Oral Histories

Interview of Henry Blanke

Film producer at Warner Brothers Studios.
Recollections of Henry Blanke
Oral History of the Motion Picture in America
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Film producer at Warner Brothers Studios.
Steinberg, Barry R.
Blanke, Henry
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
4.5 hrs.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Series Statement:
These interviews with prominent individuals in the motion picture industry were completed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Film Institute to the UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The project was directed by Howard Suber, UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The UCLA Oral History Program provided technical advice but was not involved in respondent selection, research participation, research preparation, interviewing, editing, or transcript preparation.
Early life in Vienna; father, painter Wilhelm Blanke, contacted by Paul Davidson of UFA studios; Henry Blanke employed as production assistant at UFA after World War I; fired for participation in strike at UFA; early work with Ernst Lubitsch on The Wife of Pharaoh; Famous Players-Lasky, European Film Alliance; move to United States with Lubitsch, 1922; work with Lubitsch at Warners during silent period; sent to Europe to run Warner Brothers' German productions; return to United States; head of foreign department at Warners; making Spent Bullets with William Dieterle; work with John Huston on The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Paul Muni and Louis Pasteur, Zola, and Juarez; work with writers Aben Finkel, Edward Anhalt, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, Robert Anderson, Sheridan Gibney; work with Jack Warner, Darryl Zanuck, and Hal Wallis; Jack Warner and The African Queen; Motion Picture Code and censorship; early sound development at Warners; importance of camera direction; good cutting as essential part of production; use of musical backgrounds; location shooting; changes in Hollywood and movie industry; work with Bette Davis on The Old Maid, Old Acquaintance, and The Petrified Forest; role of producers; relations with directors; formation of producers guild; work with Jules and Phil Epstein; making biographical films; Eric Korngold; making The Nun's Story; Fred Zinnemann; development of career at Warners; Max Reinhardt, Dieterle, and A Midsummer Night's Dream; Mickey Rooney; supervision of editing; dialogue in The African Queen.