Actor Joseph Schildkraut (1896-1964) was born — and got his start in — Austria, but moved to the US in the 1910s. He won an Oscar for playing Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola, and is notable to me as the poncy but scheming duc d’Orléans in Marie Antoinette (1938).
He starred in a VAST number of frock flicks, a decent number of which I can’t find any photos of him in. So, here are his historical roles that I CAN document!
Orphans of the Storm (1921)
As a chevalier who falls in love with one of two identical twins during the French Revolution.
Show Boat (1929)
A mostly silent film that’s sort of based on the stage musical, and I THINK it’s supposed to be sort of period? Schildkraut plays “Gaylord Ravenal” (sorry, not a Show Boat fan!).
The Mississippi Gambler (1929)
As the title indicates, Schildkraut plays a (wait for it) Mississippi gambler … who of course falls in love.
As King Herod to Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra.
Viva Villa! (1934)
As the villian “General Pascal” in this biopic about Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary.
The Crusades (1935)
As real-life Conrad of Montferrat, “a north Italian nobleman, one of the major participants in the Third Crusade. He was the de facto King of Jerusalem (as Conrad I) by virtue of his marriage to Isabella I of Jerusalem from 24 November 1190, but officially elected only in 1192, days before his death” per Wikipedia. He’s the villain in this 12th century-set film.
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
As Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the real-life French army captain who was falsely convicted of treason and spawned a reckoning with anti-semitism in France. Writer Emile Zola became involved in advocating for his release. Schildkraut won an Oscar for this.
Marie Antoinette (1938)
As the foppy, schemey, fabulous duc d’Orléans to Norma Shearer’s 18th-century French queen.
As Vicomte Rene De Latour, friend of the main character (played by Tyrone Power) in this confused story set in Napoleon III’s France and Egypt.
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
As Fouquet, eventual French Superintendant of Finances, in this adaptation of the 17th-century-set Alexandre Dumas story.
Rangers of Fortune (1940)
As the villainous landowner in this Western.
The Parson of Panamint (1941)
Set in 19th-century San Francisco, and something to do with a preacher.
Flame of Barbary Coast (1945)
Yet another Western, this one set in San Francisco. Schildkraut plays a cardshark.
Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)
A mistaken identity comedy set in 18th-century France. Schildkraut plays “Don Francisco.”
Plainsman and the Lady (1946)
Back to the Westerns! Set in 1859 Missouri, Schildkraut plays a villainous stagecoach line owner.
Northwest Outpost (1947)
An operetta set at Fort Ross, a Russian fort in northern California, in the early 19th century.
Old Los Angeles (1948)
More Westerns, more California — Los Angeles this time! I can’t tell for sure, but I’m guessing Schildkraut is the baddie.
The Gallant Legion (1948)
5000th Western! Texas Rangers fight to keep Texas from being broken up into smaller states. Schildkraut plays “Senator Clarke Faulkner,” who I’m guessing is on the opposing side.
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
As Otto Frank, father of Holocaust victim and author Anne Frank, in this TV film. Schildkraut was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role.
Which is your favorite Joseph Schildkraut frock flick role?