today?” And he said: “I won’t shoot today. The money is not here.” Kinski got 40,000 DM a day at that time.

How could he spend so much money?

You know, it’s not so hard. There was an arrangement that the money had to be there at midday because he didn’t trust the Italians - and righteously so. With Italian movies it always was the same: midday, one o’clock [simulates a ringing bell with his hand], “Soldi!” This time, however, the money still wasn’t there at half past one, and Kinski said: “Nope, we are not shooting today.” You have to keep in mind that this was a big production. I think it was AL DI LÀ DELLA LEGGE.

It is possible that Kinski was cut from that picture.

That’s entirely possible. We were some 100km outside of Rome. Lionel Stander always overslept one hour. He had his rooftop apartment and in every room there was a bed with a girl in it. We always had to wait because that guy wouldn’t get up. He was having these bedtime escapades, arriving late at the set. There were rows and ructions every day, but in the afternoon everything went incredibly smoothly. In the morning one always had the impression they were going to kill each other - blood and thunder - the whole film is dead. And suddenly at twelve o’clock, four hours had passed, everyone was friendly. Everything went fine and we made up for the lost time. The Germans couldn’t believe it.

You made some more films with Kinski.

I remember DIE SCHWARZE KOBRA. That one was made by Zehetgruber for Stadthalle Film. As far as Kinski is concerned I remember that Roman Schliesser [the Austrian society reporter of the time] was supposed to pick him up at the airport. Kinski had just done the Villon tour where he had thrown a candlestick into the audience - a lit candlestick! Because the audience had interrupted him! All these excesses made it to the German press at that time. “Kinski menaces the audience.” The producer naturally was afraid that Kinski would repeat these excesses. So he sent Schliesser, a good friend of Kinski’s, to collect him and tell him in private: “The producer is odd. He keeps another actor as an understudy.” Just in case Kinski would flip or something. Roman Schliesser told him in the taxi: “That’s one odd producer. He handles things like they do it at the opera when they are not sure about certain singers.” Kinski heard all that and he turned out to be the nicest guy on the set. No quarrelling, no hassle, nothing. I met him several times - whenever he realised it was about the money he acted totally normal.

How about Rudolf Zehetgruber? He usually also took on parts in his movies.

Zehetgruber was a pragmatist. He did a lot at that time. [Ernst] Hofbauer and Zehetgruber both had a contract with Constantin Film. They made a film at that time for about 1 or 2 million DM. They shot in Yugoslavia, Romania, in the Eastern bloc. Because it was cheap there.

You worked with Kinski on two more occasions.

Yes, JACK THE RIPPER. I played a trick on him in that one. One evening the scene where he kills me was about to be shot. The afternoon before - I just happened to be around - he completely out of the blue jumped at me and started choking me. I am thinking to myself, he has gone completely insane. He just said: “Excuse me, I wanted to rehearse the scene where I am supposed to kill you. I just got the idea of how to do it.” I actually had strangulation marks. For real: All of a sudden he jumps at me! Those were his sadistic traits. I then went to Dietrich, the producer: “You know what, get a puppet. The scene is going to be shot in the attic at night anyway. I am telling you, I’ll leave. I’ve had my Adam’s apple way down in my windpipe. I know Kinski. In Rome people lost tufts of hair just because he is an actor.” Dietrich asked me: “What should we do?” And I said: “I don’t know. Get a puppet. You can shoot it in the dark.” Dietrich was afraid that Kinski would find out. I knew Kinski was fired up for this death scene - the killings were always what interested him the most. We were shooting in that mansion near Geneva. I knew Kinski would throw a mad tantrum if something went wrong. So I stole away very slowly on that gravel walk from the mansion to my taxi, very quietly - I was actually annoyed that the gravel made so much noise. All of a sudden I see Kinski stretching his head out of the skylight and I hear that shrill shout: “Du feige Sau! [You cowardly pig!]” I ran for the taxi and told the driver to get going quickly because I thought Kinski would rush after me and drag me out of that car. He was capable of anything. Especially, when he was in a production where he could do whatever he wanted. Dietrich was no match for him.

WOYZECK was another film with Kinski.

