German filmmaking’s 1924 wanderlust
Ross’s films were part of a trend of travel film production in Germany that included fiction.
While Ross and his wife were on the lengthy journey that resulted in his breakthrough film Mit dem Kurbelkasten um die Erde (1925), another round-the-world trip garnered more attention from the German film press: Der Flug um den Erdball (1925) by Austrian star Ellen Richter and her director-husband Willi Wolff. Known for the exotic backdrops of their films, they outdid themselves with this adventure movie, which included scenes shot everywhere from Genoa to Singapore to San Francisco. Short items in film periodicals like Der Kinematograph would keep readers up-to-date about the crew’s current location. Published one year ahead of the two-parter’s premiere, the four-page ad presented here makes clear that this mode of publicity was a key ingredient to the film’s presentation.
Ross’s and Wolff’s projects are just two samples from an astounding quantity of travel films, both fiction and non-fiction, that were produced in Weimar Germany since the early 1920s. As with the glut of German travel writing in the same period, this national travel media craze has been explained as compensation for Germany’s political isolation and deflated imperial aspirations after World War I.1
Der Flug um den Erdball. [Advertising.] In: Der Kinematograph: 1924 Mar 23; 892; 40.
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30
1 See: Andy Hahnemann. [Excerpt from] Erlebte Weltgeschichte. In: Texturen des Globalen. Geopolitik und populäre Literatur in der Zwischenkriegszeit 1918–1939. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter; 2010; 90–1.