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Anton Walbrook

Anton Walbrook

Walbrook went on to establish himself on the English stage and screen as an upper-crust Continental charmer. Much of his most important film work came in British film of the 1940s. He was delicately moving and immensely likeable as the affable German officer in the landmark Powell and Pressburger satire, "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" (1943) and was equally impressive as the temperamental gay impresario in their memorable romantic melodrama "The Red Shoes" (1948). As incisive military types, Walbrook, often sporting a trim mustache and an icy stare, had no peer at challenging another man to a duel or intoning phrases like "You insolent young puppy! ." A fine villain, Walbrook is fondly remembered for his chilling performance in the first screen version "Gaslight" (1940) as a man trying to drive his wife insane. And yet the grace and skill of his work invariably left audiences feeling some core of sympathy for the dashing figure he cut, as in his powerful performance as a man desperate to learn an aging countess' magical secret in Thorold Dickinson's stylish "The Queen of Spades" (1948). Later in his highly distinguished career, Walbrook turned in graceful, sophisticated performances in two splendid and swank Max Ophuls features, "La Ronde" (1950, as the ineffable narrator) and "Lola Montes" (1955, very touching as the aging King of Bavaria).
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Films