Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 15. Nr. April 2005

5.9. Austrian Writers and the Unifying Aspects of Cultures
HerausgeberInnen | Editors | Éditeurs: Donald G. Daviau (Riverside)

Buch: Das Verbindende der Kulturen | Book: The Unifying Aspects of Cultures | Livre: Les points communs des cultures

Weimar on the Pacific: Salka Viertel's Salon at 165 Mabery Road, Santa Monica

Gertraud Steiner Daviau (Vienna)


1960: London-Paris-Klosters

When Salka wrote to Ilse Lahn again in June 1960, much had changed in her life. She was no longer a nomad between New York and Los Angeles, but had now reoriented herself to Europe, where Peter and Hans also lived. Her miserable existence in New York lay behind her once and for all.

In a long letter in the summer of 1960 Ilse reported about her experiences: On 20 May 1960 traveled to London and stayed for a week with Ella and Donald Ogden Stewart in their stately home at 103 Frognal Street. Peter and Deborah owned a country house, where Christine learned to ride and after her time with her grandmother could draw closer to her father again. The struggle between Peter and Salka for Christine became heartrending. Peter gave his mother the gift of a week in Paris, which, however, did not turn out too well. Salka fell ill and spent depressing days in a shabby small hotel in the vicinity of the Théatre Sarah Bernhardt on the Rive Gauche. One bright spot was the guest performance of the Brecht-Ensemble‘s Mutter Courage, in which she could admire her friend Helli Weigel. After the successful performance Helli, filled with satisfaction, said to her: "If only I could have had it in Hollywood, Brecht would not have had to work on these terrible movies and we would have lived in comfort."(1) Such a comment aeems to be rather naïve, for Weigel was truly no Hollywood beauty.

Salka did still meet many other friends in Paris, all of whom seemed to be very prosperous: she accepted an invitation for a visit to a splendid country estate of one couple, who had bought the place from Gérard Philippe. Despite the pleasant experiences, she missed Christine so badly that she was happy to return to London. Although Peter would have liked to keep his daughter with him, Christine preferred to to Klosters with her grandmother on June 23, while her father and Deborah remained in England. In Klosters Christine stayed in Peter‘s house with the governess, while Salka lived in the nearby apartment of the film writer Harry Kurnitz(2) in the Casa Willi, which he had put at her disposal. Despite the pain of separation, she now discovered the advantages of being alone: without any household obligations she could now dedicate herself to her book. Slowly she began to adjust to life in Klosters.

When Deborah and Peter married on 23 July 1960 in the city hall in Klosters,

Peter‘s best friend Irwin Shaw gave a large wedding reception at his Chalet Mia. Irwin Shaw war at that time the uncontested " King of Klosters " and enjoyed this role to the the fullest.


Klosters - Hollywood on the Rocks/ 1960: Garbo comes to Klosters for the first time/ 1960-62: New Energy, new contracts/ Gottfried Reinhardt living in the the Hoyos Castle in Salzburg since 1958/ 1964: Salka‘s Autobiography

"... and if you find somebody who wants a good screenwriter, not expensive, but reliable, remember me.(3)
There is little news about myself. Work, loneliness, longing for Christine and worry about Tom. All that old hat. Much much love Salka.(4)

Salka Viertel

After the wedding Peter Viertel sold his house and together with Deborah bought a large piece of property on the south side of Klosters. Where they had a chalet built. As an enthusiastic skier, he had long found Klosters his second home, his "Shangri-La,"(5) after California. In Klosters one was at the same time in an Alpine village and in the middle of the elegant society. Although the town was much smaller and provincial than the neighboring Davos, which had been made famous for its sanitoria for tuberculosis, as depicted in Thomas Mann‘s DerZauberberg, one could meet the Hollywood Jetset here - and all that because Peter Viertel had discovered Klosters through Lazar Wechsler. He had already sold his house in Zuma Canyon and at that time live primarily in Paris, from where he could makde frequent trips to Klosters. At the first one, Peter Viertel invited his old friend Irwin Shaw to go skiing with him in Klosters in December 1952.(6) At that time all the arrangements were still uncomplicated. The two men rented rooms in the comfortable and elegant Chesa Grischuna and engaged in their sportive pleasures without any other obligations. They made spending Christmas together in Klosters into a tradition.

Shaw, too, had gradually decided in favor a life in Europe. Although he produced a great deal, his literary career declined after The Young Lions.. Just as in New York he also belonged to the prominent people in London und Paris. In Paris he rented an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the company of his discussion and drinking friends among the American journalists such as Art Buchwald, who after the war had had chosen to remain in the French capitol. Shaw made a European trip, which carried him for the most part to Southern France and Paris, and he simply did not return to American then for years. Partly he delayed returning because the HUAC Committee had in the meantime also turned its attention to him, but also the financial aspect played a large role. As an expatriate in Europe, he paid no taxes in the USA, and, considering the sums that he earned, this saved him a fortune. Moreover, the dollar was so strong, that Shaw could play the rich American in Europe..

His extravagant lifestyle was made possible not only by his contracts for scripts, but also from the astronomical book honoraria that his clever agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar procured for him from the New York publishing houses and which hardly stood in any relationship to his present literary standing. Lazar, who also represented Peter Viertel, was likewise one of the frequent visitors in Klosters. Shaws lifestyle, full of parties and drinking bouts, naturally attracted many parasites, but behind his back these people maligned him by saying that he had sold out to Hollywood and that his novels were only glorified journalism. Shaw, who was actually better suited to short stories than to novels, now treated over and over the theme, which characterized his own life: The Americans who, thanks to the favorable exchange rate, lived like gods in Europe. No matter what opinion one had of him, in Klosters Shaw was a veritable attraction for the town and provided atmosphere. At first he only spent the summer months and Christmases in Klosters, until he made it his main residence in the course of the 1960s and with his wife Marian built a three-story Chalet, which he called Mia after the initials of the family: Marion, Irwin, and son Adam. The Chalet Mia became a legendary showplace not only for the wedding reception of the Viertels, but also for the drinking bouts of Irwin Shaw. He knew everyone, and it was claimed that even the daughter of Bugsy Siegel, the Hollywood gangster, who served as the driving force behind the building of Las Vegas and of the Flamingo Hotel, was living in Klosters lebe and belonged to his circle of acquaitances.(7)

Because of the Viertels and Shaws, the Parrishes, their old friends from Zuma Canyon, also came. Many other celebrities followed: David Niven and his wife moved there on the advice of Peter Viertel, and also Darryl Zanuck, who had given up running Twentieth Century Fox and now was living as a playboy in Paris, often visited Klosters. Another friend of Peter Viertel, who settled there permanently, was the Hollywood screenplay writer Harry Kurnitz, a tall man with round glasses, a type like the young Woody Allen, who after a failed experiment with marriage ("When my wife had her teeth fixed by a dentist in Beverly Hills, she disappeared"(8)) preferred to remain a bachelor. Like Shaw Kurnitz came from a Jewish emigrant family in Brooklyn. Additional arrivals were the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, the former wife of Hemingway, Lauren Bacall and her son, the famous/notorious producer Sam Spiegel and his sone Adam as well as the homosexual literary star Gore Vidal. At Christmas 1973 Irwin Shaw gave a large Christmas party for the Parrishes, the Viertels, the Hnngarian Hollywood actor Geza Korvin(9) and his wife Ann, and presumably Salka was also there.(10) Thus, even after Hollywood she continued to be surrounded by prominent film people.


