John Brahm

John Brahm (August 17, 1893 – October 12, 1982) was a film and television director.[1] His films include The Undying Monster (1942), The Lodger (1944), Hangover Square (1945), The Locket (1946), The Brasher Doubloon (1947), and the 3D horror film, The Mad Magician (1954).

John Brahm
Hans Brahm

(1893-08-17)August 17, 1893
Hamburg, German Empire
DiedOctober 12, 1982(1982-10-12) (aged 89)
OccupationFilm director, television director

Early life

Brahm was born Hans Brahm in Hamburg, the son of actor Ludwig Brahm and the nephew of theatrical impresario Otto Brahm.[2]


He started his career in the theatre as an actor. After World War I he shuttled between Vienna, Berlin and Paris, eventually becoming a director, and was appointed resident director for acting troupes at the Deutsches Theater and the Lessing Theater, both in Berlin.[2]

With the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, Brahm left the country, first moving to England. After working as a movie production supervisor he got a chance to direct his first film Broken Blossoms in 1936, a remake of D.W. Griffith's 1919 film by the same name.

He moved to the US the next year where he began his Hollywood career at Columbia Pictures and eventually moved to 20th Century-Fox. He directed the ill-fated Let Us Live, the true story of two men wrongly convicted of murder who were almost executed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Authorities there were embarrassed by the incident and put pressure on the studio to cancel the film. The studio made the film nonetheless, but quietly, with a small budget.

In his book, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929–1968, American film historian and critic Andrew Sarris states that Brahm "hit his stride" in the 1930s with "mood-drenched melodramas", suggesting that Brahm went into artistic decline after this period. Sarris further notes that Brahm did not lack work, as he made "approximately 150 TV films"[3] during the 1950s and 1960s, directing numerous episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone. Brahm's last full-length film was Hot Rods to Hell.[4]

Personal life

He married his first wife Hanna, an actress, who ran off with another actor leaving him seriously depressed. He married, secondly, to actress and singer Dolly Haas,[2] who married Al Hirschfeld, the caricaturist after their divorce. In the 1950s he married his third wife, Anna, with whom he had two children.

Selected filmography


  1. Profile, The New York Times; accessed October 31, 2014.
  2. John Brahm at AllMovie
  3. Sarris, Andrew (1968). The American cinema; directors and directions, 1929–1968. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-306-80728-2.
  4. Mank, Gregory William (2001). Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Horror Films From the Genre's Golden Age. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co Inc Pub. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-7864-1112-2.
  • John Brahm on IMDb
  • Tribute site,; accessed A tribute to John Brahm created by his daughter Sumishta Brahm; accessed October 31, 2014.
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