WOYZECK was a calm shoot… I need to tell you that Herzog story. I had been in Rome for 2 or 3 years because we were shooting there a lot. One day Herzog came downstairs - he stayed at the same hotel - and told me: “Can you do me a favour? Kinski is my dream come true.” Herzog had made himself a name in Germany with a few smaller films that were made in the context of the German student movement. But Kinski, a star with such a salary, was out of reach. “Yeah, Kinski. how are you going to pay him? If you can’t offer him a few thousand DM he won’t do a picture for you.” And Herzog replied: “Yes, but getting to know him, just talking to him for five minutes…” I’ve never seen so much adoration for someone in any person. He went on and on about Kinski. So I met Kinski. “There is this young film director from Germany…” - “Man, don’t bother me with those arseholes.” - “Alright, forget it.” He was flying high, the Italians were so eager to hire him. You must keep in mind that in a way Rome was Little Hollywood at that time. And then there you had that one German filmmaker…

So Herzog tried to make contact with Kinski with your help?

Yes, but nothing came of it. Then there was that incident where Kinski slapped a policeman in the face. He was forced to leave Italy within 48 hours. Kinski only drove Rolls Royce, you know. Initially he had a driving license but then they took it away from him. That’s why he hired a chauffeur. Just because of that Rolls Royce. Kinski always pushed him to go faster: “Such an arsehole. Go faster, faster. I don’t have any time!” He rushed him so hard, they were going 120 km/h in the city. As a result they damaged a few cars. Kinski really put him under pressure. “Arse, I’ll kill you, go faster!” And the chauffeur thought: “Before Kinski kills me, I’ll rather crash the Rolls Royce.” Kinski then simply went to a restaurant, called the dealer and said: “Money is not an issue. I’ll wait till a new Rolls Royce arrives. Charge as much as you want.” The price was tripled and within 2 hours a new Rolls Royce was delivered. That’s when I knew how all the money was used up. Anyway, then there was that incident: A policeman stopped him for speeding. Kinski got out of the car and slapped him in the face. “What do you want, pig? I drive as fast as I like.” That’s when he was forced to leave Italy within 48 hours. He would have been jailed if he hadn’t left. He had assaulted a police officer after all. He went to Berlin where he did “Jesus Christus Erlöser” [a stage recitation]. In Italy he had already lost a lot of money. All these affairs and his money wasting habits. And then Herzog called me again, I also was in Berlin at that time: “Herr Kinski is back in Berlin, can you…?” - “He is broke and he can’t go back to Italy.” - “What? Now, that’s an occasion!” [Everybody laughs] “Do you think he will do it?” - “He is broke. He will even do it for 100,000 DM.” And eventually he got Kinski to do AGUIRRE for only 80,000 DM.

1964 you did DAS MÄDCHEN MIT DEM SEXTEN SINN with Hubert Frank.

Yes, Hubert Frank. DAS MÄDCHEN MIT DEM SEXTEN SINN. That was a funny film, set on a nude island in the Adriatic Sea. These were completely harmless little films. But it was fun.

What was working with Hubert Frank like? How would you characterise him?

Hubert Frank was a very funny and incredibly amiable man. I really liked him.

Let’s move on to GEISSEL DES FLEISCHES.

The murder at the opera! Director Franz-Josef Spieker, who later did WILDER REITER GMBH, saw that one and that’s why he basically hired me. GEISSEL DES FLEISCHES was panned by the critics. Not really a surprise: The murder at the opera was the horror story of its time in Vienna. People considered it blasphemous that this story was being made into a film. 20 years later GEISSEL DES FLEISCHES is an Austrian cult movie. And then there were SCHAMLOS and DIE VERWUNDBAREN by [Leo] Tichat. Leo Moser unearthed them.

Why did Eddy Saller consider you for the lead?

Because of DER MANN IM SCHATTEN, I believe.

GEISSEL DES FLEISCHES was a success with the audience, wasn’t it?

It was a sensation. Everybody wanted to see it.




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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #10 on: 28 May 2010 - 20:19 »

Then there were Spieker and DIE WILDE REITER GMBH.