1960: Garbo Comes to Klosters for the First Time

Finally Salka had to give little Christine back to her father, who sent her to a school in England. The first months after the separation were very hard on Salka. Then she was able to move into an apartment of her own in Klosters. She planned to travel to London in the winter, in order to be able to be with Christine and hoped to rent her apartment to skiers during that time. Although in the beginning she had felt very unhappy in Klosters, she gradually found the right mood and inner peace of mind that enabled her finally to settle down to the task of writing her autobiography.

In November 1960 she had to interrupt her writing, when Garbo came to Klosters for a visit: "It is a great tragedy that this beautiful woman has not worked for twenty years. Please keep it to yourself, but nothing is sadder, than to see this wasted energy turning into hypochondria. Otherwise she is the same sweet, kind darling person, she was all these years,"(11) Salka wrote confidingly to Ilse. This shows that she was not blind to Garbo‘s mistakes, only too tactful and too wise, to reveal anything about her friend to the public. One can imagine what a stir Garbo aroused, when she walked through the winter fairyland of the town for the first time and responded to the shy greetings of the natives with a friendly greeting. In contrast to Garbo, Salka had still not given up by any means, and she repeatedly implored Ilse to look around for jobs for her. The difference between the two friends naturally was that Garbo had earned enough to afford a luxurious retirement, while Salka still had to struggle for her bare existence. Through Salka Garbo discovered Klosters as her favorite vacation locale, where she later spent the summer and fall months ever year. Moreover Klosters also offered the advantage of being only two hours away from St. Moritz, where Greta‘s friend Cécile de Rothschild had a home.

In the network of Salka, her family - Peter and Deborah Kerr - and her friends such as Irwin Shaw, the shy star felt to a certain extent protected. Salka found places for her to stay, filled her refrigerator before she arrived and took count walks with her between Klosters and Davos. In Salka‘s company Garbo, who was already pathologically shy in public, could feel secure. Never did Salka betray her friend through an interview or through a photographer hidden in the bushes, as had often happened to Garbo with other friends.(12) Salka also began again now to entertain in Klosters as she had in Santa Monica.(13) Here as there visits at Salka‘s were highly desired, because there one might perhaps meet Garbo, who otherwise always disguised herself with a broad hat and sun glasses and was steadily becoming increasingly shy of the public.


1960-62: New Strength, New Commissions

Although the yearning for Christine was great, the peacefulness Salka now enjoyed enabled her to make good progress on her autobiography. She read sections of it to friends, and they were strong in their praise of the developing book. Salka was now totally immersed in her work, when an attractive offer arrived from Bertelsmann Productions: for a top price of 12,000 marks she was to write an original story for a TV film about the emigrants under the working title Die Staatsfeinde (Enemies of the Third Reich). Before she set to work, she spent six weeks in London and then returned to Klosters and went into "seclusion," since she had to deliver the first draft by 30 September 1960. The peacefulness of the mountain village provided the ideal conditions for writing, although there was the problem that no reference works were available. The important thing, however, was that professionally things were looking up again. For story conferences she had to travel to Zermatt and to Munich, a place she hated now as before. Meanwhile Peter, Deborah and Christine were enjoying their honeymoon in the worldly Atlantic spa Biarritz, where Peter finished his script for Anatol Litvak.(14)

In September 1961, after a long period of inactivity, Salka once again received an offer of a job through the Kohner Agency. For the Lulu film that the director Rolf Thiele was planning in West Germany Paul Kohner had proposed Salka Viertel to collaborate on the screenplay. Unfortunately, because of her contract with Bertelsmann, she could not accept it. Despite Salka‘s obvious conflict, Ilse was nevertheless angry that she did not seize this opportunity. Presumably, however, the producers Jaeger and Thiele were already negotiating at the same time with the Austrian author Robert Neumann, who finally received the contract. The Kohner Agency was now working mainly for television, including German TV, since far fewer films were now being produced in Hollywood. The situation of the middle and lower category of authors, to which Salka belonged, had grown far worse, for there was neither work for the "hacks" for television nor for films for the highly paid star authors.

Salka could only still dream of the former Hollywood salaries. She had heard that Gottfried Reinhardt paid Dalton Trumbo 60,000 dollars plus expenses for six weeks work on Town Without Pity. Gottfried could pay such fees, for his successful career contrasted sharply from that of his brother Wolfgang, who was in the process of preparing with John Huston the umteenth version of a script for a Freud film, which was supposed to begin shooting in Munich in the fall. Susan Kohner played a small role in it as Martha Freud and also her brother Pablo, a graduate of the Harvard Military Academy, was on Reinhardt‘s team, to be sure without being named in the credits. The two spoiled siblings from a wealthy home rented a house with a housekeep in Munich; when the production shifted to Vienna for two weeks, they stayed in the Hotel Sacher. The film Freud, which appeared in the movie houses in 1962, utilized for the "background" many German and Austrian performers, including Anita Gutwell, the star of provincial films, as well as Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, but in such small roles that their names did not appear in the credits.

In late fall 1961 Salka spent two months in Vienna, to complete her TV script. She still viewed Vienna with mixed feelings: "Vienna is beautiful. Beautiful and corrupt and for me terribly sad. There is hardly anybody I loved anymore. My sister was as always charming, but she and Gielen live in such a different world than the one I knew in Vienna, that I never had the feeling they were in the same city. ... I went to the theatre several times, but this was a disappointment. The Burgtheater under Mr. Haeussermann becomes more and more provincia. ... Zuckmayer’s play had the worst reviews I ever read, but it remains in the repertory. I think people like it. For me it was absolutely incredible trash,"(15) she wrote to Ilse. The Zuckmayer play, which was just being performed, Die Uhr schlägt eins (The Clock Strikes One), no longer reached the same high niveau as the earlier successes of the author. When a Viennese judge allegedly pronounced not guilty and released an SS man, who on the very last day of the war was said to have killed a hundred Jews and foreign workers, she had enough of Vienna: "That’s Vienna and Austria for you. You can have all the baroque and Prinz Eugen as far as I am concerned."(16) Nostalgia was nothing for Salka.

During the filming of the Freud film in Vienna Salka could also visit Susi Kohner, who had a new lover, the actor George Hamilton, who was disliked by everyone, and whom she even followed to Rome by plane for the weekend. With great satisfaction Salka during the takes on the Minoritenplatz again saw Gottfried, who was visiting his brother. Gottfried, who after all had left her for a younger woman, had gained a lot of weight: "... as a matter of fact one could make two Gottfrieds from the bulk I saw", Salka observed with malicious glee.(17) Strangely Salka doe not mention any meeting with her old friend Monty, who as "Dr. Freud" was the main star of the film. Ever since he had suffered a bad accident in 1956 after a party at Elizabeth Taylor‘s home, Clift‘s health continued to deteriorate. His distorted face first had to be repaired surgically. When it appeared that he could finally recover agai, he was found lying on his bed dead by his his friend Lorenzo James on 23 July 1966 in his home in New York. A coronary attack was given as the cause of death. Montgomery Clift was only 46 years old.


