Franz Schulz

Franz Schulz (born 22 March 1897 in Prague, Austria-Hungary, died 4 May 1971, in Muralto, Tessin, Switzerland) was a playwright and screenwriter who worked from 1920 through 1956. [1][2][3][4]

Franz Schulz
Born(1897-03-22)22 March 1897
Died4 May 1971(1971-05-04) (aged 74)
Muralto, Tessin, Switzerland
Resting placePambio-Naranco Jewish cemetery in Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland.
Other namesFranz Spencer
Frank Spencer
Franz Spencer-Schulz
Franz G. Springer
CitizenshipUnited States (naturalized)
Alma materCharles University in Prague
Years active1920-1956
Known forChampagner (1929)
Die Privatsekretärin (1931)
Bombs on Monte Carlo (1931)
Midnight (1939)
Adventure in Diamonds (1940)
Born to Sing (1942)
Masquerade in Mexico (1945)
Invasion USA (1952)


Schulz was born into a wealthy family, and although of the Jewish faith, religion played no role in the family. His father was a lawyer and a college friend of the writer Friedrich Adler. Lucia, one of his sisters, was the first wife of the painter László Moholy-Nagy.[2]

As a high school student Schultz studied the works of Max Brod, Egon Erwin Kisch, Franz Kafka, Paul Leppin, and Franz Werfel. Schulz graduated in 1915 from the Charles University in Prague and entered the army shortly thereafter. After release from service, he went to Berlin where he worked from 1918 to 1920 as a journalist, until writing for film. His early screenplays were for crime and drama films, before he turned his attention to comedy. His first "talkie" was the 1930 film Die Drei von der Tankstelle, followed in 1931 by feature film screenplays for Die Privatsekretärin and Bombs on Monte Carlo.[2]

In 1933 Schulz emigrated to Prague. Forced out of the Germany film industry by the rise of The Third Reich, Schultz emigrated to England.[5] In 1939, Schulz co-founded the 'Austrian Exile Theatre Laterndl' that attempted to preserve Viennese culture through performances of cabaret and stage plays until August 1945. The Laterndl became one of the "outstanding cultural achievements of German-speaking exile in London".[6] In 1938-39 he worked with Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett to create the Mitchell Leisen comedy film Midnight.[3] From 1940 on, and later as a naturalized US citizen, Shultz was officially Francis George Spencer. Upon the end of World War II emigrated to the United States where he continued work in film (and later television) as a screenwriter. Schulz later settled in Ascona, Switzerland and worked primarily as a playwright. His last feature film was the 1956 Fuhrmann Henschel, for which he adapted the 1898 Gerhart Hauptmann stage play of the same name for director Josef von Báky.[1]

On 4 May 1971, six weeks after his 74th birthday, Shchulz died at Muralto, Tessin, Switzerland. He is interred at the Pambio-Naranco Jewish cemetery in Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland.


Select filmography

Silent films

Sound films


Partial theatre

  • Judith Trachtenberg (1920)[7]
  • Esther Labarre (1927)[8]
  • The Lost Waltz (1933)[9]
  • A Window Facing East (1949)[10]
  • The happy anthill (1952)[11]
  • Die Drehtür (1959)[12]
  • Die Villa der Madame Vidac (1959)[12]


  • Candide 19… oder das miese Jahrhundert ISBN 3-7466-1029-X
  • Der Sprung ins Leben (1924) (novel)
  • Die Räuberbande (1928) (manuscript)
  • Two Worlds (1930) (manuscript)
  • Gloria (1931) (manuscript)
  • Midnight (1938) (manuscript)
  • Adventure in diamonds (1939) (manuscript)


  1. Hans-Michael Bock (1984). CineGraph: lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film, Volume 1. CINEGRAPH: Lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film (in German). Text + Kritik. ISBN 3-88377-607-6.
  2. Ginny G. von Bülow, Wolfgang Jacobsen (1997). Franz Schulz - ein Autor zwischen Prag und Hollywood: Biographie (in German). Vitalis. ISBN 80-85938-01-4.
  3. Hellmuth Karasek (2006). Billy Wilder: eine Nahaufnahme (in German). Hoffmann und Campe. ISBN 3-455-09553-4.
  4. Gerhard Lamprecht (1967). Deutsche Stummfilme. Deutsche Kinemathek.
  5. S. S. Prawer (2007). Between two worlds: the Jewish presence in German and Austrian film, 1910-1933. Volume 3 of Film Europa. Berghahn Books. pp. 21, 141, 162, 167. ISBN 1-84545-303-4.
  6. Anthony Grenville, ed. (2000). German-speaking exiles in Great Britain, Volume 2. Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies. Rodopi. p. 209. ISBN 90-420-1373-7.
  7. Hans-Michael Bock, Tim Bergfelder (2009). The concise Cinegraph: encyclopaedia of German cinema. Film Europa: German Cinema in an International Context. Berghahn Books. p. 146. ISBN 1-57181-655-0.
  8. William Grange (2008). Cultural chronicle of the Weimar Republic. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-8108-5967-X.
  9. Kurt Gänzl (2001). The encyclopedia of the musical theatre. Schirmer. p. 2270. ISBN 0-02-864970-2.
  10. Claudia Schnurmann (2010). Clio in Hamburg: Historisches Seminar Universität Hamburg 1907-2007 (in German). LIT Verlag Münster. p. 72. ISBN 3-643-10746-3.
  11. Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (2003). Filmexil, Volumes 17-22. Hentrich. p. 39. ISBN 3-88377-726-9.
  12. Society for Exile Studies (1998). Exil und Avantgarden, Volume 16. Text + Kritik. p. 262.
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