That film had a twisted fate. It was one of the five most successful films at that time - time of the Oberhausen Manifesto, “Grandpa’s cinema is dead, long live the New German Cinema”. Spieker had been Kubrick’s assistant director. He had that story of an actor whom he had met in America and whom he found fascinating. After a little toing and froing he eventually made this film. He had to scramble up the money, there were no German film subsidies back then, they weren’t in existence until 1968 or 1969. On the other hand, there fortunately was no committee in charge of controlling these films, either. You had ENGELCHEN ODER DIE JUNGFRAU VON BAMBERG, ZUR SACHE SCHÄTZCHEN, WILDER REITER, ES and DER JUNGE TÖRLESS - those were the five big films of the New German Cinema. All made without any state supervision, and they made millions! We certainly made back three times the money of what it cost to make them. [Horst Manfred] Adloff made good business off of them, but he continued producing and lost it all. [Peter] Schamoni also made a lot of money with ES and all those other films. Rob Houwer made a few millions with ENGELCHEN ODER DIE JUNGFRAU VON BAMBERG. As the film did not undergo any state approval it turned out very dynamic. The reason why it has never been shown on TV: In the film I had that stamp reading “Wilder Reiter” and I stamped away like crazy on the head of the pope and Franz Josef Strauss [controversial politician]. It was shown in close-up and that was a no-go for any TV transmission. We then went to the ARD [major public broadcaster] and told them that we were willing to cut that particular scene. But they wouldn’t want to know. “This is out of the question. People will say it was censorship.“ I said: „We will sign a paper stating that it was not censorship but a matter of shortening the film.“ I told Spieker it wouldn’t matter, it would only be a few minutes. It was to no avail. And then came the German film regulation and the German film subsidies. It’s partly the fault of politics but the main culprit was Herr [Alexander] Kluge. Herr Kluge went to the German Bundestag with his lawyer and said: “Well, the New German Cinema has proven that it can be as successful with the audience as grandpa’s cinema. Now, here we have dozens of young directors who are waiting for funding.” And the politicians went like this: „Wonderful, we’ve been waiting for this to happen. Now let’s found a committee and we will have none of that anymore: ENGELCHEN VON BAMBERG, making fun of bourgeois chastity, DER JUNGE TÖRLESS, we don’t need any of that.” Kluge was the gravedigger of the New German Cinema because he gave the politicians the chance to interfere, to control, and to fund people like state artists even if they were not up to making films. Kluge later joined forces with RTL [major private broadcaster] and he became a multimillionaire. Let us rather cast a veil over his films... RATLOS IN DER ZIRKUSKUPPEL, his journalist friends - let’s openly address this - got him his prizes in Venice. Tells you a lot about these journalists. Oh my! He was involved in everything. A clever lawyer. Gravedigger of the German film.

3 years later you did KUCKUCKSEI IM GANGSTERNEST with Spieker.

Yes. We’d been very successful with WILDER REITER GMBH. People still talk about it today. It was screened in Munich only recently. Mayor Ude requested that film, he liked it a lot. It was successful back in the days because it made fun of politics. It made fun of advertising. It made fun of the government. It basically was the kind of movie that politicians considered a political film. It attacked the Americanisms that had become apparent in Germany - and Spieker couldn’t even stand them back in America.

Spieker’s career then became…

So he had got himself into difficulties and then he got to do a TV production for WDR and of course he wasn’t comfortable with the production. He wrote an article for Spiegel magazine about the political censorship within WDR and that’s what broke his neck. Right before that, the Americans had seen DER WILDE REITER and he was contracted by Paramount. It was quite a sensation at the time that a German director was working for Paramount. However, he made the mistake - signs of his German mentality showing - not to continue in this genre, in this critical realism. The Italians, the French or the Americans would have stuck to their line after such a success. But he said: “I am not interested in it anymore. I want to expose the structures.“ I asked him: “What do you want?” - “I am now exposing the structures. The male and the female principle as archetypes. That should be shown.” - “Well, and what will it be?” - „It’s going to be an interesting movie, you don’t need to participate if you don’t want to.“ We had a minor dispute and I finally said: “Alright, maybe it’ll work. I wonder why Paramount is backing this, but…” That’s how my character came about, a mixture of Hitler, Nosferatu, Golem and Napoleon. And Hanna Schygulla as the epitome of the female principle was depicted as pop art. The audience didn’t like it. The editor of the FAZ [major newspaper] devoted a whole page to this movie - “The best film since Godard” - but people were as baffled as they’d been in RATLOS IN DER ZIRKUSKUPPEL. They were waiting for some action but it was only a cultural analysis. We used to say to Schygulla: “You Bavarian cow, speak properly. You are unintelligible.“ Because she had that thick Bavarian accent. Even back then she had that completely stiff face. She couldn’t emote anything with her face. Fassbinder made her into a cult figure even though she could not act. Like Berger, who only livened up under Visconti. But then there you have a genius like Fassbinder: “She needn’t act. I am the director, I’ll just put her there.“ Some directors can do that. Others like Spieker are desperate: “Emote!” Her standard reply was: „I only can do that with Rainer.“

How did Spieker die in 1978?