Gottfried Reinhardt: From 1958 in the Hoyos Castle in Salzburg

Following his marriage Gottfried Reinhardt had only infrequent contact with Salka. In 1949 he and his wife returned to Europe for the first time on an extended vacation and also to pursue the restitution of the Reinhardt castle. He also reoriented himself professionally in Europe, the weakness in the film industry and the McCarthy era had spoiled Hollywood for him. He himself was of course never on the blacklist, but but he had experienced enough of its consequences in the circles of his professional life and friends. Some years later Dore Schary, Mayers unfortunate successor at MGM provided him with the definite reason to leave Hollywood. Gottfried also had to go through depressing experiences with Harry Cohn at Columbia while working on the film Jacobowsky und der Oberst.(18)

From 1954 he lived with Silvia in Salzburg and produced several films in Germany and Austria with moderate success, including two American films: Stadt ohne Mitleid (City without Pity), starring Kirk Douglas, for which the interior scenes were shot in Vienna, and Lage hoffnungslos, aber nicht Ernst (Situation Hopeless but Not Deperate) with Alec Guiness and Robert Redford. He also made a remake of Vicki Baum‘s Menschen im Hotel (Grand Hotel) with O.W. Fischer and Heinz Rühmann.(19)

Gottfried Reinhardt was not able to regain possession of his father‘s legendary castle Leopoldskron, but nevertheless became a Salzburg "Lord of the manor": he lived for almost thirty years, until 1986, in the Hoyos castle in the park of Castle Klessheim. Along with his work as director, he also began here to become active as a writer. In 1973 his biography of his father, Max Reinhardt, Der Liebhaber, appeared, and in 1992 Gottfried published his autobiography under the title Der Apfel fiel vom Stamm (The Apple Fell from the Tree).

Twice, in 1961 and 1962, he directed Jedermann (Everyman) in Salzburg and preserved this performance in a film. His unloved stepmother Helene Thimig held the honor of directing in Salzburg much longer than he: the first time from 1947 to 1951 - she was replaced by Ernst Lothar, who was active as director from 1952 to 1959, then followed an interlude in 1960 with William Dieterle, two years 1961 and 1962 with Gottfried Reinhardt, followed again from 1963 to 1968 by Helene Thimig. Ironically, it was Ernst Lothar, whom both Gottfried and Helene Thimig disliked, who was able to maintain his position as director for eight seasons. In addition, Gottfried Reinhardt directed the Urfaust at the Theater in the Josefstadt and to commemmorate his father‘s 100 th birthday created the documentary film Max Reinhardt - Der große Zauberer (Max Reinhardt -- The Great Magician) (ZDF/ORF 1973). In the 1960s the worldly man with the characteristic head on his huge body, in which the features of his father were to be seen in a more pronounced and coarser form, an acknowledged great in the Austrian and German cultural life. But presumably from this source hardly anyone heard anything about Salka Viertel.


1964: The Autobiography

Salka sensed that things were going better for her again. In the fall of 1962 vacationed with her famous son, her glamorous daughter-in-law and the grandchildren in the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz. Christine was growing in the meantime into a British Lady. Also Salka‘s brother Eduard, his family as well as Rose came for a visit: this year "Wychylovka" took place in Biarritz.

In fall 1962 MGM was planning to produce a big film for television in homage to Garbo with scenes from her films, in order to refurbish her fading image and display its splendor anew. Salka was to collaborate, in order to be able to present as authentic a portrait as ein möglichst authentisches Porträt erstellen zu können. However, Garbo did not want to sacrifice anything of her mysterious aura and and refused to grant her approval. Of course, Salka thus lost a lucrative job, but she took it with humor: "So, there goes another of my millions,"(20) she wrote to Ilse.

When in March 1964 Salka stopped off in New York at her publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston for the appearance of her autobiography, which she called The Kindness of Strangers, she had a brief reunion with Ilse. Strangely the two women, who for years had been writing about the most intimate details of their lives, without ever seeing each other face to face, were not especially desirous of a personal meeting. The mutual "conversation therapy " worked better from a distance. "We did not have much time for each other, as you are a very busy woman and I had to divide myself between friends and family," Salka wrote to her in June.(21) With her memoirs Salka succeeded creating a monument to herself but also to the Central European emigration in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the Kohner Agency everyone was anxiously waiting for the book. Ilse Lahn was delighted. But a flat aftertaste remained: precisely she, the most faithful of all her friends over many years, who had always held Salka up mentally and emotionally through the worst times, is only given brief mention in a few sentences - perhaps she did not consider Ilse important and prominent enough. With the appearance of the autobiography the correspondence between Salka Viertel and Ilse Lahn ended abruptly, at least to the extent that it is present in the Kohner Archive. A German translation of her book under the title Das unbelehrbare Herz. Ein Leben in der Welt des Theaters, der Literatur und des Films(22) appeared during her lifetime in 1970. Marta Feuchtwanger loved this book and admired it most for what Salka had NOT written. Out of her strong feeling of discretion she had refrained from mentioning the most interesting things, although, according to Marta, by including them she could have made the book into a great sensation. As it was, the book achieved very good success, but did not create any great stir.(23) To be sure, Marta Feuchtwanger was also just as discrete and did not reveal what secrets Salka had kept to herself.

Thus, whoever had expected juicy revelations about Garbo, was disappointed. Salka revealed nothing about her friend except very general, well known and praising facts. Since the 1960s, when Salka had invited her to Klosters for the first time, Greta Garbo regularly visited the Swiss mountain village, which at that time was running over with prominent people, especially with Americans - along with the Viertel clan and Irwin Shaw one could also meet Ernest Hemingway and Elisabeth Bergner here. In the first years Garbo rented a home near Salka, who still, as in Hollywood, liked to receive many visitors. " In later years, as her health became a problem, Salka used to have her dinner prepared by the Hotel Pardenn and sent over. Garbo used the same service at her flat. Lucienne Graessli, who ran the hotel, would often bring the trays herself. At Salka ’ s she would ring before entering and the place the tray on the dining table. She would also ring the bell at Garbo ’ s door but as requested would leave the tray on the floor just outside. "(24)

Liesl Neumann-Viertel also liked to visit Salka in Klosters. She describes what childish pleasure it gave Garbo, when at times both women one after the other greeted Salka with "Good day, Mrs. Viertel."(25) Liesl Neumann-Viertel, who survived her husband by more than forty years and Salka by 16, performed in the theater and in numerous small film roles. Her courage to look ugly paid off, for because of her many roles as an old woman or grandmother, she remained very active until an advanced age. She was also sought for two American films, which were made in Austria: the spy thriller The Secret Ways (1960) and The Wonderful Life of the Brothers Grimm (1962). Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel died on 24 December 1994 in Vienna at the age of 94.

In July 1969 Salka returned once more to Los Angeles, but her arthritis hindered her from visiting old friends like Marta Feuchtwanger - with whom she bizarrely always remained on a formal footing and used the polite form of address to her (in accordance with the formal social used by all the emigranten with each other).(26)

On one occasion the protective wall surrounding Garbo in Klosters was breeched. Garbo tried desperately to prevent anyone from taking pictures of her or writing a biography. However, in summer 1977 the British author Frederick Sands cleverly devised an indirect approach to the screen idol: he used his acquaintance with Deborah Kerr to visit her mother-in-law Salka Viertel, who at that time was already ailing. When he called on her for the fourth time, he met Garbo at her house, as he had hoped.(27) Instead of being outraged or frightened away, the reclusive star actually invited him on walks, and in 1979 Sands was able to publish a book based on their conversations entitled Divine Garbo. Through such occurrences the diva felt herself exploited and betrayed again and again.

