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Curt Siodmak

Curt Siodmak

The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Writer
Countries Germany
Occupations Screenwriter Film director Novelist Writer Science fiction writer
Gender male
Birth 10 August 1902 (Dresden)
Death 2 September 2000 (Three Rivers)
Star sign Leo
The details

Curt Siodmak (August 10, 1902 – September 2, 2000) was a Polish-born American novelist and screenwriter. He is known for his work in the horror and science fiction film genres, with such films as The Wolf Man and Donovan's Brain (the latter adapted from his novel of the same name). He was the younger brother of noir director Robert Siodmak.

Life and career

Although Hollywood incorrectly had Siodmak born in Dresden, Germany, he was actually born Kurt Siodmak in the Jewish ghetto of Podgorze, Krakow, Poland, the son of Rosa Philippine (née Blum) and Ignatz Siodmak. His parents were both from Jewish families in Leipzig. Siodmak acquired a degree in mathematics before beginning to write novels. He invested early royalties earned by his first books in the movie Menschen am Sonntag (1929) a documentary-style chronicle of the lives of four Berliners on a Sunday based on their own lives. The movie was co-directed by Curt Siodmak's older brother Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, with a script by Billy Wilder in collaboration with Fred Zinneman and cameraman Eugen Schüfftan. Siodmak was the nephew of film producer Seymour Nebenzal, who funded Menschen am Sonntag with funds borrowed from his father, Heinrich Nebenzahl.

In the following years Siodmak wrote many novels, screenplays, and short stories including the novel F.P.1 antwortet nicht (F.P.1 Doesn't Answer) (1932) which was adapted into a film featuring Hans Albers and Peter Lorre.

Siodmak decided to emigrate after hearing an anti-Semitic tirade by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and departed for England where he made a living as a screenwriter before moving to the United States in 1937. His big break in Hollywood came with the screenplay for The Wolf Man (1941), starring Lon Chaney, Jr., which established this fictional creature as the most popular movie monster after Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. In the film, Siodmak created several werewolf "legends": being marked by a pentagram; being practically immortal apart from being struck/shot by silver implements/bullets; and the famous verse:

Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night
May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms
And the autumn Moon is bright

(The last line was changed in the sequels to "And the Moon is full and bright".)

Siodmak's science-fiction novel Donovan's Brain (1942) was a bestseller that was translated into many languages and was adapted for the cinema several times, beginning in 1943 with The Lady and the Monster, then 1953's Donovan's Brain and 1962's The Brain. Other films he wrote the screenplays for include Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, I Walked With a Zombie and The Beast With Five Fingers. An extensive interview with Siodmak about his career in both Germany and Hollywood is found in Eric Leif Davin's Pioneers of Wonder. In the plots of his work, Siodmak utilised the latest scientific findings combining those with pseudo-scientific motifs like the Jekyll and Hyde complex, the Nazi trauma and the East-West dichotomy.

In 1998, he won the Berlinale Camera at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.

Siodmak died in his sleep on September 2, 2000, at his home in Three Rivers, California.



  • F.P.1 Doesn't Answer (1933)
  • Black Friday (1939)
  • Donovan's Brain (1942)
  • The Beast with Five Fingers (1945)
  • Whomsoever I Shall Kiss (1952)
  • Riders to the Stars (1954)
  • Skyport (1959)
  • For Kings Only (1964)
  • Hauser's Memory (1968)
  • The Third Ear (1971)
  • City in the Sky (1974)
  • Frankenstein Meets Wolfman (1981)
  • Gabriel's Body (1992)

Short stories

  • The Eggs from Lake Tanganyika (1926)
  • Variation of a Theme (1972)
  • The P Factor (1976)
  • Experiment with Evil (1985)

Non fiction

  • Even a Man Who Is Pure in Heart: The Life of a Writer, Not Always to His Liking (1997)
  • Wolf Man's Maker (2001) (Posthumous autobiography)

Partial filmography

  • Metropolis (1927) - actor, uncredited
  • Mascottchen (Mascots, 1929) - writer
  • Flucht in die Fremdenlegion (1929) - writer
  • Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday, 1930) - writer
  • Der Schuß im Tonfilmatelier (The Shot in the Talker Studio, 1930) - writer
  • Der Kampf mit dem Drachen oder: Die Tragödie des Untermieters (1930) - writer
  • The Man in Search of His Murderer (1931)
  • Der Ball (1931) - screenplay
  • Le Bal (1931) - screenplay
  • Die Unsichtbare Front (The Invisible Front, 1932) - writer
  • F.P.1 antwortet nicht (1932) - screenplay
  • I.F.1 ne répond plus (1933) - screenplay
  • F.P.1 (1933) - screenplay
  • Marion, That's Not Nice (1933)
  • The Crisis is Over (1934) - writer
  • Girls Will Be Boys (1934) - writer
  • It's a Bet (1935) - writer
  • Abdul the Damned (1935) - treatment (uncredited)
  • I Give My Heart (1935) - writer
  • Transatlantic Tunnel (also called The Tunnel (1935 film)) - writer (as Kurt Siddmak)
  • Non-Stop New York (1937) - writer
  • Her Jungle Love (1938) - writer
  • The Invisible Man Returns (1940) - screenplay
  • Black Friday (1940) - screenplay
  • The Ape (1940) - adaptation and screenplay
  • Pacific Blackout (1941) - co-writer
  • The Wolf Man (1941) - writer
  • Invisible Agent (1942) - writer
  • London Blackout Murders (1943) - writer
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) - writer
  • The Purple V (1943) - screenplay
  • Mantrap (1943) - writer
  • I Walked with a Zombie (1943) - screenplay
  • False Faces (1943) - writer
  • Son of Dracula (1943) - story
  • The Climax (1944) - adaptation, screenplay
  • House of Frankenstein (1944) - story
  • Frisco Sal (1945) - writer
  • Shady Lady (1945) - writer
  • The Return of Monte Cristo (1946) - story
  • The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) - writer
  • Berlin Express (1948) - story
  • Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) - screenplay
  • Bride of the Gorilla (1951) - writer
  • The Magnetic Monster (1953) - writer
  • I Led 3 Lives (episode: Infra Red Film 1954) - writer
  • Riders to the Stars (1954) - writer
  • Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) - writer
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) - screen story
  • Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) - writer
  • Love Slaves of the Amazons (1957) - screenplay, story
  • Tales of Frankenstein (1958) (TV) - story
  • The Devil's Messenger (1961) - uncredited
  • Sherlock Holmes und das Halsband des Todes (1962) - screenplay
  • Das Feuerschiff (The Lightship, 1963) - writer
  • Ski Fever (1966) - writer

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