Help Save 100-Year-Old Gay Movie “Different From The Others” From The Nazis

It sounds surprising, but Weimar Germany was actually a somewhat progressive place for gays and lesbians. But when the Nazis came to power, they went about destroying any evidence of an emerging queer culture.

Now, a rare fragment of the 1919 film Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others) has been discovered in the Ukraine. It’s in pretty poor shape but Outfest has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for its restoration.

Perhaps the first sympathetic portrayal of homosexuality in cinema, Different was directed by Richard Oswald and more notably, co-written by psychologist Magnus Hirschfeld, one of the forefathers of modern LGBT movement.

In the film, violinist, Paul Körner (Conrad Veidt) falls in love with one of his male students. As a blackmailer tries to expose his secret, Körner flashes back on early inklings of his orientation, and subsequent attempts to change it. (Hirschfeld has a small role as a doctor who dissuades Körner’s parents from trying to “cure” him.) The musician and his extortionist wind up in court, and though the judge is sympathetic, Körner career is ruined by the scandal. Tragically he commits suicide.

A polemic against Germany’s Paragraph 175, which outlawed same-sex relations, Different from the Others is believed to be the only remaining film from a series of queer-friendly flicks produced before WWII.

“Our work on this film will ensure that the message of tolerance and acceptance that was made so courageously in 1919 in Germany will continue to inspire generations to come,” explains Christopher Racster of the Outfest Legacy Project. (A preview of the work-in-progress was held on October 13.)

The Kickstarter campaign’s goal is a modest $5,000 but its less than half the way there. If we all ponied up $20, (you can skip Alex Cross, trust us) this vital piece of our cultural heritage can be revived.


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  • Tapeis

    Isn’t this beyond the 50 or 70(?) year copy-write protection limit?

    Meaning, can’t someone just make a single digital copy, upload it to Youtube and problem solved?

    Does this require $5,000? What’s that for, buying a camera to copy the film?
    That’s a whole $5,000?

    Gone are the days when we had to store everything on celluloid, no?

    Digital is forever, right?

    I suppose if someone wanted the original copy for their private collection, sure, but shouldn’t the first 50 cents be spent to post a link here of the upload to Youtube?
    (does that cost a whole $0.50 ?

  • 2eo

    Great news, a Kickstarter campaign well worth a few dollars. Excellent find and important as a piece of our heritage.

    The 1920’s Germany should serve as a warning for us to remain ever vigilant about the right seizing absolute power.

  • Tapeis

    PS: “The Hidden Hitler” is a great book and video. Convinced me that Hitler was probably gay, as well as probably many (not most) top members of the party. It argues that they (the leadership) distinguished between masculine gays and openly effeminate gays. It suggests, to me convincingly, that it was the lower ranks which were the more aggressive towards gays and that the high command was certainly not aggressive towards masculine gays, except never to openly admit it. I don’t know for a fact one way or the other, but the argument is pretty compelling.

  • 2eo

    ^^ Yup, we have another infiltrator. Can’t you just post as Avenger?.

  • balehead

    Hidden Hitler is just a lot of speculation…

    Back to the subject!

    Different from Others is a very progressive film!

  • balehead

    Confused?….There are two other groups working on preserving this film…can’t they join forces?
    Plus Darren Criss already presented a preserved copy of this film on October 3rd already!

  • Captain proton

    “If we all ponied up $20” – They are missing ~$2400, does this mean Queerty has just 120 readers?

  • petensfo

    Wow… I can’t believe no one commented on that cutie guy asking for money. I’d like to kickstart that!

    My cash went to political races this year, but I hope those with deeper pockets will support this. No one is going to tell our history but us… truly, they’d rather we disappeared.

  • Bomo Queebo

    This film is already on dvd and released years ago by Kino, along with 2 other films from the Weimar period that address gay themes. I have all 3 films on dvd in my collection. Why is this news? Please do your research and clarify this. And you make no mention of the fact that Conrad Veidt was a major movie star in Europe at the time, that he fled Germany when Nazis came to power and ended up in Hollywood playing roles of (such irony!) Nazi officers; most notably in “Casablanca”. In fact, all the character roles in that film were played by emigre actors & actresses who had fled Europe because of the Nazi terror. This is shoddy reporting and flimsy journalism.

  • GreenmanTN

    @Bomo Queebo: It’s been a long time since I looked up any info about “Anders als die Andern,” but I used to be a huge fan of German silent cinema and my understanding is that what is left of the film is just fragments. Is the Kino version complete? Because if it isn’t the fragment found in the Ukraine might be one of the missing parts.

    FWIW I’ve read different things about Conrad Veidt’s sexuality, that he was openly gay (though married) and that he wasn’t gay, except when he got drunk.

  • Vance

    @GreenmanTN: I have my Kino copy of “Anders als die Andern” in front of me. It’s a 50-minute version restored by the Munich Film Museum and released in 2003. While it substitutes stilla at some points, I can’t say that it’s exactly a lost film. The Kickstarter page doesn’t seem to acknowledge this Kino version of the film exists, so I’m not sure if there’s new footage uncovered or a repeat of what exists.

  • heik418

    @Tapeis: Restoration from an original highly flammable acetate film stock I’m sure is necessary along with fixes before any transfer to digital can happen.

  • Aidan8

    @Tapeis: Sounds like the original film itself needs restoration — even before being copied, etc.

  • Stache1

    Yes there were gay high ranking gay members just like we have go proud with the republicans. The rest is just tin foil hat BS.

  • the other Greg

    “It sounds surprising, but Weimar Germany was actually a somewhat progressive place for gays and lesbians.”

    Uh… I thought this fell under the category of common (gay) knowledge – “Cabaret”?

  • Stache1

    Then again Hitler was known to like to party on Meth so maybe…

  • yaoming

    This film is being sold as gay-positive, but the story of someone who kills himself after his homosexuality is exposed sounds kind of negative to me: “If you’re gay and you don’t control yourself, you’ll end up like this.”

  • kayakriver

    @yaoming: I think you should reflect on it a little more.

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