Also Salka‘s friend from Los Angeles, the actor Jack Larson together with his partner, the director and author Jim Bridges, visited her in Klosters, where they stayed in the furnished guest rooms in Peter Viertel‘s barn. "At that time in Klosters a whole cocktail circus was taking place," says Jack Larson. "Whenever a celebrity such as, for example, John Kenneth Galbraith came, he was handed around to the cocktail parties in Klosters." Jack Larson had never really become acquainted with Garbo in Los Angeles. "To be honest, I wouldn‘t really have known what I should talk to her about, if I had been alone with her. I only saw her properly for the first time, when I visted Klosters. But there she was with the whole social group, above all with the Viertels, and thus therewere no problems. Peter talked to her in the earthy jargon of the Marine - which especially pleased her. Garbo was a woman, who would have liked to joke but didn‘t know how to do it. Once she announced that she would come to New York for a staged reading of the opera Lord Byron’s Love Letters, for which I had written the libretto. All possible arrangements were made, so that she could attend the performance unnoticed - but then she did not appear after all."(28)

Her old friends Crisstopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy also visited Salka in Klosters. "It must have been in 1972 or 73," says Don Bachardy. "We had just worked on a filmscript and were traveling in Europe." They paid a second visit to her in her small apartment near Peter und Deborah‘s Chalet approximately a year before her death. "At that time she was somewhat bent over, something that we had never noticed about her previously," commented Don.

In the last time of her life Salka became so ill that she had to have constant care by a nurse.(29) Since she could no longer personally look after her friend Garbo, she had hired Lotte Friedländer from Klosters, to watch over her. Salka died 14 years after the publication of her autobiography, on 20 October 1978 at the age of 89. In the center of Klosters in the Protestant cemetery decorated with flowers she found her final resting place. The grave with the simple but beautiful gravestone with its inscription "Salka Viertel 1888-1978," was still often visited by Garbo in the following years.(30) In 1980, two years after Salka‘s death, her literary estate, which filled 12 archive boxes, was purchased by the German Literature Archive in Marbach on the Neckar.

Garbo continued her visits to Klosters until 1988, when her health no longer enabled her to make the trip from New York. The "Divine One," whose friendship influenced Salka‘s life so greatly, died on 15 April 1990 in New York.

The glory days of Klosters were also drawing to their finale. When Irwin Shaw‘s wife Marian, with whom had lived much of his life in a state of war because of his Casanova proclivities, wrested the Chalet Mia away from him in an embittered divorce, he had to rent an apartment on the first floor of a house on the main street, and these much smaller quarters together with the absence of a wife sharply curtailed his social life. Irwin Shaw died in 1984, prematurely aged by his dissolute life as one of the richest authors of his generation. He had led the life that he had dreamed of as a small boy in Brooklyn. After Salka another era in Klosters came to an end with his death.

Gottfried Reinhardt outlived Salka by a long margin. Although he could position himself successfully as few other remigrants at the Salzburg Festival and in the West German film business, he was also drawn back to California again. In 1987 the Reinhardts returned to Los Angeles to be near their son, who in the meantime had made a career as a judge. Although Gottfried Reinhardt was successful in Europe as well as in America, he suffered, as did many emigrants, from the fact that there could be no real return, and he became a wanderer between the worlds, to the two or three places or perhaps none at all, where he truly felt at home: "... I admit," he said in an interview, "to being an absolute schizophrenic in this repect, I am known in Europe for being an ardent American, and in America an ardent European."(31) On 19 July 1994, the same year as his wife, Gottfried Reinhardt died in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer. With him ended the the eventful life of a man, whose important role within the German Colony in the 1930s and 40s is forgotten today. Since he had already in 1933 built an indepndent career as a producer at MGM, where his father‘s name had absolutely helped give him an entree, he assumed an important role as mediator between the studio and the arriving streams of exiles after 1933, 1938 and 1940 in Hollywood - a role, which he had not aspired to and which harmed more than helped him professionally. His position in Hollywood, however, was so solid, that he could stand by his father and his less successful brother Wolfgang as producer at Warner Bros. in word and deed. Gottfried Reinhardt‘s name is however, above all else, inseparable from the glory days of Salka and Mabery Road.

Peter Viertel, who could look back on a successful life and career as a novel and screenplay writer with several world class films, appeared like Jack Larson in the homage to Garbo film for television Greta Garbo: A Lone Star (2001), in which Lauren Bacall moderated clips from Garbo films and interviews, among them one with Peter Viertel. He could do this more or less in the place of his mother, who was no longer alive, and who many years earlier had wanted to prepare exactly such a film. Peter Viertel and Deborah Kerr, who spend a part of the year in Marbella, Spain, are the last of the once large and glorious Hollywood colony in Klosters.

Thomas, about whom Salka had worried so much, could find his own way later in life. "Everything that I was to have in my life, came to me only late in my life," he says today philosophically. Thomas studied at UCLA and finally landed a job with the city administration of Los Angeles, at first in municpal administration and then as a social worker, which better suited his sense of justice and for values in life. There he met his second wife Ruth, who was also a social worker. (32) He wanted a profession, which would allow him free time to write poetry. Thomas Viertel is the only one of the sons, who remained in Los Angeles. He, too, is a "real" Americaner; he naturally still understands German but no longer speaks it fluently.

The oldest sone, Hans (John), who had worked with Brecht in Santa Monica as well as in the Reinhardt Studio in Los Angeles, published his novel The Ely Story in 1950 and then decided for an academic lcareer on the East Coast, where he could count the famous Linguist Noam Chomsky among his friends. His acquaintance with Brecht led to his participation in the documentary film My name is Bertolt Brecht - Exile in USA (1989) by Norbert Bunge and Christine Fischer-Defoy. Hans Viertel talks about Brecht‘s part in writing and making the film Hangmen Also Die.


To Live with the Heart. Hostess, Initiator and Chronicler of Hollywood What remains of a great career, a famous house and friendship with a living legend? In Salka Viertel‘s life there were times when she could have only answered - "Nothing but memories." In Austria and Germany in any case she was the most forgotten of the three prominent women screenplay writers with Viennese roots. While the press in Austria always gave Vicki Baum a certain amount of attention, and paid significantly less heed to Gina Kaus, who in any case had likewise been a bestseller author in the 1930s, Salka Viertel no longer existed in the public consciousness in Central Europe, although her ex-husband Berthold Viertel enjoyed a certain amount of recognition in Austria during the postwar period.

Salka was drawn back back to Eueope only when she had lost everything in America: her husband, her lover, her job and finally her house that was her life. Otherwise she would have been very happy to stay in the USA, she was after all one of the few voluntary emigrants, who actually had found their homeland in California. Despite her attachment, she had not been able to establish herself in order to be able to remain there. It is noteworthy that she did not for an instant think of returning to Poland, Vienna or Berlin, all stations of her life on her journey to America. Only Switzerland as neutral territory - politically neutral and neutral in terms of her personal life - came into question, just as was the case for other emigrants such as her friends the Manns and the Zuckmayers as well as Curt Goetz and his wife Valerie von Martens, whom she knew from her time at MGM.

