Access to the full text of the entire article is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Article

Ruttmann, Walter (1889–1941) By Juan, Suárez A

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1219-1
Published: 01/10/2016
Retrieved: 15 August 2020, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/ruttmann-walter-1889-1941

Article

Born in Frankfurt, Ruttmann studied architecture and design, and started his career as a painter and lithographer before turning to film. His earliest films, Lichtspiel: Opus I–IV (1921–1925), were composed of animated shapes made of cardboard, wood, and plasticine. Some of these films were hand-colored. They are quite close in conception and execution to the experiments in “absolute film” – or “optical music” – developed by Hans Richter (the Rhythmus series) and Viking Eggeling (Diagonal Symphony, 1922) in the early 1920s. The success of the Lichtspiel series earned Ruttmann commercial film commissions. He designed some special effects for Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) and made an animated sequence for Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen (1924).

Ruttman’s fame, however, rests on his participation in Berlin: Symphonie of a Great City (Berlin: Simphonie der Grossstadt, 1927), an emblematic city film scripted by Carl Mayer and filmed mostly by Karl Freund, which Ruttmann himself edited. Occasionally criticized for its detached, superficial rendition of urban life, the film was successful with audiences and immensely influential on subsequent filmmakers.

content locked

Published

01/10/2016

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM1219-1

Print

Citing this article:

Juan, Suárez A. "Ruttmann, Walter (1889–1941)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 15 Aug. 2020 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/ruttmann-walter-1889-1941. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1219-1

Copyright © 2016-2020 Routledge.