Nobody knows for sure. Either it was suicide or it was murder. Spieker had been doing short films, documentaries. And then he flew to Bali. The last time I’ve heard from him was 20, 25 years ago. There were religious sects living in caves at that time, not today anymore. He filmed them but it was strictly forbidden. Some say he killed himself, others say - and that’s probably the true story - he was killed when they caught him filming. Anyway, the next day his body was washed ashore, his eyes and genitals missing. Maybe some fish ate them but I believe they killed him. I remember that there was much interest in filming these sects but nobody managed to do so. Spieker apparently sneaked into a cave and shot some footage.

In the mid-60s your career became more international: FUNERAL IN BERLIN with Michael Caine.

That was marvellous. Hamilton, the director of the film, had just finished GOLDFINGER. He was a real English gentleman, a distinguished, classy man. And then there was Eva Renzi, who had played the lead in the famous film THE LOVED ONE. That was a sensational film at the time, a worldwide success. [Paul] Hubschmid played a big part in FUNERAL IN BERLIN and she would always accompany him. Renzi was a scandalous woman: cheeky, sexy, brazen! She would come along with Hubschmid and crack jokes all the time. And Hamilton, a real English lord, liked it. He became close friends with them and laughed a lot about Renzi because she was such a funny woman. Somehow she intrigued against the lead actress, and after a while the director said to himself: „She really ain’t that good.“ He went on for eight days without telling her, then he called Saltzman and showed him the rushes. He felt that he could not work with her any longer. She was fired and Renzi got the role. She actually had managed to oust the American lead in eight days. Incredible. The American left in a fury but her the tit-for-tat response came three years later: Hubschmid was shooting in America and got Renzi the second leading part in another film made by the same studio. The leading part, however, was to be played by the woman who originally had starred in FUNERAL IN BERLIN. When she heard that an actress, whom she knew from Germany, was about to arrive she just said: “I’ll leave the studio immediately.” And Renzi barely just made it to the door of the film studio before the head of the production told her to fly back. That was the retribution. Günter Meisner also played in that film. An interesting actor. I liked him a lot. A nut, very excessive but very smart.

PENSION CLAUSEWITZ, Rolf Eden, the playboy...

Yes, great! Rolf Eden was big fun. He was the king of nightclubs in Berlin. Always the handsome guy, Rolls Royce, his own boat - at Wannsee of course.  He never married and was lucky throughout his life. I saw him recently on TV and he’s aged well. He’s leading a wonderful life and he’s made millions.

You then made HEISSES PFLASTER KÖLN with Ernst Hofbauer.

That was quite a good film. Ernst Hofbauer was the right man for this kind of crime film because he had that rigour: „Now come on, do it!” Almost American in his mentality, he didn’t go so much for the psychology but for the action. Constantin Film regarded him highly, he made many movies, 10 or 15. They’d say: “Get Hofbauer. Hofbauer works quickly and precisely.”

Claus Tinney, the actor, wrote the screenplay.

Tinney is a playboy, a playboy from Munich. A bit vain, a bit handsome. And quite a good boulevard writer. His plays usually were quite successful in Munich and Berlin.
 
How about KOMMISSAR X? Is it true that Tony Kendall was quite vain?

Enormously vain! He did some hazardous things, I am talking about action stuff. I had some brushes with him. He was a nice guy but he couldn’t judge risks.

The producer Theo Maria Werner had quite a career.