A strong motive of her life was to recreate her childhood home Wychylovka. For Wychylovka was for her far more than a geographical place in the world, but embodied her utopia of a harmonious way of life within her large family. Wychylovka had represented a calm sanctuary also for distant family members - exactly in this way had Salka kept up this tradition in Santa Monica and had taken in her mother, near and far relatives, even animals that others no longer had any "use for" such as the Dachshund Frieda. It was a way of life, which ended with her generation and was not continued by her sons. It was simply one of those things that made Salka Viertel an exceptional person.

Her role as hostess of many intellectuals on Mabery Road doubtless sprang from her innermost nature. She liked to gather friends around her and also needed the intellectual stimulus, as she was accustomed to in Europe. Not in vain did Hollywood again and again have to attract creative "resources" from Europe. At the same time she and her family could also profit from these social events by networking and making useful professional contacts, just as could her guests who were visiting. The agent and later producer Ingo Preminger, the brother of the director Otto Preminger, who lived in Pacific Palisades in the vicinity of Mabery Road, was a close friend of Salka Viertel and visited her often: "Very interesting people were there. Salka was a very warm and very intelligent person, also very opinionated. She stood, however, behind other talented people such as her brother Eduard Steuermann, a world famous pianist, and her lover Gottfried Reinhardt."(33)

The hospitality bore its fruits and at times looks like a conscious attempt to seek contacts. All of the Viertels were masters at networking. Jobs and commissions were achieved through friendships and acquaintances. Salka Viertel did not become famous as an actress or writer but as a hostess and as the confidant of Garbo, who made possible a legendary career for her. Salka was hired by MGM primarily to suggest ideas for Garbo films, because she was one of the few people who had access to her, and only secondarily also for her knowledge of Central European literature and drama, which she could draw on for possible film subjects That MGM after the last Garbo film, which appeared in the movie houses on New Year‘s eve 1941 and was a flop, no longer needed the star after that at any price is not surprising: the European market, the source of the best earnings for Garbo films, had become unimportant because of the war and was replaced by South America. When the studio no longer needed Garbo, Salka also became superfluous and expendable. She had had always been too outspoken politically and allowed herself the luxury of her own opinion of the studio bosses, and now they no longer had to put up with that. It was not surprising that because of Berthold‘s activities the FBI was also investigating her. Whether her name was actually on the blacklist or not, her employment with the studios was at any rate over because of the Hollywood‘s decline. The demand now was for authors who could write and deliver a polished script complete with dialogue and not only a film subject or treatment.

Her former lover Gottfried Reinhardt found 165 Mabery Road the "most polyglot, most universal home in Hollywood."(34) Salka‘s open personality, together with the mythos of Garbo, which enveloped her and the house, created a major attraction for many intellectual and film greats. In retrospect her house has often been compared to a salon. Which was all the more important, since there were and are no public places in Los Angeles, where a larger group of people can meet regularly to converse and exchange ideas. Her Sunday afternoon open houses, at which one could simply appear or not as one wished - on the old continent one would have called it a Jour fixe - substituted for the coffee house for many, with only the one difference that at Salka‘s really many big shots took part and not only the endless conversationalists. Her memorable birthday celebration for Heinrich Mann became a sidereal hour of emigration.

Salka was no beauty, but nevertheless still an attractive, appealing woman even after her red hair had long turned white, an "earth mother" with a strong allure. She radiated the charm and culture of the old Habsburg Monarchy and of old Europe. Salka united warm kindness of heart and worldliness with the attempt to treat other people with nobility and by no means in petty fashion. Her Galician hospitality was expressed in almost unbelievable generosity - which at times could go to extremes of recklessness and extravagance - and her joy as an excellent cook in serving her guests the old Austrian dishes wonderfully prepared. Decades later her friends still praised her Apfelstrudel and Gugelhupf as well as her other Austrian pastries.

After all the praise, which she received from all sides, the ironic dig of her old family friend and neighbor, Fred Zinnemann, who in terms of age could have been her son, seems positively refreshing: ".Salka, one of the world’s most generous and opinionated women, was famous in the European colony as a hostess and a champion purveyor of scintillating gossip ... Gossip sessions attended by at least three people, usually female."(35) Her love of gossip is also evident in many of her letters to Ilse Lahn. In her autobiography, on the other hand, Salka very nobly held herself back and was admired by many of her friends, for all that she had NOT written. She could have told things about Berthold Viertel, Garbo, Kohner, Ingrid Bergman and others, facts, which were obtained from other sources for this book.

Salka and Gottfried were also intellectual soul mates in the sense that they both always let themselves be exploited by someone close to them who purported to be a genius: Salka by Berthold, Gottfried by his father Max Reinhardt. Salka was only indirectly critical. Two people stood out in her life, because through their actions and sins of omission toward her they did not treat her in a very noble manner: Berthold and Garbo. Nevertheless she did not portray them as bad people. Especially in the case of Garbo she had to carefully weigh every word in her memoirs, since the diva came to Klosters often and it was to be expected that she would read the book attentively. Salka passed over a great deal about Garbo, because she was her oldest friend, who ever since the beginning of the 1930s had accompanied her through more than three decades of her life, and after all she she still still felt prodound gratitude to her for the unique Hollywood career, which she had made possible for her. Without Garbo she would have been nothing but an unemployed actress in middle age. On the other hand, Salka also had tried to find for Garbo roles that would suit her and that she could throw herself into entirely, such as Queen Christine of Sweden. Of Garbo‘s 14 sound films between 1930 and 1941, was involved in five, first locating the story and then writing the screnplay, in one, Anna Christie, performing the large secondary role as "Marty, the Waterfront Whore."

Her education as the "older daughter" and her experiences as a theater actress in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden and Leipzig served her as excellent preparation for her work as a script writer. From her performances as an actress Salka knew what lines (pointen) worked and how to construct effective dramatic sequences - invaluable background for "screenwriter" in Hollywood. Her practical theater experience compensated for the fact that previously in Berlin she had only written a single film treatment. What subjects Salka Viertel proposed, which ones were rejected and which accepted by Hollywood, and how they were altered by the studios, reveals in very characteristic manner the mechanisms to which European authors were subjected in "Tinseltown."

Salka must in any case be regarded as a great giver - a generous giver of hospitality and ideas, as one who did not always act wisely because she was never calculating but one who always followed her heart.


Berthold Viertel: The Divided Soul

Die durchs Exil uns trugen,
Die Frauen, uns verbunden,
Die törichten und die klugen
Haben den Weg gefunden.

Der ging über Berge und Meere,
Im endlosen Trott und mit Hast.
Und der Mann war oft eine schwere,
Undankbare Last. (36)

Thus begins Berthold Viertel‘s poem "The Women," in which he criticizes the behavior of men in emigration, and it seems certain that he was including himself among them, as was certainly appropriate, even though he had not fled to Hollywood with his family, but came with an invitation and a contract for a well-paid job in his pocket, cosondern kam mit einem gut dotierten Vertrag in der Tasche. Neither were his three sons born in exile.

