Swiss actress Dorothea Wieck (1908-1986) became a major star and a lesbian idol with her role as the adored teacher Fräulein von Bernburg in the German classic Mädchen in Uniform (1931, Leontine Sagan). She made more than fifty films, but she was also a prominent stage actress of the Deutsche Theater, the Schillertheater and other main theatres in Berlin.
She studied with Max Reinhardt and began her film career already in 1926 with Die kleine Inge und ihre drei Väter (1926, Franz Osten). Soon followed more silent films like Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren (1926, Arthur Bergen), Sturmflut (1927, Willy Reiber) and Der Fremdenlegionär (1928, James Bauer) Her breakthrough followed with the talkies where she had an international success with Mädchen in Uniform (1931, Leontine Sagan). First the film was banned when released in the United States, but First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw the importance of the movie and the ban was lifted. Later in Germany the Nazi regime tried to burn all the copies of the film, but they couldn't.
In the next years Dorothea Wieck took part in well-known productions like Gräfin Mariza (1932, Richard Oswald) and Anna und Elisabeth (1933, Frank Wisbar). The international success of Mädchen in Uniform led her to Hollywood where she starred in two films, Cradle Song (1933, Mitchell Leisen) and Miss Fane's Baby Is Stolen (1934, Alexander Hall). Neither significantly furthered her career. She returned to Germany and married into a noble family. In the following years she played in such popular films as Der Student von Prag (1935, Arthur Robison) and Die gelbe Flagge (1937, Gerhard Lamprecht). During wartime she only occasionally appeared in front of the camera, but turned her attention to the theater. To her few movies of those years belong Andreas Schlüter (1942, Herbert Maisch) and the Italian production Inviati speciali (1943). She also worked as a stage director. After the war she first worked in the theatre in Leipzig. In the 1950's followed interesting supporting roles in films like Herz der Welt (1952, Harald Braun), Man on a Tightrope(1953, Elia Kazan), Das Fräulein von Scuderi (1955, Eugen York), Das Forsthaus in Tirol (1955, Hermann Kugelstadt), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958, Douglas Sirk) and Menschen im Hotel (1959, Gottfried Reinhardt). After that she retired from the film business more or less. To her last films belong Die Schachnovelle (1960, Gerd Oswald), Das Mädchen und der Staatsanwalt (1962, Jürgen Goslar) and two episodes of the crime tv series Der Kommissar in 1969 and 1973. In 1973 she was awarded for her work with the Filmband in Gold.
Sources: Thomas Staedeli, All Movie Guide, Wikipedia and IMDB.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, nr. 6846/1. Photo by Atelier Binder, Berlin.