Typhoon (1933 film)

Typhoon (German: Taifun) is a 1933 German drama film directed by Robert Wiene and starring Liane Haid, Viktor de Kowa and Valéry Inkijinoff. It was based on the 1911 play Typhoon by the Hungarian writer Melchior Lengyel. It was the last German film made by Wiene,[1] who had been a leading director of German silent cinema.

Directed byRobert Wiene
Produced byAdolf Noé
Robert Wiene
Written byMelchior Lengyel (play)
Robert Wiene
StarringLiane Haid
Viktor de Kowa
Valéry Inkijinoff
Veit Harlan
Music byStefan Rényi
Helmut Wolfes
CinematographyHeinrich Gärtner
Edited byCarl Otto Bartning
Distributed byTerra Film (Germany)
Release date
25 August 1933 (Vienna, 1st version)
27 July 1934 (Berlin, 2nd version)
Running time
81/76 minutes


A Japanese doctor, on a secret mission to Paris for his country, becomes romantically involved with a cabaret singer at a Parisian nightclub. His entire mission is put at risk when he kills a rival for her love, a French journalist and blackmailer.

Production and release

The film was produced by Wiene's own independent production company. It was made around the time of the changeover from the Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany. In Germany the film was banned for several reasons, particularly what was perceived as the unflattering portrayal of Europeans in contrast to the noble Asian characters. The censors were also concerned that the incompetence of the French justice system would be taken by audiences to mean the German one, undermining their faith in it.[2]

The film had its debut in the Austrian capital Vienna. It was later released heavily re-shot under the alternative title Polizeiakte 909. The new version dramatically altered its plot from the original and the Japanese are now portrayed as unsympathetic villains.[3] The new version was approved by German censors and released in 1934 although its critical reception was poor. It is possible that Wiene, who had left for Budapest in 1933 following the Nazi rise to power, did not personally work on the new version.[4]



  1. Jung & Schatzberg p.176
  2. Jung & Schatzberg p.172-173
  3. Jung & Schatzberg p.173-174
  4. Jung & Schatzberg p.174-175


  • Jung, Uli & Schatzberg, Walter. Beyond Caligari: The Films of Robert Wiene. Berghahn Books, 1999.
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