The interlude with Kohner is characteristic of Viertels attitude toward the film industry. He wanted with all his heart to be successful in Hollywood. Yet Yet to accomplish that would have taken more adaptation, more careful choice of subjects as well as more diplomacy in his treatment of the people who could do something for him, particularly the studio bosses. The makeup of his personality was diametrically opposite of the kind of nature needed for success as a director. Also his tendency to spend all of his time exclusively in the emigrant circles, which ultimately became his main activity,das schließlich zu seiner Haupttätigkeit wurde, was not conducive to success. Rather than changing his fixed ideas and ways of doing things, he preferred to let himself be supported by women.Lieber als von seiner fixen Idee abzurücken, liess er sich durch seine Frauen unterstützen.

In his professional as well as his private life he remained locked into the genius cult of 1920s German Expressionismus, even when this passing aberration of a unique era had long fallen out of fashion. Because of his genius he felt entitled to withdraw from any material responsibility twowrd his family and turned the payment of the mortgage on the house and all other living expenses as well as the education of his sons over to his wife. He even had her pay for the publication of his book of poetry Fürchte dich nicht! (1941).(37) For him it was self-evident that he had the right to cultivate his "genius," which, however, harmed more than helped him, because it distorted his view of reality.

Viertel‘s disorganisation, which Zinnemann, Isherwood and Gottfried Reinhardt all describe, is perhaps possible for a writer (although the most successful German authors in California of world-wide fame - Thomas Mann, Franz Werfel and Lion Feuchtwanger - were models of disciplined workers), but a film director has to proceed in an organized manner, since he is responsible for a large budget and for adhering to the schedule allocated for the project. It appears that Vierte, a recognized lyric poet, with his wish to be a film director was insisting on a profession which did not suit his personal capabilities.

Another factor was that his star burned out almost like a shooting star in America, while Salka‘s radiated brighter and brighter: "On the whole there were scarcely circumstances in which she did not find her way. On the other hand, there were scarcely any in which he found his way,"(38) wrote Gottfried Reinhardt. Gottfried asked himself what Berthold Viertel was doing at all in the business of making films and commented cynically: "The activity and the the authority connected to it open oulets for preoccupations or concerns which either have nothing to do with stage and film or only on the periphery - such as politics sociology, ecology, psychiatry, historical revision and playing with style, criticism in every form of every object - and to have to hold forth for which stage and film, since the enthusiast is not educationally qualified in the different fields. So he usurps the position and die aura of the director, in order to bring his capabilities to the man as a quasi representative. That can certainly lead to interesting results, usually, however, to irrelevant sidetracks and estrangement of the public. And the public - apart from the box office - whether desired or not, is now, after all, an equal partner of the presenter in the craft of film making. Berthold‘s first wife provides a third explanation for his unsatisfying flirtation with film. She believed that the otherwise infallible genius had one weakness: for silk shirts. They are expensive, however, and only film would make them possible."(39)

Whether Viertel ever reflected on his suitability for the profession is not known, but it is doubtful, even when Salka kept making intimations in this direction and suggested that he could write his poems in Hollywood, since she was earning enough to support them. How much he suffered from his self-inflicted situation, he expressed again and again in his poems, although he never went so far as to attribute the responsibility to himself:

Fall in California
Die Leiter blieb noch unterm Feigenbaume stehen
doch er ist gelb und längst schon leer gegessen
Von Schnäbeln und Mündern,
wem’s zuerst geglückt.

Wird ihn der nächste Sommer grün und reich beladen sehen,
Und kam der Friede unterdessen,
Mag es ein anderer sein, der hier die Feigen pflückt.(...)(40)


Die Liebe
Ich habe keine Macht, o nein -
Aber dir kann ich noch wehtun.
Ich wohne in einem fremden Land,
Ich esse Gnadenbrot,
Meine Stube blickt hilflos aufs Meer hinaus -
Aber dir kann ich noch wehtun.
Ich gehöre zwei Völkern an
Und habe beide verloren.
Das eine ist machtlos, wie ich.
Das andere wird bald machtlos sein, wie ich -
Aber dir kann ich noch wehtun.(41)

Berthold Viertel suffered unspeakably, let his fellow human beings know this and announced it through his poems, although, viewed objectively, many other suffered far worse but mastered their fate with more bearing, dignity and positive thinking, such as Salka or Liesl. With his personality Berthold Viertel would have also failed as a film director in Germany and England. He was his own worst enemy. It was not emigration that ruined his professional success, on the contrary, he came to Hollywood with a generous contract, and many many others, like Dieterle or Lubitsch, were able to build splendid careers on such a basis. Others, like Zinnemann, started out without any such rich support and still by virtue of hard work and talent made successful careers. Viertel was an intellectual prodigy, endorsed at an early age by no less than the supercritic Karl Kraus, but one who never lived up to his promise.

As director he would have had to concentrate completely on his craft, for film directing is not a profession that one can do as a secondary activity and with a distracted mind. Viertel, however, preferred to divide his activities. More than for any other reason, he failed because he was not open and flexible enough to change. His concentration on the activity of professional emigrant gave him - but only within the emigrant community - the prestige and the feeling of importance which Hollywood denied him and enabled him to give readings of his own works or publish them, gaining him a public response which he could not have found any other way. In return for this public response he, complete egotist that he was, willingly lived on the support of his wife and and his mistress. The women earned the money, Salka, who was working in the film industry, and Liesl Neumann, who did not feel too proud to appear in small film roles as a maid, but usually had a personal income.

With a strategy like Berthold‘s one usually does not advance in the USA. Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Otto Preminger, Ernst Lubitsch and nicht least his wife Salka only found success because they adapted to the American circumstances. Also in terms of most of the subjects, which Viertel used, he remained too greatly trapped in the actual, political, journalistic, without addressing things, which extended to the general human situations, as one finds in the works of directors like Preminger, Wilder, Lubitsch and Zinnemann.

That he no longer received any more directing jobs did not result from his "uncompromising artistry," which did not allow him to force himself into the apparatus of the film industry,(42) as Carl Zuckmayer believed, or from his artistic principles , for also in the past he had taken on all subjects offered to him.. Nor was Hollywood to blame. On the contrary: Initially Hollywood had welcomed him with open arms, he had had his chance with nine films, and as his negotiations with Kohner prove, he would would have been only too happy to make more films - if he could have received an offer. It therefore cannot be the case by any means that "the film subjects did not appeal to him," as found again and again in the secondary literature, which, it must be said, did not have access to Viertel‘s files and letters from the Kohner Archive. (43) With these documents the case is clear: the simple fact is that Berthold Viertel was a failure as a film director. "In film plagte den Blutspritzenden Anämie,"(44) said also Gottfried Reinhardt. The European theater system, to which Viertel could dedicate himself again upon his return, suited him much better than the film set. His film career was over by 1936, although he refused to admit this for a long time. As director he failed because of the unprofessional way in which he carried out his duties. Despite his most vigorous efforts he never received another job directing or a commission for a screenplay. Today Viertel is so forgotten as a German, English and American director that his name does not even appear in any of the film histories. Berthold Viertel did not write an autobiography in the normal sense. Autobiographical fragments were published only in 1991, almost forty years after his death under the title Kindheit eines Cherub (Childhood of a Cherub).(45) Whoever hopes for an elucidation of of his will be disappointed, because the book consists of rather colorfully mixed, if not to say confused reflections. Sometimes self-reflection and resignation also shine through, when he for example comes to the conclusion: I did not leave any kingdom. My work had already begun in the quicksand of crumbling circumstances. It remained provisional, and done on call. No larger work succeeded for me."(46)

Viertel war allerdings ein großer Blender, der mit seinem Charme und seiner Persönlichkeit anfangs viele überzeugen konnte. Immer wieder war auch bei Salka und Liesl die Rede davon, dass er gerade über seiner literarischen Arbeit sitze, die aber, wie sich später herausstellte, keineswegs so umfangreich ist. Die Folge davon waren Depression und Rastlosigkeit. Vermutlich hätte er selbst am meisten profitiert, wenn er aus den Genie-Höhen herabgestiegen wäre und sich den konkreten Anforderungen des Tages gestellt hätte.

