Claudio Macor’s latest play Different From the Others premieres 100 years after the film that inspired it. Have you heard of Anders als die Andern, the first-ever pro-gay film? Watch below – and then get booking!
Different From the Others runs at London’s White Bear Theatre for a limited season from 29 October to 16 November 2019. The premiere production is directed by three-time Offies nominated Jenny Eastop.
During Germany’s progressive, inter-war Weimar Republic years, the first-ever pro-gay film was made. One hundred years since the release of the German film Anders als die Andern (Different From the Others), Claudio Macor tells the backstage story of its making.
In Berlin in 1919, famous sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld becomes concerned with the increase in male suicide and decides to make a film to educate young gay men. He hires Richard Oswald to direct. The cast features stars Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Casablanca), Anita Berber and Reinhold Schunzel.
This new Different From the Others stage play explores Magnus’ determination, the actors’ backgrounds, the love story, the distribution, the aftermath and the ultimate betrayal: the Nazis tried to destroy all prints of the film… but one survived.
Macor first came across the Anders als die Andern film online and was amazed. He says:
“The inter-titles are so progressive they could’ve been written by modern-day activists. This is gay history that demands to be told.”
The original film
In Anders als die Andern, successful violinist Paul Korner falls in love with one of his male students. When a blackmailer threatens to expose him, Korner reflects on how he came to accept his sexual orientation. He takes the blackmailer to court, where a judge is sympathetic, but the public scandal created ruins his career and drives him to suicide.
Anders als die Andern was initially successful when it was released in Germany in 1919, but protests by conservative and anti-semitic groups at cinemas sparked a debate about the boundaries of free speech that led to the formation of censor’s office in 1920 and the subsequent public ban on screenings of the film on the basis that it could recruit underage viewers to homosexuality.
The film was still permitted for use in private and by medical professionals until the Nazis came to power in 1933 and nearly all prints were destroyed in fascist bonfire of so-called “decadent” works.
Different From the Others runs from 29 October to 16 November 2019 at the White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Rd, Kennington, London SE11 4DJ, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Sundays at 4pm. Tickets are priced £12-16. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!