He was an incredibly nice man. He died of a heart attack. Unfortunately he was a bad businessman and the directors always cheated him, so he would have to make additional payments and there wouldn’t be anything left for him. He was a good producer for Constantin and Gloria but simply too indulgent. Zehetgruber for example demanded a second unit in Istanbul even though it was financially infeasible. Theo Maria Werner caved in and lost about a million DM. There was another story in Istanbul: There were three producers, a Lebanese, an Italian and Theo Maria Werner. They were constantly arguing over money. The Lebanese was the most dangerous, he paid with uncovered cheques. One day a Turk saw them arguing and he walked up to Werner: “German man no worry. Give 10,000 DM. Lebanese with lead in Bosporus tonight. We work good. No worry. Bosporus enough space.“ Werner thought: „If that guy goes to the Lebanese and gets 20,000 DM, it’s me lying in the Bosporus.” Nobody would have enquired. Many people were killed in Istanbul at the time.

You worked with Lucio Fulci once. Heinz Rühmann and Wolfgang Kieling also starred in OPERAZIONE SAN PIETRO.

Kieling, that’s a funny story… He was a wanderer between east and west. He was in the eastern zone once and returned. Actually, he went forth and back twice. He came from the east to the west and became a big TV star. But he always thought of the east. When we were shooting in Italy he used to take walks at the beach and he complained that he didn’t receive enough attention. Same with Rühmann, nobody knew him in Italy. He was shocked that he didn’t get the star treatment. Rühmann was sent from Constantin Film and Fulci said: „What, Rühmann? He is not funny! The Germans say he is funny, a great German comedian. Nothing.” The Italian comedians were a whole lot different. Fulci knew them well and he was flabbergasted when Rühmann arrived. “He is terrible, he is boring.” Which upset Rühmann quite a bit. Kieling was very upset, too, because he didn’t get any attention and was the first to be sent into make-up at seven o’clock.

Did you get along with Fulci?

Yes, Fulci is a funny man. Later on he shot rather gruesome things. Once he told Kieling: “Look at Fux, he is funny!” Kieling wasn’t too pleased. But then again, he didn’t really care because Fulci only had a name in Italy. Rühmann didn’t care too much, either.

Rühmann was known among his colleagues as rather unlikeable.

Yes… Ungrateful.

Wasn’t Fulci known to be aggressive on the set?
 
Yes, he was temperamental.
 
Some say he was often drunk on the set?

Yes, that’s true, but as I said before: He always was funny. Just like Menahem Golan. Golan was very expressive - screaming fits and lyrical stuff, one after the other, all within three minutes. He would shout and then he’d say: “What happened? Why did I scream? I don’t even know anymore.”

You worked again with Kieling in LA CASA DE LAS MIL MUÑECAS. Vincent Price was in it, too.

Yes, yes, that was amusing. Where did we shoot that? Was that in Spain? Vincent Price was a real gentleman. He was dealing in antiques and art, making a lot of money. His films also paid well. He was a great cook and invited us repeatedly.

The producer was quite infamous: Harry Alan Towers. In the 70s he once was arrested because he was involved in a white-slave ring.

Something like that. I remember that he always had some ominous things going on. And he looked a bit like a jellyfish. His wife was for a long time the leading lady in his horror films.

Maria Rohm.

She hooked herself the producer early on.

One of your next films was ANDREA - WIE EIN BLATT AUF NACKTER HAUT by Hans Schott-Schöbinger.

He also worked in Vienna as an actor and he had been a director for Wien Film during the war and the post-war era. He was one of that generation, a true routinier. Hans Schott-Schöbinger was well-known at Sascha Film and at Wien Film.

He had made many heimatfilms. But near the end of his career, 1970 onwards, he didn’t do a lot of work for the cinema anymore. He made one more genre film and quite an ambitious one at that: VON HAUT ZU HAUT.

A true professional, he was a professional.

You also acted in a Jerry Cotton film, Harald Reinl’s TODESSCHÜSSE AM BROADWAY. They were only partly filmed in the USA. How did that work out on the set? Did they just randomly place a few American cars in the scenery?

Only the cameraman went to the States, got a few shots, 3 days, and then they edited that in. We shot in Hamburg, usually at the port. Reinl - what a guy! Just like Luis Trenker, incredibly tough, irrepressible. He had also done mountain films, a stalwart filmmaker. He was very popular with distributors because he belonged to that generation of directors: doers, tough and fast action men. They were all dictators, everything had to be done in no time at all. Today things have changed considerably, but back in the day they loved these dictators. Take [Alfred] Weidenmann, essentially a fine man, or [Géza von] Cziffra: They were screamers. Things are not that way anymore.