Wenn man hingegen den Nachruhm in Betracht zieht, hat er doch Recht behalten. Er erhielt eine ehrenvolle Stelle als Burgtheaterregisseur in Österreich, während Salka ums Überleben kämpfte. Sein Name ist zumindest in Österreich den meisten Gebildeten geläufig, von Salka Viertel-Steuermann oder Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel haben die meisten noch nie gehört. Obwohl seine Leben in der Emigration ebenso wie das von Max Reinhardt zu den Paradebeispielen für zum Teil selbstverschuldetes Scheitern gehört, wurde Berthold Viertel auf Grund des damals noch mangelnden Informationsflusses zwischen den Kontinenten bei seiner Rückkehr in Österreich als der große Hollywood- und Broadway-Regisseur angesehen.


Peter Viertel: Ein erfolgreicher Drehbuchautor zwischen Amerika und Europa

Peter Viertel wurde am 16. November 1920 in Dresden geboren, als seine Eltern, Salka Viertel-Steuermann und Berthold Viertel, als Schauspielerin, bzw. Regisseur am dortigen Theater engagiert waren. Mit seinen Eltern und den Brüdern Hans und Thomas kam er schon als Achtjähriger 1928 in die USA. Obwohl er sich von Anfang an danach sehnte, ein richtiger Amerikaner, ein richtiger Kalifornier zu sein, blieb er doch lange Zeit ein Wanderer zwischen den Welten, genauer gesagt, zwischen Hollywood einerseits und Schweiz/Frankreich/England auf der anderen Seite.

Als erfolgreicher Drehbuchautor, der sowohl mit der englischen Sprache als auch dem American Way of Life aufgewachsen war, konnte er ernten, was seine Eltern gesät hatten. Das Aufwachsen in der Mabery Road, in dem sich Intellektuelle und Filmstars zwanglos trafen, in dem die Garbo ein "normaler" Hausgast war, bot ihm aus allernächster Nähe Einblick in das Filmgeschäft. Abgesehen von der nötigen Sensibilität und der Bildung, die in einem solchen Elternhaus als etwas Selbstverständliches galten, war die Mabery Road auch eine Kontaktbörse. Selbst für einen so talentierten Menschen wie Peter Viertel war es leichter, mit den vorhandenen Beziehungen wie z. B. zu Dorothy Parker und Fred Zinnemann in das Filmgeschäft einzusteigen als für einen völligen Außenseiter. Obwohl er sich als Amerikaner fühlte und damit höchstens ein Emigrant der zweiten Generation war, dauerte es Jahrzehnte, in denen er beruflich mit Hemingway und Huston durch die Welt reiste, bis er seinen eigenen Ruhepol im schweizerischen Klosters fand.

Mit seinem Roman The Canyon trat bereits der 19jährige als literarisches Wunderkind hervor. Sein weiteres Leben verbrachte er zwischen den beiden Polen der Literatur und dem einträglicheren Verfassen von Filmscripts. Peter Viertel brachte 1992 in New York seine Autobiografie Dangerous Friends heraus(47), in der er nicht nur auf seine Jugend in der Mabery Road, sondern auch auf seine beiden beruflichen und persönlichen Mentoren John Huston und Ernest Hemingway eingeht.

© Gertraud Steiner Daviau (Vienna)

The Films of Salka Viertel


I. The Garbo films, all produced by MGM:

Queen Christina

Release: 26 December 1933
Director: Rouben Mamoulian; screenplay: Salka Viertel, H. M. Harwood, Sam Behrman (dialogue), Ben Hecht (uncredited), based on the story by Salka Viertel and Margaret LeVine
Performers: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith, Lewis Stone

The Painted Veil

Release: 7 October 1934
Director: Richard Boleslawski; screenplay: John Meehan, Salka Viertel and Edith Fitzgerald, based on the novel The Pained Veil by Somerset Maugham
Performers: Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent, Warner Oland, Jean Hersholt

Anna Karenina

Release: 30 August 1935
Director: Clarence Brown; s creenplay: Clemence Dane and Salka Viertel, based on the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoi
Performers: Greta Garbo, Frederic March, May Robson, Freddie Bartholomew, Maureen O ’ Sullivan, Basil Rathbone

Conquest (Maria Walewska)

Release: 4 November 1937
Director: Clarence Brown; screenplay: Samuel Hoffenstein, Salka Viertel and Sam N. Behrman, based on the novel Pani Walewska by Waclaw Gasiorowski
Performers: Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen

Two-Faced Woman

Release: 31 December 1941
Director: George Cukor; screenplay: Sam N. Behrman, Salka Viertel and George Oppenheimer, based on the play Die Zwillingsschwester by Ludwig Fulda
Performers: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett

II. Other Films

Apart from Wolgaschiffer Salka ’ s work was uncredited:

Deep Valley (USA 1947)

Production company: Warner Brothers
Director: Jean Negulesco; screenplay: Dan Totheroh (novel), Stephen Morehouse Avery, Salka Viertel, William Faulkner (uncredited)
Performers: Ida Lupino, Dane Clark u.a.

The Paradine Case (USA 1947)

Production companies: United Artists/Vanguard Productions
Director: Alfred Hitchcock; Screenplay: Robert Hichens (novel), James Bridie, Alma Reville (adaptation); uncredited:Ben Hecht, David O. Selznick, Salka Viertel
Performers: Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn and others.

L’Eterna Femmina (Italy 1954)

Producer: Victor Pahlen
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer, Marc Allégret; screenplay collaboration: Salka Viertel
Performers: Hedy Lamarr, Gérard Oury, and others.

L’Amante di Paride (Italy 1954)

Producer: Victor Pahlen
Directors: Marc Allégret, Edgar G. Ulmer, screenplay: Marc Allégret, Hugh Gray, Aeneas MacKenzie, Vittorio Nino Novarese, Vladim Penianikoy, Salka Viertel
Performers: Hedy Lamarr (Hedy Windsor, Helena of Troy, Empress Josephine, Geneviève of Brabant), Gérard Oury (Napoleon), and others.

Die Wolgaschiffer (Italy/Germany/France 1958)

The film was an international coproduction and was released under different titles:
I battellieri del Volga (Italy 1958)
Les bateliers de la Volga (France 1958)
The Boatman (UK 1958)
Prisoner of the Volga (USA 1958)
Die Wolgaschiffer (Germany and Austria 1959)

Director: Victor Tourjanski; screenplay: Damiano Damiani, Salka Viertel, Victor Tourjanski
Performers: John Derek, Elsa Martinelli, Gert Fröbe, and others.

Die Staatsfeinde (Enemies of the Third Reich) , TV film for the Bertelsmann company

Screenplay: Salka Viertel (1961)
Salka Viertel ’ s scripts A Full Life (Warner Brothers, 1940), Every Thursday Off (Paramount, 1943) and Nina Storm (F.R. Pictures, 1943) were never produced.


