Brigitte Helm (born Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm, 17 March 1908 – 11 June 1996) was a German actress, best remembered for her dual role as Maria and her double the Maschinenmensch in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis.
Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm
17 March 1908
|Died||11 June 1996 (aged 88)|
|Years active||1927–1935; 1978|
|Spouse(s)||Rudolf Weissbach (m.1928–div.1934)|
Dr. Hugo von Kuenheim (m. 1935–1986; his death)
Born Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm in Berlin, Helm's first role was that of Maria in Metropolis which she began work on while only 18 years old. After Metropolis, Helm made over 30 other films, including talking pictures, before retiring in 1935. Her other appearances include The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), Alraune (1928), L'Argent (1928), Gloria (1931), The Blue Danube (1932), L'Atlantide (1932), and Gold (1934). Helm was considered for the title role in Bride of Frankenstein before Elsa Lanchester was given the role.
Though having a 10-year contract with UFA expiring in 1935, Helm incurred the wrath of Nazi Germany for "race defilement" in marrying her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist of Jewish background. Helm was also involved in several traffic accidents, and was briefly imprisoned. According to Otto Dietrich's book The Hitler I Knew, Adolf Hitler saw that manslaughter charges against her from an automobile accident were dropped.
Helm retired from films because she was "disgusted with the Nazi takeover of the film industry". In 1935, she moved to Switzerland where she later had four children with von Kunheim. In her later years, she refused to grant any interviews concerning her film career.
- Metropolis (1927), director: Fritz Lang
- At the Edge of the World, (Am Rande der Welt, 1927), director: Karl Grune
- The Love of Jeanne Ney (Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney , 1927), director: G.W. Pabst
- The Devious Path also known as Abwege (1928) director: G.W. Pabst
- L'Argent (1928), director: Marcel L'Herbier
- Alraune (1928), director: Henrik Galeen; title role
- Secrets of the Orient (Geheimnisse des Orients, 1928), director: Alexandre Volkoff
- Yacht of the Seven Sins (Die Yacht der sieben Sünden, 1928), directors: Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck
- Scandal in Baden-Baden (Skandal in Baden-Baden, 1929), director: Erich Waschneck
- The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna (Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna, 1929), director: Hanns Schwarz
- Alraune (1930), director: Richard Oswald; title role
- The Singing City (Die singende Stadt, 1930), director Carmine Gallone
- Gloria (1931), director: Hans Behrendt
- In the Employ of the Secret Service (Im Geheimdienst, 1931), director: Gustav Ucicky
- The Blue Danube (1932), director: Herbert Wilcox
- The Countess of Monte Cristo (Die Gräfin von Monte-Christo, 1932), director: Karl Hartl
- The Mistress Of Atlantis (Die Herrin von Atlantis, 1932) director: G.W. Pabst
- Three on a Honeymoon (Hochzeitsreise zu dritt, 1932), director: Erich Schmidt
- Honeymoon Trip (Voyage de noces, 1933), directors: Germain Fried, Joe May, Erich Schmidt
- Happy Days in Aranjuez (Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez, 1933), director: Johannes Meyer
- The Marathon Runner (Der Läufer von Marathon, 1933), director: Ewald André Dupont
- Spies at Work (Spione am Werk, 1933), director: Gerhard Lamprecht
- Inge and the Millions (Inge und die Millionen, 1933), director: Erich Engel
- The Star of Valencia (1933)
- Gold (1934), director: Karl Hartl
- The Island (1934)
- Count Woronzeff (Fürst Woronzeff, 1934), director: Arthur Robison
- An Ideal Husband (Ein idealer Gatte, 1935), director: Herbert Selpin
- Wie im Traum (1978, short), director: Egon Haase
- "Brigitte Helm". The Androom Archives. April 19, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Curtis, pp. 243–44
- Hull, David Stewart (1969). Film in the Third Reich, 1933-1945. University of California Press. p. 127. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Sudendorff, Werner (June 18, 1996). "Obituary: Brigitte Helm". The Independent. London. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- Staedeli, Thomas. Portrait of the actress Brigitte Helm Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Cyranos.ch. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
- Dietrich, Otto (2010). The Hitler I Knew: Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 978-1602399723.
- Thomas Jr., Robert Mcg. (June 14, 1996). "Brigitte Helm, 88, Cool Star Of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'". The New York Times. p. B17.