Harald Reinl died almost in a film-like manner.

Yes, yes, he was stabbed from behind.

Alfred Vohrer had died only half a year earlier. He died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Munich. They would have made many more movies, what a pity.

And I believe they didn’t do much about Reinl’s wife, who had committed the deed.

Have you seen all of your films?

Not all of them. Funnily enough, I watched KUCKUCKSEI IM GANGSTERNEST just a while ago and I liked it this time. Maybe it was too modern back in the day, the pop art and all that. People were rather startled at the time.
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KommissarX

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #11 on: 28 May 2010 - 20:24 »

Then there was the Vohrer film DER GORILLA VON SOHO.

Uschi Glas was kind of an interesting crowd psychological case. When she started with [Werner] Enke she was still a complete unknown. She looked neat and proper, represented the bourgeois world, always socialising with decent people. And she always considered carefully who could be of use to her. Every German father - put “German” and “father” in quotation marks - wishes for a daughter like her. That was basically her home position, and to this day this is what she still is: always proper, mother of children, a decent marriage and so on.
And that’s the image that she cherishes. It’s a similar case with Senta Berger. She made lots of movies in Rome and all the journalists were asked to put her in a favourable light. The producers and the press made her Miss Goodie Two Shoes.

That’s how legends are created. 1969 your long-time collaboration with Erwin C. Dietrich started.

That was very funny. These Swiss productions… What was the name of the cameraman?

Baumgartner.

Baumgartner! And his uncle did the music, Walter Baumgartner. I really liked the Swiss. They were funny. They were doing these sex films where - from today’s point of view - nothing scandalous was ever shown. Nowadays they would easily pass the FSK [ratings board]. Back in the day you were already in trouble if you showed only glimpses of a breast. If the breast was shown for more than a few seconds the FSK would ask for cuts.

How much did the average Dietrich production cost?

I think they didn’t cost more than 500,000 DM. As far as I can remember, ZUR SACHE SCHÄTZCHEN, WILDER REITER GMBH etc. they all cost less than a million. DER JUNGE TÖRLESS for example had a budget of roughly 600 to 800,000 DM. That was 1966, 1967. And the Dietrich films cost even less. Certainly no more than 500,000.

Are you still in contact with Dietrich?

Not anymore. What kind of films is he making these days?

He is only producing. He is no longer directing.

He stopped making sex films a long time ago. They only got made back then. They were made by the hundreds. Luggi Waldleitner did them. Spiehs did them. Everybody did them.

And [Wolf C.] Hartwig did them too!

Hartwig! All the producers in Munich were doing them for about four or five years. Krimis like HEISSES PFLASTER KÖLN and DIE ENGEL VON ST. PAULI weren’t made anymore because television had taken over. That was the end of the German film production. There wasn’t anything left except for the state-funded films. Film subsidies were established in 1968, 1969. Only sex films managed to make some business for four more years.

Why didn’t ORE DI TERRORE, where you starred alongside Rainer Basedow and Karin Schubert, get a proper theatrical run?

That’s because [Hans] Pflüger went bankrupt. Nora Film went out of business and I believe the movie was not even distributed anymore.

The film doesn’t have a real ending. It just stops.

It just stops. We shot that one in English, it was dubbed into German afterwards. Leoni had planned to get himself an English producer. Those were the years when the traditional film business died away and television started its triumph. You only had a tiny opportunity to make some money with cheap films.

Then you did your second film with Dietrich: DIE NEFFEN DES HERRN GENERAL. Did you play the general?

I don’t remember for certain. I probably played some gangster.

I haven’t seen the film, either. The problem is that most TV stations won’t show this kind of movie. And so they have disappeared from the face of the planet.

Early on they showed a lot of them on RTL. Spiehs made the deal of his life with these sex films. He sold them to RTL for about 300 or 400,000 DM for showing them once. Then he got them sent back and cashed another 300,000.

Let’s move on to a director with whom you’ve worked three times. A little, chubby Spaniard who goes by the name of Jess Franco.

Jess Franco! A pervert, no? Marquis de Sade and all that - is he still into this stuff today?

