Filmmuseum Potsdam; F: J. Leopold (FMP)
Filmmuseum Potsdam; F: J. Leopold (FMP)

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The Fake Fritz. Films on Frederick II

Plakat zur Ausstellung; Gestaltung: h neun, Berlin
Exhibition and Films
Until 28.10.2012


Book: "Prussia on Celluloid - Films on Frederick II"
DVD: "Frederick II and the Movies"

2012 sees the 300th birthday of Frederick II. On this occasion, Filmmuseum Potsdam presents an exhibition that accompanies and complements the exhibition project "Friderisiko" of Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg.

Frederick II is still a widely discussed political figure. Whenever he appeared on German cinema screens, this was accompanied by intense discussions. Many of these historical films were shot in the original locations in Potsdam or at Babelsberg's Ufa Studios.

Since 1910, more than 40 feature and TV films have informed the image of the Prussian king, yet one actor particularly shaped it: Otto Gebühr. Between 1920 and 1942, he played Frederick II in fifteen films and became so much identified with his character that some gullible moviegoers addressed him as "Your Majesty" on the street. In view of the yearnings and desires of the German population - particularly during the Weimar Republic - this can be considered more than a funny anecdote since films are seismographs measuring the political and historico-cultural vibrations of their period.

The four sections of the exhibition show how films on Prussia helped to create myths, served commercial interests, or became vehicles for National Socialist propaganda. The biographical section explores the question who Otto Gebühr - the man beneath the typical wig - actually was. The exhibition is based on studies of source material, oral history, personal documents, paraphernalia, and contemporary media. It was developed in cooperation with Otto Gebühr's son, Dr. Michael Gebühr.

Events accompanying the exhibition:
In 2012, the screening of all available films on Frederick II at the museum cinema will be accompanied by speeches, discussions, and book presentations.