Tuesday, July 4, 2023

See That Script Girl?

You see this extra acting as a script girl in The Bank Dick (1940)?  

Her name is Dolly Haas.  A few years earlier, she was a major star in German films.  But Hilter's rise to power prompted her to abruptly flee from Germany.   

Haas had Germay's top filmmakers fashioning vehicles for her.  Two of her directors were Anatole Litvak and William Dieterle, both of whom went on to great success in Hollywood.  Litvak did well with women's films.  His films include All This, and Heaven Too (1940), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) and The Snake Pit (1948).  Dieterle's best-known films are The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941).  The Life of Emile Zola won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The team that produced The Private Secretary Gets Married (1933), one of Haas' most popular films, included Joe Pasternak (producer), Henry Koster (director) and Felix Jackson (writer).  When Haas relocated to England, the trio continued their efforts with a similarly appealing young actress, Franciska Gaal.  Their films with Gaal, including Spring Parade (1934), A Precocious Girl (1934), Peter (1934), Little Mother (1935) and Catherine the Last (1936), were popular in Europe and all but Peter inspired Hollywood remakes.  Later, in Hollywood, Pasternak, Koster and Jackson created a series of hit films starring Universal phenomenon Deanna Durbin.  Haas and Gaal served as prototypes for Durbin, though it must be said that Durbin was feistier on screen than her predecessors.

At the time of her appearance in The Bank Dick, Haas was married to director John Brahm.  She had no need to work as an extra.  How she ended up in the script girl role is unknown.   

Let me now feature the actress in a photo gallery.

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