He is obsessed with film and still shoots these movies. In 1969 you did EUGENIE with him, also known as DIE WILDKATZE [the wildcat]. Rumour has it that Christopher Lee happened to see that film in London and had his name removed - everybody would have sex the very next moment he had left the set.

The sex scenes were not in the theatrical cut. These pigs simply shot a hard version at the same time which they then sold to South America. I also had that happen to me once.

DIE WILDKATZE was not a hardcore film, it was actually very soft. But Christopher Lee couldn’t bear it.

From today’s point of view it was ridiculous. Nobody was allowed to undress, the men couldn’t even take off their pants. Everything was simulated.

Can you tell us about the film? It’s about a girl who arrives on an island…

Wasn’t that the one with Liljedahl? I only recall that Franco did his usual mixture of crime and sex: sex fantasies without showing a whole lot, plus the horror and tension. He wasn’t interested in the obvious, there always had to be a mystery around the proceedings. His attitude towards cinema was in a way similar to silent movies. Jess Franco was a very funny guy, a cultured chap. He was something of a mini-Polanski - a crazy guy who’s thinking a lot and then suddenly has an idea. He wasn’t someone who just gets the shot done if there’s little time. He always aimed for a particular mood.

Jess Franco is said to have shot two films simultaneously and another one for himself at the same time. All with the same money.

He certainly did some dubious things, but as we said, he was a cinema fanatic. He would have never considered himself a cheap hack. Although I only worked with him back in the day I realised that he emanated a certain magic. A perverted magic.

Did you like Christopher Lee? Was he arrogant?

Christopher Lee? A wonderful man. I got along with him splendidly. He is a real Sir, a profoundly literate man. He had sung at the opera, Wagner and all that, before he worked for Hammer productions. Interestingly enough, Telly Savalas for example was initially not an actor, either. He was a university professor in New York or something. He then was asked by a producer acquaintance of his to take on a small part. “Wouldn’t you like to do that as a sideline, you’re an interesting person…” That’s how he got into the business at the age of 40 or 45. Christopher Lee played his roles with a lot of self-irony, like Vincent Price, enhancing things this way. They always played ambiguously, especially their horror parts. Herbert Lom, with whom I afterwards made HEXEN BIS AUF'S BLUT GEQUÄLT, also had this self-irony.

Didn’t you notice that Lee was upset during the shooting?

No, he realised the whole thing only later, probably at a screening. I also used to leave immediately for the next production. I realised only once that they had cut in a hard scene some 10 years after the shooting.

In DIE ENGEL VON ST. PAULI you played alongside Werner Pochath. We need to talk about him a little. He was a superb actor but he is usually much underrated.

Werner Pochath was very affable. He did not only act, he put himself in the shoes of his characters. He later was mainly involved in business jobs. He was doing co-production work in Rome. He was very busy as a contact person.

What was he like?

Glib. Yes, glib. A sunnyboy, immensely cultivated. And a homosexual.

You then did television work with Jürgen Roland.

Jürgen Roland - STAHLNETZ, DEM TÄTER AUF DER SPUR and DIE ENGEL VON ST. PAULI. He was a reporter, a reporter with experiences in the movies. He knew the underworld and was comfortable moving about in these circles. He was friends with one of the kings of the Reeperbahn [Hamburg’s red light district], and he knew all those manslayers and murderers because of his reports. I remember that we used some thugs as advisors on the set of DIE ENGEL VON ST. PAULI. Uwe was the name of one of them. He was the main advisor, he even had a contract and played a part in the film. Some day a reporter from the Spiegel magazine came and said: “I am from the Spiegel, Herr Roland, and I need to talk to you. You have a convicted manslayer as an advisor. I am researching an upcoming Spiegel story and I am telling you: Stop that immediately.” The filming was interrupted and Roland said: “What do you want? I am shooting this film and I need advising for this kind of scene.” Uwe just stood there and listened. Then he walked up to the reporter and said: “Listen, boy, if you publish a word about me you will not recognise yourself and your face anymore!” No word got ever published in the Spiegel…

Horst Frank recently grumbled at Dieter Wedel because he built St. Pauli as a set in Munich [for a TV mini-series]. He said Wedel would stand right next to his actors and still give them instructions with his loud-hailer.

Wedel is an arse. A highly overrated, pushy, insolent irritant beyond your imagination. He could give you a real bawling-out.