Die Heilige Flamme (USA 1931), in German

Producer: Henry Blanke
Directors: William Dieterle, Berthold Viertel; screenplay: Heinrich Fraenkel, Berthold Viertel, based on the play The Sacred Flame by W. Somerset Maugham
Performers: Gustav Fröhlich, Dita Parlo, Charlotte Hagenbruch, Anton Pointner, Vladimir Sokoloff, Salka Viertel, Hubert von Meyerinck, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, and others.

Anna Christie (USA 1930), German-language version of the Garbo film

Director: Jacques Feyder; screenplay based on the play by Eugene O ’ Neill, adaptation by Frances Marion; German screenplay by Frank Reicher, with additional German dialogue by Walter Hasenclever
Performers: Greta Garbo (Anna Christie), Theo Shall, Hans Junkermann, Salka Viertel (Marthy Owens), Herman Bing (Larry, the bar tender), and others.

Die Maske fällt (USA 1930), in German

Director: William Dieterle; screenplay by Bradley King, based on the novel by Henning Berger
Performers: Anton Pointner, Lissy Arna, Carla Barthell, Karl Etlinger, Arno Frey, Charlotte Hagenbruch, Leon Janney, Salka Viertel, Paul Weigel, Ulrich Steindorff and others.

Seven Faces (USA 1929)

Director: Berthold Viertel; Screenplay: Dana Burnet, based on Richard Connell ’ s story A Friend of Napoleon
Performers: Paul Muni, Marguerite Churchill, Lester Lonergan, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Eugenie Besserer, Salka Steuermann (as the wax figure of Katherine of Russia)


(1) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 25 June 1960, KA.

(2) Harry Kurnitz (born 5 January 1908 in New York, died 18 March 1968 in Los Angeles), a former newspaper reporter, arrived in Hollywood in 1938, where he became a prolific screenwriter, of such films as Billy Wilder ’ s Witness for the Prosecution (1957). He also became a successful novelist and playwright.

(3) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 7 November 1960, KA.

(4) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 29 September 1961. Thomas Viertel, born 7 August 1925, worked as a story analyst for the William Morris Agency, strove for a career as writer and director, then worked in the city government of Los Angeles.

(5) Peter Viertel: Dangerous Friends, p. 123.

(6) Michael Shnayerson: Irwin Shaw, p. 206.

(7) Christopher Isherwood: Diaries, p. 563.

(8) Peter Viertel: Dangerous Friends, p. 381

(9) Geza Korvin (born 21 November 1907 in Piestany, Austria-Hungary, now Slovakia, died 18 June 1998 in New York) studied, like many Hungarians, at the Sorbonne in Paris where he had already worked in still and motion picture photography. He arrived in the United States in 1940 to study acting. After his debut on Broadway in 1943 movie producer and agent Charles K. Feldman signed him to a contract for Universal.

(10) Michael Shnayerson: Irwin Shaw, p. 344.

(11) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 7 November 1960, KA.

(12) Karen Swenson: Greta Garbo, p. 531 ff.

(13) Michael Shnayerson: Irwin Shaw, p. 322.

(14) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 3 August 1961, KA.

(15) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 19 December 1961, KA.

(16) Ibid.

(17) Ibid.

(18) Gottfried Reinhardt: Der Apfel fiel vom Stamm, p. 266 f.

(19) ### selection of Gottfried Reinhardt ’ s films ### As producer in Hollywood The Great Waltz, 1938; Comrade X, 1940; Rage in Heaven, 1941; Two-Faced Woman, 1941; Homecoming, 1948 (associate producer); Command Decision, 1948 (associate producer); Big Jack, 1949; The Great Sinner, 1949; The Red Badge of Courage, 1951; Young Man with Ideas, 1952; ###As director in Hollywood The Story of Three Loves, 1953; Betrayed, 1954###As director in Germany Vor Sonnenuntergang, 1956; Menschen im Hotel, 1959; Abschied von den Wolken, 1959; Liebling der Götter, 1960; Stadt ohne Mitleid (Town Without Pity), 1961 (also producer); Jedermann, 1961 (Austria); Elf Jahre und ein Tag, 1963; Situation hoffnungslos, aber nicht ernst, 1965 (also producer); Der Kommissar, TV-Folge, 1969

(20) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 3 September 1962.

(21) Letter of Salka to Ilse Lahn, 1 June 1964.

(22) Hamburg: Claassen, 1970.

(23) Marta Feuchtwanger: An Émigré Life, p. 1190.

(24) Sven Broman: Conversations with Greta Garbo, p. 204.

(25) Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel: Du musst spielen, p. 211.

(26) Letter from Salka, Klosters, to Marta Feuchtwanger, 6 August 1969, Martha Mierendorff Collection, USC Los Angeles.

(27) Karen Swenson: Greta Garbo, p. 547

(28) Interview with Jack Larson, Brentwood, 24 August 2002.

(29) Ibid., p. 548.

(30) Sven Broman: Conversations with Greta Garbo, p. 210.

(31) Gottfried Reinhardt: Hollywood, Hollywood, p. 103 f.

(32) Interview with Thomas Viertel, Glendale, 28 August 2002.

(33) Interview of the author with Ingo Preminger in Pacific Palisades, 15 January 1998.

(34) Gottfried Reinhardt: Der Apfel fiel vom Stamm, p. 283.

(35) Fred Zinnemann: A Life in the Movies. An Autobiography. New York: Charles Scribner 1992, p. 34.

(36) Berthold Viertel: Dichtungen und Dokumente. Gedichte, Prosa, Autobiographische Fragmente. Selected and edited by Ernst Ginsberg. Munich: Kösel, 1956, p. 58.

(37) Siglinde Bolbecher, Konstantin Kaiser: Lexikon der österreichischen Exilliteratur. Vienna: Deuticke, 2001, p. 657.

(38) Gottfried Reinhardt: Der Apfel fiel vom Stamm, p. 282.

(39) Ibid., p. 281.

(40) Berthold Viertel, Der Lebenslauf. New York: Aurora 1946, p. 37

(41) L. c. p. 33.

(42) Carl Zuckmayer, „Vorwort“, p. 12

(43) Gert Heidenreich: „Theater-Biografie Berthold Viertels, p. 490, in: Berthold Viertel: Schriften zum Theater. Munich: Kösel, 1970, pp. 481-491.

(44) Gottfried Reinhardt: Der Apfel fiel vom Stamm, p. 281.

(45) Berthold Viertel: Kindheit eines Cherub. Autobiografische Fragmente. Edited by Siglinde Bolbecher and Konstantin Kaiser. Vienna: Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik, 1991.

(46) Berthold Viertel: Die Überwindung des Menschen. Exilschriften. Edited by Konstantin Kaiser and Peter Roessler. Vienna: Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik 1989, p. 322.

(47) Peter Viertel: Dangerous Friends. At Large With Hemingway and Huston in the Fifties. New York: Doubleday 1992.

5.9. Austrian Writers and the Unifying Aspects of Cultures

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For quotation purposes:
Gertraud Steiner Daviau (Vienna): Weimar on the Pacific: Salka Viertel's Salon at 165 Mabery Road, Santa Monica. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW:

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