Do you want to share any other anecdotes from DIE ENGEL VON ST. PAULI?

The movie wedding! There were these Austrians who were about to be extradited. The police - the Davidswache - had prompted that. Austrian pimps wanted to take over the Kiez in Hamburg. 20 or 30 Mercedes came to St. Pauli and they actually founded a colony. They oversaw 30 or 40 prostitutes and intended to take over Hamburg, similar to how they had already taken over a few streets in Frankfurt. But the police and the underworld made common cause, and so the Austrians were about to be extradited. They would have only been allowed to stay if they had married Germans. Well, they all grabbed 30 German whores and got married. That was their only chance, just like today foreigners will not be forced to leave when they are married to residents. Anyway, there was this wedding at the Reeperbahn. The guys from Hamburg tried to stir up a turmoil so that we would leave. When Horst Frank appeared with his people there was this wedding fight. Several props were of course prepared for the filming. Parts of the chairs were made of balsa wood, but the chairs of the extras were real. The stuntmen were in the centre and went about their business. All in all there were about hundred people present and I suddenly realised: “Now it’s dog eat dog.” All those tough guys from the Kiez were in on it, but they weren’t stuntmen. One of them was barged against and he took advantage of it. A bloody fight broke out and people also took hold of the props that had not been prepared. There were loads of casualties, splinters in the eyes, fractures and all that. I squeezed myself against the wall when I saw that things were going out of hand…

HEXEN BIS AUF'S BLUT GEQUÄLT [MARK OF THE DEVIL]…

HEXEN! Yes, that was a sensation! I’d have loved to do more of these films. That was a really nice horror film.

Do people still approach you about the film?

Yes, it is still popular. People who saw it back in the day still tell me they got the first fright of their lives from it.

By the way, this is the most recent video cover. The famous scene that was cut in the first edition is now included. The scene with the tongue.

It is included now? Wonderful, I loved it! You’ve got to screw those witches hard or else it is completely pointless. [Everybody laughs.]

Did people know about Udo? He wasn’t that well-known back then.

No, he was an inconspicuous person. He was somewhat depressed because he had several problems. He later went to America and became successful. In Germany he had quite a few troubles.

In what way?

I don’t know exactly whether the queer scene…

Did people notice on the set?

No, but we knew. There always were some issues, it had to be kept secret. And then he apparently was blackmailed. They said they’d make it public on TV. That was an unpleasant story. Only later on people would come out and say: “Enough of that!“ In the 70s, 30 years ago, this was still a delicate topic. They suffered a lot.

Reggie Nalder once told a nice anecdote: Olivera Vuco - the gipsy girl Udo Kier falls in love with - went up to Kier’s room because she didn’t know that he was gay. Udo Kier didn’t want to have anything to do with her and she wondered why. Did you notice any of that?

Yes, that’s how it always was. The girls had a crush on him - he really is a beau - and then they went: “What’s the matter with him?”

What can you tell us about Michael Armstrong?

Michael Armstrong! What a hoot!

He got into a scrap with Adrian Hoven, didn’t he?
 
No, he was always stoned! He had been the assistant to the director of THE WITCHFINDER GENERAL, Michael Reeves. Gloria Film originally wanted Reeves, they even had a contract with him. But then he died, he killed himself. So Gloria simply called Armstrong because they thought it would be the only option. The reason this film got made was The WITCHFINDER GENERAL, a worldwide success. Even though [Ilse] Kubaschewski never had any interest in these films, she said to herself: “I’d be dumb if I’d yield the floor to Constantin and let them take in the profits from this trend.” So she made the contract against her will just because an informer had told her that otherwise Constantin would seize the market. She eventually made that film although she didn’t care about the subject matter at all.


---
Interview by Karsten T., Uwe J., Michael C. and Uwe H. @ http://www.terrorverlag.de
Translation by KommissarX.

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bdc

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #12 on: 28 May 2010 - 21:20 »

Much appreciated!  ;)
Thank you for all the work.
A very interesting read!
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Rogerio Ferraz

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #13 on: 28 May 2010 - 23:06 »

Fascinating read!
Many thanks, mate! ;)
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Jonny

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Re: Herbert Fux remembered
« Reply #14 on: 29 May 2010 - 08:18 »

Thanks for posting this mate!  :'(
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